God at Work

God is always at work, it’s  a fact.  And I know that Jason and I are always so encouraged to hear how God is moving in other’s lives, and so glad that our church, Harvest Bible Chapel will often will take the time to have people share their stories in front of our church.   At the end of November Jason and I had the opportunity to get in front and share our story.  That was an emotional and a pretty big deal for us, but we felt compelled to tell of God’s faithfulness even through Ava’s death, and on the whole I think it went well.   We both broke down towards the end both times (we shared in both services) but it was joy to be able to say that we could still praise God for his faithfulness even through our story didn’t have a happy ending.   When it goes online I will definitely share the link of the video.

Now today I going to share another link, one to a brand new Harvest Newsletter done through our church.

I’m a little biased towards this newsletter because I had the opportunity to submit an article for it.   I’m writing a 3 part series on our Ava story and the first one is called  “Peace Amid Turmoil”   It was a huge honour to be able to contribute, not to mention it was my first time working with a editor.  That was an experience that I first found a little tough (someone is actually critiquing my writing!!!!)  but in the end I found it very insightful and helpful.

Here’s the link!   God at Work Magazine

In other news,  I wish I could say that writing the article has been the reason I haven’t been blogging, but the truth is, well the truth is I just haven’t blogged, shame on me!   But I can fill in some blanks to say that we had a great Christmas.  Here’s a pic that I may have taken in the New Year right before we took down the tree…

 

DSC_0839-001

Our family really loves Christmas and its great to have a break from school and we enjoyed all our time spent with family and friends over the holidays.  We always make lots of great memories and this year we may have started a few new traditions.   The first was that we went and got our Christmas tree on Ava’s birthday which made the day special for the kids.   And then about a week later we made a trip to Toronto – just to revisit some of the places that hold the most memories of Ava for us.   We went and saw the staff who were so good to us at the Ronald MacDonald house, and saw many of our beloved nurses at SickKids.  It’s kinda funny because I know my kids would move back into the Ronald MacDonald House in a heart-beat and I think that is  a huge testament to the great job they are doing there.    I would love us to make a special visit to Toronto every December to be reminded of Ava and also to remember how good God was to us during that time.

And now it’s January and we keep moving ahead.  Lots of things are happening and we keep praising God for the fact that He is always at work and will always be faithful.

Amen!

 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

DSC_0769

Everyone here is excited that tomorrow is Christmas, and we are looking forward to all that the day will bring.

And I speak for all of us when I say that even though we wish we could celebrate as a family of 7 this year, we are doing good.  In fact, I’m jealous in a way that while we are celebrating Christ’s birth here… Ava gets to be with Jesus in heaven for Christmas this year, and it doesn’t get better than that.

Oh – and I’m excited to show you the birdy in the pic with the kids.  My uncle made it for us so that we can always include it in our family pics to show Ava’s place.  Isn’t that awesome?

It’s a beautiful Christmas eve here… the snow is falling and lots of Christmas lights are shining.  (Thanks Jason and Erik!)

house

And I just wanted to make a quick shout out to all the nurses and dr’s who are working Christmas this year at Sick Kids.  We appreciated everyone in the CCU who took care of Ava (and Jason and I too) so well last December, we’ll never forget you.

Now, back to Christmas…

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:16-20 ESV

Amen!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone and happy Birthday Jesus!

John 3:16   “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

And that’s what Christmas is all about… Jesus came, and He saves us and loves us and it’s so wonderful to celebrate His birth at Christmas!

And you know what, we have been doubly blessed this Christmas.   The kids have been spoiled rotten with presents from the Ronald MacDonald House and Sick Kids hospital, we are receiving cards and gifts from our family and church family back and home, and we are so over-whelmed with everyone’s kindness.

Even Ava was busy the other day and made us a card…

cardava2

Many thanks to her lovely nurses Siobhan and Kash, who took the time out of their busy day to help our little Birdy make this card for us (it is awfully difficult to stamp your own feet when you are three weeks old!)  It’s definitely a card I’ll treasure forever.

And here is Ava all decked out for the holidays in one of her sweet little hosptial kimono’s courtesy of my wonderful neighbors.  They keep talking about removing her ventilator, but so far it hasn’t happened, but I’m sure it will come out this week, Lord willing.    When it does, I’ll be able to hold her again!

download

And then last night we were able to attend a church service with another Harvest Family, Harvest Oakville and were so blessed by it. Sarah struck up a conversation with a woman in the bathroom and we got to talking and when she found out our situation the first thing she said was, “Oh, how can we help your family?”   But I was able to reassure her that our own Harvest family at home was taking care of us splendidly,  but it was so lovely to meet her and see the warmth and the care that comes with being part of God’s family.

I’ll just close this by saying how much we love you all and miss you all and even though we aren’t where we want to be, we still feel loved by everyone and we still feel God’s peace on this Christmas Day far from home.

Merry Christmas from the Colley family!

A week old today!

Little miss Ava Samantha Grace is a week old today!

And to celebrate we decorated….

20121211-172629.jpg

With some stockings and hello Kitty and it definitely looks better. More like home. 🙂

And it’s been a good quiet day. She is doing really well and if things continue like this they may even close her chest cavity in the next day or too – that would be amazing.

So we are still praying against infection and praying that things continue down this good road we’re on!

When you can’t sleep, blog…

It’s true, I can’t sleep.  It’s 4:45 am and since I was just tossing and turning (which in itself is a feat when you are 9 months pregnant) I decided it was better to not fight it and just get up and do something productive, like blog… very productive.

So we kinda thought we may have been on our way to Toronto yesterday to get induced to have little Birdy early today,  but when I called yesterday, Mt. Sinai had room for me, but Sick Kids across the street didn’t have a bed for Birdy.   Which is kinda important.  So we were granted a reprieve, and were told to call this morning after 8:00 am to see if a bed had opened.  If it has, we can finish packing and make our way down to TO, if not, we wait again.

It’s hard to wait, but yesterday after church we were prayed for, and I mean, really prayed for.  Our elders and pastors gathered, along with about 40 friends and supporters and I think the heavens trembled.  It was so powerfully amazing, one of our elders prayed and 3 of our pastors and I just wish I could remember everything that they was prayed for.    They prayed for Ava’s healing,  that surgery would go well, that Jason and I could be a testimony to God’s faithfulness, for our relationship, for our other children.   Wow, all I can say, is that if you are going through a trial and belong to a church, please please consider being prayed for like that.    And the strength and peace and that incredible spirit of power that can only come from God was so real and descended upon us… I don’t think I was the only one who was moved.

And we are going forward with all confidence now, knowing that God has a plan for us and for Birdy and we can rest in that and surrender to His will.    And as I said to Jason last night, I know God can heal her and bring her home to us, but on the other hand, I know that if He decides instead to take her home to be with Him, she will be completely and utterly healed, and how incredibly amazing that would be for her.    So incredibly hard for us, but God would help us through,  because God is good.

And man, is he ever carrying us!    I know that any strength that I have is from Him… all the strength that I have is from Him alone.  Praise God!

So yes, I am prepared to wait if that means waiting for God’s perfect timing.  In my own little world, things would happen when I want them to happen, but it’s one more thing that I have zero control over, so I need to just rest in the fact that it will all happen when it happens and try to enjoy just being here for as long as I can.

And with our four very energetic children, it’s not hard.   And because I love the Christmas season so much,  we’ve done so much Christmas stuff together already like making our traditional Christmas cookies together, and decorating the house, and going out and cutting down a Christmas tree, and listening to Christmas music and even attending a Christmas party in our neighbourhood that they held early for us,  that I feel my poor kids probably feel like Christmas should be here any day, but they have weeks still to go.  Which I think is probably good because the excitement of Christmas coming will get them through these first few weeks of us being away.  And then I’m really hoping that maybe they can all join me in Toronto at the Ronald MacDonald house for their Christmas vacation, or at least some of it and then December will be over and if I’m still away, we will worry about January later. 🙂

I’ve been so terrible at taking pictures the past few months, the distracted mother that I am.  But I did bring the camera to our Christmas tree hunting expedition, which we had never done together as a family, but proved to be quite a bit of fun.   Don’t ask me why we are all bundled and William is only wearing a sweatshirt – I guess more proof that I’m distracted, but as that kid moves 100 miles per hour is never cold, I guess it wasn’t so bad.  And he took very good care of little sister that day…

DSC_0717

Erik enjoying some hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting afterwards…

DSC_0721

Sarah, oh my Sarah, she is so close to my heart right now…

DSC_0711

My precious family, my gifts from God.   And as we go forward today and see what God has in store for us, I am so glad that whatever happens we have people who love us and a God that cares for us, and we are truly and utterly blessed.  Even when I can’t sleep.

Amen.

Oh Christmas tree…

oh Christmas tree… why are you dropping little half-alive little bugs that might be little spiders, or aphids or something?  Why Christmas tree, why?

