Friday, August 16, 2013

Celebrate good times, come on!

What a week! After a fun filled weekend the week just kept giving out more fun! 

Monday and Tuesday night we had 3 friends visiting from the Every Nation church in Calgary - Crystal, Shannon and Karisa. When I got the text the week before from Crystal that they were coming to town I was ecstatic! And when I realized they needed a place to stay I was even more stoked - we love guests! We all had dinner together Monday and sat around and talked - the girls who live with us (Rachel, Ana and Kayla) joined us all to chat and we stayed up way to late talking. 

[Shannon, Rachel, Karisa, Ana, me, Kayla & Crystal]

Can I tell you what is so extra awesome about these visitors? I like them all SO MUCH. I remember having great conversations with all three of them at Harvest Institute last summer and possibly even the Harvest Institute the summer before that as well. Paul had great talks with them this visit. I had great talks with them this visit. They had great talks with our girls. Crystal, Shannon and Karisa are outstanding young women - and we loved getting to talk with them about everything - faith, life, relationships, church...just everything! It was amazing. They are such wonderful ladies - and I'm so glad to call them friends - even if we do only ever see each other once a year. I will just keep up my continual prayer that Calgary/Edmonton and Vancouver somehow are shifted closer together geographically. 12 hours is too far! Thanks for blessing us with a visit ladies - our door is always open. 

Well actually, it's usually closed and locked. But we'd open it for you - any time. I promise.

[Seriously, love Crystal's attitude here, so much fun!]

Tuesday night was lifegroup - we ate Zucchini Lasagne outside, and celebrated Josh's birthday with a Heather-made Skor cake - score indeed! Then the whole gang played some ultimate frisbee ( I sat on the side and watched, obs) and then we made it back to our place for a fire and smores. I also stayed up until midnight chatting with our visitors and though tired the next morning, it was TOTALLY worth it. 

Wednesday was a rainy day, which was fine - I was spending the evening helping a friends sister with wedding planning stuff and then Paul had earlier picked up a giant load of free furniture from some family friends. We were ecstatic. So I made a rad dinner to thank Paul and his friend Travis for their hard moving work. 

I whipped up a pasta dish that I invented as I went - I cooked up some Fettucini and made a parmesan alfredo sauce with Johnny's garlic seasoning. I also fried up bacon in a skillet and left a small amount of the grease in the skillet. Right near the end I tossed the sauce and the pasta together with chunks of crab meat and while that was all warming together I patted dry scallops, tossed them with a small bit of flour and seasoning and then pan fried them in the skillet. I put the pasta mixture into plates, sprinkled some bacon and added the scallops on top. I was so pleased with how it turned out!

Paul and I also stayed up until 1:30am moving furniture around in our living room and family room. We are so happy with how both rooms have turned out. The living room is slightly less esthetically pleasing than before but a thousand times more useful. The family room looks better because anything would be an improvement - we've never finished that room up. 

Thursday was another busy night - our dear friends Ereka and Vic are getting married on Sunday so we were having a wedding rehearsal for them. It was a great night of friends, and laughter and great food - thanks for the awesome meal Arlene!

And that brings us to today - Friday. Or as it's known around the office today, Irene's birthday. Irene and I are coworkers, but first we are friends. I met Irene through her now husband Tapiwa (TC) when she came up from Texas to visit him 5 years ago. We've been friends ever since - we had lunch on one of her first visits and I'm so glad I made the choice to get to know her better then! Our friendship has grown steadily over the years - through friendship and church involvement and so much more. We both love to plan and decorate and dress well - and she loves organization as much as I do! We got married the same spring - helped at each others weddings - made friends with each others friends and serve in a bajillion ministries together. On top of that she works with me! When I went away last summer she took over my job, and now we semi job share. It's great. 

Today was her birthday and she isn't one for a big fuss. She likes small groups and pretty things. And since our boss is away on holidays, we both can't leave the office. So I decided to throw a small lunch for her in a board room at work - just me, her and her other close friend Dudu. It was perfect. We had Thai food and laughed and talked and totally surprised her. I'm thankful to get to celebrate Irene and am so thankful that God gave me her as a friend. She is a blessing in my life. Also a shout out to TC - thanks for marrying someone rad! You are also awesome and I'm glad I like your wife so very much. 

I wanted to make lunch special - but since we needed to stay here that seemed tricky. I didn't have much time to plan with this busy week behind me, so I grabbed some printed paper as I headed out the door and some burlap. I figured everything else would fall into place. I laid out the burlap as a table runner and placed three trays from work on it. I planned to use the white trays for food and the wood tray for flower placement. 

I grabbed three bottles of perrier from the fridge at work and emptied their water into a pitcher to mix with juice as a "punch." Then I striped the labels off the bottles and added 3 Gerber Daisies to the perrier bottles (love how great it looks despite how simple it is!). I found napkins downstairs in a dollar store that were white versions of the print on the labels (score!) and placed those on plates from work. I labelled the types of food for fun and presentation, more than for any real helpfulness. And lastly I ordered Thai Food from down the road - knowing that that was an Irene favorite. 

She was so surprised and so so happy. 

All in all it was a huge success - simple and easy decor, easy and tasty food, thrown together with lots of love from both Dudu and I. Perfection. 

I love this snapshot of the party - captures every bit so well.

And now that the week of celebrations and fun is over it's time for a week of crazy awesomness! Paul and I are off to Camp 8 at Anvil Island (Daybreak Point Bible Camp) for a week, Saturday to Saturday. Paul is a cabin leader and I'm on program staff. We're excited for a week of serving 16-19 year olds and helping to create a space for them to engage with God and each other. Also, we have some pretty rad friends up there this week - and we know the deep and profound truth that when you're at Anvil God always feels closer. Can't wait! See y'all in a week!

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