Monday, December 31, 2007

A Letter from the Editor

Dear World of Bloggers;

My name is Amy. I am a friend of Liz's. Today is the day I learned to play the game, "Settlers of Catan", a board game type of deal. It was actually quite enjoyable for a board game... type of thing. I'm not a fan of board game type of things because they take too much attention and many people become too aggressive and change their personalities so it becomes un-enjoyable. However, this was a rather pleasant experience for your's truly. Probably because the people I was playing with were awesome. The famous, Liz and Gina and Kelly. They're pretty cool folks. A few people in the world who help it seem brighter.
Friends; what would this place be without them?

Love, peace and happiness!

Sincerely,

Amy

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Five Days in Review

The time home was good but fast. Here is an account of each day’s major events:

Monday (Christmas Eve)
-Shopping, surprisingly the malls were empty
-Christmas Eve service
-Wrap Gifts/Watch It’s A Wonderful Life

Tuesday (Christmas)
-Open Gifts after Lee-Ann and I woke the parents
-Christmas Dinner with Relatives
-We returned home to play Settlers of Catan

Wednesday (Boxing Day)
-Lee-Ann and I built our gingerbread train
-Mommy and I went to see August Rush
-Drive around looking at lights
-Two more games of Settlers

Thursday
-Shopping at the Forks
-Visit to the Train Club
-Dad and I had a date to see Beowulf in Imax 3D

Friday
-Mom and I went shopping
-Last game of Settlers
-Family supper out
-The ballet

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Girlie Night

Dad took his three girls (Mom, Lee-Ann and me) to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s The Nutcracker this evening. I knew the story but this was the first time actually seeing it, unless you count the Barbie Nutcracker movie.

We loved it. The few times I looked over Lee-Ann was on the edge of her seat delighted in the story. At the intermission I joked with her that it was time to go home and she was very upset that it was over till I let her know that it was only a short break. So she asked if she could get something to eat. We explained that there were only drinks available. To which she responded with this:

“I think I saw a hot dog stand.”
She was right, sort of, in the lobby there was a hot dog like cart serving coffee. Thankfully they also sold giant cookies to satisfy a little girl's rumbling tummy. It was a wonderful last night with my family. I am flying home tomorrow at 11am so I am off. Night.

Friday, December 28, 2007

All Aboard!

Tonight’s family adventure was a ride on a miniature train to see a local train club’s Christmas lights. The club has these two tiny engines that can pull cars big enough to carry people. There are different tracks for the trains to fallow and more that 300,000 lights set up on the club’s property. It was a chilly night but full of fun.

The engine that pulled us.


Complete strangers,
But it gives you a picture of what the ride was like.


“Christ is Born”
One of the lights displays

Mummy and Me

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

First Day Of Christmas

It might have been the time different or just excitement but I woke up a few times last night before I ventured upstairs to find out if anyone else was awake. Lee-Ann joined me. Together we creped into Mom and Dad’s room and jumped on them at 7:10am. Took us a few more minutes to convince them it was time to open the gifts. This is the only picture of the unwrapping party that didn’t have us looking like aliens or living dead:

With out a lover I did not recieve the traditional partridge in a pear tree. However my family did bless me with the gifts I had really hoped for and a few very nice surprises. I love my presents but I was more excited watching my family open their gifts, weird how things change.

Once everything was open I went back to bed. Lee-Ann woke me a little later to show me that her wiggly tooth had come out. I think the tooth fairy might be visiting tonight. I am trying not to be jealous but when I was little the tooth fairy skipped out house and yet my sister is in the fairy’s database? Doesn’t seem fair. The rest of the day was spent in phone calls to family, then Christmas dinner with relatives in Winnipeg, and a game of Settlers of Catan (which I was heralded the great benevolent rule…the peasants rejoiced.) Aaron shared this with me:


Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

All I Want For Christmas is My Four Front Teeth?

A very excited little girl jumped on me this morning. You would have thought it was Christmas but she just wanted to wake me up. It is nice being loved. She also wanted to show me her very wiggly front tooth. It seemed like it would come out all day but is still holding on. She already has three front teeth missing. Eating will be interesting when this one is gone.

I love being home with my sister. Sister comments from today:

“I want to follow my sister everywhere…except not in the bathroom.”
In the midst of a conversation about the cost of a mission I may possibly be a part of this summer Lee-Ann cut in with,

Lee-Ann: “I’m not giving Zizzy any of my allowence!”
Dad: “Why not Honey?”
Lee-Ann: “It sounds like too much money.”

The Eve of Christmas Eve

I'm in Winnipeg.

