Excellence Award

Good friends,

First off, I just thought I would say thank you to Elizabeth for this award!

I'm not going to tag anyone, just because I'm tired of the tagging scene right now. If I come accross some special blog that just yearns for this award, I'll give it to them. :)

I am working on another post, but I'm busy, and I want to write in my diary a bit about it first. :) So give me a day or two, it's coming.

***EDIT*** Okay, as I said in the comments, I was just over crying when I posted this post (yeah, I'm okay...just being emotional) and totally forgot about Erica's blog, which is seriously one of my all-time favourite blogs to visit! So Erica, I love you tons...and present you witht this blog award! Erica's blog: www.thelifeofcowgirle.wordpress.com

Actually...If you are a SOA and have a blog...you get the award. You all have such awesome blogs! Why didn't I think of that before? Even when I saw Erica's comment? Just a little slow of brain I guess! (I believe that would be Nella (www.soundout.blogspot.com), Lisa (www.praisinggodtoday.blogspot.com) and Emma...but her blog's private I believe. You still get it though, Emma!

God bless you all,


My Music

Hello out there! This is my newest addition: a post for today, and a page for my page list just to the right on the sidebar. :) It will be updated as there are things to update


Just for those interested, but who don't have time to skim through ALL my music posts, here is a quick overview of what I'm currently doing in music.

My teachers (click on the name for the website, if applicable):

Susan Morrison - Piano

Fabulous teachers, all of them. Absolutely amazing, and a quick trivia fact for you. ALL of them currently live or have lived recently on gulf islands and so in my books, they are all 'Island People'. LOVE it. :)

My Flute story:

Got my first flute when I was 9, played for a year, taking some lessons, and enjoying it at least for the most part, but my memories are somehow vague of what I was doing with the flute, and then I dropped it for a year when I was 10, which was the 'year of the despicable flute'. ;) When I was 11 I joined a local school band, which wasn't the greatest in regards to peer influence, but I enjoyed it, and at least kept up with flute. It was a fun year and a half. In that band class, we were once assigned to do projects on different instruments. The group that did a project on flute had Jennifer Cluff's picture on the poster. Little did I know that within a year I would be taking lessons with the very same lady! We moved, and I did, and I have progressed from a not-so-great Grade 5 or 6 flutist to a Grade 9 (of 10 grades, and I'm on the verge of Grade 10, playing some of both) flutist today. I love this instrument, it is truly my first love.

My Piano story:

When I was 4, I joined Music for Young Children, and had great fun. I began private lessons at age 5, and have had I think 5 teachers since, some good, some bad, and the current one fabulous. Mrs. Morrison is amazing! When I was about 12, I had some bad run-ins with teachers, and just played in Jazz band for a year. Then we moved, and I found Mrs. Morrison! Unfortunately, she moved to a small gulf island during our first summer, and decided to semi-retire. I had a horrible year with another teacher, and Mrs. Morrison then happily agreed to take me back on her grocery trips to Vancouver Island once a week, so I have lessons at my house! Let me tell, you, it's been a rough road getting this far, but I'm now starting some Grade 10 repertoire, and it is worth it. I have no one but my parents to thank for pushing me through the hard times, and encouraging me to keep it up.

My Voice story:

When I was 6 or 7, I had the opportunity to take some voice lessons, and in my tiny person stubbornness I refused. I've always regretted that decision, however I did participate in a children's choir from age 7 to 12, and had great fun. When we moved here, I tried another choir, but nothing much came of it, and this past year tried a really awful choir that I could have lead better (and I do not profess to be any sort of professional in the choir conducting business! I have no idea whatsoever, besides not ever having learned to properly sing!), so I asked my piano teacher for local choir suggestions. She mentioned that Rosemary Lindsay used to live on their little island, and had directed the choir over there, and taught Mrs. Morrison herself for quite a while, and was amazingly fabulous. I tried the choir two weeks, and I agree. This caused me to realize that what I've been waiting for for a long time (a decent voice teacher) had just fallen into my lap, and she wasn't just decent, but absolutely incredible. I had my first voice lesson in all history today, and I am very happy. I have a LONG way to go, but I think it will be exciting.

So there you go. Everything about my music teachers and what I've done so far. We have to drive some distance for some of my lessons, but it's worth it. :)

Current RCM courses I am taking:

Grade 3 (I think...) Harmony

History 4

Don't be fooled, they are HUGE (basically they are first year college or university courses) in every way imaginable, but I enjoy it.

Speaking of which, I have some history to do.

God bless, and thanks for reading!


A Heritage

Dear Blogosphere,

Yesterday I was looking at some old books in our big bookshelf, and I came upon some old music scores like Handel's Messiah, and other great works. The name scrawled accross the top was that of R. V. B**** (B**** representing the last name and being my Mother's maiden name). Wow! I knew the initials were not those of my grandfather, and after checking, I found out that these scores belonged to my Great Grandfather: the father of my mother's father!

