Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm FREEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

"... you make take our lives, but you will never take.. our.... FREEDOM!!!!!"

And with those classic words I rejoice. I'm done. Free. Gone.
My history exam was 18 pages double spaced. Two hours. Horrid.
My final exam was a maze of double negatives (i.e. "What did this insert author you've never heard of not reject of the following 10 statements: insert statements with words like perichoresis, consistendia, obfuscation, teleological, escatological... well you get the point...
A) 1 and 2
B) 2 and 4
C) 1, 2, and 6
D) All of the above
E) What???

Needless to say, most of my answers had something to do with E.

That being said, I'm looking forward to fencing tonight where I will make some people wither before the exhausted fury of my attack. And I'm looking forward to coming home for Christmas! Yeay!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's been a while.

So, it's been a while since I wrote, but I feel justified since it is exam week, and I have four finals in three days. (One down, three to go...)

Anyways, I just wanted to mention this. The UK is a magical place to me. Why you ask? It's so... non-North American!!

Take for example the "Britain's Got Talent" first run through. At the end of the first season, we have a dumpy, chubby, middle aged, cell-phone salesman with a broken tooth, who sings opera. Yup, in the finals of "Britain's Got Talent" little Paul Potts with his opera.
Watch his first break here. Believe me, it is worth the watch.

Who is his competition? Some young, good-looking girl with a sweet voice? Well... sort of. Connie Talbot, at 6 years old, came all the way to the final, bewitching crowds with her entirely honest answers and singing "somewhere over the rainbow". See her first moment here. Not as good as Paul, but still fun. (She has the cutest accent ever.)

Now why does this impress me so much? Look at the American Idols. Kelly Clarkson. Ruben Studdard. Fantasia Barino. (and of course, honourable mention to Clay Aiken in the second season). All young. All good looking. All probably the coolest kid in school. These weren't talent contests, they were people voting for whom they most wanted to be.

Britain had the real "rags to riches story". It is the land of real modern fairy tales.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Winter Walks

I live in a beautiful place.

About a block from my home there is a path into an old growth forest. Hemlocks, cedars and Douglas firs rise majestically around the small winding paths. Every time I go for a walk (which I try to do every sunny day) I feel like I've been transported into a magical world. The trees have throttled out almost all the undergrowth in the really deep parts of the forest, so you can see the rows upon rows of trunks, surrounding you for as far as you can see. It feels as if you have entered the huge, pillared hall of a European basilica. The sun can't quite peak through all the branches, and so everything is bathed in a warm green light. Moss covers nearly every surface, adding to the feeling of warmth and age.
This is the place where fairy tales happen. This is where the great adventurers find their deeds of courage and love. This is the worship place of the ancient Celts. This is sacred ground.
Then, when you are convinced that the land couldn't be any more beautiful, you come to a clearing at the crest of a hill. Out before you a wide vista arises, displaying snow-capped mountains glittering in the sun, entrancing you with their distant song. Your heart breaks with the beauty, the desire, and the joy of it all.
You pray, you praise, you worship. Not because you intended to, but because it explodes out without warning, bubbling up, flooding over your soul.
Then, inevitably, the moment passes. You remember that paper that you should be writing. You remember the duties of home. You remember the chores that await you there. Slowly, unwillingly, you turn to leave.
But not for long. You will soon return to this place of mystery and wonder.
But that will be another day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come Back!

Return! Return ye harbingers of good weather and bright sun!!

The entire week my parents were here, we had the nicest week in terms of weather that I have seen since my first few weeks here. True, it poured on the first Saturday, but since then it was mostly blue skies, sunshine, and wonderfully warm weather.

No sooner did the get on the plane to go home than it started snowing. That's right. Snowing. Not lots, but enough to accumulate into a thin layer of ice everywhere. And it hasn't been even remotely sunny since. In fact, it is so dark and gloomy, I sometimes wonder if the sun has decided to get up behind those clouds at all.

