Thursday, September 28, 2006

Whistler with Ma & Pa Fox

A few weeks ago I had a dream come true...a week in the mountains with my parents...and no hospital :) I was SOOO much in need of a break from work (I now understand how these vetran women of Nursing are burnt out and unpleasant after years of working...and I've only been doing this for 3 months! oh oh!) Anyway, I flew from Edmonton into Vancouver to spend a few days there before heading to Whistler for Dad's Royal LePage Conference--mom and I were just tag alongs-- :)

The Irvine's, mom & dad's good friends moved to Vancouver about 10 years ago and we were able to spend some good time with them before the conference. Their kids were friends with Janna and I growing up so it was really great to see Joanna and meet her boyfriend Pierre after SO many years! (Caleb lives in Calgary) There was lots of laughter-as usual with these four-and we even had a lobster dinner (mom and dad brought them from home...yay!)

I was also able to spend an afternoon with Jeanette which I had been really looking forward too! We walked around China Town, in and out of all the little gerocery shops (actually trying to track down a specific coffee candy that Dad says is to die for...but no such luck)...I love looking at foreign (as in 'new to me') food. It is so interesting...dried scallops, dried sea cucumber, dried dragons on a! We went into this little flea market and both bought a belt for 5 bucks...nice deal :) Actually, "we" did more shoping than was intended...Jeanette found this absolutly georgous coat-wish I had a picture of her in it cause she looks wonderful-and it was a rediculous price :) Anyway! So we wandered around with our Starbucks in hand meandering through the streets (accidently crossing probably the worst intersection in Vancouver....Main St and East Hastings...oops!) and through a really nice little park with bamboo, big plants, ponds and the biggest gold fish I've ever seen--could feed a whole village seriously! Then we walked and talked along the waterfront, had dinner, and went back to her new was a nice day. Sure wish we'd had more time though Jeanie...just not quite the same after being apart so long huh?

We were off to Whistler the next day traveling up with a bunch of Dad's coleagues in a bus! If mom and I didn't feel "out of place" yet...we sure did when we arrive infront of our 5 diamond hotel with all the staff and conference leaders clapping outside with a literal red carpet for us to walk off the bus on! Swanky! woof... it was a bit over the top, but hey, when else in this life am I going to be able to say that I walked down a red carpet! (I'll not tell the embarising story about how I dropped/threw my Nalgeene at the pretty hotel consierge-man on the way off the bus!! :S) The "out of our league" feeling didn't go away as we talked into the Hotel...becuase Dad was on the planning comitte for this shin-dig we were put up all expenses paid in the Fairmont...picture name for it? Mountain Palace :) One day I walked out the loby doors to see a couple sitting (perhaps awaiting their limo) on a bench...he was wearing kahki pants and a purple sweater and she was wearing perfect gray hair a white turtleneck under a navy blazer with gold buttons, kahki pants and little navy and white tennis shoes...where is the yacht??? (*here's how 'high class' I am...I had to look up online how to spell that word!*) Good fun! Needless to say, it was the nicest...and cheapest!... hotel that I'll probably ever get to say at :) We made good use of the pools and hot tubs twice a day...steared clear of the gym though ;) Actually mom bought us goggles so that we could "do laps" while we were there-which we did. But, what do you think...Are my goggles a bit too tight in this picture!? Mom almost wet herself laughing at this :)

We were such hard-core swimmers that we were even in the pool/hot tub the day it snowed!! Gotta live it up while you can...that's the Fox moto :)

Unfortunately I have limitted pictures of Dad on this trip...he was "working" and bussy with conference stuff most of the time I was there, but mom and I got some good time in together during the day :) We poked around in all the little shops, did lots of walking, contemplated the zip line, enojoying the mountains, ate good food, and went up the gondola on Whistler Mountain.