See, not much is said about that side of the family, and really all that we know about this man is that he longed to be an artist; a poet, and never got that chance. He raised his children (including my grandfather) during the depression, and poets didn't exactly earn much pay. :) So unfortunately, all that is ever said is derogatory, for he didn't properly provide for his family. This pains me so, because I feel those artistic yearnings in my music, and I know that if I was to provide for a family and couldn't do so with the gift God has given me, it would be very, very hard. So though I understand that he hurt his family, and neglected to properly earn the money to support them, I also understand his pain. In any case, I opened up one score, less worn than the rest, and found a small newspaper clipping. It was a poem, by the man who always wanted to be published and really find a place in the world of poetry. Probably a local paper, nothing more, but signed with the initials: R. V. B. God bless him! Here it is:

Come, Ye Blessed

"Come, ye blessed of my Father,
Behold, the time is far spent,
The Kingdom is at hand,
Come ye now to inherit
That which is prepared for you."

The season of great joy is here,
When down the ages men may hear
A simple tale of Love fore-spent
From out God's hart omnipotent;
Of birth, and life, and sacrifice,
The cure of erring sin and vice.

The time had come adown the years
When God, "the just and awful Judge,"
Should stand revealed, no more to fear;
A loving Father of His sons,
Who gave His own Beloved One
That we, His brethren, might enjoy
Our Father's love and competence;
Though, gaining which, we must seek out
And 'stablish faith the firm decree--
"Lo! First and formost must ye seek
God's Heavenly Kingdom in your hearts."

The Christ of God dwells there, within;
No more shall fear make hatred strong,
So shall come Peace, good-will to men.
Who, willing, hurts his brother, kin?
Love casts out greed and selfishness,
Fear walks not where love holds the hand,
And hearts are filled with happy songs,
Not a mere wailing threnody,
But that which stirs the feet alon.
Let dawn the day when all shall sing
Together, all the sons of heaven,
In joyful chorus carolling,
Our hearts and minds and souls are full,
Filled with the Glory of the Lord,
"For God is the Kingdom
The Power, and the Glory,
For ever:--Ad Infinitum."

--R. V. B., Ontario

After reading that I realized that although all the comments on this man have been derogatory, I'll see him in heaven. So I wrote a response poem:

Treasure Them

A Heritage, God's left to us,
To treasure, and with these gifts we must,
Remember those who went before,
With love, so many burdens bore.

They had gifts and talents too,
A poet, he never got what's due,
But strove to fill the artist's shoes,
and sadly, over home did choose.

With fond regrets, remember them,
Our family, in dreams, we call them kin,
Share with them thoughts and all our hopes,
To see, we share their blood it shows.

And now we know from what they've said,
Their faces, we'll see beyond, ahead.
With God's help treasure them in our hearts,
But now my journey, it just starts!

--Sheila *****, British Columbia

Wow!!! Thanks for reading!

God bless,


Flutey thoughts...

I thought I would share a few of my flutey insights for future refferance, and of course, if anyone popping by happened to be a fellow flutist, maybe some small handful of information could be gleaned. I absolutely adore this instrument, and it is my joy to present what knowledge I have.

Buying, choosing wisely, and caring for your flute:

The number one most important thing to do when you are buying any instrument, is to consult an unbiased professional. (ie. they aren't trying to sell a particular brand themselves) This saves hours of worry and frustration, along with saving money too, in the long run. Whatever you do, don't buy a 'cheap' instrument! Thrift stores usually don't have a good line of flutes. :P

In my own personal experience, I would say that the best student flute brand is currently Yamaha. My student flute was (is, actually, I still have it) a Yamaha 221, closed hole, C-foot, and it served very well for several years. We bought it new for $600 about 7 years ago. :) You can find good quality used flutes too, though I would have it looked at by a technician before making the purchase final. Make sure it is in good repair, and that there are no leaky pads etc. :) I would stay away from brands like Armstrong and Gemeinhart, etc. I have personally played a few, and really, the sound, feel, and overall quality of everything is nothing compared to my Yamaha. However, Gemeinharts that are 30-40 years old seem to have held up amazingly well, as they have changed their standards tremendously over the years. Keep that in mind if you are looking at used flutes, do ask how old it is. :) Also, if looking at Yamaha flutes, stay away from North American-made ones. The Japanese models are far better. ;)

As far as intermediate flutes go, mine is an Azumi 3000RBO produced by Altus. Fantastic flute! I would recommend it tremendously. Solid silver, open hole (though I'm not sure I need it but for one F#...or is it F?), B-foot. Gorgeous tone, that is, when I do my best. :) There are, however, many other wonderful intermediate flutes that I have no idea about. :)

Whatever you do, don't let your flute get into bad repair! A broken/leaky flute is a sure way to get frustrated and feel like giving up. If your flute just isn't living up to your expectations, or the sound is fuzzy, have it looked at by a professionally recommended professional! It's worth it to have it checked out once a year, and to spend good money on it. It is better to spend a bit more on the flute to begin with, and not have to have it repaired constantly (many badly-made instruments do not stay in good repair very long), as well as make sure that you do get it checked by a professionally recommended professional technician around once a year. This saves money (and a WHOLE lot of frustration) in the long run, as you are much more likely to get a larger fraction of the money back when you sell it, too.

