Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas fun....more pics!

Toby's "What'cha talkin' 'bout, mom!?" look.
Handsome 18-month boy...
And my pretty bird.
Elton John?
Foamies stick!
Promise, a true foamie artist!
Our finished gingerbread house....


Ahhh.....the sights and sounds of Christmas.....Promise and Toby even re-enacted the Christmas story....of course Promise was Mary and Toby was (reluctantly) Joseph. The baby Jesus? Well, He was several Dora dolls. :)
I love Christmas.
Be Blessed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Greetings! Sorry....things have been so hairy that I haven't had much time to sit...
In a nutshell....
Promise is no longer wearing pull-ups to bed. :)
Toby is, RUNNING everywhere....tantrums does God's mercy and grace....I am going nuts and I love my husband....
Oh, is that snow I see?
And Promise is singing Jingle Bells! Here are some pics of her very first Christmas production at church! She LOVED being on stage and sang well. I love her. And the last pic is of her in front of our very first REAL LIVE Christmas tree in 9 years of marriage! :) I like trees.
Happy Christmas, everyone and we'll update later!
Be Blessed!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hand, foot and mouth....eww, yuck!

Toby learned two new words this past week..."Ewww, Yuck!"
This was in response to his latest adventure....Hand, foot and mouth disease. Yes, Toby contracted this nasty virus that attacked his whole body from head (especially mouth) to feet from church nursery. Painful blisters, high fever, diarrhea, and lethargy sent me with him to hospital. I came home with tylenol. Poor kid...nasty virus and all we could do was wait it out and hunker down into quarantine mode. That's right....stuck in the house for well over 7 days. Then Promise got it, but thankfully, she only got two spots. :) So with our stuck days, we decorated the house for CHRISTMAS! Yes, we know it's early, but it's the most wonderful time of the year! We're just attempting to make it LOOOONGER. :)

And here is our fairy princess now! She LOVES her princess crown from her cousin's birthday party and her girly sunglasses from her friend, Shiloh. And the dress....from our friends Sandra and Wendy...they blessed us with a bunch of beautiful clothes for Promise. This is Promise's favorite outfit...she says that she is beautiful in this dress. I agree....with or without daughter is beautiful.

When the kids and I finally reached total meltdown, cabin fever, get the heck outta the house feelings this weekend, we decided that Daddy should take us to Grandma Con and Papa Jim's house in Oregon for Remembrance Day weekend. :) Tim thought that was the perfect way to spend a 3-day (that turned into 4!) weekend! Tim has very few days off, so this was quite a surprise and a welcomed treat!
So we surprised my mom and dad arriving Friday afternoon and invading their peaceful house and weekend with Hand, Foot and mouth disease remnants. They didn't mind!
We had an amazing time.
It was what we needed. I find that spending time with my parents is like getting hooked up to a Holy Spirit IV of encouragement, truth and eternal perspective. We all needed it.
One night on a whim, while doing some much-needed laundry (Toby still had horrible diarrhea), I found my wedding dress from almost 10 years ago! I also found my mom's wedding dress, my grandmother's and my GREAT grandmother's wedding dresses! So the thought goes through my mind, "I wonder if I could still fit in that!?"
And guess what!?

I DID! And my mom put hers on, too, just for fun! Although 10 years have changed my shape dramatically (partially from having kids), that dress fit me almost better than it did 10 years ago. It was somewhat encouraging.

Toby showed off his new tricks...he has this little flirtatious evil eye he does (the picture doesn't do it justice, but it's AWESOME!)...he had my parents in laughing fits with this move. What a character...even when sick!
My little man.
And His sister likes him, too! She's very affectionate and he is just waiting for the right moment to take her affection and sink his teeth right into it...literally...we often have to say, "TOBY, NO BITING!"
And once again, my precious girl. She is just so very smart and growing so well. Ya know, she still remembers her friends from the Philippines.....she often asks for Eliana and Zoe, her very first friends....she was less than 2 when she made those two friends and still draws them pictures and makes them "presents", Heather Boswell and An-An, if you are reading this, please tell your kids what an incredible blessing they have been and continue to be to Promise....she remembers them with great love.

With Christmas on its way, we have been reading treasured stories to Promise about the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. We will not be doing any Christmas presents this year, so we are planning on doing some kind of service project or creative blessing activity instead. Promise is still young enough that she does not expect gifts on Christmas (at least we don't think she does), so we will start the tradition of blessing eachother in other thanks first and foremost to Jesus, for it is HIS birthday and HIS celebration.

With all the bombardment of "give the perfect gift" and the pressures of "bigger and better", I am so thankful that we are broke and haven't any money to buy gifts this year! It certainly takes the pressure off AND gives us more time to focus on BEING the gift rather than BUYING it. I am committing to BEING a gift to my family in order to honor Christ and I hope to teach Promise the same....THAT is pressure enough! Ha ha ha! I will need Christ to accomplish that, too!
Enjoy the season of blessing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warm colors, cold wind....

Greetings! Promise, Toby and I (mommy) went out this week for a autumn photo hunt for fall colors and WOW! we found some! Above is our little Mum plant that was dying from slug attacks last year and after some loving care, behold! What a pretty color.

Grandma-Stina, as Promise calls her (Tim's mom), and Papa Steve bought a lovely maple tree for the backyard that Tim planted...Promise loves that the leaves are falling off it....she had to strike a pose.
One of my favorite plants this time of year is the chinese their colors and love their shape.
I planted a passion flower vine in the yard this year and despite the nursery telling me to bring it inside for the winter, I planted it in the ground....with plenty of winter warmth...underneath Promise's painted rocks is a fleece blanket, styrofoam, newspaper, and finally, the plastic planter....I am sure it will survive. :)
Next we have my favorite fall colors.....
And our walk to the park, under our favorite fall tree, with our house (the blue one) in the background (though you can't see our basement suite from this angle).

Sorry it took me so long to post...Tim was gone in Vernon, BC for two weeks for more Kal Tire training, so getting to the computer was like going to never happened.
But Tim has returned and life is just starting to get back to normal.

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a "true Christian" amidst a society that is self-seeking, self-sufficient, self-actualizing, and SELF-selfing. You know what I mean?

Our search to make ourselves happy is a constant rat race....while we don't always admit it, but just about everything we do comes down to our need to feel happy....we buy certain foods because they taste good, thus making us feel good while we eat them...we buy certain cushy chairs to make our bums feel happy....we plant flowers to enjoy their fruit, which makes us happy....etc.

Now, I know I am leaving out a large component here, as I am fully aware that enjoying God's creation and His provision is not always self-serving....however, I am finding that there is also an "unhappiness" in life that is to be expected, is healthy and certainly "holy".

Like I shared about in the last post...we ARE sojourners here....aliens in a weird, fallen, pain-ridden world....and because of this, we groan. Our spirits groan....creation groans....we groan for the coming of Jesus when pain, suffering and sin will be no longer part of our daily lives.

In Freedom Session, a class I am currently taking, one of the repeated phrases is "the only way through the pain is THROUGH the pain" can't jump over it, cover it up, ignore it, medicate it, or go around it....we are MADE to experience pain. It's's necessary and it will always be there....a reminder of the fact that this world is not what we are living's the next....until Jesus comes, pain will be a part of this life....yes, I know I am stating the obvious, but how often do we run from pain because it is uncomfortable and we feel we should not feel discomfort? Or even SHOW discomfort..."a GOOD Christian is living in a constant state of VICTORY and it should show!" Yes, I am being VERY facetious.

Jesus came to rescue us from the pain and consequence of sin and death and He HAS!....but until we are in His Presence.....face to face....beholding His complete glory in the Place He has prepared for us, we will feel a lack...we will feel pain....our spirits will groan. Do we not believe that the Trinity feels pain as He watches another divorce, another starving child, another person refuse Him? Of course He does! When we feel pain, we identify with Christ. Did He not feel the utmost pain on the cross? Why do we run from pain? What if Jesus had run from the pain? Mmmm.

