The Many Faces of Anders

With My Little Eye

Since our car ride from Des Moines to Albert City (Iowa) during which Anders' cousin Ethan (the one he likes to blame everything he does on--but is also best friends with)rode with us to my parents' house, Anders has gotten into playing "I Spy" with us. You know the game where you pick a visible object and say, "I spy with my little eye something red." And you guess, "Is it the fire hydrant?" In my opinion, he does pretty well for a 3-year old. His is usually something quite obvious (we played a lot of "something green", "is it corn?", in Iowa). But you still have to pay attention to your surroundings.

Sometimes I feel dumb for how unobservant I am to my surroundings. I miss the people around me who need Jesus. I get too tunnel-visioned. Sometimes I can even miss the beauty in God's creation that He surrounded me with. Sometimes I just miss the blessings in life when I get too busy focusing on the things going wrong or on my greedy desires. Keep your eyes open. And share with others the things that you see.


A Wet Sasquatch

On Friday we took the youth group camping to Hicks Lake at Sasquatch (as in Bigfoot) Provincial Park. It was about an 70+ miles (if my kilometer-mile conversion is close) east of us, up in the foothills. Very beautiful scenery (sorry, I didn't get pictures of that before we left). We were still recovering from 2 weeks of being gone (Beth wasn't planning on going until the morning of, when she decided that the boys had slept well that night). And we didn't have as big of a group going as we would have preferred, but it was a good group of people to be with. Thankfully, Cherie from our church came with us because she had organized the camping trip last year, so she was a wealth of information and help.

We introduced the kids to some new cooking techniques: melting chocolate chips & mini marshmallows in a banana on the fire (they had actually tried this unsuccessfully before), making muffins in an orange and cooking bacon and eggs in a bag (see pics below).

However, not long after breakfast on Saturday morning, it started raining. And it kept raining. By shortly after lunch we decided that even if it did stop, everyone's belongings were wet enough (the tents had a few leaks) that it was going to be a soggy, cold, miserable night. So we headed back to our place for supper. We tried to talk the kids into camping out in our basement, using our fireplace to make smores, etc., but no one was up to that. Crazy, huh? Anyway, plans change. It was quite disappointing. Especially when this has been planned for a long time (I had to make the reservations back in May, and I knew the campout was a must when we came here). We were all really looking forward to the weekend together. And we prayed hard that the rain would stop. I know that there could be some good reason that God sent the rain to get us home instead of camping there. But nothing is obvious. Sometimes crappy things just happen. Sometimes crappy times turn into good memories. And sometimes crappy things do turn into blessings with hindsight. We live inside time--Providence knows no such limits.

1. Nils sucking on the water container
2. A game of Skip-Bo
3. The girls around the campfire
4. Beth cooking breakfast in a paper bag
5. Proof that bacon and eggs can be cooked in a bag


And Back Again

After getting up at 4am (PST) and having 3 flights, we got back to the Midwest on August 8. The boys did fairly well, considering. They were actually great fliers--just had a hard time with the 3+ hour layover in Salt Lake City.

The wedding went well--a nice ceremony, if I do say so myself. It was fun to see everyone there. We had several opportunities to see friends that we've missed the past 5 months.

We had a wonderful time with my family--Anders loves his cousins (and Farfar & Farmor, of course). We were reminded, however, that we don't miss the humidity that came with the 90 degree weather.

We also had a great time with Beth's family. It rained the whole time we were in Wisconsin and was only in the70s most of the time. But people still enjoyed the party for Mormor's 70th birthday party (even if it was in a park shelter house during a rainy day).

And now we're back home. We landed about 10:30 (PST--which was 2 hours later than we'd adjusted to over the past 2 weeks). We had some mishaps--which I won't go into here--but we're back in BC and recovering from the trip. Which I'm trying to do very quickly before I take the youth group on a camping trip tomorrow.

I'll try to get more pcitures from the trip up after I'm back.


Homeward Bound

"I wish I was. Homeward bound. Home, where my thought's escapin'." - Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel

In many ways, we call South Surrey home right now--for the four of us. But our families are all in the Midwest. So that's our home in other ways. And we head to Iowa tomorrow. At 5:40am. Pray for us with getting up at 3something and having two boys on the plane who like to be active.

And if you're in Iowa or Wisconsin, we'll hopefully see you soon!


The Parade of Lights

Yesterday was the wrap-up of the Spirit of the Sea Festival (nothing happens on BC Day, I guess). Some friends from church who live by the beach invited us down (so we could park at their place). We went down at 5pm--they invited several people from church, at least a dozen of us where there. We went down to the beach and had fish and chips (yes, even I ate them). Anders explored the beach a little, looking for little crabs and other things. Then we watched a short air show. Then we moved our chairs down the street and set up camp (we had a couple hours until the Parade of Lights, which was the main attraction). Anders and I went to the park and then found a bouncy castle that was still set up. He spent a bit of time just playing with a couple of the grandkids of couples from church. Finally at about 9:45 the front of the parade finally made it to us (we were toward the end).

Here's some of our group. Glow sticks of all shapes and sizes were popular at the parade.

Here's a couple of the parade entries. There were a few bands (including a good bagpiper group) and several cars with various fair dignitaries from both near and far. And there were plenty of floats. Most of them were just cars with Christmas lights attached (like in the first picture above), promoting various businesses or political candidates. There were a handful of really good floats--the second picture was one of our favorites. It featured Ogopogo, the Loch Ness Monster of Okanagan Lake in eastern BC. About 11pm, the parade was over. It was good--the group we were with made it a lot of fun. Though at times, we did miss being at the Pomeroy-Palmer Homecoming parade (there was definitely more candy there).

The funny thing was that for some of the people around us, the car getting towed before the parade started was the highlight of the evening. Hoards of kids gathered around yelling, "Tow it. Tow it."

Sometimes it's easy to forget what we're waiting for--we get distracted by seemingly more exciting things while we're waiting. It is difficult to stay focused when you're waiting for a while. Jesus said He'd return soon. That was almost 2000 years ago. It's been a long wait. The church has often gotten ourselves distracted in the wait. There's a lot of things that come up that are way more exciting than just waiting. Waiting is hard. But it's worth it. We can get focused on the distractions and totally miss out on it when the big event comes. So be prepared for the parade to come. Don't get distracted by other things that happen along the way. The Parade of Lights is coming.


BC Days: Spirit of the Sea

Monday is British Columbia Day. As far as I can tell from the government documents, they felt that a holiday was needed around August 1st, so hey, let's . . . um . . . honor the pioneers (yeah, that's the ticket) who helped make BC what it is today. It's not even the day BC entered into the confederation or anything. Of course, like any other holiday that falls on a Monday, this gets dubbed, "Long Weekend."

I'm not sure if it's entirely related to BC Day--I'm sure it's just piggy-backing on it--but White Rock (which is just a half-mile from us--the other side of 16th Ave is White Rock, the San Diego of California, or so I've been told) is having their annual (58th this year) Spirit of the Sea Festival (Friday night through Sunday--nothing on Monday). There's quite a lot going on, all along the beach: stuff for kids, vendors, concerts, skimboard competitions, parades, etc. We're invited by some friends from church to join them for watching the parade of lights tomorrow night (we're told we have to be there for supper in order to reserve our spot for the 9pm parade). So stay tuned for more pictures.

Anders and I spent a little time exploring the beach as the tide was going out. We did find a decent-sized red jellyfish (at least that's what we think it was; it was definitely gelatinous and round--there was a dead one in the sand, too--about Chicago softball size--we've only seen tiny ones about nickel size before). Plenty of people were in the water and on the sand, but it wasn't near as crowded as the promenade. And we could still hear the music from the stage. So we had that going for us.

Every town/village/city has it's celebration(s) across this continent. Community is important. We need to have our opportunities to come together and celebrate, have fun and maybe even get a little wild. But mostly, people yearn to belong, to be a part of something, to be connected. Why doesn't the church learn that a little better? After all, if there's a place to celebrate, it should be in God's presence, right? And if there's a place where fellowship is deep, authentic and inviting, it should be among God's people, right? We do fairly well, but we've got a ways to go to make this real (putting out some coffee and crackers should never be the full constitution of a "fellowship hour").

And onto the pictures:
1. Anders meets the beluga-man from the aquarium (he got a beluga tattoo--maybe we'll wear it to Iowa!)
2. One of the stages. This happens to be a Romanian folk-band, as far as I can tell. The were preceded by a nice little Irish band. The kid's stage was a whole other music scene
3. Friends from the community
4. Friends from church
5. The boys enjoying a bus ride back home (Thankfully we didn't have to drive and worry about parking. I actually walked down and met up with them when I got home from church this morning--but I definitely didn't want to walk back up the hill)


VBS Aftermath

Anders survived the week of Daily Vacation Bible School at church last week (they call it DVBS here, I grew up with VBS). He did fairly well, considering that he was the youngest. It did throw him off a bit--3 hours of "school" is a long time for a 3 year old. I survived as well--I think. The theme was Camp EIYAM (I don't remember what it stands for, but we focused on some of the "I am" sayings of Jesus). On Sunday I did a DVBS program for the worship service. I had a kid or group of them say the daily memory verse. Them I read the Bible story that went with the theme, did a short sermonette on that for the congregation and we sang a song that went along. Day 1 was "I am the Good Shepherd." We sang a kids song, "I Just Wanna Be a Sheep". Day 2 was "I am the Bread of Life." We sang "Hungry." Day 3: "I am the Resurrection" with "Wonderful Cross." Day 4: "I am the Light of the World" with "Open the Eyes of My Heart" (which is one that Anders loves to sing right now). Day 5: "I am the Way" with "Lord I Lift Your Name on High."

I won't share all the lessons that I shared with the congregation (leave a comment if you want more), but it was a cool week (and Sunday morning) to look at who Jesus is. I'm not positive what Anders actually learned from the week, but he's still singing praises. And that's good enough for me.

The Last Bloom

This is the last thing that bloomed in our back garden area (I don't think there's anything else coming). The bud has been forming since the beginning of the summer. The worth was worth it.