Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 11, 2016

Special encounters

Sometimes we’re just supposed to meet someone, maybe to be encouraged, to give encouragement, to be brought farther in our personal reflections, to be challenged or to challenged.

Camille and I stayed with a couple in Denver before flying back to Montréal – it was a contact of a contact through KK.  Incredibly generous and brave to welcome total strangers into your home. Our host spoiled us with filet mignon for supper (mmm!), with comfortable beds and interesting conversation. In the morning she drove us to the airport (what a gift not to have to organise a taxi!). We prayed with her in the car before being dropped off at the airport, and it was a powerful moment. Camille and I could really feel the presence of God and His immense love for this woman. She was clearly touched and encouraged by our prayers and what she felt. We might never meet again until heaven but it seems that we were supposed to meet then.

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Okay, so I don’t have a picture with our host, but I did take one of our delicious filet mignon dinner :p

During our two flights,  I sat next two interesting gentlemen. I felt challenged by the first man to have the right priorities in life. He admitted to being rather well to-do, saying that his wealth did not bring him happiness. In fact, he was adament that if he could start his life over again, he’d have gotten married sooner and had more kids. That was his happiness. The second man was a business-man from NB who worked for an Austrian company. When I noticed that his shoulder was bothering him, I offered to pray for him and this offer opened up a discussion on faith. He believed the Bible to be an historical book, but that he also believed the stone had been rolled away from the tomb…in the end he accepted that I pray for his shoulder, and when I asked how he felt, he said it seemed better but that he would have to fully test it out. I’d like to believe that God healed him. And maybe his reflections on faith were pushed a little farther😉

Thanks for reading. À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 11, 2016

May Newsletter

Here’s my latest newsletter with an update on some of my activities: May 2016

Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 11, 2016

Who’d have thought?

I never might have guessed how beautiful the dessert could be. Much of the drive from LA through Nevada was uneventful, then we hit Arizona/Utah and the landscape started changing. While I did not get a chance to see the Grand Canyon itself, I saw some pretty impressive rock formations, likely improved by the good lighting from the sun in the west😉

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Drive-by visit of Las Vegas

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Apparently they have a pyramid

We arrived after dark to our campground in Glen Canyon National Rec area, and had great fun setting up our tents with headlamps. One of my first ever camping experiences where I was too hot during the night haha!

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Look at those rocks…a breath-taking view

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On the way through Arizona

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More funky rock formations

I had to get up once in the night, and what a treat to see the magnificient sky full of stars and the milky way. I’d seen stars that well in NZ in Lake Tekapo where they even have special streetlights to diminish the light pollution. At the campground we must also have been far enough away from most civilisation to be privy to such a view.

Nothing could have prepared me for the morning and the sight of Lake Powell. I was pretty awed. Okay, so I’ve since learned it’s an artificial lake created when they built the Glen Canyon Dam but my initial response remains. It was still a highlight of the drive for me.

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I can’t resist the chance to stike a dance pose😛

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Glen Canyon Bridge

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Near Monument Valley

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More funky rocks!

Thanks for reading. À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 11, 2016

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Because it’s important to give credit where it is due, I’d like to thank Dr. Seuss for his fun book under this name, and I’ll borrow the title for my blog entry😛

Going on the KK outreach to Los Angeles I couldn’t have imagined beforehand all the different places we’d see or the different activities we’d do. One of our main focusses on the trip,  which may come as no surprise, being one of the KK values, was to bring joy to God’s heart. It meant we got to have quiet time each morning individually to spend time reading our bibles and listening to God, and that we intentionally took time as a group to worship, pray and share what God was speaking. Usually He had put something on our hearts that was confirmed by several members of the team.