The flights were good. I got bumped in Toronto which had me thinking nasty words but they were able to put me on the next flight and because of my first flights delays it just gave me enough time to get to the terminal.

I got in an hour later than planned but I was still was able to hug my family tonight. We had a Christmasy Eve of Christmas Eve Feast to celebrate.

Now I am off to bed, my arms are tired after all that flying.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Memories

***December 22, 2007 @ 11:19 –I just last yesterdays late night post and it confused me. If the wording confused the author I am sure not one else got much out of it. So I’ve tried to fix it. I hope this helps...***

I arrived in Moncton late this afternoon to see Steph, Ben, and baby Hana. The plan was after supper Steph and I were going to brave the malls for some last minute shopping while Ben and Baby watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." I think the movie choice is what got us reminiscing about the Christmas specials we watched as kids. The classics were mentioned like Rudolph and Frosty. Then I tried to describe four shows I vaguely remember watching but didn’t know the names. The first was about elves and they were working in New York. The second a brother and sister move to the North because there mother is a scientist, and I think one is angry and gets lost and discovers Santa’s village, and then for some reason someone is going to find out and they have to help Santa. The third is a with puppets or stop motion and it starts with a counsil of eternal beings deciding if they should make Santa who is near death or dead immortal and they review his life. And the last show memory was of a claymation sining of different Christmas carols. The only parts I remembers was between songs different groups tried to sing the song here we come a wassailing but they always got it wrong like "waffleing" and the camels singing we three kings.

Of those four memories Steph and Ben only knew of the last one. We laughted at the memories and they Steph and I went to out to spend money. While we were out Ben had found the claymation special on youtube:


Part 2

Part 3

What are your all time favourite Christmas specials?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thankful Thursday #41

I am thankful for

-a good night at youth
-for our guest speaker who just returned from a semester at BBC
-friends
-things coming to an end
-creative outlets
-movie nights
-thirft stores
-the frozen food section
-sushi
-laughter
-good books
-life

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Movie Night: The Golden Compass

After months of waiting, schedule shuffling, and rain checks Shari and I finally had the movie night we first planned back in June. It wasn’t hard to decide what to see, since watching the first previews we had agreed to see The Golden Compass together. This was long beforethe current hot controversy surrounding the movie, books, and author. This is my take on what I saw the good, the bad, and the not as ugly as expected.

The story is fantasy. If you don’t like the genre in general you won’t like this one either. There are talking animals and witches and a whole world operating with it’s own rules. Fantasy is normally enough to get Christian groups riled up.

From what I understand the author Phillip Pullman’s trilogy is to Atheism what Narina is to Christianity, which has been like adding gas to a burning fire. Pullman is quoted as saying, "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief…" in the Washington Post back in 2001, I couldn’t find the original article just many that site it. But Pullman also recently said in an interview on Today, "Well, you know, I always mistrust people who tell us how we should understand something. They know better than we do what the book means or what this means and how we should read it and whether we should read it or not." I found this quote here.

I found a decent review of the movie on Kidology’s site. They also have a forum discussing the movie and whether Christians should see it. What I found refreshing about the article was that it did not tell you not to see the movie, it goes over the plot, gives four areas to be aware of, and three teachable themes with biblical references to enrich a discussion. I also liked that it was written to help pastors, teachers, and parents to engage in those who have seen the movie. The article is good stuff.

Back to the movie. The Magistrate, which I understand in the books symbolizes organized religion or the Catholic Church, is more like a corrupt government. It could be compared to the ruling powers in Animal Farm, Brave New World, or V for Vendetta. They want to dictate what people think and do and stop free will. The heroin and friends set out to discover truth and defend free-will. I didn't mind not liking them. They were evil, but I didn't feel like I as a pastor was being attacked. I hear the anti-church theme was watered down for the movie, that could be the reason the anti theme wasn’t as noticeable.

One of my bigger issues is that it is not a children’s movie. We saw parents taking young ones to see it. The Canadian rating is PG, but I agree more with the PG-13 rating the US gave. The Golden Compass is filled with frightening concepts (Gobblers stealing children in the night), suspenseful moments, violence, and death. Even the lighting was dark and spooky, if I were a child I would be up all night with fear. Not a kid's flick!

So, yes, I did enjoy the story and all the subplots. The characters were introduced and developed well and I became increasingly drawn into the tale. The most frustrating thing was the conclusion. It had that same let down as the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, when you realize the two hours you just watched was really just an introduction. The ending can only mean they plan to make the next two.


