Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tobogganing Date

Shawn and I go on a date each Sunday. Today we decided to go on a toboganning date. Before moving to Calgary I had never heard of a tobogan, so for all my friends down south, a tobogan is a "sled-like" plastic thing you sit on and slide down snowy hills. You can lay on it like you would a boogie-board and go down the hill that way as well. Enjoy the video and pictures of my first toboganning experience. It was lots of fun, but the climb back up the hill was grueling - I kept sinking into snow up to my knees. Needless to say one climb back up the hill was enough for me. Exhaustion and freezing fingers and face can end the fun really quick (it was - 18 degrees Celcius today). It was nice to end the date with a little Starbucks and reading of The Truth of the Cross by R.C Sproul. Great book.

Creative Christmas Wrapping

Know all those cute Christmas catalogs you get from Macy's (US) or The Bay (Canada) or wherever else -all trying hard to get you to buy lots of stuff you don't really need? Well, don't waste those precious advertising dollars, use the catalogs to wrap your Christmas presents. Tie a pretty ribbon and your done. I also used some magazines and other random inserts I found in the newspaper.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Treasuring CHRISTmas

As the Christmas season started, I found myself getting quickly stressed about buying gifts, busy schedules, getting ready for 2 weeks in Texas, etc. This saddened me because I wanted to savor and treasure the season for its true meaning: the coming of Christ, Immanuel - God with us! I realized from the blogs of other women that I wasn't alone in this dilema. I love how Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters have chosen to approach the season. They write in their girl talk blog how they have chosen to "sit out" the season, meaning to take time to "sit at the feet of Jesus" in the midst of the busyness of the season. Much like Mary, who in contrast to her sister Martha, was not too preoccupied with hosting and other preparations to listen to the words of Christ (Luke 10:39). This, Jesus said, was "the one thing that was necessary."

This Christmas season, I have resolved to not get stressed, to not care that I get the "perfect" gifts for people, to not care that I make every Christmas party. That's not what its about. It's about the seeing "the
glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14b) That's what I want people to see and find joy in this Christmas.

While Jess was here she reminded me of the great advice that so many of the women at her church post on their lovely blogs. I started catching up on some of these blogs and was inspired to make an action plan to really make Christmas about Christ. My little action plan (every developing - send me ideas please) looks like this:
  1. Purchase/Make simple gifts for friends and family - take the focus of "stuff," so there's room to focus on Christ.
  2. Do an Advent (4 weeks leading up to Christmas) study with my husband. These are two that were recommended on these so said blogs (thanks Heather Hendrick and Kendra Duty). I love the study we're doing because it includes singing (learning in some cases) old Christmas hymns. I love one of Heather's ideas of inviting friends over for dinner or dessert and having them share in your advent study for that day.
  3. Complete shopping for "simple" gits by the first weekend of December. Next year, I'm aiming for Nov. 1st!
  4. Making a Christmas/Year-end donation to those ministries that have helped us grow spiritually and treasure Christ more this past year.
There is more I would like to do, but I'm afraid with work and taking care of my home that would defeat my purpose of resolving not to get stressed out this Christmas.

I hope you too can treasure and find much joy in celebrating Advent and Christmas this year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jess comes to visit!

I love it when we have friends from Texas come visit us! So refreshing to my soul to reconnect with wonderful friends. For the second time this year, we have had this sweet privlidge. My good friend from University, Jessica Bolding was here for this past week. We spent our time doing fun Christmas activities, going to fun cafes, and playing in the mountains. Such a fun time that reminded me how much I miss having more girlfriends in my life. I loved hearing about the things that God has been (and is) doing in Jess' life and the life of her local church. I also had a blast learning about square foot gardening and her life on the McVay's farm. We look forward to having more friends and family come visit in the near future (hint, hint Mom, dad, and brothers). For an awesome and detailed recap of Jess' visit, see her blog here. She has way more patience then me at this blogging thing. She captured the week so well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's been a while

Shawn and I in Canmore, Alberta for our 1 year anniversary
Whooeee, Summer is here and speeding by. I love Calgary summers, except for that one huge dip on June 1st when it snowed, but I guess that wasn't technically Summer yet. In any case, the beautiful sunny and warmer days are amazing, and finally, finally the coats and gloves and boots are stored away - for a while anyway.

Shawn finished the school year at Ambrose University, and Lord willing, he will be graduating next April. What's next after that? We are asking that same question t0o, so stay tuned. I'm 8 plus months into my job as fund developer (a.k.a. fundraiser) for Sonshine and still so grateful to have found this neat organization. It's a marvalous blessing to love your career.

Shawn and I celebrated our ONE YEAR anniversary this past May! Wohoo! We went on a little weekend geteway to the mountain in Canmore. It was tons of fun, and even including playing on a three-story indoor water slide.

on a bike ride

Shawn down the slide

My turn
In early July I was able to go to Houston for a short visit to see my family. I decide to go a week before, booked some air miles, and was off! It was awesome, and boy did I realize how much I missed Mexican food. I still dream about my daddy's fajitas. I also got to hang out with my best friend Lyd and some other sweet friends. My older brother if finally tying the knot in December, so Lord willing, we are planning to return in December for a two-week visit.
Good to be home - Me and my familia

I love my bff - we've been friends for a decade!

Our dear friends Adam and Megan got engaged in May, and we are excited to be in the wedding party. They will be saying "I do" in late August, so the rest of the bridesmaids and I are having a blast buying bridesmaid's gear, planning showers. I'm so excited for this precious couple. Our other "best couple"friends Victor and Crystal welcomed their first baby into the world in May too - she is sooo cute, and it's been so fun getting to hang out with them and seeing how in love they are with baby Emmie.

There's it is. My blogging come back. Love until soon!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring and Stuff

Spring is here! Kinda. Snow teases here and there. Spring is so beautiful in contrast to a long, cold winter.

Our one year anniversary is quickly approaching. A whole wonderful year of marriage! I really mean "wonderful!", and Shawn would say the same thing. He tells me :) We give glory to God for that. It is He who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose for our marriage. We are planning to celebrate our first anniversary with a little weekend get-a-way to a little mountain town near Calgary.

Shawn in approaching the end of his second semester at Ambrose. He is in the thick of finals. Lord willing, he will be graduating in April 2010. A month ago he played drums for the worship team of a 3-day youth conference hosted by the students at his university. He has been preparing with this team since September, so it was so cool to see it come together with hundreds of youth having a blast and worshiping Jesus.

My best friend Lydia was here for 5 awesome days in March! We had great time hanging out with her, showing her around Calgary some, and taking a trip to see the mountains in Banff. We also got to do some cooking together. We made whole-wheat pizza and mole enchiladas from scratch :)

Shawn and my brother Aldo (who is getting married on December 19th) celebrated birthdays on March 26th. I threw a costume party for Shawn on March 28th.

The party hosting continued the next week as my friend Megan and I throw a baby Shower for our dear friend Crystal who is expecting a baby girl in May. Crystal calls me "Auntie Tania" and I think the name will stay :)

Work is great; I'm feeling more confident in my tasks and truly enjoy the work that I do. As director over fund development and marketing/communications, I have the pleasure of doing a variety of things. I recently completed our Spring newsletter, as well as planning a spring fundraising event called Sweet Hope (Dessert-Theatre Charity Event). I have also recently started meeting with the planning committee for our Fall Gala. In between those things, I stay busy writing grant applications and finding new sources of funding for Sonshine.

Hope you enjoyed this little update. Stay in touch.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Year-End. New-Year.

It's been way too long since I blogged. I had forgotten how much time and brain-power working consumes. My 5 month vacation came to an end October 27th, as I re-entered the workforce. It was a little weird getting back to the 9-5 routine, but I was happy and grateful to finally have a job...and, not just any job, but one that I love! My commute is less than a mile, and it's so far it's been a challenging and rewarding experience.

The Christmas season brought many wonderful memories to Shawn and I, as we enjoyed our first Christmas as a married couple. I tried hard to keep focus on the true meaning of Christmas, but have to admit that I did get caught up more than I wanted to on gift shopping and the stresses we are suppose to avoid over the holidays. I will be better prepared next year, soI can take in every moment of the magical season and the awesome truth that God came to be with us.

It's been a cold cold winter in Calgary. I never thought I would experience -37 degrees (C or F). That's pretty cold. alot.

We were blessed to celebrate Christmas Eve with Shawn's family and then fly to Houston on Christmas day to see my family. To my suprise and delight almost a dozen members of my extended family joined us from Mexico and Arizona, including my grandparents. My parents spoiled me like a child on Christmas with amazing and practical gifts to keep me warm in Calgary. I don't know what I did before my furry snow boots!

While in Houston we began work on a recipe book of my grandmothers authetic mexian cuisine. In addition to including the wonderful recipes, stories and anecdotes of the recipes will be woven throughout the book. We hope to have the book ready to print before the summer. Our wonderful friend Lydia Jones used her amazing photography talent to do some photography for the book. My mom, aunt, grandmother, and I had a blast cooking together one afternoon. Shawn even took his turn at the crushing the dry peppers with the morterr and pestal. He's so excited about this recipe book.

We're now back in Calgary, setting goals for the new year. Shawn will begin a new semester at Ambrose this week, and I am back to new challenges and delights of developing financial resources for Sonshine Community Services. Sometimes the task seems daunting and I feel so inexperienced, but the Lord encouraged me this week as I received notice that the very first grant application (Mary Kay Charitable Foundation) I submitted on behalf of Sonshine was one of ten applications selected to receive a grant! I've also had the opportunity to work on Sonshine's marketing plan for 2009 as well as begin developing plans for a Spring fundraising event.

I leave you with a picture of us with our friends Adam and Megan. They are our good buds. We love haning out with them once a month for good food and good conversation.
Oh, almost forgot: Happy New Year!