Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Pics

Here are a few pictures I took during the Christmas season so far.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I am writing this from the corner of a condo. Around me are four little girls scrambling for the rest of the glitter for their craft projects, and giggeling in a way that only those excited for Christmas could. There's jazz music playing through the tv, Christmas tunes of course. There's a very tiny Christmas tree behind me, piled precariously on top of the pile of gifts, that have somehow survived the four hour drive up here.

Some people have been telling me over the past few days about all the wonderful traditions that they enjoy with their families. Our family has our own traditions, that vary every year, because we are always in a different place. I honestly had to rack my brains for something I could share. Now, sitting here with all the crazyness surrounding me, I remember.

Every year my mom does stockings. Now I know that most people do stockings, and that might not be a unique tradition, but it's something we all appreciate so much. She wraps every indiviual gift, and finds room for them in the stockings that my grandma hand sewed. Each of us has our own stocking, with our name and a picture cross stitched onto it. Mom and I have spent many evenings together trying to come up with ways to wrap toothbrushes, chocolates, and socks. One year, I wrapped everything in the shape of a cow.....I even drew faces on them. Don't ask me how, I honestly don't know....all I know is that every year that gets brought up.

Every year there is one present wrapped completely in duct tape. I'm not entirely sure where this started, but I have a feeling it was a result of one of my Boessenkool uncles. There has been an ongoing feud to see who can make the present the most difficult to unwrap. One year, as revenge for a paricularily difficult wrapping job, my father presented my uncle with his present. Completely surrounded, with a happy face taunting him to just try to get at the insides. I don't think that cement block ever did get opened.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

ps. If you are reading this Christmas Day, get off your computer and sing a carol. At the top of your lungs. It's fun.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Imaginations and Dinosaurs

Have you ever had one moment that changed the whole mood of your day? Something that made you smile, not only with your mouth, but with every fiber in your body?

I had something like this yesterday while in the mall finishing up my Christmas shopping.

There was a small boy with his mother and grandmother in the same store I was. Both mom and grandma looked exhausted, and I can hardly blame them, the mall was swarming with people desperate to find the perfect gift that might put them on any person's good side.

At first I noticed that he seemed to be looking at me quite a lot, and he even waved a few times as though we had somehow met before. Then he gave me the most serious look a four year old boy could muster and said
" I am looking for dinosaurs!"
I gave him the biggest grin I could come up with and told him that was an awesome idea.
He smiled at me, and then his mother pushed him away in his red car cart, and I continued looking for my gifts.
I happened to be behind them again in the line and he looked at me, recognized me as the person he had talked to before.
He looked up at me with those big, curious eyes and told me again of his quest for dinosaurs.
I smiled at him again, and then my heart melted with his next words.
" Do you want one? I think they'd like you"

Of course, I was all for that!! So I told him he could find me one.
He bunched up his little fingers into binoculars and began to look around for one of his friends.
He turned to me, and said, all business:
" I've found you one, she's up by the roof. She's a little shy, but I'll call her down, and tell her you're a friend"
I watched as he cupped his hands around his mouth and began to whisper with all the urgency he could muster. Then he pointed at the ground by my feet and said very quietly
" There, she came. She's by your feet, please don't forget to feed her"

By this time his mother had realized what was going on, and apologized again and again, telling me how frustrating it was that he just talked to everyone. I assured her that it was completely fine. She began yelling at her son about talking to strangers, and the dangers that could hold, then immediately left the store with his grandmother sending me glares the whole way out. I didn't notice this too much, because as they were leaving, their imaginative little boy looked right at me, grinned as though we shared a special secret, and waved.

Have you ever had something like that happen? Leave a commment and share your story!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time

Christmastime has always been my busiest time of the year, and this year all my busyness has been multiplied by three.

Usually I play for one choir for one, maybe two songs, have practice once a week, and somehow that makes me busy.

This year I am playing for three choirs. This is something I have never attempted before, and sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into.

This is not a post to complain about how busy I am, and how much I wish my life was quieter....This is a post for me to try and explain why I am so ridiculously happy.

There's something about sitting in the background behind that ancient, out of tune piano that I find almost magical. Listening to kids from kindergarten right up to grade 11 sing their hearts out in anticipation for the big performance. There's something about the way the youngest of them reflect that true joy and excitement that comes with this season that is irreplaceable. It's the quiet moments, when they're reciting their lines and I can fill in the blank spaces with simple melodies, that make this season bright.

