Thursday, October 17, 2013

Honor your Father and Mother... Wha...?

Recently I watched this online sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church (Seattle) from his '10 Commandments' series. I had been eagerly awaiting this sermon with a friend of mine to hear his viewpoint on it. If you want to hear it yourself HERE it is.

Although I always enjoy his hour long practical scriptural based sermons and I totally support everything he said however I felt he only dipped his foot in the area of the question of how do you honor your parents when:

- You don't know either both or one of your parents
- You only have "spiritual parents" (a Christian person or couple in your church who mentor you in a parental manner)
- You are a foster child with "guardians/caregivers" not biological parents
- One or more parent has married again (does that step parent get the same or a different kind of honor as the biological parent they're married to?)
- One or more of your parents is not a Christian (is there a different standard?)
- One or more of your parents have displayed abusive behavior (emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual abuse) towards you, your siblings &/or the other parent. And if they are being abusive in their parenting, to what level do you show respect, submission and obedience as a child/adolescent when doing so will only ensure more abuse to occur?

These are really really hard questions that will take me a while to think and pray on and will probably require me to study into the issue.

To me the verse "Honor your Father and Mother" brings me to mind of deep hurts and devastating shame from the past. I have and still have no problem with honoring my Mother. After Jesus and my husband, she is the joy of my life. Even though I have walked through the process of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, even though Christ bound up and took upon himself my deep wounds I still have scars in my soul from the issues that arose out of not knowing my biological Father while dealing with abuses caused by my Mothers ex husband. 

This man did not abuse me 100% of the time. He did make rules that were not all dishonorable and and maybe in some instances he did act honorably at first. If he was Satan incarnate my mother would have never married him so he must have acted at some point honorably, only thing is I barely remember those instances. If I take away his abusive attitude and look at what he expected of me and my brother at the time I can definitely say that his expectations were high. To say he was strict is an understatement. When my brother joined the army and had to go through a grueling 6 month training period in Waiouru Army base in NZ, he told me after his graduation  that it was an enjoyable walk in the park compared to 10 years of living under our stepfather. And I totally believe him to this day on. This man made the Navy SEALs or French Foreign Legion look like a pleasant excursion at least in our eyes. 

Im not trying to be overly dramatic but that is sincerely how we both felt. And I think neither me or my brother would have absolutely no problem with this military like upbringing if it weren't for the fact that for the majority of the time, our step father did it out of malice, jealousy, fear, cruelty and anger. There was no gentleness, no forgiveness, no grace, no kindness. No love. If there was gentleness it was insincere and manipulated only to meet his needs. He had no servant heart. In his eyes he was under no ones authority, he was the top of the hierarchy. What made it worse was that he insisted on calling himself a "Christian" or as he liked to call it "a God fearing man." No church was ever good enough for him, however if he did meet professing Christians he presented as a very likable, respectable, "spiritual", articulate educated man with a lovely wife and children. He was very intelligent and clever, theres no denying that. He may have spanked us voraciously with a wooden spoon when we were small children, but as we grew intellectually he stopped the spankings before we caught onto the fact of what he had done and tell someone. Instead he graduated onto blackmail, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour and sutble sexual grooming towards me. He built over many years a foundation of terror so that even as intelligent growing adults we would still be emotional slaves to him. 

Meanwhile, as a preteen I was being witnessed to by a wonderful Christian couple who eventually led me by the hand to make a decision about Jesus. All I knew growing up was that God was my "Dad" and accepting Jesus kinda formalised the adoption process. I didn't really understand Jesus, I sort of did but sort of didn't either and wouldn't until I was 20. Anyway, I publically declared myself  a Christian, got baptised and started going to church regularly, got to observe other older mature Christians, read and understood my bible a bit better and grew in relationship with God.

Only thing is, the situation at home got worse. Far far worse. Prior to becoming a Christian myself, my Mum had been slowly, subtly and methodically removed from christian influences by our step father. He started by isolating her from church, then her friends and finally her family (although he never quite managed to get rid of my relatives thank God). He was used to being the sole influencer of our family and me becoming a Christian and opening myself up to godly outside Christians pissed him off big time and kind of tore a bit of that wall down. Thats because he knew the power of mine and my brothers influence, especially mine given the extremely close relationship I had with my mother. So to keep me in check, he used bible verses to keep me under his control - and his favorite verse (you guessed it) was "Honor your Father!!" and the other popular one "Submit to your parents, so that you will live a long and happy life!" 

