Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home in Manitoba...

We finished our time in Pennsylvania making more memories and regretting that the time was so short. We enjoyed every moment with my parents, but there simply were not enough of them. And that's a good problem to have, really, when you think about it! We also reconnected a little with various people that we would have liked to spend more time with. All in all, we left wishing we'd had more time and with a deeper appreciation of the friends we have in Pennsylvania. Hopefully we can head back there soon!

We drove home straight through, a bit over 30 hours total. We were thankful for good weather for most of the trip, just a bit of snow and icy roads for a couple of hours. Quite amazing at this time of year! Gas prices are also down a bit, which was a blessing.

We got home in time to see Dad Barkman and Donna before they left for Texas, an extra blessing. And on Christmas Day itself we got to spend the evening with Brenda. Kaleb is busy biking and Kevin is at badminton camp for the rest of the week. In fact, Toby Ng from the Canadian national team is staying with us for a few days while he runs the camp for high performance!

It's good to be home in Manitoba:), though we miss our friends all over the world. I guess that's life in this world-- you can only be one place at a time! But eternity's coming!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still doing PA

Thursday morning, and we've been in Pennsylvania 2 weeks! It's been a really amazing time so far. We shared at Puzzletown Church on Sunday and so enjoyed being back with that group of friends, worshipping together, and hearing how God has been at work here! We were amazed at how these friends have kept up with what God is doing in the Philippines and in our lives despite the distance. We really enjoyed Pastor Jon and his wife.

Family Christmas this week with my parents, my Gram, and a great aunt. Breakfast out with a friend. Bowling with my parents. A Christmas party with my Gram at Blair Chalet. And at least a million cups of coffee with good, long talks.

We've also been helping my parents sort through stuff, going through family memories from several generations. It's incredible to me to think of the lives already past and the small amount that's preserved from a relatively long life. Life here is, after all, quite short. What we do every day passes quickly into oblivion: yet the reputation of people remains-- friendly, caring, or grumpy. And our grandchildren and beyond will likely simply summarize our lives as a basic response to the circumstances of our lives. It challenges me to see life as a cup half full, to smile often, to simply care.

I also added some photos to the posts below-- scroll down to check out a couple photos of Kevin's 18th birthday and our first days in Pennsylvania!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Partying in Pennsylvania

We arrived in Pennsylvania early last Thursday morning: 2 am, to be exact. Your parents are really the only people's home where you can do that! Having left Manitoba at 3 pm on Tuesday, we were quite happy to be done driving, besides being thrilled to see my parents!

It's been particularly fun for me to be in Pennsylvania enjoying favorite places, reliving memories from my years living here, and enjoying hours and hours of catching up with Mom and Dad. As family we're enjoying my parents also-- evenings playing Skip-Bo, long coffees during the day, and the daily interaction of lots of people in one house! It's good to be here.

Next Sunday we'll be at Puzzletown Road Bible church and we are looking forward to catching up with friends there. We're also excited to meet the new pastor and his wife and hear more about what God is doing in that part of His vineyard.

We're all enjoying the unique beauty of Pennsylvania. The history in this area is readily apparent, and we love checking out the unique architecture and enjoying the beautiful views. I'll leave it at that for now-- after all, there's coffee to drink and a limited time to interact with my parents!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Kevin turns 18!

On Saturday Kevin turned 18 years old! He chose his favorite meal to share with family and finished it off with brownies and ice-cream, then invited a few friends over for cake and ice-cream. A major milestone, and I don't even have pictures... maybe I'll find some yet and add them later:). Today Kevin is taking his road test for his drivers license, another milestone. No doubt about it, we have a young adult in the house now... though he's still in grade 12!

Being a good mom I thought I'd recount some of the major milestones in his life, the ways he's grown, and the things we love about being parents to Kevin. But on second thought, I realised that I'd better be an excellent mom-- keep those particular thoughts to myself!

We are heading out to Pennsylvania to visit one of our churches and spend a couple weeks with my parents! I'm excited to see my parents and spend some time in my old home territory. My parents are going through some of my grandparents photos, and I'm hoping we get some time to sit and hear them tell stories about growing up and their lives. What a blessing to hear our parents recount the faithfulness of God to our kids!

Garry's been doing a million things lately as he pursues setting up an aviation Safety Management System for NTM Aviation. Thinking, learning, and passing things on.

We recently sent out an e-mail update about the new believers in Menti, sharing more of the story. If you didn't receive that and would like to, enter your e-mail address on the right side under "sign up here to receive our newsletter" and we'll send you a copy. God is good and the ways He works are amazing! What a privilege to be a small part of it!