I love every minutes of it. It's my happy place, somewhere where I know that things are ok. Small moments of time where I don't worry, moments where I can simply communicate the joys of this season through small squares of black and white.

It's so easy to get caught up in the big things during this time of year. What to get for gifts, what sort of things you are going to prepare for Christmas dinner, the sorts of decorations you feel like putting up. It's the time of year that we look forward to the most, and all too often we forget to stop and simply enjoy small moments. Seeing family members again, spending time with those you love, making dinner while singing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs, those are the moments that we need to hold on to.

I wish you and yours a blessed holiday season.

God bless, and Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So Many

So many words I wish I knew how to say.

So many things I want to do for you; and

So many things I can't.

So many tears that are no longer falling.

So many emotions caught up in the rush of events.

So many prayers being said for you.

So many voices joined together.

So many people who love you.

So many offering their love.

So many ways God is showing you He's there.

I hope that in the rush of today, that you're ok. I love you.
Lean on the strength of God. He's strong enough to catch us when we feel like falling.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 8!

Last day! :(

Ths morning we drove from Jerusalemm back to Tel-Aviv. Soo sad to be leaving such a beautiful city, but our last day here in this gorgeous country is destined to be spent at the beach.

Of course, we aren't the smartest people in the whole world, and decide to spend the hottest part of our day ( at 40 degrees!) in the market trying to find the last of our souveniers. After this we went to the pool on the roof of the hotel.

I personally wanted to spend more time in the markets. All around me up here are rich, distontented people with no appreciated for the beauty that surrounds them. Going to the beach and mingling with the local which they play ping pong on the beach ( minus the table, plus the speedos) is a far better way to spend one's time than listening to some random forty year old lady flirt with the pool attendant.
Not much to write down for today, we are getting up at 4am tomorrow to drive to the airport.
We went for dinner in a restaurant that was right in the middle of the street! Then decided that pulling an all nighter wouldn't be the best idea, even if we had to get up at 4am to catch our plane. So we all crashed, and tried to perpare ourselves for leaving Israel.

Day 7!

This morning we went to the Hebrew University, where we had a tour of the campus. Dad had a meeting in Tel-Aviv, so us girls went back to the hotel where mom and I crashed for a few hours until dad got back. After dragging us out of bed, he was then responsible to find us food. He sort of failed epically. We finally found a place called Black Burgers, where I had their famous Meh burger. That might sound intimidating, but it was actually quite delicious!
After lunch we walked through the Armenian Quarter of Old Jerusalem. This is the best place to spend your money, as they are very honest. We had to go back to the hotel to drop off all the things we purchased. Then we caught a taxi to the Israeli museum, where we had dinner booked. Turns out it was closed, so we had to catch the same taxi back to the hotel. Our taxi driver laughed at us, he knew it had been closed, but proceeded to drive us there anyways.
We decided to wander the German quarter to find somewhere to ear, and after wandering a bit (aka getting lost) we found a sushi place. Soooooo yummy!!!!

I'm writing this journal entry while watching my parents try to stuff all our souvenirs into the suitcases.... :) Not a very exciting day, but a restful one!!

Day 6

This morning we met up with our tour guide Ophir again, and headed out in our golden van ( to match the golden city). Our first stop was the Mount of Olives. We had a beautiful view of Mout Moriah, or Mount Zion. The hill is covered with tombs of people trying to be the first to see the Messiah when He comes to the earth.
We then had a short stop at King David's tomb, which is very close to the room of the Last supper. There were a few different groups in there. The first was a group of Chinese Christians, who began to sing a hymn. As soon as some of the Muslim people heard them singing, they began chanting, and soon the room was filled with large amounts of noise. We left before anything got more serious.

From there we parked the van and went to the garden of Gethsemane. This was a very quiet, restful place and we didn't spend long here.
After this we started to walk the Via De La Rosa, and the worst tragedy that could have possible happened occurred. My camera died..... :(

Thankfully Mom had hers with her, so I didn't have a complete heart attack.

