Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to post again before Christmas so today I want to take the opportunity to wish anyone who might read my spare parts a very Merry Christmas and Christ-filled new year.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
which translated means,
(Matthew 1:21-23)

That, dear friends, is the true meaning of Christmas. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle that we can get caught up in, remember that true peace, true hope and true love are not found in packages, turkey dinners or even in grand parties and gatherings but in the manger. May all the traditions of Christmas point you to the true meaning of Christmas this year. When you look at the gifts under the tree, my you remember the gift the Father sent in His son. When you gather around the table with family and friends, my you know the blessing of living in true, Christ-like community and loving like He loves. When you gaze in awe and wonder at a Christmas tree, may you remember that Christ’s mission was completed on another tree and find yourself resting at the foot of the cross.

In all this, I pray that you will rejoice in the spirit of Christmas which is peace, the miracle of Christmas which is hope, and the heart of Christmas which is love.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Every Good and Perfect Gift

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

I've gone through and 'analyzed' my five love languages many times but not until now have I really considered the giving of gifts as one of mine...until this Christmas. I guess it helps to really pay attention to why you do what you do! One of my favorite things about Christmas is giving good gifts: thinking about the character of the people, picking out something especially suited for them (not necessarily the shopping part although the Christmas atmosphere of the malls really doesn't bother me) and then giving it to them. I guess I've ignored that part of me because I don't want to admit how much I appreciate gifts-both giving and receiving -because in so many ways it seems too selfish.

This year, though, with Christmas only three days away, I've been reminded of the blessing of being on the receiving end of good gifts...good and perfect gifts from the Father above. This year it's more than the typical Christmas thoughts on gifts and giving. This year my family has much to be thankful for.

Amidst all of the 'normal' stress of life, this last week has been exceptionally difficult for my family. First, my grandma, the anchor of our family in many ways, went in for open heart surgery. At 80, it's even rare that they would do such a surgery. It was only because of her incredibly positive spirit that doctors would even consider it. And she is feisty! So far so good, she's come through surgery and is working through the healing process...and we are thankful.

That same day, my grandfather got to my parents' place to find that my dad, working on putting in the ceiling of the new shop, had fallen 12 feet off the scaffolding he was working on and landed on his head - an accident that should have left him dead. After a number of frightening hours, a rushed ambulance trip and a Stars ambulance flight, the neurologist was able to confirm that there was no brain damage; some bruising, swelling, memory loss and aches and pains but all of those will heal...and we are thankful.

In all of these Christmas miracles, as if they weren't enough, I was struck by two things.

First, the blessing of our extended family. We may be a ragtag redneck bunch but we are pretty special to each other and we make sure that it's known. In the midst of tough stuff, no one could ask for a better family than mine!

Most of all, I was the peace that God brings to those who draw near to him. Peace. Every good and perfect gift. From the Prince of Peace.

Making a list...

Okay, so two pearls comics in one day might be overkill...there's just no restraint when it comes to these guys, let's be honest. Perhaps it's in bad taste. Will the puns never end!? Wait for'll get it.

I think this still meets my standard of good posts...I'll ask my momma...

Under the mistletoe

Why Blog?

That's the question that's been asked around the college lately. Why blog? Isn't it like writing all of your thoughts for the public to see? Do you realize anyone can read them? Does it cheapen relationships? It's made for interesting discussion, especially when you throw in a handful of people that, until this conversation opened, didn't really know what a blog is.

Today I found this article on blogging. Just interesting.

So why do I blog? Because I can, really. Because I like to write and it's a good way for me to sort through some of the stuff I'm thinking about when there doesn't seem to be a lot of other avenues to do it...and it's fun to throw random pictures and comics in there once in a while. Until recently, I hadn't thought of it much as connecting, to be honest. I didn't really think too many people would read it but it is fun to know that people do (thanks guys!). I do use reading them that way though - it's fun to read others' posts and consider what they're thinking about. As far as if I'm concerned whether other people read it or not, I know full well that it's a possibility and that it's public. I have no dillusions of anonymity. My theory is this, if my momma can read it and Jesus knows I wrote it, I'm good to go. Nothing to worry about.

Anyway, it's something to ponder...its been good for me to reconsider too. Why do you blog? What are you after? Do you realize that people can read it (even if you think they won't)?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas Production

...and I'm not talking about a pageant!!!

20 Ways to Confuse Santa Claus

So I found this list in a Tim Horton's last night and had a good chuckle. Here's 20 Ways to Confuse Santa...depending on how you choose to spend the holiday, they could come in quite handy!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Missing the Point

I think this whole living intentionally through Christmas is working for me. Keeping me focused, I mean. I had a full on run in with it in the mall yesterday. Yes, I am still doing the Christmas shopping, dodging crowds in the mall thing but I figure (at least this is what I tell myself) that it's because I LOVE to give gifts at Christmas in remembrance of the greatest gift given at Christmas rather than that being caught up in the materialism in the holiday. Okay, back to the story. I was in HMV and they were playing Christmas music. I'm humming away when on comes "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus." I'm not sure who was doing it but it was honestly an arrangement of the traditional birthday song sung to Baby Jesus. Outside of the messed up theology that says He's still a baby (you wouldn't sing 'Happy Birthday Baby Norbert' either...not that I know anyone named Norbert), I smiled thinking about how much closer to the real meaning of Christmas this song was than the many I'd heard earlier in the day. I was startled from my reflection by the cashier and some customers making fun of the song, "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus...yah right. Couldn't come up with any other songs?" and then someone reached for 'skip track' and we were back to Santa Claus, Snowmen and ringing cash registers.

When did we become so cold and blind as a society that we can't even recognize the meaning of Christmas? I realize that not everyone "buys into" the whole meaning of Christmas but to discredit it completely?! It made me sad to think of the holiday many people will be celebrating. For our family and many others, Christmas is a season filled with hope, joy, purpose and meaning. What does a holiday void of Jesus actually bring? Food gets digested, families go seperate ways again and presents eventually lose their lustre and end up in corners and closets. What of lasting value is found in a Christmas without the one true gift?

It makes me thankful for the home I grew up in and the opportunities I've had to see Jesus at work in my life and the lives of those around me. I'm no better than any of the people I passed in the malls yesterday - I've been given a gift worth far more than anything carried in a shopping bag and wrapped in pretty paper. It reminds me to share this gift with others. If I love sharing material gifts, how much more should I love sharing this one? It draws me back, to a manger that became a cradle to a King...Happy Birthday Jesus!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb, "Do you see what I see? Way up in the sky, little lamb, Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night With a tail as big as a kite, With a tail as big as a kite."

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, "Do you hear what I hear? Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song high above the trees With a voice as big as the the sea, With a voice as big as the the sea."

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, "Do you know what I know? In your palace warm, mighty king, Do you know what I know? A Child, a Child shivers in the cold-- Let us bring him silver and gold, Let us bring him silver and gold."

Said the king to the people everywhere, "Listen to what I say! Pray for peace, people, everywhere, Listen to what I say! The Child, the Child sleeping in the night He will bring us goodness and light, He will bring us goodness and light."

Sometimes you hear a Christmas carol a new way and somehow it fits right into what you're thinking of. That was the case for me with this one as I've been caught up in the importance of listening. Do you hear what I hear? Listen to what I say. It was lines like that that have moved me into thinking of listening at Christmas.

We talk about Christmas being a "noisy" season. I know it's not just Christmas but somehow in the hustle and bustle, it seems that way. I don't know that listening is a skill the we practice nearly enough!

Do you hear what I hear?

I want to hear God speak. I want to know what He has in store for me and what He has planned for his people. I want to hear his invitations to be a part of specific kingdom work and I want to be ready for the opportunities to serve him and share about him. I want to know who he is. I want to hear his heartbeat for his children and match mine to his so that I can love the way that he does. To do that, I need to listen. As I read Scripture and it speaks to me. As I hear the still small voice of God. As I get to know him better and learn to hear his voice. I need to listen.

But there's more. This week especially, I've been confronted with the necessity of listening to what's going on around me, particularily as it relates to sharing the joy of Christmas. I've been thinking about how listening to what's happening in culture, about awareness, and how incredibly important that is for understanding the context to which Jesus comes, rather than to our own assumptions of what the world looks like. I've been thinking about how important it is to listen to the individual heart cry of the people around us we have opportunity to share with and realizing that it's so much more about seeing how Jesus is the answer to the questions they're asking as opposed to the questions I'm assuming their asking. It's about listening to what the needs of the community around me is and serving that way, sometimes sacrificially, as opposed to the way that I'm comfortable with or have time for.

Kingdom work, I'm learning is about using my ears even when I want to use my mouth.

It's not just about what I say but what I don't say.

It's about how well people feel like they're heard, and therefore valued in my presence.

I'm trying to listen. I'm working on it.

Do you hear what I hear?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Quote from Steve's blog

God became a man for this purpose: since you, a human being, could not reach God, but you can reach other humans, you might now reach God through a man. And so the man Christ Jesus became the mediator of God and human beings.

God became a man so that following a man—something you are able to do—you might reach God, which was formerly impossible to you.

—St. Augustine

Current Read

Shogun, James Clavell

On the recommendation of my good friend Sean, I've picked up what apparently is a modern day classic, copywrite 1975. That's older than me!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Prince of Peace

It seems that a theme has developed in my life as I walk through the advent season: peace. Perhaps it's because more than anything, this is what I long for. Perhaps it's a return to the truth and life of Christmas. Perhaps it's because, in looking at Christ, one cannot help but find peace.

He is the Prince of Peace.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderfu, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6



Mighty God

The everlasting Father

The Prince of Peace.

Who would have thought that a babe born in a stable would wear such a title or bring such a promise?

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Phillippians 4:7

Through Christ, at Christmas and throughout the year, we are promised the peace of God.

And so, each Christmas, we sing:

"Peace on the earth,
good will to men,
from Heaven's all gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

(Edmund Hamilton Sears, from 'It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.')

Friday, December 08, 2006

Silent Night

Not only is this my favorite Christmas carol, I just heard this week that, when surveyed, it is the favorite Christmas carol of our nation. Interesting.

What is it about this carol that has touched the heart of Canadians?

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright...

For me there's memories attached to this song so I'm a little biased but I think that this well-loved carol carries something nostaligic, something peaceful.


When it comes down to it, isn't that what Christmas is about? Peace. A child coming to bring peace to a world at odds with it's creator. God reaching down to restore relationship with those He loves.


