Christmas Memories in the Making...

After a broken car, some tears, and a $79 God-send of a flight, Jake and I made it to Quebec City where we spent five days with the whole clan (my side of the family).

Pack 28 people into a massive chalet, and enough mini-stick tournaments to make your head spin, and you've got a fun family Christmas. We had a great time, and aside from wishing I'd saved enough money to ski the slopes of Mont-Saint-Anne, I was so happy that Jake could get to know everyone better. He is now familiar with the names of my aunts and uncles, and had some fun trying to walk around with little cousins attached to his legs. Both Jake and Nathanael (my sister's husband) quickly learned that beards and being married to the coolest sisters this side of the St. Lawrence makes one a popular commodity.

Needless to say, I gained 7 pounds. The food was delicious, and constantly abounding. I couldn't escape it if I tried, so I gave in. And delighted myself in star-shaped chocolate cookies topped with peppermint, and pumpkin cheese-cake, and warm, savoury apple crisp. Yes, this is what I lived for. Not to mention the endless amounts of chocolate covered almonds and gingerbread cookies.

It's safe to say that Ashleigh will be implementing a strict diet of... well, you know how I feel about diets.


It's time to go for a walk...

I am so grateful to the aunts and uncles who made it possible for Jake and I to go (chipping in a little bit to make the unexpected expenses a bit more bearable). I am also grateful that God is always teaching me things, not to mention that he provides in ways we never expect. Oma lent us her car until Saturday, which is such a blessing.

Today was kind of stressful, as we, once again, had to think about what to do about a car. We decided that fixing it up was the best route to go, instead of getting a new one. Please pray as we continue to look for God for strength in such a crazy time!



Book Readings...

Since May, I decided I wanted to read more books. I have been out of the fiction scene for a while, but in highschool, my sister (who is still an avid reader) and I would consume Christian fiction books. We would raid the church library, eating them up as if they were wonderful morsels filling our starved minds. I was amazed at her propensity to read, and watched as book after book was written on her tracking sheet; I'm sure she still does it, but she used to rate the books to remind herself if she would ever read it again. I was just as enthralled by books; I remember one time in particular, I was supposed to be studying for my Grade 9 exams, but was instead caught up in a whirling Roman times Christian romance trilogy, each book consisting of easily 500 pages. The captivating words of Francine Rivers in the Mark of the Lion series enlightened me to the world of fiction, and I would be forever enchanted by the way she encorporated the love of our Saviour into her works of writ.

Since May, I have read 19 books. Among those are some non-fiction titles, although my appetite for fiction has grown steadily as I have become more accustomed to reading once again. It truly is an art, and only over time can one get used to sitting for long periods, staring at letters on a page.

I started and finished a book today, and let me tell you, it didn't take much for the author to rivet me with his words. The book is called "Immanuel's Veins", by Ted Dekker. I enjoy this author immensely, as his suspense and mystery is quite thrilling. This book in particular was different than any other I have read, and his allegory for Christ's love and ultimate sacrifice for us was written in a most unusual manner. It is not for everyone, but I encourage you, if you would like to experience a thrilling and captivating story about one man's journey in pursuit of saving his one and only love from the grips of evil, you must read this book.

Once again, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. I am leaving for Quebec tomorrow, and most likely won't be online until a week from now. Be blessed by the hope of our loving Saviour!



Hope...and what Christmas really means...

This Christmas is a little bit different for me.

#1 I'm married. Naturally, my first Christmas as a married woman will look just a tad different than the last.

#2 I'm not celebrating Christmas in Ontario. For the first time ever. This year, the Winder clan (including said husband and my new brother in law) will be spending five days in Quebec from Dec. 23-27, celebrating this wonderful season in a massive chalet with 9 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, etc (you get the picture). Since it was my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary this year, they decided we should celebrate in style, and have a smashing time chilling with the fam. I'm looking forward to it :)

#3 Jake and I had our own little celebration on Saturday. We decided to do it up family style and had Christmas morning this past Saturday by opening our gifts, reading Luke 2, and making some fantastic cinnamon buns; then we roasted our first turkey that evening, after watching The Dawn Treader at the movies. It was so nice, and we're happy we could celebrate this holiday, just the two of us, before joining the rest of the fam later on this week.

Here are some pics of the past week-end:

Jake and I were also talking about what we want to focus on at Christmas. There are so many cliche phrases one could use, "Jesus is the reason for the season", "He sees you when you're sleeping", (that last one was a joke)....

seriously now...

How does one recognize Jesus' birth as the catalyst for the salvation of the world? That He was born human yet divine? He was not conceived a human way; as was told to his mother, Mary, who had very legitimate doubts as to her pregnancy without "knowing" a man: "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

The Son of God. Who came to save the earth. Doesn't this fill you with hope? In a few short months we will be mourning his death, yet remembering it was that death which saved us... then rejoicing at His resurrection, reminded again of the new life we will one day receive in Christ.

No matter what happens this Christmas, let's continue to remember this hope...the hope of salvation for a dying world, and the hope of the new life in Christ.

Pass on the Good News to everyone you meet!

Merry Christmas!



Vists and Good Eats...

Although Jake worked 3 overnight shifts in a row this week-end, I took it surpisingly well, mostly due to some wonderful visits with some friends. On Friday, I was able to chat with Missy for almost an hour. We realized how great it was to chat on the phone, which is something we rarely do, if ever. Thanks for the lovely convo!

Last night Amy came over, and we talked for a bit and then watched Raising Helen. I thought about my sister Melissa, because we LOVE that movie. If you haven't watched it, you definitely should. It's the keeper of a century! It was nice to visit with Amy and catch up for a bit.

Then, tonight Christina kept me company and we indulged in home-made cappuccinos, topped with whipped cream! It was simply delightful, and I'm grateful for being able to chill out in my home. It was a wonderful evening filled with laughter, especially over the paper that was stuck to my backside! Oh dear...

I am so glad to be surrounded with many friends, especially ones who care so much. I do have a lot of visits to catch up on, so if you're reading this and wondering when it's going to be your turn, just comment and we'll plan a date :)

Jake and I have been finding it to be very beneficial to plan out our meals a week in advance. Now when he asks, "What's for dinner?" I remind him of what we had planned instead of saying, "Hmmm...I don't know. Did you have anything in mind?" We even cracked open one of our recipe books and plan on making pineapple chicken for dinner on Thursday night. Last night was Korean night, and I made a curry with carrots, potatoes, and chicken. The curry powder came in a pre-mixed and measured package (I bought it at the Korean store with Hee-Sook back in the summer). The meal brought back so many memories of the summer time, since that was one of the dishes the students made for us. In fact, it was my favourite one, so I was quite ecstatic that it turned out the same way! Since today was fellowship lunch at our church, we decided to bring a main course dish (for the first time). I mixed together the rice and curry and it went over quite well. I was worried that people might not like it.

I forgot to mention that we ate our Korean meal at our new table last night! We were so thrilled, and happy at the thought of being able to have people over for dinner now!

I'm looking forward to this week, since I have a job AND Jake and I are going to visit our friends in Sudbury this week-end! The week-end can't come soon enough :)



The day my fingers bled...

I worked at the school for six hours. Not a full day, but rewarding nonetheless. I was able to fold letters and stuff 100 envelopes in a half an hour. Not bad, considering all the paper cuts my fingers were putting up with. Even now they're a little raw around the edges of the cuticles. I know I was being taught perseverance, and this lesson does not stop today. I have a Christmas mail-out to do next week, and there will be around 2 000 envelopes to stuff and send out. Yet I am not complaining. I have a job, and am so thankful for that.

Jake and I didn't get to spend much time together tonight, but sometimes it's quality over quantity, right? He made us dinner, and we enjoyed one another's company while we munched down on eggs, toast, cheese, and fried corn beef. Ya, it was tasty. Then, before either of us wanted, he had to leave for another 12-hour shift at the factory. I admire his determination, and his love for me.

I am going to try to do some editing for a friend's paper tonight, so I should head off to do that.

Hope everyone has a great night!


On Being Married...

I'm sitting here in the semi-darkness, knowing I should be in bed, but prolonging the inevitable. Tonight my husband is not with me, but is working a 12-hour shift. I have been keeping busy, but am still quite lonely. I have joined the ranks of countless other women (including my recently married sister) who stay awake into the wee hours of the night missing their husbands.

