Saturday, June 30, 2012

In which it is 108 degrees

Yesterday was HOT. Today will be HOT. But the beauty of the modern age is air conditioning. I can't imagine living here before that! We were supposed to be going canoeing today (Saturday) but decided to postpone it to a day that isn't so hot - our teacher was worried it might be too hot and could be dangerous to be outside for so many hours. 

First off, I got to talk to Jenna yesterday via skype. I miss her a lot and it was great to really talk. We check in on WhatsApp most days but video chat is so much better. And it meant I got to see little Austie who was being adorable. He was mostly excited to see Uncle Paul and was very vocal about letting us know! I miss my sister and her boys a lot - so it was a great treat. 

Have you done it?

I saw this on Emily and Laura's blogs - and since Laura called me out to do it (haha) I thought I'd hop on board. 

50 / 99

I'll admit, there's some things on this list that I will most likely never do, a few I hope I never have to do (ie. get food poisoning) and a few I'd love to do and hope I get the chance. 

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars 
3. Played in a band 
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain   
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo 11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch 
(Does doodling fine art count?)

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight22. Hitch hiked
23. Take a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing  40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the paper85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random thoughts

Good news, I just discovered that the Minugses have some bikes.
Bikes I tell you!
Therefore, two mornings in a row I have gotten up at 6am and ridden through the countryside.
It's cool enough to not die from the heat, but warm enough to bike in a tank top.
It's was lovely.
I will be doing this for the next while.

Also I discovered that there is a huge tea mug in our suite and I'm soooooo happy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Life this week

Class this week has been intense. We are learning, among other things, Essential Doctrine and Church History. It is full and wonderful and overwhelming and powerful. 

I'll most likely have more to say in a while but for now - I'll leave it at that.

Monday night after class we met up with Kacey and Tanner Shetler. Kacey and Tanner are friends that live in Nashville but that Paul and I met in them in Vancouver when they were living there for a brief period. I didn't know Tanner that well at the time, but I knew and sooo appreciated Kacey. My first night going to an event at EveryNation, just after becoming a christian, I went to a women's event. Kacey was one of the first women that welcomed me so kindly. I loved getting to know her. She made me feel very welcome. When I came to visit her four years ago I once again enjoyed visiting her.  And now I not only get to visit someone I enjoy, but also Paul gets to visit someone (Tanner) he enjoys as well!

We met up with them for dinner at Chuy's Mexican Restaurant. It was awesome. The ambience was fun and lively, the food was everything I'd been wishing for lately in Mexican food and the prices were great. Plus the company was wonderful. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend 2

What a fun weekend. Friday night we invited our classmates over - 7 of them came. It was perfect. We played "Chaboo" (mixture of celebrity, charades and taboo), with much success and laughter. Some of the words acted out that created the most hilarity were "people in a row", "whittling a stick", "horse", "disposable thumbs" and "theological pipe." Awesome. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Leadership and Yogurt

Today was a Friday - we were excited to learn and excited that it was almost the weekend! Here's another glimpse into the classroom - you can see me working away in the front. Well really, drawing away. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June Photo-a-Day all at once / Trip Edition

1. Morning

2. Empty

Wednesday/Thursday and some more thoughts

It's lunch time on Thursday. I joined two of the girls, Tif and Heather T. outside for lunch. Usually there's a whole gang of us, but today it was just us three. It was lovely - boiling though! We dress for the air conditioned classroom, so the Nashville heat is ridiculous! Getting in our car at the end of the day is always painful - and we are so very thankful that our AC works well and kicks in shortly.

Last night was a lovely, relaxing night. I made us dinner - Garlic flounder, pesto pasta with Spinach and grated Squash and roasted garlic Asparagus. Healthy and tasty tasty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SOM Week 1:Monday, Tuesday and some thoughts

It's Wednesday. I'm exhausted.

The learning is AMAZING. The friendships are rad. The conversations are insightful, life giving and fun! But 6 hours of learning a day, plus homework each night, and reviewing for the daily tests is exhausting!

Each day we have class in hour increments. We start at 9am. Usually we start with memorization drills - we are learning statements from each class section which we need to memorize verbatim to receipt to Paul - and occasionally to put into written tests. Also we are learning vocabulary - 3 new words each day - words we need to know the definitions of also verbatim, and know how to put it in a sentence. Phew! We do 50 minutes of class time and then 10 minutes for break, and an hour for lunch. The classroom is a technology free zone, outside of watches. So we have our break and lunch time for phones and computers, but usually you're so fried by that time that you need to talk to digest all that you've learned. 

