4 reasons why Great Dane is my favorite coffee shop in Vancouver, BC

Soooooo here are way too many pictures of one of my current favorite coffee shops in Vancouver. Meet Great Dane!!! There are a lot of incredible coffee shops in Vancouver and I've been to a good handful of them but I have to say this is one of my favorite. Here are my 4 reasons why I love this place so much:

Reason #1 - I can walk there in three minutes. Three minutes! Could it really be any closer? Well probably, but that would just be dangerous. Take a short walk through some trees, past a little park and walla!! I realize this reason might not apply to you (unless you live in my building, in which case we should hang out!) but reason #2, #3 and #4 will surely convince you to at least take a stop by.

Reason #2 - They have my favorite latte in town. I usually get lattes when I go to coffee shops because I love how creamy they are + the smooth and rich taste of espresso. I've tried a lot of lattes in Vancouver and have found some to be too milky, some to not have very quality ingredients or not to be well brewed and others to be a little too potent on the espresso side of things. I find Great Dane's lattes are my ideal balace of quality milk that is well frothed with quality brewed espresso that is flavorful and so smooth. This drink goes down really easy.

Reason #3 is their food. You can get a hearty lunch and an array of incredible snacks. They have killer sandwhiches, which you can view below, and some wonderfully monstrous scones which pair perfectly with a hot drink. I've met their chef Bruno who is a kind man and has generously allowed me to sample some of his dishes, all of which have been excellent. They also have some good gluten free options for those of you who are gluten intolerant. All in all, their food is made with excellence and has a real heartiness to it that is very satisfying and won't leave you hungry or unhappy.

Reason #4- good people. When you live three minutes away you get to know that people who work at your local coffee shop. Carson and I have also had the great privilege of meeting the manager and owner, a great mother-and-son team that has so many innovative ideas and a real love for their community. They are people who are often around and take good care of their staff and their local community members. To me, that is the kind of place I want to invest in: a shop that is willing to invest and serve their community. This Christmas season they even held a craft fair, which I got to take part in as Little Moon Market!!! What coffee shop have you ever heard of holding a craft fair?! I love it.

So I hope you will consider stopping by because it really is just sooo good, you guys. I'll put their info below so you can go take a trip. And as usual, I'd love for you to take a look at the photos. Feedback is always welcome.

P.S. - To all you artisans and makers out there who are interested in having me document their process and product, please contact me. I'd love to talk!

GREAT DANE

Address: 6011 Walter Gage Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Phone: (604) 558-2190

Hours: Generally open 7:30-5pm, Monday-Friday. Saturday 9am-3pm (thank the Lord for them being open on Saturdays)...

At the Spanish Banks at sunset

The Spanish banks in Vancouver have to be one of my favorite places in all of Vancouver. Not only because the sunset is held in such open space but also because I hae been fewer places were the boarders of my vision are so broad. I don't think this post will be good at all in showing you the broadness of the place or even the place much itself, but it will show you some of the person whom I love to enjoy this place with. It will also show you some of the small things I noticed the evening I was there; like the sparkle of the orange in the slow moving tide, the silhouette of the mountains or how the light gives everything it touches a hint of orange and yellow.Enjoy:)

Queen Victoria Day Hike

This last spring I went on one of my first Hike's since moving to Vancouver.  I know, you are thinking, wow that was a long time ago. Yes, it was, but its not to late for me to post about and I figure it is worth remembering to me. The weather that day was beautifully overcast and the company was good. I noticed so many small and beautiful details as we walked, capturing only a few of them. I hope this short post gives you some rest and remains a reminder to me to keep my eyes open.

pt.3 of Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson

On the first day we arrived, we had barreled down winding forest roads, past beautiful ocean vistas until we arrived at a gated road. The old gate was creaked opened and we drove down an unpaved road with small patches of valley on each side that were hugged by a thick forest. On our right was a forest amidst huge mossy boulders, and climbing along these rocks were a flock of white sheep. I had never seen sheep amidst the forest before, and seeing their white fur contrast with the darkness of the forest and the green of the trees and the mossy rocks was something mysterious and beautiful, like something from another land. 

Since seeing that I very much wanted to return to take a deeper drink of it all. So I took off early in the morning to take some photos, first exploring the sea shore and then heading over to the sheep barn.

As a child, my mother often took me, in Spring, to the sheep barns to see the sheep being born. I remember it pretty well. It was always something I really enjoyed. It felt like the whole event was covered in the fresh innocence of something new and beautiful coming into the world. It was a precious affair for my mom and I and I'm grateful for our many Spring outings. Outside of that I have never spent much time with sheep.

My first lesson about these sheep, was just how skittish and nervous they really are. Within minutes of being near them, I learned the definition of "sheepish." I walked into the barn while they were eating and quietly inched my way closer to them, hoping on the very slight chance that I could pet one. Well, that never happened. While I mostly moved painfully slow at first, just getting near to them made one of the sheep so nervous I could literally hear his heavy breathing as he looked at me, still chewing his hay.

They kept their eye on me for quite a while, and I stood there silently, unsuccessfully trying to put them at ease. Sheep are such vulnerable creatures. Being around them I realized they really have no way of defending themselves, and I do pity them for that. But it also strikes me how very dumb they are in light of their inability of defending themselves. For within minutes of me ( the possible predator) standing there quietly, they would just go back to their eating until I moved again, and then they would back up, quivering with fear. When danger comes to humans or many other animals, we usually fight or flight (leave). These sheep, did neither for the most part. While they initially shyed away, they allowed me to get so much closer than a defensless animal should. In some of the photographs I took later on in the day, I was sitting an arm length or two away. Astounding. 

Eventually, on accident, I scared the sheep out of the barn and into the field. As I said in earlier posts, these sheep were free range and would roam all around the many acres of land. So up into the woods they went, grazing and rubbing their itchy heads and bums on trees and stumps. The little lambs jumped and played and it was PRECIOUS. 

I sat with two little lambs who snuggled up with one another. I then finished my time by walking back towards the house were I saw little sheep jumping over a stream and a more mature sheep chomping away at grass and giving me a good stare. I realized I love to watch grown sheep jump, like little puff balls of clouds bouncing through the air with those legs stiff straight. It never ceases to make me laugh.

I enjoyed my time with these gentle creatures and learned a lot about them. I hope you enjoy the photos and learn something for yourself.

The Drier Family, Vancouver, BC

I had the privilege of spending part of the day with the Dreier family at Granville Island and then we headed over to the beach. They have one beautiful son and are expecting another little one soon. Originally from Germany, they have been here for the last couple of years pursuing higher education and had these photos done before they headed back to Germany. I think whenever you've spent a significant amount of time somewhere it is nice to have a way to remember the places you went and specifically your family in those places. Which is where I come in. If you and your family are looking to take photos before you go back home, I currently have a summer deal for family photos! You get 1.5hrs for $200, which is pretty spectacular if you ask me. Just shoot me an email and we can talk more! 

pt. 2 of Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson's farm

Day 2:

The land here is beautiful, the house sits snug next to the sea and is given plenty of land out on its back side. There's a garden, pond, wood shed, garage, chicken coop, compost, a line of fruit trees, forest, room to roam and a field for the sheep. The sheep field connects to the neighbors, whom the Wilkinson's share the larger plot of land with. The sheep roam freely and come up and down the rocky forest hillside. The chickens also have their wandering and the dog Mossy is faithful in herding them to and fro.

The day was spent almost all outside, except for our slow morning eating breakfeast, a short time of singing which I accidentally missed, and a noon time siesta. Spending so much time outside helped ground and reconnect me.

 I spent most of this day pruning fruit trees with the two Lydia's. It was at first so satisfying, freeing the trees of all their extra weight, "like a hair cut" said one of the Lydia's as we lopped off branches. Our "hair cuts" were often quite dramatic and left many of the trees looking very bare. After an hour or more I started to be saddened by all the pruning, it felt almost discouraging to think of all the work these trees had done that I was just lopping off.  There was a term I learned for many of the branches I cut off; that term is 'suckers'. Suckers grow straight up towards the sky. They are called 'suckers' because they take away energy from the tree as they have to push hard against gravity to grow the direction they do. What I've learned about pruning is that the mind and aim of a pruner is to bear the most fruit. That's it. In the end, the tree exists to give its fruit, not to look pretty or provide shade (that's what non-fruit bearing trees are for). So, every decision that is made, no matter how small or large, is made to help the tree produce more fruit. 

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." -John 15:1-2

As I was undergoing these major pruning procedures, it created some space for self-reflection and an awareness of just how much in me may need to be tended to as the vine-dresser tends to his branches.

Every time I'm in nature I find so many opportunities to learn about the way of life. Nature has that way of creating space for revelation, for urging it on, almost. That is part of why I was so excited to be at the Wilkinson's for a weekend. But let me move on now and explain some more of what you'll see below.

One of the major tasks our group took on was, in a way, an experiment. In the Wilkinson's pond there was an algae growing at an extremely rapid pace, or so it seemed. So our job was to try and take out as much of this algae as we could, both because the Wilkinson's didn't want it in there, and because I think they wanted to see at what speed it really was growing. The algae you'll see below is pinkish red in color and our group was quite creative in our technique of extracting it from the pond. With many hands on deck a good deal of work was done and some good progress was made, but in the end it was a task that seemed nearly impossible to perfectly execute. The pictures below will tell you of the fun that was had attempting the project. 

Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson's Pt.1

One of the fun things I've been able to do since being in B.C. is join one of Regent College's soup groups. Our soup group meets around the subject of gardening, and more specifically tending the Regent Garden. This past spring we had the joy of journeying to Regent professor Loren and Mary Ruth Wilkinson's house to help take care of their garden and general needs around their farm. We spent three days there and this first blog post will cover the short but sweet first day. You'll notice that this blog post will be much shorter than the next two and doesn't include photos of the farm; its much more like an introduction to some of the people and the house than a thorough investigation of the farm. The time spent outside amidst the garden and the sheep will come in my later in my blog posts. Hope you  enjoy this intro.