Isn't that what our world is longing for?

A while back, I heard a story that took place in Germany during world war II. It was Christmas Eve. Troops from both sides fought straight through the holiday season. Night had fallen and the firing had stopped for the evening and soldiers huddled in the trenches likely thinking about their families at home and of Christmases past, wondering if they would see home again. Some were likely thinking of the significance of the season and praying for peace. It was in this context that one lone soldier began to sing: "Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright..." It didnt take long before the voice of other soldiers joined the one. In the temporary quiet of a war ravaging the country side, there was a moment of peace in which many voices in many languages rose together in harmony. It was a moment when enemies became brothers and barriers of nations fell. It didn't take long before a celebration broke out in the space between the opposing trenches. These men that only hours before had been looking down the barrels of guns at eachother were now toasting eachother, celebrating the holiday season and laughing together like brothers.

One one silent night, in the calm of the storm, in a world at war with itself, a child was born to bring bring peace and so we sing, "Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright..."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Moose is Loose

If you understand the title of this post, you're either old (just face it head on) or an avid Edmonton hockey fan.

Here's what I found out today:

The Edmonton Oilers announced today that Mark Messier’s #11 will be raised to the rafters of Rexall Place on Tuesday, February 27th, joining the retired numbers of teammates Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey and Al Hamilton. This signature Oilers event, which is presented by Rexall in association with Cold-FX, will celebrate Messier’s stellar NHL career on a night when another Oilers legend, Wayne Gretzky, brings his Phoenix Coyotes to town.

Mark Messier wrapped up a spectacular 25-season NHL career with 6 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, 2 Hart Trophy’s, 2 Lester B. Pearson Awards, and a lengthy list of hockey achievements. Messier ranks second on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,887 points, seventh in goals with 694, third in assists with 1,193, and second in games played with 1,756.As an Edmonton Oiler, Messier is the fourth highest career scorer for the team, amassing 392 goals and 642 assists for 1,034 points in 851 games played. He was selected 48th overall in the third round of the 1979 NHL entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers, and was a major contributor in all five of the Oilers Stanley Cup Championships in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.

“I’m honored that the Oilers will be raising my number to the rafters of Rexall Place, alongside some of my best friends and teammates,” said Mark Messier. “I have so many good memories of my time in Edmonton, and was part of an incredible hockey dynasty. I look forward to coming home and sharing this great experience with my family, friends, and the fans.”

“I have believed for some time now that the Oilers had a group of outstanding players during what was a very unique period in the history of the NHL. But there were two players who had a reverberating impact, which is still felt today,” said Kevin Lowe, General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. “Wayne Gretzky for his unbelievable artistry and significant game changing style, and Mark Messier who epitomized the words fierce, leadership, and competitor every single day, and especially when he stepped on the ice. I continue to believe two things about Mark Messier - and we went through a great deal together, arriving in Edmonton as boys and remaining friends all these years later. His impact lingers every day in the Oilers dressing room. The spirit of Mark is etched there forever. That same impact is also prevalent in the NHL. The spirit of what Mark Messier brought to the game, stays in the game.”

Congrats to the Moose and thanks for the glory's why I'm an Edmonton fan today!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chick's Got Skillz

New Through the Speakers

So this may be old news to most folks, but, thanks to iTunes, I found new music over the weekend. As is classic Stacey style, once I've found something good, I MUST share. The guy is Paolo Nutini from Scotland (yet another reason why Scotland is one of my #1 places to visit!) and is recommended for people that enjoy guys like John Mayer (who, by the way put out a great album in Contiuum).

For advent

Being intentional about Christmas. Thoughtfully approaching the season. Purposefully remembering to bring the Gospel into our Christmas celebration. Living in the joy of the Virgin Birth. That's how I want to spend this Christmas season. One of the ways I want to do that this season is to keep up a little bit of an advent blog. Why? Because I'm a bit of a helps me organize my thoughts. Because Steve did it a couple of years ago and I truly appreciated his thoughts. Because Tasha will get after me if I go too long between posts and will keep me accountable. Christmas in community for me.

So the last couple days I've been thinking about advent and what that means. Growing up in the church, we've always had the advent wreath and lit the purple candles on the four Sundays prior to Christmas. I didn't really question it - which is odd for me - but I don't think I've ever fully understood what it was all about. My mom bought us advent calendars - she would send me one when I was away at college so that I wouldn't miss out - and even though I knew it was important and had to do with the meaning of Christmas, I was just happy to have my daily dose of chocolate! Of course, with my personality, I can only be content with that for so long and so here I am, contemplating the meaning of advent.

So far, I've put a few things together. From what I know about the English language (it's more than it sometimes sounds!), the word "advent" means beginning, coming, or preparation. So, in my mind, putting it all together, the advent of Christmas would be the 'coming of Christmas' or 'preparing for Christmas.' See, I'm on my way already.

At Journey, we're celebrating advent as a family. Now, if Advent is preparing for Christmas, I'd say this Sunday was a good start. Troy's teaching time was titled "redefining Superman" and he basically spoke in monologue type from the perspective of a jr. high Jewish boy living shortly after Jesus. From this boy's perspective, he retold the Gospel, the whole life of Jesus, including all of the boy's thoughts on his birth, his life, his ministry, his death, the fortelling of his coming as told by the prophets and the Jewish people's understanding of what that should look like compared to what it did. It was fascinating.

