Monday, September 8, 2014

A New Season Creeps Up

September crept up on me and I wasn't prepared for changing leaves and school buses whizzing past our home. I found myself reluctantly scrambling to get my head into the game of books and pencil crayons, of maps and field trips. But here we are, beginning our homeschooling again and as I waken earlier than I did all summer and remind children of chores and journals, I embrace the season and thank God for His goodness in every area of our lives.   
 
Verse for the year: "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5
(because we need this one :)
Grade Two
 
Grade Four
 
Grade Seven
Grade Ten
Vanderkids--somewhat excited to be back at it ;)
 The teachers--praying for a diligent, God-seeking year!
 
How is it going for you?
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grace Laced

I fluffed the pillow beneath my elbow as I watched her hands move in tandem with aching words, describing the years I'd missed. We'd been friends since grade eight but had lost touch in recent and apparently, difficult years. She'd experienced pain through admittedly unwise choices but also through horrible injustices forced on her by others. This beautiful woman wiped her tears with the corner of the napkin from the fancy little lunch she'd prepared on a silver platter. I clasped her flailing hand in mine and shook my head at the trauma she'd endured. How could one person face so much? I leaned back against pillows that matched her one room apartment and sighed. I wished I'd known, that I could have helped... something.
 
But as we talked, I noticed more and more that my friend's words were laced with grace. Her suffering had drawn her closer to God, not pushed her further from Him. Her resolve in believing He had a better plan for her future was her theme. It wasn't false hope or Christian clich├ęs, but she truly knew all along that the Lord, whom she'd been raised to fear as a harsh judge over her every move, was actually a loving Father who'd been protecting her mind and heart all those years. Although, anger arose in her from time to time, she ultimately spoke lovingly of those who've wronged her and she desires for them to have God's goodness too. I sat breathless.--amazed, but not surprised, at how our awesome God kept my friend from falling into unforgiveness and bitterness--both of which only hurt the one feeling them.
stopping for a photo in the rainy streets of Toronto
a beautiful garden stairway
little markets along her neighbourhood (she's embarrassed at all the pics I took of her--making up for lost time :)
another lovely yard and home
what a splendid pathway to one's front door!
trying to identify these flowers (oh, Terry where are you when I need you?)
gateway to a gorgeous backyard
huge gardens in bloom and well-manicured 
standing in front of Casa Loma, which is just down the street from my dear friend
saying goodbye and heading home after promises of meeting again soon--so thankful for God-connections and His timing--so grateful for His redemption of our pasts!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swim!

Oliver comments on her tomato plants, Emily likes her little change room, and Molly always wants to do backward somersaults. They love it in Sarah's pool and they've come a long way in their swimming skills.  
Thank you, Sarah for another fun round of swimming lessons. May God bless you as you enter university in the Fall!

Summer, Thus Far

iPhone (mostly) Photo Dump...
family reunion on my dad's side
 walks in the woods
 picnics with friends and cousins
picnic gang
bonfires with friends
adoptive and birth mommas who are dear to my heart
hanging out with horses
lessons for this horse lover
go-karting--a surprise from my husband--he called up the fam to join us!
I love this guy.
laser tag! also a surprise
VBS volunteers and friends (crazy kids-especially that one in the middle :)
church buddies
sisters and faithful volunteers
more church buddies
church buddies
Jacob came home from 8 weeks of tree planting. We missed him.
his tree planting shirt
hiking with friends
Valerie and Steve's beautiful wedding in our greenhouse
sitting at the table with these awesome family members
two visits from my dear childhood friend in one summer! (she lives in NY)
finding massive veggies in our garden
picking blueberries with our besties
hanging out of the back of Auntie Annie's truck
beach volleyball after evening service
taking Linda to laser radiation--many miracles in her life but she still needs a big healing!
special cousins
loving every minute of hot days
two nephews graduation
teaching dance at a birthday party for a family in our church
cousin birthday parties

Uncle Kevin's hot tub
ice cream with Mama and Papa
Stratford Festival with our Shakespeare/Swimming friends
cheering for our team--Hup, Holland, Hup!
 
worship around the piano
loving her pony
always crafting