Monday, March 03, 2008

Memorable Christmas

This past Christmas's was one of the best ones I think. We had such a wonderful time with family and friends at the lake - we were totally blessed. The weather was good, the company was good, the quiet times were good, the food was good too. God is so good!!

It was the first Christmas that we spent all of Christmas there - it was such a blessing. We had our individual family gatherings before and after. My family has grown so much - we were able to get almost all of us in a photo together - except me cause I was takin the photo. :-) The kids just keep on growing and maturing each year. Roger's family is much smaller than mine but the kids are growing all the same - they're pretty precious when they're young like this - even if there hair is super long and hanging in their eyes, hey Brandon?? :-) They'll be all grown up and left home before we know it.

Christmas Eve was Brandon's birthday so we had friends over for cake. We played games and the kids went snowmobiling for a bit. That evening we walked to the church in town for the Christmas Eve service and then there were fireworks afterwards. I've never had fireworks on Christmas Eve before - that was neat. It was such a beautiful, mild evening, a great evening for a walk contemplating on the true meaning of Christmas - God sending His Son Jesus to earth as a baby, born in a stable and using angels proclaiming the Good News to lowly shephards, outcasts of that day, to take this New to all the world. WOW! What a God we serve. The kids camped out in the living room for the night, by the tree - something they'd never done before either. It was so great to be spending this Christmas at the lake. Another first for memories and family traditions in our own family. :-)

At another time, we had spend a night with the church family from Mont Nebo, we crashed their Christmas party. :-) But they forgave us. One Sunday, Pastor Bill welcomed all the new people but he looked at us and said, "You're not new anymore - now you're one of us." :-) That felt kinda nice. What was really great about this Christmas party was that the woman's home we were at, she knew Roger's family - Roger and his dad often farmed part of their land near Hepburn - her husband had passed away not too long ago and then her and her son finished this cabin at Big Shell. It was such a blessing talking to her, getting to know her family more and being with these good folks from Mont Nebo church. We just love church families, we can't get enough of them. :-)

On Christmas Day we had our own family Christmas and then our dear friends Peter & Helen came up with their kids for the day of sledding, snowmobiling and a wiener roast for lunch. I've never had an outdoor wiener roast on Christmas Day before - that was so cool! The guys got stuck really really bad out at the buffalo jump bowl close to Morin Lake and they really thought they'd have to leave the sled there until Spring - it took them nearly an hour to get out and it was getting dark. :-) But God was good and gave them the strength and power to get unstuck and brought them home for a Christmas chicken dinner. hmmmmmm. Copper was so funny - he couldn't get enough of running up and down the sledding hill with the kids when we were out by the lake. He'd just run and run....and chase that snowmobile, oh he would howl and chase that snowmobile. If we didn't let him outside, he's whine and whine to go out after that thing. :-)

Later in the week some of Roger's family came up for a few days and it was so good. We took them on a horse and sleigh ride through the frost covered land up there - that was just way cool!! Some of them had never had a sleigh ride before so that was great to be able to bless them in that way. We also went to see a super lights display at a home up the hill - that lady goes to a lot of work to bless others with a fantastic light display. It was a really good couple of days of laughter, movies, games, sledding, snowmobiling/giving rides to each other and talking. :-) Thank you God for special times with family.

After the New Year, I brought up 7 kids - yah, I know I'm crazy at times :-) but it was really good. Roger came up later with some friends and we stayed the weekend yet. It's just so wonderful to be building great memories with our kids and our friends and family. In years to come, we'll look back with joy at the growing up years that our kids had - and we'll have oodles of photographs to go through to remember those by.

Here Copper is getting into trouble....again. He always got into my socks if they were laying around on the floor. If it wasn't the socks, then it was the mitts that were drying on the register, or the milk jugs - which were empty of course, but they are one of his most favorite toys. :-) He likes making Coke angry too - which doesn't take much - Coke growls everytime he sees him or walks by him - he's gettin to be an old grouch. :-)

Thank you God for this place, this lake home to build memories and to enjoy with family and friends. You have brought many people through our lives in this place and we are ever so grateful for every one of those precious precious people and these very precious memories.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Israel - November 08 ??

Have I ever wanted to tour the Holy Land?? Have I ever wanted to walk where Jesus walked?? Have I ever wondered what the sounds and smells would greet me in the Promised Land?? Would I like to stand on the shores of Galilee?? Have I ever wanted to see the Judean Hills or take a walk through the village of Cana?? Would I like to experience the historic city of Jerusalem?? Do I want my Bible reading to come alive as I visualize the areas that I am reading about?? Would I like to experience the lands of Israel, Jordan and Egypt??

OH YES YES YES!!!! That has been a desire of my heart since I was just a young girl. I can just picture all the pictures that I could take and have on my computer and in my photo albums and to show my children and grandchildren in years to come - if we are on this earth for that long. :-)

You know, God loves to grant us the desires of our heart when they align with His Will. First Bolivia in March 2006, it was such a desire of mine to go to Bolivia to see my friends who are missionaries, and also to find my dad's brother and sister on the Mennonite colonies there - he hadn't seen them in nearly 50 years. God is so good and He allowed that to happen for me. Now, it looks like He may grant another desire of my heart to go to the land of Israel. How my, how wonderful that would be.

