March 31, 2008

An Omer of Manna (b)

- continued from yesterday's post...some baby steps.

God's Word: I have been reading the Bible for just about as long as I've been reading, which is roughly four years shorter than I have been alive. So, awhile. And it gets to the point that I think, Yeah, yeah. Been there, read that. I know - Elijah calls down fire and destroys them all. I dislike when things that I know should (and could) be meaningful become routine. Especially this. And this past summer in Colorado, I remember hearing in my profs' voices a deep love and awe for the Word of God. I recognized that it wasn't there in my own heart, but I started hungering for it more. I want to love God's word, for all it's truth & beauty, and not just view it as a helpful handbook to life.

At my church (which I love), I have been privileged to sit under teaching from a man who loves God's Word. In my small group, I am with people who love God's Word. And I think it's starting to rub off. More and more often, I am moved by a phrase or verse, or maybe even a word. In the fall, God led me to this verse, which has been a bit of a theme. And I am still not sick or even bored of it.
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength..."
Isaiah 30:15a

Prayer: Interestingly, Sunday's sermon was on this topic. Prayer has been a part of my life even longer than reading the Bible, because I could speak well before I could read. And like the Bible, the meaningful quickly & easily became routine. Tradition. Pray before meals because, well, because. Pray at night because...well, because. Pray whenever, because God expects it. And then things swing the other way: don't pray before meals, because you're just praying for the sake of the prayer. Don't pray at night, because you've let it become "routine." Don't pray just anytime, because you haven't been praying any other time, so you don't deserve it. So many mixed up attitudes to prayer!

In university, I had a turning point. Falling asleep one night, I was purposefully praying, listening to God. I waited for Him to say something, to speak. Finally, I said, "Ok, God. I'm here. I'm listening. What are you going to say?" And He replied, "Isn't it enough just to be with me?" When prayer shifts from 'getting' to 'being,' it changes everything. It's slow, but it's happening. Also, the more I love God's Word, the more I love praying God's Word, and the more I love praying, because I know I'm praying in line with God's will.

March 28, 2008

A Bit of a Ramble (a)

Author's Note: For once, I don't really care if this is of interest to others. I have some thoughts that I'd like to record for posterity, and if they intrigue you - great! But I'm not promising coherency or succinct summaries in this entry. So proceed at your own caution.

Every once in awhile, there are glimpses of clarity where all the little moments of my life line up and add up into one big picture, and I can see that I am is not who I was. These don't happen that often, but they're incredibly encouraging, because I have hope that in twenty years, I will continue to look more like Jesus than I do today. Obviously, I'm blogging about this because I had such a moment. Actually, it was more a series of realizations over a couple of days.

Authority: just before Christmas in my 4th year, I had a "discussion" (borderline argument) with my mom that started poorly but ended with me hearing truths that I didn't really want to admit - that I don't like being told what to do, that I have difficulty submitting to authority, and that this will cause me difficulties in my life at some point. These were hard to hear, but I did hear them, and took them to heart...and while it's definitely been difficult in the past few years, I have seen change. I want to be under authority, and I want to support my leaders. It's hard to find a balance between supporting my leaders and maintaining my rather-strong need for independence (which I don't think is completely wrong), but I've seen major headway. My heart is changing, I think.

Love/Compassion/Grace: I tend to have high expectations for others. Well - I tend to impose my self expectations on them. If I can do something, others should too. Like show up on time, or keep certain words out of their language, or remember all 13 capitols (Victoria, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Quebec City, St John {update: it is Fredericton. See the comments.}, Halifax, St John's, Charlottetown, Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse: OTTAWA). When people fail to meet my standards...that is disappointing. Especially with my Christian friends and issues of morality. But I have been asking God to teach me that I am no different, no better than those around me. And at Christmas, when faced with a massive "let-down," I wasn't angry. Well, I was - but in a righteous way. Angry for them, not at them. I was (am) deeply sad, but can honestly say that I love them. That I care for them, and that I do not hold it against them. Possibly because I realize that my own capacity for wrongdoing is not nearly as shallow as I like to pretend. Anyway, this change in my heart shocks me. In a rather pleasant way.

March 27, 2008

That's One Way to Breed Loyalty...

My coworkers know someone who works at the Cactus Club Cafe, and asked if we'd be interested in a tasting evening. I wasn't so sure about it, or what it would entail, but free food is free food, so I was in. And I was blown away. Quite possibly, - no, quite certainly - this was the most culinary experience I have ever had. Treating food as an experience makes eating much more enjoyable.

Turns out their friend Will is chef/kitchen manager of the head Cactus Club, where dishes are born and Rob Feenie is the newest staff addition, as their Food Concept Architect. And yes, he was there while we were.

Food I tasted (I don't remember the names, but here are brief descriptions):
  • Yam fries with garlic mayo
  • Mini burgers with well-spiced chuck meat burger patties.
  • Ahi something-something with tropical fruits in a fried gyoza shell (kind of like a high end fish taco, from someone in Tofino.)
  • West Coast Pockets - the most delicious smoked salmon I've ever had, with sushi rice in a fried tofu pocket. (Sounds strange, but it's really quite amazing.)
  • Spaghettini with Scallops and Shrimp (Wow wow wow wow wow! And I don't usually like seafood.)
  • House Salad with Lemon-Thyme dressing
  • Braised Beef on Sourdough with Au Jus (that had warm hints of cinnamon, which was delicious)
  • Arugula Salad with Lemon Chicken Breast
  • Spinach Salad with Prosciutto and Figs
- break time for a tour of the kitchen & creative space -
  • Pork with Apples, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, Carrots & Beets
  • Steak with demi-glaze, Potatoes & Asparagus
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Gelato
  • Ice Cream Sundae with Candied Pecans, Bananas, and Bernard Callebaut Chocolate Sauce
Drinks I Sipped:
  • Granville Island Beer (exclusive brew of some variety just for Cactus Club)
  • Double Peach Bellini (possibly my favourite)
  • The Bajillion (I believe that was it's name. Kiwi & Lime made it soooo refreshing)
  • Some cocktail I forget with Blackberries & Spearmint. (It was mediocre. And some preferred the accidental coconut infusion.)
  • Double Margarita with fresh lime ingredients.
  • A 2006 Pinot Noir, possibly from New Zealand.
  • Water. With Ice.
Things I Learned:
  • Simple Syrup and Coconut Syrup look similar. (Which is why our first forgettable cocktail tasted like Pina Colada instead of mint.)
  • How much are the contents of a commercial fridge worth? 20 grand, if you're at the Cactus Club. (also to note: the freezer has perhaps a quarter the space of the fridge, indicating that most ingredients are fresh.)
  • Garlic mayo: $0.04/oz - Demi-glaze: $1.17/oz
  • Demi-glaze is one of five main sauce bases. The other four are hollandaise, tomato-base, bechamel, and another - made of flour, butter & chicken stock.
  • It takes at least 30 minutes for a kitchen staff to squeeze enough key limes for a pie (each key lime gives maybe 10ml of juice).
  • Pasta shouldn't be rinsed. That gets rid of the starch, and starch is what holds the sauce to the pasta. In Italy, less sauce is used, but pasta dishes are still flavourful because of this. And also because the pasta is cooked with salt and oil.
  • The Cactus Club is the largest private owner of Andy Warhol works. At the top of the stairs to the bathroom is a print worth $60 000.
  • You don't need cooking experience to get hired here. You need confidence, an easy-going personality, the ability to multi-task, and a willingness to work hard & learn. (anyone interested?)
There is more. I'm sure there is. But it is late, and I am forgetting.

Will was an amazing host (turns out he even went to the good ol' U of G!) - helpful, informative, and didn't make us feel dumb for not knowing the fine details of the demi-glaze. The company was enjoyable (hurrah for coworkers), I feel like an unofficial Cactus Club ambassador (I think that was their goal), and I know have a connection. If I ever want to head there again...I can pretty much guarantee good service. And possibly some free desserts.

