Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday evening....

It's a rainy Sunday evening, warm and humid. I almost feel like I'm back in Malaybalay, Philippines. Funny how smells can bring memories flowing back, take you to another time, another place.

Last year at this time we were driving home from Arizona for Mom Barkman's funeral. It's been a weekend of remembering and some reflecting. Of spending time with family, thankful for the ones who are here and missing those who aren't. As we realize Mom has been gone a full year, we miss her in a different way. Her wisdom, her spirit, her friendship, and her simple presence. Thanks, Mom, for a rich legacy.

Garry and his dad went to Riverton today, and I'm anxious to hear how their day went, who they met, and what God did. I'm thankful they got to spend today together! Us ladies stayed home and enjoyed a good chat over nice coffee.

These days have been busy seeing some of you, communicating with NTMA, doctor visits, and planning for next school year's homeschooling. So many stories, so many blessings, so many challenges. Things I'd love to reflect on and share, but stories that are not mine to tell. You've blessed us by sharing your stories and your lives. We thank you.... and may the blessings and truths and stories of God's goodness and grace continue to circulate and encourage all of us, His Body!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Family. Immediate family, extended family. Family loyalty and family feuds. Family really can do a lot of things, and we do. We love each other and we hurt each other. Still, in the end, family.

There's something beautiful about the way we relate to our families, the way we defend one another, the way we help one another. Being back in Canada this last year has allowed us to relate with our families more, which has been a huge blessing. It has also allowed us to watch many families who have spent their whole lives living close to one another.

I am constantly amazed, really, to see the way families help one another. I'm awed by children who are close to their grandparents and the way people care for their parents as they age. I'm also shocked by how little people seem to realize the blessing they have in spending their lives in the same community as their families. In a small community where this is the norm, I don't think we often consider how unusual this is in the world at large. From Filipinos who are forced apart by the need to work overseas to the many work-related moves many young families make, much of the world is living in community devoid of family.

In communities where there is little family, friends must move into the parts of our lives that would normally be reserved for family. Relationships deepen based on need, and we must become vulnerable with people that we're not sure will respond the way we wish they would. And for many of us who have left family to pursue God's call on our lives, He has done as He promised and given us people who are like brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. It's a deep blessing.

As I ponder this I'd like to say thanks to our family who has loved us through many moves, who has chosen to stay connected despite distance. I'd like to thank you all over the world who are like family to us.

I'd also challenge you who have never lived far away from your family to ponder what life would look like if you had only friends and no family. And thank your for family the way they invest in your life! Then consider reaching out to someone who has no family as though they were family... you might be surprised what happens!

Friends and family. Family and friends. There's a difference, but then again, there isn't. Let's blur the lines in healthy ways for the glory of God!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Saturday thoughts

Another weekend is here and I hardly know where the week has gone! It's been one of those weeks that is busy, but there aren't really big projects getting done.

Kaleb has entered a week-long animation contest and has been really busy creating his entry. It turned out really well.... I'll post a link after the judging is complete and it can be shared. 

Friend came for the afternoon one day this week. What fun to reconnect with people from nearby that have also lived in the Philippines. To share memories and know that some of our "norms" from life overseas are also their norms. Another friend called, and I agree with her comment that it was like a spoon of ice cream, leaving you wanting more. Years of history, yet much of that apart.

Kevin has been training really hard. He also had opportunity to learn a new skill loading turkeys this week. His arms looked like the turkeys figured out he was inexperienced... but next time he'll get the better of them! I sent out an e-mail this week regarding Kevin's graduation from high school... if you didn't see the fun photos, e-mail me and I'll send it to you!

We celebrated a niece's birthday. What fun to be together as a family and share her special day with her. What are the chances? In fact, this is her 20th birthday, and I believe it's the first one we've shared. Wow. 

Life. Opportunities to live faith, love, and hope. Chances to share and to listen. Lives to impact and lives to be impacted by.