Posts filed under ‘derek’
in april, derek and i celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a trip to belgium. we got a lot of “why belgium?” questions, so here’s the back story:
so a long time ago, derek and i both worked at muskoka baptist conference (now called muskoka bible centre). we went to summit college and stayed on as full time staff. through mbc, derek and i became friends with a strange european boy with long hair and skinny jeans (before they were cool). we quickly became a trio of friends, with stephan leaving every few months to head back home to belgium.
it was during one of stephan’s belgian stints that derek and i both separately began exploring the idea of going on a belgian stint of our own. when we found out that the other had been thinking the same thing, it pretty much locked the idea in for us.
so in march of 1999, we said goodbye to our families and boarded a plane for a 3 month adventure. cell phone technology was very new, and staying in touch with my family would be limited to writing letters, and hoping that the calling card i carried with me would work from across the ocean. my first time viewing the ocean was from a plane window.
stephan’s family was tied to the mission organization Operation Mobilisation, and our belgian adventure was mostly with the purpose of serving God in europe. we definitely made time for sightseeing, but the focus was working 5 days/week at the OM base doing maintenance.
it was perfect, but a lot of places in this world are. so why did we want to go back to belgium?
when derek and i were friends, we declared that we wanted to marry each other. not because we were in love, but because we didn’t want to live our lives without our best friend. so we decided to start praying that we would fall in love. at that point our friendship transitioned into courtship (derek even asked my daddy’s permission!)
the bible shows us how to love all over the place, with the most famous passage being in 1 corinthians 13. it tells us all of the things that love is, and is not. so we decided to use that passage as an instruction manual.
all of that happened before we went to belgium. but it was IN belgium when God answered our prayers. a lot of people ask “how do i know he’s the one?” or “what if he’s my soulmate?” and there’s a lot of uncertainty there. i believe that yes, God has a match for you, but i also believe that love is an act, and something that we can choose. when we choose to love, the uncertainty is gone. there was definitely a moment when i looked across the mission’s base at derek and knew without a doubt, that i wasn’t just “trying” to love him, but that i had fallen in love with him.
this story is more sappy that the stories that i usually like to share, but it’s a story that honours God, and so it should be shared. it’s also the story that explains why we went back to belgium.
the photos are either of my journal, or drawings from my journal. i wrote in it almost every day for 3 months, and reading it again tonight brought back some great memories. wish i still had that discipline! i’ll try to get back on here soon to share some pics and write a little something about our 2015 trip.
the kids are 6 & 7, and finally old enough to appreciate a day to celebrate their father. each year i ask them “what do you want to do?”, and this year they finally had some answers! they totally wowed me with their plans! we’re talking decorating, games, gifts, meal plans, and a detailed floor plan with different “zones”.
here’s how we celebrated the amazing father that God has blessed my kids with!
armed with balloons and streamers, the kids climbed counters and chairs to hang up the decorations, but most items ended up at their eye level, AKA, adult limbo level. they plastered every surface and doorway; it was awesome!
in the living room we hung a banner, and the kids coloured it. i’d seen a few “candy pun” ideas on pintrest, but most of them involved a ton of candy and chocolate, and my derek would never eat all of that. we walked through bulk barn and grabbed a few of the things that we knew he liked, and before too long a sorta-poem developed and we were set. “Daddy, you give great hugs & kisses, that’s the raisin we love you to pieces.” i attached bags of hershey’s hugs & kisses to the appropriate words, yoghurt-covered raisins to the word “raisin”, and reese’s pieces were tacked onto the end.
anne really wanted to bake a cake for the party! we were totally unprepared to bake a cake, so the kids had to just use what we had on hand, and it turned out alright- princess crown toothpicks and all!
derek pulled the whole “i dunno. i don’t want anything” thing that guys do when birthdays/christmas/father’s day come up. my daddy says the same thing every single year: “good kids.”
so the kids brainstormed some ideas for “good things” they could do for their daddy, and we whipped up some coupon books. if you’re looking for a how-to: it’s simple! i could have done it with a basic word processor like google docs. i used pixelmater for mine. i didn’t have time for clipart or stickers, but the handprinted signature makes them pretty sweet. i sandwiched the coupons between two pieces of scrappy paper and sewed the edge up with my serger. you could use a normal sewing machine or even a stapler.
when derek came home from work tonight the kids jumped out of their hiding places and screamed “surprise!” at him as he disentangled himself from the streamers and balloons blocking the doorway. the kids began working through their itinerary of planned games with derek, ending with “simon says: get to the table”. we had a great family dinner together, sang “happy father’s day to yooooo” (tune of happy b-day), and ate a ton of chocolate cake.