So what do you do?
You're barely in your teens. You've been systematically put down, harrassed, abused, sexually groomed and terrified over a 10 year period by this person who scares the absolute crap out of you so much he even made you wet your pants in fear (on multiple occasions), he makes you faint and hit your head on the kitchen floor and then blackmails you and your brother to lie to your mother about it. He causes you at night time to scream in silence and dig your nails into your arms. You dream of running out the window, to the nearby playground and hanging yourself on a swing chain just for relief from the anguish. And on a few occasions you have nightmares involving rape, and a metaphorical child being murdered, and upon waking up crying and screaming and he would be there with your mother asking you what you dreamt about and not being able to say anything. What do you do when the bible you view and the God you worship as the biggest authority in your life tells you to honor your parents? To submit to them? WHAT DO YOU DO? 

Submit to them and wait it out right?
No. If you think that, your sadly misinformed and you need some more bible literacy. Unfortunately, I got that answer from a few people when I told them what was going on at home. Not very helpful, considering I was thinking of hanging myself from a swing chain. Not very helpful AT ALL. 
I found an exception clause. Quite a few of them actually. Now, Im not saying this is for everyone. Every unrepentant idiot out there is trying to find an exception clause in the bible for injecting themselves with heroin, coveting at the mall, cheating on their spouse, sleeping with their girlfriend or having an extra curricular porn/mills & boon habit til the cows come home. 

Thankfully and providentially, I had a Christian Therapist at the time who knew all the dirty dark secrets that were going on in my family and everything that was going on. She was brilliant. Firstly, she demanded that I stop thinking about killing myself, and second of all she told me I was not going crazy and that even though I had no physical evidence on my body, I was in fact being horrifically abused and that the judicial law AND Gods law supported me. That gave me hope and for the first time in my life peace of mind

The exception clause is this - Do not submit to evil. Do not honor evil. Do not respect evil. Submit, honor and respect that which is good and healthy. What is good and healthy is a parent who loves and cherishes their child. Abusing a child was and is EVIL. In fact according to the bible its down right satanic. She said, first of all, God is the only God I worship. Not my stepfather. However if he (along with my mother) expects me to maintain good grades, keep my room clean, act civilly, participate in chores, I was to submit to that. I continued doing all the household jobs that he expected me to do (which was no easy thing given the list and expectations) and he also was in the habit of verbally abusing me while I did those tasks but it was now like water off a ducks back. It had no effect. I was strangely no longer afraid of him. Third thing she told me, was that even though I was still in highschool, I had (in her opinion) the maturity and life skills of a grown adult and that legally I could and should leave home with government supports for my safety. She felt that I was getting dangerously close to being physically assaulted by my stepfather (the fact that he regularly stalked me and physically threatened boyfriends was a hint). Just because I had peace of mind and that he no longer was able to blackmail or control me financially didn't negate the risk I was in - in fact it probably made it worse. 

Theres a hierarchy that I often follow that comes from the bible when it comes to submission. the main idea is that God and his Word is always at the top. (If thats not your belief system or worldview bear with me as its mine and important to me)

1. God
2. Government 
3. Church Authorities
4. Father - Mother
5. Child 

If the parent sins in a horrific manner (as in my case), they are not the end of the law. I still submit, but not to them, I go to the next level up. Unfortunately, there are some church authorities that say I should still submit to parent/s even if they are being abusive. That is victim blaming and in my opinion ungodly and unbiblical, and if you ever get that from a church leader I suggest you find another church and Pastor. Technically speaking the church authorities are supposed to deal with the person using church discipline IF they are a Christian as well as call the police (if they broke the law). While my step father was saying he was a christian, any uneducated hillbilly could in fact state with authority - he wasn't. Therefore the next step is government authority - including the police and courts then finally to God.

When I became a Christian I put God on the throne of my heart. He always comes first. He always has supremacy of law because I know his law to be loving and just and because I know and understand that he is my ultimate Father. Capital F.

