Simple Memories

Sometimes you just have to make some memories. And they don't need to be big things. I remember the simple things that my parents did that were just fun and different. So last night we made pizza and had a "picnic" in the living room (with a blanket down because of the boys tendency to be a little messy--at least if the stuff under the kitchen table is any indication--and I just swept and mopped yesterday). We made a fire in the fireplace (the first one the boys had seen--the few times we've lit it have been after they've been in bed--just so we didn't have to worry about Nils being around it). And then we played Uno in front of the fire. Anders actually stuck with it more than he does with Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. That was all. But it was fun. And different. And time together. And just the smell of firewood is a good memory to me (I love that the smoky smell lingers for a few days).


This One's For You, Auntie Jane

Mind you, Nils specifically said to mention that he's an NPU fan--not an NFL fan.

More Snow & Mimics

It snowed all this morning; the rooftops and patches of the ground were white. At one point I looked outside toward some trees and the snow was falling in big, soft quiet flakes. I said to Beth that if you ignored the cars in the foreground, it really looked like some of the snowfalls we experienced at Covenant Pines and Bluewater Covenant Bible Camps in the Minnesota Northwoods while on vacation a few winters ago. But by noon it was all melted. I guess it's good for the skiers and snowboarders.

Meanwhile, Nils is going around acting as big as he can (which means doing what his big brother says). One of the things he was proud of this morning was walking backwards (Anders has been doing it a bit lately, so Nils has picked up the trick). He does it with such a big smile on his face. He's become pretty good at helping pick up toys and even putting his milk away in the fridge after meals. He likes to help unload the dishwasher when I'm doing it and even had to join in helping Anders and I make some gelatin this week. He also likes to go up and down the stairs standing up. But to do it, he really needs someone's hand to hold on to--so he'll usually grab mine if I'm near. It's very cute--as I'm sure you can imagine.


It's Snowing

I share this for you Midwesterners. It's snowing here. A nice, light snowfall with big flakes (or clusters of--I saw some larger than a quarter). We haven't seen snow since sometime in January I believe. And I've seen a few people in shorts this past week. Our weather doesn't vary as much as the Midwest. Our winter hovered right around freezing most of the time. Spring started several weeks ago (at least flowers were in bloom then, and trees were budding) and will last quite a while. And the summer tends to be short, with not many very hot days.

Nothing's accumulating at this point, but I'll post pictures if it does.


Thank You, Salvation Amry, for More Sugar for Our Kids

Today we went to the "blue park" just a few blocks from our house for the Easter Egg Hunt put on by the local Salvation Army church (Anders and I went last year--you can check the April 2007 archive). We got right to the park as they started the hunt. And you didn't want to be late--there were more people there this year (it was kind of funny to see Sikhs and people of other faiths out celebrating Easter), so the eggs went pretty quickly. Nils walked past a few piles of them before he understood that there was stuff on the ground that he could pick up. He got 5 eggs (which was still plenty); Anders maybe got 10 (he was pretty good about passing them on to other kids). Then we tried to play a little in the over-run park (seriously, there were more than 50 kids in the play area, which isn't very big).

We actually heard some mothers of children who arrived late and therefore didn't get any eggs, go to the Salvation Army people and complain. I'm not entirely sure what compels a person to go and complain that they didn't arrive until at least 15 minutes after the hunt started and their children didn't get any of the free candy that the church was donating.

But I suppose we all take free things for granted sometimes--including God's love. I hope He hears more gratitude and less complaining out of me at least.


Good or Bad or Something Else?

Anders has a lot (underscore that) of toddler-size Star Wars figures that he loves to play with. But as he's playing, he likes to know if the figure he has is a good guy or a bad guy. He knows that the Jedi are good; the Empire is bad. But some characters aren't so easy to classify. The clone troopers start out as good guys, helping the Jedi, but then the Emperor tells them to kill the Jedi, and they obey orders. And even most of the good guys have their moments when their actions aren't of noblest content. But it's hard to explain the human condition to a 3-year old. Especially when he just wants to play, have fun and know who's on whose side.

And that's where I find myself (and we all do if we're honest). Martin Luther said that Christians are simil justus et pecator--at the same time justified and sinful. It's another hard-to-swallow paradox of following Jesus--that we're simultaneously a sinner and a saint.

Tonight at bed time, I read the story of the crucifixion from one of the boys' Bibles to them. Anders seems to understand why Jesus went to the cross--though he doesn't fully understand that it was for him as well as everyone else. He gets that we've all got bad things in our lives. He at least knows that Jesus had to pay the price for our sins because we can't do it on our own. And he gets that Jesus did it because God loves us all beyond measure. And God has provided a way for us to turn from our sins and have them removed from us so that we can return to an intimate relationship with Him. And in that relationship, though our sins have been removed, we often find ourselves in our previous state of following our sinful desires rather than the Spirit's direction. And so, we're simil justus et pecator.

Today, I'm especially aware of my state before God. And I'm thankful for the cross (even though it pains me to think what Jesus went through). It is there that my numerous sins were (and are) forgiven. And it is there that I become fully aware of God's love for me.


Holy Week

On Palm Sunday we checked out a large church nearby (figuring it might be nice to just blend into the crowd at a big church right now). We could have easily walked in and out without talking to hardly anyone if it wasn't for taking Nils to the nursery and Anders to a Sunday School class. On some level that was nice--though I know if we were looking for a long-term church family, it would have been a big turn off. They did read the gospel narrative for Palm Sunday and had some of the kids come up and wave branches (I'm not sure any did) and play percussion instruments (which I think they all did) during the praise songs. But the sermon was in no way connected to Palm Sunday (not that it wasn't a good sermon--it's message was very pertinent to us, but it was weird for me to kind of just ignore the fact that it was Palm Sunday).

We almost forgot about St. Patrick's Day yesterday (not that we're ever very outgoing in celebrating it). We watched Anders' Veggie Tales Video Sumo of the Opera which had a segment about the life of St. Patrick. Who was English, by the way. He was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. He later left and went through theological training and then returned to Ireland as a missionary to the people there.

But right now it's odd to not have a church family to be a part of for Holy Week. Of course there are plenty of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services we could attend this week, but they don't have the draw without being connected to a church family. Easter is going to be weird, too. But, we're trying to keep our focus on Christ. And we're particularly aware of what He did for us and of God's unrelenting love for us. And of course, of His forgiveness. Amen.


Our First Guests

This last week we had our first house guests. Kennan and Alaina came out to visit some other friends and then stayed with us for 4
nights. It was nice to have some company in the midst of everything going on right now. We didn't do anything terribly exciting, but kept it low-paced and simple. We showed them the sights around the neighbourhood (including a trip to the produce market, the park and the library). We went to the beach one afternoon and flew kites, played in the sand and ate fish & chips. And we went down to the Peace Arch one afternoon and straddled the international border; then we went to Redwood Park to see the big trees. We all had a great time--the boys in particular enjoyed our house guests.



We went to the surgeon's office today and got the staples (5) taken out. I admit, I was a little nervous, but it wasn't bad at all. He said it could be 4 weeks before I'm back to "normal" again. I'm praying it doesn't take that long. I'm already tired of being tired. And I probably need to wait a couple weeks before lifting anything over 20lbs (which includes the boys, so that's not easy). But he said the incision looked like it was healing well and everything sounds like a good recovery. Now it's just waiting . . .


Now Appendix-Free

Last Monday (after 4-days of ignoring what turned out to be appendicitis) we visited my family physician who sent me to the emergency room for a CT or ultrasound. Once I finally got that done, I was taken to surgery in a pretty quick amount of time. Not long later, I was appendix-less (it had apparently burst sometime over the weekend, so I was in for a little longer recovery).

After several days of recovery, and lots of prayers by my friends out there, I was allowed home on Friday afternoon. So I got some sleep in a familiar bed last night and and resting well.

Overall, the Canadian health care system took good care of me. I'm not sure if the differences I noticed were specific to Canadian health care, or just to big-city hospitals (I don't have a lot of hospital experience in the US, but it was mostly small towns). I was placed in a room with 3 other people (all of whom were women). I was well taken care of, but didn't get a lot of attention because the nurses had several patients to look over (they did their jobs remarkably, though). My surgeon as well as my family physician checked in every day. TV and phone for my bed were an extra charge. Thankfully, I won't have to go through that again.

That's about all to say for now--I need to rest some more. Thanks again for your prayers.