Thursday, June 30, 2011

things that made me happy this week

- Taking M out for ice cream to celebrate finishing grade 6.
- Walking by the lake, enjoying the beautiful weather, seeing 4 pelicans.

- Washing my Escape (with one bucket of water!)
- A heavenly hot night with no wind and no bugs and hours on the deck with a good book.

- Extreme Pitas for lunch for me & the girl.
- Walking out of the restaurant to see my Escape shining beautifully clean in the sun.
- Watching Women's World Cup Soccer.

Last weekend was full of great things (celebrations & visits with friends / family, Red Lobster, Bonfire at a friend's place, Girl Guide camp, an afternoon nap, church picnic at the camp & Sean rocking in the baseball game...), and this weekend promises to be another great one, celebrating weddings with friends.

I really love summer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blog Launch

Post # 401!

Seems like an appropriate time to make a blog announcement.

Like any parent, I pray for my kid.  I pray for little things, for big things, for the problems I'm having with her (or with myself that's keeping me from dealing properly with her).  For the last number of years, I've been writing down some of those prayers.  Writing prayers, like journaling, helps me slow my thoughts and think about what I'm saying; it helps me pray better.  I've wondered for a while what to do with those prayers, and if they could be used somehow to help other parents pray for their kids by providing some inspiration, some ideas.

This last year or so I've made a habit of sitting on the couch by the front window when M leaves the house for school.  She catches the bus just out of sight down the road, so I sit there and read my Bible and write in my journal and watch for the bus, so I know she's on her way safely.  I've been using that as my trigger to pray, too.  I stop whatever I'm doing and pray for her when I see her bus going by.  It's been a great reminder.

School ended yesterday; today was the first day of summer vacation.  I'm so glad summer is here (especially today's 31 degrees!), but as of today, no school bus as a prayer trigger.  So as of today, I am launching a new blog.  It's been in the works for a week or so now, and I'd like to offer it to you!  Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I'll be posting a prayer for our children - I'd love it if you prayed along with me for the kids in your life.  The address is: or you can get there with the link below.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rain Woes

We do not have water in our basement, our jobs are not affected by the floods, and I am thankful for those things, but seriously, I think all this water has had an impact on everyone in some way.

Madeline has probably been the most put out by it, although Sean's golf lessons have been postponed twice.  We were pleased that we did not lose one soccer night to the rain during the regular season; the tournament at the end was cancelled because of it, though.  Then of M's whole week of field trips, 4 of 5 days were changed.  Monday they did go to the outdoor pool and park, and it didn't rain till the evening.  Tuesday they were to go to Wascana Park for National Aboriginal Day celebrations and ended up not going because of the wet.  Then their three day camping trip got cancelled because they roads into Circle Square were all flooded.  That was a sad one.  They got a carnival afternoon yesterday and a trip to the mini golf and movie place today to try to make up for some of it.

I mowed the lawn tonight and even though it hasn't rained in a while, it's still wet.  Pretty small deal compared to my friend's parents who farm and seeded 1% of their land this year.  Crazy.

How have you been impacted by the wet this spring?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Compassion Story

Our story starts in 2000, when Neil and I decided to sponsor a child. Madeline had been born the year before, and we expanded our family to include a girl in Mexico, too. We picked Mexico thinking that it might be the most likely place for us to get to if we were ever to visit our Compassion child. This is Lucina when she first became ours, and the latest picture:

Fast forward to 2004. Neil had been gone one year, and Madeline and I decided to sponsor another child. This is Maria:

One year later, in late 2005, Maria and her family moved out of the area of the project she had been a part of, so Compassion sent us Roberto:

In early 2007, when Sean and I were newly married, Compassion had to shut down the project that Lucina was a part of. She had been ours for 7 years! You can see from the pictures above (the first and last of 4 that we got) how much she grew in that time. We sponsored Abigail next:

