Thursday, December 18, 2014

HOPE


 

On Saturday I attended a lovely brunch at my church. The room was strung with twinkly lights, paper lanterns and beautiful snowflakes. The candlelight flickers from  tables laden with Christmas goodies. Two incredible women shared some powerful, encouraging words, but what struck me the most was their insights on hope. Hope is something that we talk about often around this time of year. Many of the Christmas songs we hear have a message of hope. But what is hope, particularly Biblical hope?

Ordinarily when we use the word hope, we express uncertainty rather than certainty. We typically express one of the following three things. A desire for something good in the future, something in the future that we desire, and the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed be fulfilled.
Biblical hope, on the other hand, is not just a desire for something good in the future, but rather...
 
A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.

 Biblical hope has moral certainty in it. When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.”
 
There are many things that I "hope" for in the future. That I will raise fearless children that love Jesus, that Nathaniel and I will be able to build a beautiful home on acreage together, that I will be able to do an ironman triathlon, and that I will visit Morocco, Turkey, Rome, Paris, and an island in the South Pacific. While these are lovely things to hope for, there is no certainly that they will happen. My hope in Jesus, however IS certain. It is, perhaps the only thing in my life that is certain. I know that my heavenly father HAS a plan and that his plans and purposes WILL be fulfilled.

I love how one of my favorite authors, C.S Lewis, breaks it down....
 
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."" - C.S Lewis
 
“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
 
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
 
We all long for something more, whether we are willing to admit it to ourselves or not. Nearly every faith I can think of has a theory about what happens to us when pass on. Honestly, eternity is something that baffles me.  Everything I know eventually  deteriorates. The2nd Law of Thermodynamics confirms that there is a universal law of decay. And yet,  somewhere in the deepest parts of ourselves,we know that there is something more than just this physical, temporary life. It is as though the knowledge of eternity is hardwired into us.

I know that my life on this earth is fleeting. Just a beautiful blip in time. I can't help but think of the generations that have gone before me and slipped away. My time will someday also come to an end, and knowing that makes me want to live my life to the fullest.  I hope that when I die I will have brightened and improved the lives of those I have known. I want to leave an incredible legacy for my children. I want my life to mean something. But I also know, there is SO MUCH MORE and that fills me with hope. I don't know what eternity entails,.... goodness, I don't really even care. All I know, is that I want to be were Jesus is because my hope is in HIM!

 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1






Gingerbread Houses

 
This morning I woke up thinking about gingerbread. Probably because my hands were still fragrant from the combination of spices I had used to make a batch of dough the night before. Claire has been asking me to make a "cookie house" for weeks now and I keep promising her that we will. I am not going to make gingerbread house from scratch this year. Instead I am going to borrow a really neat idea from one of my favorite bloggers over at Under The Sycamore . She made some really neat little graham cracker houses with a glue gun and then let her kiddos decorate them. I thought it would be fun to invite a couple of Amelia and Claire's friends over to decorate houses together. 

Check out this epic gingerbread house we saw at a bakery in Ladysmith earlier this month. 






Friday, December 5, 2014

My sink and my heart overflow



My sink and my heart overflow. Lego crunches beneath my feet.  
I walk through a sea of empty toilet paper rolls coated with glue and glitter. I change yet into yet another shirt and use a wet wipe to wash the baby puke out out my hair. The wriggly little body on my hip reminds me to kiss a fuzzy head that smells like heaven.  I am famished. I try to warm up a bowl of soup, but don't remember to eat it for another hour. My tea is stone cold. The counter is strewn with crumbs, and glue sticks and pamphlets from school.  In the past hour I have navigated through a spider web of tape, changed two diapers, nourished a small human, placed stamps on 45 Christmas cards and gathered a mountain of paper snowflakes. It's only 10:00am. A tiny girl garbed in dress up clothes whirls into the room and proceeds to spread play dough from one end of the table to the other. A blanket fort is being constructed in the corner of the living room. A half eaten apple sits neglect nearby. The  shriek of joy and a howl of frustration are the anthem of my day.  




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wreath Making Party!


 I am starting to get super excited about my wreath making party next week. After picking out our Christmas tree at Go Go's tree farm we gathered some cedar branches on the way home. I still need to collect some sequoia, holly, ivy, and pine branches. I am going to attempt to make a maple walnut crunch cheese cake for the event. Oooooooh I LOVE Christmas!



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apples to Applesauce



Last month we picked and gleaned some apples from a neighbor's yard. Some of them were small and imperfect, but they were colorful, organic and delicious! Our dear friends joined in the fun  Afterwards we lugged our loot home and made the majority of it into applesauce. We also froze a couple freezer bags full for pies and crisps. Yum Yum!













Friday, November 28, 2014

These days


Recent Accomplishment: Made two photo books in one day (normally it takes me MONTHS)
Eating: Lots of roasted almonds and homemade applesauce mixed with plain Geek yogurt
Following: The Jian Ghomeshi story.
Currently: Sanding and waxing some chairs for our dining room table
Looking forward to: My wreath making party in December
Trying to: Do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred video with my husband after we put the kiddos to bed.
Collecting: Evergreens and hawthorn berries.
Need to: Write my annual Christmas letter
Reading: The book of John (Bible)
Can't wait to: get our Christmas Tree!
Favorite new toy: A Portable Cocoon that plays/streams music from my iPhone.  It means  finally get to listen to songza/spotify music LOUD!
Waiting for: fluff mail to arrive (my woven wrap from Guatemala).
Thankful for: My soft, sumptuous bed.
Trying to decide: What to bake for Christmas this year.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

My amazing man

As most of you know, Nathaniel has been on paternity leave for the past three months.

It. has. been. AWESOME!

To tell you the truth, I had quite a few reservations about having my husband home for an extended period of time. I know that sounds bizarre, but I was pregnant, hormonal and emotionally volatile at the time. I was nervous about relinquishing my sphere of influence and nervous about allowing Nathaniel to take ownership of our older girls; not to mention general management of our home.  I was also worried about how having another child was going to effect our marriage and our family dynamic. When I tearfully and rather dramatically expressed my fears on a trip to the mainland earlier this summer, he eased my fears by suggesting that we check in one another at the end of each week to discuss what was working and what wasn't. It was a wise and comforting suggestion that has worked well for us. We still have moments when we need a little space from each other, but for the most part it is working out splendidly. When both of the girls are whining and Levi is yelling at the top of his lungs Nathaniel and I find ourselves trying to make the best of it. The other day we took bets on how many more meltdowns would happen before bedtime.

In September he took our girls to Port Hardy for five days and then took them to the mainland via public transport for nearly a week.  When he wasn't gallivanting around the province with the girls he was canning, harvesting honey, picking fruit and teaching Claire how to ride her bike without training wheels. He cooks most of our meals, does ninety five percent of the the school drop off and pick ups and takes care of the laundry. Yesterday,  I was thoroughly impressed when he de-junked and organized the girls craft cupboard and then re-hung a mountain of clothing that had been dropped on the floor of their bedroom. Who needs romance when you have that kind of awesome stuff going on? Oh and then last night he made the most delicious  hearty stew with leftover ham, stewed tomatoes and sprouted beans. So wholesome and satisfying. I don't normally gush about my husband, especially on Facebook, but I am so impressed and thankful for his help. He truly is an amazing father and husband.



 I am often sheepish about telling people that my husband has taken paternity leave if the topic happens to surface. Usually, it is because I feel bad that it is not an option for most people and I dread the possibility that they may think I am "high maintenance". I must admit,  I was a little nervous to have all three kiddos on my own for eleven days when Nathaniel had to be away for  a course, but everything went really well. I really enjoyed having them all to myself.

 Ultimately, Nathaniel's paternity leave has been a gift for our family.  Not only has it allowed Nathaniel to tackle projects that have been on the back burner for ages, but it has also given us time to grow closer, have adventures and rest. We also get to do things like eat meals together as a family every night of the week,  something that has been impossible for the past eleven years. The other day we were sitting around our thanksgiving feast, sharing the things that we were grateful for and I realized that the last time Nathaniel and I had a chunk of time like this together was when we traveled around the world, which coincidentally, was also for nine months. Here we are, nearly six years later, with another chunk of time, but this time around we get to play "house" with our three kiddos.



Nathaniel recently started helping out with children's church and we have enjoyed hearing him play the guitar when he practices.


Hiking in the great outdoors


My handsome bee keeper with a frame full of honey comb


Covering the sandbox and building proper stairs


Spinning out the honey



 His hives did really well!


Looking for frogs with the girls


Off to court


He picked nearly 90lbs of blackberries with his grandma this summer.


Collecting ferns for our backyard




Early morning snuggles


He has perfected salmon Eggs Benedict. So freakin GOOD!


At the pumpkin patch 




He is good at taking naps with Claire. She fell asleep sitting up while watching her favorite show "The land before time"


Finally building the pergola! Whoot Whoot!