Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wonder, Wow, Wonderings

I haven't read much since being home, but decided to start reading again the other night and I wanted to finish this book (Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli) that I have now started about five times. It's a really good read and definitely spoke to the child in me. It talks about living life with wonder, which is something I value and something I want to strive for. To enjoy the moment and take it all in completely and let all other cares fall away.

Here are a few quotes that challenged me while reading:

"Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn't change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into "nice people"."

"The Bible names our problem: sin. Don't let the word fool you. Sin is more than turning our backs on God, it is turning our backs on life! Immorality is much more than adultery and dishonesty, it is living drab, colorless, dreary, stale, unimaginative lives. The greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed. Jesus Christ came to rescue us from listlessness as well as lostness; He came to save us from flat souls as well as corrupted souls. He came to save us from dullness. Our culture is awash in immorality and drowning in dullness. We have forgotten how to dance, how to sing, and how to laugh. WE have allowed technology to beat our imaginations into submission and have become tourists rather than travelers. Television dominates our time, alters our values, numbs us to life in all of its wildness. We have been stunted by mediocrity."

"What is passion? Aliveness. Living with expectancy, anticipation, and enthusiasm. What is the opposite of passion? Dead living. Living a life that is borrrrrring!"

"I believe that most of us have lost our passion: the passion of our marriages, the passion of our jobs, and the passion of our faith."

(this paragraph is preceded by a story of how kids don't color in the lines, but rather just color and so forth..)
"What I am suggesting is that God's grace is so outside the lines of our understanding that we can only stand in awe and wonder. Christianity is not about learning how to live within the lines; Christianity is about the joy of coloring. The grace of God is preposterous enough to accept as beautiful a coloring that anyone else would reject as ugly. The grace of God sees beyond the scribbling to the heart of the scribbler-a scribbler who is similar to two thieves who hung on crosses on either side of Jesus. One of the two asked Jesus to please accept his scribbled and sloppy life into the kingdom of God... and He did. Preposterous. And very good news for the rest of us scribblers."

This is just a taste of what stuck out to me as I read this book. I want to live my life with more passion and abandon. And engage it fully.

The dictionary defines passion as "strong and barely controllable emotion". I tend to control my emotions an try to reign them in as much as possible. I wonder what it would look like if I let the reigns out a little...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canada, Cheering, Compulsory

On Sunday after church, my friend Cyndi and I headed to Vancouver to go to the pairs figure skating compulsory dance. It was so wonderful! And the Canadian pair that won gold the day after skated brilliantly and it was fantastic to cheer them on!

And now I've realized that I've posted quite a bit today. I could have done them all in one post but figured I'd break them up a bit.

I'm going to be starting a new blog soon (I think). For a few months, I have been working on writing a book.. and I wanted to maybe share some of my thoughts in blog form to get feedback and such. Not totally sure yet, but this is my thought, so keep an eye open for it!

Have a great Tuesday night!

Mexican, Margaritas, Making

My friend Kelly invited me to a Mexican cooking class/social last Saturday and it was so much fun! It was great to hang out with Kelly and see some friends I hadn't seen in a while as well as meet some new ones! We learned to make four dishes and I'm excited to try them out sometime! So if anyone wants some Mexican, let me know!

Kelly and I, after we had turned our socializing "on" for the evening.. haha

The setup for the class was great and there was even a tv to watch from above what you couldn't directly see!
Some of the wonderful ingredients! So tasty! And great to learn a different type of Mexican food that is different from just burritos or enchiladas.

Bonfire, Burning, Baby

Wood burning day on beautiful days means bonfires, weiner roasts and hanging out with family and friends! And my wonderful little nephew! :) I absolutely love his little smile. Anyway, here are just a couple pics of bonfire day at my brother's on the weekend. What a glorious day it was as well!! How great to be able to enjoy it!

Feeding the already massive fire. Throughout the course of the afternoon, we all kept backing up because it was so burning hot!

Dragons, Daring, Dusting

Since coming home from holidays my house has been an absolute disaster from renovations and I haven't really cleaned it. For those of you who know me, I like having a clean house, but when the entire thing is dirty, it overwhelms me and then I do nothing about it. Well, I was so thankful the other day to get a jumpstart on the cleaning! Nick came over and helped me clean for a few hours and to continue the incredible fun of cleaning, we decided to go on an adventure to the laundromat and the produce store! Sadly I did not have my camera in the laundromat because some incredible photo opportunities were to be had.. But instead, we branched out and bought a new fruit and came home to document its initial tasting.

The fruit we chose was the dragonfruit because it is oddly shaped and bright pink and well, if it's bright pink it MUST be good!!

And it was quite easy just to peel as a matter of fact.
Nice and speckled on the inside, it looked a bit like kiwi.
And surprise! It tasted a bit like kiwi too! Actually it was incredibly tasty and next time I am at the produce store, I will pick up another one.

So, my encouragement for you to do today: Go buy some dragonfruit, try it and tell me what you think!

Valentine's, Vanessa, Vancouver

I just uploaded a bunch of photos, so I thought I would share a few of them even though i've blogged about these days. Figured I'd tell the story in pictures. :)

Valentine's day this year was on a Sunday so it was great being at church for it. Was on worship team and for sunday school with the youth we made cupcakes.

It's always fun hanging out with the youth and it is truly a blessing to get to know them better and be able to hang out with them. :)

Afterwards I headed to Vancouver for my first day of Olympic fun, which you already heard about so that's where I will leave that!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Skating, Speed, Silver

It's really great to see Vancouver all done up for the Olympics. Everybody everywhere is super friendly and it's fun to just go downtown and meet people! What I love as well is all the positive energy. At hockey games and such in the past it always bothers me when the crowd boos or heckles the other team, because in my mind that is negative energy going out and regardless of who it's for, it's still negative and I think it does nothing to uplift and probably influences in some manner. So, what I love here at the Olympics is all the positive energy. Everybody is rooting for everybody and it's very uplifting. You cheer for everyone and celebrate the fact that they are there and that they have done a fantastic job. So it's neat to see everyone coming together for a common purpose. It's very uniting!

The view of science world which has been turned into the Russian pavilion, the biggest one. Russia is the host of the next winter Olympics so they have a big model of what it will be like and so forth-pretty cool.

Okay, not the best picture because of the shadow through it.. hehe.. but fun nonetheless! i was happy Lindie could fly out to join in some of the festivities!

Short track speed skating-probably one of the most intense events to watch! So incredibly exciting! :)

We enjoyed some of the country's speed skating outfits. We decided at one point to cheer for New Zealand.. and they were in last by a lot.. and then France knocked out Italy and they both wiped out and New Zealand got second and advanced to the next heats! haha.. The New Zealand cheering section was pretty loudly cheering him on! It was neat to see!
The relay was really fun to watch as well! I think I would fall over many times throughout the course of it!

Before winning her silver medal

It was so neat to be there to see Canada win a medal! The place was electric and everyone was cheering so loud for her-it was great to be a part of!

Flower Ceremony

Hockey, Hoorah, Hooking

This last week has been a fantastic week for Canada's favorite sport: hockey! It has been really fun watching the different countries and seeing great players on each one. The rivalry between the different teams is fantastic as well! I watched a couple games on TV and then my friend Lindie from Calgary came out and we got to go to three games which was fantastic. Our first game was Finland vs. Belarus. Finland looked like they were playing on the power play the entire game but it was still a great game to be at!

Before the game, we got good spots where the team comes out, so we got to watch the team being led by Kiprusoff. :)

Here's Kiprusoff doing his pre-game stretches. I was telling Lindie that the only way I'm accustomed to hearing Kiprusoff's name is in a heckling manner from Canucks fans when the Flames come to play. But today I was happy it would all be cheering! And so for the only time ever, I cheered on a Flames player (including Iginla as well of course!) and was happy to see their team win! Go Finland! :)

Canucks' Sami Salo was also playing for Finland

This is what Kiprusoff did for most of the game... Stood there watching the game being played at the other end of the ice.

Saw some great hits

That evening we went to the Czech vs. Slovakia game. We didn't realize what a rivalry there was between these two countries. But it makes sense since they used to be one country and now they're separated. One guy said the two countries hate each other. Needless to say, it was an excellent game and the fan rivalry was fantastic as well! And it was nice to see Jaromir Jagr come out of retirement to play as well!

Cuddly, Cute, Coming

Lately I have been enjoying many wonderful days with great friends hanging out in Vancouver and taking in the Olympic madness. Part of this has been walking around and enjoying the sights and people and then also going to some of the events. I have a bunch of pictures to share but won't upload them now because I'm really tired. Lots of thoughts about it too.

But for now just wanted to say hello. I had an eventful weekend and am excited for this new week as well and everything it brings. More to come. :) And here's a picture of my nephew for now just because I think he's pretty much the definition of cuteness (for me anyway).

Have a great week!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Skating, South, Salchow, Seattle

And now to my first official post not about my trip! Here's a little bit of what I've been up to lately:

Went to the figure skating pairs competition yesterday- SO good!! Wonderful to be with so many fans cheering along. What a great atmosphere! And incredible athletes and performers!
For my mom's birthday (last June), I got her tickets to the Elton John and Billy Joel concert which was supposed to be in November but got postponed to last weekend. A bit crazy being gone right after coming home but we had a fantastic time and enjoyed some fantastic food at my favorite Seattle restaurant, PF Chang's. The concert was incredible! Two grand pianos facing each other and both of them going at it. Pretty amazing.
I'm a subscriber at a theatre in Seattle, so I conveniently had tickets to South Pacific that same weekend and we went and it was absolutely fantastically done! I just watched the movie as well and have fast fallen in love with this musical. I was actually surprised at how many of the songs I actually already knew!
Here's my mom and I at the concert waiting for it to begin.

Elton and Billy. :)

And that's all for now. Not a very wordy post but I'm sure that will come soon enough. Tomorrow a friend is coming to stay for the week and we're going to have some Olympic fun in Vancouver!! I'm looking forward to checking out all the free stuff there is to see!! I hear it's pretty great!! Have a good week!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Santiago, Sunny, Sour

And here are some pictures from my last day! We landed in Valparaiso Chile and then drove to Santiago and got a tour of the city which was neat. And then we headed to the winery of Concha Y Toro which is one of the top ten wines int he world apparently. It was such a beautiful winery and we got some tasting afterwards and it was excellent! So here is my last chunk of pictures that I will share on here! Enjoy! :)

View of Santiago from a hill

Famous winery

The original owner had the best vines imported from France. He had his own stock of his best bottles of wine that he was saving. However, they kept disappearing. So, he decided to play on people's strong superstitious beliefs and tell them that the devil lived in his cellar. Hence, this cellar is called 'The Devil's Cellar'. Some of the original wine bottles are still down there. After he started this rumor, the wine stopped being taken. Go figure. ;)