We got up onto the temple mount which is very resit riced for the Jews. The Muslims have built a mosque over where the Holy of Holies used to lie. Our guide got us up and we sat for a bit and talked about some of our goals for the next year. Ophir quite often stops us and gets us to really be still and appreciate the beauty of this place.

After we started on the Via Del La Rosa. It follows Jesus's believed route through Jerusalem from his trial until the spot where he died, was buried, and rose again. All of the sites are very Catholic, and there are several churches along the way.

About halfway through we got the 'best hummus in Jerusalem.' Very abtly named.

Then we said our goodbyes to Ophir and headed to find our next stop, the Time Elevator. It's was basically a small ride that was a summery of what we've learned so far. Not all that special, although it was a twenty-five minute break for our feet.

We then walked to the Tower of David, where they put on a light show. Now..don't' think some lights flashing...thing lights projecting images on a building that is thousands of years old, telling the story of the Israeli people. It was breathtaking.
Then it was back to the hotel to grab our flip flops for our very sore feet, and off to our 9pm dinner.

Day 5

Before you say it..I know it's been a while.

Today a was a more emotional day as we traveled to Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial site. We spent four hours inside with a guide. After that tour, which might have included me tearing up about a million times, we went outside to the Garden of the Righteous of the Nations. Here are listed the names of those who saved Jewish lives during WWII. My Opa's aunt is listed there, and it was highly emotional and beautiful that we could be there. We believe we are the first family members to see her name there. After walking around for a while, we said goodbye to our guide and walked to the children's memorial. In here, they have a single candle and several mirrors that make the candle seem to stretch endlessly. They is a voice speaking listing the names of the one and a half million children who died during WWII. It was such a beautiful place, and I just wish we could have spent more time there. We spent five hours total, but could have easily spent an entire day and more. This museum was the one thing that truly made me excited to come to Israel.

If anyone is interested in hearing the story of my Tente Femmy...let me know. It's a story I am so very proud of. She was an amazing woman.

After the museum we went for lunch at a small diner near old Jerusalem. We walked a bit and did some shopping, our feet aching from excessive use. We went from an open market through the streets to a more well-to-do area. I preferred the market by far, it's a place where people have been coming for thousands of years. There are old men playing chess, and woman bargaining with the shopkeepers, it's a very inique environment. After shopping we went into Old Jerusalem, where we walked to the Western Wall. On the other side of this wall lies the Muslim Dome of the Rock. There were many Jewish people praying here, as it is as close as they can get to where the Holy of Holys was. We had a tour under the houses that are built on top of the wall, a wall that still has rocks from when King Solomon built the temple.

After this was dinner and then we crashed very quickly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 4

This morning we walked through a Kibutz. It's a bit like an Israeli Hudderite colony. They eat their meals together in a large mass hall, and work together on different things to bring money into the Kibutz, especially farming. The kids usually see their parents for only a few hours a day. Most Kibutz have their own schools, and they share a common faith. The Kibutz we visited was right along the Lebanon border, and so they have bomb shelters. There has been fourn years of peace with Lebanon, but there were many rockets fired in the past into this area.

The areas here are still named after the tribes. We stayed in Dan, by the Dan river. We drove through several places that are named in Joshua as we drove closer to Lebanon. It's interesting to see the Bible come to life as we drive through. Some people, however prefer to walk it, and there is something called the Trail of Israel, which takes three months to walk. A good deal of people ages 23-24 complete this trail, often after their army and university career are over.

We drove by the border manned by the army. There is a gravel, flat road on either side of the fence. The rake it every day so that they can see if anyone has been there. If there is so much as one rock overturned, they will not about it. They can tell how heavy the person walking on there is, and if they are carrying something or someone over the border.

The air around here is very clean, almost as clean as our mountain air in Alberta!

We stopped for coffee anon -coffee in the clouds-. This is an old army outpost, complete with bunkers and an amazing view over the 'valley of tears', or the Golan Heights. You can tell this is a war torn area, as most of the architecture is nothing but crumbled buildings and piles of rubble. Barbed wire is a very common sight here as well. It was in this area that we did a bit of off roading in our small mini van...which was interesting. ;)

We also stopped at a winery by the name of Chateau Golan, and had a tour as well as a small wine tasting. In Israel they don't ask your age, they just pour you wine, so I was able to participate in the testing. No was only a very little bit. :)

Another stop today was at Bet-She'an, which has ruins from the time of Saul. Amazing, magnificent place, very ancient, Roman-type feel. Lots of columns and bath houses. Huge amounts of marble were needed to complete many of the structures.

