Sunday, June 29, 2008

My little brother has graduated

Well, it's official: I'm OLD.
My brother, nine years my junior, graduated high school this month. Didn't I just change his diapers and feed him pureed carrots last week???
It's strange being a sibling - being someone's family but really having not much in common with them, other than our parents and their home. It will be interesting to see where Zach's passion for acting and the theatre take him.


Dad swears he'll "stumble" upon a part, or someone he knows will know someone, and he'll land a job that will somehow get him to where he wants to be: Broadway. He's lived his whole life like this - relaxed, no worries, taking whatever comes his way.

A handsome lad, isn't he?

Here's to you, Zach, and your bright future. Thanks to your milestone achievement, I now realize I'm only two years away from my high school reunion.

Excuse me, I have to go throw up now.



Happy birthday, Dora!



Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday dear Dora,

Happy birthday to you!


Dora turned one today (or seven, if you're thinking in human years). She had a fun-filled day of playing at Tynehead dog park, visiting her favourite store to pick out this birthday treat (a "pupcake"), and panting like an idiot in our sauna, I mean, house.

What a joy this little poop-machine is to us! I couldn't imagine life without her now.



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eat::Pray::Love



So, there's this book.

Eat, Pray, Love was given to me by my mum, to whom it was given by her good friend, Brenda, who saw fit to give it to a group of her girlfriends, mostly middle-aged. When I got it, I had seen it - you know, here and there. Chapters, sticking out of women's oversized handbags...but I had never pursued it. When I opened the gift, the sparkle in my mother's eye said, "This book will change your life."

Me, being the responsible Christian gal I suppose I like to think that I am, graciously thanked her, while internally warning myself that this piece of prose, subtitled "One woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia," looked to be a tad new-agey for me - one of those uber spiritual resources that one on a quest for purpose undertakes in the springtime, when everything around us is fresh and new and dripping with hope and light.

Thus, the book sat on my nightstand for months.

But, it seemed, this novel/bookumentary, kept drawing me in. I hadn't read a novel since my honeymoon almost two years ago - who has the time? Besides, there are many respectable marriage- and family-focused books in my stash that would surely provide more substance and tools than this flighty book about self-discovery after a "painful divorce" and the bloody aftermath (aka the rebound). It didn't sound like anything I could relate to.

But every time I saw my mum, she'd ask, "Have you started to read Eat, Pray, Love yet?"

"No, not yet," I'd reply, which tided her over until next time. And the book would continue to gather dust.

One day, I offhandedly mentioned this situation to a girlfriend, whose eyes grew wide as saucers when I told her I had this book. "That book changed my life!" she revealed, though she could not explain why.

She was given the book, as well, as part of her bridesmaid gift last summer. She made me promise to tell her when I finished the thing, so we could discuss it. (I think this is like a worldwide book club!?) It seems that women all over are touched by Elizabeth's story and pass it on to their friends. Even the assistant at my naturopath commented on it while I sat, waiting for a B12 shot -- having just returned from India, she confirmed much of what Elizabeth wrote, and her face seemed to brighten when she saw what I was reading -- an instant kinship, a shared story.

And so, I embarked on this journey with Elizabeth: from the cold, hard tile floor of her suburban bathroom, where she cried out to God to save her from her misery in the midst of her marrige, to Italy (seeking pleasure in the form of food and language and lack of responsibility), to India (seeking devotion and God and peace and a quiet mind) and finally, to Bali (seeking the balance in between).

We are still in Bali, Elizabeth and me. I won't give away anything here, as this is a book I'll be passing on to friends, too. But I did want to post some of my favourite quotes from this wonderful publication, which I see not only as a book anymore, but as the author's living, beating, bloody heart, spilled onto a printing press, spat out into a billion thin pages, and distributed throughout the world for women just like her to read.

1. (page 157) I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge?" Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.

2. (page 186) And I was sure of this, too--that the rules of transcendence insist that you will not advance even one inch closer to divinity as long as you cling to even one last seductive thread of blame. . . . I mean, what kind of prayer is this to imbibe--"Give us this day our daily grudge"?