If you have never known your biological Father or Mother, the God of the bible calls you to forgive their absence and if possible do it in person. It doesn't excuse their behaviour or the hurt they caused, but it helps you to be cured of a disease called bitterness that will go on to infect your own children and grandchildren. Neither is forgiveness a guarantee of reconciliation but an option if possible. Forgiveness only requires you. Reconciliation requires both parties. I have forgiven my ex step father but I can never reconcile with him - mainly because he still believes he has done nothing wrong. And while he is unrepentant it would be extremely dangerous to seek him out. I have on the other hand forgiven and reconciled with my biological father whom I am fond of very much but can never have a parental/child relationship with. Thats not me being mean thats just a consequence of never knowing him til adulthood. I am not a child any more. That stage is over.

If you have a biological parent (or two) who had a history of abusing you and still does, get out. Know that you are not parentless. You are deeply loved and cherished, by the biggest and best  and perfect Father. Thats what makes Christianity so unique. No other "religion" has a loving parental aspect to it theyre all about what you HAVE to do to earn love. Being a Chrsitan isn't about what you do its about whats done FOR you. What you do after that, you do because of love. But you still need to work on forgiving your biological parent/s and praying for them in the hope for reconciliation. But if reconciliation cannot occur that is fine. Second of all, in Gods family you have potential for gaining spiritual parents. I feel during my teens God answered and gave me this. I thankfully had multiple wonderful adult men in my life who unknowingly were showing me that there was an alternative to how men should treat their wives and daughters. And that there were strong lovely wise men out there (otherwise I would have forever thought they were all evil) While I don't think they have the right to expect you to submit to them quite like a biological child you should have a strong enough relationship with them that if they have godly healthy advice or convicting to do, you should humbly consider and if so submit to the advice. But don't put them at the same level as God. Theyre imperfect sinners themselves and should be aware of that.

If you are a foster child, submit to the "parents" the government (as an authority on the hierarchy) have given to you unless of course they harm you in anyway, then refer back to the higher authority - your caseworker, school counselor, social worker etc. And use the links at the bottom of this post to support your argument of abuse.

If you are a Christian and your parents aren't, at the very least, salute the uniform and the fact that God did choose them to be the ones to conceive you. This might come as a surprise to some christians but some of the most loving parents Ive personally come across actually weren't practicing christians at all. At the very least be an example and a witness to them of your relationship with Christ if thats possible. You should still strive to care and provide for them in some way. And always strive to be loving and respectful. 

But if they stumble and sin and ask you to submit to their sin or join them in sin or advocate their sin, thats when you pull out the hierarchy card and look at your other options. You lovingly and boldly say no to them. They'll get angry for sure but thats how  most people react to fair boundaries. They'll get over it eventually. Always try to love. You can say no and still love.

If you've ever wondered about all the different kinds of abuse there are (most often people only think of the obvious physical kinds) then take a look at this link and if you want to know what the cycle of abuse looks like check out this link

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Some days you could say I deal with accent misinterpretation..
Actually, I have to deal with it EVERY day. Thats the downside of living in North America or anyone living in a country thats not their home country and that includes even countries where you both speak the same language.

 Schaeffers Deck Sealant and Caulk (mind the language haha)

I know that that commercial may come off as incredibly inappropriate and just a tad crass. But you know, as much as New Zealanders hate being called Australian and vice versa one thing we do share in common really well is our ability to not take ourselves so seriously and have a good laugh together.

On the other side of the spectrum is where there no language difficulties but people make a snap judgement about your ethnicity because of your appearance it tends to make the person asking sound like a really big idiot like the blonde guy in the video below. Whats interesting is since Ive lived in Canada for a while now, being an immigrant gives me a bit of a peek at the kind of behavior that non white immigrants have to put up with. 

 What kind of Asian are you?

Yesterday I went to a day course at a hospital downtown and the course was on HIV, Mental Illness, First Nations people and cultural safety. And the last topic they spoke on was cultural safety and the first thing they talked about was "white privilege" - a lot of Caucasian people will disagree that there is such a thing but Ive come to notice there is. When I speak to a native white Canadian a lot of them I notice automatically give me "Honorary White Canadian" status in their minds - until I open my mouth. My accent proves Im different and not from around here, and the surprise on their face as they hear me talk is really blatantly obvious.  And as a result they suddenly switch from treating me as their patriotic equal to dealing with their embarrassment by trying to come off as absolutely knowledgeable on everything to do with New Zealand and who I am as a person usually by using Australian stereotypes (think Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan. 

Only problem, they never ask me if Im a New Zealander first they always say really loudly and confidently - "Are you an Australian?!!"  I say no.. Im a New Zealander - A Kiwi (which Ive discovered its useless to go down that road as most Canadians I meet can't seem to get past that there is a bird as well as a fruit as well as a national colloquialism using that word). If theyre bright'ish, they will know where New Zealand is and speak of their boyfriends mothers cousin who visited ten years ago and give me a speel of their version on my home country as if they know more than me and tell me completely false and exaggerated historical information about New Zealand and then get really upset at me when I tell them theyre just a tad incorrect on the details.

My favorite example happened about a week ago, I was talking to a caucasian chap (who was North American, but I won't specifically say whereabouts as we must'nt stereotype ignorance). I could tell within the first five minutes of our conversation that he thought the sunshine came out of his shoelaces and upon learning that I was a Kiwi gave me a detailed "historical" account on the history of the signing of the treaty between the Dutchman Abel Tasman and the Maori King on top of One Tree Hill in Auckland in 1876. I had to try really really hard not to burst out laughing. On the other hand, I once visited the US on a day trip and in the space of a day met three different Americans who were nothing but respectful and polite and on hearing my accent did the right thing and asked (not tell me) if I was a New Zealander. I was absolutely delighted and had a lovely conversation with them and then realized I had caught myself in my own web of hypocritical mess by assuming Americans would have no idea.

Unfortunately New Zealanders are not that great at being unbiased themselves ESPECIALLY when it comes to America. A lot of people back home view America as the big loud mentally retarded bully in the playground called the world and anything or anyone that came from the US is likewise stupid. However they will most often treat Canada as an intellectual ally (as we support their struggle against the idiocy that is called the US while we struggle with our issues with Australia who we most often view as the lapdog of the US.  Of course this is all media inspired judgmental bollocks.  

What I realise even in my own prejudice I forget that I need to keep applying my biblical worldview on these language and racial issues. I believe that everyone including myself is a sinner (ie they have fallen short of Gods standard) but I also believe that prior to the man made "Fall" God also made us in his image and likeness. That means that while Im prone to saying, thinking and doing stupid things, I am also to be valued and be worthy of judgement based on MY character not the character of my country's government nor based on my race or language. Sure my government and culture may influence my character but it certainly doesn't dictate my character. 

Someone back home in New Zealand recently asked me in a very accusatory tone why I would go to Walmart in Washington State and enjoy myself. As if enjoying American low prices made me a turncoat traitor and officially meant that I joined "Camp Stupid." 

You know what the world has both lovely people and not so nice people. From what Ive seen theres an even mix in all countries including Canada, America and New Zealand.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday its FriDAY!!!!

Just thought Id put this out there - why is daylight saving SO long in Canada??
I just discovered the other day, it runs from March to November. Thats a tad long don't you think?
Whereas in New Zealand daylight savings run from September to April. Feels a lot shorter when your in NZ. Probably because Christmas and summer holidays are squeezed into 2 months thus giving everyone a mental break down and having no memory of where the time went and then spending the next 6 months of the year paying off Christmas bills.
Me personally, Im officially ready for the winter months - at least the enjoyable ones anyway, not the depressing endless days of rain but more like this - 

NOT this - 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hump Day!!

Well technically its Tuesday - but its Wednesday in New Zealand where the majority of my readers are (Hi Pop!!) and since its Hump Day there I may as well do my funnies now.

I recently came across some very funny video clips of stereotypical Canadian/Vancouver stuff. Scary thing is, Ive found myself agreeing and even doing a lot of the stuff they mention eg
- Always having a strong opinion of the weather
- Regularly shopping in Washington State (US)
- Eating health/alternative foods and enjoying it, such as barley, quinoa, couscous, flaxseed, chia seeds
- "Ooh, a squirrel!!"
- Complain about drivers
- Drinking coffee from Tim Hortons or Starbucks a lot
- Enjoying the timbits (mini donuts) from Tim Hortons
- Saying eh and sorry a lot (but I also did that in New Zealand anyway).

nb: Sorry for the swear words...

When I first met my husband and he visited New Zealand, he bought a bunch of dvds of standup Canadian comedians. I never laughed so hard in my life, and this guy Russel Peters was and still is one of my favorites. And in case you noticed, yes hes ethnically Anglo-Indian but hes was born and raised in Canada so he's a Canadian - a very funny one at that. He specializes in finding the funny with immigrant groups particularly in Canada (where practically every country is represented) as well as accents.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Eating ENTIRE contents of refrigerator by Thanksgiving....

You heard right. We are eating our way through the entire contents of our fridge/freezer. The timing is perfect. I was looking through the compartment freezer of our refrigerator and our deep freezer and noticed there was quite a few items that Ive had for 6+ months. Items like:

- One giant frozen turkey
- 3 containers of homemade chicken stock cubes
- Turkey and cranberry pastry turnovers
- 2 ziplock bags of fresh lime juice and lime zest cubes
- Ziplock bag of frozen masala curry paste cubes
- Ziplock bag of frozen tomato paste cubes
- Bag of frozen salmon portions
- Bag of frozen cod portions
- 1 small bag of hot dogs
- 1 whole lamb shoulder
- Filo pastry
- 2x ziplock bags of pureed pumpkin
- Lamb/vege soup x3
- Beef round roast
- 3x large packages of beef tortellini
- 2x bags whole wheat english muffins
- Japanese udon noodles (the ones that look like white worms)

And in the refrigerator:

- 1x large jar of pickles
- 1x small jar of corn relish
- Bottle of Japanese tonkatsu (meat) sauce
- Large jar of teriyaki sauce

Of course we have all the other normal stuff in our deep freezer like a tray of stockpiled chicken breast, ground beef/mince, cheap bread from sales and our recent summer haul of blueberries and blackberries along with regular weekly buys like fresh fruit and veges and milk and packaged pantry items. But the thing is, we need to really get through all the old stuff so Im now on a mission to get through that list with cheap and/or interesting meal plans. Im really into trying out new recipes too which I think is pretty much garateed with all the frozen lime I have. Thats going to be interesting..

So bring on the recipes!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mennonite Fest in Abbotsford

Sorry for this LONG overdue post. Since my last post, not a lot has really gone on in my life other than work work work. Thats about to change and I look forward to this comming Fall/Autumn season.

Anyway, last Friday my church was invited to attend a MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) festival in Abbotsford. First off I probably need to briefly explain my connections with Mennonites and what the MCC is and where on earth is Abbotsford?

First off,  let me start by saying I cannot in full honesty and conviction call myself a Mennonite. My husband happily is. I am a born again Christian first and foremost and I give Christ my first allegiance as does my husband, however I don't really identify with any one Christian denomination as a key player in my own personal history or really that of my family's. There is probably more than one. Being ethnically British Id say the Church of England at some point or another and more recently Pentecostal revivals in New Zealand (on my mothers side anyway). That said, I hugely respect my husbands particular convictions that stem from his Mennonite heritage and I am interested about learning more even though Im a pathetic pacifist and I feel it is my God given duty to enjoy (not abuse!) alcohol.

Anyway let me answer the easiest question first - where is Abbotsford?

Abbotsford is specifically a rural city. It started off as a small town at one point (a lot like Ashburton, New Zealand) then over time the population really just exploded and its become a city in its own right. Its about a 45 minute drive from Coquitlam where I live. The reason the MCC fest was in Abbotsford is because that is where the far majority of BC Mennonites live.
                                                                                                                        Menno Simons
Who are the Mennonites?
"Mennonites trace the origin of their church to the Anabaptist movement in 16th century Europe. They take their name from one of the early denomination leaders, Menno Simons. At the heart of their faith is a belief in the authority of the Bible, following the teachings of Jesus, adult baptism and a commitment to peace and reconciliation. Although many Mennonites in Canada and the U.S. are descendants of European immigrants, a growing number are people of color. More than half the world’s Mennonites live in the southern hemisphere." (Taken from

My last name is Giesbrecht (its is a common Mennonite name apparently), it is my husbands family name and his family on both sides are descendants of Russian and/or Ukrainian Mennonites. However, even though they are descendants of Russian/Ukrainian Mennonites, they were never ethnically Russian, they're ethnic origins are actually German/Dutch. Pretty confusing eh.

Because of the persecutions against Anabaptist groups particularly the Mennonites and to avoid military conscription (which were contrary to their pacifist beliefs), the Mennonites first moved from the Netherlands and Flanders (Northern Belgium) to the Vistula Delta area (Polish Prussia). Eventually molding their germanic dialects with the local Polish dialect to form their own called Plautdietsch (Low Mennonite German). Eventually in 1786, Frederick William II became King of Prussia and he enforced severe fines on the Mennonites in exchange for continued military exemption. However, prior to this in 1763, Catherine the Great of Russia invited Europeans to come to Russia and settle in sections of land esp in the Volga River area and negotiated a specific non conscription special treatment for the Mennonites. The German Mennonites responded to this in huge numbers. The Mennonite Russian colonies that formed and grew were self governing, self educating (school was compulsory for children, a rare thing at that time for farming communities), completely independent and successful agriculturists (esp with wheat) and they staunchly remained just a tad separatist, marrying only Mennonites preserving their low German language and culture, which is still spoken today amongst some Canadian Mennonites.

Of course, the non conscription special status only lasted until 1880s when Nationalism was becoming rife. And losing status this freaked out the Mennonites who had been successfully avoiding Russification and melding with the rest of Russia. The brother of the Tsar promised the Mennonites a compromise, they would not have to be in combat but they would have to get involved with war in other ways. Some Mennonites agreed to this and stayed, others refused and started planning a en masse immigration to to the large cheap land availability of the prairies in Canada and central north US.

By the time WW1 rolled around, the Mennonites in Russia were socially and economically very advanced and controlled huge agricultural and business estates. They had a reputation for outstanding efficiency and quality and were noted across Russia for their agricultural and organizational abilities. The precedent of non-resistant national service that had been established years before and the Mennonites therefore had a system to handle military service requests at the outbreak of war. During World War I, 5000 Mennonite men served in both forestry and hospital units and transported wounded from the battlefield to Moscow and Ekaterinoslav hospitals. The Mennonite congregations were responsible for funding these forms of alternative service, as well as supporting the men's families during their absence.

Unfortunately, Lenin, Stalin and Communism had taken over the Russian Empire by 1915, devastating Ukrainians and Mennonites alike from having their land, grain and livestock confiscated. Mennonites in particular where horrifically targeted being branded as Kulak's  - wealthy Christian farmers. Essentially an enemy of the new Soviet Empire. Thousands of Mennonites were murdered, robbed, imprisoned and raped during this period, and villages including (and around) Chortitza, Zagradovka and Nikolaipol were damaged and destroyed. Many more lives were lost to typhus, cholera and sexually transmitted diseases, spread by the armies warring throughout the Ukrainian colonies. After this period many Mennonites were dispossessed and ultimately their remaining properties and possessions were nationalized  by the Communist authorities.

In 1920, a famine occurred and Russian and Ukranian Mennonites sent a plea of help to their Mennonite 'brothers and sisters' in North America, who answered by uniting various American and Canadian Mennonite branches to form the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
The Mennonite Central Committee (

Via existing Mennonite Missionary relief workers in Istanbul, Turkey at the time who at great risk to their own lives, entered Ukraine during the Russian Civil War and after one year provided 25,000 people a day with rations over a period of three years beginning in 1922, with a peak of 40,000 servings during August of that year. Fifty Fordson tractor and plow combinations were sent to Mennonite villages to replace horses that had been stolen and confiscated during the war. The cost of this relief effort was $1.2 million. As conditions improved, Mennonites turned their attention from survival to emigration as they saw no future under the communists. The MCC, generated funds to help the Russian and Ukrainian Mennonites emigrate to Canada and join the rest of the Mennonite denominations and start new lives.
"Through the years, MCC has worked to follow the call of Matthew 25:35-36 to reach out to those who are hungry, thirsty, ill or in prison and to welcome strangers. Many Mennonites have experienced war, hunger and refugee flight and long to respond to people facing crises today. 'This donation is given in thanks for help we received many years ago,' writes one woman. 'When I was a child in Russia, I was fed by MCC. When my husband was a prisoner of war after World War II, he received help from MCC. We never forgot.' " (Taken from MCC website). From North America, many groups, fearing state persecution and searching for a way to "live quietly on the land," had left to form groups in Belize, Mexico and Menno Colony of Paraguay beginning in the 1920s.

This is how my husbands family came to Canada. I am unsure if they were in the first wave or second wave of Russian/Ukrainian Mennonite immigrants but either way thats where theyre from. Both sides of my husbands parents families ended up in Manitoba (a Canadian prairie region) where they were born (except for my father in law who was born and raised in Mexico before moving to Manitoba as a young teenager) My husband and his three siblings were also born in Manitoba. By the 2000s my parents in law moved to Vancouver in British Colombia and my husband followed shortly after before moving to New Zealand briefly (my home country where we were married). We both moved back to Vancouver BC where we attend Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship - a Mennonite Brethren church.


MCC Fest

  Now we've come full circle, and back to Abbotsford, last Friday night. The crowds took me completely by surprise. I had no idea how popular this was. One half of the giant Tradex center pretty much consisted of people buying tickets for a dollar each and then spending the tickets for certain different kinds of 'Mennonite' food - perogies, varenyky, roll kuchen (pronounced 'raw-cookin' lol) pluma moos a dried fruit soup and there were some African and South American food stalls (to represent overseas Mennonites) and other nonsense American food like bad pizza and soda lol. I ate an African pastry which was fantastic, no idea what it was though, it looked like a samosa.

The other half of the Tradex warehouse was a flea market and auctions. I have to say the flea market was quite disappointing with a lot of junk I wouldnt even see at a garage sale. HOWEVER, their auctions are amazing!! They were auctioning off two brand new RVs, a yacht, leather furniture and flat screen tvs. The even more astonishing thing I was told about was that MCC every year auction off a loaf of bread, last year this loaf of bread went for 45,000 dollars. Must be special bread ahahaha. What amazes me is the sheer unparalleled generosity and hospitality of every Mennonite Ive met esp at this event. When you ask someone why on earth would someone be silly enough to spend $45,000 on a loaf of bread I hear, "because its going to help another group of people just like we were in Russia." These people never forget hardship and their history, and as a result it makes for a whole population of people compassionate for other persecuted starving people around the world. I couldn't help but be a bit gobsmacked. Its the kind of peacemaking, industrious Christian love I hear about but don't often see on such a large scale as this.

Before you leave my blog out of being sheer bored from my history lesson (as concise as I could make it thankyou very much!), scroll down and check out the beautiful hand made quilts that were up for auction as well. These usually sell between $5,000-10,000 and they take about 2 or so years to make..

- Varenyky with farmers sausage.
Lots of fat!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hump Day!

Urban Dictionary  - Hump Day
"The middle of a work week (Wednesday); used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a tough week."

To help us all get through the week I thought it would be nice to celebrate hump day with a little something every Wednesday to help us smile through the pain that is the grind stone of life with a funny picture/cartoon, video, interesting invention/gadget etc to help us see the good in our week.

Zumba by "Zits".

I celebrate the fact that I get to go to Zumba every Tuesday at my local gym. Zumba in a nutshell is a fitness class aimed mainly at women (and gay Latino men I bet), using music and choreographed dances moves reminicent of a Ricky Martin meets Beyonce music video. So theres lots of remixed Latin, RnB, Soul, Pop, Ethnic music going on with moves that involve a lot of hip thrusting and boob jiggling. 

I realise that I look incredibly silly during these classes and it took me a good solid three weeks to not blush over the (however uncoordinated) sexualised danced moves that I was doing in public, then by the 4th week I noticed I had lost 5 kilo's from doing no diet or gym regimen other than Zumba, so I decided to keep at it.  

Yes I look silly, and yes I bet my husband would laugh til he wet his pants if he saw me, but you know what? Its FUN!! And unlike a Step or Pump or Spinning class that leaves a slightly overweight person like myself comatose for two days afterward, Zumba leaves you pleasantly tired but not horribly depleted and aching, so long as you don't push yourself too much at first.

So if you're having a hard week, go find a gym or community centre and try out a free first time zumba class! Pull down the iron wall you keep up around yourself during the week, and be silly with 10 other women who look just as silly as you do! You'll feel great afterwards. 
Trust me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekend Starter

Heres a song to kick off the weekend by a Kiwi band called Zed who incidentally are from my hometown Christchurch and started at Cashmere Highschool. The album Silencer was released in New Zealand in 2000 and achieved Triple Platinum status and the song Renegade Fighter was the number one song of that year. They have other good songs as well that I encourage you to check out on youtube - Starlight, Glorafilia, 
Oh Daisy, She glows, Come on down, Hard to find her, Drivers Side.

Sadly they never made it past their second album "This Little Empire" which did pretty good as well within NZ but everyone knows NZ is not exactly the world stage of music careers, the US is. I don't know if they ever tried to enter the US or UK market, if they did they obviously failed up against huge competition from other garage start up bands. Though a word of note you may recognise someone familiar from their song 'Starlight.' Regardless of that, there are very few New Zealanders who don't think of Zed and their songs fondly and thanks to Rebel Sport ads that keep reminding us of them :D

Renegade Fighter - Zed

Friday, July 5, 2013

Weekend Starter

Ive decided that in celebration of this great invention called the weekend I will start putting video clips of songs every Friday to kick off the weekend. Some will be bands and artists from New Zealand which I feel the world has a right to hear but don't often get a chance or have no idea who they are or whether or not they're Kiwi in the first place. And other clips will be any other artist or band that take my fancy whose music I feel is encouraging or thought provoking...

This first song is by NZ band called Six60 called "Don't forget your roots." In the video my college town Dunedin is shown with all its assets - Otago University, Castle St, gross student flats (houses) and of course those lovely Scarfie students. Ahh the memories.. Not to mention the lead singer has a fantastic voice. Check out their other tracks on youtube/itunes. They have a similar reggae/electronic sound to The Black Seeds, Katchafire, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Grouse Mountain

For more information on Grouse Mountain and its winter and summer activities, click here

Grouse Mountain is one of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Approximately 1,200m high, it is a well used and known ski area with chairlifts and 26 ski runs in winter and in the summer showcases lumberjack shows, a wildlife sancuary, First Nations led education programs and the notorious and formidable 'Grouse Grind' hike trail nicknamed Mother Natures stairmaster.

View of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

Pictures taken on July 1st 2013
This trip was planned by my husband Steven as a present and celebration of our second wedding anniversary :D

View out towards West Vancouver

Stanley Park and Lionsgate Bridge

View towards Mt Baker in Washington State

Grinder and Coola - Resident Grizzlies

(excerpts and profile pictures taken from

"Grinder was found in 2001 in Invermere, BC. He was wandering alone on a logging road, dehydrated, thin, weak and weighing only 4.5 kg. His mother was never found so we’ll probably never know why he was alone. Grinder is outgoing and high-spirited. And he has established himself as the dominant bear despite his smaller size. If you see Grinder and Coola play fighting, you can bet he started it."

"In 2001, Coola was found orphaned on a highway near Bella Coola, BC. His mother had been killed by a truck and, of her three cubs, Coola was the only one to survive. Coola is an easygoing bear who’s content to let Grinder take the lead in new discoveries. He can usually be found submerged up to his neck in the large pond, carefully feeling around for his underwater 'bath toys' - a log, large bone and favourite rock."

My pictures

Birds of Prey

North American Red Tailed Hawk (I think lol)

Turkey Vulture - Natures rubbish dump collectors

Spotted Owl - Only 12 left in the world

Peregrine Falcon - Fastest Bird

Baby Bald Eagle - So cute and so ugly at the same time hahaha

Baby Falcon

Chainsaw wood carvings in and around Grouse Mountain