August 13, 2017

As we sit in the ferry line-up waiting to board our second to last sailing before we leave Canada, I’m keenly aware of the calm ocean breeze and the natural quiet of travellers in the early day. The sun peeks behind a thin layer of cloud, and I’m thankful for this warm mid-August morning.

View from the ferry terminal
“There is no such thing as impossible,” by Building 429, plays from my husband’s speaker connected to his phone where he keeps his favourite music. I ponder this truth.

The gospel assures me that there’s no such thing as the impossible. Even when things are looking un-repairable, God redeems, God heals. When Adam and Eve made their first mistake, not trusting God’s best for them and making their own plan, He was already orchestrating the way of redemption. His plan to restore and heal. God's grace is for us, and we all need it desperately.

In my limited perspective, it can feel like all is being lost, time has run out. But fortunately in God’s sovereign view, nothing is impossible. Nothing is too big for His grace to cover. The bleakest of circumstances can be redeemed with Him. What He has done for us, forgiving lifetimes of sin by the sacrifice of Christ, and welcoming us into His family under the covering of Jesus, means we can live with the hope of the best yet to come.

August 5, 2017

More Reads

I haven't yet started this book, but it's sitting on my side table thanks to my mom for ordering two copies, one for each of us. I'm looking forward to getting into it.
From the back:
Our limitations are by design. We were never meant to be God. But at the root of every sin is our rebellious desire to possess attributes that belong to God alone. Calling us to embrace our limits as a means of glorying God's limitless power, Jen Wilkin invites us to celebrate the freedom that comes when we rest in letting God be God.




As for fiction and what I'm reading at the moment, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This series is set in Botswana where an African woman is on the case. I just discovered that HBO and BBC have produced a tv series based on Alexander McCall Smith's novels. That might be interesting to take a look at.




School


I have placed a schoolbook order to be shipped to my home in Madagascar. If you were to ask the kids what they think, they would likely baulk at the idea of starting school soon. But I think I know better, as we have been on break since mid-April. It has been a very full summer, but everyone will appreciate routine when we get back into it. Besides getting excited about the new things we will dive into in the coming months, I'm also brainstorming ways to ease more gently into school. In the past I've thrown a pretty full schedule at the kids, head-on, with a sort of sink-or-swim mentality for us all to face. Without feeling like we are starting things late, or starting slow, I want to somehow ease into our routines. I would like this year to be different. I don't want us all to be "shocked" back into reality. Rather, ideally I want to rev everybody up, exercising each one's abilities until we're back up and running at 100%. We'll see how that goes.  :)

July 30, 2017

Blessing of Family Camp

This past week was spent "holidaying" with family and friends. It was a full week of activities, relaxation, and great teaching times. The kids had a blast, and we are very thankful for the blessing of camp this summer. We've had the privilege of going to a week-long family camp as campers each furlough, and it's been so nice to connect with a variety of people of many age-groups with different backgrounds and jobs. 

Basketball in bubbles

 Rinsing off

 Afternoons spent in the beautiful lake
Quality time with cousins

Boys and laser tag

The weeks are passing quickly as we approach the final month of furlough. Last minute shopping has to be done, and then there's the task of packing tight every nook and cranny in our luggage while staying under our weight-allowance.

Many memories have been made over the past several weeks, indeed.

July 21, 2017

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer,
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Psalm 61:1-5 

God has a way of reminding me that there's a bigger plan outside of me... maybe that sounds obvious, but I'm a forgetful child.

His purposes are bigger and greater than what I could imagine. When I'm resting my faith in this, I'm somehow able to truly rest. It's when I'm hanging on to my ideas, agendas, and dreams that I'm the most anxious and discouraged.

If I can only live, teaching my children...showing my children, that this life is such a small part of the bigger picture of eternity, if we could live with a looser grip on this life and a greater expectancy of what's being prepared for those who place their trust in Christ's work----then perhaps we could live more peacefully, with less shaking us up, feeling like the rug has been ripped up from under us. He's got the whole world in His hands.

July 14, 2017

On My Side Table

I found this title through podcast notes from the Modern Mrs Darcy. This lady reads up a storm and isn't lacking for book titles if you're on the look out.

