Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Time for Everything

A Good Morning on this last morning of the year 2010! I finally had a pretty good night's sleep, with only being awake for one hour during the night rather than the usual two. I feel compelled today to make the most of this year's last day.

This week my mind has been really reflective of the timing of events, the purposes of situations and the unfolding of events that have occured in this last year. I sit here with tea in hand and turned to King Solomon's observations of life in Ecclesiastes 3. The general observation being that there is a right time to everthing. Verses 1-8 are about the time for different experiences and God's timing is perfect. The key to peace with God is to accept and trust His timing. That's so much easier to write down though than to put into action I find.

A Time to be born. Over the Christmas holidays I've marveled at God's perfect timing in sending Jesus in the form of a baby; to be born in only a manger, a most humble birth. God knew that our hearts would soften and rejoice with a babe so much more than if he'd sent Jesus as a powerful warrior or a rich King. I marvel at the process of pregnancy, how each stage is timed to give form and life to a baby. Although I have to admit it feeling a bit impatient for His timing in bringing this baby forth. I'm thankful that we will be welcoming a baby into our home in the beginning of the new year. I'm filled with a sense of renewed purpose and hope to start the year off right.

A Time to Die. A Time to Mourn. As I'm filled with joy over hearing of new births to come in the near future my heart also aches for those who are now dealing with death. Friends of ours from the community will be laying a daughter to rest in a couple of days. God chose this time to take her home, and no matter how expected or prepared they may have been for it, I can still imagine the deep sense of loss and heartche that would come with losing one's child. We may think there is an injustice in beginning a new year in mourning; in dealing with death. The bible says though Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.Matt5. It's difficult to imagine being blessed through the time of mourning. I've found though in my own time of grief that when we suffer in the Lord's presence He reveals so much more of His love and mercy. We can learn to savor his love so much deeper through suffering and grief than when life is always happy and joyful.
There are so many people in our community, church, and family members who are dealing with diseases; an uncertainty surrounds us in not knowing how long these loved ones will remain. Today my deepest prayer is that God will bless His people that are caught in suffering with comfort, hope and endurance for the process.

"The tears...
streamed down, and
I let them flow as freely as they would,
making of them a pillow for my heart.
On them it rested."
-St. Augustine

I wish you all a happy New Year. May you find purpose in all arising situations. Remember that God's timing is always perfect even beyond our understanding. May your year be filled with times of birth, to plant, to build up, to laugh, to dance, to embrace, and especially always finding the time to love. When God calls you to hard times, take time and call for Him.

love and prayers,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where Are You, Christmas?

Thats been the question of my life during the month of December. I have to admit that I've been keeping to myself, struggling to keep my hormonal emotions at bay, allowing the busyness of holiday preparations stress me out and having a bit of a pity party most days. These have led me to be a grumpy wife, an impatient mother, leaving out my devotions, tired, sore and sick of being pregnant. A long ways away from the Proverbs 31 woman! In the midst of this I wonder where is the joy of Christmas? Now I really don't write these words to find sympathy but to admit my feelings to myself and realize that I have that God does give me the strength to change the person I've been lately. I was having a particularly bad day last week and finally heeded to the call to sit down and listen to His word.The words on the pages I flipped to were in red and said to me:

'And he said unto me "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me' 2Cor 12:9

Now my days and personality didn't miraculously change after this. I realized though that even in a bad day not everything is a waste, that God's grace can use my weaknesses to reveal his strength. I admit that I cant do it all on my own energy and that I do have limitations in my life right now; it is crucial for me to rely on His strength. Some days I feel so burdened by carrying a baby, like it just in the way. And then I'm humbled in the thought that resources of my body and soul are being used by God to knit together another life and that little one is growing stonger each day. I am feeling weak in pregnancy but God is preparing to reveal His strength in bringing forth a baby.

I imagine Mary must have gained much strength from the Lord to travel on a donkey at the end of pregnancy and to face the fear of giving birth not only the for the first time but also in an unknown place. Thinking of her makes my situation seem so trivial.

So have I found Christmas? Its certainly not in the gifts, food and preparations. Although I usually find pleasure in those things, I just don't have the energy for the full extent of it all. Finding Christmas is starting each day anew, praying for strength, energy, patience and faith for the day and resting in CHRISTmas! That beyond the materialism and busyness, Christmas is always there and unchanging, inviting us to share in the miracle and celebration of a baby; God's perfect strength and glory in a weak, helpless baby.

Below are photos of some of our December moments!

Praying that we all find peace and joy in the coming of Christmas,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Happenings

Hi there!

Well, I think we've been well reminded what winter is all about after several flurries already. I can't believe how much snow is on our yard in so short a time. Hanna decided one morning that she couldn't possibly wait to put pants on before going to see the snow. She was out the door with only boots and a parka but realized quickly that with winter comes COLD!

I've got a bit of a love/hate relationship with winter. I've been dreading all the bundling up to go outside, my car barely making it off the roadslippery steps and sidewalks and not always that confident with winter roads. Wayne had a great idea though by parking our car in his little shop and keeping the woodstove going. Can't believe we've only thought of that after three years of living here. That will make things so much easier when packing two children into the car. So on the love side of winter, the gently falling snow just makes the world seem at peace, clean and of course invokes the Christmas Spirit. In winter I feel extra thankful to have a warm home and life just feels a little less rushed. The snow was beautiful yesterday and the temperature down so it was a great afternoon to spend some time outdoors.

Our first dozen of eggs! Hanna and I have been thrilled to find little brown and blue eggs nestled in the straw. Although now I realize that I need to keep a better routine of chicken chores. Now that its so cold they are eating and drinking more. It's best if I check them in the morning because they've been laying in the corner of the house where the cold air is freezing the eggs by afternoon. So we've put in a stronger heat bulb, and I've got a bag of wood shaving to spread around so hopefully the chickens will feel a little warmer.

Yesterday I finally felt up to doing some baking. I think I had a flu bug in the beginning of the week and tried to avoid making food as much as I could. Wayne's has pneumonia and Hanna has an ear infection. We're all doing much better but it's so hard to want to cook when we're all feeling under the weather. I've had this craving for cream cookies with candy canes on top. I came across a recipe that turned out really good and will share it with you too:
Cream Cookies
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c margarine/butter
1/2 c cream
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
flour to make soft dough, I used about 2 and 3/4 c

cream sugar, eggs and butter; mix in dry ingred alternately with cream
I dropped mine by spoon to save time rolling out dough and baked at 350 for 8 min
frost with buttercream icing and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Next time I think I'll add peppermint extract to the icing rather than vanilla.

I'm excited to announce that this is the clean and less cluttered version of my dining room. We recently painted the whole main floor of the house. Its now a grey with beige (greige) in it all the same thorughout the rooms. Do you want to know the color of this room before? Well it was a very minty green that I loved at first but am so glad to be rid of now. Homemaking must be a journey because some of my tastes have sure changed. When we first moved in and with the thrill of my first own home I wanted every color in the rainbow. I think I almost accomplished that and now I realize how busy my house looked. So now that I'm in a neutral frame of mind( a little less eccentric) the house actually feels warmer and like everything flow better. Most of all, Wayne is happy I've come around to a new way of thinking about decorating. Mom gave us the little desk to fit in the closet and it's so nice to have a space for the laptop. For four years it just sat around by the couches or on the table with cords always in the way. So now I have a little corner to sit and blog without having to clean up the computer to make room for other things. Anyway, this may all seem a little materialistic but for me a change in surroundings is just what I need to boost my vim for keeping this house in order.

Today we leave for Grand Forks for a little getaway with my family. I'm really looking forward to shopping and relaxing in the hotel. However the roads and weather are not looking very good. I don't think it'll stop Wayne from travelling so please pray for safe driving for all those out on the road. If we end up in the ditch I suppose I can console myself with a container of cream cookies for a little while at least :)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What A Small World!

Good Morning! Looking out the window makes me want to stay snug in my house with the furnace on. It looks so cold and as is if the snow will be beginning very soon. However, as I shiver at the thought of winter, I have a story to share that really warms my heart.

This moment of realizing what a small world it is took place during our trip on the semi through Pennsylvania. I'm going to backtrack a bit because really this story starts at home. First of all, a little bit about me. I've always been a person who sticks to what I know and a not to eager to venture beyond what feels comfortable especially not into that big bad world out there. Well I think some of that has changed and I'll give some credit to the technology of the Internet. I discovered the world of blogs about a year ago and ,well, one blog just takes you to another. I've found so many blogs of women out in the world who I can relate to and share similar interests with. These 'strangers' somehow don't seem so strange or far away as you read about their daily lives. One of the first blogs that really spoke to me was that of 'The Country Blossom'. You can find her link at the side of my blog page. I love her warm, inspiring way that she writes about her daily life and her desire to share her faith. I've been following for several months but still it seemed so strange for me to leave comments on her blog as 'I don't even know her.' Recently though, as I got up the bravado to start my own blog page I began to comment on the blogs that I follow. I feel comfortable now sharing with these women out there in Internet world because I guess the world just seems smaller when you can access it from the screen of a computer. (Now I feel like all my old fashioned-ness is going out the door :) )

So now to the heart of the story. We're driving through Pennsylvania down a main highway. I think it was a ways past Lancaster. I'd like to give exact locations but Wayne has the atlas on the semi and my memory is failing a little. I remember thinking about my blogger friend, two of which live in Pennsylvania, but I don't know any exact locations. It felt neat that beyond the Internet, now I was actually in their state although I would still never actually see them. Well we came to an accident scene and had to take a detour. Before coming to the accident we were meaning to get onto highway route 322 and thankfully the detour was going to take us straight to that highway. So traffic was really slow, and it felt as though we were creeping along for a very long time. Wayne and I were both a little stressed because we weren't sure that we were on the right road and thought that we might miss our turn because of the hold up. So we drive into a small town where there were several men directing traffic at different turns. We stopped where the first man was and rolled the window down to ask him if this turn would keep us on the highway 322 and he confirmed it was the right way. I noticed that he had red hair and looked so familiar. It dawned on me as I rolled up the window that he looked like the husband of Katy at 'The Country Blossom' I didn't say anything to Wayne for a while as I pondered how very unlikely a chance meeting like that would be. My mind was thinking it couldn't be possible but inside I was feeling like this really had happened and that God had put her husband in our path. Eventually I told Wayne, thinking he would think I'm crazy, but he said for some reason this man had struck his attention to although Wayne has never had any contact with the blog I read. We were chuckling thinking how neat that would be if really was true. So I decided that when we got home I would contact Katy and find out if she could confirm. I just had to know and really wanted it be true.

