Monday, January 25, 2016

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity" (Ephesians 5:15,16)
 I am often asked if I ever will go back to teaching in the classroom.  Of course, I do not know what the future holds, and so often I have eaten my own words.  Therefore, I try to answer that question carefully.  Although there are many things that I miss about teaching, I am thrilled about the new opportunities that God has given me.  When one door closes, God opens another one.

I am particularly looking forward to speaking in all of the classes next week about Down syndrome.  I am very humbled by this opportunity, but I am embracing the opportunity with joy to be able to bring awareness about Down syndrome to the students.  I look forward to helping the children learn that we are more alike than we are different, and that we are ALL God's masterpieces, created by Him! I am excited to use the props (dolls) that my awesome, crafty, talented friend made!

For every missed opportunity, there is a new opportunity!

I am so grateful for new opportunities, and I pray that I will use them to glorify God!
Continuing to give thanks...
-new opportunities

-my crafty, talented life long friend
-the upcoming opportunity to speak about Down syndrome

-end of the semester skating party
 -a great group of friends
-great skating weather

-a hike through the back fields

 -how they loved it that we both were able to go sledding with them

 -perfect weather for sledding
 -enjoying their P.D. day

 -her stay home days
-afternoon snuggles (and naps)
-playing games together
-giggles and laughter (making it difficult to drink her milk)
-lunch with dear friends
-awesome afternoon with my hairdresser (therapy, as Paul calls it)
-her generosity and kind heart

Monday, January 18, 2016

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him" 
(Psalm 127:3).

As he was trying to decide on his courses for next year, I suggested the parenting course.

"Mom, I don't need to take that; parenting is easy".

I had no words.

I have read tons of parenting books, and I continue to do so.  I continue to learn new things all the time, and I know for certain that parenting is not easy.

No matter how many books I read or advice I receive (whether I want it or not), I feel that I will never get it right.

However,  I also know for certain that parenting is one of the greatest blessings there is!  Amidst the trial and error, I also know for certain that God's grace is sufficient.  His mercies are new every morning and He gives us the strength and patience that we need.

He pours the blessings on us every day with the sounds of laughter, time spent playing games together, stories being told, eating meals together, participating in common interests, working together, playing together, sharing our love, practicing forgiveness, having fun with everyday activities, and constantly making new memories together!!!

I am so grateful for the blessing of parenting my precious four children (and soon to be five!!!)

Continuing to give thanks...

-celebrating our precious daughter's 6th birthday
-for the spice of life that she adds to our family

-her huge smile, her empathy towards others, her forgiving heart, and her zest for life!!

-how his love spills over for all of his children
-being on this journey of parenthood with the best dad ever!

 -the blessing of calling her our daughter and being her Mom!

-awesome helpers!!

-fun times colouring, skating, and eating cake and snacks!

-lots of laughs and fun with her friends

-the love from grandparents

-puzzle races with her older cousin and her brother

-enjoying the snow

-snow removal and safety on the roads

-how he takes his children skiing and many other fun outings
-her first time skiing and how well she did!

-Nicole's project about "Family Blessings"/ adoption

-our opportunity to be advocates for adoption through the media and being able to share our faith
-that our file is being reviewed and that we are getting closer to bringing our son home to his forever home!

Monday, January 4, 2016

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth" (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

This year, we celebrated New Year's around the world!
Although, I do not believe in participating in rituals or traditions that supposedly ward off evil spirits, or bring good luck, it was fun to learn about the different traditions around the world.

Learning about other traditions, caused me to reflect on our own traditions.  My favourite tradition when researching how other countries celebrate New Years was Nigeria as they participate in intense prayer.  Some traditions are centuries old.  What traditions are we passing on to our children?  Does it include intense prayer?  How different would our lives look like if we passed on that tradition?  Rather than believing in activities that bring good luck or good fortune, and warding off evil spirits, what about trusting in God and thanking him for all of the blessings that we have!  What about praying that we and our homes would be filled with the Holy Spirit?  Those are the traditions that I hope and pray we will be able to pass on to our children, and their children, and their children, etc.  

In addition to the fun of popping a balloon every hour to celebrate a different country, we also enjoyed the tradition of attending church by ending and starting the New Year in the presence of the Lord, and in communal worship.  

Our fun celebrations of New Year's around the world included some things such as:
Ethiopia:  wearing new clothes
Filipino countries:  wearing polka dots
Turkey:  playing Bingo (rather than the lottery)

Denmark:  jumping from chairs "into" the New Year

Spain:  a mouthful of 12 grapes -1 for each chime of the clock before midnight (Paul won the grape eating contest)
Philippine:  making lots of noise, such as banging pots and pans.  Our pots and pans took a bit of a beating, but Brad the drummer boy, enjoyed making "music"!

China (and many other countries around the world):  fireworks

We had a fun night ringing in the New Year and learning about other countries around the world.  We look forward with much anticipation to the year 2016 to see what God has in store for us! I pray that we will be able to trust Him and give glory to Him in all that we do!

Continuing to give thanks...
-the tradition of celebrating the New Year with my sister and her family
-the tradition of ringing in the New Year worshiping with fellow believers
-the many, many blessings that God has given us this past year!

-enjoying our new game table

-the rink is completed and almost ready for skating

-how she enjoys doing her homework

-our tree cutting tradition

-another successful poinsettia season
-my lovely daughter
and my lovely boys and family

-my awesome husband, and best friend

-our newest addition to the family

-how she loves her pets

-great niece and nephew enjoying the greenhouse

-how she enjoys books and reading to her pets

-our new wall; before and after

-how they love to play games together

-celebrating another year with my family

-celebrating our precious daughter's birthday
-her many gifts and talents
-her loving personality and big heart!

-his confidence and gift for public speaking
-his origami bow tie

-siblings playing games together

-how she loves her boys (and all of her children)!
-family Christmas celebrations

-the fun gift exchange, which included new socks (how appropriate)!

-the fun ping pong tournament

-cousins including their little cousins

-enjoying their new gifts

-patiently putting together her new lego

-the beautiful, unique Christmas full moon

-sharing a common interest
-enjoying the park across the road
-Nicole's photography skills

-Nicole's fun Africa map craft

-enjoying the first snowfall!!