It was so refreshing to look at the entire life of Jesus at Christmas time. The birth of a baby in a manger is only a part of the story that is the wonder of Christmas. Immanuel. God with Us as a child, a Son, a man, a Messiah, a sacrifical lamb, and a Savior. We have the privilege of knowing how the story finishes when we're looking at the beginning and, unlike an abused children's story, it only makes it better!

The thing is that the Jews, anyone who knew prophecy, were expecting something completely different. Jesus was unexpected, unassuming, and unpredictable in his birth and his entire ministry. Who would have thought that the child would grow up to die as a criminal on a cross, a sacrifice, and in that would restore something so broken by sin? If I were plotting to takeover the world, that's not the way I would have done it. Yet God knew.

I think in all of my contemplation over the weekend, the thing that has struck me the most is the prophecy and the fullfillment of it that we see through Scripture. How detailed a plan was this that it could be foretold hundreds of years in advance!? Psalms. Isaiah. Zechariah. Detailed images of how the King would come. Nothing was left to chance or by accident. Nothing was out of the sphere of influence of our God. That, in my mind, is a reason for peace at Christmas!

The 'biggness' and mystery of my God amazes me!

And so as I prepare for Christmas, instead of stressing out, I choose to walk through the season with one picture in mind: an image of a King who has it all in control but gave it up as a gift for many.

For anyone else who wants to find out more about advent, here's an advent website

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Countdown to Christmas

I love Christmas. I'm one of those people who doesn't mind that Christmas decorations have been up in the mall for weeks already and who has had Christmas carols playing as soon as I could get away with it. I WILL put up a Christmas tree and see no reason to wait for December 1st, to begin revelling in the season. I love the lights, the songs, the eggnogg, the laughter, the traditions, the time with family, and, most of all, that each day of it is a reminder of the best gift of all, a child born in Bethlehem.

Now that it is December, my goal is to take a walk through the Christmas season and intentionally think through the things that we do, remembering that the focus is not commercialism but Christ.

Today, I found an article from Radiant Magazine that I wanted to share. It explains some of the origins of some of the things we do...

The Season of Superstitions
By Cara Davis

Now that local radio stations have started to play non-stop Christmas songs, do you ever wonder how some of our seasonal songs came to be? Or what “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” has to do with the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ? What many don’t realize is the same question could be asked of Christmas itself. What does Christmas have to do with the birth of Jesus? Strangely, almost very little. If you trace the history of Christmas, you’ll find that this cultural celebration is filled with just as much superstition and folklore as Halloween! Hold on to your cider, here are some top Christmas myths and superstitions.

When Christmas Isn’t Christmas
During the first three centuries after Jesus’ birth, Christmas wasn’t in December. It wasn’t even on the calendar at all! reports that the birth of Jesus was originally celebrated along with Epiphany, one of the earliest established feasts. However, many church leaders opposed the idea of a birthday celebration at all because the culture celebrated birthdays of pagan gods and rulers like Pharaoh and Herod.It was only after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the empire’s favored religion that Christmas was celebrated on Dec. 25, in the year 336. That date also played host to two festivals surrounding the worship of the sun, including the winter solstice.The winter solstice was seen as an especially evil time, so as centuries passed, people would gather in one another’s homes for protection, according to Folklore and superstition would develop over the years, as people would participate in a number of charms and rituals thought to ward away evil spirits.

Decorating Against Witches
Holly and mistletoe were brought into homes, thought to protect against witches and lightning. Mistletoe was also thought to be a cure for poison, epilepsy, barrenness and whopping cough. Ivy was considered back luck inside the house, but good luck growing outside of the house as protection. Evergreens brought from the church were especially lucky. Some would keep them up in the house year-round.

Eat, Drink and Stay Single!
If pudding was being made for Christmas dinner, each member of the household was to stir the mixture three times to ensure the prosperity of the family. If an unmarried girl didn’t take her turn stirring, she could forget about finding a husband in the coming year.

Good Ol’ St. Nick
Stockings were hung over the fireplace in remembrance of St. Nicholas, who by legend tossed gold coins down the chimney of three unmarried women, who were being courted but had no dowries. The coins (which miraculously fell into stockings hung by the chimney) supplied the dowry and secured their right to marry.Another “miracle” was attributed St. Nicholas when, by oral tradition, he saved his hometown of Myra from starvation by seizing grain off a ship. The stolen cargo was never reported missing, so it was counted as miraculous. St. Nicholas died on December 6, 345 or 352, according to tradition was passed down, the Feast of St. Nicholas was established on Dec. 6, until church reformers banned the feast in favor of an alternate celebration of the Christ child, or Christkindlein, who reportedly brought gifts to children on Christmas Eve, much like St. Nicholas. This character eventually developed into “Kriss Kringle,” who is identified as the mythical Nicholas figure as well.

Christmas = Xmas?
So what about the word "Christmas" itself? Many are offended when the word is abbreviated as “Xmas,” but that term is neither modern nor disrespectful, according to The origin of the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ” is “chi.” The Greek letter is represented by a symbol similar to the letter “X.” The abbreviation was not used to take the “Christ” out of “Christmas.” However, many still prefer not to use it.

