Psalm 126:2
Then our mouth was filled with laughterAnd our tongue with joyful shouting;Then they said among the nations,"The LORD has done great things for them."

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

I stole this next bit from James Galway's website:

Laughter, by definition, is healthy.
--Doris Lessing

A hearty laugh can warm a cold room and make our spirits soar. But many of us are afraid to laugh, especially when we make mistakes. We think we’re supposed to be perfect, and we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes. However, we’re not a mold punched out by a machine. We’re human beings, with all our wonderful flaws. It is those flaws that make our lives interesting and surprising. Who knows when we might accidentally bump into a chair or catch our sweater on a doorknob? We needn’t feel self-conscious, it happens to many of us.
The ability to laugh at ourselves is a gift from God. All we need to do is grab it and use it. Then we will see how healthy and powerful laughter can be.
From ‘Today’s Gift’

Oh, to laugh! Last night, I was thinking about laughter, and I was thinking how important it is to our lives. I realized that I laugh a lot more than I used to. I noticed that people's laughter rubs off on you. Sometimes I laugh, and I think, "Oh, that sounds like my Mom!" or sometimes I laugh, and I think "Oh, that sounds like my Dad", or like Jen, or like Rosemary. Everyone's laugh is individual, and I believe that is so because it is a conglamoration of many laughs, laughs that we have heard through the years. Laughs that make us laugh in return. Isn't it beautiful when just a few words can make you laugh?

Hahahahahahahahahahaaa!!! Ahahahahahahahahahahahaa!!! Music. Pure music.

Laugh today,

PS. Post on my musical endeavours will come on the weekend. :D Wish me luck on Saturday evening!

Out on my own...

Hello friends!

I'm out on my own for the day, and actually composing this post from the library. :P Left home at 8:00 this morning on my bike. Worked for 4 hours, pulling weeds and hoeing beds, and totally killed my back! Oh well, I love the hard work. Makes me feel really fulfilled and empowered. We should all do hard work! Then I biked into town, and went to a coffee shop. Had an iced mocha and worked on Canadian history. Sat outside in the sun, and it was so pretty. :)

Then I went shopping. First stop, lovely little gift-y shop, where I found something special for someone I know in Switzerland! ;) Glad that's done, and it's just perfect for her. Giant back-pack on my back, and it's REALLY heavy, but I continue. Chatted with the lady in the gift shop, and we talked about Europe. On my way out she said "Hey, stop by when you're back and tell me all about your trip!" I will! Wandered up the street, and meandered through various awesome health-food stores (They smell SO good...all those herbs and healthy mmm-tasties!), and checked in the outdoors store for a Klean Kanteen. All the water bottles were plastic, phooey. 'Approved by Health Canada." Hahahaaa...but do I actually care about Health Canada's opinion in the matter of plastic water bottles? No! This is the government who is trying to enforce Bill C-51! (Google it, it's crazy. Talked with some of those health food store people about that, too. It's driving us all nuts.)

Checked out local bulliten boards, and checked a few more places for stainless steel water bottles, but nobody has them. Guess I have to wait until the store in another town gets them in at the end of the month. Oh well. I did get the flip-flops I needed though! Now, except for hemming my new pants, I am completely outfitted for the trip this summer! (will make a post more about the trip soon)

You know, I love being at home. I love my parents, and I love the homey feeling. But I do so love to get out sometimes and just be my own person. I work, earn money, buy the things I need, survive on my own for a day, don't get lost, talk to interesting people, build my own relationships with the people around me, and just learn about life. We live in a great place. Remember when we did that last summer, Maya? That was so fun! Basically, that's what I'm doing today, just being, learning, thinking, and living. Again, so fulfilling.

Now, I think I'll go work on my essay on opera, and then head home to finish my flute practice. I think my parents miss me. :D It's good to be an adult for a day though.

Well, just 10 minutes left on the computer. I think I'll go now.

Go in God's Grace!

PS. Sorry, no pictures this time, I'm at the library, remember? Maybe I'll edit some in later. :)

Climb, climb up sunshine mountain!

View from near the summit

Hey you!