Our tour guide took us through the area of the West Bank on our way to Jerusalem. There are areas where the Palestinians are still living, and you can tell where they live. Large amounts of plastic are strewn over their fields, and there is garbage everywhere. They do not take care of their land, and that is very evident here.

The terrain changes very quickly, it can go from desert dunes to green, lush areas well populated by trees and other vegetation in less than 10 minutes. Our tour guide took us to a remote place where it is believed that Jesus was baptized. There are caves here in the middle of the desert that the monks used to live in . He made us Turkish coffee, which is very very bitter and strong. It was an amazing place to sit and think and I could've spent hours there.

Israel doesn't have a history, it is still making it's history. Many people are willing to give up their lives in order to ensure that this country remains. There is a deep root of pride in the people here, and I admire it.

Dinner was had at Joy, a very good restaurant in the German Quarter of Jerusalem before crashing in our hotel room.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 3

Day 3-Sunday

Today was a day spent mostly in Christian sites, and driving into the North part of Isreal. We met our tour guide at 8:30 after eating a delicious breakfast, and headed out.
Most of the stories we heard today I have heard before, as most of them came from the Bible. However, our tour guide was very explanatory of many different things.

Once the Jew survived the camps, ghettos, and the plagues that followed and surrounded WWII they tried to start new in their own land. The British, however, didn’t want this to happen, and gave powerful positions and money to the Arab people. They didn’t thing the Jewish people could ever be something bigger. In Khron Ya’Aqov the Jewish people living there could see out to sea and were able to signal the ships carrying Jewish refugees as to whether or not it was safe for them to land in port. When we drove through this city today, it felt very European.

Another time period we learned about was during the time of Herod, who built Massada, and also the more Roman Caesarea. This was a very Roman fortress, and included an amphitheatre as well as Roman arenas. Herod employed some of the greatest engineers to build a safer place to live. They filled wooden beams with volcanic ash that, when in contact with water, immediately becomes cement. He used this to build a wall in the water around Caesarea. A problem here was also fresh drinking water, so he built about 40miles of canals on top of pillars at exact angles so that the fresh water would flow right into the city. They also were very smart about making their gates hard to penetrate. The doorways were very narrow, and often had a right turn. The reason for this was that people carried swords in their right hand, and their shields in their left. When they turned right, it left them more exposed. The doors and entrance ramps were narrow so that fewer soldiers could enter at one time.

During the time of the Crusades, priests told Europeans to save the holy land, and take it from the Arabs. Only one third of the soldiers managed to get in Jerusalem. Even though they were here to conquer the holy land, they often fought amongst each other. Once the threat from Salam because more serious, they banded together to stop him. Salam conquered Tibera, and the king of that area came to the crusaders and said that his wife was in the palace, but Salam was too strong, it was not worth it to attack Salam. This Arab king put his tent on top of a hill on one side of the valley in order to have the best fighting spot. Raneau, a French commander enjoyed fighting and stirring up trouble. He decided, and managed to convince the Crusaders, that they should attack Salam. They started marching at around 1am since it took so long for them to dress. They walked through the wheat field towards the mountain that Salam was on. Salam ordered all the fields to be burned, and won this fight without letting loose a single arrow, or using any swords. They brought the leaders of the Crusader’s army up to Salam’s tent, where this French guy thought he would help himself to something to drink. In Arab tradition, if someone drinks in your house, they are your guest, and you can do nothing to harm them. So Salam cut off his hand, and wouldn’t let him drink, then becoming angry with the rest of the commanders, and ended up conquering Jerusalem. Because of this one man, so many people lost their lives. This type of tradition is also common among the Beduins, who believe that a person can live with you three days without saying anything, before you are given permission to demand to know why they are in their house.

We went for lunch in St. Peters, before visiting the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, as well as where they believed Jesus appointed Peter as ‘Rock of His church’, and then the Sea of Galilee. This is the lowest place of fresh water in the world, and most of the water in Israel comes from here. We also learned that Starbucks got kicked out of Israel for having coffee that was too weak, they didn’t like it.

