Friday, May 29, 2009


Dave and I were at Sola this last Wednesday. It was quite full. The worship pastor spoke on a passage in Ephesians, with an intense on worship with the Holy Spirit through music. He had a lot of great points and ideas, but the main emphasis was that:
When we come together as a body of believers, the Holy Spirit moves us through Music.

He used the song "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong as an example. His point was that you can speak powerful words to someone:

Savior, He can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save.
Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave.

And they can just be like "Yeah, awesome! Totally!" But when it's set to moving music, the Holy Spirit moves in and tears people apart, exposing their sins to themselves in a way that they can't help but fall on the ground in brokenness and repentance.

Another example he used was a preview for the movie Earth. He was watching it, it was just a simple shot, the camera was panning up this massive tree in the forest very slowly; birds were flying out of it; the sun was shining. Nothing emotional about that right? But it was set to a song by Sigur Ros; there was this incredible symphony of heart-wrenching notes, and he was moved to tears. Tears. Over a tree. Because of the music.

At this point I was definitely agreeing. My heart-strings have definitely been jerked before over relatively small things-simply because of music.

But then he finished.

And we sang Mighty to Save.

I was already getting a little emotional, my eyes were slightly damp; it's an amazing song when it's played well.

Then out of the corner of my eye I saw someone move.
A young man, probably early 20's, was walking up to the front of the pews. He was walking quickly, determindly.
He knelt down on the ground and thrust both hands in the air as high as he could, face pointed up.

I nearly lost it. I had to stop singing. I had to look down. I glanced over again, and he was still there, this time his face was on the ground; he was hunched over.

I don't remember the last time there was so much emotion inside of me trying to burst it's way out. I sat down at took out my notebook-I had to write this down and remember.

That's when I realized;
it's really NOT about who you are with.
it's NOT about whether you are listening to a hymn or a modern song.
it's NOT about if it's fast or slow.
it's NOT about whether the leader is feeling it or not.
it's NOT about how many people in the congregation are being moved.
it's NOT about how well the leader can sing, or what the electric guitar is doing.
it's NOT about whether the songs are relevant to the sermon.
it IS about whether the Holy Spirit has entered you, and what you're are being shown inside yourself.

This is a subject that I have always been somewhat passionate about; our church is quite notorious for disagreeing about music, and honestly it drives me crazy.

The older people get upset when someone messes with a Hymn, the younger people get upset when they have to sing a Hymn even if it's been updated.
Some people would rather we didn't have a drum kit at all, some wish we played with louder electric guitars.
Some say "hardly anyone knows this song, no one will be moved by it" or "i don't like this song; we shouldn't play it"

IT DOESN'T MATTER. Everyone is moved in different ways; you can NEVER predict who is going to moved by what song and when and why.

"Music has charms to soothe the savage beast, soften rocks or bend a knotted oak."
William Congreve

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stuff Mennonites Like #4


The super-mennonites arrive on Friday night to help setup and stake your claim on the 'good' things early.

If you're just an average mennonite, you go saturday morning; the deals are ripe and the prozelki are warm.

You arrive. Drive around the parking lot looking for the best spot (close to the door; shorter distance to haul either a) your purchases or b) your fat self after eating too many verenki). Only 10 minutes have gone by and you already snagged one! You camped out as someone was pulling out of a spot, and got one of your passengers to jump out and stand in the spot so no one else would take it. Perfectly executed.

Before you're even inside the door you see 2 families you know. "Hey it's the Toews! And oh look, the Friesens are leaving! My, they must have been up with the rooster today."

Once in the doors, you stand still for a bit, and wait for the first flock of relatives to notice you. Only 5 this time. Drat. I was hoping to get this part over with.

Next you do the scan for people you want to talk to. After seeking out these individuals, at least 3 of them will say "Oh, I'm here with my cousin. She's a Froese, I think you're related." (Yes, you are.) I like to call this the Family Tree Connection*
* Due to this game, many of the single teenagers attending the MCC sale have learned to turn off their "future spouse" radar*

If you are over the age of 50, you will most likely head to the Quilt Auction first, then the pies.
30-40 yrs will search for the fresh&best pies before they're all gone.
20-30 year olds head to the "garage sale" section for some bargains for their homes, as well as the produce and baking stands for some homegrown watermelon and some fresh baked rolkuchen.
10-20 GIRLS: jewellery and books BOYS: wooden toys and crafts
6-10 GIRLS: costumes and stuffed animals BOYS: toys and trucks
Kids 12 and under usually have their own area with lots of games and prizes.