See this is what you get for having a real Christmas tree, you sometimes bring wild-life indoors, as Clark Griswold could also tell you.   Google assures me that it’s just things hatching that wouldn’t normally hatch until spring if the  Christmas tree had stayed in the forest.  But it did not stay in the forest, we brought it inside and things DID start to hatch and that meant Christmas morning  saw some sap and bug covered presents  – definitely a first for me.    No one seemed to mind, we took it all in stride, and if I do a post in a month that we are infested with an unknown insect, I guess no one will be surprised.

We did have a lovely Christmas, although I’m not sure where it went.  It was all so busy and fun that it just zoomed right by, and since Sarah is still singing, “Santa Claus is coming to town”,  these past few days there have been times I wasn’t sure whether I was coming or I was going.

Here are some highlights from our 3 Christmas’s including…

My son Erik the football…

Thank goodness for pictures!   I can see that I was there and that we did do it and that we all had a marvelous time.

So even though the snow didn’t come until after Christmas and my Christmas tree is still giving me presents of bugs (why haven’t I gotten that darn thing out of here yet???)  I’m really kinda sad that we now have to wait a whole year to do it all again.

Merry Christmas!

We’ve been adventing all month waiting for this night!  It’s here, the kids are sleeping (hurrah!) and I’m so ready to celebrate Christ’s birth – His coming to earth to save us from our sins!

The story just never gets old…

Luke 2

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (ESV)

The Christmas story in a nutshell.  🙂

And now we wait for Him to come again…  come Lord Jesus,  come!

The Great Fish Stick Tail (oops I mean tale)

The count-down to Christmas is upon us, and although I believe that I’m reconciled to the fact that it will be a green Christmas, I’m not reconciled to the fact that I have yet another cold.    In the olden days they said that a green Christmas meant a  fat graveyard…  scary thought… probably because when it’s warm this time of year the cold and flu bugs don’t get frozen to death and instead get shared as merrily as Christmas cheer to all of us stuck inside because of the rain.    Thank goodness for modern medicine and hand-washing and all that jazz, I’m hoping our graveyards will stay thin.

But we are still excited about Christmas coming and we had Sarah’s Christmas concert at school last night.   And I use the term concert loosely, because if 1000 parents crammed into a gym meant to hold 500 sit and listen to their kindergartener sing 2 songs and then pack up and leave to make room for the parents still waiting to get in, than that’s what it was, a Christmas concert.  But it was very cute and I’m glad we got to see Sarah belting out her songs and see her cousin do some super-spiffy dancing.

And we’ve had a ton on the go this week already, I went skating twice, first with William’s class and then with Erik’s and then yesterday Sophia and I did a big power shop which means I almost have everything for Christmas.  But now today I’ve just crashed and although I should be cleaning my house to get ready for Christmas  – that’s just not motivating me!!!!  So I’m eating homemade carrot soup and thinking of things to do to avoid cleaning, which made me think of the fish-sticks and anything involving fish-sticks is automatically blog worthy – that is well known.   I wanted to share because I hope I’m not the only one who has taken 4 boxes of fish-sticks out of the freezer, forgot to put them back and left them to rot for a month?  Am I?  Please tell me that you’ve done this too.

See fish stick and french fries (and salad of course) is my go-to meal when I don’t feel like cooking or things get busy.  We only eat it a couple times a month and the kids like it, although probably half the time they think it’s chicken.  (Just like last night I pan-fried salmon and we ate it on buns and Sarah kept complaining that her chicken was falling off her bun).

And I have to explain that I have an extra freezer in Jason’s garage that he tolerates, just like he tolerates the potatoes from the garden stored in there as well.   So a while back when I started to smell a funky smell whenever I walked in the garage,  I was sure that there was a just a rotten potato lurking somewhere that I couldn’t find.     And then it came,  the fateful night when I was looking for the fish-sticks and they were not to be found.  I went back and forth between freezers about a millions times and finally clued in that I wasn’t losing my mind, they just weren’t there.    So where the heck were they?   And then I saw them,  in Jason’s garage stacked nice and neatly on one of his tool cabinets happily rotting away.

So much for my four boxes of fish-sticks and “Hello that’s what I’ve been smelling!”    It’s a shame that I’m such a distracted person capable of such doing such shocking things, but I guess I shouldn’t pine to much for my fish-sticks, breaded fish in a box.  There are bigger fish to fry…. like Christmas… just 3 more sleeps!!!!

Don’t get too excited…

So I’ve been busy getting ready for Christmas and it’s shoving blogging down in my priority list, but I thought I’d share a few odds and ends of what’s been happening.