Crazy week...past, present, and future. Aaaahhhhh! Anyway, I went with my Mom to visit my grandparents this weekend, and my Uncle Jeff was there! Yay!!! I haven't seen him for about 3 1/2 years, and he was down from northern BC on a business trip! It was really wonderful to see him. On Saturday afternoon, he took me for a hike up a nearby mountain. Whew! The hike was a couple kilometers long, and took us about an hour and half up, and 40 minutes down. It was SO coastal BC. Goodness! With lots of steep bits, many areas where the sun peeked through the forest, and a temperature of about 28* C, I was absolutely roasting. But, boy was it worth it! Not only did I have an excellent 3 hours out with Uncle Jeff, but the view was well worth the work. Just stunning. I didn't take lots of pictures, mostly because I forgot my camera, and forgot that my Mom's cell phone that has a camera on it, takes pictures, until pretty late. I did get a few pictures from near the summit though. :) Here they are the rest:

There goes my mountain climbing uncle!

So pretty...

A thoroughly hot and tired, but VERY happy Sheila!

I wish I'd gotten a better one of the view out to the ocean, but like I said, when we were at that lookout, I still had forgotten about the camera feature on the phone. I'm just glad I had water with me. :D

Here's a little one I found online of the view from up there towards the ocean. I wish it was bigger and from the other lookout!

You know, you feel very close to God at the top of a mountain. Very connected. Every breeze seems like the breath of God, and every birdsong sounds like His voice. Every view of the ocean, so picturesque, surrounded by trees and natural beauty, is like a painting, gently, yet so realistically painted, by the hand of our Creator.

When we reached the top, we hiked through the woods, off the beaten track of regular trails, to a lookout Uncle Jeff had loved for years. Now, the trees have grown up, and the view is more difficult to see, but since it is so unknown, we lay in the grass and rested our heads upon the rocks, undisturbed by wandering hikers. We just marveled in the silence, and enjoyed the perfection of nature--so untouched! We hiked back by a different route, so as not to start a path (didn't want the spot to be found!), and headed down the mountain, running, and playing hopscotch down rather steep and rocky sections. As I nimbly ordered my feet down the mountain, moving at a quite rapid pace, always watching for the perfect spot to place my foot next, I was awed at the capacity of the human mind. The fact that I could calculate so quickly, and enjoy myself still, is incredible! It's like dancing down the mountain. I would do it again in a flash.

When I reached the bottom of the trail, and we head back to the car, no one stopped my and put $50 in my pocket because I'd worked hard for 3 hours, no parade greeted me, but I had a reward far greater than that, and it is all inside me. Never to be let out. Never to be let go of. God puts surprise rewards in the most obscure of things!

I hope you are encouraged today. Go enjoy the sunshine!


The Contrasts of This World

Vegetarian delight!!!

This is what my Mum came home with from the grocery store today. Don't I have an awesome Mum? When I peeked into the paper bags, I squealed with delight and just had to take a picture! 3 Grapefruit, 2 mangoes, 2 zucchini, an onion, two bunches of bananas, 3 bell peppers, many mushrooms, frozen berries for smoothies, garlic, natural toothpaste, buttermilk, dates, and yeast for homemade bread! It's enough to make this girl jump for joy! But better than that, are we not blessed! What a fabulous blessing it is in this land to be able to run down to the grocery store and buy organic, ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, ready to be made into delicious and tasty delights. Truly a blessing.

Yesterday my Mum and I went to a fun little market with many foreign imports, and while we had a blast and many laughs, I couldn't help but think of the poor, starving children, chained to benches, working 15 hours a day to make those beautiful items. I think every time I see a label that says "Made in China", I'm going to pray for the person that made it, and I encourage you to do the same! So often we forget that someone had to be behind that, whether it was sewing something by hand, or operating a plastics machine.

Besides, who wants a cool red and white Canada hat with maple leaves on it that has a label that says "Made in China"? Certainly not me. ;) Guess it all leads back into my whole argument about Wal-Mart and other similar stores. I can proudly say it's been years since I set foot in a Wal-Mart or Costco!

Anyway...a little light on the contrast of blessing and oppression. Let's pray, thank God for our blessings, and rise up to fight for the better side. We all have the goodness that God originally created us with, laden beneath our sinful natures. With God's help, we can let that shine, and better the world with the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding". Let us pray for a peaceful world. One in which we can lay aside our evil desires, and strive for all things good.

Keep at it, kids! There's more to life than meets the eye!


PS. I'm just posting another video on my Youtube account right now!

We're in day 3!

I'm not doing badly with this sugar fast thing! I have to admit though, I did eat a few cookies yesterday, albeit, they were just plain, biscuits, but still... So that's the only place I sort of didn't live up to things. What do you think?

Today, I've tried another tasty treat! It's almost vegan, but it does have honey in it. However, I think if you were vegan you could just use cruelty free sugar and it would be just as good. Non-vegetarians might not be so crazy about this one, as for some, tofu is an acquired taste, but let me show you anyway. It is REALLY tasty!

Tofu-berry Sorbet

  • Small amount of tofu, I'd say maybe a chunk less than an inch thick and the size of your palm. I used firm tofu, because it was in the fridge, but this would be especially good with silken tofu, which is what I'll do next time.
  • Handful of frozen berries. I used an assortment.
  • Dribble of juice. (or you could use milk or soy milk)
  • Honey to taste (or, like I said, cruelty free sugar)

Put everything in the blender and whiz until smooth. You might have to add more juice as you go in order to make the blender actually grab anything. I was smart and made this before I made my lunch, so I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes while I made and ate lunch. When I took it out, it had a nice thin layer of frozen-ness on top, which I mixed in, and it made the whole thing very pleasantly icy. Basically, even before freezing, you end up with a sort of tofu-sorbet type thing. VERY good, especially if you really like that nutty, soy flavour that tofu has. I can't WAIT to try it with silken tofu, which I love, even on it's own.

I'm sure you could use flavoured silken tofu as well, or use other fruits. I might even try making a larger amount and freezing it to see if I can scoop it out later or if it gets too hard. It might not, since it's so thick, at least when using firm tofu.

So there is my tasty, non-sugarful, easy treat for the day!


Day 1 successful!

Day one is a success!

I have not eaten any sugary junk today, and I am doing just fine. :) I decided that while I do this fast from all the yucky sugars, that I would experiment with some 'alternative tasties', so that's just what I'm doing. I made this recipe months ago, and forgot all about it, but I did it again tonight, in the space of about 5 minutes. Hopefully I can share a 'discovery' with you each day of this fast.

Banana Icy Tastiness

I have no idea what this was actually called, except that it was listed under vegan alternatives to ice cream. (Though I'm not vegan)

2 bananas
Dribble of lemon or lime juice
2-4 teaspoons of maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Freeze bananas overnight. Take bananas out of the freezer, and slit the skin lengthwise. Get your fingernails under the skin, and peel away. I haven't actually done this with completely frozen bananas, so if you want to be safe, peel your bananas before you freeze them, and freeze in a little bag. Put the bananas in the blender, along with a squirt of lemon or lime juice, and a bit of maple syrup. Honestly, I didn't measure, but you can do it to taste. I really like the mapleyness, so I add quite a bit. If you're not thrilled with the citrus/maple combination, you might opt for honey, or no sweetener at all. Whiz it up, and scrape it into a bowl. For extra tasties, and to make it look particularly pretty, especially if you're serving it to others, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top.

Note that when properly prepared, it won't look quite so much like soup as mine does. My bananas were not completely frozen, they only had about 2 hours. When I did it with completely frozen bananas, it looked a bit more like ice cream. Mine is also kind of bubbly, because I used young bananas, so they were still really starchy and gooey. Also, you have to balance how much maple syrup to use, depending on how old your bananas are, because they get sweeter as they age and the starch turns to sugar.

TASTY!!!!!! Enjoy!


Sugar Fast

Hello friends!

This post really has nothing to do with you, however, I'm posting it so that someone knows...

I'm going on a sugar fast for a week. Not for any particular reason, but just because I'm trying to reduce my sugar intake in general, and I figure if I can stay off it for a week, then it will be easier to just have small things once in a while. It will seem like BINGING compared to not eating any.

So, I'm saying that I will not eat candy, cakes, sugary treats, ice cream, etc. until Thursday, May 15, 2008. Period. At all. The reason I'm posting here is so that I can't just say to myself "Oh yeah, well it wasn't really real, I didn't tell anybody or anything....." and go ahead and eat sugar. That's what happens to me all the time. So, if I come here and say I ate sugar, it will be rather embarrassing. There's my consequence. Yay!

Pray for me, I hope this works out!