elliot lamented that there was a mother’s day, a father’s day, but no kid’s day. i laughed my face off at him as i looked around at the chaos of my house, and thought about how much work i had put into helping them show their dad how much they loved him, and how much clean up was still ahead of me; but i know that there’s no way he’ll ever understand that every day is “kid’s day” until he’s a father himself.
one week of a new routine and schedule and finding our groove, and only 35 left to go!
i know that i’m way overdue for a bunch of summer posts, but seriously i don’t even know why i have a computer some days because i don’t even get time to turn it on. i even contemplated the cessation of this site because i don’t have time to invest in it, but writing is therapy to me and i’m my own boss so it’s not like i’ll fire myself if i’m a month between posts, right? right.
ahem… so i was talking about how crazy life is while we’re trying to find the rhythm of our new places here in time and space.
elliot and anne started school last week, just like the rest of north america. we started on monday and put in a solid 5-day week. i’m totally loving the sonlight curriculum, and can’t believe i went two years without it. shameless plug.
i had planned to take first day of school pictures of the kids (especially since it was anne’s first day of JK) but blah blah blah, i got busy. head’s up– i’m going to say that a million times more. I’M BUSY! i’m juggling two grades now plus elliot’s in grade one, and that’s WAY more involved than SK was. i’m not used to this before AND after lunch business, but i see ways of being more efficient with my time once i’m used to what we have to fit into a day.
we’ve had some struggles with discipline, and i said without hyperbole last week that i was ready to throw myself out the window of a tall building. i take comfort in knowing that every homeschooling newbie like me goes through this and that one day i’ll be the confident experienced mother with perfect doctor children that homeschoolers everywhere look up to. they’ll whisper my name to one another with awe and wonder and sigh wistfully while saying “i just don’t know how she did it all…” don’t correct me, it’s the daydream that got me through getting elliot to write a paragraph.
throughout the equally amazing and stressful week i refused to answer the phone, check my email, do laundry or be distracted at all when it was school time. i used lunch breaks to prep supper and after school i did all the other stuff that the house need me to do, returned phone calls, and even found a few moments to check email. i totally couldn’t have gotten through the first week of school if derek hadn’t been off of work and so willing and available to help. i have a good man :)
so by the time friday was here we were all pretty sick of doing stuff. i mean since the beginning of may we’ve been doing pretty much whatever we want whenever we want and doing it in our pyjamas. it’s been fantastic and also so hard to come out of.
i hadn’t looked forward to a weekend so badly since i was a student. friday night i seized the opportunity and prepped 7 bags of chicken pot pie filling to freeze for future last-minute meals, and an extra lump of pizza dough. i know, wild friday night, right? derek and i also made a pizza and ate it while we finished off season 3 of lost, and then he let me sleep for all of saturday morning. saturday afternoon the kids were so happy to just play in their bedrooms and the playroom, so i pulled out my sewing machine and made throw pillows for my couch. we ended up spontaneously going to the driving range with hannah & co. and then picking up fries that night, so i got the perfect day: tons of sleep, doing whatever i want, a dose of spontaneity and family time, and absolutely no meals cooked by me. wahoo!
that picture of my pillows makes me laugh because i remember showing the fabric to one of my sisters at the cottage and they were like “oh…. um…. for hallowe’en?” hahaha… people do that?! decorate their couches for hallowe’en? sheesh…. it took me a month to finally find time to sew those babies up they’re here long-term. i love orange!
so anyway… that’s been basically it. the crazy week where i had to pour all of me into the kids and the routine, and then me letting loose on the weekend. my creative elliot caught one glimpse of the orange birds and then begged me to help him make a stuffed bird for his stuffed animal collection, so sunday after church we worked together and pulled these out of a hat before i packed up the sewing stuff and cleaned the house in preparation for another week like the last, although hopefully this week i’ll have just one more foot closer to that groove that i keep talking about finding.
stephan gets married tomorrow, and derek’s in the wedding party. today we attempted to style his hair so that we could avoid having to cut it for the big day. i called my sister desiree and got some advice, then i tried to work around that advice, then i ended up in the salon aisle at shoppers drug mart.
even armed with specific brand names to seek out, i was still overwhelmed and lost. seriously… there’s SO much hair stuff out there! how do high-maintenance heads do it?! after about 20 minutes, i found the stuff and headed over to the greeting card aisle where i could not find a decent wedding card that wasn’t covered in sentimental mush.
it’s outings like these that make me realize that i live on another planet.