After lunch we went to the Christian sites mentioned above. Dinner was to be had at a small fish restaurant in the middle of the woods about 500 meters from the Lebanon border. Then we spent the night at a beautiful hotel inside a local kibbutz.

Day 2

I took a bunch of notes during our drive today. Nothing overly with a sense of order, but some interesting facts

First we drove through a few Kibbutz ( colonies of people often European immigrants wanting to live together). We learned a little bit about everyday live including the fact that the school children start learning English in first grade, and boys and girls must serve in the army at 18. Girls have to serve two years, unless they are promoted to a higher position, and boys must serve three years.

Every tree in Isreal is hand planted, often by immigrants who had no jobs. They used pine trees from Spain, but the trees couldn't endure the weather, so they all died. The biggest forest in Israel is right up against the desert, and every tree is individually watered through a complex irrigation system.

There were many events that the Jewish people consider miracles that occured during the wars. One such story was when they faced the Egyptians, who had a much larger, more organized army. The Israli people flew two planes, that had just been finished that morning, and dropped bombs that didn't go off. The Egyptians though they had an entire air force, and stopped their attack.

A constant problem in Isreal is the conflicts between the Jewish and the Arab peoples. Although there are many areas that they live peacefully together. You can tell the different areas where they live by two things. Israeli people have red roofs, and live higher on the mountains, which the Arabs prefer to live in the valleys, and their housese are built by layers, each layer representing another generation. In many of the areas, the hot water tanks are on the roofs of houses, painted black to keep pressure, and manyof the houses are only solar powered.

Although the Bedoins live in small, crumbeling houses, they have their own schools. A problem in these schools is that the girls often drop out at 13 in order to be married at 15. Although many people see Bedoins as nomadic people, they are developing entire citites. Keep in mind, however, that if they ever heard you calling them 'city people' you would have to learn how to run across a desert very quickly.

The Israli people are very interested in learning how to cultivate the desert land, and spend lots of money towards research into complex irrigation systems. One of the quickest ways to get water is during the few days of rain that they get in the desert. Unlike other areas, the water does not soak into the land, and even an hour of rain could close roads and cause major flooding. In fact, five minutes of rain shuts down the city of Tel-Aviv, as we learned yesterday. They would pull over to the side of the road in order to avoid driving in the rain.

After driving through the beautiful desert area, we spent a few hours at the Dead Sea area. First we went to an area called Massada. This was an enormous fortress built by Herod in 67 AD. The Jews that were living there were under attack from the Roman people during that time, and this castle was a safe place to be. Until the Romans started using captives from Jerusalem to begin building ramps up to the walls. When the Jews started shooting arrows at the workers, they realized they were shooting at their own people, and called a cease-fire. Unfortunately, the ramps continued to be built, and the 15,000 man Roman army was much larger than the 1,000 men, woman and children that resided in Masada. They were now faced with the dilema of whether or not to let themselves be captured and become prostitues, and gladiators in the areanas or to kill themselves, which was stricly forbidden. Deciding that living among the Roman people was a far worse end to their lives, every family drew lots. One person had to ensure that the whole family killed themselves, and that everything was burned. They were not to make a fuss, but they had to die quietly on their beds. Once morning came, the Roman soldiers came up to the city to conquer the people. When they saw what had happened, they marveled at the strength and courage of the Jews, and even though they had finally won after seven years of fighting, there are stories from the people who expierenced it that recal sad, mourful faces. Even now, the Israeli people say that never again shall Massada be conquered, and that remains a symbol of hope for them in all their struggels.

The Dead Sea was an amazing expierence. You walk a little ways out on the very hard, salty bottom, then sit and lift your legs up and float. Any cut or imperfection on your body will suddenly begin to sting, as the very salty water cleanses your pores, and heals the cuts. There are no living things in that water, as it is 13% salt. That may not seem like much, but most salt water bodies are only 3% salt. Sadly, however, the Dead Sea is shrinking by an alarming couple meters a year. The governments are trying their best to figure out ways of slowing, and eventually stopping the shrinking of the Dead Sea, in order to preserve much of the prosperity of the people around that area.

Some of the more humorous things that happned today:

Our tour guide, who served many years in the army, told us that one day they got a call that there was an Arab with a large gun that was walking around Masada. Naturally, they drove all their Jeeps out there, and got ready for a showdown. It turned out it was a Japanese tourist with a large amount of camera equipment. Glad I didn't bring my tripod....

