Monday, October 24, 2011

Are You Ready For This...

Cause I'm pretty sure I wasn't! We just managed to get through a pretty wild weekend filled with thrills and spills and way more puke than I ever want to see. I should warn you now that if you are the squeamish type then this might not be the post for you. That being said there is a happy ending so if you just bear with me, you might just enjoy the read.

The 'fun' really started the weekend before. On Sunday evening after church we were at a friend's house for their housewarming party. The kids had a great time. They got to eat lots of food, stay up late and play with other children. The morning after was a bit of a different picture. Sean got up and threw up in the toilet. I chalked it up to the craziness of the night before and didn't think much of it. He was fine the rest of the day.

Then came Tuesday and the day had been bright and beautiful. That is up until supper time when Nate decided to stuff his face full and guzzle way too much juice at one time which as you might be guessing caused for some impressive vomit! Right at the But again, it seemed kinda random and there was no temperature so figured all was fine. That is until we got him up the next morning and the poor thing had gotten sick over night...ICK. But he was in good spirits and ate his breakfast with no ill effects. So off to Bible Study we went. And everything was wonderful until Nate once again stuffed his face and took off running...guess what--he barfed! Yippeee! Thankfully though, that was the end of it.

Or so we thought. Lets jump to 4 am on Saturday, we wake up to Sean calling out that Emma-Lyn has thrown up in her bed. And whaddya know she did! So time to clean more puke and usher her into the bathroom. At this point I am trying very hard to find reasons to be thankful, like "hey, at least its on the bed and not on the carpet." or "she doesn't seem to be continuing so maybe this is it."

We all ate breakfast and everything seemed back to normal so we figured we'd stick with our plans and head into town. We visited Marko's Nanny first then we popped into a thrift shop to look for costumes for the Murder Mystery Party we're going to on Wednesday night, then we went to the Superstore for lunch, did a pop into the Farmer's Market, then off to the Value Village for more costume hunting and finally we found ourselves on our way home. Emma-Lyn pipes up in the back seat with these ominous words, "My stomach hurts..." And without further ado she promptly up chucks all over herself--twice. Sean is freaking out now because some of it is on him! We calm him down and tell him we're not far from a gas station where we will get everything sorted out.

Once we are at the gas station both Marko and Sean rush in to find some paper towel. I head for the backseat to see what I can toss onto the ground to begin the cleaning. I unhook Emma-Lyn's seatbelt but, can't do anything else until the boys get back with some paper towel. Again I find myself looking for reasons to be thankful. This time we're thankful that we weren't far from a gas station, I'm very thankful that neither Sean nor Nate end up barfing in sympathy. (something I had a propensity for doing when I was younger when my sister got sick) Also thankful that we have a blanket that we put over the back seat of the car so that everything is contained. I am thankful that the kids' car seats have washable covers. By this time the boys come back with paper towel and the cleaning begins. I get Emma-Lyn out and she's happy to be out and getting cleaned up. We let the kids play on the grass while we finish cleaning up. In the trunk we find a vest that Emma-Lyn can wear for the ride home and a blanket we can put across their seats...again ever so thankful for that.

From there it was all clear sailing. At home Emma-Lyn got changed, we cleaned out the car completely and got things into the washing machine...PHEW! Supper was uneventful... thankfully. And so that brings us to playtime...the time just before bed time. Nate was in bed by this time as per usual and I'm awful thankful he was. Because as Marko was horsing around with the kiddos, all of a sudden we hear this great gush of water! We both took off for the kitchen. Me, all the while yelling, "What is happening?!!" Marko, heads straight for the basement to shut off the water. I run to the kitchen and discover the hole in the tube to the washing machine. I foolishly try to cover it with my finger and really, I don't think I've ever attempted something so useless in my life! It did exactly nothing to help the situation! In the meantime the kids are freaking out and starting to cry. Marko gets the water shut off so now we re-group. We send the kids into the living room to play while we try to figure out what to do. With some effort we were able to move the washing machine to see if there was a shut off near it--no such thing I'm afraid. So Marko heads downstairs again to look for another shut off. The kids in the meantime are dearly wanting to help out so we send them upstairs for towels to help in the clean up.

