Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favourite Traditions - again, a little late

I'm a little boring. My Christmas traditions are pretty "standard" and normal. Lots of people probably have very similar ones. Your present opening system, Christmas Eve Chinese food, Christmas Eve Service, certain concerts, desserts (we have this one with vanilla pudding and mandarin oranges. To.Die.For), baking, baking, baking, Christmas mail, special music, etc.

But I think my favourite is decorating the Christmas tree. Again, not too original. I love that we are among the few with a real Christmas tree. We don't have a colour scheme, or specific decorating system,  but instead multi-coloured lights, popcorn chains, and a smattering of decorations from many different placing: one's my mom made for her and my dad's first Christmas, one's my sister made when she was 6, special gifts from people, decorations from around the world, and some new additions from the grandkids.

This year was a little different, because my brother wasn't home until the 15th of December, and I was housesitting until the 21st. So, it wasn't until a week before Christmas before that beautiful Evergreen made it's messy way into our house. Bonus to being the last ones to get a tree: Getting a $50 tree for $15!

I love decorating the tree, because it is so full of memories. When growing up, we each had our own decorations that we hung on the tree. My grandma always gave each of her grandchildren a new ornament every year, so we all had a few to put on. We each had our favourites, simply because of who made them, who gave them, or even how ugly they are. :)

Here are few of my favourite ornaments and memories:
This is a little fairy that was one of Grandma's "better" ornament years. She usually picks ornaments from Ten Thousand Villages, where she used to volunteer. Lately they have been her old decorations. I appreciate that I'll have a tree full when I get my own tree (many are already on my mini tree in my room)

These ones are just pretty.

This was my dad's special decoration. I don't think he really helped decorate the tree, except it was tradition that he'd put all the tinsel on at the very end. But, this was always left for him and he'd search the tree high and low to find the perfect branch in which this reindeer would "lay" just right.

This is one that us kids gave Mom after the first year of home-schooling (meaning I really had nothing to do with it and Dad bought the decoration). It was always the first one on the tree and was near the top.

This is a more recent addition from my Europe trip last year. We went to a Swedish glass factory in Sweden with hand made, blown glass . It's a new favourite.

Ah, these two are very special.
Left: Even my grandma has picked up on my cow obsession, thus buying me a Christmas ball at the thrift store that says "Have a Very Moo-ey Christmas!"
Right: This one is one of the uglier decorations we have and I had to rescue it from the garbage last year. It was one of my first decorations that I got. I think I was able to pick a gift after I got my hair cut (remember, like the rings at the dentist?...there was something similar at my hair dressers when I was like 5 years old). I thought this was to most beautiful thing every and was so proud of it. Now I hang it and have a little chuckle.
This is an interesting one - combo of a trombone and trumpet. :)  When my brother was younger (much younger) it was his favourite, and when he woke up on the morning, he'd always find this decoration, lay on the couch, and "play" his trumpet, or trombone, or whatever it is!

We used to have two of these. One was my sister's and one was my brother's. They used to make a very big deal about finding the perfect branch where there was a light behind the glass to make them shine so beautifully. I was very jealous that I didn't have one. Don't worry, now my brother doesn't care and I got to search for the special branch with the light. 

And there is our beautiful tree. Full of decorations and special memories.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This was started quite a few months ago...

Fall is was the season of change, right? The leaves change colours (or have already left the trees if you live in Alberta!) (Uh, in the midst of a snow storm here) and new activities. While I'm writing a list of my lesser known *love* items, if I were to do the opposite, change would be on the *hate* or at least strongly dislike list...

Change can be good and necessary. This I understand. But change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. I don't like hard and uncomfortable.

This last fall season of change for me. It is hard and uncomfortable. On August 24 I walked out the doors of work for the last had been six years. I know, this may not seem like a long time...but, it was. It had been my only job. I had moved from being from a small 18-year-old to a 24-year-old Marketing Coordinator with a career.

It was a change that was necessary to make. But I wish it weren't necessary and still wish it wasn't necessary. The memories at Apex and PCRE will forever stick with me. I was blessed with so many opportunities to learn and meet many people. I was blessed a boss and leadership team who believed in me, enough to mentor, encourage, push, and befriend. 

I miss that chair and my massive wall of fame!

But  I couldn't go on. The job became too much for me. That was hard to admit. I wish I could have been all that was needed. It hurt to admit that the job had grown faster than me. But, the old job became, the old job. It's been hard. Hard to let got of responsibilities, hard to let go of a role that I had loved, and oh so hard to let go of relationships that meant the world to me.

