Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guess What? More Snow Here...

 For our friends and family who do not live in New Brunswick...

Here is the my view from in front of our house (taken from my eye height!):

Here is what we can see of the next door neighbor's house from the end of our driveway:

This is the view across the street:

 This is Mike shoveling snow to the banks above his head:

And these are kids who can find ways to enjoy all this snow!!!:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jadon!!

Eight Jadon Favourites

1) Favourite Supper: Ribs with Potatoes
2) Favourite Song: Power Shuffle (from Everest VBS 2015)
3) Favourite Animal: Penguin
4) Favourite Room in our House: Mini-stick Room
5) Favourite Sport: Basketball or Hockey
6) Favourite Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
7) Favourite Colour: Lime Green
8) Favourite Dessert: Fudge Balls

And Jadon is our favourite brand-new eight-year-old! He is charming and smart, entertaining and affectionate. Jadon notices and remembers lots of little details of life (like number patterns in random places or the birthdays of people he met once), even if he cannot remember the ten things he has to do every morning before school. He loves to sing and dance and act and laugh. Although he generally appears to take life lightly, there are things about which he can be very serious. People might not know that he gets nervous about being in front of an unfamiliar crowd or performing under evaluation. He also loves symbolism, from Roman numerals to religious banners.

Bill Watterson, the man behind the "Calvin and Hobbes" comics, once said, “We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.” Jadon defies this quote all the time, and, in so doing, he teaches us to find joy

in each moment, too.

Happy eighth birthday, Jadon. We love you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow, Family, and Good Traditions

For those of you who are not from New Brunswick and may not know of our current snow situation, let me try to paint the picture. We have snow to the top of our 6 foot fence. We have had snow drifts blocking all the doors out of our house so that we had to open the garage door and kind of just dive into the snowy driveway in order to shovel ourselves out of our house. We have snow walls on either side of our driveway that are enormous. Small trees are almost lost in places around the neighborhood. Sidewalks have completely disappeared, and streets are narrow canyons through snowy cliffs. The kids have had ten days off school this year due to weather. Thankfully, a friend loaned us a time-and-body-saving snowblower a few weeks ago (How blessed are we!!), but I have no idea when we will see the ground again. Fortunately, we have good gear and hardy kids! Here's what they looked like trying to navigate the backyard, sinking down to their waists and more at times...


All these snow days have given us lots of unexpected time together. We've been working on a few things as a family, and, while I won't go into all that, I think it is fair to say that the days together have provided a space for some pretty intentional family focus. In all this, I am reminded that being a parent (or an intentionally relational person, for that matter) can be completely exhausting. However, the exhaustion that comes from pouring oneself out for another whom you are called to love, from training and providing and encouraging and disciplining and nurturing, it is the "right" kind of tiredness. The kind that makes you say, "That was really hard...and I'm so glad I did it." (And although snow shoveling can also provide this sense of exhausted satisfaction--this we know well, too--I generally prefer to exhaust myself in other ways.)

The family work can be fun, as well. On one snowy day, we decided to start redecorating in Andrew's room--a fun family project, as you can see... (AFTER pictures to come later!)

Traditions also help to make our family what it is. I feel like the idea of tradition is generally viewed with suspicion in our culture today. There seems to be a mindset that prefers the new and innovative over the traditional. I, however, see great value in tradition done well, rituals that provide meaning to life. I agree with Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian from the 1800's, who said, "What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it." I long to establish family traditions that enliven imaginations and create precious memories with significant meaning. This time of year is packed with opportunities for traditions. Last night, we had some friends over to celebrate Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras or the last day before the season of Lent. I only have pictures from before the gathering, because we were having too much fun during our time together for thinking of cameras! We enjoyed delicious pancakes, waffles, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and smoothies. But more, we delighted in the company of our friends and the stories of their lives and faith.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and we look forward to a special prayer meeting at church as well as journeying through the next few weeks of Lenten observance. The children have been talking about their own ideas on ways to observe Lent through repentance, self-denial, and acts of service. I am truly thankful for my family and these traditions. I'm still working on being thankful for all this snow...