Marko finds another shut off--problem is it's a little difficult to get to. We have a clay basement and while one part you can maneuver fairly easily, the other area is strictly crawl space--guess where the shut off was?! So, I got to get my grubby clothes on and crawl around the pipes and such to the shut off. Great, got that done, head back upstairs to see if we got the right one. Marko turns the main water line back on and GUSH!! Water everywhere, right in my face since I was hovering right over the stupid thing! Back down I go to try the tap the other way. This time we ask Sean to watch for water. We tell the boy to scream if he sees any...Marko turns the water back on... Sean screams bloody blue murder up there. We yell at Sean not to scream (theres some great parenting for ya!!) Now I try the other tap. We ask Sean to watch for water, the lad is more than hesitant to take us up on this but he follows through anyways...This time no water!! We got it! Out from the crawl space I come and we finish cleaning up the mess. The rest of bed time goes off without a hitch...PHEW

Once back downstairs, Marko and I are thankful that everything is okay and that we don't have any puke to clean up. Not even a minute later and we hear Sean yell down the stairs, "Emma-Lyn is puking in her bed!!!" Seriously?! Seriously. Up we go, Marko takes her to the bathroom to clean her up while I clean the bed and the carpet. One more time we put them to bed in the hopes that we have seen the end of it. We sit back down on the couch and just laugh.

In the morning Marko stays home with Emma-Lyn just to be on the safe side. She did manage to woof her cookies one more time in the toilet, but thankfully that was the final time! After church Marko ran into town to get the replacement hose for the washer. While I took Sean and Emma-Lyn to swimming lessons, he got it hooked back up. I headed back down to the basement to turn the water back on and hope that we got everything settled properly. And we did!! My husband is a superhero!!

All is well that ends well. And in case you are wondering what my husband's perspective on this chain of events is, check out his post on dontmindme.comLink

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Testimony

This past Thursday I was the speaker at a Christian Ladies Group and had the opportunity to share my testimony so I thought I would also share it here on the ol' blog. Enjoy. :)

I grew up in a family of four, my mom and dad and my older sister and me. We lived in Ontario for most of my childhood. We went to church on Sundays and came home to enjoy big Sunday lunches...I have to admit that was my favourite part of Sundays--the food!! I wasn’t so into Sunday school or church so it didn’t bother me when my folks decided they had had enough of the church we had been going to and instead we all got to enjoy sleeping in. I didn’t miss it and we still got the yummy lunches so I was pretty pleased about that. I didn’t think much about God or Jesus at that time. I went to school during the week and enjoyed family time on the weekends.

Every other summer my sister and I would get to visit my grandparents in Nova Scotia which we really enjoyed. It was like travelling to a whole different world. To go from the hustle and bustle of city life in Ontario to the laid back and quiet life in the country in Nova Scotia. I lived for those summers. My grandparents had a farm, lots of open space, a barn to explore and of course the animals were a curiosity. Just as curious were some of the friends my grandparents would take us to go visit. I remember one family’s home as they were an older couple and didn’t have children our age so there wasn’t much for my sister and I to do but look around and stare at the walls. There was one plaque on the wall that captured my attention and I began reading it...I’d like to read it to you now, perhaps you’ve heard once or twice before:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

I have to interject here and tell you that even as a child I was getting upset reading this! I was all like, YEAH, GOD! Where were you when he needed you most?!!!

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

Carolyn Carty, 1963

WOW! I had to fight back the tears so my grandparents wouldn’t wonder what was wrong with me--didn’t figure I read a plaque on the wall and it made me cry would sound all that intelligent...but I’ll tell you from then on I couldn’t get that scene out of my head. Kept mulling it over and over. Still didn’t go to church but I was certainly thinking about God a lot more.

By the time I was 14 my folks were tired of the rat race and keeping up with the Joneses lifestyle of Ontario and my grandparents just so happened to be putting their farmhouse up for sale. It seemed the right time to make the move and on my 14th birthday we made the trek from Newmarket, Ontario to Westville, Nova Scotia. Talk about your culture shock! Went from being right in the middle of town to being right in the middle of a bunch of fields. We were 15 minutes away from the nearest town. Basically everything was far away, or so it seemed anyways.

For one reason or another my father decided to go back to church. This was fine with me so long as he didn’t intend to make the rest of us go, which he didn’t. What he did do was come home with story after story about what went on at church, the people he met, what the minister was like and so on. He also became a member of the choir and now he had even more stories. I love singing and enjoyed school choirs so now he had my ear. After a while I decided I would go with him and see what it was like. I loved it. The people were wonderful and the service was enjoyable. What really struck a cord with me was my first Christmas eve service.