And it so happened that what we received, when put altogether, led us on a drive through some well-known places in LA. The purpose of our trip wasn’t tourism but I see God’s sense of humour in where we were led:  Hollywood, Beverley Hills, UCLA (University of California, LA), down to Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

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Hollywood Boulevard

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Sunset Boulevard

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UCLA campus

Venice Beach is full of interesting characters. Together with Y., my teammates’ son, we walked a ways down the boardwalk and met a woman in a wheel chair named Bonnie. She had a half-toothed smile and a story to tell. Her hip didn’t get better after we prayed with her, but I think she was touched by our gesture and she said goodbye with a big “God bless”.

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Venice Beach

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View towards the beach area, Venice Beach

Another evening, the whole team was invited to supper at a Korean BBQ restaurant. If you are a meat-lover, then this kind of restaurant is up your alley. On an outreach, especially one with lots of car time, I knew we’d signed up for lots of sandwiches. This was a treat! I think the teens were the most excited of all of us😛

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A well-laden table

One afternoon we spent some time at Azusa Street, site of the first “Azusa Street revival”, and gathering place for some groups leading up to Azusa Now. One of my teammates saw some of her good friends and she introduced me. One of the men had a brace on his wrist, so we prayed, and after a couple of times, the pain was gone and he didn’t need the brace anymore. It was only afterwards that I learned I met a First Nations chief as well as the leader of the band Broken Walls. I was kind of glad for my ignorance because I would have otherwise been embarassed haha!

We returned to Santa Monica on our last day in LA for a visit to the pier and to the beach. I couldn’t come all this way and not take a dip in the ocean. Even in April on a semi-cloudy day. Along with a few other brave souls, we jumped in the chilly  water to make a good memory – and some kept going back in :p

Santa Monica Beach dip

success!

Santa Monica Pier 2

with the iconic Santa Monica ferris wheel

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | May 5, 2016

The right timing :)

Before the King’s Kids outreach in April to LA, there was a debate going on inside my head about dates for the trip, considering my responsabilities with dance and an upcoming show, and my back’s ability to handle lots of car time (the others were planning on driving the whole 11 000 kms there and back (!) ) I felt like I was supposed to go for 10 days instead of the original 18, and it proved to be the right timing for a special reason.

One of my good friends from YWAM was moving back to Europe after many years in Québec to get married and begin a new season of life. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend her wedding this summer and so I was particularly sad to say our goodbyes.

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Bride-to-be practising her cake cutting pose😛

That being said, the timing worked out just right for me to help organize a surprise bridal shower the weekend before I left for LA. As I love giving gifts, especially surprise ones, it was a treat for me to be a part of the activity and see my girlfriend another time :)  We weren’t sure if she suspected anything, but I think it remained a secret until she arrived at the house and noticed my car :p

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The fight for the bouquet with the other TP bride

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Car troubles for one of the TP brides

Not only that, but we (being my roommate and I) were able to meet with this same friend and another friend in the Montréal airport, as we came off our airplane and they were waiting to board another to Europe. Once again, the timing was just right:) What a gift!

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Reunion at the airport:)

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | February 25, 2016

The joys of winter

I think most of us can agree that this winter the weather has been rather special. Now I prefer snow to rain, pretty much any time. Unfortunately, we’ve been having a series of weather events in Québec that seems to be on repeat: cold spells (minus 20+, feels like minus 30), then warm-ish spells with dumps of snow followed by rain or freezing rain. What fun! This time around the freezing rain has left many many people without power :S

I sit in our team’s office taking refuge as I wait, hope and pray for power to be restored at home. No power means no heat, no water, no light, no charging one’s electronic gadgets, and so forth. So I am much happier to hide out at the office in the warmth with water to make tea and internet connection to do my work (and write a blog at long last haha). But I shall bemoan the situation no longer – I’d rather dwell on a few of this winter’s happier moments!

Things like Christmas cookies – please note how we succeeded in modeling different mountain types with our dough😛

Our famous gingerbread mountain cookies!

Our famous gingerbread mountain cookies!

Or discovering new – and gluten-free friendly! – places to eat breakfast. Not every day, mind you, that would be hard on your arteries.

Croque Madame sans gluten!

