Saturday, October 29, 2005

A goodbye and a breakthrough

Be warned, this is a long post. Try to make it through, though, it's worth it.

First off, Chris and I forgot to post yesterday. It was a strange sort of day. Christine woke up sick to her stomach, so we spent the majority of the day watching movies. It was ok, though. For one thing, it was pouring outside - our first day of rain since Chris arrived! Which is amazing, considering this is Vancouver, and in Chris' opinion, very disappointing, because she loves the rain. Also, our main plans for the day were "shopping". Anyone who knows me well knows I'm not a big fan of shopping. So I wasn't super disappointed we missed out on it. Christine, however, was quite disappointed that we missed out on shopping, especially when we had supper. You see, for supper, we met her cousin Andrew (also a Regent student) and his wife at a huge mall, where the shopping would have been prime. It was great to meet them, they're both very easy to talk to.

Today (Saturday) was a sad day. Christine woke up feeling better, thankfully. We took the bus to the airport around lunch, and I had to say goodbye to her. I cried some. It's so hard to go from the real thing, the friend in person, to going back to communicating through phone lines and internet connections. Re-introducing an intermediary element. That's a sad thing. But the harder the goodbye, the more joyful the reunion. Christmas is going to be great. So the story of Christine in Vancouver and Blue Spoon and our mutual adventures must sadly end here. It's been one of my favorite weeks of all time, a surreal and joy-filled experience. I couldn't have wished for anything better. That girl is seriously one of God's greatest gifts to me.

I also want to tell you about how I made a breakthrough of sorts tonight. Since the beginning of this Regent thing, I've been hearing repeated warnings against turning my faith into a dry academic study, divorcing my heart from it. I knew I was in danger of becoming too mind-heavy, and of studying for the wrong reasons, since I'm always fighting a tendency to be focused on grades and people-pleasing. This prompted me to write a sort of manifesto back in September. Here's a taste of it:

"I realize that it is entirely possible for a year at Bible School to be futile if my heart is not in the right place. It is not about knowledge; it is about love. I'm not here to learn to be an academic, but to learn to be a worshipper. It is not about marks; it's about transformation. It's not only about thinking; it's about responding. I will interweave my study with intense devotion. I refuse to be a safe observer. I choose to become alive. Professors are not the audience I must please, but the mouthpiece of God. I will not read what professors require so I can pass; I will read what professors love so I can grow. Papers are not chores, they are prayers. I want to learn the truth that I may worship in truth. Above all, I want to learn to love."

So these have been goals of mine for a while now. Tonight I began to see the realization of it, the "internalizing" of something academic. I was reading about the Orthodox theology of Christ and the cross. I came to a quote from Julian of Norwich where she pictures Christ saying, "If I had to have suffered more for you, I would have gladly done it". I was also listening to the new David Crowder CD (thank you Rachel). Suddenly I realized that David Crowder was screaming, "Breathe in deeper now - the wonder of the cross" with all the passion that makes me love David Crowder. It forced me to let it sink in - what Julian of Norwich was saying, the wonder of Christ's willingness to die for us, a love stronger than death... and I cried. Yet it wasn't sentimental at all, it was one of the deepest things I've felt in a long time. Maybe I'm becoming a Christian mystic like Julian... I wouldn't mind.

Anyway, I wanted to share that story with you mostly so I wouldn't forget it, and so I will keep striving for the transformation over and through the academics. But also so you will go out and buy the new David Crowder CD, "A Collision". It is a CD that tells a story, that takes you on a journey, that pulls these cries out of the deepest part of you and helps you express them. It has been comforting me, stirring me, and challenging me all night. As Jared put it, "On a scale of one to ten, I give it a never leaving my CD player". :)

Good night to all of you, and if you remember, pray for me, as I have a lot of work to do over the next little while (I did no reading during reading week!), and it's going to be a struggle to keep my heart in it...

(Chris, I changed the colour of the text in your honour)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Kavna is a Dodgy Bloke


I am Christine and I am feeling much better today. I think my sickness was due to either bad sushi or anxiety. Though it threatens to return as the smell of curry fills the house, I am doing quite well.