And Finally, A Pop Quiz!
These are just a few of the superstitions and folklore that surround what has become a secular, commercial celebration. Take the time to read the Bible’s Christmas story (Matthew 1-2) this season. You get extra credit if you identify this statement as true or false: The Bible says three wise men traveled from afar on camels to visit the infant Jesus as He lay in the manger.

Cara Davis, editor of Radiant, is celebrating the reason for the season in warm and sunny Florida, where it doesn’t feel like Christmas.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pictures are Posted!

For anyone who cares, a whole bunch of pictures taken on my last work trip in Ontario with the Christian College and University Fairs are now posted in my shutterfly collection.

As if by looking at that adorable shot you could resist checking out the rest of them!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why I Try To Avoid the Doctor

Thursday, November 23, 2006

HAPPY THANKSGIVING all of my American friends! Enjoy!

Hope comes in the morning

From my morning reading:

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling." Ephesians 1:18

The contrast between what we see ourselves to be and what God's Spirit promises we will be like blinding sunlight striking the eyes as the shades of a darkened room are suddenly raised. But the power and blessing of God are intended for you!

That's power - the power of God both birthing and bringing about. It's God at work in human clay, shaping, molding, and fashioning until the earthdust of our humanity becomes a treasure chest of diving wealth.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How Sweet It Is!

The battle of Alberta. The clash of the titans. The war of the worlds. Okay, so maybe it's not that big of a deal but as an Edmonton fan living in Calgary, anytime that the Oilers and the flames meet, it's a big deal.

It's even better when Edmonton comes out on top!

Thanks Sykora, Roli (my hero) and the rest of the boys in blue! Today, I'm a happy lady!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CCUF Final Thoughts

So I was cruising some of my favorite blogs - yes, I read yours - when I came across my friend Tim's blog about the fairs. I couldn't have said it better myself. Here's his final CCUF thoughts.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Current Read

Revolution Of Character, Dallas Willard and Don Simpson

As one of my fellow CCUF travelers said, it's one of those spiritual formation type books. Go figure.

Past Reads

Last Light, Terry Blackstock

Night Light, Terri Blackstock

I've read these in the last couple of days on the recommendation of a few friends. Interesting concept...

But I Like The Cookie!!!

This is one of my favorite scenes from Over the Hedge...once I found it, I had to share!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Home, home on the range...

Back on the prairies. Back in cowtown. My own house. My own bed. It's funny, reflecting on it, it doesn't seem like it's only been 10 days that I've been gone. We filled the days so full that it seems like I've been gone so much longer. It's like getting on the plane in the airport in Calgary (or off in Toronto) sent me into some sort of timewarp in which time moved in a much different way, only to be corrected when I got back on the plane in Ottawa and landed again in Calgary.

Coming home is definitely something I've met with mixed feelings. I know I've said it before but there's something great about the community that's built on the fairs. It's there that I find that I have peers. it's also on the road that I find parts of my job that I'm really good at and respected for...things I don't always see at home. It's funny because it always takes me a little bit of time to get warmed up to the idea of going away again, especially on this fall stretch. It's like I forget just how much fun it is until I get there and am back in the middle of it's a nice break away from the daily grind of the office.

My top 10 2006 CCUF East Highlights

1. As always, I am blessed by the recruiters and other enrollment personnel from across the country. Peers and friends. If any of you are ever in Calgary, you have a friend in me...can anyone name that song?
2. Starbucks...or, as I mentioned earlier, St. Arbucks.
3. My roommate, Steph.
4. Having my eyes opened to new possibilities.
5. Students and parents searching for next steps...and the role I get to play in it whether they come to ABC or not
6. Seeing God answer prayers in many ways.
7. Great coffee (or should I say Oh So Good coffee) in Ottawa. Thanks for the inside scoop, Tim. The Indian restaurant was amazing too! I guess it shouldn't surprise me seeing as how we were separated at birth and all!
8. My new scarf from a street vendor in Ottawa...oh, and the tea store!
9. Taking pictures, especially Ottawa at night.
10. My funny plane trip home. Quick steward and I got chatting. He asked me if I was part of a youth group and somehow in conversation it came out that he thought I was 17. Sorry, just 10 years off. Anyway, it started this whole bet with the flight attendants about how old I actually was. I guess the guy that was the closest won $1 on my old age! I should be flattered considering I had only had 2.5 hours of sleep the night before after 10 days of travel and had almost poured all my water from my waterbottle on the floor at the security gate of the airport out of frustration!

Okay, I said that I would only use 10 but I just have one more that needs to be included.

11. The answers to the question of the day. While some days I racked my brain to find questions, it was continually a privilege to hear the answers of my fellow travelers and get to know them better by their responses. Yes, I know, I'm obviously too relational for my own good sometimes. So many good conversations came out of this. One that really surprised me was Friday's question. I had specifically saved it all week:

If money wasn't an issue but you still had to work a 40 hour work week, what would you do with your time?

Basically, this was an opportunity to give in to the passions and dreams on our hearts. A couple said they'd stay recruiting and that made me happy. While there are ways this could be integrated into my current job, I knew my answer easily. I would love to do something that got me mentoring, discipling and much more deeply involved in spiritual the life journey of those around me. What surprised me was my passionate response when talking with Nathan. It was then that I realized that I would specifically like to use this to encourage and build into the lives of young women and girls. I saw so many students on this trip dying for something more, lacking in confidence and struggling to find some purpose in life. I wonder how many of them doubted their worth and feared for them - what ways would they strive to find worth and to bury the doubt they feel? It rips at my heart. Yes, I ended up in tears it ended up so close to home. The thing is, each girl I met is a valuable, captivating daughter of the King and I want them to know that...and then I want to help them find their place in His Kingdom work.