That being said, I love being married. Honestly, I don't have the words yet to describe how vast the difference is from when I was a single woman. I love how easy it has been for Jake and I to transition; that is not to say it hasn't been hard in some ways, either. We have had our ups and downs, and it's been a lot harder than we ever expected.

But there is just something so right about being a wife. Jake's wife. And I would not trade that for anything!

We had a wonderful wedding. I'm so glad that many of you could join us in celebration. I loved the day; the ceremony was just so worshipful, and the dance and dessert reception was so fun. It was the perfect wedding, and we had such a great time!
I can never stress enough to any couple planning a honeymoon: take a day or two off before you fly out. We left the Tuesday after we were married, and it was the best thing we could have done. Even once we got to the Dominican, all we did for three days was eat and nap, until we finally caught up on all our sleep. We stayed for a week there, and relaxed and enjoyed one another's company. There was a crazy hurricane in Haiti, so we got quite a few rainy days; they did not diminish the sunshine in our hearts. Some people commented and made some jokes on how fair we were for being down south; if you want the truth, we only got sun for three days, and sometimes, you just gotta stay inside. 'Nuff said.

Now we're slowly getting settled, putting some beautiful gifts away, hanging paintings and putting up towel racks, and just getting into the groove of life. However, we don't want to settle. We're looking to serve where God wants us, and so we're hoping to get in touch with some mission organizations soon to figure out our options. Please pray for us as we endeavour to do this.

Hopefully my next blog will not take over a month to write.




Maturing in Christ...

I went to my parents' house yesterday, and mom had set aside all my journals for me to take back with me. I started writing frequently when I was 11 years old, and I have, on average, one per year since the time I was 12 years old. I was reading some of them last night, and I am astounded at how much I have changed, and how obvious this change is. God is doing a work in me, and it's hard, but I'm learning more about his love for me everyday.

God wants me.



Not what I do, where I work, and nothing I can do will earn his love. He loves me.



That, my friends, is profound.



Sweet dreams and good eats...

I woke up this morning feeling super rested, and not at all guilty for staying in bed until almost 11AM (even though I went to bed at a decent hour). I had a pretty restless night, dream-wise. I vaguely remember fleeting dreams of people strangling others*, flying contraptions, and other random things. I think that God let me sleep a couple more hours because of that nonsense. It's amazing how weird and strange, yet at times how beautiful our dreams can be.

I've decided to try (as much as I am able) to not turn on my laptop until I have read my Bible. I get so caught up in everything, so distracted by the web it's ridiculous. It seemed to work today :) I paid my last rent to my landlord yesterday. It seems strange to think that I will only be living here for another 29 days. I have a lot to do in that time!

Jake came over tonight, and we chatted and then I made him a delicious meal. It was leftover speghettini made into a stir fry with onions, red pepper, brocolli, honey, soya sauce, and then chicken fingers. I was even impressed with my skill, since it only took me 20 min to make!

I must head to bed now, I have quite a few books calling and I can't quite figure out which one I would like to read first....


*I'm sorry if this comment disturbs you. Since we cannot control our dreams, I take no responsibility for what I dreamt about.


The Outcry...

I made this comment on my Facebook wall one day:

"It's interesting how stress heightens the mundane, making the commonplace suddenly seem of great import."

How true it is. In this interesting time of my life, I find myself doing things I have never done before, one of which includes stress shopping. So please don't judge me if you find that I seem to be buying more than I should. Jake often tries to reason with me, as I am my own worst critic. It's true, the things I buy are all useful and good, but not necessarily right now. They are things I could be doing without.

I find myself crying at random and inopportune times, grateful that these have mostly happened while Jake has been with me; he has been so wonderful, wrapping me up in his arms, just letting me cry, telling me to let it all out and that it will be ok. And if it's not ok, then I can take that up with him later.

I have been lonely, especially while Jake is at work. Katie was able to sleep over Saturday night, and I drank in her company like a desert cactus drinks in water. You may say, "Well, why don't you just go out and find people to hang out with?" I could do this. But I am someone who needs to be found, who needs to know that people WANT to hang out with me.

I didn't even pray to ask God to help me through this loneliness(btw, I don't feel too lonely, because I know He's always there), but once again, He has answered the outcry of my heart. Within a day I have had 2 friends (you both have blogs, you know who you are :), my friend/employer, AND a lady from my church asking me when a good time to hang out would be. I mean, how much better can God get? He is amazing, and He truly does know our needs! I feel so blessed, and filled with hope.

May God continue to answer your unbreathed prayers, and may He bless you with a wonderful day!



Life away from blogging...


It swirls all around me, catching the pretty prisms of sunshine as it goes along.

It swoops downward, snatching up the whole of my essence in it's wake.....

I cannot keep up with it's unpredictability, nor its expectations.

mas, a vida rola.

When I am away from blogging, from keeping everyone updated on all my activities, thoughts, and events, I don't notice how much I have changed, how much I have experienced, and learned; grown and matured. Yet when I return to the comfort of that empty space in which to blog, I find that it hasn't changed. The white nothingness stares back at me once again, welcoming me, begging me to fill it with scribbles and scrawls, rants and monologues. Then I feel like a wise sage, bringing to the forefront of my mind hours and days of thoughts, bursting to share what God has taught, and what I am learning.

This is my blog, where God speaks, and I fill the page. May His name be praised, and every jot and tittle that one reads be for His glory alone.



Needing to refocus...

Let's just say that I have had four days of not spending intentional time with God, and today I needed it. 1 John is a good kick-in-the-pants book to get your spiritual motor running again. I was reminded of why I need to walk in righteousness, in the light; Jesus Christ IS the son of God, and whoever says otherwise is antichrist; Jesus died for my sins: this means I must confess my sins (admit that I failed, not try to cover up my mistakes) and He will forgive me and cleanse me (in other words, STOP WALLOWING in self-pity and self-condemnation!); I must love my brothers (yes, literal brothers, but also "mankind").

So, you can see, I was given a lot of reminders today, all of which were very good for my spiritual renewal. I am continually needing to trust that God has everything in control, even when I am diasappointed and feel discouraged. Seems to be the lesson of the year.



Raclette and Honest to Goodness Fellowship...

Jake and I went to Charlie and Cindy's house tonight. They are very good friends of ours, and Charlie is one of the professors at my college. The entree for the evening was French "Barbecue". There were bowls filled with frozen peas, hash browns, grated cheese, and raw meat. The bbq/grill was in the middle of the table, and you put the meat on top so it can grill, and fill little trays with the vegetables to put underneath the broiler, which is located directly under the grill. Then you wait. We had wonderful conversations about missions, and marriage, and generally everything you can think of. This included food, which was good because once the vegetables and meat were finished, you melted a little bit of cheese on top to create the most fantastic meal of your life. So simple, yet scrumptious. Dessert, however, was even better, if that is possible. Cindy had made up some muffin batter ahead of time, and we poured a small layer of that in our trays, put cut up fruit into another and then placed them underneath the broiler. Well, let me tell you, once someone suggested we add ice cream to that, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Wow. Seriously, that was one of the best meals of my life, or at least the most impressive.

I am so grateful for my college, and all of the amazing people that I have met, especially those who have been most influential in my life. Praise God for the Christian community. I feel so blessed to live in this wonderful sphere of existence.



so....i have a job...i think...

Today was a strange day. I had some weird dreams that kinda set my morning off to a disgruntling start. Then I didn't really want to work, but, sucking it up, I worked for two hours. I met with someone in the recruitment department, and I think I have a job with them! I am seriously hoping that they will consider me to be staff, especially if they can give me more hours. I am only taking two courses, so I'm really not a student worker anymore. I just want to be accepted as a staff member, and be able to attend staff things. It's hard to find my place, now that I am not really involved in student life anymore.

I am really grateful to God for this opportunity. He totally knows what we need, especially when to give me encouraging news.

Thank you to all who have been praying. It has been a strange time of life, and I feel very stretched. God is doing some wonderful things to me right now, and I would not change it for a moment.



Good Eats...

Well, what a full week-end! I don't entirely feel like writing tonight; I have a book that is waiting to be read. I am also very tired. However, I had a wonderful day, that culminated the end of a great week-end.

I traveled with Susan and Mr. Marv to Lindsay, so that they could have a meeting there. There was a lovely conversation that ensued on the way home, and I feel very blessed for the people that God has put into my life.

