Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dear Summer.


Summer, please stay for a while.  We like you.



Bears are amazing to see when you are in your car.  O wanted to get out and pet the bear, so hubby told O that bears are beautiful but wild.  After thinking a few minutes, he said "But Mommy is beautiful too..."





Friday, August 24, 2012

Favourite Things in 2012...So Far

One of my favourite posts to write was the one about my favourite things in 2010.  At one point, I started to write a list of my favourite books, movies, culinary discoveries, and other items of interest from 2011, but stopped when I realized that 2011 was a bit of a dry year in regards to any of the aforementioned.  Between being pregnant, having a baby, leaving our previous church (on good terms, just for the record), putting the house up for sale, moving into my parents house, surgery, and house-hunting, I didn't expand my extra-curricular horizons.  I don't know if I read a single book that year.  However, I've found a few new favourite things thus far in 2012 that are begging to be shared before the end of the year:


Music:

The more I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it.  Check out Everyday Prayers by Scott B. Anderson.    Scott and his wife, Janet, lived across the hall from us the first year we were married, and Scott pastored a church plant that we were part of for several years.  I'm convinced that even if I didn't know them personally, I would still love this album; it's that good.  In addition to her amazing voice, Janet is also a very talented artist; you can see some of her work here.  

A few months ago, as you may remember, my childhood dreams came true and I met Michael W. Smith.  His backup band at the concert was a pleasant surprise, even though I was hoping for the original backup band from "Go West Young Man."  Perhaps then he would have sung that song?  The whole evening, I couldn't quite catch the name of the band, L'Angelus, pronounced "Lawn-jay-loose."  I suppose I should have clued in that it was a French name when they started singing in French during their set.  I would describe their music as an unusual but successful blend of cajun and country, and their stage presence as very inspiring.  I kind of wanted to become a rock star when I watched them.  The main singer really has the hair tossing thing down-pat.  I would probably need a full time chiropractor on tour with me if I moved my neck like she did.

Books:

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
This was a difficult, but moving book to read.  It is well written and captivating, but any book about the Holocaust leaves an ache in the centre of my being.  Although it is a fictional work, it is based on historical events, events that are so horrific I wish they were pure fiction.  I tend to avoid books about the Holocaust, but something stirred me to pick this one up at the library.  I learned some new things about the Holocaust in France, and sometimes I feel like we collectively owe a listening ear to those who perished and to those who were forever changed by the war, and a willingness to learn about their experiences.  When somebody I know personally faces a challenge or a trauma, the least I can do is to listen, to validate, to remember.  Is it any different on a collective scale?

All the Way Home, by Ann Tatlock
I finished reading this book one day last week instead of making a timely dinner for my kids.  It was that good, and their pre-dinner popsicles to tie them over were a hit.  From Japanese internment camps in America during WWII, Japanese prisoner of war camps in the Philippines, the Vietnam war, and the fight for civil rights in 1960s America, the author weaves a multi-layered story of prejudice, forgiveness, and hope.
My own prejudice almost stopped me from reading this book in the first place when I saw the name of the Christian publishing company on the back.  Strange, coming from a pastor's wife, right?  Perhaps I am a product of my post-modern university studies, but I don't enjoy reading books that come across as heavy-handed or contrived in their message, whatever that may be.  I want the ideas and the themes in a book to simmer and grow, not to be like a bucket of cold water sloshed over my thoughts.  This book convinced me that I've been too quick to judge Christian fiction.  Tatlock infuses this book with the message of Jesus in a way that is authentic, nuanced, and artistic.

Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
Alice, a brilliant Harvard professor and researcher, begins experiencing memory loss and confusion, which leads to a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimers.  This book is heartbreaking, but fascinating and imbued with some beautiful relationships.  Well worth reading.


Website:

GoodReads.com
If you are a reader, check out this website.  It's a fun way of keeping track of what you have read, in case you can't remember what you've read.  Or what you did yesterday.  Not really, but it does list recommendations based on what you've read and rated.

Food:

On a recent trip to Costco, a visiting vendor, Western Sage, was selling some delectable-looking honey.  I know what you are thinking - what honey isn't delectable?  But this was cinnamon honey, and I was sold as soon as I tasted the sample.  The jar is gone, and I'm not going to tell you how long it lasted in my cupboard. Let's pretend it was at least a couple of months, and that I didn't eat it almost single-handedly, shall we? I just checked out their website to see where I can buy some more since it was just visiting Costco, and in addition to their Cream Cinnamon Honey, they also have Cream Cool Mint Honey, and Cream Cappuccino Honey.  Mmmmm.  By the way, I'm not getting paid to write this, but...feel free to send me some honey, Western Sage, and we'll call it even!

Pink Lady Apples
I'm usually a Gala apple girl, but Pink Lady , also known as Pink Cripps are a new delicious discovery for me, though apparently they've been around since 1978.

Fritt German Candy
Several of the little shops in my new neighbourhood sell fun imported foods, and after seeing this candy at the checkout stand in numerous little shops, my curiosity got the best of me and I bought a pack.  Suffice it to say that several more packs have been purchased since then.  It has added vitamin C, so that has to count for something, right?


Random Likes:

I've been using molded foam pillows for many years, but decided to branch out and try a buckwheat pillow about six months ago when my previous pillow needed replacing.  It takes a few nights to get used to the crunchy sound of the buckwheat, but I love the way the pillow can be moulded to suit whichever way you happen to be sleeping.  It was also much more affordable that other pillows I've bought - only $25.

Recently I rediscovered the joy of bicycle riding.  There are oodles of fabulous trails in our new neighbourhood, so we are finally getting some use out of our bike trailer and enjoying some fun family bike rides.  Definitely my favourite form of bipedal locomotion.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Humble Pie

Remember this post, in which I wrote about some new wall art I was working on?  One of the pieces, as you might remember, was a large framed print from Ikea that we've had since we first got married, almost ten years ago.  The print was "Balconies on the Grand Canal" by Jonathan Pike.  I needed a change, for reasons explained in that post, so I used the back of paper to make this:


Guess who commented on that blog post?  Jonathan Pike.  The artist whose work I turned around to use the backside of the paper.  I thought it was a joke at first, then I hoped it was a joke because I was a wee bit embarrassed.  But, no, it was genuine.  Lucky for me, he was very gracious about the whole thing!
Check out some of his new work here.  I'm really liking "Salute at Dawn" and "Brighton."


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