Okay, that's enough for now. You'd think after talking all week, I'd be a little more at a loss for words. Afraid not.

*I was going to post pics but blogger is acting up again. I'll get them in asap!

Gridblog: Seize the Day

Okay, Tim, so I'm a little late on this - it's not Friday - but hopefully it's a better late than never sort of can't scare me away that easy.

Seizing the Day. Living in death's light. Living today...and loving it.

I wish I could say that this is where I live. That each day is lived in such a way that I would be satisfied if it were my last but I'm not, at least not as completely as I would like to.

I think of my grandma. Every time I see her, she talks to me about being thankful to live another day. After all she's been through in the last several years of her life, she realizes that each day is a gift from God.

I struggle with that right now. Whether it's that life just seems so hard or just so far from what I'd hoped it would be, I'm not living with near the God-focused contenment I wish that I could. Right now, life feels like a day by day, step by step trudge, an uphill battle with boots that are too big, carrying a load far beyond my strength...and so each day I come to Jesus and pray that he'll sustain me, knowing in my head, if not my heart, that He is far more able than I could ever ask of imagine.

See, here's the thing. As much as it's a struggle, I'm still struggling. I'm still looking to Him and trying to focus on the things that I'm thankful for. A while back I posted about being thankful. Right now, that's how I work to live today. Being thankful for all things, the big and the small. Each night, I make a list of the things I'm thankful for. I have a friend who asks me often, holding me accountable to living a life of thanksgiving. At the end of my life, when all is said and done, at the very least, I want to be known as someone who is thankful.

Right now, I think if I'm intentionally thankful, the rest of it will come...the contentment, the strength, the joy and peace that only God can bring. Only by living my life in His shadow will I ever truly be ready to live life in death's shadow...and be able to seize the day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Couldn't have said it better myself!

We watched Mission Impossible III the other day and found a great quote.

"It's completely unacceptable that chocolate makes you fat."


Gridblog...the return

Okay, it's been a while since we've done a gridblog. For those of you who are new to this whole thing, we pick a topic and blog on it on Friday. It's a chance to do some discussion even though we're not in the same place. Join in. We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Here's this week's topic:

“Living in light of death” or “Carpe Diem” or “Sieza le day” or “In Remembrance.”

See you tomorrow (providing I've got internet access on this wild and wooly road trip).

Monday, November 13, 2006

My life's ambition

So today's question of the day was this: if you could have been cast in any movie, what would it be? It could be a cameo appearance just to get you on the set or you could go ahead and take over the lead roll. Remember, you're acting the part, not living it (big difference!).

This lead to a bunch of interesting conversation although don't they all!? Anyway, I had a hard time deciding what movie I would want to play a part in. Top Gun? Tomb Raider if it meant I got to tour some of the set locations and do some of the amazing stunts...providing I was in good enough shape. Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings just because I think being a part of the process would be so cool.

And then it came...Finding Nemo. Cars. Little Mermaid. Shrek.


How cool would that be!?

People say that I look like Cameron Diaz and if she can do it (a la Shrek) than so can I!!

So there you have it. My new life's ambition. I want to voice a wait, it sounds better if you say animated film. Yes. That's what I want to do when I grow up.

Welcome St. Arbucks*...

...patron saint of all things caffeiney, milkey, caremelly, and (at Christmas time) gingerbready goodness.

A welcome guest on our bus trip today!

*Thanks to Joe for the new name!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On the Road Again

Yup, on the road again - not the Willy Nelson song but it's my life. Currently in snowy Barrie, ON for the Eastern portion of the Christian College and University Fairs. It seems to always snow when I'm here. It didn't start until after the evening and so it didn't have any affect on our event today...still lots of interesting people to chat with. Other than that, it's pretty safe to say that so far the trip has been good...did I mention flying into TO with Lanny McDonald on a trusty Westjet plane? He was going to the Hockey Hall of Fame inductions this weekend.

The one thing that really surprised me when we got here is just how much this seems like home; "this" being this group of people. I only see most of them on these tours and yet in many ways I feel more at home and more myself here than anywhere else. Perhaps its the shared experiences of both travel and work. Perhaps its that we're all brothers and sisters in Christ. All I know is that I am thankful for these friends and am looking forward to enjoying the good times ahead.

Happy Belated Birthday

To all my childhood friends on Sesame Street - they celebrated their 37th birthday yesterday!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I Live By Grace

Silently Affecting Others For Christ. Check out this article by Gary Thomas.

Starbucks anyone?

The funny thing about this cartoon is that it showed up taped to my office door thanks to some anonymous newspaper cutter-outer...I didn't do it. Even better is that I had this same conversation with a friend of mine not that long ago...why is it that a tall is a tall if really it's a small?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Congrats, Keith

One of my favorites, Keith Urban, won male entertainer of the year at last night's CMA awards while Rascal Flatts, another fav, won group of the year!

