why I’ve been a bad blogger

Here I am again, and it’s already been over 2 weeks since my last post. Sorry people! Seems life here is busier than I ever imagined. It’s busy in a good way, though… not just working and studying hard (which we are!).

We started attending our new church at the beginning of October, and it’s going really well. Neither Nate or I have ever been to a church this small (3o people on a good day) and our paradigm of what “church” is supposed to be is shifting quite a bit. As the new worship pastor, Nate’s only the second staff member, and even the teaching pastor is only part time. The focus is so much on community, and not so much on program, which is truly refreshing. Already, I feel like we are getting to know the other members and they really want to know us. It feels so obvious (like every other aspect of this journey so far) that this is where we are supposed to be for this time of our lives. I expect to learn a lot from being a part of such a small community, and I anticipate that God will use this time to prepare us for whatever is to come after.

We’ve also been busy with visitors, which has been so much fun! It’s been all too easy to get settled into our routine and forget that we live in a vibrant, beautiful city with so many places to explore, so when people come, we have to show them around! We’ve been to Stanley Park and Lynn Canyon, Kitsilano and Main, downtown and even along the sky-to-sea highway to Squamish. It makes me feel a bit less isolated to know that good friends and family have a sense of our home and where we are. More visitors are always welcome!

And, I’ve been busy with new friends! I’m blessed to be getting to know some lovely ladies from all over the world whose husbands are also studying at Regent. My new friends from South Africa have helped me put this transition in perspective: we still have all our belongings, our car, and the same time zone and currency name that we had before. Vancouver isn’t so far away from home.

In fact, it is quickly becoming home.

nothing's better than a visit from your best friend!

October sunshine

the beautiful Howe Sound

the little monkey I watch 3 days a week

good friends at Prospect Point


september in a nutshell

I’ve been meaning to write all this time, I really have. But somewhere between diving headfirst into multiple jobs, figuring out a transit system, and finding soy ice cream that fits my standards it’s been hard to find the time to distill our experiences the past four weeks into a little bottle of blog.

So I’ll give you the run-down: Our neighborhood is adorable, and our little basement suite is so cozy that I hardly wanted to leave it our first week here. It’s a perfect little getaway from the chaos of a new city and it already feels like home.

My jobs are great: bosses who treat me with respect and care about my well-being, not to mention financial security and emotional health.

I finally have a phone, debit card, social insurance number, driver’s license and our health cards are on their way. Looking back, I really wish we had given ourselves about a week to get all those details taken care of; it made for a very stressful couple of weeks trying to get all that done before, after and during work and school. But I can really say, we’re about as Canadian as we’ll get in the eyes of the government!

We’ve begun to really explore Vancouver now. We finally made it to Stanley park last weekend, and in the rain no less, making for a truly Vancouverite trip. I’ve been taking runs all through our area and finding the parks and some really cute houses (I finally signed up for a half marathon, by the way– more to come!). We even found a corner with a checkerboard the size of our bedroom paved into the ground!

It’s been hard to feel alone, because we’ve made friends at Regent already. There are some really wonderful couples I’m excited to get to know more. So far, it seems like a phenomenal place with phenomenal people; some who are a lot like us, but many who are quite different. It’s refreshing to be surrounded by accents and worldviews that aren’t exactly like everyones’ that I’ve ever known.

It turns out when I take a month off from blogging, many things crop up which I will need to cover shortly, so look forward to:

the amazing multi-cultural maze of Vancouver mass transit

my first running injury… while training for my first 1/2 marathon

beautiful, beautiful Horseshoe Bay where I nanny

the adventure of living on a student budget in an expensive city

photos to come too! toodles!

we all live in a yellow Penske truck

Said truck is parked illegally in the fire lane next to our nearly-vacant apartment. Inside it: everything we own other than the odds and ends that are left for morning (you know: the jar of pens, cleaning supplies, printer and computer sitting on the floor waiting to be swept up with the rest). Tomorrow, we brave the open road and hope that the Canadian customs officials don’t find anything suspicious about us!

