What Does Amanda Say?

049-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1096 On Sunday November 24th at 2:51pm, this picture was taken. An hour before, little did I know all that would unfold. Sit tight, grab some hot cocoa, and enjoy the adorable tale of the engagement of Kevin & Amanda.

All photos (excluding my quick shots of the cards) are taken by the talented Jonathan Kuhn. You can (and should!) visit his website at jonathankuhnphotography.com
………..

After church on Sunday, Kevin and I parted ways – I had a church meeting and Kevin had told me that he would use that time without me to go to work for a couple hours. Afterward, we would go on a “dinner date” he had planned.

I texted Kevin as my meeting was wrapping up, and he let me know that he had a few more things that needed to be done and that I should take my time getting to his place. I, heeding his advice, lingered around the church for a few extra minutes and chatted with some friends who were there setting up Christmas decorations. I didn’t see his car in his driveway when I arrived, so I parked and sat in the car listening to the CBC.

Meanwhile, Kevin001-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-0983 was in a nearby nature reserve by his house setting up a super secret surprise.

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I had texted him letting him know that I was parked outside his place waiting for his return from work. I received a text right away saying “Oh come in!”. Upon receiving this, I was confused at his verb tense as he was not at his house. I then asked if he was home. To which he replied “Maybe!” “I’m home!”. Confused, I got out of my car and went into his house. I was not met by Kevin, but by my friend Krista. Surprised and confused, I questioned why she was there and asked where Kevin was. She let me know that he was not there and that he was running “boy errands” (to this day, no one knows what that means).

She then handed me a card and told me to follow her (click to enlarge photos in order to read the message). When we got out of the house, I laughed when I realized that I couldn’t follow her too far, as I was going to have to drive. We hopped into my car and away we went according to her direction! We only made a few turns until she told me to pull over on the side of the road. Once out, Krista led me to the beginning of a trail. She left me there alone, but equipped with a second card.

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Card #1

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Card #2

I began the walk down the snow covered trail and not a minute later, I saw two figures approaching. As they came near I realized that they were not strangers, but they were in fact our friends Jami and Tristan!

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Card #3
This refers to a rabid squirrel we had encountered one day.

At this point, I had a pretty good idea of what was to come. That morning when I woke up, I did not even see an engagement in sight. However, once Krista handed me the first card back at the house, I thought to myself Oh, this is happening! Because I was pretty sure I was in the middle of a proposal, I decided to have some fun with it. As I approached my friends, we met each other with Oh! What a pleasant surprise! What are the chances! It also just so happened that they had a third card for me! As soon as they handed it to me, they continued their “Sunday stroll” up the hill.

Off I continued on my journey. Next, I met with Joanna who was “Just out picking flowers on this fine day!” Funny how there were flowers to be picked in snow covered November… It was fun playing along. And lo and behold she had a card for me as well!

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Card #4
These are characteristics of a place that we had visited together out of province.

Lastly, I came across another couple. This time it was Sandra and Brian. What do you know! They were on a Sunday afternoon stroll too! And as luck would have it, they had a card for me from Kevin too! What were the chances! This card was thicker and as I began to read it, it not only was hilariously clever, but I became increasingly more excited for what was to come.

025-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1043 027-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1045IMG_5138IMG_5139IMG_5141IMG_5142Isn’t that card clever?! It’s hilariously cheesy and cute. After reading that last card as I walked, I finally made it to where Kevin was anxiously awaiting me.

028-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1048From there, he expressed some very kind words, removed his handsome hat, got down on one knee and proposed.

033-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1056034-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1059036-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1061What did Amanda say? YES! I said yes!
043-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1079This is also where we shared our first kiss. I love the way in which this moment was captured.
045-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1084 046-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1088 048-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1093We were, understandably, very excited. And still are!

059-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1124 060-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1126Here’s the ring! Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring!

063-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1135As we walked up the hill from whence I came, Kevin shared with me all of the hard work that he had put in to making this day special. He had visited my Dad to ask permission to marry me a month ago while my mom and I were visiting my Nana. He designed the ring himself and had been planning this day for months. This day was brilliantly planned – all unbeknownst to me, who was pleasantly surprised throughout. He incorporated all of my favourite things – homemade cards (which he spent countless hours on), dear friends, and to top it all off, the entire thing is documented in pictures. THE BEST. I could not have imagined the proposal going any other way. I also could not imagine marrying anyone other than him. I thank God that He allowed this wonderful man into my life. I am incredibly blessed to have him. He is my best friend and I love him dearly. I look forward to spending the rest of my life serving God with him.

055-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-Amanda-and-Kevin-Proposal-1113A big thank you to all who participated. Thank you Jon and Katriina for taking the time to photograph the whole event. The pictures are AWESOME. Thank you to all of our friends for their involvement and their strategic and sneaky plotting. And most of all, thank you to my fiance (ooh that’s so exciting to say!) for all of his hard work, planning, and thoughtfulness. I love you!

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Sherbet Watermelon

It was HD’s birthday recently, so NK, the brilliant woman that she is, suggested that we make this dessert. HD loves watermelon. I remember once in middle school going over to her house to attempt watermelon carving. It was a delicious task.

It’s the inside that counts. Chocolate!

All you need for this “cake” is two kinds of sherbet, chocolate chips, a good sized bowl (this will make your watermelon shape), saran wrap, and a freezer. It’s important to begin the prep process in advance as to allow for freezing time.

First, line the bowl with Saran wrap. This will allow for an easier time getting your watermelon out of the bowl.

Then take your green sherbet (if you choose lime flavoured, you may be surprised, as we were, to find it actually white in colour. You can account for this with green food colouring) and make a thick layer. It helps to place the Sherbet in a seperate bowl and stir/mix it a little to make it more smooth. But be quick before it melts!

Place your half-finished creation in the freezer. Allow it to harden before beginning the next step.

Mix your chocolate chips into the pink-coloured Sherbet and fill the center of the bowl with this mixture. Smooth off the top and place in the freezer.

Once hardened, flip the bowl over and place the watermelon on a plate. Done!

Slice up as you would any ol’ watermelon.

Eat. (this is the easiest step of them all)

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I Scream “Cake Pops!”

I have been curious about cake pops for some time and decided to try them out for myself. Because I already knew the concept of cake pops, I thought that I would do something a little different. To make things interesting, I didn’t stick with the stick.

Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops

I bought mini ice cream cones, filled ’em up with cake pop mixture and dipped them in melted chocolate. Easy as pie. Maybe…? I have yet to make a pie.

Below is a brief description of my procedure:

After making a cake pop recipe, fill cones with mixture and create ice cream shaped balls like so.

Place tray in freezer for at least a few hours to allow the cake pop mixture to harden. It facilitates the chocolate dipping process.

Melt chocolate. These chocolate thins come in many different colours and were purchased at Bulk Barn. They melt very easily and dry quickly once cake pop is dipped. I combined white with red thins in order to get the red-ish pink colour.

Dip cones in the melted chocolate and voila! Be sure to place some melted chocolate in the cone to act as an adhesive for the ice cream top.

Drizzle another colour on top for a different look.

Enjoy!

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Jesus > Easter Bunny

I worked this evening – Easter Sunday. And although I’ve been missing my family, spending Easter with the guys that I support was one of the best alternatives.

As a support worker for three young guys with developmental disabilities, things can get difficult at times, but others can be extremely hilarious and rewarding. Tonight was one of those special nights.

Going into work on Easter, I expected to hear a great deal about the Easter Bunny and how great he (she?) is. However, that was thankfully not the case. Instead, I was so encouraged about the enthusiasm these guys had about their love for Jesus. Even though the Easter Bunny “had come” and “dropped off” chocolates for them, that was not their main focus. One of the guys in particular could not cease to talk about Jesus and his love for him the whole night.

Here’s where the hilarity and the fun came in: I began to read from one of their books consisting of a bunch of easy to follow Bible stories. One of the guys decided that he wanted to act out Jesus’ parts. To do this effectively, he retrieved a bath towel and wrapped it around his waist. As I read the story of the crucifixion (as per his request), he stood up and stretched out his arms as if Jesus on the cross. He went through Jesus’ death and burial, and when it came time for Jesus’ resurrection he sprang to his feet with such excitement and said [speaking to Jesus] “Thank you, Jesus – You came to life. I’m so happy!!!”

This guy loves Jesus, and I have always known this, but his love for Him has normally been equated with all the members of the make-believe crew (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc). It was so refreshing to hear him talking about Jesus (the real meaning of Easter) so persistently and with such vigor.

I was really encouraged tonight and I’m glad that I had a chance to spend Easter with them. It was honestly so much fun!

And with that, I leave you with other cute and thoughtful statements made by the guys:

“I loooooove Jesus. …Not Satan.”

“God has a grey beard.”

“Jesus won’t get mad that we’re acting like him, eh? He won’t mind?”

“I don’t like the guards – they hit Jesus. Boom!”

“I’m done acting now. I’m tired. I’m a good actor.”

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A Change in Identity

April 21st. This date has been engraved in my mind for the past few months. And for the last week, I no longer judged time by the current date, but by how many days rest between the present and the 21st. I had made a countdown on the chalkboard in the lab at the five day mark. It gave my two colleagues and I a sense of urgency, yet excitement at the same time.

I printed my thesis last night, and as I walked through the tunnels and hallways of my university, I realized that this was one of the last times that I would be walking the campus as a student. And as I walked, I realized that I will no longer be a CU student – my identity for the last four years. When people ask me what and where I study, I will no longer say CU majoring in Psychology. That is no longer who I am or what I do. It’s really odd to think. I have experienced and learned so much at that campus, that it is hard to leave.

As I walked, I reminisced the good ol’ days. As I passed each building I recalled certain memories – locations where I used to set up to do readings and study (which always varied from year to year as I discovered better, and sometimes hidden locations), booths and tables that I used to meet up with friends regularly to eat or “study”, areas on campus that I would go with friends to randomly talk to students about their beliefs, the classroom where I had my very first lecture in university, Cardiac Hill (the very steep walkway in the tunnels – essentially a hill beginning at the first floor of a building and taking you to the fourth), going on prayer walks with friends to pray for our campus, and countless others.

I think for me, university was not merely a place where I went to obtain a degree; a means to an end. It was a place of much personal growth. It was a place where I grew in my relationship with God. I became involved with a Christian group on campus where the students had a burden to share their faith with others. I met new people, made lasting friendships, and really adopted the burden that they had for the students on our campus. We invested so much time into loving on and praying for our campus that it became more than an institution.

Today marks the last day of my undergrad. I am finished. I handed my thesis to my supervisor this morning. I had imagined this day for months. I had imagined the excitement that I would feel and the relief that I would experience. But the feelings aren’t as intense as I had imagined. Perhaps it hasn’t quite hit me yet; it’s hard imagining that four years of schooling have come to a close. But maybe I’m also a little reluctant to say goodbye to CU and all of those experiences. Things will change, and I’m definitely ready for it and excited to transition into a graduate program at another university, but it will take some time. I’ll have to remind myself that I am no longer that undergraduate psych student anymore, but a Master of Arts student in Counselling and Spirituality. And that, I am excited for.

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Goodbye, Thesis.

My undergraduate thesis is FINISHED.

Click image to enlarge.

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Goal Setting

Is there a certain health behaviour that you’d like to change. Perhaps it’s doing more of something healthy or less of something unhealthy. More exercise? Eating breakfast (if you don’t already, you should! It’s the best meal of the day.)? Quitting smoking? Cutting back on caffeine?

Have something in mind? Well, wanting to change is actually the first step! Without the desire to change, there’s no sense in trying to change according to psychologist James Prochaska. Basically, his theory posits that people go through stages in order to adequately reach their goal of change. It involves contemplation (thinking of the benefits of the change), preparation (thinking of the difficulties of the change and setting goals), action (implementing change), and finally, maintenance (taking steps to prevent going back to your old ways).

With this in mind, for last week’s Positive Psychology Challenge each of us in the class had to choose a health behaviour that we either wanted to increase, decrease, or start doing.

What did I choose?

Here’s the thing; I love eating fruit. But I don’t eat enough of them. I always pack at least one or two fruit in my lunch/supper for school/work. However…when I’m home, fruit is not my go-to snack. I justify not eating much fruit at home by telling myself that I need to save my fruit for my packed lunches. I wanted to change that and incorporate more fruit into my diet.

It’s important to define goals. I couldn’t just say that I’m going to eat more fruit. What does “more” mean? A cart full of melons or just one extra grape? Goals need to be defined. Therefore I took in to account the amount of fruit that I eat on a typical daily basis, and decided to consciously add one extra per day.

How did I motivate myself? Well, you see, I don’t like wasting food. Wasting food means wasting money. Solution: have more fruit in the house than I normally would resulting in more fruit that could potentially spoil. This caused me to go bananas trying to finish all of it. Apples last forever, but bananas on the other hand…those things can be frustrating to keep on top of. But this allowed me an excuse to bake banana chocolate chip muffins. Maybe that is cheating slightly, but I didn’t count those banana muffins as an intake of fruit. I wish muffins were fruit…

I think I was pretty good at having my one-extra-fruit-a-day. And it was good; I enjoyed it. Fruit is always good! Will I maintain this new indulgence in fruit? Yes, but… I need to do more groceries first. Down to only two apples and I’m planning on savouring them!

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