Posted by: anniebananie784 | February 10, 2020

Little desires…

From the night train to Malmรถ I hopped on a commuter train to Copenhagen, where I met T., another beautiful INS sister. I had been so touched to meet her in NZ, as a gentle & sensitive person, but also due to her indigenous heritage as Greenlandic Inuit. There is something so precious Father has placed in indigenous peoples.

(Side story : one morning during INS, we were encouraged to go around and greet one another in a particular way – though I have forgotten the “way”. As I looked into T.’s eyes, I sensed I was looking into Jesus’ eyes of love and I was undone. In that moment, the encounter with His eyes was unexpected and spoke so powerfully to my heart. The most incredible aspect of this experience is how He can show up through any of our lives. As we walk in His love, we might be surprised just how much other people will encounter Him & His love. End of side story :P)

Back to Copenhagen: with only a few hours to catch up, we didn’t go on a full tour of town. However, rather than staying seated in a cafรฉ, T. accepted my spontaneous request to visit the Little Mermaid. We walked along the promenade and squeezed through the throng of tourists to get a picture before heading back to the city centre. My heart was happy for having listened to its little desire. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I traveled to Vejle to participate in a Growing Deeper weekend where I saw some more INS/FH family. My friends, G. & G., welcomed me in their home along with the speaker and another guest. Except I ended up being there an additional week. ๐Ÿ˜› I felt like I needed to wait on Father in what He was currently doing in my heart and G. &G. graciously allowed me to stay longer.

I experienced how in my waiting, He also saw my little desires and He honoured them. As in providing opportunities, the means and fellowship. It could have looked quite differently had I given in to “pressure” and went ahead of His timing (which I am still learning to walk in ;))

At an open evening at the church, I met a lovely 17 year old girl, M., and we seemed to get along well. She was between school and work, and it was a blessing for her and I to become companions for a few days. I also enjoyed community with her and her family.

Then my friends offered me the use of their vehicle to go with M. to the nearby Viking museum and another day to Legoland ๐Ÿ™‚ So much fun. We got to be little kids and overcame (mostly) our fear of roller-coasters. In fact, on the scariest one I found myself laughing the whole way. A freeing experience.

Viking museum at Jelling and famous rune stones erected by King Harald Bluetooth
Legloland shenangigans, including pirates and donut sampling
My *new* friends at Legoland ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am grateful to Father for giving substance to those desires, and to my friends, who really blessed me by their generous welcome, their listening ear, their gentle spirits and their networking.

Posted by: anniebananie784 | February 5, 2020

On the sea…

Welcome to the ร…land Islands! An archipelago of over 6000 islands in the middle of the Baltic Sea. A Swedish-speaking region that technically is considered part of Finland with its own flag.


I took the ferry from Turku to Stockholm after catching a very early train from Helsinki, with a stopover in the islands’ capital, Mariehamn. My host, M., took me on a small tour to a restored medieval castle, Kastelholm, and to ruins from a Russian fort, Bomarsund. From the little that I saw, I was struck by the beauty of the place despite the tumultuous history and the exposure to harsh elements. The time spent in Mariehamn was short and sweet.

The next afternoon I hopped on the ferry to Stockholm. I had a lot of time to admire the view of many colourful summer cottages dotting the coastlines as we approached our destination. I liked the “look” and “feel” of Stockholm as I took the bus to the central train station; however, I continued on my way southwards via night train to Malmรถ. Stockholm qualifies as another destination to add to my growing “return to visit” list ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by: anniebananie784 | February 4, 2020

A Father to me

To a certain level, my mind and my heart already knew and encountered Father. I wasn’t aware of other deeper places that needed to hear those words, so when I attended a week-long Fatherheart seminar near Pori, it was as though I suddenly saw something that I hadn’t previously: He is specifically a Father to me; He sees me, He wants to love, care for and comfort me.
The flavour of FH in Finland was a lot of fun, rich and free. That everyone could come, be themselves in whatever state of expression that might be. Of course, the location was enchanting. Evening sauna by the lake with spectacular sunsets and the mist coming over the water. And food galore! As in, breakfast, coffee break, lunch, coffee break, dinner and then supper !

