Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Tribute to the Ozmonds!

Upon the conclusion of my conference in Toronto my good pal, Sarah, came and picked me up from "The Castle" and whisked me a way to luxurious Cambridge. The sights, the sounds, the smells of this whimsical place lie vivid in my memory. Notable attractions such as the "Putt Hutt" and "Giant Tiger" quickly captured me. But even with all these features it is arguably the Ozmond family that is one of the finest things about Cambridge...if not Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. O have been faithful readers of this publication while I was in Zambia without us ever meeting. They welcomed me warmly into their home. And when I say "warmly" I'm pretty sure they cranked the heat from what it normally would be for my wimpy BC bones. And so Sarah and I did what we do best...reek havoc in malls...just like the good ol' days at the portrait studio! We don't follow direction all that well. The sign on the glass says to stay back and off the ledge. We were too captivated by the ice and the Zamboni. And of course we had to take the opportunity to pose with our Ontario Olympic heroes. Obviously. And while Sarah had to work I enjoyed the retirement lifestyle with her parents. I came to quite enjoy it. The Ozmonds were all far too good to me...and so here is my tribute to you! Thank you!!

Here is a photo captured of my time with them.

Canadian Youth Workers Conference

If there is one place I love in the bleak mid-winter it is Ontario! Two years ago I spent 5 glorious days in the Greater Toronto Area in February on my way to Zambia. On December 4th (I know it's not actually winter...but it felt like it!) I found myself on a Westjet flight to Toronto for a Youth Workers Conference. I really do love Westjet but flight attendant Ashley was very cold to me. I tried to be as perky as possible to try and crack her but to no avail. I watched her the whole flight. She didn't crack for at least I know it wasn't just me. Poor Ashley. Rough day in the skies.

My conference was at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel which, by the way (BTW as the young people say), is NOT actually a don't bother bringing your tiara and'll just feel out of me.
A lot of good seminars and sessions that kept me busy. My favorite moment may have been when the 65 year old lady next to me started "raising the roof" during a performance by a hip hop group called "Manifest".

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Storey

Click here to read "Shannon's Christmas Address"

(It's all very regal. I did just spent some time in a "castle"...details of which will be posted shortly)

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 8

It's finally here, Day 8 of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters." The culmination of expectation over the last 8 days finds its fulfillment in this Christmas Day sweater. This sweater holds a special place in my heart as I had it custom made last year while I lived in Zambia. I minibused it down to City Market where my sweater making lady and I came up with this! I told her I wanted a Christmas tree...she proceeded to draw a leafy deciduous tree. We quickly worked that out. I love what she came up the tree seems to have arms and legs. Beauty! The ribbing bears the colours of Zambia's national flag, green, black, red, and gold. Under the tree reads "Merry Christmas" and above it says, "Canada," that was her idea. It was supposed to have "Zambia" written opposite "Canada" but that got lost in the mix. This sweater has a lot of heart and represents a place where I left a huge chunk of mine.

Click here for Sweater Sisters '08 photos

I led the family in a little "Sweatercize" workout this morning to classic Boney M hits.

And so concludes the first annual "8 Days of Christmas Sweaters"!! Thanks for following and all your lovely comments. Be sure to check back soon for an opportunity to cast your vote on your favorite at "Sweater Election '08"! Merry Christmas to you!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 7

And so Christmas eve has found an over-sized snowman sweater! The glitz, the glam, the glitter...and why put one snowman on when you could have four! And all wrapped up in a giant ribbon bow. This one is new to the collection. Why anyone would let this one go is beyond me.

Snow has also found it's way all the way to the west coast and so me and my "men of the snow" took to the white wilderness.

Snow and a snowman seems it's almost too much to take in.
The morning started off well as the Storey ladies three had to trek out and push Dad's car out of the parking lot in our pajamas (except for Mumsie Storey...she of course was dressed and in her finest boots)

Day 7 is dedicated to the memory of my Grandpa who passed away one year ago today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 6

See my vest, see my vest, put it's magic to the test! Today's festive feature is indeed another vest that rings proudly with bells and bows. It's decorative composition makes it perfect for more formal occasions as it is sure to jazz up any holiday simply can't go wrong with this one.It's important to know how to accesorize your outfits appropriately and so this subtle and tasteful Santa pin fits the bill just fine. It doesn't overbear the outfit but is just enough to add that extra pizazz.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 5

As we head into the second half of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters" it brings us to this lovely! A new addition to the 2008 collection the textured, glitter paint takes this little number to the next level. This festive winter scape has a quality about it that simply leaves you at a loss for you can see. Dazed and amused like a reindeer in the Christmas lights!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 4

