It was 30 below here today, and has been hovering between this and 25 below over the past 3 days. It is very interesting to see your windows turn into big ice cubes along the bottom, which usually starts happening around 20 below. It is wonderful to experience a northern winter, and is much drier than a winter in the south. There hasn’t really been any wind yet so the cold is bearable. The snow doesn’t pack well, so there hasn’t been any snowmen, but it looks like it is supposed to warm up to close to 0 degrees by the middle of next week so maybe there will be soon.
Now that the festivities of Christmas, New Year’s, and Epiphany are past, and things are back to a mostly regular schedule with Denise going back to cooking at the school(for the mornings) and the girls back at school, there is some time to share with all of you some of the highlights that have taken place over the course of the last couple weeks.
Christmas day arrived rather quickly this year. I am not sure why, but I suppose it might be because we have just been kept busy with kids. Thanks be to God, everyone was past all of their major sickness, with the climax being Kateri having a blown ear drum. But besides a few sniffles, we were all in great spirits, especially with the visit of Denise’s sister, Diane. We celebrated Mass here on Christmas morning, with the blessing of Fr.Robert arriving from Edmonton! He celebrated two Christmas Eve Masses at the nearby(2-3 hours drive) communities of Dease Lake & Iskut, before arriving out here in Telegraph Creek on Christmas morning, accompanied by the pastoral administrator at Iskut, Rob Lacroix. We had a lovely celebration and felt very blessed. For the community here I think they had been used to a Christmas Eve Mass, and so the attendance was down, along with quite a few people having left town for the Christmas break.
We have really felt, as a family, that we were really able to enter into the meaning and the spirit of Christmas this year; being away from the hustle and bustle and just feeling like we had more time to be together and do things together. We were shared a neat idea for celebrating the 12 days of Christmas so we thought we would try it this year. With the kids we had grabbed a bunch of our Christmas books and wrapped, and numbered, them for the 12 days of Christmas. Along with the gift that we had got from my brother and sister-in-law(which was done in the same manner) we opened one on each day of Christmas, reading the book and sharing the gift. It is a joy to see the excitement on the kid’s faces in the simplicity of receiving stickers or hot chocolate mix. It was actually quite humorous as well, that both Denise & myself also got each other “12 Days of Christmas” gifts, without even collaborating, many of which are based around quality time, and so we have had lots of time to ponder and enjoy simply the gifts we have in each other and in our children. It has been different being away from family, although with Skype and FaceTime you never feel too far away, and so it has been nice having the opportunity to connect at least in some manner, even when distance seems to create that physical barrier of being present bodily.
Josh drove Diane back down to Terrace on the 29th, a 16 hour round trip, staying with the Vandenberg’s again! The weather was beautiful and the roads were great for travelling.
Aliz is now fully mobile, moving from a crawl to a sit, and back again; tearing around the house on her hands and knees. If you can’t find her anywhere, just look under the kitchen table and chairs. For some reason she enjoys hanging out in confined spaces.
We woke up on New Year’s Day to find about 9 inches of freshly fallen snow, and with 3 hours to do something about it before people would be arriving for the communion service at 11:30. So I went next door and the neighbour’s (The RCMP) were kind enough to lend us a snow blower. Needless to say, the whole driveway and parking lot(if you could call it that) were in ship-shape condition and ready for traffic with enough time to spare! About 4 more inches of snow fell the following day, and just today, as I am writing this, we are receiving a bunch more. With 4 inches overnight and another 4 inches expected throughout today and into the evening.
It has been a great opportunity getting to lead communion services for the community. It has created opportunities to go deeper into scripture and really apply it to our lives. Last Sunday, for the feast of the Epiphany, we had an Epiphany party. After the service we had a potluck lunch, and the three wise men came bearing a spiritual gift for each of us. We then prayed an epiphany home blessing.
Our Pastoral Study Days, or days of recollection, have been bumped from February to January, so next week we will be in Whitehorse taking time to reflect, meet up with friends, do a grocery shop, and maybe even get out to see the new Hobbit movie at the theatre.