At dinner tonight, when my mom and Janelle were being served desert, the waiter asked us where to put it, and my mom pointed out a spot between her and Janelle. The waiter's responce to this was " Always listen to the missus". This seems to be a popular idea around here. As our tour guide said " Every woman around here can operate a don't mess with them. If your wife tells you to take out the're taking out the garbage".

Today was a very busy, very hot day. Although the locals say it was a cool day, as it was only 30 degrees. Apparently they usually get 40-50 degrees, especially in the desert areas.

That's all I've got for today! Tomorrow's journal log will be much of the same thing, as we are going to be touring around with a guide, and I like taking notes about facts so that I can remember them as we go along.

Day 1

Flights from Calgary to Germany.
No sleep was to be had on this flight, although I spent much of the flight in a bit of a musical daze. Thank goodness for iPods to drown out snoring. Listening to music is a lovely way to spend hours and hours of plane rides. A not so good way to spend one’s time is listening to your seatmate jabber on about this and that, and how horrid her last pedicure was, and how awful her hair must look right now. I felt quite sorry for the poor man who got to suffer through this ordeal for nine hours. Although, to be fair, it did ensure that the man exited the aircraft very swiftly, allowing all the passengers behind to exit more quickly.
Note to self…people who work in German airports do not like it when you attempt to race them down hallways, no matter how much caffeine you have had in the last hour. What they do like, however, is when you are asked to take off your sweater, revealing a small tank top. Especially if it is five am local time, and they are rather old gentleman. I have never been so thankful to get through security before.

Right now I am sitting in a lounge surrounded by people a language I do not know. An alarm is going off in the background, and there is a short Jewish man wrapping himself in leather straps, and what looks like a hand made shawl. He is deep in prayer, swaying back and forth, and tears are rolling down his face, He has Bible verses in the small square box strapped to his head as well as on the leather straps that now cover his arm. His hands are clutched to a small book in his hand, and he is quietly reciting the words over and over. No one is paying him much attention; they are more focused on the noisy alarm that is still going off.

We found out later that the alarm was not caused by the Jewish man being behind barriers; it was, in fact, Dad’s alarm that he did not notice because he was watching a movie.

Flight from Frankfurt to Tel-Aviv was uneventful at best, and I got a total of one hour of sleep the whole way here. Once in the airport, we were rushed through customs by a man who works for the tour guide company, and then we were escorted to our ‘buses. In Canada these would be called mini-vans, but here they are enormous inconvenient vehicles, no bigger than the Beast.

After we unpacked a bit at the hotel we ran..yes ran to the beach to dip our toes in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s amazing how much more energy we had when we saw the beach. We had dinner at a small, albeit fancy, restaurant. The atmosphere was lovely, between yummy seafood, the beach, and SEVERAL stray cats…apparently these are a common problem here.
After dining we strolled on the beach back to the hotel, where we decided we needed ice cream. So it was back to the beach where we stuffed ourselves with various sugar filled, creamy, delicious, ice cream.
Finally it is time to crash. Good night world.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Israel Trip

So over the next week I will be putting up a different kind of blog post. While I was here in Israel, I had a notebook on be at all times. A trait, I have learned, is particularly useful when people watching.

I am going to be typing up my blog posts and putting them up here, maybe with some pictures, depending on how much time I have to put it all together! :)

A lot of the journal entries for the days are just filled with facts, but they're things that I wanted to remember, things that I wanted to be able to tell people when I got home.

It's been a truely life changing expierence. I know that's a bit cliche, but it's so true. There's an inexplainable feeling inside that is excited, terrified, confident, unsure, trusting, thankful, happy, sad.

That being said, these journal entries will not be filled with what some might call 'sentimental crap'.

So bear with me, I'm excited to start sharing my trip! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Fall. And Waterfalls!

Me and a really good friend decided to take our cameras out for two hours. We found some lovely fall colours as well as some lovely fall-ing water!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Colors

I took my camera out today....homework had to wait on account of the beautiful colors outside my window. More are coming as I have an upcoming photoshoot with a friend! But I couldn't resist taking some today :)

Craaaaaaaazy enhanced color..