Now I hope you will not be upset with me...but I had to falsify some information as not to hurt you. As you can see Day 4 is not a sweater at all, but a vest! So because it includes less fabric I tried to jazz it up a bit with a bow tie and nutcracker doll. I find there are certain occasions when a sweater is simply not appropriate such as warmer climates and as a Walmart greeter. Sometimes you just want to class up your ensemble and this vest is the ideal choice. Also, if you find yourself at an impromptu caroling session and forget the words to "Winter Wonderland" you need look no further than down. And nothing is more classy than snowmen amidst a blood red sky.
I will warn you that one more vest is coming, I feel it only right to be honest with you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 3

On the third day of Sweaters I truly have to pause...for a sweater filled with Santa Clause! And so this completes the trilogy of treasures from two years ago. It sure is a gem. The magical quality of this sweater simply radiates forth from it...when you get this many Santa's on a sweater it's bound to happen.

We took these photos earlier today and unfortunately the radiating magic of the sweater wasn't quite enough to keep one warm in Abbotsford's arctic conditions.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 2

Day 2 of "The 8 Days of Christmas Sweaters" finds this festive cardigan taking the spot. It was part of that original triune MCC sweater jackpot. The detailing on this piece is simply over the top. To see it in person is a magical experience as the fabric literally shimmers with red accent wool. But my favorite parts of this sweater are the prominent Scottish Terriers as well as the Christmas tree buttons adorning the front of this masterpiece. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like Scottish Terriers. I don't know why Santa has reindeer when clearly these small dogs are the more appropriate choice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life is Better in the Sweater: Day 1

With 8 days until the fateful day that has driven all this holiday madness and my growing collection of festive wear I thought it only "fitting" to begin the First Annual "8 Days of Christmas Sweaters!"
And so we begin with one of my favorites. This sassy little number was one of my first finds two years ago at MCC when three beauties hung all in a row beckoning me to take them home. How could I resist??

You may recall this sweater from previous portraits from my days at the Sears Portrait Studio...Life sure is better in the Sweater for Sarah and Shannon!

Do you remember a time in November...

Here is a whirlwind tour of a time in November when hearts were young and voices merry...
'Twas a crazy month of retreats, conferences, and all things chaotic.

We start with the first weekend of the month. It was our Jr Youth Retreat at Manning Park. Oh what a jolly time we shared. No snow...but crazy fun none the less with no injuries!!
Notable highlights:
- bus ride with one student stringing together every obnoxious comment and question about our travels in a constant frenzy of chatter
- One boy, from Korea, who kept walking in around the chalet in just his boxers. He wrecked his pants on a hike later in the weekend so we forced him to wear a towel skirt! If anyone could make a fashion statement with a towel it was Sam...sometimes short, sometimes long, sometimes a-line, always trendy!
- a hike to the "Trappers Cabin" that involved no trail and a lot of bushwhacking and screaming
- mattress slides down the stairs
- dance parties
- forcing food down the children's throats..."What's a matter for you? You don't like it? EAT!! You're too skinny! You eat like a bird!"
click here for photos
and here again for more

The next weekend was the Christian Musicians Summit in Redmond, Washington. A bunch of us from Bakerview went down for the conference which included concerts, workshops and SWAG...stuff we all get!
Noteworthy highlights:
- Seeing Abe Laboriel rock out on the bass
- trying to jump during concerts in pews where the floor is slopped and there is a "Bible box" right at your knees so you have no knees and calves told the story of how that went!

Click here for more CMS photos

Third weekend: Sr Youth Retreat at Manning Park...second verse, same as the first...maybe not
We stay in a big three storey (I guess it's four when I'm there...muhahahah) chalet called "The Last Resort"...that Lincoln Park song runs through my head every time! We packed the bus full of 41 and went laughing all the way watching "Elf" on the way up.
Mentionable Highlights:
- snow, snow, snow!
- the mattress slide once again
- the delightful tunes of the really horrible sounding keyboard
- seeing Emmanuel -God with us- in a real and raw way and how he changed our students through one crazy night
- playing Skipbo in the middle of the night with Colby the Security Guard

click here for more photos

And that was November in a nutshell...stay tuned for tales of December including my wild winter adventure in Ontario, the Boars Head Feast, and two youth banquets...followed by a nervous breakdown and heavy sedatives!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tina Tuna!!

