Feedback Please

Tom wants to know how you like our new look. For some reason he has had some time on his hands to do quiet things in the apartment lately... :)


Peace of mind knowing I don't have an extra piece of mind.

Sometimes we get blessings in disguise, sometimes they aren't disguised at all...

For a while now, sometimes my head would be a little funny and I wouldn't be able to see quite right. My spelling was beginning to falter and at times the simplest words would be hard to find. I thought it might be something wrong with my head; I often wished I could get a CT scan and put those worries to rest.

Careful what you wish for.

Late Monday afternoon while we were shopping at Maxi (Quebec's version of SuperStore), I came down with some pretty scary aneurysm-like symptoms. I toppled over backwards (thankfully Tom caught me) and there was a piercing pain in my left frontal lobe. (Interesting.) We went home and when I attempted some school work, the left side of my face began to tingle and my vision began to blur.

Tom said we were going to the hospital.

We were in the emergency waiting room for just over 7 hours, and I was admitted (4:30am) shortly after telling the doctor what had happened. Within one hour I had that CT scan I had been wanting. Thank God, in the most sincere sense, that the scan came back clean. No aneurysm, no tumor. The doctor then took a sample of my cerebral-spinal fluid to check for infection or bleeding of any sort. Again, thankfully, the results came back clean. So did the blood tests. Still bewildered as to what the problem is/was our doctor managed to get us a consult with the neurologist on duty. We headed home around 4:00pm, with a prescription for migraines in hand and macaroni for dinner.

Unfortunately, my symptoms (extreme headache and motion sickness) worsened. I was extremely sensitive to motion, light, and sound. I woke at 5:30am Thursday morning in the most pain I have ever felt in my entire life. It made me nauseous to move, think, feel, or even breathe. Tom said we were going back to the hospital. I told him I would never survive the waiting room.

Tom said we were going to the hospital.

So, there we were, my strong-like-ox husband nearly carrying me down the stairs (did I mention we are on the fourth floor?) to car that he already pulled around and filled with our hospital essentials. Because the sun was starting to rise, he had me wearing my big white shades (like a movie star) and, because my head was going to explode, I had a half-frozen bag of beans on my head. And, because I was vomiting after performing any large physical movement (like walking down the stairs), I had the mop-bucket under my nose.

As you could imagine, when my husband wheeled this sight for sore eyes into the emergency room (where I threw up a few more times due to the motion, then actually proceeded to crumple out of the wheelchair to lie on the floor because I couldn't take sitting up any longer) we were admitted straight-away. Did I mention that the sunglasses or bag of beans didn't come off yet? I have no idea how people managed not to laugh.

We stayed in the hospital again for the day. I am so thankful they gave us a small, quiet room and meds to relieve the pain and grant some rest. I remember waking at one point and seeing my adorable husband sleeping in a hard wooden chair beside my bed. His bottom in his chair and his head on my bed. He must have felt me move, because he woke up right then. The hospital blanket pattern remained imprinted on his face. I nearly melted from the look of love he gave me.

A few hours later we were on our way out of the hospital again, this time with a few more meds in hand. All tests had come back clean, so the doctor chopped it up to being a viral infection. He said I need to take it easy for the next while. He said I'll probably be able to get back to school by next Thursday.

So I lie here in my bed, with an ice-pack on my head, counting the hours until I can take another med :)

I'm pretty curious as to what is going to happen with my classes, considering its that time of year. Nothing I can do about it though - just thankful to be home. Tom is thankful I can get to the washroom on my own now too, I'm sure.

I spent all morning watching a beautiful tulip bloom. It took nearly 2 hours. So I do not ask for your sympathy, life is pretty good. I do ask, however, for your entertainment.

P.S. I guess I don't have anything to blame my spelling on ;)



As we get closer to Panama time, we are starting to get a bit clearer idea of what this is actually going to look like. My co-worker sent me a picture of the house she is renting in San Felix. That's the 'city' we will be living in.

Sweet, eh!?!?!
It has everything. Well, except furniture, a fridge, a stove, a kitchen sink...
(Everything but the kitchen sink ;)

Tom and I are super excited about finding a place for us to stay too. My friend is more than excited to have us stay with her if we needed - considering its a bit tricky finding something to rent in a city of 1049! (Well, I guess 1050, now that my friend moved there!)
I've been reading some traveler's blog about the area too. San Felix is just off of the highway that leads from Panama City to David (David is the capital city of the Chiriqui province, which San Felix is situated). Click either of these to see it on google maps:

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Backpackers have reported that the town has *nothing* in it, but check out the place where they stay (about 15kms down the road - on the ocean front!) If anyone is interested in coming to Panama for a visit - this is where you can stay!

So excited,
so excited!

We will keep you 'posted' as we learn more about it ourselves.


Happy Easter

It may be a repeat, but we just can't say it better than this...

Tom and Candice


Make a Decision

What side are you on?

