Saturday, November 1, 2014

Doing Autumn

Before the snow flies, we take a few trips to the apple farm. It's not too far from our place so driving over on a whim is easy. We pick our own apples and a pumpkin, and maybe, just maybe, a caramel apple or pumpkin cookie. I stroll slowly past the eclectic assortment of jams and jellies in the shop, slide my hand across the freezer of uncooked pies. I settle on cheddar and jalapeno scones to add to the squash soup I've already made at home. My children race the wagons, climb on the rocks and swat the bees that buzz around the apple taste-testers. Then, as we pile back into the truck, we feel a little more like we've done autumn. 
 
Gratitude:
1674. for wagons and how they never outgrow them
1675. apples, a blessed variety!
1676. finding Uncle Warren working in the poly-houses and sharing our apples with him
1677. big "brothers" who pull really fast!
1678. little arms trying so hard to do what the big people do
1679. how these little things like finding the perfect pumpkin are still important to her :)
1680. the way he knows that getting her to help will make her happy
1681. enjoying another little one coming on all our adventures
1682. how she's grown so much we can laugh our hearts out at the same things till we cry
1683. the way he cares for her even without prompting
1684. his belly laugh that explodes from the simple joy of climbing on pumpkins :)
1685. how this "big" adores this "little"
 
"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22
 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happily Occupied

Hello Friends :)
This little love has been keeping me happily occupied for the past several weeks. Each time I log on to catch up on my blogging, I'm pulled away. Ashanti belongs to our dear friend, Valerie, who is working hard at remaining in our beautiful country. We are helping her by caring for her daughter almost full time. Please pray for all of us. Hope you are all well as I've missed perusing the blogosphere. Happy Fall!

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!