We have a new pastor at our church and he leads tour groups to Israel once every couple of years. The questions that are above, are the questions he had put on a brochure he had created. So this November, he will be leading a group there. He's led 3 groups there so far and has been in Israel 4 times. So, the Good Lord willing, we will be going along with his group in November. I'm so excited!! I can't wait! I've been leading Bible studies for about 15 years now and have learned so much and have grown so much. Going to Israel would enhance those studies that I've done and the studies that I will continue doing so much. God has such wonderful plans in store for me yet - I can't wait to see what they all are. I keep telling my kids what great things God has planned for them in their future - plans to prosper and bless them, not to harm them - extraordinary plans for each of their lives. I feel deep in my heart that going to Israel is part of His plan for me in my life - if not now then sometime in the future. He loves to bless us with the desires of our heart - if they align with His Will. Amen???


I've known a woman for over 10 years and have always admired her and treasured her friendship. When we first met, she was not sure of the Christian faith and had not been taught to read her Bible. We have developed such an incredible friendship and have had such wonderful discussions about God/the Bible/angels/the virgin Mary/Jesus/the New name it, we talked about it. Sometimes we'd go for walks together and just talk and talk. Wow, did we ever grow and learn together. I've seen her children grow up into beautiful ones who love the Lord. She's raised her children in the way that "they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it" and has stood by her faith in very challenging times. She's rocked the boat when it comes to school politics and church traditions. I have learned so much from this woman. Her kids, like any other kids who love the Lord, have been challenged, tested, ridiculed or made fun of for their faith and have stood strong for God. Her family has challenged her for her faith as well and so have others in her life who are close to her. We all have at times. She has courage, this special friend of mine, much courage and she has taught it to her children. Recently, her daughter, who is in Grade 12, wrote a paper for a class assignment. This young girl is stunningly beautiful inside and out, a Grade A student and God has blessed her with many gifts and talents. My friend read this paper to me and it pulled at my heart so much, what a prayer, what a stand, to take for Christ. It completely speaks for the special youth of our day, the challenges that our youth, our teenagers who love the Lord and who yearn to stand for Him, what they go through each day - the struggles and challenges. She's given me permission to share this with you. Let it be a prayer for your children and for their children. This prayer is for all the youth in Canada, in our churches, in our schools. May it bless your heart but I pray that it will also spur you on to pray diligently for our youth, for our young women, to stand strong for Jesus and to remain pure during their young lives as women. God bless you!

"With the current spiritual state the world is in today, I believe that the gift I need most is courage. I need courage to combat the daily pressures placed upon me by an immoral society, pressures that I may not have been faced with had I been born in a simpler time. It is extremely difficult to maintain good moral values in a society tainted by drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and premarital sex. Not only am I pressured to exhibit these well-known traits of society, but I am also faced with pressures to hide or abandon my value system. I am constantly faced with rejection in various forms for standing up for what is right and true in the eyes of God. Values such as abstinence, modesty, truthfulness, patience and diligence are seen as "abnormal" or "uncool" in society and individuals who do not sport these values are faced with ridicule and rejection. Everyday I am faced with pressure from my peers as well as the media to be that "ideal" person. This "ideal" person is "cool" by society's standards, but does not exhibit good values in God's eyes. I need courage to stand up for what is right and refrain from becoming this "idealistic" person.

I am already having a difficult time standing up for what is right because I have been faced with rejection on many occasions. I am not faced with physical harm or death, but rejection even in its mildest forms is painful and can cut a person deeply. I know that I must remain close to God and to the values that are right in his eyes even when it is hard. As I graduate and begin university, I know that standing up for the truth will only get harder. Thus, I need courage now so that I can stand up for what is right no matter what pressures I am faced with in the future. Courage will significantly impact my life by enabling me to stand by my values right now, in university, in my career and in all my future endeavors. I truly desire to be blessed by God with a courage that allows me to stand up for what is right without succumbing to the immoral behavior that is horrifically prevalent in the world today. I want the courage to stand up proudly as a follower of Jesus without faltering, even though it might result in rejection, abuse or even death."

Written Feb. 26/08 in Saskatchewan.

Oh God, may this young woman be blessed for having such a heart and a prayer for You. May this be the prayers of us as well Lord, that we would stand strong for You no matter what. No matter what the ridicule is from family and friends, from spouses, teachers or parents. May we stand strong for TRUTH and Your Word - because we know that those things endure forever. Thank you God for the heart of this young woman - bless her Father, bless her for voicing her heart in such a way that it stands as an example for all the young women in her generation. May this prayer continue on in the next generation and may it also touch the hearts of women in the generation of her mother's. Lord that this would be the prayer of all women in Canada, in the world. Don't stop this here - take it to the ends of the earth. As you tell us in Your Word, the Bible, "so be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go." Oh that we would hang onto that Father, that we would pass that on to our children and to their children. That we would never tire of teaching those around us of You and that we would have the courage to stand strong in our faith, in You Jesus, no matter what comes before us. Thank You God for hearing our prayers - we know You will answer. In the precious, everlasting name of Jesus, Your Son who died for our sins and who rose again and is now living in heaven preparing a place for us, Amen.