Here's the rest of the award winners.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bond, James Bond

All I have to say is:

Casino Royale

Nov. 17, 2006

Who's with me?!

In the news...

It seems like this has been a long time coming and yet here it is in the news. Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity on Sunday and sentenced to hang for the 1982 killing of 148 Shia Muslims in a town north of Baghdad. I don't know how I feel about capital punishment but I am grateful to know that the reign of tyranny at the hands of this man has been many will follow in his foot steps is yet to be seen.

Welcome, little friend

My good friends, Fred, Tasha, and Samantha Best
Nathan Mark Best
into their family this past Friday, November 3, 2006.
He weighed 8lbs 7 oz
and is perfect!
As I looked down at him, holding him my arms, I couldn't help but think of the Psalmists words in Psalm 139, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be," and be thankful.
*Tash, I hoped the pic was safe to post since you already had it online...if you want me to change it, let me know!

Coffee Art

Even my good friends at Starbucks don't serve it up like this!

I Love Football

Especially when turnover mad riders stun the stamps - if it's not the Eskies, a girl can still go Green! Besides, it's NOT the Stamps - and I get to watch a fourth quarter thriller in the East - even if it was the Argos that pulled it out. Wouldn't it have been something to watch a Winnipeg-Saskatchewan Grey Cup. I would have loved it. Mmmm.....Grey Cup! I love being Canadian!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Heather and I have mice in our garage. I'm not talking cute little mickey-mouse type mice. Not Stewart Little. Nope. Just plain old rodents. Truthfully, they've been there for a while but we pretty much just hoped that they'd go away. No such luck. Last night, however, we came home to find that our peanut-butter baited traps were quite effective...two mousetraps, two dead mice. We got 'em. The problem is that now we have to get them out of the traps and set them again. Now I may be a farmgirl, I'm willing to kill them with a broom if I have to, and I don't crawl up on the table when they run by but somehow the idea of possibly touching one, even a dead one, to let it out of the trap, completely grosses me out. I guess a girl's got to do what a girl's got to's to two more dead mice tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's So Scary

I hope everyone is recovering from their post-Halloween sugar hangover. Once again, the little kiddies were out in full force getting treats and playing tricks...although neither happened at our house!

In honor of the "holiday," I figured it would be worth sharing some of the scary Halloween trivia I found over the last 24 hours.

  • Halloween is the second highest spending holiday for North Americans, second only to Christmas
  • Halloween ranks 8th on the list of card sending holidays. Who sends cards on Halloween is what I want to know?! (You can admit it if you're a card sender.) Seriously, I don't want cards when there's that much chocolate around!
  • British Columbia is the province that will spend the most on Halloween
  • Quebec is the province that will spend the least
  • Only 54 days left until Christmas...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Current Read

Kitchen Table Counseling: A practical and bibilical guide for women helping others, Muriel Cook and Shelly Volkhardt

Question of the Day part II

Okay, so I posted my questions/anwers and now I need to think up MORE question for the Ontario tour...HELP!!!

Anyone got any questions?

Question of the Day

One of the "roles" that I adopted as leadership on the Christian College and University fairs was providing the question of the day. Seriously, it came about totally by accident. Let me explain. Julie and I had been asking random questions on the bus, one of them being 'if you were an animal, what would you be and why?' That sort of random. Well, that night at our event, I decided we needed something fun to distract us so I asked EVERYBODY. All the recruiters and even some of the students. It was a fun distraction - fun for me to see the conversations spurred on because of my randomness but also interesting to learn about my fellow travellers. You can learn a lot about someone by asking something that random! From that night on, of course, they expected a question at every venue...not that I minded all that much.

Of course, they expected me to have answers to the questions I asked too. Go figure. In my current state of self reflection, it was interesting for me to find that I learned a bit about myself by my answers.

Question: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

Answer: No, I'm not a flamingo and I won't stand on one leg so you can decide!I decided that I would be a koala bear (or a panda bear) because they are soft, cuddly and cute ('cause I'm cute) but feisty when they need to be. Plus, they eat relatively healthy stuff and live in warm places. I like warm. One of the girls added that they're a somewhat motherly too. I could add that to my description. They don't call me 'momma stacey' around the college for nothing!

Question: If your life is a TV show, what would the theme song be?

Answer: "Waiting for the World To Change" John Mayer, from the Continuum album...'cause I'm resltess and feel like I am waiting for the world to change...looking for my part in the process

Question: If you were a cartoon character, who would you be and why? Which cartoon character best reflects your personality?

Answer: I choose nemo. I like a little bit of adventure and am more than a little bit curious, asking "why" and learning all I can. Like Nemo, I feel lost and lonely a lot of the time but I know my daddy (abba Father) is always looking out for me.

So does anyone want to share their answers to these questions? I'm curious now. Or, if you have a good question, I might just be game!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

CCUF west photos

Okay so I finally got the pictures up...even before I got my laundry done!

They're in three parts but are all at the same spot.

If you still have photos for me to add, just email them over and I'll get them included.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Gridblog Mystery

Okay guys, so I've been away for a while and haven't had much opportunity to be snooping around the blog world to find out what's been going on. I confess, I've missed a couple Fridays. However, now that I'm home and it's Friday, I've realized that there just doesn't seem to be a topic for me to ramble on about. I don't have any question ideas right now but would sure love to chat with y'all about something...any ideas? Gridblog topic anyone?

