So while we celebrate Father’s Day every June, we also celebrate the birthday of a pretty special guy!  This year we were set to celebrate a pretty big milestone with my Dad.  60 glorious years of life!  He may beg to differ on all 60 of them being glorious but it seems appropriate that this milestone deserves a bit of exaggeration.  Needless to say that with the events of the previous month we were all finding it difficult to muster the energy and desire to put together a big shindig AND my father is not one for extravagant parties.  He is the epitome of the “strong, silent” type.  Instead we opted for a small, family gathering with just our immediate family.  A fun, photo scavenger hunt was put together, teams were created, funky hats were distributed, 60 citronella candles were purchased and food arranged.

We had so much fun celebrating the man who has quietly loved us through life.  My dad is an unassuming individual who has spent most of his life giving of himself so that his family would never go without.  I don’t think I have ever heard him complain about how difficult life can be.  Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of stories we could share about his amusing antics, making us graham cracker chicken, making us eat outside or in the garage as a punishment for poor table manners or disobedience, an encounter or two with a belt of the leather variety, etc.  Better yet, we could probably share some insider information on the fact that he’ll eat almost anything because his tastebuds are literally broken, he has a few grandkids but one little granddaughter has him particularly wrapped around her little finger, we mock him sometimes because he used to be so strict and the man we now see doting on his grandkids is not the same one we recall growing up.  But the truth of the matter is that we love him so much and he has given us an amazing amount of memories and experiences that have made us kids, the people we are today.  There are many attributes and character qualities that we can pick out in each other that remind us of the best we see if our dad.  While it wasn’t the same celebration that we’d hoped to give him and we were all aware of the little missing person that should have filled the frame of many a picture, we know the memories we created on that day will give us each a great deal of joy as we reflect on who this man is to us and why we are so incredibly thankful and blessed for his presence in our lives.

I’ve included the link for the slideshow we put together to remember the day and I think it’ll give you a better idea of just how much fun we had being silly while we celebrated this very amazing man that I am proud to call my father!

A Day of Memories

FOR FUN…

I’ve said it before but I’ll gladly say it again…my husband is SO CREATIVE!!!  Whether it’s being creative at work, creative at parenting or just plain creative with life, his mind thinks in ways I cannot fathom.  The latest creative endeavor in our home has been sandwich bags made uniquely for each child.

Now let’s just clear the air from the start.  There is no possible way for me to claim that this is environmentally friendly, in fact it’s probably quite the opposite.  However the anticipation it creates for my children to open their lunches makes it easier for me to justify my contribution to global warming.

James came across a designer’s blog some time ago that had fun ideas for using your creative skills in your child’s lunchbox.  He showed me some of the unique creations and then expressed the desire to do something similar with his kiddos.  So he started one Sunday evening with one black and one red sharpie.  The result was stunning…four drawings on a ziploc baggie for each of his kids.  The picture was something special to them and a way for him to let his kids know that he thought of them throughout the day.

Three weeks later and said creative idea going strong, I decided to fill his “toolbox” with a whole set of colorful sharpies.  The result was wonderful…

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THE WORDS OF OUR HEARTS

Ryker's HandIn times of deep sorrow it would seem a wonderful blessing if the tears that fall could speak the words of our heart.  Alas that is not the case and we are left to use mere words to share the moments, thoughts, and memories to explain the pain that settles in the soul.  Today if my tears could speak they would ask questions.  Why?  Why now?  Why at all?  Why this?  The list of “why” questions would be abundant, seemingly never ending.  But in the quiet lack of response our minds grasp that the questions will remain unanswered, that the anguish and loneliness will settle deep in our souls and be a companion for a time.

I share a tiny piece of this story.  The loss of sweet, sweet dreams and a lifetime of “if onlys”.  The bigger story and deeper pain, the reality of lives forever altered and joys ripped away is borne by two individuals that I love deeply.  One who shares the bond of family ties and the other who chose that bond out of love and commitment.  Joel and Meghan have graced the pages of this blog before.  They exchanged their wedding vows on our 11th wedding anniversary and watching their life together take shape has been wonderful.  In so many ways all the things they have planned have come together so flawlessly.  May 20th will be etched on our minds as a day that flawless became flawed.

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This may seem like a silly reflection to some, especially since my grandparents have been dead for many years, but over the last month I’ve had some seriously intense moments of missing my grandma.  For a little family background…my dad’s mom died before I was born so I never met her, my dad’s dad has been in and out of our family life for various reasons over the years so I don’t have a relationship with him, my mom’s dad died when I was quite young, although I remember visiting him in a number of care homes and the day he died, and my mom’s mom, my grandma, died when I was 13.  That left my grandma as the one grandparent I had a lasting, memorable relationship with and still hold those memories dear.

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Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”!  For those who do not believe in God or the bible and for those who are struggling in their faith right now those words probably feel like a slap-in-the-face.  I acknowledge that because as a believer who feels growth in my relationship with God I too feel like this passage is immensely hard to grasp.

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I have spent a great deal of time wondering, praying, hoping that sometime soon I’d have the opportunity to move forward with a desire that’s been on my heart for many, MANY years.  The time has finally come to move into a new phase of life…change directions for awhile and refocus on a new stage in my life.

When I was younger, I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed bossing my younger brothers around.  I vividly remember being told that I wasn’t the boss or to stop being a mother hen.  But the truth was that I LOVED being in charge, showing them how to do things, telling them the right way.  As I got older (okay not really older but once you hit grade 7 you finally start feeling older), I participated in peer counselling programs, started baby-sitting, helping in the nursery and other kids programs at church and just generally began feeling the groove of where my travels may eventually take me.  I can’t really pinpoint the moment I realized my life calling became apparent to me but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that all my life experience has led me to the inevitable conclusion that I was meant to be a teacher.

I was in the car this morning with three, sweet four year olds.  As I drove and listened to their banter I smiled, it was innocent and beautiful, silly and ridiculous but their laughter and joy filled the van.  They were giggly and chatty, as they always are when they first get together.  I love hearing their little voices calling each other by name and catching up on the details of the days they’ve missed.  It never ceases to amaze me how children can spend hours with their friends and the next time they see each other, whether it be hours or days later they have countless details to relay. Continue reading

hymn-bookAnd so the debate continues….Really to my mind such a ridiculous discussion that we have allowed to taint the times we have of praise with scowls and sourpuss faces.  Silly expressions, you say?  What I find truly remarkable, and even silly, is the type of discord that we allow to filter into our places and times of worship!  Hmmm, I guess my inside voice just snuck out:(  It makes me sad watching different generations react to certain genres of music with distain and dislike.  The thing is that we’re all guilty of it to some degree…if we’re really honest there have been times when we’ve sat in a service with our hands crossed like a small child, mad because we didn’t get our way.  I’ve watched it…I’ve seen the older fellow across the aisle with his nose turned up at the overly repetitious chorus that “really doesn’t say anything at all”.  In the same service I’ve looked on my other side to see the younger person standing with their arms folded and their eyes rolling at the completely “old-fashioned” lyrics to that hymn that “sounds like it dropped right out of the 1800’s”.  Heck I’ve even closed my eyes and viciously fought the temptation to plug my ears when the strains of a southern gospel tune hits my eardrums.  There is no denying that we all have various tastes in music and our minds process the beauty of notes threaded together in very different ways.

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While we have not yet reached the point of jetting off to some luxurious, tropical vacation during the kids spring break we do try to find a few fun things to entertain ourselves with.  This break so far has been VERY low-key…we’ve basically hung around close to home as both James and I still have regular work schedules to maintain.  Thankfully we’ve been blessed with some sunshine, albeit rather cold sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless, which means the kids have been able to get outside for a few hours a day playing hockey in the driveway, riding bikes and rollerblades or jumping on the trampoline.  I think James and I half expected to have a Saturday full of rain and neither of us brought up plans for the day.

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