Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Cristmas Letter

Dear Friends & Family,
I feel like this is a fairly accurate snapshot of our crazy family, mismatched socks and all. I don’t know about you, but it feels like each year gets busier that the last and I find myself trying to determine what I can cut out.   I wish that I had the time and energy to write each and everyone of you a personalized note. I appreciate each and every card and photograph that I have received.
It has been a year of unexpected surprises. In September, after much agonizing consideration, I decided to homeschool Claire.  I had been considering the possibility for some time, as grade 1 had been immensely challenging for her. I am so thankful that homeschooling is going better than I expected. Being responsible for her academic education feels like a BIG responsibility. 
Another surprise was purchasing a cabin on the gulf island of Saturna. Many of you are aware that we have been actively searching for acreage for the past two years but for one reason of another were not able to find what we wanted. A 650sqft fixer upper practically fell into our laps during a visit with my brother and sister in law, who happen to own a cabin on the land next to ours. We purchased the ½ acre after a week of considering the pros and cons. We invited my parents to purchase the property with us and got it for well under asking price. We were thrilled to discover that the appliances worked despite the fact that the cabin hadn’t been occupied in over 15 years. It has become such a source of joy for us. Not just because the scenery of Saturna island is breathtaking, but because it provides us with an excuse to have quality time together away from the hustle and bustle of our lives in the city. We have already spotted whales, numerous owls , deer and raccoons. We look forward to updating it and making many precious  memories there. 

Nathaniel took Amelia for a hunt earlier this fall and managed to shoot a four point buck with his bow. They were beyond thrilled. Amelia captured the whole experience on the go pro she found  snorkling in the river earlier this summer. Amelia continues to blow us away with her passion for writing and drawing. She has recently become very passionate about preserving the environment and recycling . She is playing soccer again this year and looks forward to raising a goat this year with 4H. I can’t believe she is already wearing a size nine and can almost steal my shoes!  Claire seems so much more confident, creative and talkative these days. She continues to be passionate about gymnastics and is enjoying learning all about bunnies in the hopes that she will get one in the new year. Levi has become incessantly  chatty although we don’t always understand what he is saying. He is obsessed with motor bikes and monster trucks and I know it is only  a matter of time before I am living at the BMX track. He still keeps me on my toes and get up to all sorts of trouble. 
I am continuing to work as a Victim Services case worker at the RCMP detachment two days a week. I find the work meaningful and it gives me the chance to actually sit down.  I am continuing to lead a mom’s group  and Nate and I are still leading a connect group one evening a week.   Sometimes I think we are crazy but doing so makes it possible to pour into the lives of others in a meaningful way. I hope this letter find you well. Merry Christmas! May you experience the love of Jesus in profound and life changing ways. 

Love the Lord Family!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Who do you say that I am?

There is something about this time of year that makes people raw and aware. For families that are struggling, the Christmas season intensifies the preexisting rifts and turns them into chasms. For those struggling pay check to pay check, the pressure to provide gifts becomes a burden that decimates their finances. Christmas has become a incredible source of stress for mothers across north America as we have become obsessed with making  Christmas "magical"? Why?  Its completely ridiculous and yet it is something I have certainly fallen prey to over the years. There is this  expectation that you will have a gift for everyone, bake homemade goodies, cook a fantastic Christmas dinner, attend all the Christmas parties with well dressed, well mannered children in tow, attend the wince inducing Christmas recitals and write handmade cards. It is all TOO MUCH! Why, why do we do this to ourselves? Sometimes I feel like all of it is just a distraction from  remembering that this is time of year we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus, whether it took place in December or not. 

Last night when I was putting the girls to bed the conversation turned to "Santa Clause" as it naturally does at this time of year. They wanted to know why parents told their children that Santa Clause  was real when he wasn't. I began by explaining that Santa Clause is based on  the historical figure, Saint Nicolas; patron saint of Children. I explained that he was a Greek Bishop who did in fact exist and that he gave gifts to children. As a family with Dutch heritage, we refer to him as we called him Sinterklass. We typically enjoy some tea and ginger cookies and exchange a few gifts on December 6th. I explained that the "Santa Clause" they see in the malls and on TV has was designed by coco- cola for marketing purposes and that he bears little resemblance to the historical figure. I went on to explain that we don't need to believe in Santa to make Christmas "magical". The history of Christ's birth is more magical than anything we could contrive. It is the greatest love storey ever told.

I find it so interesting that the storey of Christ's birth is often depicted in dreamy, muted tones, when in fact it was a situation fraught with desperation. I have been reading the book "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancy and it provides such a harrowing, raw account of the birth of Jesus.

           "Mary, an unwed mother, homeless, was forced to look for shelter while traveling to meet the heavy taxation demands of a colonial government. She lived in a land recovering from violent civil wars and still in turmoil- a situation much like that in modern Bosnia, Rwanda or Somalia. Like half of the mothers who deliver today, she gave birth in Asia, in its far western corner, the part of the world that would prove to least receptive to the son she bore. That son became a refugee in Africa, the continent where most refugees can still be found". - Philip Yancy

I often find it outrageous and laughable when Jesus is depicted as "white" or Christianity is depicted as a "white faith". The opposite could not be more true. Christianity  is not a faith for the proud, the accomplished, self sufficient, selfish or entitled. It is a faith for the underdogs of society. The Bible shows us that growing up, Jesus sensibilities were effected most deeply by the poor, the powerless, and the oppressed". Not only that, He "arranged the circumstances in which to be born on planet earth -without power, without wealth, without rights, without justice - his preferential options speak for themselves. He emerged in Palestine as a baby who could not speak or eat solid food or control his bladder, who depended on a teenager for shelter, food and love." No only that, "the God who came to earth came not in a raging whirlwind nor a devouring fire. Unimaginably, the Maker of all things shrank down, down, down, down so small as to become an ovum, a single fertilized egg barely visible to the human eye, an egg that divide and re divided until a fetus took shape, enlarging cell by cell inside a nervous teenager." - Phillip Yancy

A man by the name of Malcom Muggerridge explains that: "It is possible that , in our day, with family planning clinics offering convenient ways to current "mistakes" that might disgrace a family name, It is, in point of fact, extremely improbably , under existing conditions, that Jesus would not have been permitted to be born at all. Mary's pregnancy, in poor circumstances, and with the father unknown, would have been an obvious case for abortion; and her talk of having conceived as a result of an intervention of the holy ghost would have pointed to the need for psychiatric treatment, and made the case for terminating her pregnancy even stronger. Thus our generation, needing a saviour more, perhaps, than any other that has ever existed, would be too humane to allow one to be born".

So here we are 2,000 years later, still celebrating the birth of this fragile infant. Whatever you believe about it, the birth of Jesus was so important that it split history into two parts. Everything that has ever happened on this planet falls into a category of before or after Christ. 

And He asks us,  "Who do you say that I am"?


Friday, December 7, 2018

"Dear Me"

I heard this song come on Spotify this morning while I was bustling around the house and I found tears springing to my eyes. Such a powerful song!!!

(Click on the title to hear the song)

Dear Me
This is a letter to the girl I used to be
Dear Me
There are some things that you should know
It's not my intention to embarrass or to shame you
What's inside the rear-view mirror is closer than it appears
We do the best that we know how, with what we have been given
And the difference between you and I is, I've been given time
In time, you'll see

Dear Me
This is a letter to the girl I used to be
Some things are not as simple as we said
Remember when we thought there were a handful of some magic words to pray
A guarantee and a down payment on a mansion
Remember all the rules we made about the Body and the Blood
The hoops we made them jump through
Though He offers it to everyone
I'm so sorry

Do you remember now the things I said I thought that I deserved
My flag, and safety, a place to learn
The things I know I didn't earn
And bless their hearts, I'm sure it's hard
But handouts don't help anyone
And all the talk about the system
I sure hope someone can fix them
I said those things

Dear Me
This is a letter to the girl I used to be
You'll see, you're gonna take the long way
And there is nothing you could do or say to separate you
From the love of God who made you just exactly as He meant to
And you cannot imagine all the places you'll see Jesus
But you'll find Him everywhere you thought He wasn't supposed to go
So, go!.. Go!..

And hold all the mothers, whose babies bleed from bullet holes
And feel all the hunger, the bellies and the bones
Shout for the prisoner, cry for justice, loud and long
And march with the victims, as Jesus marches on
And sit at all the tables, 'cause Jesus eats with everyone
And dance to the music, if you can't sing its native tongue
And cry for the wombs, the mothers and the empty arms
And hold high the warriors, fighting now for freedoms' song

And love, love, love, love
Like it's your own blood
And love, love, love, love
As you have been loved
Love, love, love, love
Like it's your own blood
Love, love, love, love
As you have been loved
Love, love, love, love, love
Like you have been
Love, love, love, love, love
It's all about love!
Love, love, love, love, love
His name is love
Love, love, love, love, love

Dear Me
You did not learn this in a day or two or three
So ask a lot of questions
But Jesus loves us, this I know
And there are no exceptions

Friday, November 23, 2018

A little getaway

Sometimes the soul 
a little getaway
a little time immersed in a world seafoam and salal 
time in the company of 
likeminded souls
time to rest 
and talk and talk and talk :0)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Currently: September