March 26, 2008

Hypochondriac

A few weeks ago, my med-student roommate confirmed a news comment that men receive better medical care than women (or something to that effect). She said that essentially, women are perceived as somewhat hypochondriacal in nature, and so are taken less seriously.

On another occasion, I asked her what she thought a bump on my thumb might be. She suggested it's probably dyshidrotic eczema. Which I filed away and promptly thought, Phew, it's not a wart. But as this bump has not gone away, I have become more annoyed by it. So today, I decided to wikipedia Dyshidrosis. And it's not pretty. Thankfully, my one little bump looks nothing like the severe case pictured.

I hope that my roommate was wrong with her unofficial diagnosis. But if not, I think I need to consider the following factors that wikipedia identified for me:

- A nickel-free diet. My ears seem to be allergic to nickel. If the rest of my body is as well, I should probably stop ingesting it. Cocoa is apparently high in nickel content, so perhaps I'll go for a low-nickel diet instead of one that is completely free of nickel.
- Other intestinal problems. I have had enough stomach troubles in the past year that maybe I should get it checked out.
- Mite allergies. They run in my family.
- Stress management. Of course. Stress is always a factor.


Alternatively, I'm just a hypochondriac with a bump on my finger. I only wish I knew...

Early to Bed.

Sometimes it is the little things that push me over the edge. Tonight, the little thing is my inability to import my tax file from last year to this year's return. That's it. I am done for the night. Possibly the week.

I had a lovely visit with Karen and Nadine this weekend. They are great, godly & gorgeous girls. They make me smile. And I'm glad they could share in the Easter weekend fun. Good times for four days straight. And now, a bit of fatigue. People and physical tired. Sigh.

One of my friends summarized her life story in six words. They were
"the (untapped potential/second chance) King."
She has passed along the challenge for others to do the same. It's been rolling around in my head for the past few days. Since I can't steal what she has said, my life would be summarized thusly:

Jesus makes my life worth something.

March 25, 2008

Faker!

Apparently, I'm pretty good at distinguishing fake smiles from real ones. I got 75% on this BBC test. And if it's from the BBC, it must be accurate.

So if you think you're fooling me with your pseudo enthusiasm...I can probably see right through you.

March 24, 2008

If I Am Four Words

Well, Lent is over and music is back into my life whenever I want. I'm hoping to be more discerning about my music listening - not in a snobby way, but in a I'm-not-filling-up-all-my-think-time-with-music way.

Since I've not got time for lots of deep thoughts at the moment, here are lyrics from my current favourite songs. And yes, they are both about love.

Love is Waiting - Brooke Fraser
In the autumn on the ground, between the traffic and the traffic and the ordinary sounds
I am thinking signs and seasons while a north wind blows through
I watch as lovers pass me by
Walking stories - whos and hows and whys
Musing lazily on love
Pondering you
I'll give it time, give it space and be still for a spell
When it's time to walk that way we wanna walk it well

I'll be waiting for you baby
I'll be holding back the darkest night
Love is waiting til we're ready, til it's right
Love is waiting

It's my caution not the cold
There's no other hand that I would rather hold
The climate changes, I'm singing for the strangers about you
Don't keep time, slow the pace
Honey hold on if you can
The bets are getting surer now that you're my man

I could write a million songs about the way you say my name
I could live a lifetime with you and then do it all again
And like I can't force the sun to rise or hasten summer's start,
Neither should I rush my way into your heart

Academia - by Sia
You can be my alphabet and I will be your calculator
And together we'll work out on the escalator
I will time you as you run up the down
And you’ll measure my footsteps as I blow through this town

The mean of our heights is divided by the nights
Which is times’d by the daggers and the root of all our fights
The pass of your poem is to swathe me in your knowing
And the beauty of the word is that you don’t have to show it

Oh
Academia
You can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

I am a dash and you are a dot
When will you see that I am all that you’ve got
I’m a binary code that you cracked long ago
But to you I’m just a novel that you wish you’d never wrote

I’m greater than x and lesser than y
So why is it that I still can’t catch your eye
You’re a cryptic crossword
A song I’ve never heard
While I sit here drawing circles I’m afraid of being hurt

Oh
Academia
You can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

You’re a difficult equation with a knack for heart evasion
Will you listen to my proof or will you add another page on
It appears to me the graph has come and stolen all the laughs
It appears to me the pen has over analysed again

And if I am a number I’m infinity plus one
And if you are five words you are afraid to be the one
And if you are a number you’re infinity plus one
And if I am four words then I am needing of your love

Oh
Academia
You can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

March 19, 2008

Lyrics & Titles

I am not usually one to remember song titles. Sing the hook or the chorus, and I'll know the song. But not the title. However, this week I've had two titles floating around in my head, making me think they are somehow relevant to my life right now. Both belong to Anberlin songs.

Inevitable and There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss

Since I can't listen to the song, and I don't recall the lyrics, I looked them up online this morning. I can hear them in my head again...and am reminded of why Anberlin is my favourite find from 2007.

Mathematics
If you're leaving, leave the cigarettes.
You've already got the lighter and the keys.
She packs her boxes.
He knows that she's serious
Not by the look in her face but by the lack of rings.
Words lost their meanings long ago.
Right around the time when she let him know.

Oh oh oh oh ohoh oh oh

Have you ever heard a word?
Rather be lonely in love, than alive with you and dead.
Have you ever heard a word?
Hear me out this time (Hear me out this time).
Have you ever heard a word?
Rather be lonely in love, than alive with you and dead.
Have you ever heard a word?
Hear me out this time (Hear me out this time).

There is algebra in gasoline.
Burning pictures, pages and photographs.
Fire can make a conscience clean.
(Strike the match, we'll see)
Rolls the window down, calls his name and pulls away.
Rethinks every word he's said in disarray.
Watched their house burn and in turn.
(What made it home, drive away)

Have you ever heard a word?
Rather be lonely in love than alive with you and dead.
Have you ever heard a word?
Hear me out this time (Hear me out this time).
Have you ever heard a word?
Rather be lonely in love than alive with you and dead.
Have you ever heard a word?
Hear me out this time (Hear me out this time).

Where does one start
To pick up pieces
Of a gasoline heart?
When all he has is driving away.
Ay ay ay ay ayay ay ay..


in contrast...Inevitable
Do you remember when we were just kids
And cardboard boxes took us miles from what we would miss
Schoolyard conversations taken to heart
And laughter took the place of everything we knew we were not

I wanna break every clock
The hands of time could never move again
We could stay in this moment (stay in this moment)
For the rest of our lives
Is it over now hey, hey, is it over now

I wanna be your last, first kiss
That you'll ever have
I wanna be your last, first kiss

Amazing how life turns out the way that it does
We end up hurting the worst, the only ones we really love

I wanna break every clock
The hands of time could never move again
We could stay in this moment (stay in this moment)
For the rest of our lives
Is it over now hey, hey, is it over now

I wanna be your last, first kiss
That you'll ever have
I wanna be your last, first kiss

Is it over now hey, hey, is it over now
Is it over how hey, hey, it's not over now

I wanna be your last, first kiss
That you'll ever have (that you'll ever have)
I wanna be your last, first love (that you'll ever have)
Till you're lying here beside me with arms and eyes open wide
I wanna be your last, first kiss for all time

March 15, 2008

Boys & Girls

Whether you're 15 or 35, I think things are essentially the same when it comes to boys & girls. Miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations, heartbreak & confusion. The unexpected happens, and it's always a surprise.

And I don't just mean for us singles. Even in the best marriages these things are present. What's different, I think, is that in a marriage, you know who you're investing in and (hopefully) there's a commitment that you will work things out.

