Monday, August 21, 2006

random update

Okay, so Rachel was worried that if she started blogging on my site that I would stop blogging and since it's been nearly a month since my last entry I decided that I wouldn't prove her right.
Life is an interesting series of ebbs and flows. A week ago we buried my grandfather. A slightly strange and somewhat surreal journey back to where I grew up. On the one hand I wanted to spend as much time with family as possible, on the other I wanted to show Rachel every detail about where I grew up and what I did and with who. I was weird to run into people that hadn't see me in 15 years, or not consistantly at least. I tried to think about what I was like at that time and what they would remember me for. These people were still intimately connected to my family but I had no connection to them.
It was great to finally see my beautiful little niece, a million pictures can be viewed on other links to this blog. It was good to be with family and I was surprised at the little pang of homesickness that I felt for Canada. I guess most of the time I just stuff it down inside since there is nothing that I can do about it. I'm pretty sure that we will end up in either Canada or America at some point in the future but I'm not exactly sure when. It will take a bit of financial security and the right open door for it to happen.
Last night we went to our favourite restaurant with Keith and Anna, and Jon and Abby. We were able to have some great discussions and I realized that I need to pick Keith's brain more on theology. He has some great things going on in his mind. More later on, we are really looking forward to our vacation in Cali/Arizona this week.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Summer Job

I've gotten a summer job, working for the supply (substitute) teaching agency I work for during the school year. My official job title is, "Recruitment Consultant." If I'd like it to, it will turn into a full-time, well-paying job starting in Septemeber. I'm just waiting to see if I get the internship I'm applying for, but in the meantime... I'm enjoying myself.

Last night we went with three other couples and Guy's wife Louise to see a movie. The movie wasn't good, but the chemistry with all of the people, christians and non-christians, was great! Last night was the first night in a long while I felt like I was surrounded by a decent sized group of people that both Mark and I really get along with. Two of the couples are here for the church plant, one is coming over tomorrow night for dinner (I've been impressing a lot of people with my cooking lately). Another couple who we just really like, non-christians, is having us over for a BBQ and Settlers on Friday (and we've let them borrow Carcasonne so they can teach themselves and play that with us soon!). And we're continually thankful for how well we get along with Guy and Louise... Louise in particular, for me, is a joy to have around. I love her personality. Thank you for your prayers for friendships for us.

Chris, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for caring for Grandpa so well.

-Rachel

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ugly Duckling

This past Sunday we were in the mood for something a little bit different. We decided to drive an hour and a half away to a city just outside of Leeds and attend an Abundant Life Church. This church has it going on! They are so with contemporary society and culture here, and so with the times... yet sadly they're an anomaly amongst churches in England. Hey, but I'm praising the Lord they exist in this country and I only hope the Vineyard continues to pursue cultural relativity, as well as our new church plant. Martin Smith, the lead guy in the Christian band Delirious, was there and he played a worship song for us, "Lord, You have my heart." It was the first worship song he ever wrote, and he said he sings it every day still. It's the prayer of his heart. It was touching to have him play it for us, and to be able to meditate to it as he played. It was my first time even seeing Martin (we're already on a first-name basis), so I was excited. The pastor had a great sermon as well. The topic was 'Identity.' Where do we find our identity? In our career? Our money? Our looks? Our friends? Our family? I had been struggling with an identity crises for a while, so the sermon struck chords in my heart. Though knowing my identity should be in Christ, as His child, etc etc, I slipped into finding my identity in my job and my friends and my education. Then England came, with no job, no friends, and no education. Who am I??? I asked. He told the old story of The Ugly Duckling, how the little 'duck' found his identity in his nest, but couldn't reconcile his differences with the other ducks, and so decided that he must not be very good. You all know the story... he was actually a swan! It was only when he was drawn into the still water to follow some unforseen force drawing him to some beautiful creatures that he was able to see his reflection, to see himself for who he truly was. The pastor said we're all drawn to others that are like ourselves... spiritually, and it's important that we find them. He said even as Christians, we're not all going to be alike (which we all know but it's nice to hear it from a pastor). We need to find and worship with our soul-mates, basically.

I was encouraged on the identity side of things. My job slinging espresso and nervously awaiting substitute/supply teaching calls in the morning does not define who I am. I am an instrument of the most high God! I was also somewhat discouraged though... I've known all along the importance of Christian community. I've longed for it especially since I've been to England... so has Mark. The pastor confirmed our need to be around other Christians like ourselves, yet we ask, "Where are they?" We continue to hope and pray we will connect with people in the church plant. In the end however, this world is not our nest, it is not our home. Our home is in heaven and there reside our soul-mates who have gone before us. We will one day be with our true family. That's something to be excited about! It's a reason for me to hold my head up.

-Rachel

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pseudo-carpenter

Rachel is worried that I will stop using this as a creative output if she starts using it too. I recognize that it is good for us to have some separate things but I figure that I share my life with her so sharing my blog shouldn't be that difficult. We had a nice weekend. Saturday we both worked but I was finished much earlier than Rachel so I installed a set of shelves that I modified to fit in the closet at work that I've been meaning to do for the last week or so. Yesterday we went to Abundant Life in Bradford for church. Martin Smith from delerious was there and it was a great service, it really felt like home.
I really love working with my hands. If I had been a cabinet maker I would have been fine with that too. I'm planning on one day building a dinning room set for us. My old pastor Greg built one with a skil saw, a jigsaw and a drill. It was really impressive. I like his idea and I've already got the picture in my head of how I'd like it to look. I built the bed that Rach and I have now, I'm sure I could do a table. Like all things, it would require a few tools that I don't have but I'm sure that I could arrange it. I'm going to wait until we are back in North America so that we don't have to try and ship it when we eventually move back.
I've been dreaming of the Okanagan again recently. I'm sure that I have rose-tinted memories of the place due to the fact that I worked there at camp for so long. Recently I saw a picture on a blog of my sisters friend andrew of his dock that goes out onto Lake Okanagan and it made me jealous but content to know that I had my time there too and someday I may return.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Anniversary trip to Belgium!













These are photos from our lovely first-year anniversary trip to Brugge, Belgium! We ate Belgium waffles for breakfast, took a canal boat ride, walked around the city centre for a bit, and then went on a 4-hour countryside bike tour. The bike tour was the highlight of our time in Belgium... the weather was gorgeous as we biked along canals, in tall tunnels of trees, alongside picturesque little villages, and down country lanes. Enjoy!

-Rachel

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

the roads are unsafe once again!

Well, I passed. I've always thought I was a reasonably good driver but you know how it is with tests, there's always the little things that catch you out. I passed first time, which is good, the pass rate for the centre is less than 40% (due to driver's with not enough experience taking the test). Everybody thought I was crazy for not taking lessons first. I did borrow this set of books and interactive DVD's from someone to preview before taking the test. They were the awful hip-with-the-kids kind of cringy videos that you can just hear teenagers mocking all across the land but there were a few useful points.
Apart from that, Rachel is having toe surgery (again) tonight, so I'm staying home with her. Tomorrow we at home group, Thursday we are having Kevin and Sarah around to play settlers. I won last time and Kevin wants a rematch, and Friday we are hanging out with Matt and Nadine who have just moved to the area to be part of the church plant. I think that we are going to get along with them pretty well.