This October saw a rare appearance of "Tina Tuna"...Tina Turner with a fishy twist! For our youth Halloween-type events I dressed as Tina Tuna. Most didn't get it which I expected...they thought I was a hockey puck, although they were dazzled by the shiny tuna can.

and it's even "dolphin safe"...simply the best!

click here for more

Friday, October 31, 2008

Office Pumpkins

If there are two things that I love most in this world it would be pumpkins and "The Office" repsectively. Actually, that's not true...I do love "The Office" and have a mild affinity for pumpkins...but not to be loved above all else. I digress...

So Dana and I set out to carve pumpkins. Dana is the one with the real artistic magic...and I just have a good track record with large produce and knives (ie. the cabbage/knife/thumb slaughtering resulting in Zambian stitches) and so we set out.

Here is Dana creating "Dwight" with great skill and finesse...

Bask in the sweet, sweet glow of Dwight!
I started "Jim" off but then got frustrated/tired and Dana again worked her magic. She said I could retain the glory...but there are the cold hard facts.
Jim all lit up!
And here they are: Dwight Schrute and Jim Halpert...the pumpkins

I carved a very creepy lifelike impression of my self too...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Deputy

I'm not much one for politics but there is a stirring in my soul that longs for heroic titles accompanied by abnormal amounts of authority and power for the greater good of my fair country. All this came to a culmination on October 14...Election Day! Several weeks before, I marched into the Abbotsford Election Office looking for a way to earn some extra dosheroonies to buy an electric guitar. What I came away with was far greater than I ever imagined. Before I knew it I was walking out of the building with a title I will proudly display for many moons to come. I was to be a Deputy Returning Officer. Meaning, I would basically run a polling station on election day. My Returning Officer (of whom I was his deputy...despite the fact I was one of many) was a good man...a small man in stature...but a good man. At least I presume so. He was always wearing a matching ball cap to his sweatshirt and khaki pants, therefore, granting my presumptions. After my three hours of training we passed in the hall and with gusto he implored us to "give it everything we had" on the "big day". And give it everything I had I certainly did. For a title of Deputy pinned to my chest was nothing to be taken lightly.

From that point on I studied my training manual meticulously. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that I would have the authority to make arrests. I felt like Chuck Norris. But mostly I studied the part about closing the poll and counting the ballots so I could get out as soon as possible. You see, we were getting paid a flat rate for the the longer I was there the less I was making per in order for this to pay off I had to be the fastest in the west.

Voting day arrived and so did I, at 6:15am at my polling station. I met my poll clerk, Joyce, a fine retired woman with 10 great grandchildren. Anticipation was high as all the DRO's and Poll Clerks gathered outside the only heightened with the fact we had to wait outside in the dark and freezing cold for the man with the key to the building to finally show up to open it. This left for a scramble set up of epic proportions, but Joyce and I handled it in stride. Seven am rang true and it began. For 12 straight hours we would sit there. If I had to go the bathroom we had to shut down the poll. After hours of handing out ballots the clock struck 7pm and it was time. I had prepped Joyce all day for this, planning out every single action to stream line the closing process to efficient perfection...and that it was. Barrel's blazing it was a furry of counting, paperwork, sorting, sealing, signing, and following a complex series of actions to ensure a fair and proper election. I barked out orders to Joyce like our lives were at steak...there was no room for error. And 45 minutes later we dazzled them all by being the first one out of there. Joyce and I embraced like we had just conquered a mighty battle and it ended as it began...under the cover of darkness we slipped away...our heads held high, knowing that justice had been served. This was the day I was the Deputy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Low Quality Photos, High Quality Fun!

Since my life consists mostly of my work right now here's a little sampling from the smorgasbord of fun and excitement that is Youth Ministry! These shots were captured on our recent Jr Youth Photo Scavenger Hunt were we divided into four groups each with a the task of creatively photographing themselves in certain situations, each with a varying degree of difficulty and point allotment. The team with the most points at the end took home the glory and a chocolate bar. Due to the fact we were operating with disposable camera's in low light conditions the quality isn't the greatest but here's to our slogan:
"Low quality photos, high quality fun!"

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Tribute to Becky Jones!

Today, on the ides of September, we celebrate the birth of Becky Jones, formerly known as on the day of her birth as Rebecca Joy Eby. I first met Becky at the end of her TWU reign on our Zambia missions trip. We became fast friends as I didn't make fun of her strange nocturnal habits (probably because I was too shy back then) and she embraced the dorkiness of me. It's a pity we hadn't met sooner or we would have ruled the school.

So here is a birthday song I wrote for Becky while she and her husband, Sam, were off teaching in Korea.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Silence the Rumours!

Contrary to popular belief, Shannon does not have mono! Rumours began to circulate two weeks ago when a friend of mine contracted the virus. The doctor said it takes about 25 days before the symptoms appear. Twenty five odd days before her symptoms surfaced we were on a youth camping trip where we shared a water bottle. At this same time I had been complaining of abnormal levels of fatigue and slight body "achy-ness" which had been around for months. Putting all this together it was thought I was the culprit of spreading this virus. So tests were done to get to the bottom of it all. And the results are in...I am not the spreader of this virus. And so it remains an unsolved mystery...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Summers Eve with Feist

On Tuesday, August 5th, Danzer and I went to see Feist perform in Deer Lake Park. It was an awesome show. She had all this magical shadow art and alike going on in the background, performed by the "Shadow Mistress" was whimsical and mysterious! She was opened for by The Weakerthans, who were also very good, however, our vision was impeded by the tallest man at the show and his girlfriend who stood in front of us during their entire set.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mariner Monday Madness!!

Nothing says "Happy BC Day" like going down to the United States of America to watch a baseball game! And so that's what we did. I took a troop from youth and beyond to Seattle in our big church van (which I am now licensed to drive...look out!). It was "Celebrate Japanese Baseball Night" so we all got free hats that said "Mariners" in Japanese. It was a great game. They were playing the Minnesota Twins (don't ya know) and Seattle was down 6-1 in the 7th inning when another baseball miracle took place before our very eyes. It started off with a grand slam and ended with getting 10 runs in one inning. The jubilation that filled our hearts was almost too much to contain often expressing itself in flailing, raised arms; piercing shrieks; and erratic body movement. We won 11-6.

But perhaps the biggest highlight for me was being featured on the "Big Screen" during the game. This is how it came about...Before the game I, along with my friend Amber, were waiting outside the stadium to meet my friend who would join us. While waiting we noticed a camera. We discretely flocked to it and they asked us if we wanted to be on the big screen. Without hesitation we affirmed our acceptance to the task. They then told us to individually look into the camera, say our name, where we were from and what music we wanted to hear. We both immediately drew complete blanks on what to choose. They tried to help by suggesting Rihanna or Timberlake...I couldn't waste an opportunity like this on those artists. All I could think of was my recent encounter with Stevie Wonder and so that's what I chose and enthusiastically went before the camera. Amber did a separate take choosing good ol' Canadian , Bryan Adams. Then it all took place...halfway through the game our attention was directed to the big screen for the featured DJ...and then there I was proudly requesting my selection!! What a day!

Other highlights include:
~Eating a "footlong hotdog" that was actually a foot long and the indigestion that ensued
~Trying the "World Famous Garlic Fries" and the garlic breath that ensued coupled with the indigestion. They seriously just dump a pound of fresh crushed garlic on's like they are terrified of vampires entering the stadium or something
~Yelling at "Gomez", the Twins' centre fielder, trying to ask how old he was
~The wave...need I say's the wave!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Grouse Grind

Here is a video blog of a hike up Grouse Mountain taken on July 27th, 2008.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Symphony In the Park

And so it is that every summer the esteemed Vancouver Symphony Orchestra puts on a free concert in Deer Lake Park in Burnaby. So last Sunday Dana and I set out for a night of culture and chaos. Using our aggressive "elbows up" technique we maneuvered our way to set up our blanket near the front of the stage about an hour before the concert. 'Twas a lovely evening and perhaps more entertaining than the concert itself was observing the peculiar behavior of my own species. I was particularly captivated with the couple in front of us who clearly knew what they were doing, equipped with pillows and quite an extravagant picnic which progressed through the entire evening. It seemed each musical movement brought on a new culinary delight topped off with milk from wine glasses...bravo!

To the Big City...

But a few weeks ago the Sr. Youth and I set out to explore the mighty city that is Vancouver. A happy family we loaded into the van and headed for adventure. First stop...the skytrain...
Here we practiced an ancient Bakerview Youth art of "Skurfing" (or if your on the bus "Burfing") in which you have to stand with only your feet stabling you no matter what turbulence occurs, much like you are surfing. Alyssa and Julie seemed to have classed it up a little by adding ballet hands.
We then made the jont to Denman St, about a 10 block walk in which several thought they would die from exhaustion, to the Mongolian BBQ. Dingy looking on the outside...and maybe a little on the inside too...but the food tastes oh so fine! You can load up your bowl with as much as you want as many times as you want. It's pretty much an ideal situation.

Look what we found in the noodles! Move over Potatoe Chip Mother Mary!

The grill Ninja!

Mongolian Magic

Satisfied customers!

On the way home we stopped at Ikea's Midnight Madness for ice cream and pandemonium.