What a gift to reconnect with so many fellow INS family, to spend time with them and to discover other regions in Finland (Vaasa, Ahtรคri and Helsinki). I loved the wide open skies, the blue, green and yellow hues of the landscape. In each place I was so generously welcomed and savoured the fellowship we had. Thank you to each of my hosts ๐Ÿ˜‰

My joy was made even fuller with the opportunity to drop in on a ballet class. I felt so alive to stretch and move again in a class format, to receive teacher’s input and feedback instead of just doing a YouTube video. Finding myself in a group with shared passion seemed to generate a kind of energy within, even if we were also expending energy ๐Ÿ˜›

I returned to Suomenlinna, the former military fortress built on islands off Helsinki, and this time I could tour around to admire the architecture and the views of the sea around. I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to come to Helsinki.

Wide skies

Helsinki was my last stop in Finland before heading across the sea westwards and southwards. I hope it’s not my first and last visit; something about this country, its people, and what Father has placed in them fascinates me. I’d love to discover more ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by: anniebananie784 | February 3, 2020

Pori

From Rajamรคki, we went to Pori where H. was living in a house with some friends. That’s when the reality hit me of being far away from “home” and I began processing through the grief portion of my change of season. Let me be clear in saying, it had nothing to do with my welcoming hosts. There was simply more time and space while I was in the house for things to come to the surface ๐Ÿ˜›
I was blessed on my birthday by many friends. H. came out with me for ice cream, prepared a delicious cake, traditional karelian stew and made me earrings . Someone from INS sang me the Norwegian birthday song over skype – it’s one of the happiest songs I’ve heard yet. I had a surprise video call from my former co-workers in QC and my heart was full to see and hear from all of the kids.


I did some exploring around Pori on bike, foot, by bus. I visited Yyteri and the sea, and Kirjurinluoto, a massive island park in the city.
H. introduced me to a prayer-healing room where we seemed to have a divine appointment with one of the founders. As in, I felt like the Lord shared a word with me and as I read it out, it was so clear that the word was for this one lady in her response. I love how Father invites us to be part of things and what He’s doing!
I returned to the space a couple of times, including for what I’ll call a creative science experiment = exploring dancing with paint on my feet. Might not make a career out of it, though I enjoyed the process ๐Ÿ˜›

Posted by: anniebananie784 | January 29, 2020

Tervetuloa suomeen (Welcome to Finland)

Let’s start with a story of culture shock ๐Ÿ˜› I go to the grocery store with my friend H. and her roommate, about one week after my arrival in Finland. She says, “go pick what you would like” and I turn around to look at cauliflowers, cucumbers and other veggies. Except then I look up at the signs and I understand none of what’s written. *Moment of panic!* I want to look for almond butter or something similarly specific and I peer down the aisles in the hopes I will spot spreads or jams, or anything that would indicate I am walking in the right direction. In Norway I could sort of piece things together because of the German; however, here, I felt quite lost.

My friend H. was so lovely and patient with me. She taught me the Finnish pronunciation, spelled out important vocabulary for my list – for e.g., food related terms ๐Ÿ˜‰ – and listened to me try and read things out loud. H. loves to play games and she even translated her Finnish version of Dominion back into English so that I could participate. That is enthusiasm ๐Ÿ˜›

Firstly H. and her parents welcomed me at their home in Rajamรคki (about 1 hour north of Helsinki). I was introduced to Finnish forests, fields and lakes, to the Finnish version of pancakes (all the batter is baked on one cookie sheet), a Finnish throwing game Mรถlkky (outdoor game using one wooden pin to knock down 12 numbered pins) and an authentic “in home” sauna.