I’m so tired, but it’s starting to sink in that tonight is really our last night in Seattle. We can’t go long when our silverware and my espresso machine are lost in a pile of brown cardboard boxes, can we? Seriously, this is it. All our hoping, dreaming, and penny pinching comes down to a leap of faith that begins tomorrow. I’m clinging to this truth tonight:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

We appreciate all the prayers and support more than you know! I’ll keep you posted, dear readers, as we get settled into our new city, country, and lives. Here we go…

hey, Canada: here we come!

It may take a while before I have the emotional bandwidth to write a real post. I’m a little all-over-the-place this week: goodbye parties, final service at our church home, packing our belongings and goodbye hugs are taking it out of me. In talking with a friend this morning, I realized that this moving process has been much like getting married last year. We’ve known for months it was happening, on a certain day. We’ve had time to process, to prepare, to take care of the many (many, many many) logistics of actually relocating to Canada and yet… and yet. Nothing we can do will prepare us for what it will actually be like when we wake up this Sunday morning in a new home without phones, friends, or the knowledge of the location of the nearest grocery store. Just as we prepared, dreamed and hoped for our new marriage last spring and summer, and woke up on August first to a whole new reality. Things have changed, drastically, and now things will change again. I’m excited for this reality, and I’m hopeful for the growth the joys and tears and adventures of the next three years will bring us. I have no idea what it will be like. I can’t wait to find out. All we can do is trust in the Lord, who has brought us this far, and who goes with us no matter where we are.

Bring it on, CANADA!

three thoughts…

…for today:

1.  I think I’m developing a full-fledged addiction to running. I have been accused in the past of having an “addictive” personality; I like to think of it more as being an all-or-nothing kind of person. But this feels like it might be one of the closest things I’ve found to a real habit. I’ve had two 3+ mile runs this week and planning for 5 tomorrow morning, and next week’s goal is to get in at least 4 runs.  My legs are starting to feel seriously muscular and I’m able to run longer and faster the more I do it (I know, duh). Also, I’m giving myself a week to choose a half-marathon and register for it- eek! When I do, start expecting more running posts. I’m reading lots of running blogs and getting quite inspired.

2. At the same time, I’ve had a bad week weight-wise. What I’m telling myself is that I’m gaining muscle mass from running so much, but I must say it’s disappointing to work so hard on my body and not have measurable results. Has this happened to any of you when you started running or working out consistently? It’s definitely frustrating.

3. The countdown is starting for real right about now. We’re inside a month from our move, our study/ work permits have been approved, and we’re starting to tie up the many loose ends we’ve accumulated over the years and years and years we’ve lived in the US. I’m stir crazy and I’m also getting cold feet in a lot of ways. I just need this huge change to happen now. I’m impatient, you know! Yet I know there are so many people and things I will miss fiercely a month from now, so the task at hand is to balance the preparation with holding on for the next four weeks.

On a lighter note, I’m obsessed lately with these little clips I found at Forever 21- $1.50 for a pair! So pretty!

Happy Friday! We’re going to watch the blue angels tomorrow… what are you doing?

glacial refreshment

Last week, Nate and I took off in our Subaru for Alberta, Canada. This vacation went through many metamorphoses before it became a  trip to Alberta: first it was supposed to be the redwoods, then Yellowstone & Denver, then we finally arrived on Alberta. And I’m so glad we did!

Our first stop was 2 nights in Calgary with our dear friends Jon & Brittany. Brit, a wonderful old roommate of mine, made the move up north after she and Jon married in October last year, and I miss her so much! Those two are one of the few couples that both Nate and I connect with really, really well. I’d love to say that moving to Canada will fix the distance problem; but, alas, Vancouver and Calgary are still a good 12 hour drive apart.

B & J showed us much of their city, including a trip to the world-famous (?) Calgary Stampede rodeo. We ate hot mini donuts, saw big horses and chuck wagon races (a phenomenon I’ve never seen before, and probably never will again). We even heard the most recent Canadian Idol winner sing! Now I feel like a real Canadian! Earlier that day, the biggest excitement was an out-of-nowhere thunder storm complete with hail the size of golf balls. Let’s just say that Calgary definitely left its dent, at least on our car.


