Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A letter from the past....

My son Josiah is back to blogging, finally. His latest post contains an old letter, written toward the end of World War I. It is written by my great-uncle, who was stationed in New York City, to his younger sister, who became my grandmother. This letter contains great advice to young girls who are not yet married. Hopefully I've whetted your appetite enough for you to read the letter here.

In my opinion, my grandmother followed her brother's advice. I can't think of a better, more godly human being than my grandfather, who was my very bestest friend until he died when I was 14. His was an unconditional love that knew no bounds.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


It is a quiet Sunday morning, and I am sitting at the computer munching toast with butter and honey, and drinking cinnamon stick tea. At my next midwife appointment I am to have a glucose test done. My glucose level is in the normal range, but since it's on the high end of normal, they want to run the test. Meanwhile, I found this article about cinnamon, hence the cinnamon stick tea.

I have had a quiet two-and-a-half hours, reading, praying, reviewing my Sunday school lesson, and doing some laundry. Laundry is not a normal Sunday morning activity, but I had to do diapers, underwear and socks, plus a skirt I needed for this morning. I did laundry yesterday, but ran out of time to get it finished.

There is this verse that keeps going through my head: "She riseth also while it is yet night...." (Proverbs 31:15). Since in this part of Canada the sun does not rise in winter until close to 8 a.m., it is technically possible to fulfill this verse and still sleep in a little during the winter. In the summer, though, the sun rises between 4 and 4:30 a.m., making things a little harder. I decided to get up at 4 a.m. this morning and see how far into the day I can go before I begin to fall asleep. I really want to get up early to have the quiet house to myself, and prepare my heart for the day ahead.

Now I need to go wake up whoever needs a shower and get them moving. And it's time for me to take the dog for a walk. No, not Sarah's puppy. She is too much for me to handle. I take Snickers, who is a little older. But even he tugs the leash wanting to run.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Run, trip, get up and GO

Joseph, a regular contributor on my daughter's blog, has started a blog of his own. Joseph is the 15-year-old son of one of my very closest friends. I have known him since he was almost eight years old, when we first came to Canada to candidate at his church. (Well, actually Tom candidated, not me.)

It has been refreshing to me to watch Joseph grow spiritually over the years. He has a true heart for God and a burden for his own country, the people of Canada. Really, this is a dead place, and it wouldn't surprise me if, instead of sending missionaries in the past (Jonathan Goforth, Isobel Kuhn) we don't start receiving missionaries.

Please check out his blog. The titles for this post comes from the URL for his blog. I like it, because it really describes the Christian walk so well.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Family fun in the snow

About 2-3 miles from our house is a string of islands in the St. Lawrence River. In the summer, these islands are filled with campers and swimmers, and you have to pay to drive in for your fun. But in winter you can cross-country ski, snow shoe, hike, sled, or whatever, without paying. The first island has a large hill that is a popular sliding hill. That's where we went this afternoon.

Thanks to the record snowstorm that came through over the weekend and caused us to cancel church services Sunday, there was a LOT of snow on the hill. Here are the few pictures I was able to get before the camera batteries died.

Coming up the hill. You can see the Canadian side of the river at the bottom of the hill.

Josiah with John and Timothy. We have a shortage of sleds (the tobaggon in the background did not work well, being unwaxed), so Josiah used an extra large trash bag instead. It worked really well, and the little boys really liked it.

Lizzie getting started on a GT at the top of the hill.

Lizzie is the small dot at the bottom of the hill. This picture helps you see just how steep/long the hill is.

Abby, getting started on a snow board.

I wanted to get more shots of them actually coming down the hill, especially some of the upsets at the bottom, but the batteries on the camera died. Lizzie and John came down together on a GT, but John, age 3, is not good at steering a GT. They hit a bump, flew into the air, and came down all tangled up in each other. Lizzie landed on top of John, but the only thing John was mad about was that he got snow on his face. At the same time, Timmy had upset in a tumble I did not witness, so I took both boys to the van to warm up. We drove around the islands for a little while, and my camera batteries revived for one last shot:

This is the St. Lawrence River, looking south to New York state. Barely visible is the part of the river that has not iced over yet. If the weather stays very cold (today was 18 degrees Fahrenheit), the river will probably freeze over.

Next year I want to invest in some cross-country skis.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When should a person get married?

My friend Christy is getting married the end of this month. We all wish her well as she begins a new, somewhat scary, thrilling time of her life. Those of us who are married will surely remember the joyful frenzy of those last few days and weeks before the big day.

Do you married women remember all the comments and suggestions we all received by well-meaning individuals who questioned our decisions? In my case, I was asked these questions:
  • Are you sure you've known him long enough? (1st date to wedding day: 5 months, 7 days)
  • Isn't he too old for you? (he is 10 years, 5 months older)
  • Can't you have a church wedding and invite more people? (no, my parents were in the middle of packing for a major move, and we didn't really want to wait)
  • You should enjoy your engagement period, and not rush things.
My friend Christy went against the flow and decided to have a Friday evening wedding instead of a more "traditional" Saturday afternoon wedding. You go, Christy! I like your idea. Too much excitement on Saturday tires people out for Sunday, anyway. I got married on a Thursday. Thanksgiving Thursday, to be exact. My family enjoyed it, and it wasn't too stressful for my mother. For me, that was important.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

From my mother

I don't usually post twice in one day, but I just got this e-mail from my mother. These stories and more were part of my heritage, and a testimony of how God really does answer prayer. Here are my mother's own words:

When you were born I woke up from the ether and looked around. You were in a bassinet with several doctors and nurses all around you. Someone was holding up a little blue foot. A nurse noticed that I was looking and came over and told me that you had not breathed for several minutes. I remember very distinctly talking to my Heavenly Father and saying, "She is yours, if you want her with you, you can take her." Two very dear friends had prayed for me the night before when I was in labor and prayed again in the morning when you were being born. They did not even know that I was in the hospital. God did not take you.

When you were nearly 3, you had a very severe ear infection. The dr. said that it needed to be lanced but that I should take you home and bring you back in the morning. (the inflammation was very bad, I guess he wanted it to settle down a bit with an antibiotic.) That night you cried with the pain and I held you and talked with my Heavenly Father again. You finally quieted down and went to sleep. The next morning we took you to the doctor and as soon as he looked at your ear he said there was nothing wrong with it.

When you were about 4 you were sick and had a fever. I worked in Pediatrics at the time so I thought we should take you to the Emergency Room. They knew that I was a nurse and told me to take you home and watch you. You went sound asleep. After awhile you woke up and your temperature was down some and you were crying. When we asked you why you were crying, you said that Jesus was there and He left without you.

This led me to believe that you had something to do in this world that was in God's plan.

A little bit of this and that

It's cold. Other people have cozy wood stoves, but we do not--yet. Lord willing, with some remodeling done this coming spring and summer, we will have a wood stove for next year. Our plans also include a closed-in front porch for taking off boots and hanging up winter gear. If code allows, we will feed the stove pipe out through the porch and up through the porch roof so there can be a tiny bit of heat out there. It will also be a good place to store wood, but maybe we'll work something else out for that.

We have had snow upon snow upon snow, with more snow coming over the weekend. I like the snow, but since we went to two vehicles, I'm driving in it more. It isn't always the most pleasant experience!

I have been posting a lot of old school books on ebay canada. Out of 40 items, there has been only one bid. If anybody knows a better place to sell home school materials, let me know. I still have about 30 items to put on.

We got a "new" refrigerator/freezer from friends who went Mennonite and are getting rid of most of their electrical appliances. We put our old fridge/freezer in the cellar for extra storage, and put the upright freezer in the Penny Grader for sale. At some point, I'd like to get a small chest freezer, but for now I think we are okay with what we have.

They also gave us their front-loading washer and a dryer. We are keeping our old washer and dryer to help us get laundry done faster. Maybe now we won't have to wash clothes every day. I'd like very much to go back to twice a week washings. And if we can get the wood stove in next year, I'll be able to set up racks to dry clothes overnight. If we do that, I will do one big load every evening or so, hang it to dry overnight, and fold it in the morning.

All this means that from yesterday afternoon till now, the kitchen has been a maze of appliances, with removed room doors lying in the girls' room and the cellar access torn up to make room for the stuff that went down there. Mostly we're back to normal, with just the big freezer to move out to the deck for now. There is more space in the kitchen with only one big appliance instead of two.

Has anybody ever tried to put eleven people in a two-bedroom, one-bath house? It's fun, cozy, crowded, noisy, cluttered, sometimes messy, and full. Putting the two oldest out in the garage this summer freed up some space. Still, there are four boys in what is supposed to be a family room, three girls in the larger bedroom, and Tom and me in the smaller bedroom. Where will the new baby go? Well, we asked ourselves that before Timothy was born, and found room for him. I'm sure Baby will fit himself in just fine.

We have decided to go ahead with our original plans to remodel this place for sale, and use the profits to buy a place with a bit more land. We will get a prefab as unfinished as possible, do as much of the work as we can ourselves, and gradually work toward having a small farm. I had actually given up on the farm idea, thinking that was not God's plan for us. But recently Tom, a confirmed city boy, has had different ideas. He wants us to grow more of our own food, including milk and meat, so as to have as natural a diet as possible, with as little food processing as possible.

Only the Lord knows what is ahead for us in the next few years. We are taking one day at a time, but with a goal in mind now that was not so solidified previously. There is more that can be said, but I don't have the words for it right now. Something to do with peace, contentment, trust, submission, and other similar words. I'll mull that over in my mind and see if I can verbalize it in a later post.