For more fantastic information in this regard, I'd recommend this article and chart: http://www.jennifercluff.com/longevity.pdf


So, you have your good quality flute, and you are all ready to go! Almost. You need instruction! You see, really, you can't teach yourself a whole lot, even when following a book. You can subconciously learn very bad habits that can actually cause physical injury (yes!) to yourself, as well as not having all your questions answered, and therefore taking a much longer time to learn all the things you want to. One-on-one instruction will help you to make tremendous progress, and, if you have the right teacher, will be a lot of fun, and very encouraging.

When choosing a teacher (something I've unfortunately had to get very good at in years past), get recommendations from lots of people, and then go to visit multiple teachers. Meet them, chat with them about your personal goals and expectations for the instrument, and why you are playing. Don't forget that this isn't just a teacher standing at the front of the classroom pointing to a blackboard, this is someone who you will be working with one-on-one, alone, in a small space. You have to like them! Never choose a teacher based on price. If they cost more, but really work with your personality and all the cheap teachers don't fit, take the expensive one. This is not a time to skimp. Your teacher will probably be the reason you keep on with the instrument or quit. They truly shape you for life. :)

I have been truly blessed to have the teachers I have, and as I'll probably be taking some voice lessons in a few weeks, I'll be adding to the 'collection'. They are fabulous! Unfortunately, only one of them has a website, but as this is a flute post, that's perfect! Here she is, in all her Jen-ish hilarity: http://www.jennifercluff.com/

Do choose wisely, and if the teacher that truly fits you has 'no space left', simply bribe (or just look really cute) until they accept you. Your'e worth too much to let fantastic teachers slip by. :) I've had to do it (well...not really, but sort of!), and it's worth it.

Oh, and if you happen to live on Vancouver Island...check out this gal, and bribe her. Truly! It's worth it! Actually, if you don't have a teacher, and happen to live 'abroad', you can take some online 'lessons' with Jen, via, recordings of you and email. Check it out! (Scroll down to the section on 'Email tutoring')

Playing in General

Well, I've played flute off and on since I was 9 (solidly since I was 11 or 12), so I've had some experience. ;) (In fact, I just found out today that I've logged more than 140 hours of flute practice alone since September. Wow!!!) I'm not nearly professional, mind you, but I know a few things about playing the flute. :D SO! Here goes.

The single most important thing for me personally, is to have a gorgeous sound. When I practice tone, I usually do it wandering around the house! I am searching for the single most beautiful, ringing sound that note can give me. (Which can be hard to find, and I don't always succeed) Begin on the low register B (not the low, low, low B, for you B-foot people, but the one an octave up), as that is the easiest note to make beautiful on the flute, and wiggle your lips around until you find that perfect sound. If you were here in this room I'd show you better, but for now, you can read Jen's articles (and Videos: Here, and Here) because I actually have not figured out how best to word it in written form. Once you have found that sound (its okay if it takes you 10 minutes!), move down to B flat, not moving your embouchure, and if it's still 'pingy, ringy, and singy', continue. Do adjust your lips ever-so-slightly to keep that perfection as you go. Another hard thing to explain when written down. Once you get down to G, it will probably go all 'fuzzy', and you will have to 'lip up' (another awkward thing to describe in written form...this is my first attempt!). Continue until the whole low register is absolutely stupendously beautiful! Let it knock your socks off! Then continue starting at B again and working your way upward!

Once you have found your tone for the day, your pieces will sound like they dropped out of heaven. Almost. ;) At least you won't be struggling with the tone of the notes. Not that you shouldn't be completely conscious of it while practicing the rest, of course! So I guess the moral of the story is that tone is very important. :) Mind you, I do occasionally get lazy and just go straight into my pieces without properly getting my tone beautiful, but I always regret it, and within 20 minutes I find myself wandering around the house doing tone.

With that out of the way, focus on technical ability is always good, but if there's one thing I've learned from Jen (Uh...one thing???) it's that you should never bore yourself with technical studies. I didn't say you shouldn't do them, just don't bore yourself. Be creative, make up new ones, get books that have amazing and fantastic technical exercises that sound just like pieces!!! Fingers and lips make up the essence of your playing, so working on tone and technical 'stuff' is vital.

When playing pieces, have fun. Don't limit yourself to 'list' pieces, and ridiculously horrid studies! If your teacher is the kind that really doesn't know who you are, what your personality is, and what music interests you (not that you shouldn't play music that isn't your very favourite, there is always some of that involved), let them know. Tell them that this is your personality, and this is the music you need. :D Get online to the Flutenet yahoo group and start asking questions about what pieces they think are right for you! :) A piece of music that you play is something that stays with you for years. Don't ever let one get off on the wrong foot. I had one horrific year of piano several years ago, and any time I play a piece from that grade (and some of them were gorgeous too, but only because I requested them, she had no idea, and seemed to rather resent me playing them. She wanted me to play the pieces she wanted me to play!), I feel angry, hurt, and afraid, because I did then, and those emotions hang on. How I regret that! I now have to actually work on releasing those emotions, which is a much harder task than it sounds. Don't let that happen. Please!

The moral of the story is...

Enjoy your flute. Enjoy your music. Make good choices. Don't give up...ever!!! Things may get tough, but hang on, the ride may be bumpy, but when you get to your destination, it will be the most fulfilling thing you have ever experienced. And I think, that the trip after we reach the destination will be completely amazing compared to the trip there. SO! Let's get out our flutes, (and pianos, and violins, and...) and enjoy the beautiful sounds God has given us!
In Christ,

An Ellie Tribute

This post is a tribute to a sweet little angel, Ellie Skees, who went home to be with Jesus on December 19, 2007. 9 years old and plagued with cancer for a year an a half, Ellie always had a smile on her face. I never met this littl girl, dedicated to Jesus, and with a wonderful family, but I treasure her, as so many do. Today, she is being remembered in a service, and I want to remember her here. It is through tears that I share my picture tribute to Ellie. Many of us are wearing 'Ellie colours' today, and so am I. Aqua blue, her favourite, and pink, another favourite.

Though there is much pain over her passing, we remeber her with terrible fondness, and as we hold Jesus' hand, we know that sweet Ellie Skees is holding the other one. Here are a few of my favourite pictures from 'her' blog:

I don't think anyone could ever forget Ellie. Her life lives on!!! Sarah, John, and Ethan Skees, please know I am praying for you. We love you!

God bless,

I am a happy girl!!!

Hi out there!

I can sing again! Not like I actually physically couldn't sing before, but I found an outlet! I found a wonderful choir, with a stupendously amazing director, and I couldn't be happier! She's dynamic and fun, and the music we're singing is lovely, and I am very happy...all smiles and giggles, and I'm off to practice flute. Will you sing with me?


God bless!!!

Recipe: 1 homegrown girlie!

This is a recipe for one homegrown girl, and that would be me. :P Here is a list of ingredients, and all about them!

Ingredient number one:

Island girlie!
I was born in Switzerland, but we moved back to Canada (by back, I mean, my parents were married here, and my Mom grew up in Canada, my Dad's from Switzerland) when I was just 1 1/2 years old. Very cute. The only problem with that, is this:

Very cute (!), I know, but it's the picture on my Canadian citizenship card (I wasn't born in Canada, so I have this card), and I have to have that card as photo ID for the rest of my life. Haha!

Now, what on earth does this have to do with islands? Hang on. :) See, when we moved back to Canada, it was because of a ministry opportunity in Alberta. That was crazy, and fell through, but here we were, and in no position to move back to Switzerland. Anyway, my Mom's parents were living here, on Vancouver Island, so my Dad looked for work here and found it. Yay! I've lived on Vancouver island since then. So, in that sense, I'm an island girlie, but it's more than that. Around here, when we say someone is an 'island person', we usually don't mean Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is big, (min. 8 hr drive from tip to tip) and really no different than other places. It's the gulf islands. Yep, they are pretty much all the little islands between here (Vancouver island) and the mainland. Here's a picture of Vancouver Island, and you can sort of see the little islands between it and the mainland. The ones that are more northern are just really squished together, there are a lot more than it looks!

So what is an island person? Stereotype: Gypsy skirt, dreadlocks or long grey hair, maybe red socks, perhaps a little dope? You never know, but really, that's not an island person at all. Stereotypes rarely give justice to the real thing. :) An island person is all-natural, peaceful, happy, out of the way of ever-growing cities and in-your-face advertising. They are different, and you can see they live a life of hard work and don't care what anyone else thinks. I love that. A combination of those things, anyway. Having these people around has grown me SO much!

I have never lived on any of those little islands, but I can associate with those feelings very much. I love everything as natural as possible, I love getting out of the cities, I love the open air, untouched nature, peacefulness, and a place where we can see God in all of it. That's hard to find in a city. When I walk into a big box store (such as Wal-Mart, but we don't shop there anymore), I don't see God's love. I don't see the beauty and marvels he has created!

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a tree-hugger in the bad sense of the word(s). Around here, if they didn't cut trees down, everyone would be sleeping on the forest floor. I'm all for farmland, houses (not stupid pre-planned neighbourhoods designed solely for the purpose of making money, even when they don't need anymore housing in the area), stores (to sell the things you've farmed, not imported snow peas from China...we can grow them here!), and whatever else is necessary for life. The problem really comes when people get busy, and bring in more and more and more until the economy can't handle it anymore and just breaks down. Why?!? Who knows!

See? I'm an island girlie. Get me away from this mess and I'm happy. Get me away to a place where I can pray for those greedy big-box-store-contractors. I will! I'll pray here though too. God has placed me here for this time, but the island person thing is a mindset. A mindset anyone can (and in my opinion should) have.

A view of My Tiny Island from my recent trip.

I'm a veggie girlie!

Yep, I'm vegetarian...mostly. Okay, before you tell me that God said it's okay to eat meat, I know...and agree! See, when Adam and Eve were created, God gave them all plants for food. (Genesis 1:29) That was what they ate. Now, come the sin and fall of mankind, things were different. Destruction, turmoil, sin, and hate all came into the world, and therefore, eating plants as our only food was not always an option. So God said that we could eat meat. In fact, in the New Testament, God tells us that all meat is alright to eat! (Acts 11)

So how can I be a Christian and a vegetarian? Well, I know that when God created humans, He created them vegetarian. Now, because in a lot of circumstances, there is no way to provide for the family without eating meat, we eat meat. Fine! :) The thing is, that here, in North America, as 'middle class', regular people, we can afford and are able to eat completely vegetarian. I love eggs and milk though, that's different. I just figure that if I don't have to, why eat previously-living flesh? Just a weird little conviction of mine. Nothing against people who do eat meat. :D Anyway, I do occasionaly eat meat, because my parents are not vegetarian, so on special occasions they ask me to eat it (Christmas, etc.), or occasionally she wants to make meaty spaggheti sauce, so I end up eating it, but for the most part I eat vegetarian. (They have steak, I have a veggie burger...I love those!) It's been on and off for the last 2-3 years, but I've finally buckled down and adopted this 'flexible veggie girl' attitude.

So that makes me very conscious of what I'm eating, and I try to eat as natural and balanced as I can, to keep this temple of God (my body) in top shape. I like locally grown, organic, wholesome food.

Natural Girlie

Homebirth, no vaccines, homegrown veggies, homeschooling, and natural/herbal medicinees. Yes, that's my policy. :) I actually wasn't birthed at home, but in a hospital in Switzerland. I've been given all my vaccines, and we buy lots of things at the store. So why I am I a firm believer in all of these, and many other natural ideas? Because I've researched. My parents had no way of knowing about homebirth, or the idea of skipping most of the vaccines, so how could they do them? Now, mind you, there are both sides to the vaccine thing, and I want to look into it more in depth. :)

In any case, I've done extensive research on homebirth, and it is so perfect, that I don't even do a double take (like I used to) when someone has a baby at home! Of course, I'm not married (and not planning to anytime in the near future!), but when I am and I have children, it will be at home. I've learned that birth is not a disease, nor a medical procedure, but a natural process. I don't want doctors messing with me, unless I have an emergency. It's one thing to have a midwife around, but I don't want people chopping me up. :) I have a theory that I am an only child because of medical intervention.

My Mom had an induction (she really didn't know much of what was going on, as it was all in another language that she was just learning), in the form of a prostaglandin tablet. Prostaglandin is what causes the contractions. She had the weirdest labour, and had an amniotic embylism, almost killing her, after the birth. Therefore, it was too risky to have another baby, because they couldn't say for sure, 100%, that it was the prostaglandin. That kind of induction is now illegal here, I might add. Actually, they use prostaglandin tablets when they are inducing labour for late-term abortion!

So...I'm an advocate of homebirth. I find most natural and herbal remedies often work better than the chemical-y stuff you buy at the store too.

Oh, and you know of course, that I am the biggest homeschooling advocate in history, right? :D Yeah, I love learning at home, and always have. I'm not so much in favour of 'school at home', but learning at home, as well. Very important distinguishing feature!

My 'School'-ing, at home. :) My arms are sort of flying weirdly here!

Anyway, there are my thoughts on the ingredients that go into the homegrown side of this girlie.

I am a Homegrown Girlie!

I Live in BC... :D

Okay, Erica put a list on her blog of 'how you know you live in Nebraska'. Well, since I don't live in Nebraska, I scrounged out this list for...British Columbia! Yay! I don't usually do these things, but I felt silly. :P

So when you see that a number is missing, it's just because it made absolutely no sense or was tasteless, so I omitted it. I'll respond in italics in brackets if I like it. :D

1. You know the provincial flower: the dogwood (Yep!)

2. You can taste the difference between Tim Hortons, Second Cup, and Seattle’s Best. (Um, What's Second cup and Seattle's Best? I've only ever heard of Tim Horton's, and it's a disgrace! :P )

6. You point out Vancouver landmarks in nearly every movie and TV show. (We don't have TV, but it is a good spot for shooting movies/etc.!)

7. You don’t understand why Manitoba and Saskatchewan are considered western Canada. (Good question...goodness, they're in the middle!)

8. While driving on your morning commute, you switch between heat and air conditioning multiple times. (Never done that, but depending where in BC you are, I guess that could be the case)

9. You consider 2 *C freezing cold. (Well, it is!!!)

10. You know that there is actually a town called Dawson Creek. (And why wouldn't I? :D )

11. You know how to distinguish between the different types of Asian food. (Yep, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, we've got it all!)

12. You know how to pronounce Squamish, Osoyoos, Ucluelet, Esquimalt, Sooke & Nanaimo. (Yeah. Squamish: SkwAA-mish, Osoyoos: Oh-SOO-use, Ucluelet: Yoo-CLUE-let, Esquimalt: ESS-skwa-ee-malt [almost...hard to write out], Sooke: Suk, Nanaimo: Nan-AEE-moe. We live about 30-40 mins from Nanaimo, and I take flute there.)

14. You still believe the Canucks have a shot at winning the stanley cup. (Hey, I'm not into hockey, but why not? They're good!)

15. You can point out at least two ski resorts, even if the city is coated in fog. (Not sure what fog has to do with it, but let's point out Mount Washington [where I ski], and Whistler. :) )

16. A nice day means when you can see the mountains. (And they sure are pretty!)

17. You go bankrupt from paying your rent. (If I tried to pay rent, I'd go bankrupt, yeah.)

18. You have come to accept that there are only two seasons. (Cold and rainy, Warm and dry)

19. Cold and Rainy, and Warm and dry. (Isn't that what I said?)

20. You don’t understand what’s so great about Toronto. (Pronounced: 'Tronno' when spoken quickly. It's nice enough, but it's just a big city. ;) )

22. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a 100% water proof raincoat. (We don't camp much, but I'd LOVE to, and yes, I'd bring both, as you never know when it might rain. ;) )

23. You know more people with boats than air conditioners. (Yesssss!!!!! Nobody has an air conditioner in their house! Lots of people have boats that they throw way too much money into! Smart! :P )

24. You have trouble figuring out why french is an official language or why we have to learn it in school. (No, I love French, and I'm proud to have it as an official language, and I love learning it. I just don't hear it much around here.)

25. You swear that you’re in China or Japan. (In downtown Vancouver, yes.)

27. Your premier was convicted of drunk driving. (Yeah, how embarrassing is that?!)

28. You know what venti and a macchiato are. (Isn't that Starbucks, and isn't Starbucks international?)

29. You ski and play golf in the same day. (I don't golf, but if I did, why not? Go up to the mountain and ski until 3:30 when the mountain closes, then go home and golf!)

30. You are aware that Surrey, New West, Burnaby, Delta, Port Moody, North Van, West Van, White Rock, Abbostford, Langley and Richmond are NOT part of the City of Vancouver. (True, but it can be confusing.)

31. You’re confused when people from anywhere else say that the hill you just walked up is a mountain. (Seriously, if I just climbed up it, it isn't a mountain!!!!!)

32. You think that Atlantic Salmon doesn’t even deserve to be called salmon when compared to Pacific Salmon. (I'm not a huge Salmon eater, but it's okay. I've never tried Atlantic Salmon, but I'd bet ours would beat it. :D )

33. You’ve had a California roll for lunch. (Yeah, but they aren't my favourite.)

34. You take the bus and are shocked to hear two people carrying on a conversation in English. (That might be true in Vancouver or something, where there are a lot of Asians speaking whatever language they speak...such a profound statement.)

35. You don’t even listen when the forecast announces “chance of showers.” (Why should I?)

36. The more expensive the car, the worse the driver. (I think that's the same everywhere.)

37. when you get more excited about the canucks making the playoffs than you do about the olympics coming to Vanouver. (Hey! That's nasty!!!)

38. Have to take a ferry to get to your capital city. (Actually, I don't. See, Victoria is the capitol of British Columbia, and Victoria is on Vancouver Island. So for a lot of people in BC, they have to take the ferry to the Island, but as I actually live on the island myself, I don't have to take the ferry.)

39. You are aware that Vancouver and Vancouver Island are not one in the same. (If I wasn't, I would be a very confused person. Haha!!!)

40. You’re legally an adult, but you still can only drive with one passenger in the car. (Well, yeah, for the first year when you have your Learners license ['L'], you have to have a person with a driver's license sitting next to you, and you can only have one non-family member in the car. So, that is sort of true. And you can get your 'L' when you turn 16, which is sort of adult according to when you can get an 'adult' passport, anyway. Major bummer because you can start driving at 14 in Alberta!)

Magnetic Label for the back of the car.

41. You can tell the difference between the fresh mountain air and the air in other provinces right when you get out of the airport. ( :) True!)

43. You consider a week with no rain to be “good weather”. (Pretty much! Except in the Summer, then it's often quite dry. Remember the two season rule?)

44. You drink the tap water. (Of course! It's tasty! We have fabulous water, I love it.)

46. The only time you can get a tan is if you go to a tanning salon. (No, we may have more rainy weather here than elsewhere, but in the Summer I do get a nice tan.)

47. When at any given time about 90% of people you pass on the street are wearing either LuLuLemmon or Mountain Equipment Co-Op clothing. (I've seen this, but what does it have to do with BC?)

51. you are SHOCKED to hear someone speaking French. (Not shocked, it is an official language after all, but I do wish I heard it more.)

52. Every time you go out you see at least two people pulled over for speeding/street racing. (Almost! Rather sad.)

53. You can’t stand when someone from outside Canada asks if your from Toronto. (Well, I'm not! It's like when you have told someone you are from Switzerland [I was born there, and lived there for my first year, and my Dad was raised there.], and then later they ask you if you were the one who was Swedish...aaaaggghhhh!!!)

54. You ask Albertans if they really have ski slopes. (They don't. They might have ski 'bumps', but that's it! ;) )

55. The police don’t respond to a crime scene because they are busy trying to find any reason to pull over a “N” license driver. Note: 'N' stands for 'Novice', and it is what comes after 'L', and then you can drive alone, but you still have a few restrictions and have to pay bigger fines. You have it for 2 years before you can get a full license. (Why, because they have to pay more?)

Magnetic label for the back of the car.

57. You know in Greater Vancouver that West Van, the west side, and the west end are all different places. (Yep!)

58. There are few things you hate more then following people from other provinces on the highway because they aren’t use to all the turning. (Well, it's not quite that bad, but they usually are slowpokes from the prairies. ;) )

60. You chuckle when you say the words “fast ferries” (I chuckled when I read this!!! Fast ferries [or FastCats for 'Fast Catamerans'] were BCferries' attempt at having faster, bigger, etc. ferries, but they weren't allowed to take them any faster than the old ferries, they were always needing repairs, and were an all-around, total flop!)

The three FastCats...now idle.

61. the news has extensive coverage of just how badly people in Vancouver can drive in 8 cms of snow. (Hahaha! Kids get to stay home from school when there are a few centimeters of snow on the ground!!!)

62. You get a harsher punishment for having an extra passenger when you have an 'L' license than your premier does for driving drunk. (Is that crazy or what?)

63. You leave the province to see the rest of Canada, you realize that there is nothing better to see. (Almost! BC is certainly very picturesque, but I love the prairies too.)

65. You assume cab fares will cost a minimum of $25. (I haven't ridden in too many, but I would guess about that.)

68. Your license is the hardest to fake of any province. (Is it? Cool!!!)

69. You’re surprised and frustrated to have to pay for the luggage carts when you get to any other airport. (Are you serious? That's crazy!)

70. You know that it’s “Science World”, not the “Telus World of Science”. (Uh, yeah, what does Telus [major phone company] have to do with it?)

71. When you don’t like the weather you go inside and wait 15 minutes for it to change. (HAHA!!! Seriously, I do that all the time!)

73. You're driving on the highway where the speed in the left lane is slower than the right lane. (I've seen it many-a-time! Not marked, of course, but people do it.)

73. You have been lost in the woods on several occasions, you know you will be again, and you’re okay with that. (Actually, I've only been lost in the woods once. Usually I use trails.)

74. You think $1.00/L is cheap for gas. (My goodness, yes, right now it is, I guess. I remember when it was 60 cents/L!)

75. You think about hockey when the word ‘riot’ is brought up. (I do. Sad!)

76. if you know what Gore-tex is and why it’s important, if all your coats have hoods, and/or if you’ve spent more than 90 dollars on a rain jacket. (I do sort of know, I think it's some sort of water-resistant coating for jackets or something. Yes, I've spent more than $90 on a jacket, but it was more of a ski jacket.)

79. You know what being “beyond Hope” means. (That is too funny! Hope is a little town you go through on the way to Kelowna.)

80. Forest Fires are almost a tradition - just like Thanksgiving. (Yep, but fortunately we haven't had one on Vancouver Island that was too serious. Everywhere else is bad though.)

82. You return by plane and the first things you say is: “I can BREATHE!” (After being in a smoggy place, yes. After coming home from somewhere like Switzerland, no. But I haven't been there in a long time.)

83. The first time you drive through the prairies you see no mountain, no trees, no ocean — and promptly have a panic attack. (I did, seriously. It was very creepy looking up and not seeing mountains. I felt so un-protected, but I grew to like them very much. So open and free!)

84. You use the parking brake whenever you park because in because you’re always automatically parked on an incline. (Not really, but in some places maybe.)

85. The three main universities are on an island, peninsula and mountain top. (Yep!)

87. You laugh when snow is mentioned in Victoria’s weather forecast, and laugh harder when someone actually believes it. (I'm skeptical, but it does come sometimes. Believe it or not, we had approx. 6 feet in 1996. But that is really, really rare. Last year we had a total of about 3 cm of snow.)

88. You know that Mt Washington isn’t actually in Washington. (Yeah. I ski there.)

A picture of the slopes at Mt. Washington.

90. You’ve heard about “the big one” and you just couldn’t care less. (As in fishing...yeah, I couldn't care, but mostly because I'm not into fishing.)

91. You actually pull over to the right and slow down as soon as you faintly hear a siren. (We do, and it's such a neat system! I love it. Everyone slows down, everyone is on the side of the road, the ambulance passes, and everything goes back to normal. If they don't do that everywhere, I didn't know that. They do, don't they?)

92. You could read a decent size novel before you’re admitted into the hospital. (I don't think that's so localized either, but it is crazy.)

93. You know how scary it is to drive next to a loaded logging truck. (OH YES!!! Either speed up and get in front of them, or slow down and get way behind them.)

Perhaps not on that creepy logging road though!

