My Spiritual Journey – the beginning

So I don’t know why, but I just recently felt the urge to find out more about the “church” I was baptised in and the faith we (my siblings and I) grew up with. In my reading I found some interesting information that seems to hold true to my beliefs as an adult… even though I don’t “practice worship” as most “strong Christians” would consider worship.

I guess it mostly comes from a church-going friend who recently asked me “what are you?” referring to my church… In the past I have always responded “Christian” however, I never really thought about what that meant. Also, I recently saw the movie “life of Pi” (which I totally recommend by the way) and in it the boy Pi, is raised in India as a Hindu but is also exposed to Christianity and Islam. He starts to follow all three religions as he just wants to love God, and tries to understand God through the lens of each. As an adult he comes to recognize benefits in each one and ends up referring to himself as an “Islamic Christian Hindu” :)

Now, from what I have learned I’m still not sure “what I am” and the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t think I ever again will be just of one faith, kind of like Pi… rather, I can say that I grew up reading the bible, but that I am also now educated in Buddhism (which is not actually considered a religion) and that I am open to learning more, and I will. I still don’t know how to “call” myself when I get that question… I guess I will have to pick my own name… as a believer of many faiths (including science and life on other planets)!!

Most of you reading this don’t know me personally, so I grew up going to church with my siblings and my mom (my dad never really joined us). My mom was a sunday school teacher, we went to evening children’s groups, sang in the choir etc. As we got older we stopped going to church, I’m not exactly sure why, but life got busy and I’m sure it just got to the point where we made too much of a fuss for mom’s worth. But then when I was in highschool I had a girlfriend who came from a strong “christian” family and I joined youth group with her for a couple of years… then I started experimenting with alcohol and pot (shhh ;) so she couldn’t be my friend any longer… but aren’t we supposed to love and accept everyone? I was still the same person… Anyways, now in my late twenties it’s been about 15 years since I have been to church.

First of all I did not realize that “Christianity” or being a “Christian” was SUCH a vague term (now I feel kinda stupid for referring to myself as a “Christian”). I learned that the three primary divisions of “Christianity” are Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, however, that doesn’t really mean much either – there are still so many more that don’t fall into these and so many more that derive from these (hundreds and hundreds of them). Also, I have a bit of an issue with there being divisions within one faith… didn’t we all read the same book people?? Just goes to show the value of interpretation!
We (my siblings and I ) went to, and were baptized in a “United” Church.

The United Church is the largest “Protestant” denomination (in Canada) and Protestantism is one of the major divisions within Christianity. It has been defined as “any of several church denominations affirming the primacy of the Bible” and, more broadly, to mean Christianity outside of an Orthodox or Catholic church. Orthodox and Catholic “Christians” also follow the bible but have more structured understandings of the interpretations than Protestants. The Catholic Church believes it is not a denomination of Christianity, but THE first Christianity and all others are denominations – this kind of mind-set is what I believe creates barriers and why I found that being a part of a “united church” has seemed to had a profound effect on my beliefs as an adult, even though I didn’t even realise it until now… hmmmm divine intervention or just random coincidence?

The United Church believes that the Bible is central to the Christian faith and was written by people who were inspired by God, but that the stories told in the Bible should not all be taken literally. Here are some of the core values of the United Church – these are what you could say “set them apart” but I would say “bring them together” as it allows them to be more inclusive as they don’t create barriers to other groups…

Communion

Communion is the ritual sharing of the elements of bread and wine (or the grape juice) as a remembrance of the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his followers. There is no restriction regarding age or United Church membership. Communion is open to young children as well as Christians from other denominations (not sure about other faiths)… but in my house, I don’t care who you are, sharing is caring – you are always welcome to eat the bread and drink the wine! Enjoy!

Baptism

The belief of the United Church is that baptism is not a requirement for Crist’s love, it is not considered a passport to heaven, nor does the church believe that those who die un-baptised are condemned or damned for eternity. Rather, the church believes that baptism is the first step in church membership, where the parents make a profession of faith on behalf of the infant in hopes that their child will later confirm that profession at or around the age of 13. SO basically, a declaration of your commitment to the church, not christ.

Inclusiveness

Remembering that Jesus was reported to have welcomed prostitutes and other “undesirables” to his table, the united church attempts to welcome everyone, regardless of  race, class, gender, sexual orientation etc. In the same manner, there is also no restriction on those interested in entering ministry – bring on a gay minister!

