Can I ask you a question?

Have you ever been in love?

For the past year or so, I’ve been (somewhat awkwardly) asking this question to friends, family and strangers alike, in an attempt to gain perspective on something that has been fascinating and baffling humans for as long as we’ve existed. It’s a topic that has been pondered in mythology, become a cliché in movies and been dreamed of by many.

My follow up question is always some variation of “Did it change you, teach you something or give you a new perspective?” Although these may seem like super inappropriate questions to ask perfect strangers, I don’t think we should ever avoid talking about life and our experiences with it, the good, the bad, the confusing, and the awkward. In fact, this little survey of mine has led to some of the most honest and interesting conversations I’ve ever had. Some people panic when I ask the question, some people are very open and happy to talk about it, some people kind of look at me weird but still answer, others get philosophical on me. Still other times, people totally shut me down and that’s cool too if they don’t want to get personal.

So what’s my point? I guess I ask because I feel like love is something that can never be clearly defined. It’s perceived by each of us differently. Personally, I know for a fact that I have experienced love but have never been “in” love. If I don’t have any “in” love experience to draw on and it doesn’t have a definition, my only way to learn more is by asking people. On the flip side, it’s not so much learning about love that is the purpose behind the question. What I’m really hoping for when I ask is to get a perspective on that person. Because love tends to be so personal, I feel like an individual’s thoughts about it can tell me so much about them. Sorry for being nosey friends, I just wanna get to know ya!

For real though, I wish more people went straight for the real questions. This habit arose out of pure desperation not to have the “What’s your name, major, home town, residence and favourite colour?” one more freaking time. Like, yes, cool, I’m glad that you’re from Toronto like every other person I’ve talked to today. Please, tell me something you’re passionate about or a person in your life that you really admire. Maybe it’s not “have you ever been in love” but I challenge you to ask a question this week that forces you to learn something real about a friend or a stranger. One of my other friends this week said that she likes to ask strangers on the bus what their favourite quote is and why. Sure you may never see that person again but hey, you made an effort to connect with another human!

THAT IS ALWAYS WORTH YOUR TIME.

Anyways, I’m not sure if this interests any of you, or if you just think I’m invasive and annoying but I’ve been learning a lot from asking the deep questions. Either way, I’m probably going to continue to talk about love with all. If you ever see me, let sit down and chat over coffee!

Love you all for taking time out of your day to listening to my ramblings. The adventure always continues.

Until next time, Sam

P.s. I’m living the island life at my camp for the summer so my blog appearances may be fairly sporadic for the next couple months. I’ll do my best though!

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Chatter…

The rush of adrenaline, the last minute talking yourself into it, the butterflies and the potential beauty of the unknown. 

Adventure

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I love exploring even if it means getting lost. I love changing scenery, new experiences and the pure fun of muddling through language barriers with new friends. I love unexpected rain and getting on the wrong bus. I love travel too, but that’s not really my point here.

My point is, I am not about living a mundane life. I cannot and will not be satisfied with ordinary. That’s not how God made me. I firmly believe that God gave me a soul that craves adventure and exploration. He gave me a burning curiosity, a relentlessly questioning mind and a desire to experience as much of this world as possible.

Example A: Next week I’m taking canoeing courses to become a certified canoe tripper which is a dream I’ve had for years. I’m going to learn how to paddle rapids, deal with emergencies in the wilderness and lead trips of people. It’s going to be so fun, so challenging and an adventure for sure!

Example B: I don’t have many requirements when it comes to dating but: he’s gotta love Jesus, it’s be nice if he was taller than me and he has to be okay with love seeking out the adventures in life. Because I plan on living this life pursuing God and pursuing the joy of new experiences. Therefore my future husband, whoever he is, is going to have to be cool with that. I plan on living in the mountains of Nepal for goodness sake! Good luck man, whoever you are :’) (yes this was a fairly random point, get over it ya’ll)

To go back to my original point, simply stated, I want to soak up all this world has to offer and try scary things. The comfort zone is not a place I’d like to be familiar with.

So yeah. I don’t really know what this post is about or if it has any point at all. I’m just late night dreaming about how cool our world is and how excited I am to explore it. I mean, I titled a blog about my life “Sam’s Grand Adventure”…can you tell yet that I like excitement and the extraordinary wonders of day to day life? Simply being alive everyday is an adventure in and of itself. No one has ever been Sam before and everyday is an unknown. How absurdly wonderful.

Seriously, I’m pumped! Life is cool, the world is incredible, humans amaze me, and God is good. God is good, always.

Psalm 37:4 says to Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” WOW. How lucky am I to have a God that creates such a magical world and then, because He loves me, fulfills my desire to explore it? Answer: Blessed beyond measure.

For real though, I’ve been pretty blessed so far and I can’t imagine all the things God has up His proverbial sleeve for my future. Ready to climb mountains, stomp in puddles, chat with a stranger in a book store, drink new flavours of tea, laugh until I cry, sit in silence beside a lake and walk through the stalls of a bustling market place.

Yep, I think that’s all I have to say for now. You may return to your regularly scheduled Facebook scrolling. #Sorrynotsorry for interruption. 😉

Until next time, Sam ❤

 

Rising Sun

“Our great Redeemer, glorious Saviour, Your name is higher than the rising sun. Light of the morning you shine forever, Your name is high than the rising sun….Hallelujah, King above all, simply to speak Your name is praise. Hallelujah, now and always, forever we lift Your name in praise. Hallelujah, our God, you reign.” – Rising Sun, All Sons and Daughters

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Oh the joy that comes from knowing the Lord. This weekend was one in which I was just so overwhelmed by how much our God loves and what a joy it is to be in His presence.

Good Friday, a day designed with sadness in mind, a day when innocent blood was shed so many years ago. Oh Jesus, I’m sorry, and I really am grateful. Thank you. And yet, because my God is love, even the darkest of days are filled with laughter and joy. I observed the day at church in the morning, and I have to say, a choir completely made up of senior citizens is enough to make anyone’s heart happy. In the afternoon, I baked bread that was eaten faster than it could cool. My night, I spent in worship. I showed up to a room called the Bible House around 7, hardly knowing anyone and spent the next 4 plus hours worshiping my God, a good Father who loves deeply, widely, and fully.

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Silent Saturday. A regular day. Nothing special about it, except a growing anticipation of the celebration to come and the quiet peace that comes from already knowing that He has and will overcome. I try to be pensive and consider seriously the sacrifice that Jesus made but this year, sadness is not a part of that. This year, I am filled with a steady stream of joy, bubbling just below the surface of my smile.

Today. Today, my Easter morning started at 6:30am with a beautiful sunrise. This was more than just a “pretty” sunrise. It was breathtaking. Vibrant and strong reds and oranges flooded the sky, peeking between buildings and reflecting on the canal as I made my way to Parliament Hill. How fitting that Resurrection Day was ushered in by a glorious sunrise. I remember thinking how much I love this city, how lucky I am to live in the capital. As the day dawned, I worshiped and prayed with friends and strangers alike on Parliament Hill. How blessed I am to live in a country where I am free to love Jesus.

After the sunrise service, I made my way to a breakfast hosted by my schools Christian fellowship. It’s almost sad how excited I was to sit on a real couch. After, I went out for second breakfast (because who doesn’t eat copious amounts of eggs on Easter??) with my friends, who have truly become family. I don’t know if they noticed but I was so overwhelmed with love for these people this morning. Coming to university I never dared to hope I would find friends as great as these and for neither the first time nor the last time today, I was shocked by how blessed I am.

12895380_1056086091115530_531127622_n.jpgThis afternoon, after a quick nap, (hey, the 6am wakeup call was rough ok?) I put on a brightly coloured dress, curled my hair and headed out in the sunshine to a church that I think I may be starting to call “mine”.  Dani and I were so surprised by how warm and sunny it was. The air smelt like springtime… and not going to lie, we may have embarrassed ourselves by singing out loud as we walked to the bus stop. But hey, what are you going to do when the sun is shining and Jesus is risen?!

Church was so, so, so good. Like, it always is but today it was just so full of life. Oh how I love Easter. The worship was genuine, filled with off beat claps, and all different voices intertwining. The message was hopeful and made me excited for the future. We prayed with a group of students from another university and chatted with people after service. We sat under the big window and felt the sun on our faces.
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As I was sitting there, I literally felt this indescribable, inexplicable joy rise up inside of me and I wanted to run out into the sun and dance and sing and shout because I am SO BLESSED. Blessed to be alive, to be saved, to love and be loved. A wave of peace came over me and I was reminded of God’s incredible goodness, not just today on Easter but always, everyday, now and forever.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt words rushing to my mind, my tongue, my fingers. I’m ready to write again. When there is so much beauty in the world what can I do except try to get it all out on paper? Pray for me that I find…no, make the time to pursue this passion and gift that I’ve been given.

So Happy Easter everyone. Today was a day the Lord had made, beautiful and victorious. I spent it rejoicing and being glad. Did you? #choosejoy

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory – Psalm 118:14

-Until next time, Sam 12910930_1056086274448845_1140488705_n

 

 

Dear Friend…

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Hey friends, happy Saturday!

I hope your week has been going well. It’s been a pretty busy one for me here at school. Aside from classes,work, and skating on the canal, I’ve also had interviews and training for some volunteer organizations I’ve been working on getting involved with here in Ottawa. More to come on that as soon as it’s all confirmed!

But this week I also set aside an hour of time to do something seemingly small but oh so special. I wrote a letter to a friend who’s currently living out of the country. I bought a pretty card, caught her up on what’s been going on in my life, wrote some little encouragements, decorated the envelope and then sent it off. I wrote another one to my sister, wishing her luck with her high school exams. It’s such a small thing to do but I know that when I get a letter in the mail it is so exciting. I think this is for two main reasons.

  1. It’s unusual. With the crazy connectivity of social media, we kind of have no reason to send each other “snail mail”. It’s just not a social norm anymore. Why bother when you can send someone a text and get an instant response or call them on FaceTime? So when you get a letter in the mail, it’s totally out of the ordinary and that makes it exciting.
  2.  It’s personal. Getting a letter means that someone was thinking of you. It means they took time out of their day to intentionally sit down and communicate with you, even when you weren’t together. It shows that they truly care enough to keep in touch. I think that letter writing is the most personal form of communication other than actually talking face to face.
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A letter I got a while back from a camp friend

Honestly, it’s just special. And I love doing it, it’s kind of fun to sit down and actually write things by hand and make little jokes and address the envelope….it feels novel! So here are some “tips and tricks” to send some snail mail of your own!

  1. Write naturally. This is your friend! You don’t have to try and sound the way you think a letter is supposed to sound or start and end a certain way. Greet them the way you do in real life, tell them a story. Remind them of an inside joke. Write the way you talk. It’s just an ink and paper chat.
  2. Be encouraging. Getting a letter in the mail can be such a joyful occurrence. It’s like an unexpected ray of sunshine in a regular day! So write some kind words of encouragement, tell them you’re proud of what they’re up to or that you’re grateful for their friendship. It’s just nice to hear and be reminded of the things they already know. And the best part about it being written in a letter is that they can read over it another day when they need a friendly word.
  3. Decorate the envelope. This is my absolute favourite part! It’s so fun and the envelopes look so cute afterwards. I always draw flowers and little designs on the envelopes when I send mail to people. In my mind, I also always think that it might make the mail carriers smile. It’s worth the extra time.

Maybe it’s because my love language is words of affirmation or just because I love to talk and letters are an excuse to jabber on without interruption, but I really think that writing mail is a lost art form that we should revive. I realized how much it means to me to get a card at camp the past couple of summers; getting mail literally gave me so much joy it was ridiculous. Especially when it was from my old campers!

I tend to be pretty bad at keeping in touch with people long distance (sorry friends) but writing a letter is an intentional and momentary activity: a one shot deal. I’m actually able to “talk” to people without feeling like I have to be in constant contact via Snapchat or text.

So that’s that. Just a quick little post about something I’ve been trying to do more of and why I think it’s so great. Send a letter this week to someone you love and let them know you were thinking about them!

Until next time,

-Sam

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I’m hoping Dayna doesn’t see this before she gets it, hehe!

 

 

 

 

Sunday Night Musings

Sundays are for sleeping in and brunch with friends, for catching up on readings and spending time with Jesus. Sundays aren’t always a day of rest but it’s best when they are. Today was one of those lazy, lovely Sundays.

It’s not very often I just lie in bed, awake but still cozy in my blankets and nest of pillows. Today I did. Well, actually I got up and made a tea, got my bible and then climbed back in. I did my devotions and lay and thought about life for a while. Just when I had almost convinced myself that I was going to be productive today, BAM. An old high school friend texted and asked if I wanted to have brunch. Should I have said no? Probably. But I didn’t, because life chats and crêpes from Cora’s are better than the library life any day.

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We ended up coming back to my residence afterwards because Michelle lives off campus and wanted to see what LeBlanc is like. For me, trying to see my friends and our interactions from an outsiders point of view was so interesting. She kept commenting on how close we all seem to be and it made me grateful all over again that I get to spend this year living in such a close knit and fun community. And at the same time, I got to spend my afternoon with someone from home. It felt like my two worlds were mixing, just a little. It was so fun talking to someone who knows the same people I know and misses some of the same places and things.

I didn’t end up making it to church (which, by the way, I think I’ve found one) because I was having trouble figuring out the bus schedules to get there. But my God isn’t contained to a building or a group of people. I went to my room and listened to some worship music and dreamt about the future and prayed for my friends and read some theology blogs. I just got to hang out with Jesus. Anyone who could hear my music through the wall (totally a possibility in res) probably wondered why on earth I was listening to the same song over and over again. But sometimes words just speak to my soul and show me God in a clear and powerful way. Today that happened with the song “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters.

 When it was finally time to get a start on my homework, I made a “To Do” list on my desk whiteboard, as I always do. Today though I decided to start with a bible verse to keep myself focused. This verse really made me think today and I posted it on Instagram with a caption: 

Started my “TO DO” list with some encouragement tonight. Right now my “wherever” happens to be the desk in my dorm room. Definitely not all that exciting and not exactly frightening nor requiring of courage. But the fact of the matter remains that God is WITH me. Whether I’m at a desk or on top of a mountain (please?) I can rest easy with the knowledge that God’s got my back. Also, with Arabic and Econ at the top of that list, I’mma need the back up.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened. Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” -Joshua 1:9

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And now, I’m here. Sitting at my desk, more behind in homework than I should be and yet completely satisfied and content. Working hard is important but so is having days of rest. Thank you Sunday for being so lovely. You’ve set the stage for a wonderful week.

Until next time,

-Sam