Settlers

It was an eventful Sunday.

So, I will write about something less eventful and quick today.

Sometimes, when I am bored, I like to play game on my phone. One of my favorites, in particular is a game I downloaded before Europe because some friends were playing it on his iPad (all the time!).

The game is Settlers of Catan.

I remember people playing it in mass at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship retreats and such. I was never in to it… It looked boring to me.

Our small group friends (the ones that play all kinds of games) introduced me to the board game version. And then the phone version.

I started to play it in line for customs in London. I figured I could actually learn the rules and such because I quite sucked at the real version.

I became hooked. My goal was to figure out how to win. And then it was to keep winning.

Now, I play it only when I have spare time, but I do enjoy it greatly, though I have a grudge against some of the computer players and their pre programed comments (which is crazy, I know).

I recommend trying the game (real or computer version) at some point to bring out your inner settler. Just beware, you may get hooked.

In touch

I suck at keeping in touch with people.

Seriously.  Suck is actually an appropriate word.

I love people.  I like working with them and knowing them, but I am not the mindful sort.

I don’t send greetings with pleasantries.  I forget birthdays and most other significant days.  I don’t have the time or the get up and go to send Christmas cards to everyone I know.

I care.  And when I see those people again, I am happy to see them.  I love getting updates.

The few people I keep in touch with from when I first moved away include my Nuc Med class (whoo Team Nuc Med) and the ladies I worked with at the Hospice.  And, of course my church people when I come home and the best friends I have had since forever.  There are more people I could keep in touch with, but those are the ones I manage to stay in touch with the most.

Now, I have moved again and the list of people I should be keeping in touch with has grown.  Eeep!

However, somehow, I have managed thus far to stay in touch (at least sort of) with most of the people I should from that crew of people.

I have been texting with a few school friends to get updates on the adventures of settling into new cities.  I got semi-play-by-play updates on one first ICU call rotation.

Yesterday, I got some awesome news… I found out that one of my friends from small group finally got her permanent residency in Canada.  This is something she has been working on and waiting on for over a year.  So, this is truly an answer to prayer.

The cool thing is that despite living in a different place, I still feel connected.

I still can’t wait to go back and visit that group of friends.

Today, I also made steps towards getting in touch with some people I usually see while I am home that I have not yet seen.  I am excited to get to spend some time catching up.  It always feels good to have some quality time with lovely people who you don’t get to see on a regular basis.

Missing Church

I really like church.

To some people, that makes me lame… To others it sounds perfectly reasonable.

I had this discussion with one of my other mothers a few weeks ago.  She was laid up after a bout of pancreatitis and couldn’t get out of the house, let alone go to church.  The first week she got out, she said it felt so good.  Not just because she was getting out of the house or because she was seeing people, but because it just feels right to go to church.  To be with other believers, to learn and grow.

I couldn’t have agreed with her more.

So, as a result, I am starting to feel a bit deprived.

Last week, we missed out on church because we were out enjoying the loveliness of PEI with Patrick’s family.  This week, I have been on call all weekend and despite trying to go in to round early this morning, I had a couple people who became quite unwell and I had to stick around to do investigations and talk with families.  I love my job, so that is fine, but I still was sad to miss out on church.

Meanwhile, Patrick has started the church hunt without me and scoped out the first place.  He reported back it was friendly and Biblically sound and he even thinks it is worth a second look visit with me in tow!

Despite there being good reasons for missing church, I can’t help but feel a bit sad.  Although I can pray and read my Bible and such on my own, the whole teaching and group worship thing is really valuable and a refreshing chunk of my week.

I had a patient agree with me on this one.  She was asking me if there was a church service today at the hospital.  The particular building we are at does not have a service.  She was a bit disappointed.  I wish I could have taken her to the service.  But, I had those other emergencies to tend to.  She was telling me that church is usually one of the highlights of her week.  Something about praising God with other people.   I agreed.

So, Patrick being the lovely spouse that he is thought it would be a good idea to go to church at night, so long as I didn’t get called.  And we would have BBQ first (the BBQ was one of the most challenging things I ever assembled… I am pretty sure we are lucky to have not blown ourselves up).  The BBQ took longer than expected, especially because the wind was unusually strong today and blew it out… Twice.    So, we missed any 6:00 services… The start time of the majority.

Patrick, however, had driven past a church that had a 7:00 service this morning.  So, we went there.  And almost went down a one-way street to get there only to discover the evening service is at 7pm September to June.  Fail.  We were two months early for church.

Despite being a bit discouraged, we went for a walk and enjoyed some of God’s creation.  It was quite lovely.  We only got partly lost for a period of time.

I think it is good that I feel that way about church.  A church is just a building, but it is good to worship with others, whether it is a small group, your family or a random gaggle of people.  Even in the Old Testament, people got together for worship and prayer.  We see it tons in the New Testament church.  If it was good for them back then, it must be good for us now.

Because we value it, we will continue to church hunt.  I look forward to us finding a church we can call home.  I am also pumped that we can do it together.

Approaching an end.

There are some things that just never end…

Laundry.  
The stream of people coming into the emergency department.
Days of Our Lives.
Winters in Newfoundland.
Dishes.

And there are some things that end too quickly…

A good book.
Vacation.
Time with lovely friends.
Summers in Newfoundland.
A cup of coffee.

Although I feel like I have lived here forever.  I also feel like I am just getting used to it and don’t want to leave.  Though, it is most definitely time to head out.

We are really going to miss the lovely people.

Patrick and I were talking about how if God put this many wonderful people in our lives here, He can do the same where we head to next.  That is a big comfort.  Because we are really going to miss our friends here.

A crazy pose on our hiking adventure in Terra Nova with just a few of our wonderful Newfoundland friends (interestingly, only one of them is actually from Newfoundland).

Things 1 through 5 of how God was faithful this one weekend.

When we were away for small group, it was amazing what God was showing us.  Both about His faithfulness in the small things and in His sense of humor.

Image via entertainyamania.com.

Thing #1.  Part of the group of us drove up early in the afternoon.  We ate supper (BBQ pizza… A fascinating concept), had a fire going and played the game of Life.  The other part of us drove up after work (foolish working people) and had to drive in the dark.  Now, I may have mentioned before that we live in somewhat of a moose breeding ground.  And that moose are lovely until you see them anywhere near you.  Especially at dusk.  And in the fog.  Well, they drove up in ridiculous fog at dusk.  So, they were a bit concerned about moose.  They saw not one, but two moose… One of which crossed the road in front of them after it was spotted.  They were lucky to see them.  There are many moose-vehicle accidents every year, especially on nights like the one they were driving on.  Yet, they made it safe and sound.

Thing #2.  Strangely, this is also moose related.  M, one of the girls in our small group is from Slovenia and has never seen a live moose.  She really wanted to, but did not really want us all to die in seeing it.  She was in the early car and missed the initial moose adventure.  So, on the way home, she said she had prayed that we would see a moose from a safe distance.  And about an hour later, we did.  A moose off in a clearing facing away from the road.  She was so excited.  And I was relieved it wasn’t heading for us.

Thing #3.  We planned this trip hoping to be able to go hiking and have a bonfire and all of that good stuff.  However, for the week leading up to the trip, the entire forecast was rain.  The day we left… The forecast was fog… And rain.  But, that evening, it changed to rain, then just fog in the afternoon and evening of the Saturday.  And, on Saturday at about lunchtime, the sun came out.  It was mild and sunny and we played “monkey in the middle,” goofed around on the lodge playground and even went for a nice long hike.  It was still pleasant enough that night that we had a chance to have a bonfire.  We couldn’t have asked for a much better day.  It was like it was made to deliver.

Corey Hunt… The singer of “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”
Image via wikipedia.

Thing #4.  While out for our hike, Patrick somehow lost his glasses.  You see, he was wearing sunglasses and then, about partway through the hike, he realized he did not have his normal glasses.  He figured he left them in the car… He did not.  So, he spent all of Saturday night wearing sunglasses… Inside, outside… In the dark.  It was quite funny.  We sang “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” to him, he made a good Horatio Kane joke like on CSI, someone beat boxed when he spoke like he was a rap star.  Clearly, Patrick was rotted because he had no glasses and can’t see without them (thus the sunglasses).  I was rotted too because getting Patrick new glasses would have been tricky, given the Europe trip in a week and such.  Anyway, we got up early the next morning and went back to find them (I was not the most enthusiastic of helpers).  As we searched the others (unbenounced to us) prayed we would find them.  I begrudgingly prayed a similar prayer, but more because I wanted to be warm and dry in the cabin, not in the forest hunting for glasses at 730am.  Shockingly, we found them.  Definitely a God thing.

Thing #5.  The church we went to was having a children’s’ themed service.  And it was fun.

So, as you can see, there were some little things that we saw God’s faithfulness and a bit of humor in.  It was a good thing too, given that sometimes we all need those sorts of reminders.  And it made the weekend with lovely friends just that much better.

The hike

Terra Nova National Park was one of the places on our Newfoundland to do list.  We drive through it whenever we make the across the island trek to the ferry, but never seem to have time to stop.

This time, however, we were staying at cabins very nearby (okay, pretty much in the park), so when the sun miraculously came out, we decided to go for a nice 7km hike.

The hike was beautiful.  Lost of views of the ocean and lots of hiking through dense forest.