We had a Christmas party here Saturday night and it was alot of fun.    We had a great time with lots of friends and as an added bonus our house is all spruced up and sparkly clean in time for Christmas.   Well it’s spruced up,  but with 4 kids, the clean part is already out the window.    We did get a few extra projects  done like new lights in the kitchen and pictures up on walls – projects that we never seem to have time for until we want to have our house look nice for others.  Isn’t that always the way?  Jason says we need to have a summer party now too as he was so pleased with our indoor results, I think he wants to try it on the outdoors.

And the kid’s school field trips seem to be multiplying rapidly.    I was able to skip a field trip today but I’m back on one tomorrow and then next week I have two!  And with school going right up until Christmas I can understand that the teachers like to keep the kids occupied and I enjoy going along, most times. 🙂

Last night we did Christmas with friends of ours and as she enjoys natural things, one of her gifts was a bar of natural soap that my uncle had made.     The kids all knew what it was and as she was tearing off the wrapping Erik said to her,  “Don’t get too excited” which made me laugh.   I think he was really afraid she would be disappointed, I mean, come on, it was soap!  I’m not sure there is an 8-year-old boy out there who would think that was a good gift.  In fact, Erik would probably happily live without soap if he could…  and without hair-cuts and getting his nails clipped as well.     They all assure me this will change one day.

And this week William has decided that he shouldn’t come home for lunch anymore.  He explained that when he does he gets too “attracted” to being at home and doesn’t want to go back to school.    I thought it was a very wise decision on his part.  Especially since last week he did come home and right before he had to go back he  got really really upset because he said he couldn’t draw a man in his underwear.   This stumped me for a while and as all of our efforts to calm him failed, I said I would go and talk to his teacher.   Poor William pulled himself together and at least wasn’t teary anymore when I talked to his teacher.  She  was a little astonished that he was upset because it was his idea!  They were drawing pictures of things you better not let Santa catch you doing and William thought that you better not let Santa catch you outside in your underwear?!!    But his teacher is a quick thinker and suggested Will draw a man in his clothes holding his underwear and voila… sunshine again.    Oh my 6 year old.

So those are my notes… Ok – I just put the kids candy in their advent calendar before I finished this (I can’t fill all the days at once because Sarah would eat all the candy) and I just realized there are only 12 more days until Christmas… now that’s worth getting excited about!

Cookie and cousin fun

Well the first weekend in December is drawing to a close, but we had a great weekend and filled it fill with Christmasy things, even is those things did not include playing in the snow.  William is a little disgusted that we don’t have any snow yet,  he said we should pray about it because how is one supposed to feel Christmasy without snow?    Good question.  But we tried our hardest when we made our Christmas cookies Saturday morning.   And it was classic, before we had even begun, someone spilt the sprinkles….

And just like years past, the kids ‘paint’ the cookies before we bake them.   We paint them with an edible egg tempura that I make simply by combining food colouring and  egg yokes (you can’t taste it) and then they decorate them with sprinkles if they want.    The best part of this process is that I roll out the dough and cut it and just give them the shapes they ask for.  That worked well for the rest of them, but not this one…

She was much more interested in the dough.  I think she thought it was just a yummy sort of play-dough, I let her have some to play with and she made lots of shapes like ‘a pile of leaves’ and then processed to just sit eat her ‘play-dough’.   She definitely enjoyed herself and would probably give Christmas cookie making a thumbs up if I asked her how she liked it.

The others happily painted their cookies…

And here are some finished cookies…

Lots of food colouring fun!  Yee haa!    But it worked out because then the kids had lots of cookies to share with their cousins who came to spend the afternoon.     It’s a deal we do every December, my older brother Jason and his wife Shelly take our kids one Saturday and we get theirs one Saturday.  The kids love it, it gives the adults some time to get things done and it’s a win-win situation.  So there was lots of playing and crafting and even some sand-box time…

Nothing screams ‘Christmastime’ more than playing in a sandbox in December.   But it was nice to enjoy the kinda nice weather – as in nice for December when there really should be snow. 🙂

And then today we got our tree up!

So one minute the tree was up and almost fully decorated and then the next minute it was down… as in it fell.    I had left the room for a moment and then I heard it come down.  Poor Will and Sarah were shaken up by our tipping tree,  but after daddy secured it to the wall they ventured back to hang a few more ornaments.   As I’m looking at the tree I don’t think that it will ever be the same again,  but would you be if you fell over full of lights and ornaments?    But maybe it’s Ok that the kids have a good healthy fear of the tree – that way I know that no one will be trying to climb it behind my back.  🙂

And now as this weekend is coming to a close  my boys are watching Punkin Chunkin with their dad… a great way to end a great weekend!