Tonight, however, was a very fun night of dessert at a fine dining restaurant with two wonderful ladies. I was saying to Laurie and Christina that we have never hung out together before, but it has always been one or the other. It was a lovely evening, delicious chocolate truffle cake, and specialty coffees (which I, thankfully, did not try!). Such a blessing to spend time with friends, and relax in a safe environment. I am grateful for relationships that have developed over the years of being in college.

Tomorrow is registration day. I am only taking 1.5 classes this semester: Islam, and my internship course. It's going to be strange barely going to the college for classes, but I'm getting ready to move on. I am looking forward to graduating this coming year, finally.

Time for bed...



Running Between the Rain Drops...

I cannot take credit for today's post title. I was heading downstairs to lunch, when Carolyn called out, "You'll have to run between the raindrops!" Needless to say, I haven't left the building, but it was an interesting enough concept to blog about.

I briefly pondered how one might attempt to perform this nearly impossible feat. I was picturing myself dodging this way and that, at lightning speed, making it to my destination without a single drop touching my head.

Unless I am Superman, there is no way I could make this happen.

Isn't this kind of a picture of how we try to make it through life? We sometimes try to run between the raindrops of what appear to be mere nuisances, annoyances, or struggles. We don't want to feel the water touching our skin, as if it will burn through us like acid.

How often do we take time to think of those things as blessings from God? What if the raindrops are from him, causing us to stretch, to grow, to learn, and to reshape us to have more Christlike character? When we allow ourselves to get wet from our struggles, we cry. We have pain. We cry out in anguish and frustration, asking God why we're soaking, chilled to the bone.

And yet, we learn.

We mature.

And our dependency upon our Great God and Saviour blossoms, and He shall renew our strength.

Isaiah 40



David Guetta...

I can't believe I'm writing a blog about a music artist. However, this guy is so talented, and has been working with major artists in the industry lately, creating INCREDIBLE dance hits. Wow, I'm totally impressed with the songs. Of course I don't agree with all the lyrics. My alibi is that I am merely judging from a dancer's perspective. As a Christian, I do not necessarily endorse every bit of music that he creates or produces. Many of his songs are simply amazing beats to dance to, like this one, which happens to be the first one I heard.

Thanks to whoever has been praying for me lately, my allergies have been MUCH better today. My eyes have been watering far less, and aside for a short break from the computer, I am doing well.

It's time for bed, though.....although I do feel like dancing for a little bit longer...


The Eyes of Night...

I should be in bed, but there's so much on my mind, so many things to do. I have been thinking about all I have to do, but forget about it as soon as I remember. I finally decided to write them down as they fly into my head, and came out with a list as long as my arm. However, I've slowly been plugging away at things tonight. Jake and I got our passport photos taken, and he looks as handsome as ever. I was debating about whether to go to Wal-Mart or not, but in the end picked Blacks; I'm glad we did, because we received a free passport case with our photos! God is good in providing the little things.

I am also excited tonight because we got our beautiful wedding invites from the printer AKA Jake's brother Josh. My lovely friend Katie designed the border beautifully, and Josh put it all together, as well as drawing up the maps. He knows some people since he is in graphic design, and ended up giving us the invitations for free! What another blessing, and I am totally indebted to all the people who have been by our side throughout this whole engagement. I have been busy getting ones ready for people at the school, and thinking with sadness about all the people that we can't invite to the reception. There is only so much one can do, and sometimes you can't have everyone you want there.

My allergies have been bothering me so much in the past few days, and my eyes have been watering and blood shot. Tonight is the first time in a while that I actually feel ok, but my eyes are still burning. I am so excited for the week-end. I am envisioning Jake and I spending the day addressing and stuffing invitations, and just resting and relaxing from this long week. He started a new job working overnights, and today his body refused to let him sleep. He was so exhausted, so please keep him in your prayers.

I still have not found a full time job, but I have been working full time in the office for Susan. I am so grateful for this job, and although I am tired, I will keep persevering. Please pray that I will find a job soon, as I am getting somewhat discouraged. However, I know that the Lord guides my path, and He will provide for me as He has done in the past. Blessed be His Name!



The Diamonds of Time...

I watched an Old Spice commercial where the actor was trying to appeal to women, so they would make their partners buy Old Spice. At one point, he was making a case for how good Old Spice made him look by letting dozens and dozens of diamonds flow through his hand. In other words, women whose partners use Old Spice could have all those diamonds.

Without going into Old Spice and its effectiveness for producing a spate of diamonds, I was once again reminded of how time slips through our fingers, just like those diamonds. In the moment it is shiny, glittering, stunning, there is only one of its kind.

As Dad and I spent most of the day together on Saturday, we revisited some of the time that has passed, and shared some memories, while creating new memories at the same time. We went hiking for about two hours, wading through small, leafy jungles, and exploring cool, moss-covered rocky caverns, enjoying some of the greatest pieces of God's creative masterpieces. We drove and drove, stopping only for an iced coffee at Tim Hortons, laughing at random and curious people, and then relaxing for another couple hours at the bustling beach. We talked about a variety of things, and caught up on some much needed father-daughter time; of this, one does not quickly forget. I am grateful for those diamond moments, those sparkling, precious, rare pieces of articulated beauty. Thank you, Dad, for suggesting this wonderful week-end, complete with time spent with other family as well.

Thank you, my Jesus, for this start of a new journey...




This week-end I'm going camping with Dad. I'm not really sure what to expect. We don't really hang out that much, nor are we from a "camping family". Nonetheless, I am excited. I'm bringing my guitar, and we're going to sing, and we'll probably read our Bibles together. I just hope I don't get bitten by mosquitos. I don't even know where we're going, but at least it's nearing fall so there won't be too many bugs. I have turned into a city girl, and I don't mind. I just love people, and having all the amenities nearby.

For the past couple days I have been doing something that I hope I can keep up as a habit. I wake up, make myself a pot of green tea, a bowl of oatmeal, and sit at the kitchen table to read my Bible. It has been very refreshing, and I even wrote a corresponding journal this morning. I know the importance of keeping a spiritual journal, so this is something I want to keep on doing. I just need to give myself more time to do it, and if only I could fit a run in there somehow...


Music and Thoughts Therein...

I don't quite understand the connection between music and emotion, or even writing, for that matter. However, I started listening to Canvas by Imogen Heap, and within moments I was inspired to write. Sometimes when I listen to music, certain chord progressions and harmonies cause me to feel such depth of emotion from somewhere inside, somewhere I didn't even know existed. It's amazing how God designed us so perfectly and intricately. (Psalm 139:13-16) It's like listening to a French horn. I feel this pain of sweet emotion well up within me, mixed with a warmth and happiness at the sound of such a mellow instrument. How I love what music does to me.

Many people laugh at me, because the moment I hear music playing, I start to dance. I feel like I should be an interpretive dancer. It's like my body doesn't want me to stay still. The music is the paintbrush, and my movements are the canvas, creating a masterpiece of dance for all to see, and for the glory of God. It seems there are limitless ways to express the emotions we feel, and thankfully dance is one of those blessed forms. I don't dance enough anymore...



We Start to Dance...

Imagine a rain shower.

The droplets faintly soak into your skin, and the air is warm, damp.

You start to dance, overpowered with an incredible urge to thank God for this beautiful weather. Nothing will stop you, swaying this way and that, jumping into every puddle. Your face lifts towards the tears of heaven, desiring to feel His strong hands touching your moistened skin.

In time, your clothes become heavy, encumbered with the water. It becomes hard to walk, hard to stay warm, hard to dance.

Just when you think you cannot take one step farther, you reach home.

When the rain showers of life try to take our joy, remember that we need only take one step to come home to the open arms of our Father, receiving His warmth and love, and relishing the real JOY that only comes from Him.

Thankfully, He never gives us more than we can handle.

I want to delight in Him more.



Looking Ahead...

I have often found it difficult to live with a group of girls. I think it lost its appeal after my first year in college (and not because my roommates were awful...first year was the best!). I just find living with other girls tedious. There is so much passive aggressiveness that goes with it; we never find the strength to be honest with each other, so we talk about each other behind our backs. What a great way to try to create community(mega sarcasm implied). It's a terrible habit we've gotten ourselves into.

