Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekend Plans

Autumn continues in all its breathtaking, brilliant splendor. We have never lived in a place where the colors are so glorious everywhere. Makes me always want to be carrying my camera so I can capture some of it. But then I always forget.

Cora is walking around this frosty morning in new white furry slippers I found at the dollar store yesterday (although like pretty much everything else there, they did not cost a dollar). They are adorable on her, only I didn't think about one thing. They are furry all over--no grippy soles--so her feet keep sliding out from underneath her on our slippery hardwoods. She keeps plopping down, and as she tries to get them underneath her, they slide out again so she's almost doing the splits. Once she gets up she walks very slowly and deliberately, careful to have each foot secure before the next step.

She has started to become a true girl. She loves to put on necklaces, which was for a long time the dog's chain collar. Finally I got her some plastic beads which are much more appropriate. She likes to try to carry my or Melissa's or Alesha's purse if we leave it lying around, although we all have big purses, so she really struggles.

This weekend I am heading off to a monastary a couple hours away for a weekend course: "Ministry and Spirituality." I will be leaving this afternoon and returning on Sunday afternoon. So David has a very full weekend of daddy duty ahead of him. He has frozen chili (from a big chili party we threw last Saturday night) and fish chowder I made last night to at least help out in the food department. I am looking so forward to the time away, immersed in a quiet place of beauty and God. Of course I'll miss the loud, chaotic fun always going on here, but the change of pace will be refreshing.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Last night we had the perfect date night. Seriously. Perfect. Let me describe...

With the absence of an afternoon nap, Cora went down easily by about 7:30. Leaving Jay and Melissa in charge (just one benefit of a community house--free babysitters), we jumped on a bus into the city. There we went to a trendy lounge/restaurant we'd been hearing about and wanting to try. After a short wait in the crowded bar, they sat us at a quiet table over by the large grated fireplace that radiated warmth on such a cold rainy night. Stylish decor, cool music, dim lighting, interesting drinks, and delicious food made us understand why it's so popular. As it was our first night out for quite a while, we were a bit more liberal with our ordering, getting an appetizer and a couple drinks in addition to our main meals. The conversation and laughter were nonstop, and somehow didn't even revolve around Cora like most conversations seem. Our waitress was sweet and witty, and we enjoyed chatting a little here and there about Vancouver and why we moved here and such. At the end of the night, Dave and I were oblivious in deep conversation when a young man walked up to our table, pulling us back into our surroundings. He introduced himself as the night manager, and said Tanya (our waitress) had told him about us being a really great couple. He asked about our evening and we raved about the food and drinks--they really were awesome. After a bit of chit chat he began to hand us our bill and said, "Well, you guys are the type of customers we love to have here, and so we just want to do something special for you. So tonight we've covered the bill." Stunned silence and gaping looks exchanged, followed by awed appreciation and profusive thanks to him and our waitress. I mean, what restaurant does that?!!!! We sort of were expecting him to perhaps offer us a couple "10% off your next meal" coupons or something. At the most a free drink. But the entire bill?!! It was just so God. I said I felt like I was just chosen for a huge prize. It was the most amazing feeling: a completely unexpected gift given with no expectation of anything in return. Sometimes God just blesses our socks off.

The whole thing gave me a sense of grace. That's what it felt like. A completely undeserved, unexpected gift that makes you giddy inside. There is no reason we should have been chosen for such a gift. They knew we are young grad students (at seminary no less) and parents to a toddler, and so we don't get out much. We're not the type that will be able to return often to spend the big bucks. But we were "chosen" despite our unworthiness. On the way home, the song "Freely, freely, you have received. Freely, freely give" was playing repeatedly through my mind.

Another really happy thing happened today. Our garbage got picked up for the first time in over 3 months. Yep. Those guys have been on strike, and we never imagined it could last this long before they came to an agreement. The garbage building up in our garage--just imagine: 5 people plus a baby!--has been absolutely disgusting. Oh happy day to have it finally gone!

Also, I wanted to explain the last two pictures on the previous post. Those are Cora with her "baby," the first thing to which she's become really attached. She was always holding the baby doll at the church nursery, so finally I got a clue and got her one of her own a few weeks ago. She loves it and is always saying "baby" to it. It's really adorable!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Week in Pictures

Last night I turned in a 10-page paper to my professor that consumed me over the weekend, and so finally I can once again think about writing about something other than the psychological dysfunctions relating to burnout.

Last week was Reading Week at Regent, a break from classes to catch our breath. It started with the Thanksgiving weekend where we had no less than 4 full-out turkey dinners. No joke. Despite their Thanksgiving not having any interesting roots like America's (I asked about 10 Canadians and they could tell me nothing about its history), these Canadians certainly know how to celebrate. Friday was a potluck dinner with some Regent friends, Saturday was a more formal dinner of 10 at our pastor's house, Sunday our housemates Jay and Melissa threw a small dinner party (Melissa's first turkey--you should have seen her and David trying to frustratingly stuff the turkey at the wrong end), and finally, Monday, Thanksgiving itself, was spent at the aunt's house of another Regent friend with yet another gorgeous meal. It was incredible, but I probably gained 15 pounds. Here are some highlights:

The rest of the week included plenty of family time. The gorgeous autumn weather was perfect for leaf-crunching in the park, taking Cao to swim at the beach, fish and chips at the harbor, and a visit to the pumpkin patch and local produce market. Some more picture highlights: