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!