So our first day there was the best weather...after that is was pretty rainy and even snowy..yikes! The day we went up the gondola, we couldn't even get all the way to the top-just the midway point due to weather conditions, but mom and I still had fun. I liked this gondola experience better than in Ecuador-the pillars were closer together which greatly decreased the "sway factor!" As much as I love summer, there is just something about snow that makes me happy-not that I am wishing winter upon us quickly, but to climb a mountain, have snow for an afternoon and then come back down the montain and leave the snow behind is NICE! :) Mom and I even had a snow ball fight on the top! We bought some post cards...which was depressing cause they were all of the "beautiful view" from where we were...but we could hardly see 20 feet infront of us! oh well...I guess it's just nice to know that its out there?? I'm trying to be positive on missing the view :P

We felt bad for this 'little' bear...all covered with snow -and can't even wipe it off! :)

There was this really cool looking inukshuk up there too, it was huge...and very patriotic-I really like these :) Like Biblical "Standing Stones" to mark a time/story about what God did--they're all throughout the old testiment.

Well, I think I've talked about most things, and showed you all the best pictures... no..that's not true...I have a few more...
Jenn Spen made be take a "Princess" picture...and this is the best I in these big white "robes" wtih the Fairmont "F" on the pocket :)... It was a pretty sweet vacation from "real life" and SO good to spend time with mom and dad. I cried when the bus was pulling out from Whistler...not becase I was leaving there, but because I've been away for so long dang-it, and I just love my parents :) The Lord has really blessed me throughout my life with them. They are wonderful parents-fun and funny, wise and caring, supportive and encouraging... I LOVE YOU!
Can't wait to see you at Christmas.

This last picutre is driving on the Grayhoundon the way back to the airport...back to real life... But, the sun's rays are shining through...God's Light and Hope permeates even the darkest clouds...He is Love.

Friday, September 15, 2006


There is nothing quite like driving with a friend, windows down wind whipping, music blaring declaring God's God-ness, staring at His amazing creation, goosebumps on arms, knowing that a great day awaits you :)

As our "last horah" Julia and I rented a car and headed out towards the mountains her last full day in Alberta :) We had SUCH a great was the highlight of my summer (well, at least the "fun" highlight!) I finally got to see some mountain goats...or were they the mountain sheep? I don't's easier to tell sheep and goats apart in Africa--tails up or tails down? :) We also saw lots of caribou and dear...and hoped and prayed ALL day that we would see a bear... After all, Julia had prayed the whole 4 hour drive to Jasper that the rain/storm clouds in the distance would clear so that she could see the mountains...and the Lord answered! :) It was a perfect day-weather wise...beautiful clouds too :D

So we headed off to Angel Glacier, which I had visited 4 years ago and loved. It was snowing the last time I was there so I was unprepared to see how brown things were and to see that you could walk right up to the glacier....SOOOO cool!! It probably didn't help that the 2 of us had watched Al Gore's "Inconvienient Truth" movie about Global warming this summer...the glacier looked smaller to me :) I think that by far, one of the top three cool things I've seen or done in life thus far was walking INTO this glacier (along with seeing Tungaraguha volcano active and spewing ash, and almost getting trampled by a live hippo in Ethiopia). Julia will kill me for putting this picture up, but-don't look at her...look at the craziness of the glacier roof!! These caves were amazing...I was wondering if we might not be in the middle of an Avelanche by talking/echoing inside them, especially when we heard one give a big crack! --you should have seen the looks on our faces...whew! :) Jules stole a rock that was stuck inside some ice for her dad-we figure that she could very possibly be the first person to actually touch that rock besides God Himself! After all...this is Noah Flood water left overs! :) Enough to make a fella "star struck!" This place was so beautiful, the glacier lake so green and SO cold.

There were lots of people walking to and from the Glacier that day...many accents from British to Chiniese, but most of the people all decked out in hiking gear, complete with walking sticks/poles and backpacks....Julia and I were doing the hike in our Birkenstocks :)...we took a picture to prove it, and I personally think Freeman should use it as a poster adervising his business!...just a thought :)

We got to see a little piece of the glacier break off up at the top...("and people say there is no such thing as global warming..."). Well, it looked small from where we were standing...but in actual fact, it was probably the height of multiple "me's" :) I think that, had we had lots and lots of time, we both could have just stayed exploring and enjoying the Lord's creation for hours and hours. It was so great. Eventally we started toward the car to head off in the direction of a new adventure, when Miss Julia desided to feed these gray birds that showed up...