Holy Is The Day by Carolyn Webber
Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

at 5am to that I can have two hours of uninterrupted time to reflect, journal read and prepare for the day (ie: work out, tidy up, get dressed, prep breakfast and pack lunches)

 on building up my strength after not working out consistently over the summer. 

an apple pie with some lovely hand picked apples. Claire and I were inspired by the lovely pies created by michllechapin on Instagram. 

to a fundraiser for Tour De Rock this evening with my hubby

to actually use the bullet journal I purchased

how to embroider with my girls. So far we have learned three different stitches. Amelia chose the tutorial which has been quite challenging but fun.

an eyelash serum called Eye Envy  that I bought back in the summer. I can't believe how much fuller and longer my lashes are!!!!! I am truly shocked. 

about ways to help Claire enjoy the subjects she find challenging ( math and writing)

very conflicted about the SOGI 123 program that is now part of B.C.'s public school education. 

to get better at planning ahead of time

forward to celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary with Nathaniel on Friday.

to think about our annual Christmas letter and the gifts I would like to purchase this year.

that homeschooling is going much better than I anticipated and that I am actually enjoying it. 

on the days when I used to have time to restore furniture and create pretty things.

Friday, September 14, 2018

You Say

This song  by Lauren Daigle  reminds me to lean on the One  who reminds
  me that "I am strong when I think I am weak". 

"You Say"
"I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, o-ooh

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
Oh, I believe

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, o-ooh

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

Oh I believe
Yes I believe
What You say of me
Oh I believe"

- Lauren Daigle

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Houseboat Adventure

I can assure you that floating around on a houseboat for a week is the perfect way to end the summer. Prior to leaving I was up to my eyeballs in curriculum options and stressed out about trying to find childcare for Levi. My children had been sick for nearly two weeks prior to departure and I was stressed that they were going to pass their germs to our friends. Thankfully, my children had an amazing time despite the fact that they hacked their lungs out the entire trip. They swam and climbed and ziplined and snorkeled and fished to their hearts content. They all turned a lovely shade of brown and  returned home feeling well rested and refreshed. 

Claire was obsessed with these mountains and took heaps of photos of them with SLR. Perhaps I should incorporate photography into her homeschool activities. 

We were blessed to spend a night with some RCMP friends in Salmon Arm and catch a glimpse of their lovely life there. We  camped with them earlier this summer at Sprout Lake. Claire didn't waste any time bonding with their bunny. 

We spent the next week exploring various branches of the Shuswap Lake.  Each afternoon we would secure our houseboat to the shore and release the children to explore until bedtime. Each beach
 had something unique to offer: lizards, frogs, rope swings, waterfalls, shiny rocks, spawning sockeye and incredible views. 

Because adding Christmas lights to a houseboat is how we roll.....

We would have regular plank and push-up contests just for fun. 

I was impressed with the devotion with which the children fished. Finn caught this beauty on the first night and he spent nearly every free minute afterwards trying to catch another big one. There were endless tangled rods and one day we found a fishing rod completely submerged and  hanging off the stay lines. How that happened we will never know, but Nate managed to retrieve it. 

I spent a great deal of time soaking up the sun and reading this fantastic Charlotte Mason book. Keana, thank you for lending it to me!!!!

Don't worry, we left the spawning sockeye alone.

Oh look its a blurry picture of me with Erin and Julie!!! 

My sick baby having a much needed break from all the fun.  

The children had so much fun filming stuff with Amelia's GoPro camera. 

I just adore this kiddo.  

Finn sweetly teaching Levi something. 

We ate plenty of yummy meals thanks to Julie expert planning and prepping. She brought homemade muffins and pre-marinated all of the meat. Seriously, this woman is amazing!!!

Because adding strobe lights to a bonfire just takes things up a notch. Thanks Allan!

When the children needed some down time we utilized this lovely piece of technology.  

Allan brought along his zip line and set it up in the forest at one the beaches we visited. It was AWESOME!!!

Julie showing us how it is done :0)

Bonding with daddy over some Lego in our little sleeping compartment. I was surprised at how cleverly the boathouse was laid out. There was a ton of places to sleep. 

Milo always has the brightest smiles!

He looks grumpy but he is actually concentrating on "sucking it in" for the camera. :0)

The night we parked on "party beach". I can assure you, there was a party and it involved a LOT of rainbows :0) 

Nothing beats a real fire. We were delighted that the fire ban was lifted while we were still on vacation. 

Cause you get a bit silly when you have been floating for a week. 

These two have been friends for a LONG time! Julie and I had a good laugh when we noticed that they were both dressed the same.

Here are a few photos I stole off Julie's Facebook page: