Friday, February 8, 2019

What we were thankful for in 2018

Throughout the year we write the things we're thankful for on slips and paper and place them in our "Blessings Jar." On New Year's Eve we read them out and reminisce.

Here are some of the things we were thankful for in 2018:

  • a visit to Nanny in January. She was 96 then and healthy.
    Our family enjoyed talking to her.
  • a visit from aunts and cousins
  • a nice mom, dad, and 3 brothers and 1 sister (ds 3 forgot he was one of the brothers!)
  • family, food, friends, and mom!
  • food, water, and shelter (dd's favourite)
  • delicious dinners by Daddy
  • sweet juicy oranges
  • crisp crunchy celery
  • chips!
  • telling pickle stories
  • a job that provides for us
  • a new (to us) van
  • a nice house to live in
  • friends and neighbours came over to sing Christmas carols together
  • bright white & red Christmas lights decorating the outside of our home
  • God's grace

There were more but the slips of paper are long gone!

Want to start this tradition yourself? Here's a useful resource.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Word for 2019

For the past few years I've been asking God to give me a word, and a Bible verse it's in, for the upcoming year. 

In 2015 I contemplated Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

My 2016 word was Wholesome, with the Bible verse being "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

My 2017 word was Less, with the Bible verse being "He [Jesus] must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30 (NIV)

My 2018 word was Grace, and my verse was: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

It turned out I needed a large dose of God's grace to get through 2018. As I dedicated myself to full-time parenting, I also learned more about what it means for my oldest to be on the Autism Spectrum. It was frustrating to know what kind of supports he needed and yet have no funding to put any of them in place. I took my skills from my 8 years as a fundraiser and put them to work. I contacted local service organizations, hat in hand, and asked them to pay for tutoring, ABA therapy, and social skills sessions. God was gracious and provided what we needed!

2018 brought the greatest loss of my life - my grandmother, Nanny, passed away in March at age 96. Our relationship was sweet and treasured. I loved her so deeply and the pain of mourning her was all encompassing and physical. In April I learned my children's pastor would be moving across the country. Another loss followed in July when my uncle passed away. God's grace had to be sufficient for me in my gaping weakness.

My sabbatical leave started on Saturday, August 11, 2018. That means I'm due back to work a year from then. I had to put in the request for this time back in 2013. God was gracious in planning ahead, knowing that my oldest would need extra help in his transition to high school.

Indeed I saw God's grace and power in my life in 2018. When I was weak, it was Christ's power that raised me up so I could keep going.

My word for 2019 is "rest" and the Bible verse I have chosen is: The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

2019 will continue to stretch me as in my parenting, my marriage, and my career. I believe God is calling me not only to trust him in the days and months ahead of me this year, but also to be at peace and to truly rest in His presence.

What about you? Do you choose a word or theme to focus on for the year? 
What is your word for 2019?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Week 8 of 52

September 30 - October 6, 2018

I like to read the obituaries. I'm not sure why. I like to learn about lives well lived, the impact they've had on others. I like to know how long people are living and what they're dying from. I absolutely loved the photo included for this lady! It reminded of me of the poem "When I Am Old," by Jenny Joseph. For some reason I thought it referred to a purple hat - in fact the hat is red but the rest of her clothing is purple. Anyhow, good for Virginia for wearing her purple hat and to her family or friends who chose to use it as her obituary photo!

Speaking of inspiring ladies... DD participated in her first Cross Country event. It was a beautiful day and a scenic location. I am proud of her for trying out, practicing, and doing her best. She was 67th in the group of Grade 4 girls, which I think was around the 75%
This week also included a trip to DS2's school open house, where he was excited to bring his math workbook out of his locker to show me his work.

Dinner with friend "J" to celebrate her milestone birthday.

Not pictured:

Piano lessons for DS2, DS3, and DD; a trip to the optician to get glasses ordered for DS1 and DS2; swimming lessons for DS3 and DD; meeting with teacher and principal at one of the kids' schools to discuss their listening habits; Autism Ontario parent support group meeting; phone call with a child's teacher about work habits; playdate on the Friday PA day; visit to chiropractor for all of us.

A visit from Grampa, who tries to come over once a month to hang out with the kids and us. He brought me the rocks he had brought home from a trip to Ghana this year. I had DH break them up so I can leave them on my loved ones' gravesites bit by bit.

A good talk with a couple of children's ministry workers at church about how introverts experience church.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Week 7 of 52

September 23-29, 2018

Started the week with lunch at friend J's house. When the Bible says "children are a blessing" it means so many things to me. One of the ways my children have been a blessing in my life is through the friends I've made because of them. My friend "J" was expecting a son at the same time I was expecting DS2, they were born a couple of weeks apart. We were able to help each other out by trading childcare and her role in that helped me tremendously as I worked on my Masters degree. I moved a lot growing up so having a friend who has been in my life for more than a decade is a big deal to me!

Attended my first high school parent council meeting on Monday night. The principal gave us a thorough update, which I really appreciated. I like her passion and vision for the school, it gives me great hope.

Coffee with friend "R" on Tuesday morning. This friendship was forged when we realized we both have children with exceptionalities. 

A visit with my mom on Tuesday afternoon -- she's treating her kids to a "Western Mediterranean" (Spain, Italy, France) cruise in October and DH and I are paying his way. She and I are the most detail-oriented of the group and are enjoying planning out the sight-seeing in port.

Tuesday night I attended a session to learn more about the Ontario Autism Program. Learned a few new things, like that when I finally get "the call" I'll have to know whether I want the Direct Funding or Direct Service option. The best thing I learned (not that it's good news, rather that getting this info can be elusive) is that people on the wait list from January 2017 are getting calls now. So another 10 months for us... :-(

Thursday morning DH and I attended a workshop with DS1 at his school. It was to help us help him break down assignments in a practical way.

In the afternoon I went with my friend "C" and gave blood! The last time I had donated was 16 years ago and I was glad to be able to do so again. Let me encourage anyone reading this to please donate blood if you're able to. I felt tired that day and the next but am back to my normal self now.  

"More than half of Canadians will need blood at some point in their lifetime. Cancer patients, transplant recipients, accident victims. For these people and so many more, a timely transfusion of blood can be the lifesaving difference. The need is constant." (

The last stop on Thursday was the open house at my younger kids' school I was proud to see what DS3 had written in his journal entry: He wrote about our summer trip to my mom's cottage at a Christian camp and ended with: "But the best thing was we got to learn about God."

Kids... blessings from God!

"Children are a blessing
and a gift from the Lord."
Psalm 127:3
[Contemporary English Version (CEV)]