94. You can’t stand Albertan drivers. Not to mention getting stuck behind them on the Sea-to-Sky. (Didn't we already cover this? They're slow. Otherwise they're nice! :) )

95. (mostly Vancouver) You find yourself giving half hour long explanations on what the SkyTrain is. (I don't live in Vancouver, so I've never given explanations, and I don't know why it would take 1/2 an hour, but it's a train-ish thing that runs on big rail-ish things above ground around the city. Sort of. Okay, I get why it's hard to explain. :) )

96. You can identify all the gulf islands from the ferry terminal names (Ferry terminal names: Departure bay, Horseshoe bay, Duke Point, Tsawassen, Schwarts Bay, etc. A few Gulf Island names: Lasqueti Island, Quadra Island, Cortes Island, Hornby Island, Gabriola Island, Saltspring Island, Denman Island, Pender Island, etc. etc. etc...)

97. The only thing you like about Quebec is the maple syrup. (ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I love Quebec and most Quebec things. Note that Quebec is pronouned 'Ke-BEK', not 'KWU-bek'.)

98. Your capital city doesnt have enough ploughs for a snow storm. (It happened in 1996.)

99. You can recite the BC Ferries safety announcement by heart. ("Thank you for boarding BC ferries, please make your way from the main car deck to the passenger deck. On the passenger deck is the Passages Gift shop...children's life vests are located in such-and-such a place... etc... [not quite right, but you get the gist] )

101. You know you’re in B.C. when you find a bear in your backyard then walk to the Starbucks a few blocks away while you wait for the bear to leave. (Not really, but almost! There have been a few cougar sightings around here actually. About 6 months ago, there was one in some neighboourhood jumping around from the roofs to the patios!)

102. you know that an “1 1/2 hour ferry” really means 3 hours. Time to get to the ferry, wait for the ferry, get on the ferry, eat in the buffet on the ferry, and then wait for the broken down VW to get off the ferry. (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! So true! Not to mention the clogged roads when you get off the ferry from all the ferry traffic!)

104. You’ve paid $6 for an full meal of sushi. (Sure!)

105. You are surprised when people tell you they don’t ski or snowboard. (A lot of people do, but I actually only started last year. :( )

106. You watch the weather report for a good laugh. (Yep, that would probably do it!)

107. You can pick out the Albertan drivers in disguise as one of us. (Whoever wrote this thing had prairie drivers on the mind! Hopefully they didn't write it while behind one!)

108. You’ve managed to convince people in florida you live in an igloo and have a pet polar bear. (HAHAHAHA!!!!! I remember my Mom joking on a homeschool forum about going to get the sled dogs in. Of course, it was simply a joke, she wasn't trying to make someone actually believe it. If we lived in igloos, we'd have no homes. They'd have all melted!)

110. you know that the only thing beyond Hope is Hell’s Gate (I just looked up
Hell's Gate and it's really neat! That is such a hilarious play on words too. :) )

So that's that! I live in British Columbia, and I love it. One day I'd love to live on the prairies or something, but this is where God has me right now, and I'm happy. Yay! Sorry that was so long, I had no idea!



PS. I've had some very nice comments (You can read them! :) ) from Anonymous commenters, and I'd love to know who you are! Please tell! :D


Dear Fellow Web-people,

This is me:

It is truly amazing how much we glean from our families. Not only in learning everyday truths, but in the features on one's face, and the personalities we have. The combinations are always unique. Isn't that amazing?

I find this amazing! Look, see what an amazing thing God has created? A quick comparison now, with a picture of my Dad's Mom (my Omi), when she was in her early twenties:

What a beautiful young woman! I see the similarities, but I'm unique!

My Mom when she was 14, in 10th grade, 1976.

Wow! I love comparing these things, and discovering, once again, the miracle of creation that God has worked. He knit me together in my mother's womb, truly. A little bit of my Dad's side, and a little bit of my Mom's side, perfectly mixed in perfect proportions!

I'm young now, and can marvel in these things, but as I grow older, I want to still be mindful of the amazing thing He created in me. This is a picture of Omi (The lady shown above in black and white), when she was 80-ish.

Sweet, God-fearing lady, and I admire her very much. The are many more wrinkles than the first picture of her, but her beauty is just as lovely there, in a different way. She has gone to be with Jesus now, and I will always treasure my memories of her. Family, what a sweet word, when they love you!

Here I am, and I'm growing, and when I grow old, I want the beauty that comes from serving the Lord to follow.

I have amazing parents, and it is a joy to be a unique combination of them in so many ways. Someone mentioned in the comments to this post (and hence the reason for this additional paragraph), that I don't mention my parents much. I must sincerely apologize. It is not in any way because I don't want to talk about them, I just get thinking and end up only writing down those 'deep' thoughts here. I write a lot more things in my Diary too, and to be honest, sometimes I get mixed up as to what I've written where. :) I love my parents to death, without them I wouldn't be here, and I am so blessed to have them in my life, to share things with, to do things with, to learn from. Thank you for the reminder to keep everyone updated not only on what I am doing, but how everyone else around me is relating to it. Thanks!

May we all cling to our families, the miracles God has done, and the grace of growing old. :D

In Christ,