I loved sharing a room with my sister. We had a system, and we loved listening to the same music. We stayed up talking into the wee hours of the morning, and bonded over many nights of tears and laughter. Sure, we had our fights, but she was the best roommate I could have had. It just hit me: we will never be roommates again. Everything has changed; she is married, and now I'm getting married in a short 71 days.

Once October 30th comes around, I will be roommates with Jake. For the rest of my life. Sometimes it makes my head spin a little bit, and my heart soar up in the clouds somewhere. I will be with my love, living in each other's space, and being able to spend quality time without having inhibitions. Jake and I have often talked about the things that we're looking forward to once we become roommates, and there are lots of them! But we will be more than roommates. We will be marriage partners. Our souls and hearts and bodies will be connected in a sacred union before God. This means I need to put aside that passive aggressiveness I'm used to using on girls. I will need to be open and honest about my difficulties, about my struggles, and I won't be able to run away and hide when I need a moment to myself or when I don't feel like talking anymore. We'll be doing real life. Together. Living out our beliefs in a Christian marriage that has been blessed before the sight of God.

In some ways, I find this to be a daunting task. I am afraid of what kinds of things Jake will find in me once we start interacting with each other on that deeper level. I am afraid of what insecurities will come out, or what I will start to say or do. On the other hand, I am definitely looking forward to it. I am excited to see how God will grow our relationship, and how much more I will begin to mature.

When I think about being married to Jake, and living in the same place with him every day, I am reminded of God's grace and his endless mercy. I never imagined what it would be like to be patiently waiting for my wedding day to arrive. It's been a crazy journey, my friends. I have grown a lot, and changed, and my mind is slowly starting to think like a wife.

I don't think one ever becomes fully prepared to be a spouse on the day of their wedding, but I'm ready for it. I desire to learn how to become more humble and willing to take responsibility for my actions. I desire to learn how to love Jake as my husband and to respect him and submit to his leadership. I desire to grow in faith and maturity with my God, who will always be a direct source of comfort and help in times of need, and who is the Creator and Maker of all things, including my relationship with Jake.

May God continue to lead Jake and I on this path that leads us to a sacred covenant and union with Him.



Beauty in the Breakdown....

I watched a movie tonight, and the when the end credits started to roll, this song came on by Frou Frou, called "Let Go":

drink up, baby down
mmm, are you in or are you out
leave your things behind
'cause it's all going off without you
excuse me, too busy you're writing your tragedy
these mishaps
you bubble wrap
when you've no idea what you're like

so let go, jump in
oh well, whatcha waiting for
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown
so let go, just get in
oh, it's so amazing here
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown

it gains the more it gives
and then it rises with the fall
so hand me that remote
can't you see that all that stuff's a sideshow

such boundless pleasure
we've no time for later now
you can't await your own arrival
you've 20 seconds to comply

so let go, jump in
oh well, whatcha waiting for
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown
so let go, just get in
oh, it's so amazing here
it's alright
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown



Love Can Give a Little More...

Here I am, sitting at my desk trying to catch my breath. I just went for a run, if only to clear my head. It was a little bit drizzly out, but it was refreshing. I often wish that God would speak more clearly to me. I want to hear what His voice sounds like. I want Him to tell me the best choices to make in life. I want to feel Him wrap His arms around me and whisper words of comfort into my ear. I want lots of things, and most of them I can only write to myself in my journal.



More than just a number...

Tonight is the second night in a row I've used the lyrics from the same song for my title. The song is "Find your Lovin'" by Drake.

I'm more than just an option
Hey, Hey, Hey
Refuse to be forgotten
Hey, Hey, Hey
I took a chance with my heart
Hey, Hey, Hey
And I feel it taking over

I better find your love and
I better find your heart
I better find your love and
I better find your heart
I better find your love and
I better find your heart
I bet if I give all my love
Then nothings gonna tear us apart

I’m more than just a number
Hey, Hey, Hey
I doubt you’ll find another
Hey, Hey, Hey
So every single summer
Hey, Hey, Hey
I be the one that you remember

It’s more than just a mission
Hey, Hey, Hey
You hear but you don’t listen
Hey, Hey, Hey
You better pay attention
Hey, Hey, Hey
And get what you been missing

Too many times I’ve been wrong
I guess being right takes too long
I’m done waiting, theres nothing left to do
But give all I have to you and
I better find your love and
I better find your heart
I better find your love and
I bet if I give all my love,
Then nothings gonna tear us apart
I bet if I give all my love,
Then nothings gonna tear us apart

I know the lyrics are kind of iffy, but I actually really like this song. I enjoy the tune, and was surprised that it was clean, especially for this particular artist.

I will write more later....I'm tired and need sleep.



Baking Parties Galore...

I planned today's afternoon activity: baking party! I picked out four recipes, and divided the students into four groups of three, so they each got to bake something. There was a peanut butter chocolate square, a cherry cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, and a chocolate cinnamon cake. Yum! All the students did really well reading the directions in English, and I just walked back and forth between the groups helping as needed. Then we had a huge feast around 5pm, which definitely spoiled everyone's dinner, but it was so worth it. Koreans are not overly used to sweet things. Arleen and I had no problem, but some of them were getting tummy aches from the sugar. We had so much fun, and I'm glad we could do something different! It was a neat experience getting some of the ingredients at Zehrs beforehand, and you can tell that they are getting over some of their initial shyness with asking strangers for help.

Tonight was my roommate's birthday party, and she asked us to give whatever money we would have spent on a dinner to WWF. It was a great time, full of meeting new people, and everyone got along fabulously.

I am extremely tired, and have another full day tomorrow, so I am signing off now.

Have a wonderful evening!



I Better Find Your Lovin...*

"Bottom line is infidelity is a marriage-preservation device for many pepole. They love and cherish their partner, their children, but they need a change of intimacy. They need something different. Everybody needs a hall pass, time to live out some kind of fantasy. "
~Flare Magazine, Aug. 2010 ed., excerpt from "Cheat, Pray, Love?" by Olivia Stren

I shook my head, and my heart broke into a thousand pieces when I read this article. I learned about the ease and alacrity with which people are able to commit infidelity these days. There is a website called Ashley Madison that was formed in 2002, which is where married people can go to meet up with other married people who want to cheat on their spouses. I mean, really, how sick and disturbed is that?!

The article stated that most women who cheat are those who have been married for just over 3 years. Another woman, who they named "Laura", mentioned that soon after she married her husband, he took a new job, and changed drastically, and didn't put her needs first anymore. She went on Ashley Madison to find someone who could meet those emotional needs. The article said that this is the case for most women, while men search for women who can meet their physical needs.

I cannot imagine wanting to cheat on Jake. EVER. Fidelity is one of my passions in life, something that I feel strongly about and cheer most for when it comes to marriage. I was chatting with some friends about this before, about how spouses can seem to change after you marry them. Generally, it should be gradual, because everyone changes as they move through life, and they should also be changing together. If you are constantly on the same communication level, and sharing your hopes, dreams, and goals, then you should be moving on a path together. This is even more so for a Christian couple. With Christ, we are constantly moving on a trajectory of purification and towards a pursuit of holiness, and with goals to serve Him together.

It is scary to think how accepting this culture is of adultery. The article mentioned that there are about 6 million users from around the world, mostly Canada, United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The excerpt above states that most people are looking for variety, as they get bored easily within their own committed relationships. So, why not do something to spice it up? There are so many ways and ideas people have that can help couples with boredom and disinterest. I realize I am speaking with some naivete, but I believe that people sometimes don't try hard enough.

Jake and I, while discussing our wedding band options, decided that we wanted to have something engraved on the inside. We talked about many options, most of them including grace, but one that stood out to both of us was this: "Faithful by His grace". We want to remind ourselves every time we look at our rings, the symbol of eternity (no beginning, and no end) and the timelessness of love, that we will be faithful to each other only by the grace of God. No one knows the future, and it is easy to fall for the charms and deception of the world. But when we keep our eyes focused on God, and keep Him at the center of our relationship, then He will keep us faithful to one another, not only physically, but also emotionally and in every other aspect of our marriage. My love for Jake alone will not be enough- it is God who will be the glue and the cohesiveness we will need to make our marriage last and be successful, for His glory alone. Soli Deo Gloria.

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:1-13, New King James Version)


*I realize that many of you who will read this have had first or second-hand experience with adultery, and, consequently divorce. I want to apologize if I have offended or hurt you in any way by the frankness and forcefulness of my speech. I am merely speaking my thoughts and opinions about this painful topic.