My friend, Naomi, had a beautiful baby boy on Tuesday....she is one of those people who smiles broadly while in labor...singing, swaying and dancing....moaning, grunting, and IN PAIN....seriously...she will say loudly, "I am in PAIN" and yet, she continues to smile through tears of pain and joy....and her pain lasts but a couple of intense hours and her reward is nestled in her arms....isn't that how we are? With our lives as a moment, a breath compared to eternity...we smile and groan through tears of pain and joy knowing that our pain will not last much longer and will give way to precious life with Christ.

I long and groan for Heaven....and I smile through tears.
Be blessed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

What's Promise thankful for?
"Baby Grace!" she says emphatically. Baby Grace is her cousin. :)
What's Tim thankful for?
"All sorts of stuff....the Cross!"
"His faithfulness!"
"Mommy" Ha ha ha.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Be blessed!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Peeing Refrigerator.

So, greetings! And HAPPY FALL! I am writing this as I listen to Tobias cry as he is falling asleep.....and next to me is the sound of our refrigerator tinkling....not sure where the water is going, but it's a very similar sound to peeing in a metal drum. Sorry for the awesome visual.

As Fall is here, we thought it a good idea to enjoy the last few days of a rain-less existence. Here in Abbotsford, it rains about 6 months out of the year, starting today. :) Tim, Promise, Toby and I ventured down the street from our house to the local dairy farm this weekend to enjoy some farm animals and smells.

This great NutriBarn Dairy farm is open to the public without cost! We like free entertainment! So when Daddy is at work, Promise, Toby, and I go there often to visit Darla the Donkey, the turkeys, Emmy the goat and her "sisters", the two piglets, and two new baby cows. They also have a few miniature horses, two stallions, and a llama....or maybe it's an Alpaca? I dunno, but it's ugly. :) Promise wanted to show her daddy all the awesome animal friends she had made, so we got to go as a family on Saturday.
Here's Promise with her new friends, the sleeping pigs.
The ugly llama....alpaca? Serious underbite....apparently the farm has not invested in an animal dentist....
Tim and the Stallion....both studs. :) Getting friendly, aren't they!?
Mommy and Toby making friends with Stallion #2
Toby was not at all frightened of this massive and beautiful creature. He LOVED it!

As I shared last post, Promise, Toby and I have been getting very active in our church during the week. I started a class called "Freedom Session" every Wednesday while Promise attends their preschool Bible Study and Toby enjoys new toys in the nursery. :)

Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we get to "workout" or "dance" to worship music with a bunch of other ladies and their kids....that's our Phys Ed for the week! Ha ha ha! Promise and I started home-preschooling and we are having a gas! Promise is so very smart and eager to learn. She is getting great at identifying the letters of the alphabet in the stories she reads as well as making their phonetic sounds. :) She LOVES being read to and is picking up on patterns of letters, words and paragraphs. She also seems to be very good at entry-level elementary math! She can count to 20 without help and has already been adding and subtracting with raisins, marshmellows and chocolate chips. Smarty-pants.

On Monday night, Tim and I joined a Pastorate group from church and are looking forward to the deep, authentic relationships that will develop through that fellowship. Promise and Toby have the privilege of attending, as well.

I continue to be blessed through serving on one of the many worship teams at church...not just because it's an opportunity to do something I love, but moreso because of fellowshipping with the amazing people on the team. I have been humbled and encouraged hearing the stories of the team members and the way the Lord has challenged and blessed them through trials, pain, joy and crazy experiences.

Toby continues to astound me with his ability to communicate....He now plays "Peek-a-boo" randomly on his own and has learned how to open and close doors...that has been a bit of a problem in our world, but I am glad that he is trying new things...he has also discovered how to quickly empty the dishwasher for me....much to my chagrin. His main job, though and his greatest talent is bugging Promise.... What a monkey.