One day I traipsed through a field of grain, simply because it reminded me of an image I’d received during my time in NZ. An image of coming home to the “land within”, the wide open space of my heart. Ask me if you want to hear more ๐Ÿ˜‰

We tried to be tourists one day in Helsinki; unfortunately, our visit was mostly spent in the emergency room when H. cut her finger accidentally and needed stitches. :/ The event led us to randomly make acquaintance with some Frenchmen, also waiting in emergency, and I suppose, gave me reason to want to come back to actually see the city and the fortress Suomenlinna. Which I’ll write about later ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by: anniebananie784 | January 24, 2020

Beautiful Norway

What an incredibly beautiful place. I never realised how impressed I would be by the north of this country, which made the long train and bus trek worth their while. Trek as in: night bus from Copenhagen to Oslo, train Oslo to Trondheim, a night train Trondheim to Fauske, bus to Narvik, bus to Tromsรธ, and an hour drive from there to the YWAM base. Surrounded by mountains and near the fjords. Got to spend about 10 days with another former one-on-one of mine and her teammates, exploring the outdoors, experiencing the midnight sun and pulling out my German with some Swiss German visitors. Who made us a cheese fondu โค Yummy.

On the way to Troms region, I visited some ladies near Trondheim that I had met at the Fatherheart B school in Al in March. I felt truly spoiled by their hospitality and the joy we had to be together.

From Tromsรธ, I took a plane down to Bergen, where I experienced the wet west coast (complete with wild raspberries and blackberries mmm) and felt like I was taken back in time. Tall Ships race was in town and the Bryggen is an UNESCO world heritage site hailing back to the days of the Hanseatic league and ship trading. Gives some material for one’s imagination ๐Ÿ˜‰

From Bergen I took the bus around the coast to visit more INS family in Kvinesdal. Once again I felt so spoiled by their hospitality and the opportunity to share a few days of life together. Including a ride out in the fjord with their sailboat – complete with cake and coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰

On the weekend I joined the 50th birthday festivities at Langesund Bad for another INS student. There were themed parties each evening (a white party, then hats & heels) and opportunities to enjoy the beach location during the day, made even more inviting by the hot, sunny weather. With such a high class feel, I noticed some insecurities awaken in my heart as to my presence being “appropriate” to the level of the gathering. Of course, unfounded, and Father so graciously met me. I had the pleasure of meeting many lovely, interesting people, and witnessing how the birthday girl was honoured and loved on by her friends. Beautiful. We even had a “mini” INS reunion.

G. gave me a ride to Skien and the local YWAM base, which is located in a former prison. Nothing like sleeping in a former cell ๐Ÿ˜› Without a car it proved more difficult to explore as much as I would have liked, but I was enchanted by the small part of Telemark region that I saw. The manner of forests, rivers and hills really felt somewhat magical.

Random fact – and probably obvious : the discipline of telemark skiing comes from this region .

Here my Norwegian tour came to its end. I would love to return to see the Northkapp, and to explore some of the more mountainous regions with higher relief. We shall see ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted by: anniebananie784 | August 14, 2019

Adventures in Northern Jutland

Having a car can makes exploring much more accessible – in Canada it might be the norm; here in Europe, many people use other transportation methods. With Lena, however, we could cover a large amount of territory because of her little green car ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful summery flowers lining the roads ๐Ÿ™‚

We drove up to the northern most point of Denmark, Grenen, near the town of Skagen, where the lush greenery turned into sand dunes and beach, to dip our feet into the waters meeting from the North Sea and the Kattegat sea area (leading to the Baltic sea, thanks Wikipedia for making us smarter ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

We climbed to the top of Hirthals fyr (lighthouse) and had the pleasure of sand flying in our faces and hair as we climbed massive moving dune of Rubjerg to reach the Rubjerg Knude. The view was worth the price of gritty teeth ๐Ÿ˜›

We discovered the Tall Ships race in Aalborg with its massive sailing ships, hailing to past eras. We visited a local viking museum with its annual summer market festival. I didn’t realize how many people were not only interested in Viking times, but sought to re-enact, even revive certain aspects of their way of living.