In other news, I'm writing a history paper contrasting St. Bernard of Clairvaux's preaching and ideals of the Second Crusade with what actually happened. I have literally piles of books around me, several web sources, and no ideas. Not than I don't know what to write, I just don't have the slightest clue where one starts with such a complex, massive subject when there are only a few pages in which to contain your ideas. Well, back to work. And more tea. I've had so much tea lately, I pretty certain that I'm rivaling the rainfall here in terms of water-output.

Warning: Don't poke me. Random crusade facts may spill out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


There is something about the tortuous delight in reading C. S. Lewis that captivates me every time. The beauty of a phrase, the clarity of thought, the vivid pictures that come to mind.

Even just flipping through a book to find something arouses all the same joy, the same exquisite painfulness that it did the first time through. You are caught in something partway between an adventure and a dull chore. The very monotony of turning pages and moving your eyes becomes tiresome, but you can hardly absorb enough words at any one glance! You want to rush forward to see what will happen, and to experience the new vistas that unfold before you, but you also try to hold back and savour each moment as it passes.

It is thrilling, compelling, heart-wrenching. Desire nearly overwhelms you with its force. It is like driving to see an old friend. The ride can hardly be over fast enough, but the bitter-sweet desire of waiting is itself part of the joy.

It feels like life.

Monday, November 19, 2007


So, my parents are in town.

My dad has a conference, and so my mom, dad, and my mom's best friend are all congregating here in Vancouver for a week. I'm looking forward to a nice week of spoiled eating, etc. etc.

It's also reading week, so I'm studying my bum off, because after this, it'll be straight through to exams.

Friday, November 16, 2007


So, I just had my first shift at my new job: the UBC ropes course.

I basically facilitate groups coming by to do team building, group work, outdoor adventures and so forth. I though that I would get some little kids who wouldn't notice my blunders, or when I really didn't know what I was talking about.

No such luck. 8 boys and 2 girls, all grade 12. Mine for 4 hours. Well, I made it! I'm still alive. And it was a beautiful day, so that made things better as well. Time to study!

And my parents are coming out this next week! I am super excited about that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Somethings should not be allowed...

Like living in Canada and going for a bike ride in shorts, sandals and a sleeveless shirt in mid-November. It shouldn't be allowed. But here... it seems that all things are possible. When the sun comes out, it is so beautiful.

Hope all of you over in Edmonton are doing well with your snow.

I also had a surprise visit... from "Private Bautista".

Yes, Bautista. I realize you all think her name is Melba Seto, but she has been duping us all... for all these years...

As it turns out, when she had her official "name change", she also changed her last name.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Showing you around!

So, as promised, I'm finally going to show you around my neck of the woods!
When you get to Vancouver, you want to "stop" at Discovery Street. (Appropriate name eh? I love it!)

Then stop at the house with all the decorations and, (usually) a mob of kids playing outside. Usually playing some variation of "knighthood" or "kingdom". I'd love to join, but would be ashamed to ask. Also, I have a funny feeling that a real sword would not be appreciated by the parents.
This house is the gathering place for all the little kiddies of the neighbourhood.

Finally, when you get to this house, don't go up to the front door. You have to go around the (right) side, past the nice cars (yes, that is a Porsche), through the gate and down to the little side door. You can just see the window and the door frame in this picture.

That is where I live!

Keep checking up, and soon I'll show you the inside, including a special visitor we had...

By the way, happy Remembrance Day. Take a moment and reflect...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wake me up when November ends

Is it November already? Where is the snow? I seriously have no internal calendar here. Everything is green, there are still leaves (or at least some leaves) on most trees, and it rains...rains...rains.
This is the month of papers and studying, so you may not hear from me for a while.

Highlights from this week:
-lunch with a Welsh girl at a cool little coffee place called "The Beanery"
-supper at Phil Long's house with real Tennessee chili and corn bread, followed by apple pie and ice cream!
-a great lecture on medieval art
-finishing research for one of my papers!
-developing my question for my history paper! (How did the second crusade interact with the preaching of St. Bernard)
-finished a book by C.S. Lewis (Prayer: Letters to Malcolm)
-actually took out my journal and wrote in it!
-phoned home
-ordered a book from "Real Live Preacher"

Yup, it's been a productive week. Now I just need to study.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Sometimes I feel like writing long and intricate visionary pieces here. Pieces of writing that would inspire and reform... pieces that would bring peace and love... writing that would bring comfort to those who mourn, and encourage those who rejoice... words that would cause people to think in compassionate and just ways...