Tim's job is going great and it appears as though he will be on the fast track to management. His level of wisdom and integrity has gone noticed by his superiors and they are very happy with him. He seems to have a very positive relationship with everyone there and comes home super excited about work....for that, we are so grateful. The Lord has been giving him favour and equipping him for the future!

It has been almost a year since returning home from the Philippines. We have undergone an intense time of healing and are continuing to seek redemption and restoration from our Lord. Tim has said that this has been the very best year of his and full of God's grace. For me, I think this year has been full of internal struggle and pain. Ha ha ha....yet, if had not been for Tim's positive perspective and changed spirit and for God's grace, I think I would've shut down and checked out a long time ago. God has been good and faithful. I have never heard the Lord speak so clearly through His word than in this season. I am so grateful for His continued faithfulness in that.

I have been pondering a bit more about the state of our Christian we are just sojourners in this life and our home is really someplace else....How I long to be there now....I'll share more about that side of things next post. :)

Be blessed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blueberries, Balloons, and Birthdays....

Greetings! As are the pics of our Summer silliness. I read this silly quote today and could totally relate:
"You know you're fatigued when you find yourself licking the bottom of your coffee pot."

So above and below are pics from our frantic beach trip a few weeks ago with my side of the fam....
Promise loves going to any park and discovering all the "hiding places"...
We played a bit of volleyball, though there was little "volleying".....
Gramma Con and Papa Jim, Greatgramma Thelm and Papa Phil got Promise a beautiful, old doll house for her birthday and Uncle Andy did some modern renovations to get it up to code. :) Promise LOVES it....and much to her dismay, so does Toby. :)
We spent a bit of time on the Oregon beach...very windy!
But we found some shelter in our beach-grass bunker. :)
Then we returned home and had a small family birthday party with Promise on her actual special day of August 24th complete with cake and TONS of blueberries! (Thank you, Bea, for the wonderful candle!)
Toby enjoyed the cake, too. And we made Tim a Birthday Berry Pie....
Then Tim and I went on our Anniversary Balloon ride! Here's Tim holding the balloon open while the crew blows it up! You can actually walk right inside!
But then, they start the hot air and you REALLY don't want to be inside when they turn the fire on! It's HOT! Tim might've singed a few nosehairs just holding the balloon open!
But then we climbed into the basket along with 3 other couples and our pilot.
And got to 500 we dropped to 400 ft. and we were SAILING!
It was so peaceful....breathtaking. The only sounds you could hear up there were the occasional blast of hot air and the barking dogs attempting to chase you!
All the Mum plants in bloom down below....incredible scenery!
Then we landed in a park's parking lot missing a power line by about a foot! Awesome. So much fun!
Then we all helped deflate the balloon and pack it all into this small bag! Incredible!
Then we came home to our handsome boy....
What a HAM!
And our precious girl's birthday with the Stewart side and friends. We had a lovely tea party....
Got instructions for bashing pinatas.....
Bashed Dora and Promise's cousin, Justice, decapitated Dora with her guts of candy flying everywhere!
So we moved on to the homemade pinatas....
And of course, the homemade cake.....the end!
It was utter chaos with kids running everywhere, but my dear friend, Heather, who visited from Seattle and Tim helped to decorate and create a party atmosphere unlike I've ever seen! It was a GAS! Everyone had a great time and we all crashed into bed after cleaning up the post-party hurricane. Thank you, everyone for coming and making her day so special!

Up ahead, Promise, Toby, and I will be joining our church's weekly bible study and a few other classes during the week starting this month. She is so excited to be going to church more than just on Sunday. Pretty cool. I am thankful to be joining a community of women to learn and grow from. Exciting. We're also going to be hunkering down in our financial journey while Tim continues to work hard....he is LOVING his job and we are so proud of him.
God has blessed us this summer. I am so utterly humbled by His mercy. I love my kids and I am so grateful for my husband. God is faithful.
Be blessed.