Every mennonite in the lower mainland is as the sale at Lunch Time. Whether they're just arriving, or just leaving, this is the best time to meet up with relatives you haven't seen in ages! I suggest you do this while standing in line for your vereneki, because trying to hug your great aunt while balancing a plate of white goop is not a good idea.

By early afternoon, the casual drop-ins and the young families have trickled out. Now all that remain are the "hard-cores" They are patiently waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting.... for that longed-for announcement

"Everything in the Garage Sale is now %50 off!"

There will be a mad flurry of  the "Inexperienced Hard-Cores"
The seasoned Mennonites are waiting for this final announcement, usually made 30min before the Sale is over.

"Everything in the Garage Sale is now Free!"

One year when I was there with my family and some friends, We heard that announcement while finishing up dessert. We weren't interested in anything there, so we stayed put. A few minutes later, a 8 year old Kody comes up to us, face flushed and smiling. He's holding a wooden picture frame, an old chipped mug, and a small plastic plate.
We laughed and laughed, asked him if he really needed these things, and then he put away everything but the plate.
We still have that plate.

Join us this year for the MCC Sale in September, and you too will get to experience these wonderful Mennonite Festivities!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stuff Mennonites Like #3


This one needs little explanation.

My mom:
- washes ziploc bags, and then puts them back in a drawer
- transfers some of the margarine from the large container into an old, small container
- folds up used tinfoil, parchment paper, wax paper, and seran wrap
- saves the oil from a batch of rolkuchen ("roller cookies". they're deep fried and served with watermelon) and uses it for the next 5 batches
- after finishing a Frosty or Blizzard, washes the plastic spoons
My dad:
- saves our tea bags after being used once (or even twice), claiming "there's still more flavor in there!"
- used the bottom half of his "zip-off" pants as a head covering while in Africa...
- built a bed for Kody out of trees
My grandpa:
- after finishing a 2L bottle of gingerale, will juice watermelon rinds, and put them in the old gingerale bottle (ALWAYS sniff the liquid before pouring yourself a glass)
- will take a piece of old cheese, and put it in a cupboard where it proceeds to get even MORE mouldy... then cuts off the mould and eats it
- have a box under my bed filled with shopping bags; plastic, paper, big, small, wide, thin... 
- never take a clean cup from the cupboard at home. we're all related
why dirty another dish? rinse that spoon/knife/pan and use it again! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stuff Mennonites Like #2

Food with uanppetizing names
Oddly, most of them are dessert.

These are the ones that come up often. Before you read further, you should just know: Mennonite's have qutie a way with food. Delicous, filling, carb-o-licious, and using limited ingredients. Genius.

1. Plumemoss (PLOOM-a-moose)
2. Platz (pronounced more like Plotz)
3. Ofenschlupfer (just like that)
4. Blette Torte (BLE-ta-torte)
5. Fleischballe (ei=long "i" sound)

First thing you thought
1. Where would a mennonite get a moose? (wait... is this one of those jokes?)
2. I don't want to eat that.
3. Sounds like the typical backwards German way of saying something like "it fell off the"
4. That belongs in the bathroom!
5. Flesh. Balls.

What it really is
1. Cold Fruit Soup. Mostly made with dried fruits such as plums, cherries, blueberries. It's very dark and sweet, a little bit thick and sticky.
2. Soft thin crust, topped with mounds of fruit of your choice (usually rhubarb, blueberry, or apple) and sprinkled with a sugar/butter topping. Mmmmmm.
3. Bread pudding. (But really the "schlup" sounds like the sound it would make if it "fer Ofen" the table)
4. Simply a torte. With many thin layers, separated by homemade vanilla or chocolate pudding.
5. Meat. Balls. I don't know why the Germans decided to use the word Flesh to describe all meat. It almost turned me to vegetarianism.

I think maybe we do this on purpose. We know their recipes are top-notch, but (being stingy/cheap by nature) we don't want anyone else to know. So we veil our innovations with disgusting names. Yup. We're the smart ones.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Pretty crazy thing happened today.

Bit of a back story first.

Me and Dave are getting married. We hardly have any money to our names. In order to really be able to live (food, shelter, clothing) we needed for me to get a permanent job (the one I have now is only temporary) and for Dave to get a good-paying summer job.

I've been working at Schmidt & Funk Financial for a couple months. It was temporary. They were looking for someone more experienced but saw my potential, and told me to keep looking for a job, but in the meantime I could work for them. It's been quite slow. I don't have much to do, and they're not sure if they should bother to start training me. But they know I needed to earn money while looking for a job, so they kept me around. And I am so thankful. In the meantime I'd been applying at many many jobs (administration, secretarial, reception, word processor), and was fortunate enough to get a referene from Jocelyn for Power to Change as an Administrator in the Donations department. In the last 2 weeks I've had 3 interviews with them, and they emailed me a long questionnaire to fill out. I was wondering when the hoops would end.

Dave just finished up his semester at school. He's been working 2-3 nights a week serving at Montana's. It's not great money; it keeps the bills paid, but with not much left over. Now that school is over, he's been applying to every job he can find. Silence. No call-backs, no hints of interviews... nothing. And it's already been a few weeks. He got referred to Andrew Briscoe at church, who was just appointed Foreman at a cabinet making company. Zach and Sean work there too. So Andrew was going to see if they were willing to hire seasonal staff, and Dave should call him later on tonight.


On the way to work this morning at 8, I was praying like crazy. "God, please give Dave a job today. The longer we wait the more sketchy our finances will be. Please, give us some good news today."
At 9:30 today he got a call from Andrew, saying to come in and meet the Boss. He went in at 10:15. No interview. Walked out with a job!

He sent me a message, I sent a congratulatory one back, then I checked my email. "Offer of Employment - Power to Change" I accepted immediately!

Dave starts tomorrow, I start next Friday.


I've never seen an answer to prayer in such an obvious, mind-blowing way! Excitement has faded and all that remains is disbelief. I am so thankful.

It's all going to work out. It was always going to work out. It will always work out! (I know that was cheesy, but I decided to roll with it.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stuff Mennonites Like

So there are a few blogs out there these days with similar names; Stuff White People Like, Stuff Christians Like... I thought there needed to be a Stuff Mennonites Like. Here's my first attempt.

Deals, Bargains, Penny Pinching, Coupon Clipping, Saving Money, and... Being cheap

Ask anyone what comes to mind when they hear the word Mennonite, and those are likely to be some of the first few items. We mennonites used to be ridiculed for these characteristis, but with the world economy going where it is, I feel like people are starting to appreciate this about us more and more.

They watch us as we go through the grocery store on our carefully planned out route, caluclator in hand (the one that I keep in my purse), hoping to pick up some saving tips.

They observe as we scoure the newspapers and flyers, clipping out every single coupon. Even though we don't need a new mattress (we sleep on beds of straw), maybe someone out there has a coupon for 40% off a Dirt Devil vacuum (The straw leaves shrapnel all over, and I have allergies). We could trade. It's like a giant game of Go-Fish. I don't usually shop at Superstore, but this week Grapes are on sale. I don't see Safeway offering a wicked deal on avocados...

When a group of friends go out to dinner, the mennonite couple gets top priority in restaraunt choice; they'll be sure to pick the cheapest one with the best food (Mennonites are also quite fond of food).

Maybe people are even becoming jealous of our scrimping ways. They're not doing so hot; they'll start trying to subtly invite themselves over to a mennonite house for dinner, knowing there will be no shortage of farmer sausage, perogies, or saurkraut. And there will at the very least be some two day old Butterhorns for dessert. Everyone knows mennonite food will keep a non-mennonite going for two days without another meal.

It's true. When it comes to saving money and buying only the bare essentials, Mennonites take the gold medal. (We would melt it down, add a bit of water to stretch it, and then form it into Loonies that look just like the real thing. Why pay for something you can make yourself?)

Friday, April 3, 2009


(I've been recently bitten by the poetry bug - and have discovered it's effects in killing time... so... consider that a warning. But the good news is it gives me a reason to put up my pictures again. This picture was taken by Butterfly Photography.)
Face to sky
Back to earth
Hold onto palm, fingers, wrist
Except for one

Cheek tickled by blade
Of green, slim, lush
Thick carpet
Until woods edge

All silence
Not wire-hum
Not metal-noise
Just life-breath

Color new
Vibrant, young
Alive and dancing
Organic intense
Splash art

They dance too
“I am yours and
You are mine.
Only for each other
Joined together fit.”