Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Coffee Jesus Pt.1

There are many wonderful things in the world, and one of them is...coffee. That is probably a thoroughly predictable statement coming from a dedicated barista like myself, but it's the truth. Now, settle in as I tell a tragic story, but like any good tragic story, it has a good ending.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Kat who got accepted into a summer program. Believe it or not, when emailing one of the leaders, she asked whether or not the accomadations came with a coffee maker. It's true, she is a very anal, obsessive type of person when it comes to coffee. The answer to her question did not satisfy her or give her peace at heart, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. She brought two pounds of Starbucks wholebean coffee, a coffee grinder, and a Starbucks solo press thermos cup to Ontario with her.

One day, about two weeks into the program, the very vital stainless steel filter in the thermos went MIA. She looked high and she looked low, but Kat could not find the filter, rendering her cup...USELESS. (tear). All hope was not lost, as teammate Nicole bought her a mini french press that she had found at a local Value Village. Kat was thrilled, and used it a total of three times before the glass broke and it too was USELESS. (second tear). All hope was STILL not lost, as she could still brew a Starbucks cup of coffee in the coffee maker, although it was not as luxurious as her own personal cup. This worked alright until the coffee grinder broke (sorry Jess), and she could no longer have any Starbucks coffee at all, for without the grinder, she could not grind the coffee. Despair set in. (torrent of tears)......

My Coffee Jesus Pt.2

....now Kat is a thinker, and she thought to herself, "good friend Sarah is coming to visit this sunday, how utterly convienient that she happens to also work for Starbucks. Perhaps she can bring me some ground coffee, and also the missing filter part for my cup." This was a good idea, and like all good ideas, it came to pass. Sarah came to visit, with coffee and filter in hand (tears of joy), she had saved Kat from a life void of coffee. She was Kat's coffee Jesus, saviour to a body in withdrawal of caffeine. Kat was forever grateful to Sarah, and lived happily ever after. The end.

(Here is Kat, happily reunited with her now-functional solo press thermos)

That is my story, and what a happy ending it is. Coffee aside, it was FANTASTIC to see Sarah, one of my very closest friends, and to hang out with her and boyfriend Chris. We ate foot-long hotdogs in the little surf town of Port Dover, then headed to Niagra Falls for Sarah had never been there before, and en route back, we hit an icecream parlor. A great day of catching up with a good friend. What a wonderful gift that she is randomly visiting the same side of Ontario as I am, and that our time was able to overlap. We also hit the wonderful beach of Lake Erie before they left, and that beach in itself defines why I love it so much here. It was great to be able to share it with friends from home!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Divine Encounter

So I’ve written a lot about a lot of things, but I haven’t touched much on the subject of God and what He is doing in my life and in my heart. My prayer for many years has been for God to change my heart to be more like his. I often don’t feel like there has been a lot of answered prayer in this area, and there are different moments in life where I am more desperate for this to occur than at other times. I have had a few moments of that desperation here in Ontario.

Sometimes we’re privileged to have special moments of God. Divine moments when something in you is stirred beyond the point of emotion to the level of encountering Jesus, and those moments are memorable and significant. On Monday night, I went for a run over to one of leader’s houses down the road to catch the end of the Stanley Cup. The sun was setting, and I had a full view of it as I ran. By the time I got there, and was walking through the cherry grove on their property, the sky was just alight with beauty., I put the game on hold a little longer, as I could simply not stop myself from walking over to the lake to have a better view by the water. It was just breathtaking, in the full meaning of that word, for my breath was literally catching in my throat at the wonder of the creation before me.

The sky turned more into the reds and purples as it was reflecting over Lake Erie. I could hear the surf in the background of the worship music I was listening to and I was struck by the thought that if my God is the one who created the heavens and the earth, who created the beauty and vastness of what I was witnessing through the sunset, then this same God surely has the power to transform a heart like mine. It was a hope-filled, and awe-inspiring moment. I became aware of the lyrics of the song I was listening to, one called “The Stand” by United, and it’s lyrics were an exact reflection of what my thoughts had just been.

In that moment I was also reminded of what our basic, foundational purpose in life is, and that is solely to bring worship and glory to God. I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and his provision. This last point was significant when thinking of the leaders of the program and the difficult season that they have had with poor asparagus crops, yet knowing that God will provide for their needs. It was also comforting when thinking of my family, and the many transitions that the fall holds, and the effects that they will have on me. I had not slept well a few nights ago, worrying about stuff, but again, in that moment, before that kind of splendor of creation, I was comforted with the knowledge that the Creator of the earth is also the Creator of us and promises to take care of us.

Reading back over this, it may not sound like anything more than a nice sunset, but in my life I have learned that it is through creation that God chooses to touch my spirit. He took a sunset and refreshed my spirit, giving me hope, it was a very special moment. I hope that each of you reading this may find one such moment this summer as well.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Random Story-time with Kat: to Amphibian and Beyond!

This is the first installment of “Random Story-time with Kat”, where I get to retell some silly little story just for the heck of it. Today’s episode is entitled, “To Amphibian and Beyond!!!”

So. One day not all that long ago, the Twelve Amigos were working out in the cherry fields instead of in the asparagus barn. They were laying down water lines along the trunks of some young trees. Kat was taking a breather, maybe a drink of water, I can’t remember, and it’s not important, but Kevin and John come walking up, each having a mischevious glint in their eye. “Uh-oh”, Kat thought, “what are they up to now???”

“Hey Kat”, they said, and suddenly, Kevin opens his hand to reveal a two-inch long frog! He picks it up, and with all four limbs splayed, he tosses it at Kat! “Aiiiieeeeee!!!” Kat yelps, and hops around trying to dislodge the creature that is sure to have landed on her. In the end, Kat is alright, but she is thoroughly unimpressed with her two amigos, for although she likes froggies, who would want one thrown at them??????

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bonfire on the Beach

Today is massive update day, two blogs within ten hours! The reason is this: the internet has been working off and on, and never long enough to post anything, so I must take advantage of it while it is working!

Last night we had a bonfire on the beach. It was the greatest bonfire of all time. Yay for driftwood, the boys were boys and kept finding bigger and bigger logs to throw on, and soon the flames were twenty feet high and the base had at least a ten foot diameter. It was sweet. We had fun with cigars and enjoyed each others company, and then Jenna says to me, "Hey, do you want sleep down here tonight???" to which I replied, "heck yes I do!" So the two of us, plus John and Kevin, slept under the stars. We went all survivor style and gathered long grass reeds for a bit of comfort under our sleeping bags. At 3am we restoked the fire, watched an amazing moon set (picture giant orange orb sinking into the lake), and even managed to catch a few hours of shuteye.

The beach was beautiful, and I never knew that there were fireflies out here until I saw them blinking last night. A memorable night to be sure. Everyone should try and have at least one beach bonfire this summer, and if possible, a slumber-party under the stars.

The Big Drip and G-man

Monday, we had the day off, and took a trip to Niagra Falls. Last time I was there, I don't remember a thing, being hardly out of utero, so it was high time that I made another trip. The falls themselves were spectacular, and at certain observation points overlooking the falls, the mist comes off and rains down on you. It was pleasantly refreshing.

The "Maid of the Mist" is the tourist boat that goes right up to the falls, I could almost see Jim Carrey doing his thing from that scene from Bruce Almighty. The city of Niagra Falls is completely pathetic, it's a Canadian Las Vegas, and the entertainment business has set up camp for life, to milk as much money as possible from the tourists. Visiting tip: enjoy the falls and the surrounding parks, but stay far away from the surrounding streets. Even Starbucks sold out to the hotels and charge $2.50 for a small coffee....

Here's my lady-bug buncher buddy Jenna and I, in front of the falls. She's a pretty awesome lady and we have grrrrreat fun together.

On Sunday, friends Gareth and Moureen Jones came all the way from Toronto to visit me for an afternoon. It was so great to be able to show them the place, introduce them to the team, and galavant on the sandy shore of Erie. Here's G-man and I on the beach.