Only one year later (early 2008), Abigail's parents pulled her out of the program. We decided not to take another child at that time, so just had Roberto. Later that year, Roberto's parents moved, and Compassion sent us Damian:

In April of this year, I was browsing through the kids on the Compassion site. The author of one of the blogs I read is a Compassion Advocate, and mentioned once that she looks through the unsponsored kids and prays for them every week. So that's what I was doing (since I had to log on to update my email address anyway) and I started punching in our birthdays... Well there was only one child that had the same birthday as Madeline, and she was a girl, and she was even born the same year. A twin! And she had a cute name, too: Salomey Coffie. I went into the other room and jokingly told Sean that I found a way for us to spend some money, and told him about Salomey. He reminded me that when we didn't take another child after Abigail left, we said we would again someday when money was less tight, and that it wasn't, so why not? That's how Salomey came to join our family. We haven't heard from her yet, but I've got some stuff for both her and Damian ready to go in the mail today. Salomey is a break from our Mexican habit, too; she's from Ghana:

So that's our long complicated Compassion story. I've found that although we haven't had many long term relationships with most of our kids, we have had a chance to get to know more than just one or two. In most of the cases, too, someone from the project has written to us to let us know why they have left and to thank us for our involvement - that's a nice touch and wrap up, I think. We love getting letters in the mail, and now that M is old enough, she can write her own, too, instead of just sending along pictures. I hope she and Salomey develop a neat friendship.


This is a re-post - I wrote this initially in May 2009.  Over two years later, and we still have both Damian and Salomey, and one neat thing we've discovered is that the project in Ghana sends quite a few more letters than the ones in Mexico.  We've had lots of correspondence from Salomey, which is really nice.  I think we're due to send some more letters soon...

If you're a sponsor, why don't you take 10 minutes this week and write?  Leave me a comment & we'll celebrate that together.

If you're not a sponsor, why don't you check out the Compassion button on the side, and have a look?  It really is one of the greatest ways to spend part of your paycheque.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rainbows, Blog Changes and Camera Classes

I wanted to do something together tonight so I was running through a list... we could play a game, have a tickle fight, go for a walk in the rain... the last one got a nod, and I figured why not.  Sean wanted to join us, so the three of us put on our rain jackets & I grabbed the camera (because you just never know!) and we hit the street.  As soon as we got to the end of the walk, I saw why Someone had planted the idea in my head - a double rainbow & the bottom one was super bright.  Awesome.

I love those curls that pop out when the humidity gets up there.

Foiled!  Our intent was to walk down to the mailbox and mail M's camp registration form.  Because of the strike, it was locked up with a 'temporarily out of service' notice.  It was well worth it to get out of the house, though.  The rain was beautiful, not too hard and it wasn't windy at all.

You might notice some changes around here - not so many that you can't tell you're at the right blog, but I've had some fun playing around with my look this week.  One new thing that they've added since I last messed around is the email option - right at the top you can add your email and get my posts emailed to you as soon as I publish one.  I haven't tried it out yet myself, but I know there are a few blogs that I get emailed to me, and I quite like it.

I've signed up for a camera class at Big Picture Classes, called Mastering Manual Mode.  It's an 8 week course that runs from the end of July to the end of September.  Part of that is a busy time, but lots of photo opportunities in that time frame, too!  I've been wanting to take a class for a while, and this one looks like it is going to be exactly what I've been looking for.  I dug out my camera manual and got a recommended book out of the library and am all gung-ho to do some pre-work to make the most of it.

What are you planning to learn over the summer?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garden Tour

I would like to have a beautiful yard, but I do not have a green thumb.  It usually falls somewhere in the realm that there are things growing & I'm satisfied, but with ugly spots.  This year we made a change or two because the front should be getting leveled at some point this spring.  These bricks came from the work we did in the front two summers ago, and replaced the rotten wood ties that were there.  Some fresh dirt, and new plants at the edges & it's a nice refresh.  The ones growing in the middle are some perennials that I tried to replant.  They are up but not flowered yet.