Normally Paul Barker is our teacher, and occasionally Nick Jones. But we've had a few different speakers, and today we had the entire Every Nation Nashville Corporate office come meet us. So far we've heard from Gregg Tipton (10 Days), Russ Austin (Pastor Jacksonville, Florida) and David Houston (EN Church consultant and Coach - co leader of churches with Kevin York). They have been excellent. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday in Nashville

Jenna was asking to see where we live while in Nashville, TN for the summer - so here it is!

Our Kitchen

Living Room

Elevator and TV.
Yup, Elevator.
We use it every day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saturday in Nashville

Saturday was a lovely full day. We got to sleep in, however my body wasn't into I woke up at 6am, read in bed til 8am and then got up and balanced our trip budget, edited some photos, folded laundry and caught up on some old school tv (think Moesha, Sister Sister, Boy meets world and Saved by the Bell). 

At 10am Paul woke up and I made us Omelettes. It was my first attempt and they turned out pretty well.
First, I baked veggies in Johnny's garlic seasoning

Friday in Nashville

Friday, Friday, Friday.
We started the day tired but ready for a final week day of learning. 
We learned a lot.

This is me and my outfit in the breakroom.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

School, week one overview

School of Ministry.
Week One.

Lets see.

Studying? Check

Budgeting from our trip? Check

In the classroom we all have a name plaque on our disk with a list of our strengths from Strengthsfinders.

We're in a new class room this year.
It's across from the EN head office here.

The break room is even fancy and stuff.

Also as soon as we got here we settled in quickly.
I need things to have a home to function in them.

This is especially true in my kitchen.
I didn't feel fully at home until I got to go grocery shopping on Monday and put it all away in an organized fashion.

And to brag, you have to see where we're living.
The views here are amazing.

Yup. Pretty amazing.

I've also gotten to do a lot of cooking.


Burrito's using ground turkey

Quesadillas, using Burrito leftovers.

Orzo with Spinach, roasted Squash and Zucchini, and Yoshida Flounder

Aside from Photo Ops and fun times, this has been a huge week of learning. We have been studying a few main sections this week: StrengthsFinders, Effective Communication, Inside out Transformation, Search the Scriptures and Next Generation Leader. 

StrengthsFinders is teaching us about how to diagnose our strengths, build our strengths and learn to use them effectively. It talks about why we so often look to our weaknesses and try to improve on them (a waste of time and energy) instead of looking to our strengths and developing them to their full potential.

Effective Communication is about learning our speaking strength and breaking public communication into three categories - authenticity, clarity and content. We are just starting this course but will be looking at developing an authentic speaking voice, an ability to speak clearly and an ability to develop content. I'm so excited to learn more about this

Search the Scriptures is about effective bible reading - it addresses the heart of the reader and the styles and tools to digging through God's word. It is both overwhelming and helpful. 

Next generation leader ties a few of these courses together - we are looking at being leaders that know our strengths, that stand in our strengths and that lead authentically.

Most impacting though, has been Inside Out Transformation. Paul Barker (our teacher) has spent most of time helping us understand that the Gospel isn't a one time thing - it isn't just a ticket to salvation. The gospel is a past event and a current status - meaning that is has already happened (so we don't need to strive for change - we are already free) and it is a truth that defines our current status. We don't need to strive for freedom, in Christ we are free. The good news (or gospel) is the realization that we are more sinful than we ever dared believe and more loved and affirmed than we ever dared imagine. 

This has been hitting me a lot this week - it's something Pastor Greg has taught on that I've had trouble grasping. I can understand that I am wicked. I see proof of that every day. I can be mean, vindictive, angry, prideful, arrogant, etc. I just usually clean up pretty nice when I talk to people, so hopefully it's not too noticeable. But trust me, I know it's there. I can even believe that an all loving God of the universe, who made me and loves me, would send his son to die for me. I believe he has freed me from my sin and that I have eternal security in him. 

I can handle all of that - I've heard it, I've felt blessed by that...It is reason enough to worship this God. 

But the truth that it isn't just a one time thing - it isn't just about salvation. Every day I am equally sinful and forgiven. I am wicked and unconditionally loved. Each day the power to move forward, the power to love others, and the power to stay away from temptation comes from the truth of my wickedness and his freedom. That's hard to compute. 

Paul B told a story that finally helped nail this idea into my head. He talked about a situation in world war two where 2 scottish chaplains ended up in adjoining areas of a concentration camp (one in the american side, one in the english side). Since they were both chaplains they were allowed to meet at a fence for a part of the day to talk. Since the guards understood English and German, they would speak in Gaelic. On the American side, one of the prisoners had managed to find a radio, that they would listen to to get news of the war. After a while the chaplain that had been on the American side came with the news that the Germans had surrendered. Now the prisons were free! 

One problem. The germans still didn't know. The news hadn't funnelled down to them from the higher ups. It took a few days for the news to reach the German guards. Over those days the prisons were free-but-not-free. Though their guards didn't know they were free, they walked and acted like free men. They still did the same chores, the same jobs. They still ate the gruel, and were still treated like prisons but they had the knowledge of freedom and that brings joy. 

After a few days the prisons woke up one morning to find all the doors unlocked and all the guards gone - they were finally freed. 

This story has helped me understand this concept in new ways - to walk in freedom and despite the circumstances. 

Anyways...this has been long and we're about to head into Brentwood to hit up Bethel Brentwood, the main church here. We're excited - apparently there's a men's choir singing in honour of fathers day!

I'll fill you in  on class structure and our awesome weekend later!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 10: Taylorville, Il to Nashville, TN

Day 10, Sunday: Taylorville, Il to Nashville, TN
KM start: 150,024 km

Trip Meter: 722 km
Time Driven: 6am - 1:30pm (7 1/2 hours driven)
Trip End: 150,800 km

We headed off bright and early from our B&B.
We hit the road and chatted most of the way there. 
A small switch for a bit - I drove and listened to an audio tape while Paul napped. 
Then we got back to chatting.

It was beautiful.
Also including strange amounts of bugs hovering in clouds together. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 9: Springfield Illinois & the Lincoln Presidential Museam

Saturday we got up bright and early and headed into Springfield Illinois.

Leaving Taylorville we were reminded how cute the area was.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 9: Taylorville, Ill and Market Street Inn B&B

For our two year anniversary, Paul and I stayed in Taylorville, Illinois at Market Street Inn (B&B). We live in Canada, so it was a bit nerve wracking to book at a place we had no way to check out before hand. Thankfully we were very happy with the results! 

We booked a deal with them through livingsocial that included two nights stay, breakfast and a gift certificate towards dinner. We were particularly looking forward to the fact that they advertised a double sized tub. Since Paul is a tall, big man, he hasn't been able to fit in a bath tub since he was 14, so this was exciting for him. 

We got there pretty late at night on the Friday, but as we pulled up we saw that the place was super cute. Sharon let us in, and we went up to our room to see a super cute display laid out on the bed for us (photos below). They had provided complimentary chocolates and wine - and boy those chocolates were amazing! They had these gooey caramel, chocolate pretzels that were to die for!

Breakfast Saturday morning was great, they even had a warmer tray for the mugs so your mugs could be nice and toasty. Sharon, the cook, joined us for breakfast at our request, and it was fun to get to know her. She answered so many of our questions and filled us in on what life in Taylorville was like. We then spent the day in Springfield Illinois (half and hour away) seeing the historic sights there (more to come on that) and then headed back to grab dinner at One Market East, where we had a gift certificate. 

Dinner was wonderful. We were so impressed with the food, the selection and the prices. The service was also wonderful. You can see pictures on that below. We were very happy with our anniversary meal

All in all our time at Market Street Inn was lovely. The owners, the Hausers, have a done a wonderful job of keeping the victorian history alive in the home, while keeping up to date with the amenities. Clean, fresh bathrooms. Frilly, lacy bedrooms. Convenience, mixed with beauty. Great, friendly service meeting with privacy and professionalism. It was a lovely way to spend an anniversary.
The B&B

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 8, Green Bay, Wisconsin to Taylorville, Illinois (Green Bay Packers)

We woke up at 8am (sleep in, woo), packed and grabbed some tasty tasty breakfast.

$53 dollars for the night and breakfast. Rad.

Then we headed off to Lambeau Field.
Home of the Green Bay Packers.
Paul's beloved football team.

The training center

Packer licence plates

The hallowed ground


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