My heart is really heavy for one of my friends today. When we were talking earlier, I wanted to make things right for her. But I don't know what it would look like for things to be "right." And I don't think she does either, which is what makes it harder. {If I had a fairy wand...the magic mice and I would make everything just-so.}

I fear being in a situation similar to hers someday, because a) it hurts and b) I don't know that I would react with the same grace and humility that I see in her. I've been really blessed, in the last few months, to see several women respond to relational pain/catastrophe/rejection with incredibly godly and counter-cultural attitudes. I would like to be known, someday, as a woman of humility and grace when it comes to dealing with conflict & men.

I also thought, Man, I'm glad I'm unattached. It is such a freeing thing to be in a place where my heart belongs to no one but me. I have rarely been so content to be single, to interact with guys and to be ok with myself if they don't all have crushes on me (I'm not writing them all off as undate-able, but I'm not secretly pining away, jealous every time they talk to another girl, either). Anyway, the point is that I like this place my heart has found. But then I wondered, with all the complexities & inevitable pain that romantic relationships involve, will I be willing to take the risk when the time is right? It made me think of this postsecret that I read last weekend.
I think that when the timing & the person are right, the rest will fall into place. Not in a simplistic, overly easy way, but in a "I know this is right and this will work out" sort of way.

Ah, relationships! My thoughts go on forever, but I think this is a good place to end for now.

March 14, 2008

Techno-Binge

I am on a bit of a technological bender at the moment. It started a few weeks ago with the gift of an iPod.

See, the problem with being rebellious for the sake of non-conformity is that eventually something happens (like someone gives you an iPod, when you had heretofore decided not to purchase one, just because they're soooooooo cool and everyone plus their mom has one), and your whole grounds for rebellion are gone, and then you swing so far in the other direction that it is all over.

Case in point:
  • the iPod. Couldn't say no to such a great gift. Now I'm switching my entire music library to iTunes, and eagerly anticipating Easter and the return of my music. Especially the reward of the Juno soundrack, which is sitting, still wrapped, on my desk.
  • upgrading my phone & plan. Hello Moto, hello 2500 text messages & unlimited evenings starting at 5pm! Hello personalized ring tones (this has provided hours of entertainment), voice recognition: so handy for calling my mom in the library!
  • iGoogle. Wasn't going to personalize my home page. But then I caved. I have word of the day, weather, top news from CBC, a little dictionary-web thing (not internet web, but spider web), and places to visit before I die. More time wasting at my fingertips.
  • iGoogle themes. Endless ones to choose from. I pick one that simulates the sky, and is set for local sunrise/sunset times. A-MAZ-ing!
  • Twitter. Little updates from my phone (how else do I use 83 text messages a day!?) for everyone to see.
  • Firefox add-ons. I no longer see ads, thanks to Ad-Block Plus. I have the ability to twitter from my URL bar, and I get the weather at all times in the bottom-of-the-window bar (don't know the proper name)
  • Blog changes. I can't Twitter without an upgraded blog, and now I have to do something so that it is not so "blocky [with] nasty colours" as one friend has pointed out.
  • Taxes. Going to file online again. Hopefully tomorrow.
See? Binge. It will be over eventually. The Twittering will slow to a reasonable pace (although I do have a goal of attempting to send 83 texts in one day). I will grow accustomed to and even annoyed with my new phone. And tax season will be over soon. Hopefully without an audit.

March 12, 2008

4 Good Things

1. No more ads online! Thanks to a Firefox add-on.
2. My phone has great ring tones. And shows your picture when you call me, Dan Ray.
3. Twitter may be the answer to how I am going to use my 2500 texts a month. Provided I can figure out how to send the confirmation text message to a number in a foreign country.
4. I am not leaving the house tonight.

oh! One of my flickr pics has been shortlisted to appear in some sort of online guide. Tres exciting!

