She sent the "Save-the-Date" invitation many months ago to be sure all ten of her friends and sister could fly and drive the distance (enormous for a couple of them). She had set up a girlfriends' weekend at her cottage that none of us would forget. Tara created an itinerary for dinner in town, spa time, shopping, church with guest, Dan Macaulay leading worship, kayaking, hanging out on the dock, hikes, gift unwrapping (from her to us) and lots of eating and cooking and more eating.
Just a few favourite moments that I didn't get a chance to blog since September...
at the beach
Valerie's Immigrant Women's Short Film screening
Nancy, who runs the maternity home so lovingly
Congratulations, Valerie, on your short film that made your few hundred attendees think long and hard about the struggles and blessings women face when they enter a new country. Praying God's will for you in 2015 as you find out if you will stay in Canada.
My cup runneth over with laughter when I'm with my in-laws. We just like to be together and all six siblings, five spouses, Mom and Dad and twenty grandchildren (with boyfriends and a fiancé), make a whole lot of noise at a family gathering. But when we spend a weekend together, it's just a rip-roaring good time!
Ed and Kim's 25th wedding anniversary (their kids)
Dad gets a little carried away :)
Sooo thankful Kim is in remission. Praise God!
Ed and Kim's family
weekend at a resort and boat tour with Mom and Dad for their 50th anniversary (and Dad's birthday)
although, it was cool and wet, some of us still ventured up to the fly bridge of their boat
Kevin, the linesman
the local variety store hats--cheap fun
Terry's crazy jumps are always entertaining
yes, these guys sneaked into the hot tub at the next hotel since we didn't have one
chatting and enjoying the sun on the porch
the whole fam-jam
laughing hysterically over the birthday gifts
There were so many fantastic memories from this weekend, such as, Linda being well-enough to join us, treats and great conversations at night, eating together, the guys using the hot tub in the adjacent hotel, and the wrestling match between siblings to throw each other into the lake. But the best moment was when Rob, Kevin and Mike sat down at the lengthened restaurant breakfast table each wearing the dress-shirts we were giving Dad as gifts for his birthday. He finally noticed there were tags hanging out on the fronts of these guys and pointed it out in bewilderment. We burst out laughing and he finally figured it out. They stood and unbuttoned and handed the shirts over right there. Beats wrapping :)
December looked a little like this photo for me. I so desired to blog and catch up on recording our lives (it's a place I like to dump at the end of a day). But, alas, the busyness did get the better of me. The Lord and I have had some talks lately about how I let the Christmas season sweep away my joy for awhile. I ached for the Truth to flood our holiday time, for quiet Advent readings and children who willingly set aside their bickering and offered to lovingly pack the Christmas boxes for kids in need. When that wasn't happening perfectly, when the rehearsals and obligations and shopping robbed our time, I begged God to fast forward me to January. Sound negative? I'm ashamed to admit I didn't learn from last year and my attitude was often less than festive... less than godly. In reality, the Truth could have calmed my spirit and changed the atmosphere of my heart and home. I didn't allow it. I preferred the inner tantrum and complaining. It felt good to rant now and then. Kind of good. Not really.
Oh, but there were some glorious moments, like the laughter at the in-laws' dinner, the warmth of an open invitation for anyone to come to my mom's, the precious tiny person entrusted to us who relentlessly causes us to evaluate ourselves--and giggle hysterically. I aim to add the photos of some of those gifted moments below, but, I want to be clear to myself and to any reader, that our amazing Jesus, who came as a baby, lived, loved, healed, died and rose again for our eternal life is more than able to redeem lost Christmases. He alone can wipe away the icky humbug feeling and draw us again to His perfect peace.
I bought my Canadian friend, who lives in the U.S., a candle with the label, "Keep Calm, Eh?" She loved it since she's sprinkling her cottage in Canadian décor. It certainly made me think how simple the message truly is for the Believer: keep calm! Jesus offers peace to those who sit and ask and receive it without running off and absorbing all the demands and negativity and then wondering why He hasn't delivered. I'm stopping the crazy now and resting in Him. A little late for Christmas, but never too late for my life.
Gratitude (because thankfulness always results in joy):
1686. for nativity reminders like this camel and other animals at our nursery during the Christmas season
1687. for toddlers who are learning to share
1688. the way she loves the last of our Barbies
1689. the pancake audience
1690. for first snowballs
1691. finding lost items :)
1692. when the weather report says it'll all be gone tomorrow... we must build!