Beth and I ventured out to the Aquarium today. It is located in Stanley Park which is a large and pretty area right by downtown. Beth is like a little kid when it comes to marine life; I was a bit more mature but the fish were sooo cool! God is the neatest person. One fish looked like it had a nose and another one looked kinda dorky and was just motoring through the tank. I've never seen that much creativity contained in one place. We saw belugas! The female named Kavna was really big and she looked mischievious. They're quite lumpy if I may say so. We also saw a sea lion that weighed 1000 kg and ate 25 kg of food a day but he was cool. ("I will grant you wishes three if you would just save me....a fish") As you can see, the jellyfish were fantastically translucent and glowing. That is Beth beside an enormous fish. I decided that if the fish were a person, it would be undesirably pear shaped. This is my favorite part of the day. On the way back to the bus we stopped to pick up some neat looking leaves and we were visited by a squirrel. This squirrel was very tame and it approached Beth's leg and hung on for dear life despite several attempts at shaking it free. I finally yelled and it left.

Vancouver is a neat place to be at Halloween. Museums and things have money to plan special events and decorate. Today I discovered a ghost train tour of Stanley Park but we don't have time to go. I'd like to be here more.

Anyways, we've now ended our impromptu dance lessons and it's Dutch Blitz time! 1 day and counting...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The threshold

Hello readers far and wide,

Today's post is short and sweet. Chris and I had a quieter, more laid-back day after yesterday's Victoria adventure. I woke up early, and she woke up late. We went to Regent to play some piano in the Chapel together, to talk to Dave R, and to do some bookstore shopping. After some good sushi, we headed out to watch a new movie, "Elizabethtown", which was one of the best movies I've seen in a while. Made me want to take a road trip. Tonight we've just been relaxing, playing cards, reading, and eating. These are a few of my favorite things.

We realized today that there is a vacation threshold. For three or four days, you can escape from your life without many worries about what you've left behind. But after that, you start thinking about real life. Being away from it can make it worse, because you finally have a chance to look at your life from afar, with some perspective, in a way that isn't possible when you're actually in the middle of it. I think Chris and I were both unsettled by this depth of thought today. We felt a bit lost in all of our thoughts. I, for one, am glad she was here when I was experiencing this lost-ness. I think it made her physically sick though. She's been feeling kind of weird all night, so please pray for her health. I want her to be able to enjoy her last few days here. And frankly, I want to enjoy her. :)

Tomorrow's plans hinge on health. I'd love to see the aquarium and the planetarium...but we'll play it by ear.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Berth of the Ferry Princess

Evan left a comment about how to flip pictures but I'm too tired tonight to figure it out. So you have to keep tilting your head, ok?

Today, we ventured out. We ventured to Victoria. We left bright and early at 7:15 AM and took the buses to catch the ferry at Tsawwassen. You may be wondering how to pronounce this word. All I can tell you is that it rhymes with "Tsaww-awesome". We didn't know what to expect of this ferry. Christine was wondering ifshe could buy ginger ale on it. Turns out there was a whole restaurant on it, and a fast food court, and an arcade and stores and stuff. It was intense. We amused ourselves. As you can see, Christine was a little cold outside on the deck.

Our final destination in Victoria was Butchart Gardens. As you can see from the photos, it was be-autiful. Christine had been there before with her friend Navy Dan (shout out to Dan in Halifax!), so she knew what to expect. She kept making me close my eyes before cool parts, like this fountain, and it took my breath away. Amazing stuff for the biology student, let me tell you.

We were done early, so we went to the Butterfly Gardens. They were also really really cool. There were tons of rare butterflies, and exotic plants, and sweet birds. Check out the pictures of me with the orchids and Christine with the red rasta hair (actually, it's a chenille plant).

The most exciting part of the trip was when we tried to catch the bus back to the ferry, and realized that it didn't stop near the butterfly gardens. I had carefully plotted out all stops and times and transfers, but the butterfly gardens threw a wrench in everything. The closest stop was a forty-minute walk away. Unfortunately, we had to arrive in ten minutes if we wanted to catch our bus, otherwise we'd miss the ferry and wait another two hours for the next one. Christine was despairing. Suddenly, I had a drastic loss of inhibitions, and I asked some complete strangers if they would drive us to the bus stop. I figured that if they were exiting butterfly gardens, they weren't overly dangerous. So we rode in the bed of their pick-up truck and caught the bus! Hooray!

The trip home was a little long. We were tired and hungry and a little crazy. Christine kept hearing her least favorite Nickelback songs. So we began singing Raffi songs. I think we scared people around us. We also felt that we were a visible minority, since most of the people around us were Asian. Most of them were wearing pointy-toed stiletto boots. As you can see, Blue Spoon kept his spirits up.

Now we are home, and we're going to watch "Bewitched". Tsaww-awesome.

- Beth

Monday, October 24, 2005

park it like a seabus

Today was a fun day!