"What don't feed the wild-life sign Paul?" ;)...I don't think that birds even count as wild life.

Who knew birds liked popcorn so much!? As a tribute to Joanna I sang Mary Poppins "A spoon full of sugar" while feeding these things...Julia can testify. It is that song that she has a robin on her finger isn't it? :)

Our next stop was on the other side of the park to see from a distance the glacier we were just at...and no, Julia, it wasn't Mt.Robsin ;) Then we walked around Downtown Jasper for a while...drooled inside a Chololate Factory...and left like good little goldie locks's, not buying the very expensive but yummy looking stuff (I suppose it helped that niether of us had cash...but we like to call it self control ;) Unfortunatly, we didn't see a bear...but Julia was more than happy to pose with this fella'...I guess we weren't specific enough when we prayed....we just asked for a time maybe we'll pray for a "real-live" one ;) We had a great drive home-good conversation with a star gazing stop on the side of the highway. Love you Jules...Big bear Hug :)

Run Away with Jesus

Back in July I had the opportunity to go to a place called King's Fold Retreat center. My friend Paul had been there quite a few times, and as part of my ministry triaining that I have remained in Edmonton for, I went for a weekend of Silence and time with the Lord.

The retreat center is there for just that. They have individual cabins and rooms where people go to to get away from the everyday bussiness and distractedness of life and re-locate their true focus...Jesus :)

This time out there was just a blessing for me. I had myown little tree house, complete with bed, chair, desk, kettle and hot chocolate...what more could a girl ask for :) The cabin had 2 journals there that people had written in over the years as they stayed in that little "Hideaway"-and at first I really thought the idea was cheesy, but as I started to read the entries I really enjoyed listening to the wisdom, prayers, stories of healing and so on that were on it's pages. People are so broken and lives are in such messes. I'm no exception. I went, without an "aggenda" but really was hoping to spend time praying about a few things specifically, and was hoping to hear the Lord's Voice on a few specific areas of life perhaps...but I really was trying to just be silent and wait for what He would have for me. Well...I must say I was surprised. Have you ever had those "things" in life that you think you've fully handed over and layed at the feet of Jesus, only to find that months or years down the road they somehow ended up back in your hands?? Isn't that frustrating? Well...this particular time with Jesus He flippin' handed it back to me and said "Chris, this needs dealing with." Let's just say I wasn't too thrilled :) Just when you think you are healed and things in life move on, they are back...but, this was a first time for me that God Himself stoped to say "we need to dwell here." I still don't know what He is/was doing with that...I have more questions than answers, but that's ok...I got to cry for 2 hours in my little cabin with Jesus. Surprise! I had no idea He had that up His sleve for my weekend with Him :)

I had some really great times just reading Scripture, drawing-which I haven't taken time to do in EVER but is medicine for my soul, sing, enjoy creation from my favorite swing on a cliff, and just BE.

It was also a nice blessing to talk with some of the other people there. Some were attending a conference, another was given this "getaway" as a gift (and that guy really needed it), one mom who was tired of cooking and screaming kids and a bussy husband who "ran away" for a few days :)--I liked her. Others were in full-time ministry and just needed a refreshing break with the was a really neat atmosphere. Although my favorite person that I met was Kacy...the dog :) She was beautiful and SO friendly...reminded me of Sprite and Coka the dogs from Langano in Ethiopia... The lady that ran this center told me that people often come for the weekend just to see Kacy...she is half the ministry. I believe it :) We played her version of "catch" for a long time...and she just has this way of making you think that you are her favorite person in the world...VERY therapeutic :) I wanna dog.

May I encourage you to do the same? (no, not get a dog...) Go "run away" with Jesus. Get away from the bussiness of life and spend time with the Life-Giver.