A couple days later...

I'm sitting here at my desk with a sunburned face and iceblock feet. Go figure, Canada. What a contradiction; it's humid outside, and AC in the house. And yet, I am grateful.

I had a great day, we took the group swimming at a community pool nearby. They had a great afternoon, and we cheered one another on as there was a diving board overlooking a completely separate pool than the swimming pool. We watched people do flips and amazing feats, and laughed as some, including those from our own group, barely made it off the end alive, and contorted their bodies into little balls that painfully slapped as they made contact with the water below. We went to Tim's and DQ afterwards, and I am continually amazed at the sharing spirit I see among the Koreans. They buy something, but pass it around and hardly get a bite to themselves. I love it when people share with me, and will always accept if someone offers, but I have a difficult time sharing what I have. It is a good lesson for me.

I was quite frustrated in grammar class this morning, mostly because I couldn't explain a concept to Sun a. She wanted so badly to understand, and the expectation upon her face killed me, as I was not prepared to give her the answer she needed. I am more sure than ever that if I EVER teach ESL again, I will get my TESOL certificate. I must be ready to tell these students what they need to know.

Jake and I shared a lovely dinner of PC chicken and Breyer's ice cream on the back porch this evening, and it was nice to have some down time. I needed to just be with him and unwind. I am so grateful to God for him, and the blessing that he is in my life. I can't believe it, in 107 days we will be married, Lord Willing. What a wonderful thought!

Devotions with the students was very compelling tonight, and once again, it was relevant to my life. I love how God does that, how he speaks to me exactly how I need to hear it.



Tuckered out..

I am not in the mood to lesson plan tonight. I have been sitting at my computer for about an hour already, just checking emails and catching up on Facebook. *sigh* I have to go back to the school for 9pm so I can lead devotion time. I feel like I don't have enough time in the day. I have good intentions to do planning, and then I don't do it. Maybe I'll go and get some dinner prepared and then I might feel like planning. Or I might need mood music....Arabic seems to do the trick.

Today I was able to drive some of the students to the mall, and they were able to check out Winners. I also drove Arleen back to her house; we got lost, but normally it takes 15 min., whereas on the bus it takes her 2 hours. I opted for being lost for a few minutes to her 2 hour bus ride. Not cool.

It was a good day, just pray that devotional time will be useful and eye-opening tonight, and that God would touch their hearts.



The Food Cycle...

I had a wonderful visit with Missy tonight. We went to William's, and I ate a "magic bar"...go there to find out! AMAZING! We had a good convo, and got to catch up on life. I wish I was better at keeping in touch with all my friends, and so for all of you who read this, thanks so much for scraping me out of my hole so I can spend some time with you! I appreciate it so much! Love you, Miss...

I just want to comment quickly that classes and afternoon activity went well today. We were able to let the students into the gym so that they could get some much needed exercise. They played basketball (which I detest with all of my heart), and then I got to lead a rollicking game of dodgeball. We had much fun, and I'm glad they could do something different for a change.

I have noticed a trend in my food cycles. I get into two - four week cycles of the same food over and over. Last summer, I always made curried rice, fried eggs, avocado, and tomatoes, for like a month straight after I got home from work. April to May of this year I made stir fry with rice for dinner every day, then it was salad with raspberry vinagrette, and now it's pita with hummus and pickles, with a side of cheese. I don't know why I get into patterns with my food, but I do it with music too, listen to the same song over and over and over again for days, weeks, until I find another song that I can't get enough of. I wonder if it's a bit of my type A personality coming out, and if it's the structure and routine of it all that I enjoy. Hmmm...I'm almost finished the pitas and hummus, wonder what's next?



Wonderful Week-end...

Sometimes I wish the week-end would last forever. I had such a busy and crazy week, that it was so nice that Jake and I could go to a conservation area and do some hiking, and resting, and reading together. I love how being in nature makes me feel closer to God, especially when you see all the rock faces and different kinds of vegetation. It was so peaceful, except for the insane amount of people that were there. At one point, there was a creeper standing on a rock ledge above from us; we both felt incredibly awkward. Jake took me out for dinner at this quaint little restaurant, and they had the most amazing beef au jus. Yum!

This morning I was able to take all 11 of the Korean students to my church! Since I have my friend's car, Jake, his brother, and I were able to drive them all. They really loved it, met the pastor, and talked with many people. I felt so proud and protective of them, as if they were my children. It was a wonderful, loving, peaceful experience for them, and I hope that we can do it again next week! I am just praying that they will have been able to take something away from the sermon this morning.

I am looking forward to a new week, and am now just doing a little lesson planning before going to bed (Hopefully before 12:30am).



Water Fountains...

I am realizing that I don't always enjoy air conditioning, and I feel infinitely spoiled for having it in my house. It actually bothers me quite a lot, as it is almost too cold. It's hard to do anything else about it, since I live with 3 other girls.

I enjoyed this afternoon's activity with the students. Arleen and I took them to downtown, and they were mesmerized by the old buildings and all the stores. They especially liked one of the Antique Stores, and it wasn't enough time for them. We took them to the library and instructed them to practice their English by asking a librarian for help. Most of them did it on their own. I was quite impressed! We walked around, and ended the afternoon at a water fountain, which looked much too enticing for its own good. Many of us took our shoes off and waded in it, and, of course, the guys decided to try to push each other in. One of them did have his shoes on, and they were a small casualty in the water fight. I love days like this, where we can all just be ourselves and have fun with one another. I feel like it allowed us to bond with each other.

I also learned that Koreans consider age from the moment a child grows its mothers womb, so when the baby is born, it is already 1 year old. So when I ask their age, they tell me their "international age". It is interesting.

They have a chapter test tomorrow, so I still have to prepare that for them.

I drove some friends to the airport tonight, and my heart was aching to go to Indonesia instead of them. The air was heavy with an exotic heat, and my mind kept reminding me that it's been two long years since I have gone anywhere overseas. *sigh* The good thing is, I have their car for the next two weeks :) Praying for their safe travels...

Praise the Lord for his blessings. Although I don't know how I'm going to pay for many of the things coming up in the future, I feel his presence and his love surrounding me.



In the Air...

We took our convo class outside today, since the students were going a little stir crazy indoors. We talked about Blindside, and it turns out that the movie would have been a better hit if we had stopped every 5-10 minutes to talk about it. I never thought of that, but it makes sense. I can imagine that it was so hard for them to keep up with the dialogue. I'm glad that they feel comfortable enough to speak the truth, and tell me what they need.

I felt like today went much better, and I was more prepared, especially with my grammar lesson. I was almost too tired to get out of bed, but being with my students certainly revved me up like nothing else. I am going to miss them so much (there I go thinking about that already, and it is only Day 3!). I cannot tell you how alive I feel teaching them. In this, I know that I am right where I am supposed to be. I especially enjoyed my personal meetings with each of my six students in the afternoon. I am glad I can meet with them like that, to get to know each of them and what their individual strengths and weaknesses are. I hope that I can be a great help to them. I also need to pray for each of them, as they tend to open up to me during those times. I feel so blessed in this role as teacher and confidant/spiritual mentor.

I learned that every Korean young man must spend two years in the military after he finishes high school, and he has no choice One of my students was telling me about it, and he feels like it was a waste of two years. I don't know how I feel about mandatory military service. It's an interesting concept.

I also went for a run afterwards; no idea where the energy came from, but even though it was hot, I was happy to sweat off the mental acrobatics I've been going through.

Lesson planning is on the schedule for tonight, so I'm out :)



For the Love of All that is Korean...

Well. What do you say when you have fallen in love with your students? I am left speechless by the intensity of their desire to learn, their propensity for question after question which humble my lack of knowledge, and their vulnerability and openness during sharing time. Although my lack of confidence in my teaching abilities is strikingly deep within me, I know that this is going to be a growing time for all of us. I enjoyed today immensely, and although I am officially exhausted, more mentally than physically, I would not want it any other way. For our afternoon activity we watched the movie "The Blindside", which I had not seen before this afternoon. It was compelling but too long(perhaps sitting on the floor had something to do with it). I am amazed by how there seems to be no discomfort in lack of personal space among the students. They fit five on the couch in the lounge, where we would be comfortable with three.

Lunch was, of course, a Korean culinary affair, with delicious fried rice, or pappambob (I know this is NOT the right word for it, but I tried my best), and kimchi. It was wonderful, and I hardly had to eat any before I felt full.