Also I got really excited to see the new Narina trailer…May 2008=Prince Caspian!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cat Tales


You would not believe how difficult it was to get that picture. Both Inu and Kima thought of the reindeer ears as toys…I think it was the bells. An early attempt:
Well, Merry Christmas from my kitties.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Angels Aware!

The musical's story takes place in heaven with the angels gathering for a meeting called by Michael, who is sharing with them God’s plan to go to earth for the first time. There was a short break in the middle for the preschool children to sing which ended up being more clapping than singing...they stole the show. I apologies for my off key voice at the beginning. I was trying to encourage them to sing…not thinking that it would also be picked up on the video.



These were the angel delegations (and the prophets Moses and Isaiah) at Michael's meeting.

The two angels in this picture are Gabriel and Michael. Michael has the sword.


Opening Night...er...Morning

After three months of preparation and days of anticipation the children’s Christmas musical has come and gone. I feel like a huge weight is gone, only I also don’t know what to do with myself. The kid’s did a great job, songs were sung loud and clear (most of the time) and lines were said (most of the time) and they looked like they were having fun. I’ll have some pictures and maybe a video clip tomorrow. To celebrate some friends went out for lunch and then I came home and napped…but now what? The play has been a huge responsibility and focus the last bit. It’s amazing to me how much effort we put into an event that ends so quickly. It almost makes me doubt if it was worth it but from the feedback I received this morning I think it was. Someone even made the comment that it will be hard to top next year. I’ll wait to tomorrow to begin worrying about that.

One of the boys knew the whole musical inside and out. His father told me he would listen to the practice CD every night with his script. There were even a few times they came in to say goodnight and he had fallen asleep with the book open. He was hilarious to watch this morning. Any time some one was lost or forgot their line he would cue them. My favourite moment happened at the end, I was standing in the back of the sanctuary ready to give a cue when I heard one of the guys lean over and whisper to boy "hey what’s my next line." I had to hold in the laughter; for me it was everything a kid’s play should be.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Festive Frenzy

I know that December days brag about having the least amount of hours of light but I think the shortest days title also means that there are less minutes in December’s hours and therefore less hours in the days. I support my theory with the well known fact it is harder to get everything done in December. There just isn’t enough time.

Maybe I am just be overwhelmed after today’s dress rehearsal. There were sound check issues, costume chaos, two really good temper tantrums (I though for sure someone was going to be punched but thankfully only a chair was hit. Poor chair didn’t hurt anyone), and just general pandemonium. I am amazed that we actually finished the two hour practice on time. I am taking comfort in the fact that bad dress rehearsals equal good performances and hope that isn’t just an ol’wives tail.

Christmas Countdown Update:
The annual church board Christmas party on Monday and last night’s youth Christmas party were great. We had the youth party at a game room that just opened up. It had two Wii’s and four Xbox 360’s. The kids (and me) had a blast with Guitar Hero, Wii Sports and a few others. I also learned I am just as bad at Halo 3 and I am at original Halo. We played two teams of team, my team lost 50 kills to 35….I didn’t have a single kill. I hang my head in shame. The only thing that redeemed me was winning Wii Bowling.

The children’s Christmas musical is tomorrow.
5 days till the year’s last youth night
8 days till I am in Winnipeg with my family
10 days to Christmas.
And 2 weeks till Robin's in Japan.

Well, I’ve been at the church for ten hours and it just hit me that all I’ve eaten today are two two-bite cupcakes and a timbit. I think I am going to take my last minute list of to do’s home, eat left over pizza from last night’s party, and hope to sleep some time before tomorrow’s service.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie Night

A family in the church spontaneously invited me over for dinner last Saturday. I was very thankful because it meant that I didn’t have to eat another microwaveable meal. The food was great and the company was wonderful and for an added bonus they invited me to stay and watch Meet the Robinsons, which was better than I had expected. It was cute and family friendly, which meant very predictable but surprisingly enjoyable.

The best part was the T-Rex answering Bowler Hat Guy’s question on why the boy had not been caught, "'Cause I have a big head and little arms, and I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through. [the pause in which Bowler Hat Guy stares angrily into handheld mind control device. T-Rex give a cute face] Master?"

The storyline was decent and the characters likeable. I give the flick two "little arm" thumbs up. It's a good one to watch over Christmas break.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thankful Thursdays #40

Why is it when there are less people than expected we focus on the ones missing not the ones present? Tonight I am thankful for the seven students who did come to youth group. I am thankful for my youth leaders who come even though one had his wisdom teeth out yesterday.

Other thankful things from this week are:

-unexpected discounts at two different stores on Saturday
-letters in my mail boxes…not just bills
-yummy cookies
-good books
-new projects
-my friend Amy and Gina
-an upcoming movie date (it’s with Sheri so not a "date" date) we’ve been trying to get together since the summer and our schedules always has us busy when the other is free, but it looks like this Saturday we’re going
-life…I am thankful for my life.