Marriage

Believing that marriage is a celebration of God’s love, the church recognizes and celebrates all legal marriages, including same-sex couples, previously divorced people, and couples of different religions. It’s a celebration bitches!! Lets party :)

Interfaith relations

The united church believes that there are many paths to God. The United Church’s path is through Jesus Christ, but the church recognizes that the Holy Spirit of God is also at work through other non-Christian faiths. Seriously people, do you not love someone because of who they are as person as a whole? Who cares what version of the story they believe.

Abortion

The church supports the right of women to have access to safe abortions, but also supports better access to contraception, sexual education and counselling that eventually might obviate the need for abortion. But sometimes shit happens, doesn’t it! Birth control is not 100% effective 100% of the time, and lets face it, not everyone should or wants to reproduce.

I feel pretty good after reading all that so I thought I would share it with you too, in hopes that it will help bring you and yours together in your interactions with others, encouraging you to open up your ideas and break down some barriers. I’m certainly not advocating for “protestant-united-church-going-ways” but I thought that the information I found was all-in-all “good spirited” (in a totally non-religious way) and simply provides a solid foundation of beliefs for just being a good person – again, with all bible-relations aside.

This is part one of my personal journey, as I continue to delve into the spiritual world I will keep you posted :) Please let me know what you think of all this!

 

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How to get a good night’s sleep

OK, so… I’m a bit of a night owl and I have to say, I find it difficult to fall asleep most nights – and then I’m kicking myself when the alarm goes off at 6am, and I end up dragging myself out of bed (after I have hit snooze a few times, of course)!

Does this sound familiar for you too?? If so, keep reading…

I don’t know why I do it, because when I DO manage to get up early (or at least on time)… I love it! On weekends I find there is so much time to get “stuff” done and I can actually sit back and enjoy my coffee – not to mention, I just al around FEEL better… sooo while learning about sleep in a recent Psychology class, the fact that I wanted to kick my bad habit resurfaced in my thoughts – I often relate what I learn in my studies to my life, and this is what happens :) As a result, in my research for an assignment, I stumbled across this interesting study by the Wheeling Jesuit University…

I was pleased to learn that there is a natural remedy that “claims” to not only help you get a more restful night’s sleep, but also decrease anxiety and increase mental performance!

Putting on my critical thinking cap… according to this study, the luscious scent of Jasmine has a positive effect on our quality of sleep. Jasmin was tested against Lavender specifically, because of previous claims that both induce a calming effect. The results of the study found that Jasmin was much more effective than Lavender in that it “led to greater sleep efficiency and reduced sleep movement. While “there were no differences in the total amount of sleep,” the scent of Jasmin “led to a greater quality rather than quantity of sleep.”

I bet Jasmin essential oil will work just the same! I guess I will just have to hit up my favourite natural wellness store to pick some up, maybe I’ll put it in a spray bottle and spritz my pillow and sheets! I friggen LOVE essential oils! I can’t wait to try it out this week… stay tuned in a few for my results :)

– B

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2012 Summer Adventure: Okanagan Wine Tour

Sorry it’s taken so long to get this up, please check out my previous post on a little background on the annual summer adventure if you are interested :)

 This year, one of my besties that I have known since elementary school – I won’t even go into how many (many) years that is – recently moved to Kelowna, so I thought, what a perfect opportunity to make an excuse for a visit… and a wine tour! E had a few weeks off work at the beginning of June and I had a family wedding in Vernon June 9, so we decided that this year, we would make it a week (more or less) of family and fun.

 E has family up in Kamloops so she headed up there for a few days and then we met up with L in Kelowna on Wednesday June 6. Well, some things kind of fell through last minute, and long story short, we ended up staying in a hostel because L was in the middle of an impromptu move – it ended up being a total BLAST and we met some really fun people! So the plan was: Kelowna June 6/7, Vernon Jun 8/9 and hit the road back home Sunday June 10.

For those of you not familiar with Kelowna, it’s the largest city in the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is a region in south-central BC, stretching nearly 250 kilometers from Enderby to Osoyoos. Well known for its hot summers, scrumptious fruit orchards and more recently its wine, Okanagan vineyards account for more than 90% of all wine produced in British Columbia and is Canada’s second leading wine producer.  Here you can find nearly every style of wine across the whole spectrum of sweetness levels and with over 200 wineries, the Okanagan region’s unique weather allows more than 60 grape varieties to be grown, including (but not limited to) Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, Syrah, Malbec, and Zinfandel.

I highly recommend an Okanagan wine tour for those of you who live close enough to visit. Many wineries have unique and delicious food services available showcasing gourmet local cuisine, served either inside the exquisite wineries themselves or on spectacular patios, all with impressive lake and valley views.We did a tour with Un-corked Okanagan and they were absolutely fantastic! The experience was so positive, I’m going back again {this year} with the hubbs to do another tour :) One of the owners/hosts, Jim, currently serves as a Director of Tourism in Westside and is a plethora of information on the wine industry in the Okanagan, they pick up at most hotels in the area and their website was too easy –check it out (linked above) or their Facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kelowna-Wine-Tours-Uncorked-Okanagan/119681701413738

 

We started off the morning of June 7 at 9am, and with coffee in hand, we strolled the Kelowna waterfront. Jim picked us up at the lovely Delta Grand for 10, where we headed off to our first winery of 8 that day, to kill a little time before meeting up with the rest of the group. This is when E and I decided that we may as well purchase at least one bottle per stop – yes, I came home with a case in my trunk :) Jim kindly upgraded our tour because there were two small groups who booked different tours that day, so we ended up going together instead (getting lunch included) and meeting some new friends.

 We did the bottleneck drive tour, and the wineries we visited (in order) were:

  • Mt. Boucherie
  • Greata Ranch
  • Sleeping Giant
  • Thornhaven
  • Dirty Laundry
  • Sonoran
  • Sumac Ridge
  • Mission Hill

After our first stop, we met up with the rest of the group and hopped into the new Mercedes van with our host, Herb. It was a full day of wine and laughs and we were on the road from 10am – 5pm. With about a full glass of wine at each place after the generous number of tastings, needless to say, we were a bit “tipsy” by the time we stopped for lunch at Sonoran – the tastings may be small, but they sure do add up!

Herb was such a fantastic host! It takes an exceptional kind of guy to drive five women around (half drunk, mind you) and put up with all their shenanigans :) Another special touch that Un-Corked offered was that all day, Herb was taking photos and by 6am the next morning he had sent us each an email with a link to over a hundred fun-filled pics. Thanks again Herb!

So, after a long day of wine, we curled up in our bunk beds and hit the sack to prepare for a day of shopping and the 1 hour (hung-over) drive to Vernon.

  

We arrived in Vernon a bit early on Friday, so E and I decided to take in a local attraction that caught our eye… Planet Bee. What attracted me was, on the flyer it said “wine tastings” – of course :) Who knew that you could make wine out of honey! So we drove up the winding, dusty road and arrived at Planet Bee for our “mead” tasting. Made from fermented honey and water, mead can be produced from various different honeys, flavoured with spices or fruit, and made to be very sweet, very dry or anywhere in between. Good thing we each had a space left in our boxes, because we couldn’t leave without a honey-wine as well :)

  

To top off the week, we attended my cousin’s wedding. It was a lovely, private, casual ceremony overlooking the river, and with an open bar to conclude the trip, after 5 solid days of drinking, needless to say, I’m on a no-booze cleanse for the next 45 days. At this time I’m on day 27 (pat on the back) and going strong. For those who love their wine as much as I do, you will sympathize with me that it’s incredibly difficult to hold back when you have a case of spectacular, hand picked wines sitting on your counter waiting for you! Wish me luck that I make it to July 27!!

– B


 

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Get Gardening: Pest Control, Au Naturale

I just love this time of year… the weather is getting warmer (somewhat here in Vancouver), flowers are springing up everywhere, and the babies! Ahhh the babies – all of mother natures liveliness is thriving.

All of this nice weather calls for me out to my little patio “garden” (that’s looking pretty sad I might say after a looong winter)… I don’t know about you, but every year my little patio garden seems to have some tiny creature making it’s home amongst my strawberries or cilantro… now, since I want to EAT the produce I grow in my garden, it doesn’t seem right for me to be spraying chemicals all over them – that completely defeats the purpose of growing my own – so I’ve done a LOT of research and compiled it all here for you in one concise post so that you too, can feel good about what you are growing in your garden – pest free!

 

Dish soap – Mix a few drops of your dish soap into a spray bottle of plain ol’ water. I found this to be very effective against aphids, which were the main pest I was dealing with. I found I needed to re-apply every day, but this sure beats chemicals (and aphids).

Vinegar — Mix a small amount of vinegar and sugar in a container, and place it next to your plants. Aphids and fruit flies will be attracted to the smell and drown. *Do not spray your plants with vinegar – trust me, I learned the hard way – it will burn them.

*If you have done this, and you notice that the leaves are burned, you should wash the area out with water right away.

Baking soda — Mix a tablespoon into a spray bottle of approximately ½ a quart of water. This spray is effective against fungus on plants. You will need to re-apply every few days, or until you notice that the fungus is gone.

If you have any natural tips on treating bugs or other ailments that have plagued your garden, please share below!

– B

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The “Annual Summer Adventure” a little background…

Well, it’s official… The 2012 Summer Adventure is booked! This year E and I are travelling to the sunny Okanagan for a friendly visit in Summerland, a Kelowna wine tour, and then top it all off with a family wedding!

A little background on the “Summer Adventure”…

Before I get too far into this year’s adventure (stay tuned for that post in a few weeks), I want to give you some background on how this little tradition all started… Last year, my girlfriend E and I thought it would be fun to go on a stay-cation and explore our “local” land. Since we both live in BC and we really don’t get out and travel around our own Country enough (let alone our own Province), we decided on a 10 day camping trip to Vancouver Island, with a few days to spend on Saltspring Island.

Here’s a map for those of you not familiar with BC and the Gulf Islands:

E is currently living on Vancouver Island in Victoria, so we decided that would be a good place to start off. So, on the Friday evening I packed up my car, literally PACKED! Little D and I said goodbye to the hubbs, and we got on the ferry to Victoria… Little D is my fur-baby… he may also be referred to as LD for short (or DD).

We spent the first night at E’s place, then set off for Tofino bright and early the next morning… in the pouring rain… Don’t you just love BC! Once we arrived in Tofino, the rain happily stopped for us and we camped beach-side in the sun for 4 days – our campsite was absolutely beautiful! We had all sorts of stuff planned (even a whale watching tour) but we just couldn’t pull ourselves away from that beach. It seemed to stretch on for miles and miles, and the sand felt like a soft sponge beneath my feet. We ended up giving ourselves natural  pedicures from all the bare-foot walking on that super-fine sand, and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like waking up to the cool, damp, mossy smells of the west coast, while enjoying your Baliey’s & coffee in the sun, on the beach, with two of your best friends!

After 4 days in Tofino (on a deflated air mattress) we were ready for a real bed to sleep in, so we packed the car back up and carried on to Parksville where we stayed with my Aunt, Uncle and their three dogs for 2 days. It was a great opportunity to get in some family time – they are so much fun, I always love visiting them! While in Parksville we visited a local market and of course, did some more beach combing where we picked up some lovely sand dollars to add to our already vast collection of shells from Tofino. We then had to “improvise” and get a new air mattress for our second round of camping…

So, once we had a few nights to recover from sleeping on the ground, we hopped on a small ferry over to Saltspring Island were we camped again for 2 days, then spent our final night in a quaint little B&B. I used to visit Saltspring often when I was a kid with a friend whose family still owns a cabin there. I absolutely ADORE that Island, so full of wonder… it really has a different pulse from the city. We spent the afternoon on Saturday at the “internationally acclaimed” village market where we picked up all sorts of local goods, and the last night we spent at a local B&B that was just too cute (and pet friendly of course). It was really nice to be able to have a comfortable shower, rest up, settle in for a bottle of wine (or two) and get a good nights sleep to prepare for our trip home.

Since we had SO much fun last year we decided then, that we should make this an annual thing… and thus, the “Summer Adventure” was born! This is something we just so happen to plan together, just us girls (no boys allowed), but we have always ended up meeting with and visiting others along the way. This year, we decided on a Wine Tour in the Okanagan that will be coming up this week (June 6-10) so stay tuned for my post on that adventure!

– B

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Hello & Welcome!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Well I have to say, this has been a long time coming… I have been pondering about starting a blog for quite some time now but just didn’t quite know how to go about it… but now that I have, I’m sooo glad I did!

 

The main purpose for this space is to have a venue in which I can share those things that inspire me, and I hope they will do the same for you too!

 

What you can expect to find here is simply a little every day fun, to make your life “gourmet.” This all comes from my own personal experiences and inspired by those things that I hold near and dear most: my family & friends, arts/crafts, cooking/baking, photography, health/fitness, wine ;) and pretty much anything else I’m “into” at the moment.

 

These are some of the things that make me happy and I hope they will make you happy too! I love to share – “sharing is caring” I always say, so here I am!

 

I truly hope that you enjoy what I have to say/share and I’m super excited to start this new ongoing project!

 

– B

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