Anyone know who invented the bagpipes? The viking musicians were playing one and it begs the question whether they brought the pipes to Scotland…

Posted by: anniebananie784 | August 12, 2019

When you speak of…

The Danish Royals. They don’t normally live in Aarhus, where I was visiting some friends from INS, but they have a beautiful summer residence called Marselisborg Slot and Caroline wanted to show me around the grounds. We walked all the way up the hill, past the playground, crossed the road and right up to the gate where there was a sign. Caroline only glanced at the first lines and I the next few, all in Danish, as we walked past. Only to be stopped in our tracks by a rather surprised guard marching back and forth across the road: “Stop, you can’t come here”. Well, we had to laugh at our touristy selves. So eager to look at the grounds, we didn’t stop to read the sign and see that the Royals were in residence. Oops. No Slot viewing for us ๐Ÿ˜›

Here’s some other photos from Aarhus, with moody weather.

Posted by: anniebananie784 | August 11, 2019

Danish Ice Cream mmm…

Good friends always make ice cream taste better ๐Ÿ˜‰

Legitimately though, the best ice cream I’ve had so far was found in Denmark. Firstly “paradis” (play on words for parad-ice cream) made a mean milkshake. I went back a second day, even though it meant walking for quite some distance ๐Ÿ˜›

Secondly, at a small stand in the north of Denmark – the “blue one in the middle” – I discovered the real GUF and a killer portion of ice cream that would make a meal. Three scoops of ice cream, soft serve, GUF and sprinkles. Oh my.

Side note: GUF is something sweet like meringue made with egg whites, sugar and gelatin. I think found only in Denmark.

Posted by: anniebananie784 | August 9, 2019

On my little red bike…

After my time in New Zealand at INS it became clear to me that a change of season was ahead. I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like  – and I shall watch it unfold as time goes by ๐Ÿ˜› – but I knew it involved returning to Europe and exploring. I’ve wanted to return to Germany for so many years and undergo a “refresh”, as well as discover new places whilst (re)connecting with friends from my time in NZ and my YWAM family. I left Canada end of June for Germany and have been underway since then. I’ve hopped on my proverbial little red bike exploring the rather expansive yard of Europe  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Perhaps I’m brave, and perhaps I am a little crazy to head into the unknown. I am not entirely alone; I know that Father inspired this journey and He using this time to show me more of who He is and who I am because of who He is.

He makes a way:
My plane was two hours + late in leaving Calgary because of a severe thunderstorm. I had just over three hours in Frankfurt between my schedule arrival time and the departure of my train.  My ticket was non-refundable and involved several transfers, so I was a little worried about the whole situation. Of course, I wished to let it go and just be in peace but I’d be lying to say I wasn’t worried ๐Ÿ˜›
As we arrived in Frankfurt with about 1 hour before the first train, as I stood in the rather long line for passport control, I knew that unless Father made it possible, I would likely miss my train. Then the one passport officer for EU citizens came over to the security guard, asking for her to send over any US or Canadian citizens or visa holders – here was my way! I was the first person at her booth. My next challenge was navigating through the airport to the long-distance train station with a cart. The escalators were not designed to be used with carts and I quickly got lost. Father placed some kind women on my way, who saw my panic, comforted me and guided me to the right spot. Each time I had to transfer trains, there was someone who offered to help me with my luggage. Navigating train stations with three suitcases and a handbag is not very efficient, to say the least. However, I did make my trains arriving safely at destination.  That’s grace right there.

He warmly welcomes us:
I have been so generously and warmly received, firstly by my friends in Germany and then during my travels. I felt like Father was taking care of me through these dear people. So grateful!

Now for some photos of the first days ๐Ÿ™‚

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My room ๐Ÿ™‚
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Reunited!
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First experience walking in the muck (wat or something like that ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
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With Julia and her friend at the sea

Thanks for reading! ร€ la prochaine!

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