Current Read

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger

CCUFairs West

I'm home again after travelling Western Canada with the Christian College and University fairs. I've been back in my office listening to the sounds of students in the halls. It's good to know that some things never change.

Anyway, it was a great trip! What a privilege to travel with 30 brothers and sisters in Christ from across the country who are also involved in the same work - recruiting for Christian higher education. I could say so much but it's probably safer to let the pictures do the talking. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Well, once again blogger is causing issues as I try to post pictures. Pretty quick, you'll be able to see more at my shutterfly account.

Current Read

Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose, Robin McGraw

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Only In Abbotsford

Maybe it's just me, but I've never, ever seen these before:

Lay's potatoe chips in Curry flavor!!!!

I thought it was the funniest fabulous friend Kelly figured there was a blog post coming here it is!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Westward bound

Well, so far we've been in 3 provinces and only have one more to go. I don't know how many miles via bus this. All I know is that it's been 8 venues, lots of days on the bus and I don't know how many miles, far too many Denny's meals, lots of granola bars, church on the bus, praying together, laughing together, chatting together, just plain old being together as recruiters who understand what this life is about, and coffee. Phew! I'm tired...and there's more fun to be had!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Congrats Smytty!

Okay, so, preparing for teaching the professional development sessions on Thursday night, I missed the Edmonton-San Jose game. While I was sad to miss the game, I knew I needed to work on the session (which, by the way was such a good thing for me). I didn't realize how much I'd missed until our orientation meeting with the whole team on Friday night, when I heard, from a friend of mine who had been at the game that:

Ryan Smyth scores a natural hat trick, the fastest hat trick in Edmonton Oiler history, just over 2 minutes, beating Wayne Gretzky's previous record, scoring his 500th and 501st career goals and helping the Oilers take the lead! Seriously! How do I miss these things!? Not to mention that they came from behind 4-1 to win it 6-4 and that San Jose, favored to win the cup, just creamed Calgary earlier in the week. I hate missing things like that...

But I wouldn't have minded missing this! The Eskies lost to Toronto again to sucessfully eliminate themselves from the playoffs. That stops the longest run of successive playoff appearances in the CFL at 24 years. How do you go from winning the Grey Cup one year to missing the playoffs the next?!

Ah, at least there's hockey. I'm off to watch Edmonton and the Avalanche in my hotel room!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Goin' to Winnipeg...

Say it like the commercial. Come on, you know you want to. Yup, going to Winnipeg. Actually, I'm here and it's cold. Not just "Winterpeg" cold like some people call it but "Winderpeg" cold. Because of my slight stature, people sometimes joke that a good strong wind would blow me away. I didn't believe that was possible. Now I do. Me and a whole cart of luggage, boxes and display material. It can be done. And it's cold. Did I say that already!? There's even some of that white stuff on the know what I'm talking momma told me not to use the "s" word or she'd wash my mouth out with soap.

Things are coming together. Tomorrow Tim Kantel (the amount of similarities between the two of us are kindof freaky actually!) and I are going to present for the day. Who would have thought just 3 years ago that I'd be teaching people how to do my job!? Not I! Wish me luck. Off to prepare...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On the Road Again...

Could be an old country song...or it could be my life. Sometimes I feel like a travelling salesman...oh wait a minute...hmmm...okay, if anyone's interested, here's my travelling plans for the next couple weeks. I'm off with the Christian College and University Fairs. Here we go...

Thursday, Oct 12 Calgary to Winnipeg…travel and prep
Friday, Oct 13 Winnipeg Pro-D Training Day for 1st Year Recruiters
Saturday, Oct 14 Winnipeg Grant Memorial Baptist church
Sunday, Oct 15 Regina Celebration Lutheran Church
Monday, Oct 16 Saskatoon Saskatoon Christian School (2 events)
Tuesday, Oct 17 Saskatoon to Edmonton…driving day, pro-D sessions, etc
Wednesday, Oct 18 Edmonton Millwoods Christian School (2 events)
Thursday, Oct 19 Lethbridge Park Meadows Baptist Church
Friday, Oct 20 Calgary Masters Academy
Saturday, Oct 21 Calgary First Alliance Church
Sunday, Oct 22 Kelowna Trinity Baptist Church
Monday, Oct 23 Burnaby Carver Christian High
Abbotsford Northview Community Church
Tuesday, Oct 24 Surrey Pacific Academy Christian School
Wednesday, Oct 25 Abbotsford to Calgary…flying home!

What's interesting is that on this one, I'm more than just a representative for Alberta Bible College. I'm also representing Christian Higher Education as a whole. I'm representing, for a lot of the people that I'll meet, obedience to Christ and submission to his will when that my look much different than what the world expects. I'm also a leader among my peers. This time, I'll even be a bit of a teacher (I hope!). I feel the responsibility of this and am excited by the challenge.

I'm sure I'll have stories and pictures to post along the way!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It was so nice outside on Sunday that I made my family take pictures. We haven't done family pictures in forever! Look how cute we are!!

My sister, Tara.

Me! My brother took it and I'm convinced he's a miracle worker. I don't typically find myself overly photogenic but I actually like this picture!

My brother, Cody.

I've said it before but this year I'm reminded again just how thankful I am for my family.