It's been difficult to start again, from fresh. It's uncomfortable to have to prove who I am to others and myself. It's hard to make a life changing decision, even at the young age of 24.

But here I am, on a road that I hope and pray will turn into something beautiful. Or at least will take me to new heights and knowledge. Still walking a road of change.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


On August 21st, six of my best friends came over to celebrate our friendship. I love these girls (and the photos) with all my heart.

Love this girl...can't believe we've been friends for 10 years. 

 Super gorgeous!

I always love the "realness" of Laura. 

Jocelyn is pretty much the best person - ever!

My lovely friend, Nessa.

Favourite picture of Beverly 

If only I could be as creative as this teacher...

Pretty sure this is my favourite from the whole shoot. 

The sister-less. 

We had so much trouble getting this shot! We were right above a beach, and everyone (including this massive group of guys...) were staring at us as we counted, "1, 2, 3..." - like 25 times. Fun times...awkward moments.

A set of sisters. 

And the other set. 

Attention to details! 

We laughed...a lot! 

Another favourite!

Thank you Merissa, for all the hard work...and the fun afternoon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Do List

You'd think that this weekend would be the weekend I write a thank you list. Perhaps that will come. For now, I'll tell you what I'm doing on my "free" weekend:

  • Plan large group Sunday School for Sunday morning
  • Make powerpoint slides for Sunday morning
  • Clean bathroom
  • Clean room
  • Finish Mom's class list
  • Look into NYC flights/broadway shows
  • E-mail possible photographers re: Choir Website
  • Review more bios re: Choir Website
  • Practice re: Choir
  • Respond to booking e-mails re: Choir (do I see a theme here?!)
  • Teach SS
  • Drive to Lethbridge for family Thanksgiving dinner (whoohoo!)
  • Meet Rach for walk/coffee (whoohoo!)
  • Go to orchestra (Monday night)
I'm greatly motivated by lists. There's my non-booked weekend. Welcome to my life. I love it.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ten Years

How to describe a life once lived. One can never do it justice. There is too much to say but yet not enough words to say it all. It’s been ten years since Dad passed away.

I miss you, Dad.

I miss lying in bed at night and hearing you hum your way down the hall.

I miss waking up in the morning to see you in “your” spot on the couch with your Bible open.

I miss you coming home from work to give Mom a kiss hello.

I miss hearing you call me “Leanno Piano”.

I miss seeing you “muck around” sweat pants or rubber boots (I can’t believe I’m saying that!)

I miss you leading worship at church.

I miss you holding Mom’s hand in the car.

I wish you were here to see your four grand-daughters.

I wish you were here to see your daughter and her husband.

I wish you were here to encourage my brother in his schooling and this thing called “real life”.

I wish you were here to give me advice about work.

I wish you were here at hear my play violin and see me “fling” my hair around as I do it.

I wish you were here so my mom wouldn’t have to deal with life as a widow.

I wish you were here.

The last ten years have been hard. Some times more difficult than others. It has been filled with tears of what is missed, but full of laughter and remembering what was. But, it is only through God’s amazing grace and love that our family is where it is now. He provided us with friends and church family. He has seen that we are provided for. But mostly, He has shown us His amazing love, even through hard times.

I hope that my dad's life and his legacy proclaims the love of God and who Christ is. To God be the glory. Blessed be His name.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No. 3 *Love* - My bed!

So, as you know, last week I returned from a music academy in Nashville. It was great! However, the item I truly missed the most was, my bed. I know, sounds a bit ridiculous, but so true. I can even say that I missed this on a day to day basis more than my family (I was only gone two weeks, okay...).

Part of it definitely had to do with the fact that I was staying in a college dorm with no blanket or pillow. I was using an extra towel for a pillow, and Olivia was sweet enough to lend me her little fleece blanket (while she froze in her room).

But, oh, the glorious sleeps I had when I got home to my feather topper, my clean sheets, my two blankets, my five pillows, and my four stuffed animals (hmm, talk about a confession post!).

Friday, July 29, 2011

No. 2 *Love* - Foamy Soap

I did tell you that this list wasn't in order of importance, didn't I? I sure hope so.

Number 2 love is *foamy soap*. Oh the fun. I've always loved the sensation of washing my hands with that wonderful foam. You know the instant foaming containers that you can buy from Pampered Chef, but then they stop working very shortly after? What disappointment I always have when using them and no little foam bubbles come out!

I've just returned from a vacation in which for two weeks straight I was able to enjoy foamy soap. In every bathroom on the Lispcomb University Campus had foamy soap, even the smelly, gross dorm room bathroom. A little burst of happiness would come over me when I got to use it.

One very late evening or early morning, I felt the need to share my joy of foamy soap, and was heartily laughed at...but I think, that I really just managed to share my love of the little foam bubbles.

I know, it is a silly thing to love, but I think if it brings you happiness and a little chuckle, it's totally worth it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No. 1 *Love* - My Family

So many people, on Facebook or blogs and such, write lists of items or of things that they's so good to reminded of things we are thankful for and love about life. I often find myself caught up in everything that wrong in life. 

I too will start my list of loves. I plan to expand a little more on items then just a list and each will have it's own post. Some will be obvious, and so not so much...Hopefully it will remind other to be thankful, while getting to know me better.

So, number 1. Family. Yes, I know, so obvious and one talked about often, but true none-the-less.

Mom: My mom is seriously the wisest person I know. Which is a blessing (and annoying at time too, you know?!). When going through life, she is great person to go and talk to, but just know you'll get advise! And good advise. And Godly advise. And advise you know you should follow. 

My mom with her grandgirls (and added bonus of their cousin Karina :) She is such a great "Nanny".

Lisa and Cam: Lis and I have always gotten along, although with 6.5 years between us and her moving out when I was 17, I'd say that we've never been super close. Although certainly not, not close, if you follow. But even now she is such an example to me of a Godly woman, amazing wife, and ridicously amazing mother. Her relationship with her husband, as well as how they raise their daughters *together* (please note the importance of together) is truly an example to me.

Reid: I love my brother. This past year I haven't seen him as much with him being got with school and such and hm, I don't like it! Such is life, but love when he is around to listen to me complain about life and have him first comfort me and then tell me to get over it. I love to hang out with him, go to movies, watch his sporting events, and talk about life with.

Alanna, Megan, Cadence, and Monica: Bah, and they just bring joy. Being the youngest in the family, I wasn't around little kids that much, so I like being the fun aunt. I like playing and then giving them back to their parents.

Alanna and Megs thought my photo-booth was pretty awesome!

I have this picture as my desktop right now and am constantly reminded of the love I have for them everytime I open my laptop.

For some reason I feel like this picture is very much missing my dad. When together with everyone is when I miss my dad the most. I know he would have been proud of who we are, but still would have inspired for us to be better. He would have been such an amazing grandpa to the girls. I miss him most for my mom and this stage of life that she now has to face on her own...but I was so blessed to have him there for 14 years and instil values into our family and my life that last.

Yes, I'm truly thankful for the family that God has given me.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Back in June some of my very favourite people and I went away for a weekend of relaxation! It was truly glorious. A couple in my church has a condo in Fernie that they gladly let people retreat to. So Jenessa, Jocelyn, Laura and I headed down.

We read, ate hiked, slept, and just had lovely time for two days. Here are some pics from that fantastic event (or non-event).

I realize I do the "cheesy" grin a lot!

The weather wasn't lovely, but it was fair. No rain!

Off on our little hike.

Laura cracks me up in this picture!

Water and skittles, what else do you need an hike?

Random bathtub infested with spiders...strange.

Lovely girls in God's creation.

Priceless moment! I *love* this picture!

Matchy match.

Hmmm, not sure...

Our trail got a little steep and sketch-mo, but we continued on like troopers. :)

Twin Creek Falls...or something like that...


Lunch time!

Jocelyn coming to rescue her camera from my little hands! :)

Laura's turn with the camera, under the tutelage of Jocelyn.

The crown of Fernie, the historic oil derrick. ;)

This little old beaten up trailer was attached to a brand new SUV, very odd picture!

Workin' the rigs.

Not more skittles.

Little pretending here...

I did manage to completely fall off this "thing"...quite painful and a hand full of slivers (we had to stop the movie later that night so Jocelyn and Laura could operate on my hand! I'm such a chicken)! I'm so thankful I didn't smack my head and or break my arm before my big concert and holiday!

Stange photo of Jocelyn in the bathroom. I'm sure she'll find this photo awkward. ;)

Our little living room.

Laura busy cooking us lunch!

It was so great to get away. I'm so thankful for my friends, vehicles to get down in, time to get away, God's creation to enjoy, His provision and safety, and so much more!