I was pleased to find it on our digital library as an ebook----how can I pass up a free read?
(Amazon.ca) "Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers to Kenya in the 1920s, where the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer and aviator Beryl Markham tells the story of her life among the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in colonial East Africa--and the complicated love triangle she shared with the white hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.    Brought to Kenya as a small child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised both by her father--a racehorse trainer--and the native Kipsigis tribe on her father's land. Her unconventional upbringing transforms her into a daring young woman, with a love of all things wild, but everything she knows and trusts dissolves when her father's farm goes bankrupt. Reeling from the scandal and heartbreak, Beryl is catapulted into a disastrous marriage at the age of 16. Finally she makes the courageous decision to break free, forging her own path as a horse trainer and shocking high society in the process. The British colony has never seen a woman as determined and fiery as Beryl. Before long, she catches the eye of the fascinating and bohemian Happy Valley set, including writer Karen Blixen and her lover Denys Finch Hatton, who will later be immortalized in Blixen's memoir, Out of Africa. The three become embroiled in a complex triangle that changes the course of Beryl's life, setting tragedy in motion while awakening her to her truest self and her fate: to fly."
So far, I've enjoyed this trip to colonial Kenya.

I'm still making my way through this fantastic, practical, book on a praying life. It has shown me how prayer can be part of our everyday thoughts. And I've been challenged to watch for God's gospel story being weaved through my life and others'.

Since being in Canada, my mom has bought herself a copy and had the chance to encourage others to pick it up. I hope to get my hands on a copy of his other book Love Walked Among Us someday as well.

July 7, 2017

Thinking School

Getting the chance to be in Canada during the summer every other year means that I get to do a lot more research and source materials from many different places, tucking items away in our luggage ready to take back with us in the Fall.

With faster internet, it's amazing at how many sites I can browse with ease! The information flying at me about anything-homeschool is pretty much overwhelming.

Time away from my homeschool also gives me a chance to reflect, brainstorm, and think about changes I think we could make for the upcoming year. What subject needs changing for who? What do we need to do away with? Or what might we add?

This year is kind of unique for me as I'm stretching a lot of curriculum out over the next two school years. Our history/social studies will stretch us out for the next two or even three years, and three of the kids' language arts will see them through two grades.

Some of my new finds for the upcoming year:


This will be my fourth grader's language arts this year. He will take a break from Sonlight LA until next year. I was attracted to this because of the DVD-led instruction, with a male teacher even, which I think my son will enjoy.

I'm hoping that having one child on a DVD lesson will free me up for the others for that part of our day. And then I can help him on more lengthy assignments as he needs.

This program covers parts of speech, narrative writing, persuasive paragraph, and a research project at the end.

I think it will be a great change for him.



My kids will continue their French studies in the fall. And I have sourced this Christian French curriculum for that. The kids will advance in their french skills while learning about missionary families in French speaking countries. In this way they will learn geography, foods, sports, and Bible verses all pertaining to the missionary family.

I really like this program as it lays out each lesson plan to allow the teacher to cover the content for that day in a 30 minute lesson.

Perfect! I'm getting excited.  :)



June 30, 2017

Even though relationships overseas tend to remain as one of the difficulties a missionary faces... God has remained faithful in providing those special families and individuals at just the right time.

This one family in particular has been a huge source of encouragement to our family. In 2010 when our journey with MAF was just beginning, and we were raising support in the lower mainland, we had the chance to meet this lovely Swiss family on their way to the field with Helimission. From a mutual contact through church, we found out they were also bound for Madagascar! They were living in Canada temporarily to build flight hours and develop technology before heading off to Bible school and back to Switzerland to finish preparations to move to Madagascar.

So we had a chance to meet up a couple of times before moving abroad in 2012. They moved to Tana in 2013 and now live just a few minutes away from our house.

We have walked the path of transition to overseas life together, walked through home assignments together, and been able to be a "sounding-board" of sorts for one another. Sybille has been a huge source of encouragement to me. A beautiful Christian sister, indeed.  :)

Because of their stay in Canada from 2009-2011, they have dear friends to reconnect with here as well as in Switzerland, making a very full furlough.

We were so excited to get the chance to make some real "Canadian" memories together on the ice this time!


 


As we look to continue serving together in Madagascar with Helimission and this great family, we are also sobered by the fact that God can move families in other directions, to other countries.

While that isn't the case for either of us yet, I trust that God's timing is perfect, and His plans for each of us are good and only for the purpose of glorifying Himself.