Weeks before hand the church had been decorated with red and green lights around the windows. The sanctuary had green garland around the banisters with little white mini lights interwoven. Even the large stained glass window behind the choir loft was lit up. I just loved it. And on Christmas Eve the church was just glowing and the place was packed with families and friends. You could feel the anticipation building. I loved being in the choir, you had the best view of the place. As we walked in and sat down in our pews, it was delightful to look out at the sea of faces of family and friends. The service began with the usual hymns and readings but my favourite part was the ending. Just as the last hymn’s notes faded away, the lights in the church were turned off one by one. First the overhead lights, then the pretty Christmas lights and then even the small light over the pulpit the minister turned off himself. The entire building was in darkness. It was so dark you couldn’t even see your hand in front of you. The dark and stillness were almost overpowering until the doors at the front of the church were opened and a young boy walked up the aisle with one small candle. He walked up to the minister and lit his candle and then in turn the minister lit the advent candles...little by little the light grew. He walked back to the choir and as we gripped our candles tightly, we passed the light from one to another. In the meantime the minister had gone down to the congregation and started sharing the light with them. It was so amazing to watch as the light passed along and how the darkness was pushed aside as the light continued to grow. There was no stopping it once it started. Once all the candles were lit, each face beaming in the glow of their candles we sang Silent Night--gives me goosebumps. At the last line everyone lifted their candle up to let the light shine! It was a most magnificent sight! The joy just welled right up inside of you till it came tumbling out in song! Awesome!

Another favourite service was the Easter sunrise service. It was held behind the church in the graveyard. We sang hymns and had readings and generally shivered. We were a smaller crowd but somehow that seemed fitting. Again what started as a dark moment was enveloped in light as the sun rose over the horizon. The minister said, “Let us shout it from the rooftops Christ has risen!!” Amen! I so wanted to do that right then even!

Now while those services and the not so exciting services were lovely and all I couldn’t shake the feeling or the doubt that I had missed something somewhere along the line. A piece of the puzzle had somehow slipped out of my hand. There was something and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Oh well, I thought may as well just keep on keepin’ on.

By this time I was on my way to university in New Brunswick where I joined the choir in the campus chapel. I loved it there, it was open and and the people were friendly. The choir director invited me to join his church choir Sunday mornings which I happily accepted. More friendly faces awaited me. And while I enjoyed the differences of this church that nagging doubt of having missed something just wouldn’t leave me. It would be another four years before anything resembling a solution would appear.

I was living in PEI now staying at a Christian college and attending UPEI to become a teacher. I loved living at the college and took some classes while I was there. Again there was a choir to belong to and I loved it. Even more I felt, while in the presence of these students, that I had somehow, somewhere along the line missed something. And now it was really beginning to bother me. I would think back on my past and how I had gone to church, sang the songs, read the readings, prayed the prayers--so why this doubt? I just couldn’t figure it out. During this time I had developed a lovely rapport with the president of the college and was disappointed when he had to leave to fill another position back in his home province of Nova Scotia.

Still, life had to go on and on it went until one Sunday as I sat in church I just couldn’t stand it any longer and now I wanted to know, just had to know what was it that I missed?!! But I had a problem, who do I ask? The person beside me? What if they had the same question or worse yet they had no answer for me. And besides how is one to even ask?

“Hey uh, I’ve gone to church for years you know and ahh, I sang the songs and read and prayed and stuff and I think I may have missed something---don’t suppose you know what it was?!!”

Yeah, that’s not going to work...hmmm could ask the minister after the service, he’s probably heard everything and might be able to get this one...ugh but he’s always so busy then and people are all milling about. That’s not going to work either. So I was left with the only surefire way to get to an answer: prayer. It was a very simple stated prayer, Lord if you would just put before me a person or such to let me know what I missed that would be great. Amen. To think that even in the Bible it says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with your whole heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

The funny thing is I pretty much prayed that prayer and then forgot about it. That is, until later on that week when I was at my friend’s home chatting and drinking coffee with her. We weren’t long into it when she told me that she had a letter for me from the past president of the christian college I had stayed at. I was pretty pumped about that, and couldn’t wait to read his letter. What that man wrote in his letter blew me away. About a paragraph into it he mentioned that he feels that I had a heart for the Lord but somewhere along the line I had MISSED SOMETHING!! I just stopped reading there and that prayer came right back to me and I got goosebumps just thinking about it. Now not only had he sent this message but he also included a work booklet for me to look over. It was within those work book pages that I finally found what I was looking for. Simply stated, I was a sinner and needed salvation and the only way to receive it was through Jesus Christ! What a great example of the verse found in Romans 5:8 that reads, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Wow! I can remember being in my own bedroom the night I read those words and then praying that the Lord would forgive me for my sins and live in my heart. To know that it says in Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” It was a quiet and special moment for me and I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night with the biggest smile on my face! I’ll never forget that moment and the life that began that night. I thank the Lord for hearing my little prayer and finding me when I needed him most.

And now years after that prayer the Lord has blessed me with a husband who cares for me (and ceases snoring when nudged) and 3 beautiful children to care for. There are many challenges to face during this journey that we call life. They can be daunting and cause us to stumble, a loved one gets cancer, you are financially strapped, your family relationships may be suffering but throughout it all it is a comfort to remember that there isn’t a thing that can separate us from the love of God as it reads in Romans 8:38 “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanksgiving in Nova Scotia

On Sunday morning we headed on over to the mainland for Thanksgiving with the Hopes. The kids were super excited, they love traveling on the ferry. The ride was smooth and we had brought Superstore doughnuts with us for snacks (if you haven't tried them, you really should, they are amazing!!) We met some friends and chatted for a bit and also met some of the people on the tour group from Michigan. One of my favourite parts of going on the boat is to talk to people and find out where they're from and that kind of thing.

We landed at the homestead at about 11 and the kids were in the house and playing with what used to be Karina my toys on the dinning room floor. The rest of us got comfy in the living room and chatted away. After lunch, we headed out on a little hike in the back fields. Nate and Marko stayed home. Nate needed a nap and Marko's back was bothering him. I love walking through the fields and down past the ravine. It is just so quiet and peaceful. The children had a grand time scooting about, tossing rocks in the water and climbing over branches. We hiked for over an hour and through some difficult spots, lots of ducking and climbing through brush. I was amazed, the kiddos never complained about being tired or needing to be picked up. They were quite the troopers.

Once home, we were all ready for a rest. Grampa pulled out the chairs from the shed and we all sat out on the lawn enjoying the lovely weather and munching on some snacks that Gramma put together for us. It was such a marvelous day. I am so thankful to be able to bring the children to such a wonderful spot and just totally drink in the beauty, the peace and relaxation. As soon as you get there you can almost feel any stress you might have had slip away as you look all around you at the country side.

We had the kiddos have their Thanksgiving supper first so that the adults could enjoy their supper without having to pick up dropped forks and whatnot. That night Sean and Emma-Lyn got to camp out in Gramma's office while Nate began his sleep in Gramma and Grampa's room but would end up later in the dinning room. The kids did a great job, after a bit of a case of the sillies, they settled in and had a good sleep, Nate made a great transition from having to be woken up in Grampa's room to moving down to the dinning room--not even a peep.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast, as soon as Grampa came down the kiddos ran out to the mailbox with him to get the newspaper (this is one of their favourite things to do) We had a relaxing morning. Marko and I took the kids to a local park for a bit before lunch. After lunch we went for another walk up the road. This time it was Marko and I, the kids minus Nate who was napping at the time, Grampa Hope and Auntie Karina. This was a much easier walk and just as nice as our last one.

We headed back to the Island at 4. We had the "good" boat this time and had a great trip back. Once we were in the door, we fed the kids and threw them into bed. They were all tuckered out from a great weekend away. We certainly do have a lot to be thankful for.

One of the streams along our hiking trail.

Oooh, I forgot to mention our little expedition down to the pond to check out the fish...we also caught this little salamander.

The kids thought he was pretty neat.

The house and surrounding countryside...Just LOVE it!!!

Early morning run out to the mailbox. :)

Yesterday was Our Anniversary...

so that's why there wasn't a post yesterday. I hope to have something a bit more substantial than this up later this evening. :) Sorry for the delay.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Our Trip to St. Peters

We had a delightful time with Baba and Auntie Linda at St. Peters and Greenwich Provincial Park. It was a bit of a hike for the kiddos and would have been better had I remembered the stroller. We made the most of it and enjoyed all the beautiful scenery. We stopped and enjoyed a picnic lunch while we were there.

We truly enjoyed our week with Baba and Deda. They flew home to B.C. on Monday. I was so glad to finally meet Baba and have both of them over to meet all their grandchildren. The children had a wonderful time with them and were asking for them in the morning. Hopefully it won't be another 5 years before we see them again but, time will tell.

I love this shot of Emma-Lyn running on the boardwalk. I love that it looks like her shadow is running on the ledge.

The beautiful dunes of Greenwich.

Mr. Nate running as fast as his little legs would carry him. He got quite the workout!

Baba and her little grandchildren all dressed in their new clothes.

Just love this shot of Sean.