The transit website wasn't working last night so our plans to visit Butchart Gardens were foiled until tomorrow. So today we went to Lynn Canyon. It took us quite a while by bus to get there but we got to take the seabus. It's like this wide two-way vehicle that floats across the water to North Vancouver. It was very beautiful. The city today was kind of foggy and everything looked like it was colored in shades of blue.

The sun came out when we got to Lynn Canyon so it was warm enough that Beth took off 3 of her 4 layers. We walked for a long time and got some nice pictures. We took a wrong turn at one point and ended up walking along a treacherous cliff for a while. Blue Spoon really enjoyed the trip too. We ate lunch on the rocks by the 30 ft pool. We saw a guy who looked like Bob Dylan. He looked contemplative and we figured he was maybe thinking about drowning himself in the clear refreshing water, but in the end he just watched us eating lunch whilst balancing on a rock. Somewhere around the time we got off track, we tried to cross the creek on lone rocks. I finally convinced Beth that it wasn't safe. phew.

Btw, sorry about the pictures being sideways, we still haven't figured out how to turn them around. Our last picture is of a sign at the park, detailing the different ways you can die by falling into the water. Ha.

When my hip started to hurt, we took the bus back home. We went by the Daily Planet again but it was gone. Then Beth wrote her blog from yesterday- so make sure to read that one.

Our neatest surprise was when we discovered the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour! Tonight we went to 23 haunted places in Vancouver- including the cemetery and the old morgue. We watched a simulation of an autopsy and found out that a famous actor from the 30s got dissected there. woot. It was very fun.

So that's all for today. Tomorrow we have to be up really early. Travel time will total 8 hours to Butchart Gardens. See ya!

10 Easy Steps to Anglicanism

Dear loyal readers,

Our apologies for the late post. I am pretending it is still Sunday. Happy Sunday to you all.

Today is perhaps our least adventurous day in the full adventure. It was an adventure in doing next to nothing. But very enjoyable. Christine mostly tried to fix my poor little virus-laden laptop. To no avail. And I mostly sat beside her and watched TV. Like "Be the Creature"! What a good show! And Blue Spoon offered her helpful tips and anecdotes from his cozy laptop position, as you can see.

Pretty much our only adventure was a plunge into the world of Anglicanism. Christine and Blue Spoon decided to accompany me to my new church, St. John's Anglican. After frolicking in the leaves, that is. We arrived at church, and Christine felt that this denomination was meeting some of her deepest needs. She quickly converted. Just a word of warning to any of you on the Emmanuel staff who may be perusing this blog. If you do decide to let her keep working for you, she may bring up ideas about adding a pipe organ to the Emmanuel sanctuary. She has big plans for this pipe organ, including musical lights and fountains. Be wary. That's pretty much our whole Sunday in a nutshell, besides the incredible piece of cheesecake we consumed on the way home. But I wouldn't want to make you jealous.
Thanks be to God.

- Beth

P.S. 10 steps to Anglicanism

10 - Learn to kneel.
9 - Say "Thanks be to God" after reading Scripture.
8 - Say "Hear our Prayer" after "Lord , in your mercy".
7 - Sing a Robin Mark song.
6 - Adopt an English accent.
5 - Play a postlude.
4 - Sit on a hard bench.
3 - Use an accordion in worship.
2 - Bust out the pipe organ.
1 - Have tea. And possibly crumpets.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blue Spoon Goes To Smallville

As day two in Vancouver comes to an end, we'd like to introduce you to Blue Spoon. We discovered him in a frozen yogurt shop in the big circular library and because Beth fell in love with him, I said he could come with us on our adventures.

The day began slowly, as Beth's roommates kept us up watching Freddy vs Jason. We just can't seem to escape that movie. Our adventures took us downtown on a walking tour. Thank you Daniel for the Vancouver guide book that made this all possible. After meeting Blue Spoon, we visited some nice waterfalls; here he is in a sculpture. Then we took him to the art gallery. Blue Spoon and I enjoyed being together. He especially liked swimming in the fountain.

On the way to the ocean, we accidentally walked through the filming of an episode of Smallville. Of course, I'm no stranger to the Daily Planet. We watched some extras wearing suits walk back and forth for a while. Superman didn't show up so we left.

Blue Spoon's favorite was when we got to go to the moon. We have posted an eerie picture of him at the Imax. Beth and I were there too- and we got to wear stylish glasses. It was a very fun afternoon. They were pile driving for the new convention centre they're building for the 2010 Olympics.

We spent some time at Jacob's Well too, where Beth will be volunteering this year. It was a good experience to see how some people live.

Well, tonight we're watching 'What the Bleep do We Know?' and Blue Spoon is joining us. He's concerned about the possibility of foul language.

We miss you and love you all very much.

P.S. I forgot to thank Mrs. Kulyk yesterday for the chokecherry jelly. I had some this morning on my toast and it was delicious!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Hedge of Reason

Christine has forced me to change the colour of my blog text. This is hedge-green.

Yes! She is here. And life is finally complete again. She arrived this morning and she's not leaving until I say so. This is Christine. Beth asked a stranger for directions to the arrival gate. As a result she wasn't waiting for me when I got there and I finally tracked her down at the other end of the airport. Some best friend. Oh! I got to sit beside hunters from California though. Their camouflage outfits made me feel at home.

Beth is in the hedge-green colour. Just in case you're having trouble and thinking I am schizophrenic. This blog, for a week, will be the chronicles of Beth and Chris. Two voices. Two songs. Two threads interweaving through the beautiful hedges of Vancouver. One mess of a blog. Oh, you be quiet. Anyway, check often - we're hoping to update often. And in my defense about the airport thing..
. actually, I have no defense. What can I say? I'm a very trusting person. I forgive her for her critical spirit, though. She brought me a lot of good things! Thanks, mom, for the great comforter cover and baking. Mmm...baking... And Rachel, for the CD.

So today we went to a place called Pleasure Island... whoops, Granville Island. There was a lot of pleasure. Yes. We mostly walked into stores and admired beautiful things and enormous price tags. There was a store full of dragons and knights. There was a store full of over-priced umbrellas. We almost bought a fish. But Christine got really tired really fast because she's a big wimp, so we left, right after
my close encounter with some mallards.

After some spaghetti and a movie, we went out walking in the dark. We had deep thoughts. Imagine singing "Praise Adonai" - "mountains bow down, every ocean roars" - when you're standing right on the shore of an ocean overlooking incredible mountains! The lights of North Vancouver and downtown were breathtaking. I taught Chris a valuable life lesson: red means port, green means starboard. We saw a lot of great houses, worth millions of dollars. We are going to be so sore in the morning. My flanks hurt.

Well, that's it for now. Chris says that she gets to write most of it tomorrow. We'll see. I'm not sure I feel like letting her commandeer my blog. Blog this! Fine.

Beth... (and Chris)

Monday, October 17, 2005

No, these photos have not been digitally altered.

Fall is falling and it is becoming fall and here is a leaf to prove it. Everything natural in Vancouver is supersized, of course (notice the size of my feet). Here is a run-of-the-mill Vancouver leaf. I love this place. Below this picture is a duck one, because I also wanted to show you the synoptic ducks, joined by John today.

I am not thinking clearly enough to be very intelligible tonight. I'm afraid Christine is coming to visit me in a mere 4 days, and this prospect I find thoroughly distracting. I was thinking about it at church, on the bus, while I walked. She is my best friend and we are going to have the best of times. Actually, she is one of the best-kept secrets on this planet. Oh the things I wish everyone knew about her! I'm so excited to be with her again that I might not even get through this post. I'll do my best.

Thanksgiving was good - I accompanied Sam and Cindie to a meal at the house of a couple from their church. Other than a brief directionally-challenged moment (I got lost on the way to their house and had to call them from a car repair shop), the evening was great. I really appreciated their hospitality. And their homemade pumpkin pie. And I mostly appreciated Sam and Cindie not bringing up the directionally-challenged moment. Ha. I'll just blame Danice's directions.

I spent this past weekend in the town of White Rock, with Shauna Milner. That is where she works now. You should see her office - it's huge! Anyway, I did a guitar workshop for some people in her church, and in return, she bought me gelato! This gelato stuff is incredible; I don't know why I never tried any in Europe. It's like ice cream times 50. 50 times everything ice cream is. We saw some ducks (Shauna, I checked my book - they're called surf scoters), and, of course, the famous White Rock of White Rock. I'm not sure what the story is behind this rock. But I suppose it's worthy of naming a whole city. It was really fun to hang out with Shauna and meet some people in her church. Plus I didn't even have to cook.

I returned to Vancouver to "audition" for a worship guy at St. John's Anglican church. I suppose I passed, because I get to play at their evening service once or twice a month. I'm stoked. After my "audition", I had some time to kill before the service started, so I took the bus downtown and wandered around for a while. Guess what I bought? You'll never guess. Nope. Try again. Nope. One more guess. Yes! You're right! An umbrella! It's not quite what I wanted as far as originality. But it was cheap, and it's purple. That will most likely cheer me up when it's raining. It was, needless to say, a momentous day.