I usually just surf the net until the feeling goes away.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Old Testament Midterm

Well, I think I nailed it. I don't really want this to become a forum for me to prematurely access my work, but I think it went over quite well. Which is good, because I was really nervous about it.
Was there guess work? Of course. But most of my guesses were at the 80% mark, and several have been verified in after-exam talk. Always nice.

On to more work. It's great, I came down to the library to look for some books, and the exact book I was looking for (or one of them) was just sitting here on the table with no one around. Love it when that happens!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Sorry, it's midterm time. I have that wonderful euphoric/adrenalinic rush going on... all the time... in fact I can hardly sit down to concentrate at anything. After Wednesday, I should be able to breathe again, but there are no guarantees.

The team from Vanguard is here! I saw them on Saturday night! It was lots of fun, relaxing and good. My sister wasn't there though, due to a bad ankle accident.

So, I also had a good rant session tonight. I just found out one of my major papers is supposed to have a 1500 word limit. 1500 words? That's like... an introduction!! Seriously...
Well, I hope they are prepared when I throw a 1500 word paper at them with 3000 words of footnotes... (seriously? 1500 words? at grad school?? And this is supposed to be a rigorous academic institution?!)

Off to do Greek! It's always the last part of my day. For two reasons. One, I like to procrastinate, and push it as far away as possible. Second, somehow everything makes more sense when I'm overtired and only half-conscious. Not sure why, but it does!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I am being watched....

I feel a strong sense of peace and calm as I sleep at night. It is like a benevolent force is watching over my slumber, and indeed, all of creation.

I attribute this feeling entirely to my new art. "A mountain, trees, and a midget..." ...that beautiful moment of creation as the Flying Spaghetti Monster reached out his noodly appendage in an act of self-giving charity.


In case you are wondering "What in the world is all this???!!!", check out the original source of this particular heresy at
The picture was a gift from my artistically inclined brother. (Click on it for the full-size version)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back in Van...

So, I'm back after reading week.
I had a great time home, and if I didn't get to see you, I'm sorry. For those I got to see, it was great. It was sad to leave again, but it's good to be back here too. It's weird having two homes.
The flight in was awesome. I was on this little plane that descended quite a bit lower than the bigger ones do, so we can in skirting over the snow-capped mountains, while a beautiful sunset lit the peaks and the ocean on fire. There are those times when you are simply awestruck by the beauty that surrounds us, and this was one of those times.
Today I went to a new church, which I think I'll make my regular place. Kitsilano Community Church is this little congregation with a semi-liturgical, semi-evangelical service. It had great preaching, and lots of young families (children running around everywhere, which I always finds adds to the worship atmosphere). And they meet in this gorgeous Baptist church, which has a high vaulted ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows.
After the service, there was a meal and I got a chance to chat with the pastor, and listen to a group discussion about the church's goals in terms of outreach and community involvement. I liked what I heard.
So, I'll try it again, and possibly (hopefully) just settle right in.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I'm coming home for Thanksgiving! Yeay team!

My parents lovingly bought me a plane ticket so that I can come spend reading week and thanksgiving with all you fine folks! So, give me a call if you are around, and we'll hang out!

I'll also try and drop by the college at some point, so those of you there can just hang, and I'll come find you.

And here I am, once again studiously avoiding my Greek homework... I'll be better than last time and actually go do it! See you later!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


You know what I love to do? I love to schmooze. Give me a big room full of people, give me a t-shirt to indicate that I have some reason to actually talk to all these people, and let me go!!
Regent had the library opening/open house this morning. I volunteered. And got put on child care. But then, they had enough people, and one of the greeters was sick, so I took over!
There was just this amazing abundance of incredibly interesting people. They flew board members in from all over North America, and donors came from all over as well. It was wild.
I was really in schmoozing heaven. And then I got put at the back doors, where almost nobody was coming in or going out, so things calmed down a lot. But then, I just happened to see Eugene Peterson walking by, trying to avoid the crowd. So, I shamelessly walked over and bombarded him briefly (well... he didn't have a program and it looked to me like he really needed one...). And then he was off, and I was back to welcoming other random people walking by.
Yup, good morning.
Oh, and it's raining. Those who live here say it probably won't stop until March. Not sure how I feel about it. I'm hoping they are exaggerating. On the other hand, everyone is calling it "cold outside", and if this is the extent of the cold, I'll be just fine, rain or no.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Retreat is finished...

So, retreat is over. It was great. Of course, the first night I was sooo excited to be there, and be meeting new people and connecting, I didn't really sleep. Mostly sat awake with butterflies in my stomach. It was that same feeling when you were a little kid waiting for Christmas morning, I couldn't wait for the next day to come so I could keep on interacting!!
Yeah... I know how geeky that is. Shut up. Anyhoo, I'm waiting for the pictures my friend took of some of the events, since they are better and more candid than my own. Some highlights were:
Community meals - good food and fun conversation!
A football game with 7 guys and me - The opposing team didn't even cover me until they found out I could catch, for which they paid dearly! Darrell Johnson was our star QB.
Talent Show - lead by none other than the Ozzie's Narida and Narida (NEH-rid-da). The refrain of "Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy, OI! OI! OI!" still reverberates in my mind.
Service and Communion on Sunday - a slow, relaxed communion served by a mixture of students and staff, where each student received personal prayer with communion, while a violin and piano duet played in the back, later accompanied by a choir.

Tonight, I watched Babette's Feast as part of my Christian Thought and Culture course. It totally sucker-punched me. You are captured by this beautiful view of humanity, the high potential for truth and beauty, for mercy and love. You are so enraptured by this sacrificial wholesomeness that you are lost in wonder. You want to love. You want to hug someone. Then the lights turn on, and you realize that you are far from family and friends, and all that awaits you is a long bus ride home in the dark. And all that is waiting at home is a sleeping roommate and Greek nouns that need parsing. So much for inspiration! Shiloh and I exchanged these thoughts on the bus until I got off, after my 3 minute bus ride. And now instead of doing my Greek homework (it is sitting beside me) I am writing to you fine folks, and contemplating making tea to further procrastinate. Sigh. Life goes on.

(Speaking of which... I just went back to add more to the retreat section... all the highlights... and now I am here, writing this... seriously I need to do my Greek... it's a privilege... yes a privilege... one that I desperately wanted for many years.... go do your Greek Beth.....)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It has been some time, faithful reader, since I last posted. I have been busy. Indeed, the honeymoon stage of awe and beauty is over. The reality of loads of work and hours of library time is starting to come into focus.

Thus, it is indeed high time to spurn responsibility and diligence and instead to head out to the Regent Community Retreat! We are going down to Warm Beach Conference Centre, outside of Seattle. I am told it is neither warm, nor a beach, but that it is a conference centre. I am excited for a less formal interaction with my fellow students, the professors, their spouses, and so on and so forth. It will also be nice to escape the spiders.

Oh, did I tell you my apartment is infested with spiders. Yeah, my only phobia. Thanks Jesus. There are literally hundreds of spiders, everywhere. I've stopped looking up. I've stopped looking down. In fact, I try not to look anywhere at all. There come in all shapes and sizes. The tiny "dot" ones, I'm OK with. The little grey ones that blend right into the carpet I've similarly come to peace with. The middle sized ones that live in the bathroom I ignore. But the huge (5 inches across) leggy, icky ones still invoke terror in my heart, and my roommate lovingly catches them in plastic containers and escorts them outside (ecologist that she is). Yes, I'm looking forward to retreat. Tell you more when I get back!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Somehow, no matter where I go, I end up at camps. Vancouver is no exception.

