Thursday, October 31, 2013

Right Out Of A Book

Tonight, four characters jumped right out of the pages of books and sat on my front porch. Costumes are readily available in our house because dressing up remains one of the top activities for my children. If a pair of jeans, skirt or sweater are found lying around our rec room, it's evidence that somewhere in the house a pirate or princess is leaping or dancing.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Post-Adoption Peace

She asked if the adoptive parents would allow her to "babysit" her little girl with me. She wanted to feel like a mom for just a few hours during her weekend visit. Those fabulous people said, yes, and dropped their baby off at my house, laughed and gave us her schedule and diaper bag and scooted out the door to visit friends. I closed the door behind them and was astounded at their security and grace. I took photos and helped Julie change Alexandria's diaper for the first time. The excited birth-momma lovingly bounced the baby on her lap and snuggled her and looked her over to memorize every inch.
Since God was the author of this adoption and Julie willingly obeyed what she had heard in her prayers to Him, she is in total peace about the life her little girl is living--mostly without her. That weekend, she also shared her story to one hundred and fifty financial supporters at a gala dinner for the pregnancy support centre that had been instrumental in helping her through this crisis. Like a relay racer, she took the baton from the faithful mentors in her life and continues to encourage other pregnant girls to consider the beautiful life that open adoption can provide.
My children and I waved goodbye as Julie and her friend backed out of our driveway to begin the eight hour journey home. It was a good weekend, the kind you praise the Lord for because you can already see the fruit of prayer, fasting and late-night emotional conversations. Two little girls left my home that weekend, one the mother of the other, but both with a new future. Because Julie placed her trust in God's plan, she gave hope and life to a brand new person on this earth.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mission Sunday and Facing Goliath

They sang their hearts out in celebration of all of the many, many countries represented in our church and for the missions that we support around the world. We're teaching them young that Jesus loves people so very much that we need to tell everyone!
Our visiting missionary and his wife asked for a small volunteer and Oliver jumped up and shouted, "I'M small!" Everyone laughed and the man told him to come up and act out a skit. He was to be David, the shepherd boy.
Oliver insisted on showing off his fighting skills and flexed and jumped around in the face of the big boy chosen to be Goliath.
It got a little silly and Mommy and Daddy were slightly embarrassed but the congregation laughed and laughed. No need to worry about lack of confidence in this lad! Hope the point got across!
Praise God for our missionaries!

Ice-Fishing, Anyone?

We heard the snowmobile round the corner of our ice-fishing hut and as it slowed, some quiet profanity was uttered into the crisp air. The three of us silently giggled inside. The man and his son who ran this place out in Haliburton had just discovered our catch and were obviously shocked. The truth was, so were we.
Hilary, the ever-loving adventurer of the family, had convinced us, out of the blue, to go ice-fishing for the weekend. Us, who were girly, us, who were moms of babes and one of us pregnant. Yes, us. We never had so much fun in our lives and I'll never forget how those men skidoo'ed us out to the middle of the lake with homemade sticks with string attached and basically bid us good luck. We spent a couple of hours of taking photos of each other on the ice (tripod included), eating and drinking, and imagining actual fish tugging on our lines through the small, rectangular-cut hole below our makeshift wooden benches. We told stories, like all good fishermen and laughed until we almost... well, the only thing that sisters can make you do when you laugh really hard--a lot.
We were suddenly surprised to feel a few tugs and when that big fish (humongous to us) shot past the hole in the ice, I straddled the opening and plunged my arms into the icy water and grabbed it with my bare hands. I lifted the slimy, cold body out of the lake and started screaming. Then Holly did too. Nothing could match our satisfaction. We dashed outside the hut and quickly took photos of ourselves. What a victory! What a success! Then we placed it on the ice at the corner of the hut and admired. I remember suddenly feeling sorry for it and wondering if we should drop it back into it's watery home. My sisters wouldn't have it. That was coming home with us for dinner!
The long drive home gave us much time to record all of the hysterical moments we encountered that weekend: a little jaunt in a bookstore, reading to each other in the hotel room. We listed new "isms" we had created and sayings only the three of us would ever understand. We lost those notes years ago but the memories and closeness that developed was stronger than ever. Our bond is tight and I praise God for my fabulous sisters. Ice-fishing, anyone? I'm up for it again :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

People To Love

My heart is overwhelmed with the kind of gratitude that makes me shake my head. The Lord has healed and delivered and protected our precious family. I have the very best. Yes, I may be biased, but I'm so thankful for all these amazing people to love, big and little.
1424. extended family connection
1425. how little girl additions make everything a good kind of different :)
1426. how they don't need a big pool to have a whole lot of fun together
1427. the way this family loves on babies like they're the greatest treasures on earth
1428. the never-dying friendship of these two girls (since birth)
1429. these two and how they adore our kiddos
1430. her budding photography skills
1431. how a little one brings out the sweetness in all the cousins
1432. that they joined us for Thanksgiving and brightened our day
1433. the way she cares for her baby like a pro
1434. how she goes from little lady to tough and crazy wrestler with her brother, in an instant
1435. the adoration she has for all kids younger than herself
1436. the spunk and energy of this one
1437. the instant camera pose of this one
1438. how she wiped out about 4 times and still wanted to keep going
1439. how that determination finally paid off
1440. daddies who love on babies
1441. toothless grins
1442. how he lets me take his picture even though he doesn't really like it :)
1443. how someone said we look like someone is missing--I feel that way frequently (hmmm... Lord?)
1444. for leaf-throwing joy!
Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Celebrating One Little Year

Ashanti (daughter of our "adopted" Valerie) turned one the same week our Oma turned one hundred. A life lived to the fullest and a life yet to be lived. Ashanti's beginning was blessed when her momma dedicated her to the Lord and promised to raise her in the knowledge of His great love and purpose for her. We were all wrapped around, nodding in agreement. Now, this little one, full of laughter and energy, delights us even more. God bless you on your first birthday, Ashanti! We love you!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

100 Years of Beautiful

She's a little package of beautiful and she just turned one hundred years old.
We celebrated Oma's birthday as a family and it was nothing less than sentimental and lovely. She sipped tea while we all watched a pre-recorded interview with her on the big screen as she shared her answers to the many questions her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren had prepared. She told of her faith--that she hoped was still getting stronger. She recounted memories to the camera of the Dutch Liberation in Holland. She was asked about her thoughts on heaven and her favourite colour. Her thick, Dutch accent is a quality that rang in my ears as a sweet instrument that evening. Maria Dam's children sang and so did her grands and greats. We each held battery-operated candles in the dark and chimed in together for "Happy Birthday". At the end of the night, we all moseyed outside to watch the surprise fireworks display. It was a true symbol of the bursting joy I felt to be connected to her life lived well.
Happy 100th birthday, Oma! We love you very much! May the Lord bless you richly as you serve Him for as long as He allows you to be ours.