So I've realized that the world is small. Or, at very least, the Baptist Union world. In the past week alone, I've met Carie Timm's youth pastor from South Africa, a good friend of Andrew Milton's (who met me briefly at camp four years ago), someone who went to seminary with my dad in Kentucky, and someone who stayed with Patrick and Ria in Belgium for a couple weeks (where I lived for 8 months). These things are rather scary. But fun. Oh great, now I have "It's a small world after all" in my head.

Well, it's late. I should get to bed. I'd like to read 2nd Samuel, 1st Kings and 2nd Kings tomorrow. That would be nice. When I write you next, I will have truckloads of pictures and adventures with CK to share.


P.S. I like Jordan's name - the bald eagle is hereby named "Theobald".

P.P.S. Some people have been expressing concern about the rather large starfish I approached and whose picture I took for my last blog entry. I wanted to notify you that the situation seems to be worsening... check out this rock...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Birthday to my blog

This is my 22nd post. I am also 22 years old. Happy birthday, blog. That makes logical sense, doesn't it? Well, at very least, Happy Thanksgiving, blog.

The first news that I simply must share with you is that MY PHONE WORKS! Yes, the Webcall people finally produced the magic. So I can call and receive calls and be on the internet all at the same time. Therefore if you have my number, you should give me a Happy Thanksgiving call. Or just a brief hello. Heck, I don't even mind if you're soliciting.

The pictures on this blog entry are brought to you by Bowen Island. "Bowen Island - a beautiful choice for your next personal retreat!" Ok, I made that up. But it IS a beautiful place. For your next retreat. Or even for a picnic. My favorite experience on the Island was when I broke the rules of my solitude to ask a little boy what he was doing - he was turning over rocks by the shore and squealing in delight. He quickly showed me that every rock had a dozen or so little crabs under it, and they went scuttling off when you moved the rock. So I gladly joined him in his game for a while. When I got home, I reprimanded Danice for failing to tell me the secret of the rocks, which I could not have known, coming from Saskatoon. She said, "You don't have crabs?" Which was a very funny question on its own. I informed her that the only crabs I'd ever seen in Saskatoon were in big aquariums in Safeway. And in my grandma's salads.

Here's another wildlife story for you. The other day, I was sitting on the Rock and I saw this bird flying in my direction. I said to myself, "That is not a seagull. That is not even a crow." I fumbled for my binoculars like the geek that I am, and followed the magnificent creature with them as it flew directly over my head. I gasped - "That was a real live honest-to-goodness BALD EAGLE!" I'm not sure, but I believe I actually said that out loud. One of the synoptic ducks seemed to be sniggering at me. But anyway, the reason I include this story in my blog is that I can't think of a name for this bald eagle. I feel like it has to be a really regal, majestic name, not like Martin or Phil or Spencer, some of my other Rock friends. So if you have a name suggestion for a real live bald eagle, please let me know in a comment. Ah, audience participation.

I should probably talk briefly about my classes. Hebrew is extremely frustrating right now. Too many rules and too many exceptions to those rules that the textbook doesn't seem concerned about sharing with you. Old Testament is my favorite class. My prof has a question box. Yesterday, someone asked whether the Pentateuch wasn't really a hobbit (think Peregrin Took). Yes, we Regent students are witty. My prof, who is Scottish and Tolkien-obsessed, spoke for about three minutes about the genealogy of the Took family. Ha. In my Christian Spirit class, we learned about Simon Stylites, who spent 36 years of his life on the top of a 60-foot pillar (to prove his devotion to God). Finally, my Christian Thought and Culture class gives me a chance to ponder the large questions, like the Trinity, and usually drives me crazy in a good way.

No, I still haven't bought a raincoat or an umbrella. The thing with the umbrella is I feel like it should be cool. I don't want Vancouverians to look at me and say, "Look at that girl with the cheap, ugly umbrella. She's most definitely from the prairies." So you see, I need to make a bold statement. There is also the question of portability (ie. small and flimsy) vs. durability (large and awkward). People tell me there is an umbrella store here. Just for umbrellas. $100 ones with lifetime guarantees. Crazy Vancouverians.

Well, this is getting long. I'd better save Jacob's Well stories for another day. Enjoy your turkey!


P.S. Christine comes to visit me in 14 days! Woot!