So the day before yesterday I received a very pleasing reply from Katy. Sure enough, it was her husband that we had met and spoken very briefly with. I'm smiling as I write as it's just so heartwarming for me. My headed keeps repeating ' how unlikely in all of Pennsylvania and trust me, it's far more populated than Manitoba, that we should come into contact with my Internet friend. That was certainly not luck or a freak coincidence. I'm so sure of God's hand in this moment and how He's connected the dots. I'm humbled as I realize that the world is not just a big, bad place but that the Lord has all things working together and that the ties of faith connect us far beyond our reach.

So now I'm back home, back to reading Katy's blog knowing that in this lifetime I may never come into contact with her again beyond the Internet, but then again who knows what the Lord has in store. It really is a small world after all!!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seven Days on the Road

I'm back to blogging!

What a week its been, a far cry from the norm for me. Hanna and I spent a whole week with Wayne on the semi; driving through much of eastern USA. Last Friday evening Wayne called home saying that he really wanted us to be with him when he took this trip to Delaware, leaving Sunday morning. I have to admit that even though I agreed to going a big part of me was fighting the prospect. I'm finding that I'm a bit of a homebody, it feels safe, secure and it's what I know. So much for being adventurous. Also, the idea of being seven months pregnant with a two year old seemed very daunting. What really pulled me along was the desire to finally be with Wayne for a whole week and I realized that he's been really struggling with being alone away from us.

We got ready in a hurry on Saturday and were ready to leave the next morning. By that time my excitement had built and it felt great to climb in and head out!

Wayne's trip included taking a load of woodstoves to Delaware with four other drops along the way. I think in total we drove through nine states. A little ways into Wisconsin, the scenery began that I'd really been looking forward to. Farmyards dotted the country with two storey farmhouses and big, old barns. The trees began to look different and so tall. There were so many farmyards that I just wanted to pick up and take them home with me. I really got a sense that the Americans are big on preserving their heritage, there was such an old fashioned feel to the rural areas. The small towns are so unlike ours; homes with front porches line the streets, so many of the stores looked to be in original buildings, the sights of the town just feeling so homey! These sights continued all the way to Delaware, I can honestly say I didn't get bored of looking out the window. The weather got warmer, the trees so many vibrant colors, and definitley the land becoming very populated. By the time we reached Pennsylvania and Maryland I realized how wide open and spacious our land really is. I think there was hardly every a square mile that didn't have yards close together. I noticed that farmyards are really compact with all the buildings near each other. The distance between towns seemed so short, but the landscape was breathtaking and the yards so well groomed. I've come home with many ideas of what I'd like the outside of our house to look like someday! We didn't realize that all our drops were mostly to farmyards and not commercial places, so we really were able to take in the rural country although I'm sure Wayne would rather have been in a smaller vehicle than in a semi with all the twists and turns we took. Of course if we'd been in a small vehicle he would've had to stop many times for pictures and at all the stores and neat places that I wish we could've stopped at.

Hanna did so well on this trip. We brought along many toys and books and she spent much time playing with those. I was thankful for the bunk in the back so that we could move about. Surprisingly, she spent much of the trip on my lap, content to see the sights and now knows all about bridges, water, towers, hills, tunnels and was always talking about seeing big bucks in the bush! We had our laptop with so she could watch some videos and she did a little bit each day but nearly as much as I thought she would want to. Most evenings when it was dark she would ask to go home as boredom started setting in. She was always excited to get out of the semi and walk but never put up a complaint about getting in. Our sleeping patterns were thrown for a loop with having just left on time change weekend at home and then three states later entering another time zone. Even though some nights I felt like a squished sardine we still had a decent amount of rest. The truck stops weren't nearly as bad as I thought, the bathrooms and showers were always clean and I guess I have to admit that you can still find healthy food on the road. We definitely had more junk food than usual but still ate a good amount of normal food. Me being the Chip Queen, bought only one bag of chips. That's recordbreaking!

The picture above is of the five mile bridge we crossed from Maryland to Delaware. It was spectacular to see but I was relieved once we had crossed it. I don't have the best pics to show of our trip as everthing was snapped from the truck and just didn't turn out very clear. The picture below was our final destination in Delaware. We pulled up to a long lane and sign had the name Miller on it. I excitedly said " Wayne! Miller is an Amish name, I think we're unloaded at an Amish yard" Sure enough the closer we got we saw a woman in a long dress and white cap, Amish clothing on the laundry line and a buggy came into view. There were two yards down one lane and they were just beautiful places with big homes and barns. We got out of the semi and the first thing I noticed was the stillness. We'd just driven out of busy roads and towns into total peace and quiet. The yards were surrounded by a few acres of tilled land and then surrounded completely by bush with tall, colorful trees. I was so thrilled that this had been our destination and to have a chance to enjoy the simplicity of it all.

Finally time to head back home. Our route now would take us north though Delaware and into Pennsylvania to pick up our load to take back to Canada. Now that I was into Amish sightseeing this would be the state to go to. I was telling Wayne about the Author Beverly Lewis and how her novels are based on the Lancaster Area. Well to my delight we drove right through this very area, a place I'd always wanted to see. I definitely want to come back to this area again someday. The picture below was just before Lancaster where we saw Amish men baling with a horse pulled baler. Then in town Wayne stopped the semi so that two amish men could make a turn in front of us and they waved cheerfully to us. I'm sounding like such a tourist and like I've never seen Amish in my life. Being a mennonite it shouldn't be such a novelty but nonetheless I was still thrilled. Pennsylvania was both very exciting to drive through and very stressful at the same time. We had some complications with the load to work out, bypassed an accident for quite a distance and I have to say we were relieved to get out of the hills and and back to flatter ground. At this point Wayne was frequently reminding me how thankful he was to have us with him because there were times where it seemed that our trip would take a turn for the worse and that we would be very delayed in making it home. On Thursday I was praying that everything would work out on the road home, that the scales and rules of the road wouldn't keep us from home for too long.

Friday we made it to Ohio and we were feeling so much closer to home. The land was starting to look more like the prairies and that feeling of having space was coming back to us. We were feeling the anticipation of home being nearer. That night we slept in Minnesota, and it probably my best sleep and the nicest truck stop to be at. The next morning we'd have eight hours to go and then HOME SWEET HOME! Crossing the border felt so good. As much as I love the sights of small town and rural America home is still the best place to be even if the scenery isn't as great. I do have new appreciation though for the wide open spaces of the prairies, it feels like home.
I'm so thankful I went on this trip with Wayne. It was worth the aches in my hips and back, the sleeplessness and (holding it in for long periods at a time). I just really appreciated being able to talk endlessly with him, laughing about silly things, dreaming about the future and just sitting quietly next to each other, knowing that home is really wherever the three(and a half) of us are together.


Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Been a Love Affair of Giggles and Feathers

Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

picture taken by Keepin it Kountry Photography

This week it seems the weather has taken a turn for colder temperatures, gray skies, coughs and runny noses set in and the furnace turned up. I've hardly been outside other than to go to the car or feed the chickens, who are bedded down in the chicken house rather than frolicking around the yard. To look beyond the dreariness of it all, I've been thinking about the biggest highlight of the past summer which I think was raising chicks with Hanna.

I think it was love at first sight for her when her Auntie came down with a box of day old chicks. Her eyes were wide with wonder at the little balls of fluff. Of course, it was a challenge to keep her from squeezing them too tightly and for a bit she thought great fun to 'throw' them back into the box. Her gentle, comforting instincts came out when she's kiss them goodnight and and nuzzle them to her face.
They have provided so much entertainment around the yard during summer days. I think it kept her preoccupied and she never really tried walking to the road. Instead she's been busy shepherding them around and domesticating them to like her touch. She was always running ahead of me open the door insisting that I wasn't supposed to and helping to fill the food tray. Surprisingly she never really showed any fear as they got bigger, but was always begging for me to catch one for her to pet. With seven roosters, I'm amazed that not one has ever attacked or flown at her. Instead they gathered around to listen to her chatter at them.

I remember in the beginning thinking that I wouldn't have it me to tame them to become feathered friends. I had dreams of chickens following us around and eating from our hands. Now looking back I see the process of exactly that falling into place. They love treats from Hanna's hands and if I left the front door open they'd be marching into the house.

This rooster is the leader of the flock and we named him Samson. Hanna knows exactly which one is Samson and is always calling to him when we're outside. He's actually the only one with a name so far as I still have roosters that may need to be butchered so I haven't had the heart to give them names. (I know, that sound kind of cheesy:)

I'm thinking that feeding them during the winter might become an unwanted chore as we'll be busy with a new baby. I'm already dreading venturing out into the freezing air with warm water and treking through the snow. I do hope hubby will be willing help out and keep a cleared path to the chicken house. Hanna won't get as much time with them in the winter but I'll try to take time to let her help with gathering eggs. Speaking of eggs my hens still aren't laying and I'm blaming it on having way to many roosters. So hopefully next week we can deal with that problem and I guess there may be some birds in the freezer as I can't seem to find any homes for them.

This picture just warms my heart. She was picking up scattered food, feeding the chickens from her hands and talking endlessly to them. It must have tickled when they pecked at her hands because she'd burst out laughing often. I think this simple interaction between child and animal leads to developing a deeper sense of respect for God's creatures. I pray that Hanna will learn to love with a tender hand as she grows and interacts with nature. May she learn to see God's miraculous handiwork in all things. The intelligence in the tiny brain of a chicken is truly a miracle. The love of a child being an even greater miracle!
ps. guess what's for supper tonight: Homemade chicken noodle soup, kind of ironic!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Time to Remember

This last week , six years ago, was the week Dad completed his course in this life. He died on the Twentieth of October and the funeral on the Twenty-fourth. I've been meaning to take time to post about some of my memories of Dad and share some of my favorite pictures that I hold dear.

At the time he passed I had just graduated from high school and was eighteen years old. It was a time in my life where everything was about having a 'good time' with my friends, not spending time with my family and little thought given to how temporary life is. I was devastated to lose Dad and felt ripped off the God would only give me eighteen years with him when my older siblings had so many more years and memories with him. I turned to my party life with my friends to ignore the pain and subdue the grieving. It just felt better in the moment but the pain returned at night when I was alone. Not long after Wayne came into my life. I realized that God had taken someone very dear to me but was now giving me someone to fall in love with, to change my life with. During this time Wayne became that 'man' in my life; igniting a spark in my heart. During the course of dating for a year I realized how empty the party life had become, the pain of mourning was lessening, my family was so important to me and I was turning to God for direction.

In the last six years Wayne and I were engaged, baptized in the confession of our faith, married, moved a way for a short time, moved home and almost three years ago gave birth to our first child. It was the summer Hanna was born that I truly came to terms with the finality of my Dad being gone. Maybe it was time, growth in my faith or now seeing life through a mother's eyes and maybe a combination of all three. I realized that God hadn't ripped me off at all, but that I was blessed to have eighteen years of a father's love. God knew all along that those years were sufficient for me, that the foundation was laid. I have many years of lessons learned, memories both bad and good and can truly know that my father loved me. Realizing those things go far beyond the years that he lived, they will be with me all my life. Those years of teaching from my Dad have become a part of who I am today.

This fall I realized that I don't feel that sting of death like I used to when Oct 20 comes around. I do feel a longing for his presence but it comes with a peace of knowing that he is where he is meant to be and that I feel his presence in memories and in the faces of my family. I think after losing a loved one there is always a part of your soul that will feel a void. It never goes away, but peace and grace cover it like a healing salve.

My Dad's special ways:
  • Cornie was a man young at heart. Even as the older uncle he loved spending time with his young nephews, always ready to share a laugh, story and sometimes get a little crazy.
  • Dad was willing to give of his time, tools and strength to those in need. No matter how much work he had to do he always had time for coffee when someone stopped in.
  • He had a musical heart and played the guitar and violin. Saturday nights we often danced around to the Polka Party and Sunday morning he was a songleader singing out of the german 'Gesangbugh.' I thought he had the voice of Hank Williams. One of my last musical memories is of us picking saskatoons in the bush and singing 'Wolverton Mountains and the Battle if New Orleans'
  • When I used to walk to the bus, mom and dad would be milking the cows but each morning before I was at the end of the driveway he would call out from the barn door and wave goodbye
  • Dad always came home from town on Saturday mornings with a pack of 'Hubba Bubba' and 'Bubblicious'. He was a candy lover and I know I inherited his sweet tooth. His favorites were 'Peps' and 'Cherry Blossoms'
  • It was important to Dad that I learned my Sunday school verses out of the Katechism, take time to read me bible studies and sing hymns together. Dad had a very traditional side to him and wanted those mennonite ways to be passed on.
  • Dad liked to dress up, never would he go to town in dirty clothes. I don't recall him wearing jeans and T-shirts. He like to look dressed up and always put 'Bryl Cream' in his hair (do they even sell that stuff anymore,lol?) when he was going out.
  • Dad was a napper, he had a couple naps a day and would sprawl out anywhere on the floor for a quick nap, while mom and I would walk over or around him.
  • He was known for horse rides and shuffling kids around on his feet
  • Dad was a farmer and took good care of his farm. I'm proud of how well he provided for his family.

There are so many more memories that I hold dear and I think I will try make a point of writing more of them down to share with my children as they grow up and want to learn about their grandpa. He had a troubled side to his life too, and with that comes memories that aren't so good. I know though, that I have learned lessons from those memories of him and they work out for the good in who I've become. Despite those shortcomings, I'm so honored to have been the daughter of Cornie Friesen and rejoice at the thought of him being "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" (one of his favorite hymns)

The picture below was the last photo taken of Dad, about three weeks before his death. He was Sixty four, and had suffered from a previous stroke. For almost two years Dad continued farming, dealing with effect of the stroke, and was starting a new home for him and mom. During this time another stroke would claim his life and he entered to that new home the Lord had built for him.

In Loving Memory of Pap,


Monday, October 18, 2010

A Weeks' Worth

I guess it's already been a week since I last posted. My days have just been flying by and there hasn't been much time to snap pics and blog. I've also been trying to be on the computer a little less as it consumes a lot of time. I find all these projects online that I intend to do but don't actually have the time to do them. I've been on a mission to do some painting, starting with Hanna's room. It's been a month in planning and I've now finished the puttying, sanding and painted the first coat. So I hope at the end of today I can post a picture of the finished room. I think maybe I'm in 'nesting' stage because I'm feeling more energy and a drive to do many things before baby comes. I've been living in chocolate-induced state of mind!!

This last week Wayne was home for a part of the week so we cleaned the windows and washed the outside of the house with a pressure washer borrowed from my mom. I think our yard is pretty much ready for winter other than covering my strawberries with straw and the chickens needing more bedding.
Inside,I've sorted through all the winter wear, filled some MCC bags and been getting a start on fall cleaning. I'm happy that I don't need to buy Hanna a snowsuit as I found some great hand me downs that fit just perfect for this winter. All we need to buy is a pair of winter boots. Hanna had spent much time trying on snowpants lately, even wearing them outside on some of those warm days. Whatever keeps her happy, I guess!

A good friend has given us two bags of clothes for Hanna in the last few weeks. I really appreciate those gifts as often there's something in there I've been intending to buy and then don't need to. This same friend was very thoughtful in bringing Hanna and I a container of homemade chicken noodle soup on Friday when we were feeling a little under the weather. My allergies were really acting up and Hanna had picked up a cold so noodle soup sure was a good tonic.

Last week I also had a chance to go on a shopping trip with a friend. It was so much fun to spend a day out together without our children and talk women-talk all day. Of course I couldn't do that to often because I spent a little more than I intended. Everything will be put to good use though!

Saturday night we went out to a fall supper in a barn and we went with our toe tappin boots on. Wayne had brought Hanna a gift from his trip to South Dakota; a pair of red cowgirl boots and a pair of denim Wranglers. She looked so cute dressed up like a little cowgirl and was quite proud in her little flashy boots. It was a good evening to sit around on square bales and chat with the folks from around the community. There was lively music in the background and warmth from the wood stove. Hanna played with the children, held a cat in her arms most of the evening and every no and again pulled out her dance moves.

Sunday we spent the day at my moms' celebrating Thanksgiving. She put on a feast like always and we girls contributed salads and dessert to the potluck. We spent the afternoon visiting, playing games and I sat most of the time in my 'nesting' chair crocheting. By eight o'clock it was time to take our tired little one home. She went to sleep right away and Wayne and I had a chance to have a movie night. I don't think we've sat on the couch and watched a movie together in months.
Once again the weekend flew by and Wayne left on the truck early Monday morning. Hanna still wasn't feeling well so we spent our Monday resting, reading, doing laundry, some painting and just taking the day rather slowly.
I also wanted to mention that I took in the Sunday morning service in Austin where my sisters and niece were singing special numbers. They sang a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace and the song To the River I am Going. With it being so close to the time Dad passed away I couldn't help but shed tears as I thought of how he would've loved to listen to his girls sing. Maybe he heard the music way up high and played along on a heavenly fiddle!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound....


Monday, October 11, 2010

A New Song

'And He hath put a new song in my mouth' Psalm 40:3

It's been a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Wayne has been home for almost a week and that's I've been so thankful for that time together. It was time together that was really needed already. A time for us to catch up on yard work for the winter, have coffee in the mornings, and just be there together for Hanna. The last few weeks we done a lot of searching and talking about where we feel God is leading us in terms of making a living. Of course most of this has been over the phone; so the last few days with face to face conversations we feel more at peace and enlightened about what our next steps should be. Lord willing, Wayne should soon be home again every night and in time for the new baby! :)

Wayne holding his nephew Reid

We had three family gatherings this weekend. So much food, visiting and warm weather. I think it's the first ever Thanksgiving where I've sat around a bonfire and evening air was warm. The weather is such a blessing, especially for the farmers who've already dealt with so many unwanted conditions this last spring and summer. Thank God for the harvest!

Hanna enjoyed her weekend so much. She's been so busy playing with cousins, ran around at an auction sale, had a sleepover, and of course got more juice and sweets than she needed. She was so excited to go to my sister's house for night and it felt really strange to watch her climb in to the vehicle and say 'see you later, mommy' All smiles and no tears, all of a sudden she didn't seem so little anymore. I have to admit it was refreshing to have a night and morning to ourselves but I was eager to pick her up and see her bright smile the next day.

It seemed like summer weather the way the children were able to picnic and play outside.

Our Thanksgiving Sunday service was on having a thanksgiving mindset in all things and circumstances. One of the verses that really stood out to me was in Psalm 40 where David writes about a singing a new song of praise to the Lord. I, too, feel as though I have a new song to sing. My thoughts go back six years ago when my Dad was with the family at Thanksgiving, not knowing it would be the last time our family would all sit around the table together. We were sharing what we were thankful for and he said he was so thankful for his family and that it was growing. At that time we were anticipating my brother's marriage and the joining of his fiance and her daughter into our family, my dad was so happy for them. Little did we know that we would soon be losing the man who fathered our family. For a long time it felt like there was no new song to sing in his absence. However, today I find my father's words echoing in my own life. My family has grown more than I imagined. Soon after dad passed, Wayne came into my life and I was given the chance to fall in love and find the man I wanted to commit to and start a family with. Through him I have gained the blessing of a new family and especially a father figure we can look up to. His family made me feel at home from the beginning, and a healing salve during the time when my family and I were grieving. Today My brother and sister-in-law together have a sweet little boy only half a year older than Hanna. Hanna and Chase have brought my mom so much happiness and laughter. These children will never know their Grandpa Friesen, how he would have loved bouncing them on his knee. This Thanksgiving I also have the joy of knowing their is a little one being formed within me, soon to join the family! What a joy to know that God had so much more in store for my family than I ever thought would be possible six years ago. I too, am thankful for my family and that it is growing....

After two turkey meals, Wayne's family enjoyed an outdoor Thanksgiving 'picnic'

hope that you too have a new song to sing,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today was One of Those Good Old Days

Today was a day to get out of the house and go on a road trip. My Mother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law and I have been planning a trip to Plumas, a town about forty minutes from my home, for a while. We wanted to check out the quilting store, and visit the farm where mom grew up as a young girl. Today was the perfect day to do it because my weeks of babysitting are over, the weather was great and I was ready for a day out with women. Hanna stayed with her other Grandma and away we went.

On the way we took in Amish scenery. They moved into Manitoba a few years back, the first Amish or Old Order Mennonites in the province. For about 8 km their farmsteads dot the land on the side of the highway. I love the style of their houses and big barns; and would love one of their windmills on my yard. As soon as we turned off the main highway it felt like we were stepping back in time for a few miles, and being who I am, I like feeling like I'm experiencing the old times. I just don't think I could work as hard as what these people must. I've told Wayne often that someday I want a house just like that but mine would need electrical wiring in the walls!
Once in town, we stopped at the quilting store and two hours went by so quickly. I'd love to be surrounded by those fabrics every day. I have visions have quilts dancing in my head. So I intended to find a few pieces of fabrics for the aprons I'm sewing, well that didn't happen. Instead I came out with a beginner's quilting pattern, and all the fabric to go with it. Next time around, I'm hoping that 1933's style fat quarters bundle and vintage quilt pattern will still be waiting for me. I think quilting will be my new craft passion. After all, I have to make use of my sewing machine and I may need my mother's help. Hmmm...wouldn't a quilting bee be great. Now that would be like the old times.

A two o'clock we stopped at the fair grounds and sat on the bleachers with our picnic lunch. Chef Salad, cheese, watermelon and dainties were on the menu. (Formula and pablum for baby Reid :) ) The weather was gorgeous, unreal for this time of year. After lunch we headed to the farmyard where Wayne's mom grew up. I was fascinated once again with a big two storey home with stained glass windows and beautiful trims around the doorways. The owner was very gracious to give us a tour of her home. Mom recalled many memories and her old bedroom even had the original wallpaper. The present owners had updated much of the home but it still had the character of an old farmhouse. I just love these homes, you walk in and feels like they have a story to tell. I know that sounds kind of silly, considering houses are such material things, but to me the walls hold history unlike the modern home of today. Maybe the Good Lord will have a simple, farmhouse waiting for me in Gloryland someday :)

Here's Mom on the front steps. She lived here from the age of seven to seventeen and had only been on the yard once after that. I'm glad she got a chance to see the place again. It made me think of the farm I grew up on. Its been about five years since my Mom and I moved off the farm and six years since my Dad died. I haven't been back other than driving by teary-eyed. I know there is a great, young family living there and forging their own story. That makes me happy because I was always scared the farm would be destroyed and turn into crop land. Someday I want to go back with my children and relive my childhood memories, just not yet. There will be a time for that.

As soon as I came home, I couln't resist digging into the fabric. Here it is... a medley of Dick and Jane fabric with coordinating colors. The quilt pattern is called Yellow Brick Road, meant for beginners like me. I want the quilt to be a special Big Girl blanket for Hanna and the vintage twin bed that Wayne refinished. Hopefully I can finish it in time for Christmas but no guarantees of that.

It was a fun day, especially in the company of my family, Tonight we get to spend time with Wayne, who I think is home for the rest of the week. Oh yeah, and the wonderful man cleaned the inside of our car, a job I've done a really good job of avoiding. Although feeling a little guilty because of my slackness I'm sooo glad he did it.
The rest of my evening will hopefully be spent in peaceful playtime with my family so its time for me to step away from the computer screen.
Have a great evening and remember to make happy memories in your home.
Blessing to you, Christina

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Goodness

Good Sunday Morning to you!

Hanna has me up early, so before its time to get ready for church, I thought I might share the last couple of my days with you. I always anticipate the weekend, especially now that Wayne only comes home on Fridays or Saturdays. I knew he wouldn't be home until Sat afternoon so Friday I spent the day cleaning my house and washing floors that I'd neglected for a while. I strive to create a tidy, peaceful home for Wayne to come home to at the end of the week, a space where he can unwind and rejuvenate! (mind you, all week the toys are strewn everywhere and the kitchen counters not so tidy)
Friday was last day of the week for babysitting. Our morning started out a little stressful, with Hanna being very possessive of what's HERS and she wasn't to keen on sharing. I thought that having my nephew here for a few weeks would help change her attitude and bossiness. I've seen improvements but realize that it may be a longer process than I thought. She's definitely a strong willed child. I find that once the children have had their naps, they're much more agreeable with each other. All of a sudden they were side by side, looking at books. No crying, no pulling books away, just smiling and sharing the pictures with one another. Those moments just ease the stress away...
Friday at supper time, my sister-in-law and her boys brought chinese food over for supper. So yeah, that's my fifth day of no cooking. I think I'm going to lose the cooking touch :) It was a great treat because my hubby doesn't eat chinese food, so it's not something I get very often. She had brought her truck over to load up items we could use for the Thanksgiving display at church later that evening.

Sonya wanted to set up an outdoorsy, fall theme, so we hauled all kinds of big things into the church. I think it turned out with the desired effect, like a place where you can sit and ponder on all the good things the Lord has done for us.
We managed to get our children to sit for a precious, FEW seconds and snap a pic. They were a little wound up and at the end of the hour we were both ready to head home.

Saturday morning Hanna and I got dressed up to go to a wedding, and what a lovely wedding it was. I was able to catch up with friends that I hadn't had a chance to be with much in the summer. Of course, after an encouraging service on marriage and seeing the couple so in love, I have to admit I just wanted to go home with Hanna and be there to greet Wayne when he would get home. I had actually planned a date night out with him because his birthday would be on Sunday. He was really tired when a he got home and wanted to go on a date but at the same time he didn't. I was disappointed because in my mind I had just spent the whole week with Hanna and now I wanted time alone with him. Laying selfishness aside, I realize that he spends his whole week without both his girls so he wants both around him when he comes home. So date night at home it was. Hanna was so excited to wake up from her nap and see her daddy. We had a popcorn picnic by the light of an oilamp and she entertained us with dancing and lots of laughter. We also had a chance to talk heart to heart about all the changes we've had in our life in the last while and possibly new changes ahead.
After Hanna was asleep we watched music videos on youtube and he showed me pics of his trip through Virginia and Pennsylvania.(That was our substitute for the movie theatre)
It was a great date night!
Today is Wayne's twenty-nineth birthday! He thinks he has way to much gray hair to be only twenty nine but I think it just means he's wiser at a younger age. We will head to church, come home for lunch and a nap, and then go a fiftieth wedding anniversary for and aunt and uncle of mine. In the evening we have a birthday bonfire planned with Wayne's family.
So I'd better start getting ready for the day, hope yours is great day too!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Been a Busy Week So Far!

What a beautiful week it's been, I wish the warm weather would hold on for another month at least. I've been babysitting my nephew and we've been outdoors as much as possible. The children love running around with the chickens, pretending to drive the lawn mower and throwing the ball to each other.

I've actually been able to accomplish the outdoor work that I set out to do this week. For four days I've dug up canna lilies, now that sounds a little extreme, but its been about an hour each day. That's all me and this little one inside of me can handle. I'm giving away many bulbs this year. They multiplied so much and I just dont have the space or energy to lug them all into the basement.

I've tried to make use of my laundry line each day to wash linens. The windy, warm days give them such a great, fresh smell. I'm finding it much easier though to throw everything in the dryer than to truck baskets of wet laundry upstairs and outdoors.
I haven't cooked supper at all this week and am feeling rather spoiled. So far, four nights of eating at my families' homes. The menus? Mon-Chili, Tues-Kielke, Shmaunt Fat and Ham, Wed-Ribs, potatoes, carrots and Tonight-Lasagna and pizza bread. I can honestly say I wouldn't cook that great of food for just Hanna and I each night. When Wayne's gone I can hardly make myself stay at home for supper. I know I have Hanna for company but it's often a battle just to get her to eat her food. For me, a big part of eating a meal is sharing the company of others. After babysitting two year olds all day I just want some supper with adult conversation. So away we go. Even though it's been great eating out, I would way rather have my hubby at home to cook supper for!

Wayne took his first truck trip to Virginia this week, the longest trip for him so far. He's been telling me how beautiful the fall colors are. Here we have yellows and oranges but he's seen many trees of brilliant red. He's on his way back now and should be home mid-Saturday. We sure miss him.

What else have we been up to? Sewing room is cleaned and ready for some crafty hands. I made apple sauce for the winter. Grapes are picked but I need to get them into the freezer tomorrow. Trying to get Hanna's room cleaned out and ready for painting. The lists of things to do seem to never end.

Well it seems I'm rambling on about my everyday things. My post is nothing to thought provoking, I guess because I haven't had to much time to think.

I did however come across a quote this week that really resounded with me and thought I might share it:
When thou lookest back,
and tracest the subject of his love
from the beginning,
in the springs and autumns of his grace,
will not the question again arise,
"Why have I found grace in thine eyes?"

-Robert Hawker

Good Night, Christina

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time to Embrace Autumn

Hanna and I headed out into the misty morning on Saturday. Even though we live on the edge of town, there was peace and silence( and the crowing of many roosters). I just love this time of year, the changes, colors and stillness. Autumn entices me to be still and really see God's handiwork around me. The mist hanging in the air was like His breath on the world. I saw old autumn in the misty morn. Stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence
- Thomas Hood

Hanna gives the flock a wake up call!

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive Autumns -George Eliot

I'm always amazed at how Hanna interacts with the chickens. She's eager to head out in the moning and open the door, chasing them out onto the yard. She tries so hard to catch them to bestow a hen with her kisses. This morning, while Wayne and i did yardwork, she sat in the garden. Surrounded by chickens and zucchini in hand, she was content to sit and make sure they all got a bite of her offerings. The chickens have definitely been extra work this summer but so worth the effort. We do have too many roosters and I'm planning to butcher a few. I hardly have the heart for it and definitely don't want Hanna watching. However, soon the hens should be laying eggs, and I can just see her heading out with a basket in hand to the henhouse.

A time to pluck up that which is planted. Eccl. 3:2
I'm so glad to have the gardens tilled up, makes me feel like a huge load of work has just been done. What a beautiful day it was for yardwork. Now this week I tackle the flowerbeds, dig up all the canna lily bulbs, tidy the garden shed and do some pruning. Then I will sigh and say 'I'll be back in the spring'