I found this poem in my devotional book, and I thought it was something awesome I had to share :)

I know that some people laugh at me idealism-
At my effort to be a "light of the world",
At my eager, though often meager attempt to
Shine a ray of brightness into an otherwise
Dark, dank world.

There are times when I understand why people laugh and ridicule.
I mean, how dumb can I possibly be
To think my life really matters amidst
Four billion other people on this cinder speck of a planet
In this distant corner of the spinning, reeling universe.

Dear God, sometimes my light seems no brighter
Than the lambent glow of a single lightening bug
On a very cold,black night-
Barely a flicker, just a quick spark
Amidst darkness deeper than shade of a shadow.

Yet a spark, just a solitary spark is all it takes
To get a bonfire flashing and flaming, burning and blazing.

So, dear God, help me to realize my life does matter,
That being a Christian matters,
That telling others about Your great light matters.

Teach me the secret of high voltage living
So that I might be Your light in my world,
Beginning at home and spreading
To everyone within my circle of influence.

Dear God, renew in me Your Holy Spirit power-
That heavenly charge that enables mere lightening bugs
To flame bright as lightening bolts.

But you will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Monday, September 27, 2010

Birthday Paintings

For my friends birthday we decided to fill balloons with paint and shoot darts at them....this created amazing art that my camera decided it would take only fuzzy pictures of. Sadly this is the only decent photo of the awesomeness that ensued.

Robin Hood shot!!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Downtown Colours

My friend and I spent the weekend in Ontario. These shots are from downtown Toronto! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Subtle Hints

As a lot of you may know, I've been struggling a lot lately with what to do with my life. I've been praying for anything that would help point me in the right direction.

I've gotten phone calls from mothers and teachers from the church that I'm going to.

Within a matter of days, I was offered several opportunities to expand my musical abilities.

I now have five piano students. I am an assistant teacher for grade 4-6 choir. I am going to be accompanying the school's Christmas concert this year. And my piano teacher agreed to let me challenge the grade 8 exam in order to be ready for pursuing music in University.

He's not always subtle about things. The answers to questions are finally staring me in the face.

Thank you for Your promises.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mountain Views

More Pictures!!!

I've got a new computer, which means I get to fool around with some of the included photo editors that I found!

Here are some natural, unedited photos :)

This photo wasn't edited at all! It was a really strange and beautiful sunset/rainbow/thunderstorm!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Little Taste Of My Summer

Not too many words today. Just pictures! :)

More to come when I have some more time! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010


The other day, I was hanging out with my little sister, when she piped up " I'm hot" To which I replied" You bet you are, you're smoking hot!" She gave me a serious look and countered with " I'm not smoking....I'm just good looking"

Yes you are babe...yes you are.

Her hand says " I am happy"

Then are the rest of my sisters. Not that I'm bias or anything.

And their friends are sort of gorgeous as well :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some People's Kids

Today I met two highly interesting people. And by interesting, I mean, they were missing a few brain cells. But nonetheless, it made my day.

First off we have one of your typical overly cocky, teenage boy. These types of males have a tendency to yell obscene things at you out of their overly souped-up car, through overly tinted windows. They will, on occasion, if you are lucky, also begin trying to start a conversation. If you are very fortunate, they will see that you are with your father. This will cause the boy to test out how quickly their overly souped up engine can exit the scene of the crime. After this action, the father will make some comment of how nice that car was....totally oblivious to what just ensued.

Then you have your clerks at the local fast food place, the type who have just moved from some place where English is a foreign language. The people who mistake a 'single chicken snack wrap please' for 'two junior chicken burgers, and please put on extra mayo that soaks through the bun, and the wrapper, and the paper bag'. Don't ask me how that happens, but somehow they managed. And lots of mayo plus the sun...doesn't really mix. My poor vehicle will never smell the same again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Joys of Modern Technology

I was planning on starting a photo blog. Unfortunately my computer has decided to go on the fritz, and as of right now until September is out of commission. The part is on it's way, and hopefully it works!

But for now, I have no access to any of my old pictures, nor can I download any pictures onto my computer off of my camera.

Hopefully once September gets here I'll be able to start posting more blog posts, and start being more regular with blogging!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

People Watching

Today I was at the bank. A normal sort of errand, but today I was people watching. There was a lady right behind me waiting for the machine, and a young woman at the counter desperately pleading with the man that there must be something wrong with her account. She had nothing left. The man assured her that there was nothing he could do, and that she should check back the next day to see if it was just some mistake. I have never in my life seen a person's face more devastated or afraid. It made me want to go up to her, and hug her and tell her it was ok, but she was already out the door. As she approached the vehicle, she wiped her tears and glued a smile on her face. The vehicle was a mini-van, with two car seats in the back seat filled with two blonde-haired, blue-eyed children.
So tonight, stranger, know that someone out there is praying for you. And that's a comforting thought. There's a quote that I've read that says " No matter where you are, what you're doing, what you're going through, there's always someone thinking of you".
Another lady, the one behind me in line was trying her best to ensure that her child didn't get any closer to me that he already was. The young boy must have been around seven or eight years old, with wide, curious eyes waiting to take the whole world in. And yet, the woman had her arms wrapped tightly around him, as if her arms were strong enough to protect her son from anything the world might throw at him, no matter how small.
A mother's protection can be such a beautiful thing, how much they care about their children, and how much they want to shelter them from the terrible things this world has come to accept as normality.
Then there was the cashier at the local Safeway. I've see her several times, and she always seems determined to put a smile on at least one person's face. Those kind of people hold so much of my respect. People in the world today are all too concerned in making sure that people are making them feel good, and give little thought into how they can show kindness to other people.
If you think about it, who do you remember the most at the end of a long day? The little petty comments from those determined to bring you down, or the people who took time out of their day to do something special for a stranger. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, in the end, it's the thought that counts, and the very smallest of things can make all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quick Post

For whatever reason, my first post about this happened to post under June....if you want to see it it is titiled ' From the Mouths of Babes'
Here are a few more things that my little sister has said over the past few days.

" When you're babysitting, you can do anything, like could burn the house down or like...break something. If I did that....I would just get in trouble"

" Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to school to get more smarter"

I dunno....they made me laugh :)

Hope you are enjoying your summers! Mine is pretty fantastic so far, spending lots of time on the boat, getting nice and brown...thankfully no major burning happening yet :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Answers and Happiness

These past 2 weeks have been amazing. Time have been missed

The weather hasn't been great, and I'm blogging from a kitchen table surrounded by kleenex as I seem to have caught yet another nasty cold. But I'm happy. The sky may be cloudy, and the wind might be churning up the lake, but I'm happy. My family needed to get away from life for a while, and it's been an amazing time.

Spending lots of time inside, meant not a lot to do, so I bought a cheap little notebook and I've been writing in there while waiting for the small moments I've been able to grab with internet connection. This I simply had to share. Couldn't wait.

A few days ago I got a text message from a friend asking me if I had ever considered going somewhere to help those less fortunate than me, and if I would consider going with her. I have honestly never felt so excited about my future in my entire life. Something I've been thinking about for the past 6 months is finally going to happen. Hopefully in the next year.

I've felt a little bit lost over the past few months, school wasn't going as well as I had planned, and all my carefully laid out plans were no longer realities. And yet, in the midst of all my doubting and worry, God still has a plan for me. He's in control, and I've got to be willing to let go, and trust.

Hoping all of your summers are going amazingly!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Au Revoir!

No more blogging for me. At least for a while. I'm headed out to our summer cabin and plan on spending my time with my family, not my computer. It gets enough love during the school year.

Plus, if I have to be honest, my heart really isn't in this anymore. I have amazing friends who have so much more passion for blogging, and their posts are witty, and well written. Despite my best efforts, I compare my blog to theirs and find it lacking....and can't seem to keep up enough to work a little bit harder.

So adieu, so long, farewell. Until next time. Whenever that shall be.

Oh, and this doesn't mean no more blogging ever, but it's going to be highly sporadic and not very regular in any sort of way. I can't promise that I'll even blog until September, but I can't promise I won't either.

So enjoy your summer!

-Courtney. Mae

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Skies

I wanted to share some photos I took of the whispering twilight stage in which the clounds were the brilliant dancers, the colours vibrant, the wind gentle and cool. Those are the moments I love the best.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils.
William Wordsworth

Ya, I know it's not a daffodil and not at all golden, but it sort of made sense.

Another cloud quote that I completely agree with:

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain"