Spring Clean Up

Two Saturday morning’s ago we loaded up our crew bright and early and headed over to Ava’s cemetery for their annual spring clean-up.   Families typically don’t come along and help with the clean-up, but we had asked last year for them to include us and we are so glad they did.  We feel a little kinship with this sweet country graveyard our baby is buried in – and working there felt like we were doing something for Ava, and as there isn’t anything we can actually do for her now, it felt good.   🙂

As we headed out there it was hard to not get teary.  I hadn’t been to Ava’s grave since her birthday in December… the snow and the cold kept me away,  but I do like going even though it’s not always happy.  The first thing I did when I got there was head over to Ava’s grave and had my little cry.   But after the initial sadness passed,   I could just enjoy the day, helping with Jay and the kids and enjoying being outside.

We raked and raked some more, and picked up sticks and tidied up the place with the rest of the board members and some volunteers and it looked ready for spring by the time everyone had finished.   There was even a group of students from a local high-school there helping and that touched my heart.  One of their high school coaches is the grounds-keeper there and he asked them to come and they came, pretty cool.

Here are my boys working hard.  Believe it or not the girls had already abandoned their rakes by this time and were playing….

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I can’t tell you how good it is for my soul to have Ava’s final resting place in such a beautiful peaceful spot (It will be more beautiful in the coming months… honest).  Perhaps because it is such a contrast to most of her life that was spent in the hospital in the big city.   Most of her life couldn’t really be described as peaceful or beautiful, for her or for us.   So even though it’s just her body and not her soul in this little country cemetery, it makes my heart very happy.

And we still miss her so much!    It till hits us hard sometimes when we think of how she came into our lives and then went so quickly.   But even through the grief,  we can still say that we are convinced that God’s plans are for our best.   Jason and I both never want to go back to being the people that we were before Ava – before we knew just how deeply we could trust God through the very hard times, and how faithful God is even when you feel like your world is falling apart.

And Easter was a great reminder of God’s love and sacrifice for us.  In our Easter service we sang “In Christ Alone.  Once again we sang those words that I had up on Ava’s wall at the hospital for so long…

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me:
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I”ll stand.

So of course I cried and cried and cried, which is just fine as there is no room for pride at church – you need to park that at the door.  But it just stood as another reminder that yes, what we believed then, we believe now.  What we knew then, we know now.   God is faithful & good and no matter how many springs come and go, He will get us through every one of them.

Amen!

 

 

 

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

 

 

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More Easter pics…

Warning!  This post is pic heavy… but I don’t think the grandparents will mind. 🙂

Easter celebrations actually started a week ago Sunday when we celebrated birthdays and Easter and my side of the family.  All three of my brothers and their families were there and it was great to have everyone together.   Here are some of the cousins waiting for their dinner…  some and not all… there are 12 cousins in all!

And here is my littlest niece on my side of the family, but she won’t be the littlest for long.  It’s very exciting but my middle brother and his wife are expecting number 2 any day.  And more babies is great in my books!

And then yesterday afternoon we were off to Jason’s parents for the annual Easter egg hunt graciously put on by the Easter bunny (a.k.a. Grandpa and grandma.) 🙂

Another great Easter come and gone with just the chocolate left, but it’s disappearing fast as well!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! The day we celebrate Christ rising from the grave… sin has been paid for, we no longer need to fear death!

Well, we had a wonderful church service this morning and it’s wonderful to celebrate Easter with our church family and our family… here are the rascals dressed in their Easter best…

And soon off to Grandma and grandpa’s to enjoy the rest of the day!

Making Memories…

We had such a wonderful Easter weekend and lots of wonderful memories were made.   We did a lot, so I’ll try to keep it brief…

Friday we did a day-trip to the cottage with friends.  It started by taking the kids out to breakfast (William ate 5 large pieces of french toast) getting to the cottage and then going for a long walk on the beach.  We relaxed for a bit and then went to a great park in Kincardine, took the scenic route back,  had dinner and left with great memories and very tired children. 

Sunday morning the kids woke up and hunted for easter eggs.  See – only the baby bunny comes to our house and just leaves little chocolates indoors – the real Easter egg hunt comes later.   Then we ate our cinnamon buns that we only have on special occasions (if they were a health food I’d eat them everyday) and headed to church for a great resurrection day service.  Then we were off to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the REAL easter egg hunt, where the Easter bunny leaves big coloured eggs all over the yard.   The kids look forward to it every year, and just adore it.    I guess that’s why I’m not too worried that my kids believe in the Easter bunny.  William asked me a few days before Easter, “Mom, what do you think is more important, Jesus dying on the cross or the Easter bunny and chocolates?”  And I replied that Jesus was more important and he replied emphatically, “I think that too!”


Then after eating a wonderful ham and scalloped pototo dinner, we were off to my parents.   We played outside enjoying the unexpected sunshine,  the guys flew a kite and we ate another yummy meal of ham and mashed pototoes with my two younger brother and their familes.   Thankfully we were all hungry again and the food was so good we didn’t mind eating 2 big dinners in one day,  in fact, the  kids loved it!

The boys also got to go for four-wheeler rides after dinner at my brother Dan’s and I could see their grins for miles away.  Sarah got swarmed by the 8 puppies they currently have and just loved it and I didn’t get pictures of any of it!  I apparently have camera issues when I go to my parents.  If I don’t forget to bring my camera I have it and don’t take pictures.   I don’t know why.   Next time I’ll do better.   I did catch aunt Erin reading the girls a book though, with sweet baby Katie.

 

So now we are stuffed with chocolate and memories of a wonderful Easter weekend.  If we could, I would do it all over again!

In Christ Alone…

It’s Easter!  And I wanted to share a modern hymn, that so wonderfully contains the Easter story.   

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

I’m currently memorizing it to add it to my repertoire of hymns that I sing to my children to get them to sleep.  I’ve been doing this since Erik was born, it’s perfect in so many ways.  Usually hymns have soothing melodies, they have lots of verses and great solid theology so it’s a great way to introduce hymns to my kids as we don’t typically sing them in church anymore.  

So back to this hymn, it was written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, but it’s sung by Kristyn Getty.  Kristyn and Keith are at the head of the modern hymn movement and they are both very talented… you can read more about them here.

And here they are together performing…

Happy Easter!   I’m so excited to celebrate our risen Saviour!

Content

I have not been posting!   An obvious fact, but life has just seemed so busy lately!  Where to start… so last week my mother who is a gem, took both girls for two days so I spring-cleaned like crazy while the boys were in school.  The first day I think I cleaned for 11 hours straight… I went through everything in the boy’s room, their closet, all their drawers and sorted clothes and got all their summer clothes ready (summer, warm weather?  What on earth is that?)   And then I went through the girl’s drawers, my drawers and closets and cleaned out some kitchen drawers, tidied up the crawl space…whew… it makes me tired just to read that.     Then the next day I ran some errands and cleaned the floors and bathroom etc, and then we left to go get the girls.     When we got home from there I promptly came down with a ‘touch of pneumonia”.     I’m sure I didn’t get it from over-doing it… that would be crazy!    Thankfully the magical pills the dr prescribed started working right away and good thing too because when I walked in the house at noon with my prescription on Saturday Jason walked out and didn’t come back until after 6:00pm.   He’s not been home much which hasn’t been wonderful, but stuff has to get done and that’s just life.    Thankfully grandma came over to help the kids colour their easter eggs that afternoon.

This year I decided we should dye our easter eggs early so we could enjoy them for a week before Easter rather than a day before like I usually do.  This may have proved to be a mistake as Sarah figured that these eggs were toys and toted them around Sat and Sun, and I’m afraid that a few of them did not survive this.  Why didn’t I stop her?  Remember, I have pneumonia and Jason was not around.  If these are excellent excuses, I don’t know what are.   I also found egg shells under the desk where she had helped herself to an early easter snack of boiled egg – dyed I’m sure by the coloring from the shell.  What can I say about that?  Nothing.

And now we are dog-sitting this week.  Dog sitting Duke.

After just this one day (it’s like doggy-daycare, he comes at 7:00am and leaves at 4:30) I know now that we will NEVER own a dog.  Unless we move out to the country and get an OUTDOOR dog.   Not that Duke was terrible or anything, it was mostly the kids that drove me bonkers.  Sarah wouldn’t leave him alone, they were constantly asking to feed him more food, then he piddled in the house because I forgot to take him out and it really felt like having another kid around.  But still, he still is a nice dog, I’m glad to help out a friend, Sarah is in heaven and if my house smells like wet-dog next week we will all know why.  Actually it’s not Duke’s fault, it’s the lousy stinkin’ weather.

This is a picture from this morning…  our lovely Christmas Easter weather.   It is trying my patience but the girls were happy to play in it this morning.  (I was sitting in the nice warm cozy house watching through the window).

But through all of this I’ve been trying to concentrate on that verse from Philippians 4 verse 11-13 where Paul says…   “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”      I know I’m not near where Paul was, but it gives me a goal!   And praise the Lord that he does strengthen me which gets me through each day, and He is teaching me the secret of being content.

And you know what, tonight I actually am content.    Soon I will be back to 100%,   our doggy-daycare will have closed it doors, Jason will be done his sister’s basement and spring WILL COME… (it will come, won’t it?)  And I just pulled a chocolate cake out of the oven that we will be eating at our Women’s Bible Study in the morning, with or without the birthday girl.  I’m content!

God didn’t die for frogs…

In this season of Lent – the time coming up to Easter I’ve been reading “Fifty Reasons why Jesus came to Die” by John Piper.    I’m ashamed to say that I started at the beginning to Lent and today I only read #5 –  “To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners”  and something really struck me…

“I have heard it said, “God didn’t die for frogs.  So he was responding to our value as humans.”  This turns grace on its head.  We are worse off than frogs.  They have not sinned.  They have not rebelled and treated God with the contempt of being inconsequential in their lives.  God did not have to die for frogs.   They aren’t bad enough.  We are.  Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay for it.
          There is only one explanation for God’s sacrifice for us.   It is not us. It is “the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.)  It is all free.  It is not a response to our worth.   It is the overflow of his infinite worth.  In fact, that is what divine love is in the end: a passion to enthrall undeserving sinners, at great cost, with what will make us supremely happy forever, namely, his infinite beauty.”

Oh – treating God with the contempt of being inconsequential in my life?   That hurts.  Time to refocus and get my priorities right again!