Croque Madame sans gluten! At OEB’s in Calgary

Or snowy mountain views – and trails covered in fluffy white snow that leaves you feeling like you’re in the middle of Narnia or some magical place…until you wipe out on the icy patches haha.

Off of Elk Pass trail

Off of Elk Pass trail

 

Doing a little dance in skies :P

Doing a little dance in skies😛

 

At Horeshoe Bay waiting for the ferry

At Horeshoe Bay waiting for the ferry

Things like visiting favourite childhood spots and sharing them with friends. I didn’t think I’d be going back to Vancouver Island so soon or getting to admire the winter-y view.

Trees in Cathedral Grove

Trees in Cathedral Grove

 

Hug a tree!

Hug a tree!

 

Looking towards Craigs Bay in the fog and snow

Looking towards Craigs Bay in the fog and snow

Or discovering new food combinations, like these fancy nachos with tuna, or savouring classics, like a good swiss cheese fondue, mmm!

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One of my winter comfort-food favourites!

Or taking the opportunities I got to be child-like and have a little fun! Of course, I think we can be child-like any time of the year:)

Arrr me hearties!

Arrr me hearties!

 

There's a first time for everything, no? And my first time going to Place des Arts to see the ballet :)

There’s a first time for everything, no? And my first time going to Place des Arts to see the ballet:)

 

And last but not least, welcoming new friends ! My former roommate moved to Switzerland (I miss you S.!) and a new YWAM teammate moved in. We’ve been well-behaved for the time being though I suspect there shall be many adventures to come😉

On the river :)

On the river:)

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | January 25, 2016

January Newsletter

Here is my latest newsletter for those interested:)

Posted by: anniebananie784 | November 8, 2015

Bugs :)

Last weekend I went to Montréal to visit a friend from my swing dancing days in Calgary, and we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the lanterns. I’d already been 3-4 years prior and the display was still impressive to see. Given that it was the last day of the exhibit – and I suppose the fact it had rained a lot during the day – we could enjoy lots of space to meander at our own rhythm and take photos without other people in the background. Kind of nice for Montréal.

the lanterns

the lanterns

Then we looked at our entry tickets and noticed that “Insectarium” was also included in the fee. So we went over to check if it was open – the last time I was in the gardens with my sister & her husby it hadn’t been – and we had quite the introduction to the world of bugs.

Cases upon cases of bugs on pins, and several live displays of insects and arachnids of different shapes and sizes. Suffice to say I did not linger by the scorpions and spiders😛 I was, however, quite impressed by the beauty and the intricacy found amongst the speicies of beetles, butterflies and other insects. I’d highly recommend a visit if you are in the area!

Beautiful set of fake eyes...

Beautiful set of fake eyes…

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Judging by these colours, I'd almost want to say this bug is a female but I have no idea :p

Judging by these colours, I’d almost want to say this bug is a female but I have no idea :p

When I saw the size of some beetles, I was very glad to live in Canada. It’s one thing to look at a bug in a box on a pin, and another to see one the size of your hand walking across your floor or something. I suppose it’s the kind of situation where you’d either receive the grace or the courage necessary to deal with it haha.

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Check out those markings on the body!

 

 

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine:)

Posted by: anniebananie784 | October 2, 2015

September Newsletter

If you haven’t already received it, here’s a link to my latest newsletter with an update on the past few months.

Happy reading! À la prochaine!

Posted by: anniebananie784 | September 21, 2015

Newfoundland :)

Last month I spent 8 days in Newfoundland in the northern most part near Gros Morne National Park and towards Saint Anthony’s. It was my first time in this province and I sincerely hope that it won’t be my last. I loved the rugged coastlines, the windswept trees, the combination of colours of water, grass, seaweed, rocks and sky. Not to forget the friendly and hospitable people I met and the slower pace of life.

Woody Pt Lighthouse and view towards the Tablelands

Woody Pt Lighthouse and view towards the Tablelands

From Montreal it’s a bit of a circuitous route to get to Deer Lake, NFLD, but at least you can get there by airplane in half a days travel. The place is a lot bigger than one might think. It takes over 4 hours from Deer Lake, which is already in the north, to drive “down north” to Saint Anthony’s and my ultimate destination, L’Anse aux Meadows. Got to love Canada😉

I was mostly in NFLD to participate in a retreat for missionaries called M2M. A real gift! We were so warmly welcomed and spoiled by the generosity shown during the event, in time, energy, availability, activities. I was touched by the volunteers who gave of their time and resources, paying their own way to be there, to serve us, to pray with us, to ferry us around, and just to chat. We stayed in a hotel in Rocky Harbour right across from the ocean, in oceanview rooms and with our food tab at the restaurant – and a very decent one at that – being covered. To summarize, I slept pretty well, ate pretty well, explored pretty well and met some lovely people.

Mmm salad!

Mmm salad!

Nothing like shrimp, scallions and ribs!

Nothing like shrimp, scallions and ribs!

Except when you finish off with a rich dessert like this lemon curd meringue...Then you end up sick to your stomach :S

Except when you finish off with a rich dessert like this lemon curd meringue…Then you end up sick to your stomach :S

Partridgeberry parfait :)

Partridgeberry parfait:)

The town of Rocky Harbour is essentially surrounded by Gros Morne National Park, a beautiful park with some very intriguing geological features. (If you are interested, search for Tablelands) I did a couple of walks and visited several of the sites in the park, although not Gros Morne Mtn itself. As much as I would have liked to do the 16km hike, I learned it was mostly a scramble on loose rock at the top, and considering my back, the amount of H20 and snacks recommended, and my lack of a sherpa or a solid pair of hiking boots I opted out. Maybe another time😛

We got to go sea kayaking, on a boat tour of Bonne Bay, hiking in to the Western Brook Pond (essentially a fjord cut off from the ocean) and out to the lighthouse at Lobster Head point. Some people went golfing, others spent lots of time relaxing or just recharging. I liked to explore.

Red chairs at Lobster Head Lighthouse

Red chairs at Lobster Head Lighthouse

with C. kayaking

with C. kayaking

eagle sighting on the boat tour

eagle sighting on the boat tour

View towards Norris Pt and the Tablelands

View towards Norris Pt and the Tablelands

Western Brook Pond - Fjord in the rain :P

Western Brook Pond – Fjord in the rain😛

One of the best moments was our final dinner together, a tradition meal called “jiggs dinner” if I remember correctly. They used to cook all the veggies, potatoes and the meat, typically corned beef, in one pot – since they only had one pot – and that’s what we got served. We were informed that Ned the Newfie was on his way especially to see us, all the way from Saint Anthony’s, and I took the bait. Lo and behold, “he” arrived in his fishing clothes with his friend, Obama, who knew how to play a mean “ugly stick”…and the singing began. It was actually one of the volunteer couples who had led the singing during the morning devotions :p.

Ned the Newfie and his friends

Ned the Newfie and his friends

group photo with the other participants

group photo with the other participants

After the retreat I headed off on my own to L’Anse aux Meadows. A long drive but well worth the time.  I would highly recommend visiting the Parks historic site and the Norstead village, and also passing through Saint Anthony’s to visit the Grenfell Historic Properties, where you learn much about the establishment of medical care and facilities along the northern coast of NFLD and in Labrador. I just fell in love with the scenery: little islands off the coast, hills with big cliffs right along the ocean, sub alpine vegetation, charming fishing villages. It probably helped to have decent weather, discover many wild berries (raspberries, strawberries, crowberries, partridgeberries, etc.) and meet some fun people. I even got invited to join some other guests at the B&B for a supper of roast moose. Mmm.

Coastline near L'Anse aux Meadows

Coastline near L’Anse aux Meadows

Found more red chairs!!

Found more red chairs!!

Moose for supper :)

Moose for supper:)

I was quite sad to leave, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this province has joined my list of places I’d like to return to one day!

Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!

 

 

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