Some of the new plants we bought.  I want to put in more perennials; if anyone lives close and has some to share, I'd be a very happy recipient!

The planters on the front deck.

Probably the most fun flower of the bunch.

This is the front of the house that we have done nothing with; it's full of purple jump ups!  I'm thrilled - there's nothing quite like color where you didn't expect it.  I'll try to move them to the back before we dig this all up.

And a close up.

May your day have bits of unexpected color in it!

Thursday, June 09, 2011


I just got home from our last book club of the year.  Lisa hosted a fabulous garden party and the girls brought a wonderful selection of appies and sweets.  The photo above is of the Melon and Procuitto with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint that I took - thanks, Christine for the photo!  We discussed our last book (The Chosen by Chaim Potok) and did a book exchange.  I ended up with Nicholas Sparks' The Guardian; some of the others that were given were Gone With the Wind,  The Book of Awesome, Sarah's Key, and Memoirs of a Geisha.

In talking about always being on the hunt for new books or authors and good reads, one of the girls asked if I listed what I read on here.  I have thought about it before, and think I will add a page up top with what I'm reading.  Hope you find it a source of good ideas!  And I hope I don't find that it reveals I read too much fluff...

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Friday night M and I went out to the camp along with the board and core staff to meet our potential new director.  We stayed overnight and helped with the work day on the Saturday - this shot was after breakfast and before the work started.  I'm pleased that she jumped in with the staff girls and did some good work.  She was happy to get in a little zipline action; she wanted to go up the climbing wall, too, but some things will have to wait for summer. 

Sean came out for the afternoon, too, and reinforced all the picnic tables, and prepped a few new ones to be built this summer.  My big job was to roam the property with Holly and find good spots for their geocaching skill.

This was our view out the back door this morning.  That one tree has beautiful what blossoms for one or two weeks each spring, and the rain brought down a petal carpet for the deck.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ten Ways to Support Your Camp

Camp has always been an important part of my life, from when I first went as a child until now.  I believe in the work they do, and while I am not as involved now as when I lived out at camp all summer, there are always ways to support the ministry of camping.  Here are a few I came up with - maybe you can add to the list.

1. Join the board.
If you've got extra time year round, there are all types who are needed on camp boards.  Organized types, handy types, mechanical types, creative types... there would be a place for you.

2. Sew costumes.
Or help out with whatever specifics needs come up.  We had a fun sewing bee a few weeks ago sewing Narnia tunics and cloaks for this summer.

3. Get a list of the staff and pray for them by name.
Start early and pray for preparation details, for the staff selection and the campers to come.  Pray through the summer; maybe your camp sends out a prayer request email.

4. Take out cookies for the staff lounge.
Working at camp is an awesome job, but it is also one of the most draining.  Finding a made with love treat on your break time is a huge encouragement.

5. Write the director an encouraging note.
Encouragement is usually needed and always welcome.  Who doesn't love getting mail?  And when it's sent just to be uplifting, even better.

6. Volunteer to cook or nurse or do maintenance or speak for a week.
Camps need these volunteers to run; you might find it to be the best week of your summer.

7. Go out to a work day.
Even a few hours can make a difference, and there are usually jobs that anyone can do.  We're heading out to one this weekend, and  I expect the kid to be in there getting things done - it's pretty special for a kid to go to camp knowing they helped with some of the behind the scenes stuff.

8. Be on the planning committee for a fundraiser.
If you're asked to be involved in a special project, try and make the time for it.

9. Sponsor a child to go.
You can do this through your church, if it's a denominational camp, or through the camp itself; if it's KBK / KLC, you can sponsor the staff who will be doing a walk-a-thon next weekend to raise money for camper sponsorships.

10. Spread the word.
Send camp brochures to school with your kid to send home with their friends.  Add a note for their parents with the week your kid is going and your number if they want to know more about it.

What are some other ways to support a camp?