Yay God!

Rediscovery

Do you ever think that in the process of growing up something was lost? I am not thinking of the loss innocence, or the essences of childhood, or something expressed in Peter Pan…or maybe I am. I was a seamstress today for the first in years. I needed to create two prophet costumes out of burlaps for the up coming kid’s Christmas play (only four days away). The pattern was simple enough to make. When I was in grade four my mom put me in sewing classes, which I loved, but it has been a long time since I actually made anything.

Why do we stop discovering the world in the ways we enjoyed as kids? There are tons of classes and workshops for kids...not as many for adults. My cousins use to go to these cool summer programs, one learned to do magic shows and the other tried claymation. I am jealous of the opportunities and freedom children have to express. There were things that I tried once or twice as a kid that I enjoyed but I was only average (or horrible at) it wouldn’t be profitable to invest in the activity. I miss the freedom to try new things.

As I was picking up thread for prophet costumes I also purchased a meter of stripped fabric I liked. I am going to make something from an original "Liz pattern" (not sure what it is yet but I am excited). I don’t expect to make it on Project Runway but I hope I can rediscover a dormant love. My creative buds are tingling with anticipation…this could be fun or a horrible failure.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cat Tales

The cats have discovered the kitchen counter; I am not impressed. Sunday morning I washed a glass casserole dish to take to church for bible study. Becca was holding the dish in the passenger seat. She gave me a look. I told her I had washed it. She said something like, "oh really?" We held the dish to the light to discover dirt cat prints running across the dish. Someone suggested I could make a large pot of Chicken Chow Meow…tempting.

Any cat lovers have suggestions how I can keep the felines from jumping up on the counter I would love the advice. I’ve tried splashing them with water but it hasn’t helped. I’m going to try orange peels next.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Countdown

Christmas is coming. Kids only have 15 more days to wait. While I understand this is what most people are counting down to there are a few other events that have my attention:

1 hour till the church board annual Christmas party
4 days till the youth Christmas party
6 days till the children’s Christmas pageant
10 days till the year’s last youth nightand

13 days before I fly to Winnipeg and hug my sister and mommy and daddy.

I am going 'home'. This is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Questions Discussed Over Chicken Fingers and French Fries

You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone…As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:24 & 26
A few of the youth have been meeting with me Sunday’s after the morning service for lunch and a bible study on James. Today’s passage was James 2:14-26. There was some good discussion going on the relationship between faith and deeds. The questions the kids struggled to answer was, “if you say you are a Christian, but your life doesn’t show it, you might not really be a Christian.” Is this a true statement and if so, why?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bookworm

Mid-morning I read the final chapter of Sidney Poittier’s Measure of a Man. I was disappointed; I think the reason was I had an impression of what the content would be from reviews and a “Dinner with Sidney Poittier” special on Oprah and it didn’t match the actual book. There were a few parts I enjoyed but overall I was unsatisfied. I’m glad I got it finished because there were more books waiting for me at the library. I currently have the following signed out:

Due Dec 20th
Infidel –Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The God Delusion –Richard Dawkins

Due Dec 29th
A Long Way Gone –Ishmael Beah
God is Not Great –Christopher Hitchens

Due Jan 10th
I Heard that Song
Before –Mary Higgins Clark

Why do all the books on my reading wish list become available at the same time? I am not sure how/if I’ll be able to get all these read before their due dates but at least they waited till after November before coming in. In my favour there are only three chapters left in Captivating and five to go in Disappointed with God. I’ve temporary stopped reading Doug Fields’ Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry (the youth leadership team is going to read it together in the new year). Still there will be much reading in the days ahead.

Lessons From A Month of Novelizing

It seems like NaNoWriMo end months ago, reality (and my calendar) says it has only been a week. I have given myself a chance to breath. In the past seven days I have enjoyed sleeping in, bowling with friends, pie and chai lattes, reading books, and watching movies. And today I realized I miss my story and writing in general. I also found there are two other stories in me wanting to be written. These were a few other lessons I realized because of the writing challenge:

-I love to write.
-Writing never follows the outline.
-Stories write best when ideas are written out fresh, opposed to shared with friends then trying to recover the momentum of the brilliant idea to capture on paper.
-I will participate in NaNoWriMo again next year.
-Rough drafts are always bad.
-Bathtubs are giant sinks. Jeff passed that advice on to me. Thanks Jeff.