Are you still waving your palm branches, or are you amongst those in the crowd who have turned their backs? Today is 'good friday'. He died, today. Pegged to a cross, in front of many mockers.

Are you one of them?

Is it time to switch sides?

roundin' the corner

It's that time of year in school. The exact time in the semester when you are tired of the material you are studying in classes, which matches the exact time in the semester when you are required to put in the most effort. This year, 90% of my assignments, exams, group projects, and term papers are due within 4 weeks of each other. Ugh!
Boy, I'm sure glad I haven't been sick over the last two weeks so I could really prepare for this ... ;)

Well, we are now rounding the corner none-the-less. Spanish is on its way starting early May (or so I hope, considering there is a bit of red tape to cross between now and then), so don't mind the Spanish-only posts that will be going up soon. I figure we should all learn it together, comprende?

[(Tom interjecting) As a master's-level dropout, I can say that it's as tough as she makes it *sound*. But she makes it *look* so easy! Y mi no habla espanol.]


Happy Homemaker

I think I can say, in complete honesty, that I've exceeded many people's expectations of my ability to hold down the home as a wife. This isn't a shot, this is reality. If you know me before I married Tom, you would not believe that those meals, produced in that apartment, were mine.

My place used to be a terrible mess. Terrible! I lived like a total bachelor - clothes were all over the floor, dishes were piled up. The kind of conditions that you would seriously have to dig through the clothes on the floor to find something to wear and wash a dish in order to use one.

I distinctly remember the start of a turning point - it was about two years ago. My friend Lyla came to pick me up for a girls day out. She came up to my apartment - something that I dreaded anyone doing! (I would just meet them downstairs so they didn't have to see my sty). When she walked in, she was like, "What!" and I was like, "What?" She told me we need to glorify God in everything we do. Including taking care of our homes. I was like, "Oh?"

Time passed and I still didn't think it was worth the effort. What for, really? Why make the bed if no one is going to know the difference? It's just going to be slept in again the next night. I figured it was a futile effort. And for the clothes? Closets are so hard to see into anyways.

The next distinctly embarrassing moment occurred nearly six months later. On our third date, Tom came to pick me. And, as usual, I met him downstairs (there was no need for him to be subjected to the apartment yet). I jumped into the car and obliviously chucked my jacket over my shoulder in the back seat - then I heard the sound of crunching paper and plastic. He said, shyly, "Those are for you". Huh? Then I looked in the back seat. There lie a bouquet of flowers. "I would have brought them to your door, but you haven't told me what your apartment number is yet." (Little did he know that was for his own safety and the protection of our relationship.) He asked, "Can we put them in some water?" I wanted to melt, for two reasons - he brought me flowers and I was about to be exposed for being a slob.
Oh, nuts!
Not only was my apartment a disaster, but I didn't even own a vase. So I had to oh-so 'classily' put them in a drinking glass (which I had to clean first, of course!) and then had to shove them into the pantry because my crazy (and sometimes smelly) cats would eat them while I was gone out for the evening. Ugh!

Thankfully, he didn't give up on me.
And, thankfully, my cleaning habits have changed.

I now understand the value of a clean home. I think that has changed because now I have a *home*. Before I used to just store my textbooks, cats, and clothes in a hole in the wall that I could afford and try to ensure no one saw it. Now, I have a family to care for and a 'nest' to build. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all the help I get in keeping our home clean, but cleaning is now a part of caring for my spouse. And, I don't think I'm the only one around here who cleans for that very same reason.


Palm Sunday

Today, approximately two thousand and eight years ago, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This fulfilled a prophesy set five hundred years earlier. The people rejoiced at His entrance - fanning Him with palms as a sign of honour and respect. These people, who on this day, rejoiced at his entrance, are the very ones who turn against Him this coming Friday. When things were looking up and life was grand, they figured This Guy is the way to go. They saw hope, victory over their oppressors, and a true king for their lives. Yet, when the tough got going this coming Friday, these are the same ones who turned their backs on 'their king'. We Christians must take an honest look at our lives and ensure that we are not only hailing 'our king' when life is grand, but blessing His name when things get tough. He is hope, peace, and a true king for life. No matter what the circumstance. Every time we turn our backs on Him, we are among those in the crowd who turned their backs this Friday. It is my prayer that every 'good friday', we take a stand against the crowd, and continue hailing our king.

10min Apple Crisp

So, its 1:00am, we are finished watching a movie and I decide "I'm hungry!" So, I ask my dear husband where the apple crisp is that he said he'd make when we were at the grocery store earlier today. He said "I'll be right back." Yeah, right, I thought to myself - its 1:00am, he is going to make one now??? Well, he did - a 10 minute microwave for-when-your-wife-is-hungry-after-a-movie apple crisp.

And, it was good!

We ate it with ice cream, but he didn't make that.


Our 'Buddy'

Hi, I’m Buddy! I’m staying with C&T for a while because I was homeless and left out in the snow for too long -- now I have frost bite! Its not too bad though, the thing is with frost bite, you actually don’t feel anything. I have ‘new’ pads on my paws, the old ones shriveled up and fell off. Now they are pretty pink! Did I mention I have 7 toes on my front paws? Tom says they are kinda freaky, but Candice thinks they're cute.
Something that isn’t cute though, is my tail! The last 3 inches of it really froze. Its turning black! I took a trip to the doctor today about this whole tail issue – they said something about ‘am-pew-waiting’. Candice said I get to go back to the doctor next week for that. I don’t mind the doctor, considering she was the one finally told C&T that I am a girl – so they can quit calling me ‘little-man’ anytime now!

So, aside from my extra toes and crazy tail, I’m pretty good lookin’. I need to hang to those looks you know, otherwise finding a permanent home is going to be difficult.

Check me out!



Another amazing opportunity has been placed in our lives. Our church is sending a team to Uganda for a short-term mission trip this coming January. This opportunity comes at an exceptionally busy yet ‘available’ time for us. As you may know, we are planning to move to Panama next January as well. However, it also means our life will be in ‘transit’ during that time – after my classes are over but before the field study begins, after Tom wraps things up at work but before settling into something new, after we sublet our apartment but before we move down south.

We are weighing this heavily in our hearts and with a lot of prayer. We know from our experiences in Cambodia that short-term missions are exceptionally challenging; physically, emotionally, and, at times, spiritually. We also know from our experience in Cambodia that there are a lot of needs out there. And you have to ask yourself, “Who is supposed to do this work?” Those who are capable? Those who are called?

If those who are willing and able don’t go, then who will?

I'm Trying

The following are lyrics from "Trying" by Lifehouse. They really speak to me, and I thought I should share them with you. Enjoy.

Could you let down your hair be transparent for awhile?
Just a little while
to see if you're human after all

Honesty is a hard attribute to find
When we all want to seem like
we've got it all figured out

Well let me be the first to say that I
don't have a clue
I don't have all the answers
ain't gonna' pretend like I do

just trying - to find my way
trying - to find my way the best that I know how

Well I haven't memorized all of the cute things to say
but I'm working on it
Maybe I'll master this- art form someday

If I quote all the lines off the top of my head
Will you believe
that I fully un-derstand all these things I've read

I'm just trying - to find my way
trying - to find my way the best that I know how

Well I- haven't got it all figured out quite yet but
even if it takes my whole life
to get to where I need to be

I’m trying

And if I should fall to the bottom of the end
I'll be one step back to you, and

I’m trying - to find my way


Mazda vs. Tercel... Fight!

Model1992 Mazda 323 Protege1991 Toyota Tercel DX
EngineStarts everytime, runs well, unless it is wet outside, in which case it may not start, or will quit suddenly if you take your foot off the gas pedal.Starts everytime. Runs well. Sporadic issue with revving up and down while idleing. Engine rebuilt within last two years.
BrakesPerfect.No problems.
LocksAutomatic. Passenger door lock a little sticky, doesn’t always work. Never locked, no reason to.Manual.
Body StyleClassic early-90’s sleek-but-boxy sedan.Bubble-inspired.
Body ConditionSome rust, well-disguised. Hail damage stem to stern.Rust all over, more near the bottom than the top.
DrivetrainDriverside cv joint starting to go.No problems.
E-BrakeLoose, have to really pull to engage.Not functional.
LightsDim, but working. Brights would only engage on occasion.Very good. One was pointed directly at oncoming drivers, other burnt out (now fixed). Brights occasional do not engage.
SmellPutrid whenever it warmed up.Like a pine air freshener. Suspect it may be covering putridness.
Climate ControlHeater blows humid air that fogs windows, requires passenger to roll down window and stick head out door to attempt any safe merging procedure. Air conditioning functional, but takes long time to get cool.Heat works great. A/C does not exist.
WindowsAutomatic. Unfortunately, requires manual assistance to close by pushing up on the window with your hand as you hold the window button.Manual crank. Works without additional assistance.
Road NoiseSmooth and quiet, except for super-loud, distressing “clunk” coming from driverside rear strut as you pass over any bump if the temprerature is < -5 C.Constant whir that is proportional to speed, source unknown. Very noisy. Slight rattle as muffler contacts top of speed bumps.
ColourGray. Hides dirt well.White-ish. Shows every blemish. Looks like a snow drift, according to Tiffany.
Age (Calendar)1617
Age (Mileage)299800238000
Gas Tank55L capacity. Pull fuel door lever, then fuel door needs to be pried open with key.45L capacity. Key must be jammed into fuel door, applying pressure, while fuel door lever is pulled (keys fall on ground once open). Fuel tank does not line up with hole in body (held in alignment by gas cap?).
StereoPioneer CD player with two Sony 5 1/4”s. Sweet.4 speaker tape deck.
Tires3 good tires. 1 very bald tire, can see through cracks in rubber to radial ply below.4 great winter tires. 4 good all season tires (total of 8).