Through my roommate, I've gotten involved with the UBC ropes course. Not only is it a gorgeous facility, built right into 400 year old hemlocks, it also pays relatively well.

Anyhoo, the camp coordinator was going out to do some training and wanted to see my ropes course abilities, and wanted me to come along to see me in action. So it was that I got up at 5:30 to take the bus all the way to the opposite side of Vancouver to meet her to take a boat to a water-access-only camp near "Deep Cove".

I got there about 10 minutes before pick up, and as I was waiting at the dock, this HUGE jellyfish went bobbing by. And then his friend. And then a little baby one. I felt like I'd just stepped into "Finding Nemo". It was crazy! So, we had a boat ride out to this gorgeous camp, and then ran around all day, rescuing imaginary kids and playing on the course. And these kids kept pointing out how much I (supposedly) sound like Ellen Degeneres. OK. The Finding Nemo thing came back into play.

It was a great day, with an equally exciting boat ride home, and then the long bus ride.

Today, I went to Regent and ended up participating in the luncheon for those from South-East Asia (and by "participate", I mean "mooched food from with a couple of Mandarin phrases"). It was great. Then I came home and Sarah and I and some friends watched "Jesus Camp". Now I feel like poking my own eye out, because I know that I have promoted that same insanity. God have mercy on us all, we misrepresent him so often.

I still don't think the war analogy is appropriate for Christians, but I'll save that for another time. Now it is time for bed. Good night!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


While trying not to sound too propagandizing (is that a word?), we found out today that one of the courses I am taking just won an award from Yale for integration of thought, faith and culture. The course is called "Christian Thought and Culture", and looks at how our theology and thinking has been shaped since the time of the early church. Anyhoo, the link to the Yale award page is here, where you can also click on Ian's name and see the course syllabus.

Ummm... so, as promised, a couple of pictures!
To the right you can see the first chapel of 2007! This, of course, was about 10 minutes before chapel started. It turns out, if you are not there early, you won't get a seat at all. In fact, behind me is a glass wall looking onto the atrium, and it has chairs and a live-feed TV for overflow people. It was full.

All in all, it was an incredible experience, and I enjoyed it.

The next picture is from the community lunch after chapel. Much like Vanguard, we have chapels on Tuesday, and a lunch, which is after. The preparation of lunch rotates through the community groups, but since they haven't been created yet, and I was in early that day, I got pulled into the prep of about 350 sandwiches. As you can see, everyone just sorta sits out on the lawn. And yes, that is blue sky. In fact, that has been the sky for the last week and a bit. Brilliant blue, no clouds and bright sunshine all day. I'm told to enjoy it while it lasts.

Anyways, I plan to add to these pictures some pictures of where I live, my roommate, etc. The other one I've been tempted to take is one of JI. Packer's office, mostly just to prove to myself that I really have been there. Of course, I REALLY don't want anyone to see me taking the picture, so I'll have to wait and be sneaky.

Other than that, I've been enjoying the incredible lectures, the long hours reading, and the relaxed early-September atmosphere. I am also happy because I demolished my first Greek quiz. Yay!

Monday, September 10, 2007

After my own heart...

My heart was just made exceedingly joyful. I was waiting for my coffee to be made at The Well (the coffee shop at Regent) and I started looking around me. Imagine my unbridled joy as I found that the second most important bookcase (after the textbook case) was called "The Inklings". It is none other than the writings of all of those from those most famous of all literary clubs.

The Inklings, if you're not sure, was a group of people who came together to discuss literature, and specifically Christian literature. They met in a pub called "The Eagle and Child" (though they called it "the bird and the baby"), and the group included C.S. Lewis (my personal hero), J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and several others.

To have a bookcase called "The Inklings" is pretty much my dream. They did add a couple of authors in who were technically not Inklings (like George MacDonald, who was C.S. Lewis' personal hero), but were closely linked in other ways.

I like it here. I think I am going to like it here. I'm going to go read now... and sip on my mocha. Actually, the book I am reading is by one of the Inklings... Charles Williams. "Descent of the Dove". If you can, give it a read, it is fabulous.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Church! And Ultimate!

