With temperatures here hanging on the verge between double and single digits below zero, we are surprised at how mild we are finding it to be but, I guess since it was down to 27 below a week and a half ago, it makes sense that this feels much warmer. And I think the snow is here to stay now with, a little bit of snow falling over the last couple days, about 5 inches altogether now! It’s been an interesting experience seeing the windows freeze from the inside, something we have never experienced before. Opening windows in double digit cold weather for any length of time results in not being able to shut them all the way when you want to, as Denise found out the hard way, and much to her dismay.
As advent has now begun we are in preparation and expectation of Christmas, and all of the goodness that comes with it; changing things around in the church, hanging Christmas lights, and preparing our hearts for the greatest gift of all: the Christ-child!
Last weekend, that’s 2 weekends ago, Fr.Kieran had come down for Mass and we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. After Mass a few people from the community joined us for a procession down the street, with candles as well as hymns being sung, stopping at two different houses and asking, “Is Christ the King of this house/family?” to be answered by, “Yes, we declare that Christ is King in this household!” Then we returned to the house to join the others, older folk, for a finger food potluck!
This past weekend was spent organizing an Advent retreat, themed on the mysteries preceding the first Christmas and Mary as our model and example during this time of preparation. The Annunciation, the Visitation, and the birth of Christ were the focus topics; looking at Mary’s response through faith, her proclamation of praise and thanksgiving, and her complete participation in bringing Christ into the world, respectively. The 3 other people in attendance made for an intimate retreat, closing with a holy hour of adoration. Denise led an Advent afternoon with 2 other children in attendance, besides our own. They had the opportunity to talk about what an advent wreath is, how they could prepare for Christmas, watched a video on St.Nicholas, and even joined us for a few minutes in adoration. One of the attendees mentioned that she had been told to baptize her son but hadn’t because she didn’t want to just because people said she should. But the Lord spoke to her heart and she said at the end of the retreat that she wanted her son baptized. God is good!
Amidst the daily tasks, we are enjoying the gift we have in each other and the joys that come with children. Aliz is starting to ‘army crawl’ all over the place, dragging her body from one thing to the next, getting in to the other kids things now. Isaiah is becoming such a little boy, starting to form his sentences and be understood better, by us. Gianna & Kateri are enjoying the traditions of Advent, especially the “Advent Adventure” that we do through Holy Heroes. Kateri is learning how to sing Jingle Bells in Talthan for her Christmas concert and is pretty good at it. Of course we have no idea what the words are and she often asks us to cue her. We keep having to explain to the kids that they know the language way more than we do. The kids also really enjoy Tuesday nights, as we pray the rosary with the community here, with usually anywhere from 2 to 5 people in attendance. As we get to know everyone better we are also finding we are more comfortable with our kids, well, being kids, and the faithful are the first to remind us to “chill out!” The women who come to rosary are some of the prayer warriors for their families and the community at large. Once again we were humbled Tuesday night by the prayers of these women, drawing us deeper into prayer.
I(Josh) have been enjoying getting out to play badminton on Monday and Thursday evenings at the school. One of the teachers has organized a drop-in, with usually only the two of us, but sometimes a third person joins us. We have also organized a games night, at our house, every Saturday evening. We have had a pretty good turn out and I was a little surprised with actually how many people came out, 7 the first time, and 9 people the next. So we are enjoying lots of board gaming, even more frequent than I got back home:)
Last week we figured it would probably be good to whip up a couple batches of homemade bar soap for Christmas presents, being that they take a little bit of time to harden up. Having to wait for the kids to all get in bed and then organizing everything, we soon realized that it probably wasn’t the best idea to tackle two batches. Clean up is a pain though, and if you need to make two batches it is just easier to do all the clean up in one night rather than doing it twice, over two nights. It resulted in Denise skipping off to bed (as she had to cook in the morning) just as we started the second batch and me staying up to finish and clean-up, getting to bed by , I think, around 1 in the morning. But the soap was made anyways:) It turned out pretty good too. I enjoy getting to invent and experiment at making my own creations.
Denise has been asked if she could stay on into the new year as temporary cook at the school, as the real cook is still not fit to return. It has been working out fine for us and she still enjoys it so she will continue. Every year there is a community Christmas dinner at the school, for which the cook, for the past few years, has done the whole dinner! Thankfully, this year the rest of the community is playing a part so Denise only has to cook two turkeys!
With it being cold outside, and not as easy to just go out and play, we also had time to organize the basement. A bunch of our stuff from moving had still been lying around(the good and bad thing about a basement) so we brought more stuff over to the church basement for storage and made some room for Denise’s craft shelf and table, and room for some board game shelving. We are feeling a little more organized now, and have lots of space for the kids to rollerblade and roller skate around on the basement floor.
Amongst this, Josh was able to get the Christmas lights hung up on the house and the church. Having hung the two strands on the house and then finding out that half of the first strand was not working, on a brand new set, was very frustrating. But taking down the strand while hanging the other strand at the same time worked like a charm. Fortunately we found that it was only one loose bulb that was the culprit. Yay, for not having to run 8 hours for an exchange on a new strand. Phew. So today I finished hanging that strand of lights on the church.
We just experienced today, for the first time, being able to fax our car insurance papers in to the insurance office for a renewal. Then they just mail it to you. That was awesome, mainly because it saved a 4 our round trip!
Well, this weekend should prove to be exciting with the feast of St.Nicholas on Saturday, as well as the Christmas craft fair in Dease Lake, from 10 – 3. We are hoping to leave by around 9 am, but we’ll see how that goes with the kids. It’s a 2 hour drive to Dease Lake, the first town out from here(on the main highway), so we’ll probably be driving for longer than we will be in Dease for. Oh, life in Telegraph Creek:) Then back home for games night!