Nate and I left early the next morning to hike in Banff national park. I was expecting it to be beautiful; I mean, it’s the Canadian rockies, people! But I was not prepared for the glory of this place. We ended up on a 4-night trek into Assiniboine Provincial Park, and through one of the most grizzly-populated areas of North America.

the sign at our trailhead

Although all the literature reminds us of how rare a bear encounter is, one has to think about the possibility. If it weren’t very probable, why all the signs? We both spent a fair amount of our first day nervous and expecting a bear around each corner. We never did see one, but we were quite rain-soaked for the majority of the day. The forecast had predicted this, but also several sunny days to follow, so we endured with the hope this would be the wettest we’d be all week.

Wednesday morning, we awoke to sunshine and packed up for another day of hiking, this time toward our ultimate destination. We passed through a gorgeous valley with peaks on both sides, climbed a low pass, and crossed into the most beautiful basin I have ever seen. I think heaven might look a little like this.

Mt. Assiniboine and his neighbors

With aching feet we set up camp at the edge of a lake. Backpacking in Canada seems to be quite, well, civilized. Each campsite along the way had an area for cooking with wooden benches and a pulley system rigged to make it easy to pull your food out of reach of bears when you leave your site. Assiniboine takes it to the next level, however: the basin is equipped, 16 miles from the nearest road, with a lovely lodge, backpacker huts, a hut for climbers, and outhouses in the camping area. We were hardly roughing it! A helicopter brings in hikers 3 times a week who want to explore the valley but don’t want to make the 32-mile round trip approach. I can definitely imagine Nate and me as an old, wrinkly couple helicoptering in to stay at the lodge. We didn’t see the rooms, but we did go for a beer at the end of our day hike on day three. That’s the best beer I’ve tasted in a long, long time–and at $7 a pop, I would hope so!


In all, we hiked somewhere close to 60 km, which is around 38 miles. We finished with sore legs, heel blisters and nasty sunburns on our legs (mine was only above my gaiters and below my shorts, which is a very funny tan line a week later), but contented hearts. Being outdoors with my husband brings us so much closer together. We have to be a team and look to each other’s needs in a more pronounced way than at home. But more than that, we get to enjoy something spectacular together. As we near our one-year-anniversary, I truly feel like our marriage is becoming a beautiful partnership, and I’m so excited to see where life takes us.

One more thing: this trip really helped our imminent move up north sink in a bit, and I’m starting to get really, really excited. Canada is a beautiful country, and we have met so many wonderful people. Here’s to the real adventure, starting 6 weeks from today!

beyond blessings

I must be thick-skulled, because I am astounded and somehow surprised every time God provides for me in an amazing way. I should be expecting it; most of the time, I’ve even asked for it to happen. Still, down to the teeniest of answered prayers, I see a major miracle.

Lately, these miracles have come in the form of every detail of our move to Canada being taken care of before we even had a chance to worry about it. We were given the idea to move to a less expensive apartment after Nate got accepted to school; within a week we had found new tenants for ours and a great new (month-to-month) apartment to live in, saving us significant cashflow in the long run. The slightest whim brought about a full-time job for me doing what I love. The first apartment we look at in Vancouver turns out to be wonderful and about the best deal we could have found.

The wonderful thing about all this (as if being divinely taken care of wasn’t great enough) is that God doesn’t seem to be only interested in our survival. All of the ways he has provided for us have brought wonderful blessings along with them. From the garden awaiting my feeble beginner’s attempts at sowing and reaping, to the new families I will be singing and building relationships with, to the intentional community we will become a part of soon, God’s love and attention to detail is obvious. It is becoming more and more clear to me that God doesn’t just want us to get by. He truly wants the very best for us and is willing to go to great lengths to give it to us, if only we pay attention for his movement in our lives.

I want to become a person who so trusts God that I never worry for my own happiness, much less my well-being. Too often I try to make things wonderful on my own, building walls of comfort around me and making choices based on my desires, not necessarily where I feel is God leading me. The more I lean into the Lord and trust Him in all things, the richer and fuller my life will be, and the more I will be equipped to be a blessing to those around me. I need to be willing to accept the hard things, too, and I know they will come. But today I pray for the grace to thank God for all He has blessed us with thus far.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” -Pslam 37:4

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