So, this was my first full Sunday in Vancouver. Luckily, I met a guy at Regent over the week who offered me a ride to his church (Grace International Baptist Church). It was a lot of fun, with a strong Filipino congregation and a good German preacher, it was an interesting visit. I'm not sure if I should keep looking around, or settle in. I really liked it, the only problem is that it is pretty far away from where I live, so I'd be dependent on rides. I dunno, but I'll keep you updated!

Then, I got home and my roomie Sarah had invited me to play a game of ultimate just across the street at the park. So, I changed and went. Turned out, it wasn't just a church game, it was a full-on league. Needless to say, I can't throw a frisbee at the best of times, let alone when there are people blocking you and yelling the 10-second count in your ear. And you actually are supposed to hit a moving target.
So, the first game we lost pretty bad. I definitely helped in that outcome, because although I made a couple of catches, my throws were pretty wild. Eventually, we lost and got ready for our second game. I had a chance to practice throwing a bit, and was able to actually contribute a little to the next game. Lots of fun!

In other news, my first class will be on Tuesday. Should be crazy. GREEK!! AHHH!! Sorry, freak out. I'm ok with my other classes since I've already done equivalent classes at Vanguard. I could actually be exempt from taking them, but I'm thinking that Regent will have a different perspective, which will be helpful, and I'd also rather not bite off more than I can chew in my first semester. Review is good...

Keep sending me e-mails and comments! I always read them and cherish them!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


So, surprisingly enough, it has been wonderfully sunny the last couple days. The first two days I was here it rained "without ceasing" but ever since, it has felt like a rather humid Edmonton summer day.

I went for a run this morning, through the old growth forest that surrounds where I live, and then down to Regent and back. I promise, I will get photos up soon, but my camera did only arrive yesterday.

If any of you followed my blog in Thailand (, you probably heard about all the issues my bike had there. Well, it seems that biking and traveling just do not want to work together for me. I even brought my own bike this time, but it came missing a pedal and my helmet. Oh well, my sword got here fine, and that is the important part!

My first class starts on Tuesday morning. Ahhh!

I miss you all! Remember to leave comments (you lurkers!!!).

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


You won't believe it! I got a scholarship!! REALLY!!!!

The Winifried Renie Scholarship is for a female doing their masters and going into ministry. Of course, I'm not going into ministry, so I sent a letter along justifying teaching as a real ministry, and the first recipient either did not show up or otherwise didn't get it, so they are giving it to me! It is $5,000!!!

Steve, the fortune cookie was right! I can't believe it!

I just created this blog about 2 hours ago and did the first post, and then went back to the college and found this out! Thank you to all of you out there who have been praying! It is so much appreciated! I still can't believe it! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Praise Jesus!

I'm here!!!

Hey Folks!
I've arrived! I'm now fully settled... sort of. Orientation has been long and sometimes informative. On the plus side, there has been free coffee and food.

My first couple of days here have been quite the whirlwind... my friend/sister Melba works at the PNE fair (the Vancouver equivalent of K-days) and my first full day she took me there, and we ran around. She got me a backstage pass, and I ended up in a parade... which was then canceled due to to rain... but I got to help out with the "rolling thunder" show instead.

Regent has been good so far. Not a whole lot happening yet. I met some great people, and hope to meet some more profs soon, not that I'm stalking them or anything.

It's been beautiful weather. Warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. I don't really believe I'm in Vancouver. My roommate is awesome. Her name is Sarah, and we share a small basement apartment thing, with a very nice family above us.

I haven't gotten any new books yet, much to my surprise and the surprise of those who know me, but I have already started my first assignment for my OT class: read the entire OT.

The other thing I can't get over is this: we have people from every continent, and way more international students than there are Canadians. There are Chinese, Kiwi's, Ozzys, French, Swiss, English, Scottish, Welsh, American and German students... and not one Newfie. I'm not sure what to do.

Well, I'll keep you all informed on what is coming up, when I'm stressed, and any other tidbits of news! I'll also get some pictures up soon, once I settle in a little more.