3. (page 192) God dwells within you as yourself, exactly the way you are. God isn't interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves. We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality. This is a classic example of what they call in the East "wrong-thinking." . . . To know God, you need only to renounce one thing--your sense of division from God. Otherwise, just stay as you were made, within your natural character.

4. (page 207) "You don't want to go cherry-picking a religion."

5. (pages 260-261) ...all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people...on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Cleaning out your misery gets you out of the way. . . . Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.

Can you see now why this book is so poignant? The insights this woman has are nothing short of divinely inspired and I am suprised that someone so desparate for purpose and reason would find such logical and seemingly sound spiritual answers on this particular journey and in this particular stage of her life. Our God really does work in mysterious ways and though Christ was not directly reflected in this book or Elizabeth's search, I believe that He leads us all if we are serious in our journey and faithful in our quest.

Lord God, shine bright through words like those of Elizabeth. Your Character and Love are unending and your ways are incomprehensible to your children.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Background

Saw this on Shawna’s blog – one of those Facebook-type things I don’t get to do anymore b/c I left Facebook. I haven’t been tagged but hey, it’s my blog. I’ll do what I want. =)

***I have many things to blog about, but haven't yet caught up. Maybe this weekend...

What was I doing ten years ago?
1. Looking forward to getting my license
2. Working @ McDick’s
3. Stressing out about post-secondary options

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
1. Pick up the dog from daycare
2. Enjoy a raw fish feast with Erin @ Miraku
3. Clean up our filthy kitchen
4. Re-make the bed
5. Dust!

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Chocolate anything!
2. Almonds with Craisins and raisins
3. Almond Butter, on the spoon
4. Pretzels
5. Cheddar cheese on a Granny Smith apple

5 Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Home: Buy property in the Lower Mainland (maybe on the Sunshine Coast or out in the Fraser Valley), build stables and fields, buy horses and sheep and ponies and maybe a couple of chickens and cows and create a little hobby farm
2. Business: Build a guest house on that property and run a sweet B&B
3. Vacation: Own a villa in Tuscany on our own vineyard, as well as homes in Greece and France…and maybe Germany, too!
4. Family: Pay my parents’ mortgage, buy them new cars and allow them to retire comfortably; send my brother to acting school in New York; buy Melynda and Kally a home and a new car; buy Wayne his dream truck; get Dora some sisters and brothers from the SPCA
5. Church: Donate, donate, donate

Places I've lived:
1. Sperling Avenue, Burnaby
2. Sullivan Station, Surrey
3. Newton, Surrey (shhhh!)
4. Le Chambon sur Lignon, France
5. Clayton Heights, Surrey

Jobs I’ve had:
1. Cashier
2. Au pair (Nanny)
3. Catering staff/Server
4. External Communications Advisor
5. Managing Editor

And you???

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No-fail hummus

I dunno where my mum got this recipe, but honestly, nothing compares! It's my fail-safe party contribution. One of Wayne's friends won't come over unless I'm making it. And I've given the recipe to many. I decided to share some joy!

Some of the measurements are loosey goose, so play around with what you like. I wanted to do a step-by-step photo post, like the Pioneer Woman does, but I just don't think I have the patience today.

In a Cuisinart, puree:

1 large can chick peas (aka Garbanzo beans), rinsed
2+ cloves garlic (I used roasted - less gas-inducing - and I usually use 3-4 cloves if roasted)
A dash each of salt and pepper
Juice of one lemon
About 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (I like a little extra)
A "pinch" of nutmeg (be generous - it gives a great depth to the flavour)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To serve, put in pretty bowl/plate, drizzle with olive oil and top with olives and a sprinkling of dried oregano, basil or parsely (something pretty, anyway). Great with raw veggies, corn chips, or our latest fave: pita, cut into triangles and baked on a cookie sheet until crisp.

TIP: Make pesto hummus by adding a bunch of fresh basil and some pine nuts, or roasted red pepper hummus by adding jarred roasted red peppers.

Bon appetit! (Thanks, Mum!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Trouble with this post - FOODIE

So I spent almost an hour composing a post yesterday and trying to upload the images in the correct order (does anyone else find Blogger extremely unuser-friendly sometimes???) and every time I hit "Publish," it tells me the post was successful . . . but I can't see it! I realized I had merely filled out a draft I started in January (!) and that the date remained Jan. 14/08, so I looked thorugh my archives to see if it was there, but no dice.

I just logged in now, and it said it was posted again, so I think I'll try just hyperlinking it here and see if any of you can view it. Please let me know via a comment if you can.

Grrrr.

http://megbaxter.blogspot.com/2008/01/foodie.html

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oh yeah...and we got a new car today...

We're officially riding family-style...
we traded in Wayne's Colorado (g'bye, Z71!) and bought this little guy:



Dora can't wait to hop into the back of our 2005 Mazda 3 and go for walkies!

I am happy - it's got a beautiful leather interior with heated seats and everything. It drives like a hot knife through butter and is pretty zippy.
EDIT: And by "officially riding family-style," I do NOT mean to imply that I'm pregnant. Because I'm not. So please, no cute comments. ;)

Lindeman Lake

A few weeks ago, Remy and Tyler and Wayne and I hiked up to Lindeman Lake in Chilliwack, where Dora swam freely for the first time! She's always been wary of water (odd, for a Spaniel), but once she realized she could swim, she practically begged us to throw in the stick! What a joy she is to watch.

At the bottom is a sample of her courage. Here are some fun pics to accompany that, too.
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video




Miracle on 72A Ave.*

*Disclaimer: I don’t usually like to share about Wayne’s personal life. I must say, if he had a blog and wrote all about my life on it, I might be a bit miffed, too. However, this post, though it centres around Wayne’s issue, is actually about God’s great love and mercy…given in abundance today to my most gracious husband. I love you, Wayne.

So, Wayne’s medical is tomorrow – that’s the test they do to make sure he has a heartbeat and four limbs, 10 fingers and toes and no other weird conditions before he goes off to Basic Training (think he’ll pass?).

It’s been a worry, though; last month at the men’s retreat with our church, he decided to try to keep up with the 18-year-olds who were having push-up competitions at 2 o’clock in the morning up at Camp Stillwood (of course - when else would have been a good time to get macho?). Turns out that 28-year-olds can’t exactly do the handstand push-ups that a gangly teen can do. Wayne strained both his wrists trying and has been on anti-inflammatory meds ever since with much pain and swelling in both wrists. We started P90X together but he had to stop doing the weight resistance sessions in order to heal up his wrists. Heck, if you can’t do push-ups without pain, you’ll never make it in the Army! (Our cousin, Robert, just called on Saturday from CFB Kingston, Ontario, to give Wayne the low-down: he’s been in the Army only a month and has seen one guy do 1,100 push-ups in one day! If just one of your buttons is undone, it’s an automatic 25 push-ups. Ouch.)

So we’ve been praying for healing and for strength, confident, at least, that God is the one opening all these doors for us to pursue this life of commitment to the Army. We know that anything set up by the Lord will meet resistance from the enemy, so it shouldn’t have surprised us when this type of injury hit Wayne at what seems like the wrong time.

But our God is bigger and more powerful! It is a Psalm 103 kind of day!

Wayne awoke this morning and came downstairs with a look of bewilderment on his face – he got down on the floor and pounded off five push-ups right in front of me! He stood and bent his hands so far back they almost touched his forearm – the pain and swelling had disappeared, and healing had occurred. We prayed through tears of joy with thanksgiving to Christ, who says, in the passage we chose for our wedding, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Two more little twists in this story: this weekend, our pastor happens to be preaching on the miracle of healing (weird coincidence?). And last week, Wayne had a hankering to watch The Prince of Egypt, so we rented it. This morning, I found myself singing Miriam’s song and realized just how it applied to this day:

In this time of fear
When prayer so often proved in vain
Hope seemed like the summer birds
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I'm standing here
With heart so full I can't explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say

There can be miracles when you believe
Though hope is frail
It's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe...

Let this be an encouragement to you today. We are blessed.