Yesterday

2 high moments, 2 low moments:

- an email from a friend
- bumping into someone unexpectedly on campus
- hanging out with some kids. 5 of them, in fact.
- a joke.

I decided I don't want this blogskin. I want my own blogskin, but I don't feel like I have the time to make it good enough. Or the skills.

I am glad that I have given up personal music for Lent (my mp3 player - now an iPod, thanks to Nick! and computer music that fills space so I don't have to/can't think). But I miss music and am looking forward to having it back. It amazes me which songs stay in my head despite this fast.

March 11, 2008

My Posts Don't Date Themselves...I Just Realized

Five days without a post, and it wasn't even intentional! When my days are full and have little time for reflection, I almost forget about this portal of processing.

Life feels like it just keeps moving forward (probably because that is precisely what is happening). And I find it hard to slow down and make sure I'm still be intentional and deliberate in my choices. Especially as they pertain to God.

I had a whirlwind visit with Heather, and it was lovely. I miss that girl, and I'm so grateful for her friendship (and for our moms, who introduced us before we could even speak). We unfortunately spent over an hour of our visit trying to change my phone plan. Sometimes, I have very strong feelings of dislike towards service providers. But, we shall see each other again in less than two months, which gives me great happiness.

I am reading more, and writing a bit, but have mixed thoughts on it all. My future (starting in roughly a year) is so up in the air that I am not sure where to invest myself or how best to prepare myself for it, whatever "it" may be. But there are more pressing things that can occupy my thoughts and time if I will let them. And I can honestly say that I am content with this next year's trajectory.

Well, those are my current thoughts. I should continue with my workday now.

March 6, 2008

He Shoots...

On a 10-2 hockey game:

"It was like 80's night, with all that scoring!"

March 4, 2008

Just A Few More Thoughts

I had a moment of being creeped out on the bus today. A man a few seats down from me reached out and lightly touched a woman in the aisle. She didn't notice, and I'm not sure if he was reaching to feel her hair or her fur coat, but he stretched out his hand, swished his finger back and forth, and then went back to his conversation with a friend. It was just a little too weird for me.

BUT on a more positive note. It is sunny again today, and this quote has given rise to an idea for a story:

For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant - and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side. A candle flowers in the space of night. Even small and casual things take on significance if they are washed in space, like a few autumn grasses in one corner of an Oriental painting, the rest of the page bare.

I am off to a discussion hosted by some freethinkers at UBC. I am curious and I am nervous. I hope it is a positive time for all...especially the friend who invited me.

March 3, 2008

Legendary Letdown.

So I just finished Legends of the Fall. I've been told it's a great movie and that I should watch it, so I did. And to be honest, I didn't really like it.

I mean, it's a well-made movie. And who doesn't like the trio of Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins & Aidan Quinn (I must admit, I especially like him). It just makes me angry. I will not watch it again.

In No Particular Order

This weekend I:

1. Read a book (The Birth House by Ami McKay).
2. Watched a movie. Well, half of Legends of the Fall, which I have never seen before, and am not sure yet what I think. I guess it depends on the ending.
3. Went to an NHL game. We lost in overtime; otherwise, the evening was great.
4. Baked cookies (for said NHL game).
5. Walked along the sunny waterfront in White Rock.
6. Ate celebratory pancakes made by my lovely roommate, Lynsey.
7. Was tricked by my mother (she put her sister on the phone & waited to see how long before I realized it wasn't her, as they sound nearly identical). We all laughed when I figured it out.
8. Laughed at something funny & slightly sketchy from the Bible. The phrase "Hill of Foreskins" is just so awkward.
9. Ate Italian food. Love the bread with oil & vinegar at La Notte.
10. Went to church, and even made the early service.
11. Met someone new.
12. Thought about something in a different light.
13. Talked about my feelings.
{ed. note: I reached a point yesterday where I became tired of girl-ishness, with its feelings and emotions and overthinking. What I wouldn't give for some good guy friends, for whom a good time is eating food and playing video games and not talking about their inner lives.}
14. Slept well.