It was my lover's 25th birthday today, so after lunch (which he is invited to attend each day), we served pie in honour of his love of all that is pastry. I hope that he enjoyed it; it was hard to do anything for him today, since I worked 9-5:30, and he worked 3-11, but we did manage to have a delicious birthday breakfast of bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease, and leftover pão de queijo. Jake then prayed a sweet prayer of "commissioning" that stirred my soul, causing me to once again focus on my job for the day. Once again, Happy Birthday my love! Just think, next year around this time we'll be more than six months married, Lord Willing. What a sweet pensamento...

After class, all I wanted to do was crash, and after my nap, I spent the evening with Hee-Sook, making dinner together, a trip to Zehrs, and then a surprise venture at the new Shopper's Drug Mart, where a Russian beautician named Stella tested out some mascara on my lashes. Once I found out (after asking) that she was Russian, would you believe I just had to test out my Russian words on her? Complete with my one phrase of, "Excuse me, young man, where is the cinema?" *sigh* Can't I learn anything more in that beautiful, exotic language? I laughed with Hee-Sook afterwards, as she mentioned that me, being Ashleigh, would, of course, speak to her in her language. It's not nerdy. It's me. And that's just the way God designed me. Uniquely. And with a propensity for language that doesn't. stop. wanting. more. (AND yes, I just used propensity TWICE in this blog.)

That's about it for now. Please keep praying that I will be open to whatever it is that God wants to teach me, and that the students will learn from me.



Hazy Heats...

Like a melting bar of chocolate on my fingers, so was the languid heat of today on my skin. I was basically dripping of sweat all day(if only it were chocolate!); not always a good impression to make for students. We were all hot when they arrived at the school this afternoon. I was humbled when, during orientation and reading of the syllabus, my throat suddenly decided to go haywire. I got this funny tickle that would not go away, and I could barely get a sentence out before I needed to cough or get a drink of water. It was absolutely mortifying, in front of these students I am to teach for the next six weeks. But I was reminded, in that moment, that I am not it. I am not a superstar. I am merely a human being teaching other human beings to acquire another skill in life. Pastor Joshua reminded Arleen and I that this is a short term missions trip. We are doing ministry, but in our own back yard, and we have the opportunity to share Christ with these students. I am eager to share with Sun Ah, Dae Ju, Eun Wook, and Mi Jun, to teach them and watch them grow and flourish through Christ's work in their lives. I am merely the vessel with which He will use to reach them. Please pray for us as we start on this journey!



Memory Lane...

Jake and I drove to church today by ourselves for the first time. It was a wonderful and freeing feeling, and I was ecstatic! We also spent an hour and a half cooking Brasilian. We made arroz e feijao, rice and beans, carne, meat, and farofa. It tasted so good! We also found a bottle of Guarana at the Portuguese supermercado; this is one of the most popular sodas in Brasil, at least where I lived, and it was nice sharing Jake in a little piece of my memories.

We were also able to go for a walk in the warmth of a summer night, something we haven't really done since last summer, when we would go for a walk for a couple hours each night.

I am now doing some more preparation for my classes that start tomorrow. I hope that everything will go ok. I am quite nervous, but I'm sure the students are as well!



Listening to Portuguese Worship...

In the past year I have become more appreciative of praise and worship music, strange genre title that it is. If we are to glorify God in everything that we do, then every song we sing should be praise and worship (ones that are religious, that is). However, when I listen to Portuguese praise and worship, something hits me inside, and I feel so peace-filled and worshipful. I think, somehow, when I listen in another language, it forces me to listen more closely so I can translate and understand the words.

It has been a great week-end so far; my friend Ashley came up and visited me. We went to the market, and saw some really neat things there. Then she cut Jake's hair, and it looks so amazing, clearly much better than anything I have ever attempted! It makes sense, though, because she did go to hair-dressing school :) I'm glad she came, it was nice to catch up.

This afternoon, Jake and I went to do our gift registry at Sears, and it was our first time! Both of us felt overwhelmed, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other through the process. It is a daunting task, and with that laser gun, you feel as if you hold the world at your fingertips, and could scan everything in the store. Neither Jake nor I consider ourselves to be terribly materialistic, so it was almost too much. Not to say that we don't like our "things", but I think God has prepared us both for a life in missions, where we have to pack light and give some things up when we move on. That's how it should be.

I am now taking a break from working on my lessons for the English Training Camp. Both Arleen and I feel somewhat incapable, but with God we can do much. I just hope that we will be a good example to these Koreans we will be teaching(as some of them are not believers), and that we will also be able to equip them to feel more confident in speaking English. Right now I am working on the conversation discussions, which I hope to have completed tonight to send off to my supervisor so she can approve. It's going to be a long night, but I need to finish it! I will feel so much better that way!

I forgot to mention that I met with a friend of mine yesterday, who is a wonderful, godly, Christian lady, and a wife to one of my favourite professor's at college. It was such a blessing to me, being able to be real with her about life and faith, and learning how to prepare to be a godly wife. I hope we can meet many more times, as I am so eager to glean upon her experience and wisdom as a missionary, a wife, and a mother.

God is truly leading me along this path, and although it's hard at times, I know that deep within me I am wrestling with the right things, and that over time He is smoothing out the rough edges of my soul.



Happy Canada Day...

I feel blessed to live in this country. Even though we don't have our own set identity, we are a free country nonetheless. I am so proud to be Canadian, to get special privileges in some countries, to walk through airports proudly sporting our maple leaf flag, and to have free health care (because of healthy taxes, of course).

Thank you, LORD, for our beautiful country. May we always remember that we have freedom of speech and can preach your Word without inhibition.



Feel like dancin'...

Neither Jake nor I have owned a car before, so, needless to say, we both feel pretty happy for the blessing that we received today, after a couple of weeks of worry over insurance. It was nice to see Jake's cousin and his wife again today. It wasn't nearly long enough, but we were fairly bursting at the seams to take our car out for a drive. Jake got the honours of driving it back, and although the drive was longer than normal due to an accident on the highway, I had to remind myself to be patient and enjoy the drive with my man. It felt so surreal, and Jake looked so good, driving both confidently and cautiously. He is most definitely a handsome man, and even more so with his hand on the wheel. I felt so blessed to be staring at him while we listened to tunes, soakin' up the rays while crusin' in our new, sweet ride. The most amazing sense of freedom, coupled with responsibility, accompanied me along the way. I was once again reminded that whenever I can walk somewhere, I must, to avoid getting into car laziness syndrome. I have given myself a 20 min. radius walking distance, and anything further than that I will drive the car. Plus, Jake and I now need to communicate even more, due to the fact that we're sharing a vehicle: who gets it when, who gets to drive, who has to clean it.... (that will be my job haha). We're looking forward to cleaning it out this week-end and getting some mirrors, a little garbage pouch, a car freshener, maps, and some kleenex, not to mention Jake is SO ecstatic to put together a little emergency package, complete with granola bars, matches, water, blankets, etc. I have wanted to own a car for the longest time, and I would not trade this moment for anything. Not only do I own a car, but I co-own it with the man I am about to marry in, oh, 122 days :)

It was my last day of work, and because of the highway accident, I was late by an hour and a half. But thankfully Susan understood, and she was just as happy to see our car as we were. I also had a meeting with my co-teacher for the English Training Camp next week, and feel a little bit better about how it's going to go.

Something that ticks me off: When I buy dinner, thinking a.)I don't have any dinner at home b.)I won't make dinner when I get home, and then when I get home, someone makes dinner and offers me some. I often wish I could have predicted the future and could know when someone will offer me food so I don't have to buy any.

Random question of the day: Why do people laugh when they're nervous?



Lesson planning...

I'm sure by now most of you know that I am procrastinator extraordinaire. I have been perfecting this art since I don't know when. However, it is times like these when I wish I had already learned my lesson on getting things done on time. I have had many months to plan my 6 weeks of English teaching, and of course, I start everything tonight, while the first lesson is merely days away. However, I am fully confident that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", for better or for worse, I'm in this with Him.


Wow, I totally just got detained for the past ten minutes. That happens when you have too much on the brain.

