Tag Archive | Canada

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is our yearly opportunity to be very visible and very Canadian. This year was a little different… Emanuel was still away at the Scout Camp with his friend Aidan until the evening. So we did our usual photo shoot with a twist.20170701_094925

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There was a meet up with our homeschool friends for some swimming or club (kid’s choice) with Nate and Bella as well. 20170701_105006

We TRIED to head to the zoo but apparently it was the day to go. So instead we turned around and headed to our favourite beach. Since the weather was a little on the cool side and cloudy it wasn’t packed. We didn’t spend much time in the water but really enjoyed the sand.

With Maple the Leaf

With Maple the Leaf

20170701_13072020170701_13300120170701_13370520170701_131403After the beach it was home for showers and then off to collect our absent Canadian. On the way there we stopped at our 3rd Tim Hortons so far. This one is rather close to the Novak’s house. I actually meet what I assume is an owner of one of the franchise. After a lovely conversation about the new stores and my coming from Canada to Minnesota he comped us 40 Tim Bits!!! So I left that store with 80 Tim Bits, an Ice Cap and a wonderful experience.IMG_20170701_162643_194

Snoopy!

Snoopy!

After a visit with the family and delivery of their Canadian goodies it was off to McDonald’s (Echo’s request after the aborted trip to the zoo).20170701_185250

We rounded off our Canada Day with a table of Canadian sweets. Ken made traditional and mint Nanaimo Bars (we had to order the custard powder off Amazon), Maple Cookies sent by a friend, and Tim Bits. Not bad! Next year buttertarts?IMG_20170701_211904_989

We redid our group photos on the 2nd to get a full group shot.20170702_095901

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Not bad for a Canada Day that wasn’t able to be celebrated IN Canada.20170701_095149

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Welcome Grandma, Down from the Great White North…

But just for a week. Which I can tell you, her dog Gypsy did not approve of. I heard tell of a minor hunger strike when cookies were snitched from meals but the actual dog chow left untouched! It was a lovely week full of a good balance of activity and rest.20170404_134102

Grandma started off smart – she hooked the kids on some puzzle game apps so they could all play together. Always a good plan, especially since they were FREE. Couple that with watching dog rescue videos together and much time was spent in quiet enjoyment.IMG_20170404_152623_521

20170407_112120We took Grandma to the YMCA twice this visit. Once to watch Trinity and Emanuel in karate and meet their Sensei.IMG_20170413_222319_460

The other time to come for our Sunday night swim. Mommy got in her exercise class, and the rest got quality pool time with Grandma letting Daddy off the hook!IMG_20170409_182842_996

20170409_18390720170409_193406Our big field trip was to the Mill City Museum. A family favourite and fun for Grandma to see some Minnesota history first hand. She and Ken took the twins up in the big elevator that walks you through the history of the mill as well as its partial destruction.20170407_130947

20170407_13183120170407_13243220170407_135035IMG_20170407_135840_62920170407_14142220170407_13384720170407_132037Grandma asked to go to two specific places to eat – Culver’s, which we went to the night she came. She had never been, we simply could not let that stand!IMG_20170404_182631_533

The second place was a brunch with adults only to Perkin’s. This was followed up by a lovely stash of bakery goods purchased by Grandma that came home for the kids to enjoy. We snuck over to Joann’s while we were out. Good food AND good shopping (with coupons of course).

It was a decadent brownie.

It was a decadent brownie.

Grandma also COOKED a couple times – we got to taste her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. With meat in it! AND she made taco soup. A new one for all of us, but one that everyone but the girls (no surprise) enjoyed. It was beyond delicious. So of course, I must share the recipe! HERE20170406_130918

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

She came bearing gifts… Canadian snacks… well lots of Canadian things. Including a colouring book for the 150th birthday. She also brought us some Gypsy puppies to add to our teddy collection. We had some small tokens for her.IMG_20170404_155142_971

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

We had hair braiding parties.IMG_20170410_220135

And Grandma spent special quality time with all the kids. It was so lovely for them to have one on one (though the twins opted to go together) time with Grandma and fully get her hooked on Caribou coffee.

Mix in a couple nippy spring walks to the park and Grandma got a taste of early spring in Minnesota.20170405_104230

We also pulled out movies and popcorn to make sure we had some quality cinema time. Kubo was well enjoyed.IMG_20170405_010349_384

Grandma took special care braiding up Emanuel’s hair. It was nice to have a week of no hair in the eyes. Though friends said it was very… basketball player! IMG_20170405_210629_766

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Since Easter was right around the corner we also did some egg decorating.IMG_20170409_145459_677

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Ken and I snuck away for some quality YMCA time… well he sat, and I went to class.IMG_20170407_180036_180

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It was a terrific visit. Sit back and enjoy the excessive, but happy images! Thanks for the visit Grandma!20170410_125226

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Divine Grace Experienced…

It was requested that parishioners write up their own experience of the Grace of God for a book for Lent. I agreed to do so and wanted to share my own experience here as well. Of course first I defined God’s Grace (like a good student)… I used the Wiki definition found HERE. The portion I used:

Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.

Now, I can’t say for certain it is the Grace of God that led me to the conclusions and actions below… but it is an experience I still hold as something akin to a release in order to receive.

The grace of God is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God. I have never felt that grace as much and as clearly as I did when we finally decided to move to Minnesota from Alberta, Canada. God’s grace is not what we deserve, but a reflection of what we need, what will help us to become a more whole person. It is this gift that myself and my husband fought so hard against.

For months we fought tooth and nail to stay in Canada with the friends, family and familiarity of life in my birth country. It was not until we released our wants and listened to the direction of God that we began our big move. When we let go, the grace of God allowed us to transition. With this grace the process which usually takes many months was completed in 2 weeks. Passports, packing, goodbyes and the journey were all seamlessly and successfully accomplished.

Without this laying of our worries and path at God’s feet we would not have been where we needed to to help my husband survive his worst bout of depression to date; not been nearby when others needed our help. Rather by the grace of God we were where we needed to be when we needed to be. This gift has enabled us to have a fuller life and is a blessing.

This is what I have given to my church to share, and now given to you to also have a read. I think that no matter what we like to put some sort of reason or structure to chaos. Reason to the unknown, reality to the unreal. All I can say is, right now, I am here where I seem to need to be. Who knows what the future brings. DSCN1565[1]