Though the trail had boardwalk type areas over especially damp regions, it was quite muddy from days of rain previously.  I hasn’t yet been cleared for this year’s season, so we found ourselves climbing over and under many fallen trees.

The trail ended at a nice grassy clearing with a small path down to a beach.  We enjoyed the beautiful ocean scenery, as well as a brook feeding into the harbour.  There may also have been some frisbee played… And the frisbee may have almost been lost to the ocean.

We posed for a group picture at the halfway point.  We are all very content.  We weren’t quite as happy looking when we came out.  But we were all glad we went and had a great time.

Poaching

“Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.”  -Roald Dahl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

You might remember the ridiculousness that was my post about whipping cream with no whisk.

Well, from the same geniuses that brought you that, we also have poached eggs.

You see, the next morning, on the very same trip away to the cabin, P (the guy seen in the video in the whisk video shaking the bowl) was making eggs.  He made scrambled eggs for everyone and then opened up the offer to make whatever eggs people wanted.

Innocent request.  He definitely thought nobody wound want anything out of the ordinary.

Then, his wife, A, decided she wanted poached eggs.

None of us knew how to make a poached egg.  Especially without those little special container thingies.

So, we did what any intelligent group of twenty and thirty somethings would do… We Googled it.

And this time we found several educational videos.  Sure beats how to make whipped cream without a whisk.

So, he made a poached egg.  And said that he wasn’t sure if it was fully cooked.

And then he dropped it and it hit the table and looked like this.

W pretended to eat it, however, he suspiciously in the end ate no breakfast.

P then made another one.  Substantially more to perfection.  And edible. 

The whole egg thing was kind of funny and also a good lesson in being resourceful and persistent. It is amazing what you can figure out with trial and error (and Google).

Shacking out… A few thoughts on cohabitation.

At small group a few weeks ago, we talked about cohabitation.

We were discussing how, for some of us, that makes us the odd ones in our families, whereas, for others it is fairly normal.

Living together before marriage is popular and apparently stats are starting to show that divorce rates in couples who cohabited are lower than they were previously (people who cohabited were once more likely to divorce than those who did not).

We watched this video called “Shacking Out.”  A spoof about cohabitation vows.  Here it is:

As you can see, it actually mentions many of the possible pitfalls of cohabitation, including a lack of defined commitment.  We found it funny and intriguing.

Biblically, there are commands to stay sexually pure until marriage.  Refer to Hebrews 13:4 – “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”  See also Genesis 2:24-25, and 1 Corinthians 7:39.

Beyond the Biblical statements against cohabitation, you can also look at it practically.

Really, cohabitation for some people (not all) is like getting a roommate.  A convenient roommate to split bills with and also to test drive a relationship.  And when it stops working, you can bail.

Honestly, get a roommate.  It is less emotionally upsetting if you need to move out.

Living together can be an opt out of some important conversations.  Though many people still have them, people do move in together to avoid discussing marriage and bigger commitment, because clearly, cohabiting is a commitment.  But for some people it isn’t really.  It is just coasting and avoiding bigger issues while getting some conveniences.

Sure, you can see if you can handle living with one another.  But, if you can’t… What do you do with the lease and the stuff you bought?  And what if you can handle each other, but realize it is only for the short term?

There are other ways to test your relationship and figure things out.  Like talking.  Or spending time together.  And planning and praying.

Other people really love each other and the commitment is there when they live together.  Just that there are other circumstances or choices in between marriage.  I am not belittling their commitment.   I guess then, that is where the God thing really comes in.  The, if there is a God and you are doing something He wouldn’t want you to do, would you really want to mess with that argument.

Honestly, if you are prepared to get married emotionally and are intending to live together, then marriage is feasible.  Maybe not a giant, expensive wedding.  But, realistically, living together as a test drive to marriage until you can afford marriage is basically marriage without the paper.  Just get the paper and make the real commitment.  The one people and God know about.

I really like commitment and value it.  I also value what God says about all of it.  So, to me it is an obvious choice.  And a strong witness.

I understand that some people can live together and be committed just like in a marriage relationship.  But most people can’t.  And nobody really needs to for any extended period of time.

I know it is cohabitation vague for many, but look at it practically… Is it worth it to just live together without commitment?  Or without an increased level of certianity?  Is it going to really change an outcome?  Is it worth the risk if God is real?

Overall, it is not our place to judge people’s decisions.  And I can’t change what you choose to do.  I just think that some people need to really consider options before marriage or cohabitation.

No whisk? No problem!

While away at the cabin for the weekend with the small group, we decided to make waffles.  This was not some sort of whim, it was strategically planned right down to me bringing whipping cream and each of us bringing a predetermined fruit for a topping.

The problem arose when the “fully equipped” cab it kitchen did not have electric beaters… Or even a whisk.

Thus began an adventure of sorts.

I started with a fork and when that was clearly failing, I tried a pasta spoon.  Still no luck.

So, one of the guys, W, started with a fork again… Then, a serving spoon.  Then, a potato masher.  Still, no big results… Just a few bubbles.

It then started getting ridiculous.

We found a wire egg cup in the cupboard… Just one.  The guys managed to attach it to a spoon and tried to use that.  Still not the most effective.

The whipping apparatus.

So, we did what any twenty-first century group of young twenty and thirty-somethings would do.

We Googled how to make whipped cream… The answer… A whisk.

So, we Googled how to make whipped cream without a whisk.  No really useful results.  YouTube was also lacking in data on the matter.

Then, W & P put their heads together and came up with a potentially messy but possibly effective idea.

They found a container with a lid.  They put the lid on… And they shook it like madmen.

We made a video of the escapades. 

What you don’t see in the video is when we all go “oh no” what actually happened.  Our biggest concern is that the lid would leak and we would shoot whipped cream all over the cabin and ourselves.  And we actually thought that happened.  But, really, P had a kleenex in his hand from cleaning up some drips and that flew across the room… In a white streak… Looking like projectile whipped cream.  It wasn’t. Thank goodness.

The whipped cream adventure woke up a still sleeping Patrick and A…

The whipped cream was delicious, as were the pancakes.

All in all an innovative and delicious adventure.

Where there is smoke… There is annoying noise.

I was baking yesterday for the small group trip to a cabin… Cheesecake and fudge… And to top it off I made nice supper for Patrick.  That and I almost had a stroke.  A figurative one, not a real one.

While the cheesecake was cooking, I smelled burning but nothing was burning.  Then, a couple hours later I turned on the oven for supper and suddenly it started smoking.  Profusely.  As I tore over to turn off the oven to turn it off/investigate, the smoke detector went off.

Our smoke detector is electric, so you can’t just pop the battery out and be done with it.  So, I had to climb a chair to hit the reset button… All the while flapping and screaming because of the noise.

I go back into my now smoke filled kitchen and open the window and the door… And the smoke detector goes off again.  More flapping and screaming.  I manage to reset it and look in the oven (at some point here, I am pretty sure I deduced it was not flaming before I wandered around doing the other stuff).

Other than smoke, there is nothing, no food chunk, no pan.  A mystery.  Except for a burnt splotch on the bottom.  What was it?  How did it get there?

And then the smoke detector goes off again.  More screaming and flapping.  Then I hear through the wall, “What in blazes are you doing over there?”  The landlord.  Oh, too funny.

I explain I was cooking and the oven was smoking.  He laughs at me.

So, now I contemplate not cooking, but when I start the oven again it does not smoke… Just faint burning smell.  Whatever it was is not smoking anymore.

So, I make supper.  There were no more incidents. Though, I do need to clean the oven (which really means Patrick needs to clean the oven because the cleaner makes me wheeze).

Growing up, the smoke detector was a sign supper was ready.  I still hated it.  Yelling was often involved.  But, it could be sedated with battery removal.    My mom really liked things well done, especially garlic bread (not intentionally always, though.  And now, I am the same way.  Problem is that I still react to the smoke detector the same way I did when I was 4.

One of my friends taught his kids to sing “Mommy set the house on fire and its been burning since the world’s been turning,” whenever she sets off the smoke detector to the tune of  “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.  I think that is awesome.  Patrick wants to teach our kids the same version for me… Because it just seems to happen.  And I usually freak out.

I am grateful for smoke detectors.  They save lives.  But, like my pager, they induce upon me additional stress that I don’t need when something appears to be burning or not burning for that matter and I am trying to deal with it.

Things in life are similar, though.  We are dealing with the obvious problem and meanwhile something ridiculous is trying to draw your attention away.  At least that is how it works with me.  One thing happens and more things pile on.  Things that are important, but not at that point, however they are just so annoying, you have to fix them.

Sometimes, the devil is like the smoke detector.  Distracting us from the real issue.  Alerting us, but not in a positive way, just inducing panic instead of helping with the actual problem.  We have to drown out the noise and focus on the real issue at hand.  Not get distracted or pulled away.  It is not always easy to do.  It may feel pretty terrible.  It may not be what we want to do.  But it is what we need to do.

Other times, the smoke detector is our wake up call.  The thing that jolts us away from doing one thing to escape to safety or correct a problem.  In that situation, it is like God.  Protecting us.  Not in the way we want or desire, but in the best way He can.  Which, is really the best way.  Nothing better than a terrifying alarm to make sure one is up and moving.

I value my smoke detector.  Just not after I reset it.  Again and again.  Or when the power is out and it beeps intermittently just so you know it is operating on battery reserve.  And keeps you up all night.  Then, it just gets to seem evil.