Tomorrow, Jake and I get our car, and I absolutely can't wait. Praise the LORD for His goodness. Jake's cousin gave it to us, and other than doing the preliminary things to get a change of ownership, we really didn't have to pay much for it. I don't know how long it will last, since it is an older model, but I have no doubt that God's hand has been in this from the beginning. I feel so blessed, and am so happy that we didn't go with the first car we came across.
Tomorrow also marks the last day I work in the office for the summer. I have enjoyed working with Susan since January. She has been a great mentor, friend, and employer to me. I have not decided whether I will continue there after August, because I don't know what job I'll have (I'm hoping a full time job somewhere!)




Buying online...

I have had the urge to buy things online lately. Last night I wanted to buy this really amazing tank top from Aerie. I didn't want the $7 shipping fee when I can drive to the mall to get it. Tonight, it's all about the books, and I'm definitely going to buy some. It's just a matter of choice. There are SO many choices, and I can't make up my mind.

Today is sweltering hot, and the air conditioning in our house isn't working. It's not that I'm spoiled, I grew up without it and can manage fine. It's just that we don't have many screens on the windows, so we can't even open anything up to let some air flow through. Yet, a moment ago I heard some excited shouts from my roommates, possibly indicating it may be back on.

I discovered my love for Loreena Mckennitt's music, notably the song called "The Mummer's Dance". It is so beautiful, lilting, and haunting at the same time. It is like a mix of Celtic, Arabic, and Indian music all at once, and entices me with its tantalizing sound.



Insurance Woes..

I never knew what an ordeal it can be to find just the right insurance for a vehicle. In my naivete, I assumed that when you acquire a car, all you have to do is pay for it and drive away. I am growing up, and both Jake and I have been stretched while learning about some of the ins and outs of life. I am glad that they don't all come at once. The great thing is that God knows exactly how all of this is going to work out.

The "Timothy's" have been my book of choice in the Bible lately. For the past couple weeks, perhaps month, I have been devouring this amazing book that spends much of it's time focusing on godliness. I am amazed at how often, when reading God's Word, things jump out at you that you never noticed before. I have read the books probably 10 times each, and even today, I was still underlining new things. I can't even tell you what my favourite part is, because everything is just so good. As much as I can't wait to get a car, I realize that the best thing about taking the bus is the downtime. Often I will bring along a book to read while I commute back and forth from the gym. For the past couple of weeks I have been reading some Christian fiction books, but today I felt God nudging me to bring my Bible. I have never had a problem with reading my Bible in front of people, and although it may seem like a "supra" Christian thing to do, I have never felt it inhibits my study, nor does it make me feel like a boaster in front of others. (I really don't think some unbelievers even know what a Bible looks like, much less care). The commute on the bus is almost a half an hour, which gave me some great time to concentrate on God's Word and to mull it around as I desire to live out Paul's exhortations. One of the verses caught my eye: "Preach the Word! Be ready in and out of season, convince, rebuke, exhort in longsuffering and teaching." (2 Tim. 4:2) When I went for my G test on Thursday, I had an interesting religious conversation with my driving examiner. I didn't want to say too much so I wouldn't offend him, for fear he might fail me. However, when I thought of it afterwards, I shouldn't have worried, but should have been willing to preach the Word at no matter the cost. I also know that we should respect people's wishes, and not push the Gospel on them. His heart was definitely closed, and I didn't want to anger him by speaking about it further than he would have liked. I just want to be open to those times when I can preach the Gospel, without timidity and fear.

God is good, and I praise Him for His never-ending mercy upon us. Jake and I are celebrating 13 months together today. I feel so blessed!



Lead Me to the Cross

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemptions hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
You are
Te word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart

~Hillsong United

In Memory of Craig Simmons

I didn't know you that well, but I knew you enough to know what kind of a person you were. God gave you the gifts of honesty and boldness, and he gave you a passion and a fire for his glory and to see his kingdom come. You loved missions so much, and I know that when you and Kristin went to Korea to teach English, that you would use that time to minister to the people around you, and to share your love of Christ.

I remember your booming laugh, and how you made everyone around you eager to hear what you had to say next.
I remember you getting so revved up for MissionsFest, especially when you were the chair for Global missions.
I remember your strength, and how full of life and vitality you were.

So I don't understand why God took you instead of leaving you here on earth to boldly proclaim the Gospel. Not to mention the fact that you just got married in August. Not even a year with your beautiful love.

Ah, there are so many questions and sadness in this tragedy. The people in your world will not be the same without you. Your wife, your family, and your close friends miss you and grieve deeply. It is our natural, human outpouring of emotion. You made such an impact on people, and have left a deep wake in your path. It is going to take a long time to be fully recovered from your beautiful life. And yet, God gives us a beautiful hope, that you are now with him, singing praises to His glorious name. You wouldn't want us to grieve for you, either. I can picture it now, you'd probably see us crying and say, “Guys, I'm with JESUS!!! Get over it! I'm in a place that is better than you guys will ever know until you join me here. So quit your crying, and rejoice that I'm with my maker!”

Indeed, you are with Jesus, and whatever reason He had for taking you home so early in your young life, His name gets all the glory.

Praying and trusting, for we have hope in HIM,


Chocolate rocks and smelly fish harbours...

Today I travelled to St. Catharines for work. It was cold this morning, so I was not prepared for the muggy weather that greeted us once we got to the harbour front in between sessions. Susan and I walked along the board walk, and found a cute little candy shop with more than enough signs about warning children of rotting their teeth. It was a rickety old place that smelled of more must and mould than your grandmother's attic. Trust me, my allergies flared up the moment we walked inside. But to taste the chocolate pebble rocks was all worth it. Pure chocolate with that candy crust on the outside was absolute delight!

We continued our walk down the boardwalk, and were greeted with yachts of all size, not to mention the nasty fish smell that rose up to greet our nostrils as we passed by. I comfortably confided in Susan that I would not make a very good fisherman's wife, which, unregrettably, I will never be :D

Also, I almost managed to successfully start AND finish an entire Christian fiction book my sister recommended to me. Ok, I only made it to halfway. Still.... It's called "Let them Eat Cake", by Sandra Byrd, and her book is witty enough to captivate my attention and down to earth enough to allow me to empathize with the main character. She is, in fact, in the same stage of life as I am, and therefore I am able to relate exceptionally well. I am enjoying this book immensely, and look forward to the other two that are waiting patiently side by side in my stack of books that I have yet to read this summer. Thanks Mel for raving on about them...they are definitely worth every breath you expelled to encourage my inspection!



Movies and Emotion...

I am amazed at the profound effect some movies have on my mood. I watched one tonight which made me feel so depressed and angry, not to mention left me feeling empty inside. I am so grateful that God doesn't leave me feeling empty, and no matter what hard times come, he NEVER leaves me feeling depressed.

On another note, my sister is now Melissa Wright...how crazy is that! I am so happy for her and Nathanael, and wish them all the best in their marriage. It was a lovely week-end, and we had great fun celebrating their wedding day with them.




Eating Healthy...

I have been trying to change my eating patterns, and have actually learned to love salads. I always thought it was strange to see adults, especially women, order a salad and be perfectly content with that. Or, as Jake fondly teases, be satisfied with my "celery stick". It hasn't gotten that bad yet. However, I do feel better about myself when I eat vegetables and watch my portion sizes.

Last night I took a step class at the YMCA, and it was quite envigorating. It was a total body work-out, and an hour in length. I am not in as much pain today as I thought I would be, however when I move in different positions, I can feel the muscles twinging. It's a good kind of pain. The right kind, knowing that you did your body good.

It's my sister's wedding in 4 days. I simply can't believe how fast the time flew by. I am going up tomorrow to help out, and it's going to be a busy week-end, but exciting none-the-less.

God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good!!!!



Rain and Park Benches...

Today I was crying on a park bench with Jake, when all of a sudden, it started to rain. Jake said it was like a "pathetic fallacy", which is when nature is said to have emotion and feelings similar to humans. It was very apt, to say the least.

I got all emotional thinking about the people around me whom I love, and how I would feel if they passed away. I don't know why I get these feelings, or where they come from, especially because if they're believers, I will be able to see them in heaven. However, they creep up on me sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with remembering that our lives are fragile, and thanking God for each breath He gives us.

This world is not our home. I must keep reminding myself that, and not to get caught up in the materialism of our culture.




Lessons from a Cold Sore...

I have this huge thing on the side of my lip, and it is my first cold sore that did not involve a spate of anesthetics or a sickness caught in Brasil. Nope, this is a straight up, "legit" cold sore.