I think I am either going to start revising the story I just finished or start one of my ideas after the Children’s Christmas pageant.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thankful Thursday #39

I am thankful for

-finishing NaNoWriMo
-pie
-invitations
-snow days
-cheap chai lattes
-clean, I like clean
-TV nights with Gina and Amy
-good long distance plans
-homemade cookies
-those who help weekly with the church ministries

Movie Night: Enchanted

Saturday night the girls and I went to see Enchanted. I absolutely loved it. It was cheesy and it knew it but that was half of the charm. I loved the group house clean up (and wished that would really work), the singing in the park, and the girl’s shopping conversation. If you have ever enjoyed a Disney princess movie than this is a perfect movie…go see it right now!

Now I realize this isn’t for everyone. Scott’s family went to see it last Tuesday. As the credits began he and Sheri both turned to say how cute it was but before they could their youngest boy stood up, let out a huge sigh and said very loudly, “Well, I am glad that is over. That was the longest movie ever.” He wasn’t into the mushy lovely dovely kissing stuff. So be warned it is a modern girlie fairy tale.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snowbound and Cat Tales

I was running late for everything last month, I blame the novel, so this morning I went out early to clean off the car. The plan was to be early or at least on time…neither happened. Ten minutes early I backed out of my spot down the long driveway, backed in where I always back in to before getting to the drive way enterence and my car was stuck. Both my neighbors did the exact same thing as me and were fine but no no not me. My car wouldn’t move. Dug myself out, tried backing up again, went forward a little only to slide and get more stuck. I gave up and called Scott letting him know I was snowbound.

Turned out to be a good thing not only did I get caught up on a the cleaning I put off last month, I got half way through Measure of a Man, started a puzzle mom gave me last Christmas, and rearranged my room the plow didn’t get to our road till after 2pm so even if I could have got out of the driveway this morning I wouldn’t have gotten very far.

Inu has recently gotten in the habit of sitting on the back of the couch right behind me. Most of the time he just sits and flicks his tale against my neck, which is annoying but livable. The other day, while writing, his little paw touched the top of my head (no claws) and he ran it down to my neck. He then repeated the action a few more times. I had to shake my head, I was being pet by the pet. I think he was just trying to lull me into a false sense of security because now he waits till I least expect it and pounces on my head –no cool.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Off

Everything I did yesterday seemed off or flat. My actions were the same as any other Sunday but something was missing. Nothing felt right, I noticed it during the children’s moment and it was downhill from there. I just didn’t seem to be connecting. I even had two different people ask if everything was okay. The problem was everything was fine. I have no idea what made it off it just was. Driving home after it was over I just had one of those “I wish I wasn’t me” moments…but that was about it.

I’m not looking for validation or complements but I am wondering how do you deal with “off” days especially in ministry?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Final Hour

"You think everyone should agree with your perfect knowledge. While knowledge makes us feel important, it’s love that really builds up the church."
1 Corinthians 8:1 (NLT)

Bevere was good tonight! The final hour on "the eternal importance of humility, the supreme importance of walking in love, and the immeasurable value of your influence." It was a closer look out our own personal influence. I loved what he said about love and humility.

John shared out of his own life how God gave him freedom for pride. While feeling good about himself after overhearing some say how loving and kind he was God said "You don’t love the people in your church." John was, "yes I do. God didn’t you hear what they say about me." The God explained that it was selfishness masked by niceness. He was saying kind things even if they weren’t true because he was afraid of the confrontation. It was the love of self and the fear of rejection that motivated his words. John then went to the opposite extreme for awhile where he’d "fry Christians" with hard messages with out compassion and love. He finished by saying how God brought spiritual freedom from his selfishness into his life.

Other things that stood out to me were, "If we see people below us, we’ll teat them as such. We will take their needs lightly and we’ll speak down to them…If we value individuals, we’ll seek to build and strengthen their lives out of a heart of compassion and love." His given me a lot to think about and more than that there are a few major areas that God pointed at that he wants to deal with, which was painful and good. These are exciting days.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

YAY!

I am still giddy about finishing NaNoWriMo. To celebrate I did not have a slice of pie…I bought a whole pie and went bowling with Gina and Amy. I am really bad at bowling, but it was fun. I am letting the novel sit for awhile, I am going to pick it up in the new year for editing and revisions. If you are interested in reading Lemon Lime: The Adventures of College Roommates (the title may change) it should be available at the end of April 2008. Just let me know that you’re interested. Here’s the super sweet certificate Wrimo winner receive:

Congratulations goes out to Jessica who also reached the 50,000 word count goal. She made some incredible writing leaps the last week making her my NaNoHero. Thanks Jessica for not letting me finish alone.