Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pitbulls and Preschoolers

These are just a couple of shots of Kael at Boys Road. He seems to attract the resident pit bulls and pit bull crosses. Thanks to Koos and Delaena's guitar teacher, Conor for the shot of Harlem, the red pit bull at the bottom of this post. I stole it off his Facebook page. Conor named the picture, "Lion and the Lamb". Kael's response was, "I'm the lion, right?" Conor has recently added a fun new dimension to Boys Road by bringing his guitar down there for "Live Music"- as Brooke drew in sidewalk chalk in front of him today. He is super patient and lets Delaena and any other kids who want to; sing and play along with him. We've loved it!

Harlem has been a regular at Boys Road since New Life started going down there. He is single-pawdly responsible for us keeping really good track of all the basketballs, footballs, any kind of toy balls at all - while we are playing at the park. If there is a ball left unsupervised on Boys Road, Harlem will make short work of it. No kidding, it has become something of a well executed Boys Road strategic drill now. Someone will see him sauntering down the road and the cry goes out. "HARLEM'S COMING!!" All activity ceases and everyone scrambles to find any loose balls laying around and get them to the trailer. If we are unsuccessful, there will be a group groan of defeat, "Ahhh, Harlem." But with the defeat, there are always a few giggles. Score one for Harlem. Some days he can be distracted by a well thrown tennis ball or cookie, but most days, the poor, unfortunate ball gets demolished. We used to tie him to the fence with a skipping rope, but then he figured out how to snap those, so we went for the heavy duty chain. Today was a good day, he had a collar on. Usually we just have to wrap the chain right around that big 'ol neck of his.

The black pit bull cross interrupting Kael during his attempt to lead worship songs, is Roscoe. Roscoe was a recent addition to the fun at Boys Road, but unfortunately Harlem decided Kidzone was his and we had an exciting afternoon of dog fights at the park a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, Troy, one of the dads who lives close to the park, got them apart before Roscoe got too badly hurt. Roscoe didn't give up easily though, Boys Road is some serious fun, and he wanted in on it. Harlem chased him off and Roscoe came back for three rounds before he finally gave up. We only see Roscoe sitting and watching from the street now.

Oats has had all her shots, so she's been out of the truck at Boys Road a couple of times. All the really little kids who live in the area love walking her around. They can't believe a dog exists that they can't actually ride on. It is fun to be the 'big human' and the one in charge of the beast. Oats could easily be a squeaky toy for Harlem. I have an image forever burned in my memory. The first day Oats was out of the truck and the call went out "HARLEM'S COMING!" Everyone scrambles for the balls and I think at the same instant, our good friend Mark and I thought of Oats. I was too far away and Harlem had seen her but Mark was racing at mach speed across the asphalt, towards Oats and whomever was walking her. Like something out of superhero movie, Mark dashed between the dogs, swooped Oats off the ground and safely into his arms. He was so fast that neither child nor chug had the chance to figure out what was going on. He introduced Oats to Harlem from that vantage point and all was well. It was awesome.

Every time Harlem strolls over to hang out at Kidzone, or Roscoe watches from afar or Oats gets drug around the playground, I can't help but think of the Psalm: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (150:6)

There was a lot to praise the Lord about today on Boys Road. A little girl who has a few times just sobbed inexplicably and uncontrollably was laughing hysterically on a swing. An elder who used to hate the church can't wait until next Sunday to go back. A four year old learned how to skip. Dino got so cozy comfy on Mackensey's knee he just fell asleep. Calahn kept 'accidentally' getting burrs the size of grapes stuck to her jacket. A little boy who used to eat as much as he possibly could while we were there, in case he didn't get any more for a while, wanted to share his last carrot with Brooke.

As we were packing up today, the gentle drizzle stopped and the sun shone for a brief moment as if the Creator just couldn't contain a smile.

It felt deep in my spirit, like our world and the Kingdom of Heaven collided today and the Kingdom reigned supreme. Darkness didn't stand a chance. It was like it should be, where the lion will lay down with the lamb and the preschooler can praise with the pitbulls.

And I just found some of those other moments captured by Pastor Shane!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is just a quick update for those of you who like to know what's going on. The picture of the kids is them with their new sock monkeys. We have an incredible friend in Hay River who makes one of these little guys every day. She's been doing it all year! You can check out her blog if you don't believe me: Sock Monkey A Day. She sent us a huge box of the little beasties to hand out on Boys Road. Of course, we all had to make our own selections first!

On October 20th, Rick and Deanna Bergen hopped a ferry to come visit us on the Island and meet with the New Life missions board. One of the conclusions was that we will stay in Duncan until at least the fall of 2013. The main reason for this is that there have been / will be a couple of other families move down there recently / before us and it would be best for them to get settled before we show up too. And that usually takes a couple of years. We are actually quite excited to be able to settle down in Duncan. It really is a beautiful place. The only thing I am a little sad about (and I am the only one) is having to endure some more Canadian winters. I am really anticipating shorts and flip flops all year round! Caitlind put me in my place this morning when I was whining about the 'cold' and said, "Minus 5 or minus 35??" Okay, minus 5 it is.

Speaking of Caitlind. We got a crazy gift yesterday. She has been having a difficult time with French 30 to say the least. And we are coming down to the crunch on having to get it in. So yesterday we sat down (for some unknown reason) to look over her transcript, discuss requirements, etc and realized, that somehow, we overshot on the number of credits we had her doing and she doesn't even need French to graduate!!!! It was like the angels were singing in heaven. So then we were trying to arrange for her to write her departmentals for her other two courses. It is a mountain of paperwork and a lot of inconvenience to write them here because she is taking the courses through Alberta Distance Learning and we live in BC. Again, out of the blue, she says, "Do you think I could just fly back to Hay River and write them with this year's grade 12s?" "I don't know, phone and find out." The guidance counsellor at the school up there says, "I am just submitting the applications right now, the deadline is in 10 minutes." Unbelievable!! So in a matter of half an hour yesterday, we discovered that she is only two exams away from graduating, and avoided all the rigamarole we thought we were going to have to deal with to get those exams done. So, all that to say, she has no more assignments, work to hand in, questions to answer, etc. Some studying and a couple of exams and the long road to grad is DONE!!!

Since we've decided to stay in Duncan until 2013, we would like to buy a house again. There is currently one for sale right across the street from the kids' school. I would really like to get that one! We have to sell this one to get the down payment for that one and unfortunately what we have to sell it for is higher than what the market has it valued at right now. It is definitely going to have to be another God thing if it is going to work out.

Koos has been approached by Ekati to work up there again. He has gone for a few interviews around here, but the pay just doesn't quite cover a family of 6, or I guess 7, until we can get Caitlind settled with a job and her own place. If nothing comes up around here by the 27th, he will apply to Ekati.

I have been doing a bit of 'EA'ing at the school. That has been fun! I am officially on the Education Assistants on Call list now! Haven't had a title like that since before Brooke was born!

And that is about it. Sandy's cancer is a treatable one, so she is currently undergoing all her chemo. Her daughter has started a new blog about her journey: Cancer Wars.

Take care everyone. You know, we would love to hear how all of you are doing too! This is my email if you ever want to drop us a line:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So, we've known for seven days or so now and just today, have stepped out of the 'denial' stage.

In November 2009, Dan and Sandy Thiessen braved the North to visit us and bless our small Oasis Fellowship for a few days. Sandy kept the kids occupied while Dan took Koos and I apart piece by piece and read us both like books. She taught us 'Pairs', made tie dye t-shirts and introduced us to the world of Webkinz.

After Dan did a number on us, in the most loving way of course, Sandy encouraged us and built us up. She read us too, but didn't mess with our heads as bad as Dan did. Kind of like the 'bad cop', 'good cop' couple of Christian counselling. Then they took time out of their lives to talk with quite a few friends of ours from Hay River and pray for and encourage them too.

So, then we moved to Duncan. Dan kept calling us and making our lives miserable, in the most loving way of course, and then we'd get encouraging, cheerful, uplifting emails or blog comments from Sandy. Then, they decided to hop the ferry and come for a visit. Just to check out the Island and see how we were making out and settling in. That time, Sandy taught us Dutch Blitz and a dice game.

Just this past September, only 39 days ago to be exact, we hung out with Dan and Sandy and some of the Xingu Mission / Xtreme Mercy crew in Abbotsford. The kids got to add some more tie dye t-shirts to their collections, I can see the bird houses Sandy gave them to make outside my window right now as I am typing this and she fed us freezies and puffed wheat squares. And just generally, she made us feel good about ourselves. That's what she does.

And then we got an email. A short email, but one that kind of stopped our world. But we couldn't stop. We had a 'holiday' to go on. I was celebrating a new life and had to work hard to shove the possibility of the end of one of my favorite ones to the back of my mind. We had a fantastic visit with my brother and my sister in law and my neph
ews, but there was a cloud looming just over the horizon.

Now we are home and the storm has hit full force. This is real. My first question is this: How can you hang out with someone a grand total of three times and feel like you've known them your whole life? No answer, but it happened. Second question, How can someone influence your ten year old so quickly that a comment like this comes out of her; 'I love being around Dan and Sandy, it is like having Grandparents who are Christians like us!'? No answer for that one either, but it happened too.

How did we go from puffed wheat squares to chem
o in 39 days, exactly? Can someone play that over again please? I missed something somewhere.

So, denial has passed and anger has arrived. And that's about all I can blog because any more would be just a big long string of inappropriate words. Like the giraffe in the quicksand.

Some of you would have met Dan and Sandy in Hay River and you know what I am talking about. Here is the link to their daughter's blog to keep you updated: Foment of the Moment. Jen Snell has some updates too: Snells in the Amazon. She seems a little more calm and in a reasonable state of mind than I am right now, so for the facts, go to those blogs. For a rant, read this one again.

About one thing, there is no question, we love Dan and Sandy. They have had a big effect on our lives in a small space of time. That is for sure and for real. The rest of this **** would best be only a short, ridiculous nightmare.

What's Going on Around Here?

    It is funny how the same period of time can seem like it rushed by, yet dragged at a snail's pace, or in keeping in the spirit of...