It's so humbling. I mean, people get them all the time, but "I ain't people". I don't get them. I feel like everyone can see it, and everyone is staring. This is going to take a lesson in a lot of patience, not to mention the $17.79 tube of 2g worth of Abreva. Here's hoping.

My body is not responding well to stress. I have a cold, which I believe is attached to my spring allergies, and this nasty cough which is taking a toll on breathing. *sigh*

But you all didn't come here to read about me moaning over the complexities of life and body. You came because you wanted to read about what I could possibly learn from a cold sore.

Well, I learned that there are five stages to a cold sore. The first is the early stage, where you feel a tingle where the cold sore will form, but there is no sign of it yet. Then there is the blister stage (where I am at), where blisters form. Then the ulcer stage, when the blisters pop, and leave gaping sores, and finally the scabbing stage, where a "golden-brown" crust appears. Lastly, the healing stage, where the cold sore starts to, well, heal.

This process kind of reminded me of what it's like to go through that painful time in life. At first you don't realize it's happening, but all of a sudden, it's there, blistering and painful. Just when you think things couldn't get worse, the blister pops, leaving the ulcer, and you feel open, exposed, vulnerable to anything. Slowly but surely, over time, the scabbing starts, and there are feelings of hope, but a rememberance of what you went through. Ultimately, God helps in the healing stage, when it gets better, and life isn't so harsh again. This IS a process. Life IS hard. But we have to wait it out. We need to be humble, because it can happen to anybody.

And, best of all, God is with us through the whole thing. Yes, he helps in the healing stage, but he is with us when the blister forms, and when it bursts. God loves us enough to carry us through. The problems in life are meant to make us stronger, to refine us, and to help us remember our dependence on our Maker.

I can get through this...7 more days...



My Theory...

I have decided to convince myself I'm allergic to chocolate and refined sugar. Perhaps that will help me to deal with my addiction to over-indulging in things of that nature.I feel so awful, especially after going to the bridemaid dress fitting today, and not feeling comfortable in the dress that fit me fine a month ago. However, a new resolve has been placed in my mind, and I have a plan to start up my exercise regime again this week. I know not much will change in two weeks, but at least I will feel better. hopefully.

We had a great shower for Mel yesterday though, and although there were only eight people, it was intimate and fun!




Perhaps one reason why I have felt out of sorts this week is because I haven't made that trek out to the gym. Not once. I chose instead to stay in the comfort of my bed, thinking it was sleep I needed. My body is paying for it. I just remember that I dreamt last night that someone told me I had gained weight. What is with this obssession with weight gain or loss lately? Seriously, it's starting to really get on my nerves.

It feels rather muggy today. I am excited for true summer weather this week-end, and since I will be at home, perhaps I can go to the beach! I forgot this was the May "2 4" week-end, the one the partyer's in highschool needed a week to recover from their drunken stupors. I, for one, will be celebrating my one year with Jake alone on Saturday since we both have other functions to attend. *sigh* C'est la vie!



The way to my heart...

I hate how easy it is for songs from the radio to get stuck in my head. It's always the ones with the most catchy and dance-able beats that have the most offensive lyrics. It seems like, no matter how much controversy Lady Gaga represents, I always end up enjoying the music of her songs. The lyrics, on the other hand, almost don't make up for it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Why is it that some people can eat food without understanding the full extent of the sensory experience, while others, like myself, feel like it is the way to my heart? I enjoy everything about food, and I'm so glad that God gave us the ability to create new ways of eating. There is never a dull moment with culinary art. And I, for one, am willing to be on the receiving end of whatever masterpiece anyone sets before me.



Saudades for the sun...

I miss the sun. I miss the warmth of it's rays heating my back, changing the hue of my skin, and making me feel deliciously at ease with life.

When it rains, like the cold rain of today, I feel such a disconnect from nature. I don't want to lie down in the green grass, or walk barefoot on the pavement, or stare up at the sky. I want to curl up on the couch, wrapped up in one of Jake's sweaters, and watch movies all evening.

And yet, God still provides a way to ease the dismal lack of energy. My roommate and I are going to the gym, because we realized that swimming is the only way to go. Today we switched it up, and did some cycling so that we could work our lower bodies. But I missed starting off the day with a good swim.

When I feel the water rush through my finger tips, flow over my skin with fluidity, and glide my body to the wall, I feel alive. I realized tonight how much muscle it actually takes to swim. Our bodies don't naturally float, so when someone is able to glide through the water, it does take a lot of work. Swimming brings back so many good memories of all the lessons I took as a child, and they are definitely paying off. I have noticed a difference in the way I feel about myself and my shape, even in the short time I started "working out" again.

I feel so indebted to the Lord, for giving me the ability to even think about doing physical activity. I love swimming so much, and the God who created such tantalizing agua...

In thankfulness,



We're engaged!

The past week and a half has gone by so fast, and this Thursday will mark the two weeks since Jake and I got engaged! It is incredible to believe, but the ring on my finger doesn't lie. Sometimes I catch myself saying "dating" or "boyfriend", but it's for reals now. We have made a commitment and I'm going to be a married woman!

Jake and I still have a lot to talk about and plans to make, but the most important thing to me at this point is keeping God in the center, and not crowding him out due to burgeoning wedding details. It's so easy to focus on the wedding "day", but a marriage is about relationship, not only with each other, but also with God.

I am excited to see how God will lead us in this, as we are waiting on His provision for a job for Jake, a car, and a definite date for the wedding(we know it will be this year some time)as well as other monies for daily living AND wedding.

I am so in love with my Jake, and some days it seems like the wedding day can't come fast enough...



Don't stop now...

So, Lord, you have begun this work in me. Seems like we've been doing this thing called "life" for a while now. Together. For the most part. And sometimes, I know I don't hold up my end of the deal all that great. But You ask me to keep going.

Even when it seems to be too hard. Even when I have no motivation. AND especially when I have no strength to do it on my own. Because it's in those moments that I must remember to lean on you.

I love how I can come to you whenever I need help, or whenever I need to thank you for something you have blessed me with, or an answer to prayer.

Tonight, I would like to praise you for saving me, and for continually renewing me. It was not a one-time process, nor can I rush through it to get "holy" quick. It is a "continual" transformation, and I must remember to be patient until the day you will return or call me home, because it is only then that I will understand what it is like to be holy.

Until then...

Don't stop.

Keep going.

Keep your eyes fixed on the goal, and don't let anything get in the way or cause you to get distracted.

Don't worry about the discouragement that comes along. Don't you think that He knows about it, and holds it in the palm of His hand?

What a reassuring thought!

Praise His Name!!



Hi everyone,

To those of you who did not read my last blog, don't worry about this message. However, for those who did, you may have noticed I deleted it. I apologize for posting something negative on my blog. It's one thing to share what I'm struggling, but it's another to be downright surly in the face of other people's joys and accomplishments.

Please forgive me.



Dictionary Philology...


What do these words mean to you?

They are very important to me, and perhaps for a few others as well.


I am aware of this word, and the full implications of its meaning. However, I used it in a different way in my first year of college in 2007. I was sitting in one of my first year courses, when I looked up and saw this disgustingly huge brown spider make its way up the back of the young man sitting in front of me. When I was trying to explain to my friends, with a shudder, I described the motion of the legs as being tantalizing, meaning that they were creepy. Jake teased me incessantly about this, and even to this day we use that word (we definitely use it in the right context now-a-days...). Even though I pretended that it bothered me when Jake teased me, I secretly enjoyed it because I had a small crush on him back then...


One day in the library, Katie and I were reading a textbook in 2007 when Jake came up and sat down at the same table. (I was secretly excited because I had a thing for Jake back then...seems to be the growing trend). Somehow, the three of us came across the word spate (perhaps Katie or Jake remember where it came from), and we immediately loved it and used it for a plethora, er, spate of things.


Jake and I were watching a Bollywood movie last year before we started dating (I was flirtatiously excited because I had a huge thing for him back then...still do!), and one of the actresses was standing on the top of a mountain, with her hair flowing with the breeze. The only word we could come up with to describe it was "billowing". It was an apt description, and now whenever a wind teases my hair, we always say that it is billowing.

All of these words have pleasant connotations or memories of times with friends, and somehow, when I think about finding new words to love within the folds of the dictionary, these seem to present themselves like gifts to me in delightfully surprising ways all over again...