We started our December with a trip to Whitehorse for our Pastoral Study Days. We got to Whitehorse safely, but not in our vehicle! The truck broke down 97kms outside of Teslin. Oil was everywhere so we were definitely not going to figure this one out. But God is good and the first person we flagged down was a man from Whitehorse that was just returning from Edmonton with his new large vehicle! So we all packed in and headed to Teslin to where we called the BCAA. They said they would tow our truck to the nearest repair shop which, in their books, was Teslin. After asking some locals at the store we found out that there was no longer anyone in town that does those kinds of repairs. So Watson Lake was the closest but that wouldn’t work for us as it was in the opposite direction. So we paid the difference to have it towed to Whitehorse. Carlo, the man that drove us all the way to Whitehorse, just happened to live in Riverdale, the same area as our friends that we were staying with. He was so good to us. He sat for an hour in Teslin with us as we figured everything out. We were well taken care of! He wouldn’t even let us give him anything for it. He said, “That’s what we do in the North. I’ve been there myself.” Have to say this is one of the huge things we love about the North, everyone seems to look out for each other. Mostly, we assume, out of necessity but it’s still really reassuring.

So, we got to Mass in the morning and Father Kieran had a vehicle ready for us to use for the week. Praise God! We talked with a friend a couple days later about that we should embrace trouble and disturbances to our plans as it leaves room for God to work!
At Mass Father Kieran asked us to light the candle for the Advent wreath, as a family,  and introduced us. After Mass we had several people come and introduce themselves and asked about life in Telegraph. We felt so loved! It’s so beautiful how within the church you feel like you have family wherever you go!!

Making our Advent wreath at our Advent party with other families from the Holy Family Apostolate.


Lighting the first candle as we bless the advent wreath.

Supper at Boston Pizza! We used Grandma’s treat money we saved up! What a treat!


Snack time, after a swim in the pool at Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse



Celebrating the Feast of St.Nicholas (Dec. 6th) with the Lefebvre’s


Sledding party at the local hill, in Whitehorse on the Feast of St. Nicholas


Celebrating the feast of St.Nicholas. Our friend made a bishop’s hat baked struddle


More stockings when we got home? St.Nicholas was generous this year:)


Gingerbread house making at the REC in Telegraph Creek




Sledding on the little hill behind the RCMP station, next door.


Gianna modelling our new advent wreath, which she helped cut and drill.


Celebrating mommy’s baptism anniversary.


Rhino Hero became an instant hit!



Snowshoe making class


Drilling holes in preparation for filling.


Kateri’s class singing ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ at the school Christmas concert.


All of the students singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’



It’s a Tahltan band tradition that Santa comes after the annual Christmas dinner and brings a gift for each child in the community. Isaiah really liked Santa as you can see or at least wasn’t sure what to do. 


Aliz was terrified


Gianna just stared at Santa and nodded her head


Kateri told Santa she new he was Mark the RCMP officer!


Skating party at Sawmill Lake



Warming the hot chocolate on a log stove


Christmas tree hunting. We found one!


We performed a Christmas story drama before Christmas Eve Mass





We drove out to Dease Lake to spend Christmas evening with Fr.Bryan. Father Bryan celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in Telegraph Creek and Iskut and Christmas day in Dease Lake & Good Hope Lake. We pulled out Pitchcar Mini, for the first time, only to all be beat by Fr.Bryan! Good times were had by all.

We were able to celebrate Mass the following morning for the Feast of St. Stephen before Father left for Whitehorse, but not before we played a few more games!

We had talked to Fr.Bryan back in the spring about how we are always looking for priests to come up and celebrate Mass in the missions in the diocese, particularly for Christmas and Easter, to ensure that every community is able to have Mass. We were quite surprised when we found out only a few weeks beforehand that it would be Fr.Bryan coming out to our neck of the woods. He is a close friend of ours from our time in Chilliwack and it was very special to have him spend Christmas with us! Thank-you Fr.Bryan for blessing us and all the communities with your presence!!


Kateri had fun with their new face paints.


A new puzzle!


Sledding in Telegraph Crrek



A new car?!


A family puzzle! Worked on by everyone!

We spent tonight watching our home videos that we had taken over the year. What a great way to rejoice in all that we have been blessed with!

As we enter the new year we just wanted to leave you with a small wish, taken from the words of Catherine Doherty from our small flip calendar, “I wish that the coming New Year would be a year of growth in faith; for as you grow in faith, you will grow in love and surrender to God, and that is really all that matters!”

Soaps & Sunrises

Here’s another quick update of what’s been happening here in the North! Enjoy the pictures, as they seem to tell the story of what is happening around here best:)

Snow shoe making has been fun:


Shaping my first set, and then hanging to dry for 1 week.


After the shoes are shaped and dried I took them apart and shaved the bark off.


In the workshop.


All of the fine filling(tanned deer hide cut in thin strips) pulled between the poles to stretch and dry.


Enjoying our first major snow!


Slushes in the snow!


Mudding the joints in the new Catechism room in the church basement.


The room, from one end.


Ready for primer.



Sledding on the little hill in front of the church.


Celebrating Denise’s Birthday



Our big thaw, and freeze!


One day of rain and warm weather and all the snow is gone:(


Celebrating the Feast of Christ the King with a procession, only over to the house because of all the ice.


The beautiful sunrise, as seen from our yard


The cold weather is made bearable by these moments of beauty.


Making Soap is one of our hobbies, albeit one that we haven’t got around to doing very often. We experimented this time with some new recipes. This is our Green Tea Lemongrass soap.


We have been toying with label ideas as well, just to make it look official:)



One batch!


Definitely happy with our experimental results!


And another batch!


South & Back Again


Abstract art!


Yay, finger painting


Off on another road trip, heading south!


“Do I have to be in this torture device for 8 hours straight?”


Playing at the park in Prince George



Playing with the neighbour’s kitten



Destruction is my priority; a destructive bunny:)


Enjoying the water with Auntie


Chilling with Auntie Kayla, riding the quad


Getting nails done before Auntie Diane’s wedding





Hanging out with Grandma


Chilling before the wedding



Shooting the breeze with the groom, our new brother-in-law, Brett


Aww, sisters!


Chillin’ on the beach @ Okanagan Lake






Treasure hunt in Houston


What a huge fishing rod!



A not so quick stop on the road home


There’s 2 tigers in here:)


Celebrating the anniversary of Josh’s baptism


Building bunk beds for the kids’ bedroom


lots of helpers





The finishing touches


Cleaning up



The finished product; triple bunk bed


P1210746 Chillin’ with Grandma


Baking with Grandma



Birthday buddies; Uncle Kevin & Isaiah (Aug 23)




Out for a hike; on the ridge above town


Looking downriver


Stopping for a pic at the end of the driveway


Hauling wood



Picnic at Old Town, down by the river






St.Aiden’s Anglican Church, in old town





Potluck at our friends’ house





Mia, Uncle Kevin & Auntie Joelle’s dog, was the star of the show all week




Dance party!



At the playground


Taking the family on a tour at the school




Receiving a hundredfold

We figure the best way to fill you in on the last month will be through these pictures. Although some details will be missed God continues to work in our lives, both through our family and our community here. There have been those times of doubt, but God’s promise remains for us a beacon as we continue to feel His blessings: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much.” -Matthew 19:29.  As you can see from the pictures spring has sprung!


Planting our little saplings in the back yard!


“This looks like a good spot for another one!”


The community here has continued to receive us with kindness and friendship. We were invited by friends to visit their family fish camp where the Tahltan & Stikine meet. We felt honoured to be invited here. It remains a sacred place for the Tahltan people as it continues to be one of the main fishing grounds.



This is the rock “Thadu” pictured in the picture above(to the left), and the one that we are climbing on in the pictures below. What a difference a couple of weeks makes!


Climbing on “Thadu”


Chilling on the rocks


The Tahltan River meets the Stikine River


The Tahltan River


Up on “Thadu”


Rock climbing?




“Daddy I’m just going to go up here!”


Eagle Rock!


Chilling in the sand


It’s fun walking in the sand


Enjoying the sand and the sun


A look down the Stikine!


Celebrating Kateri’s baptism anniversary!


“I’m so excited!”




Getting ready to celebrate Mass at Diane’s house, with Father Harrison


The kids couldn’t resist the tractor


“This would be so much more fun if the thing was actually turned on!”



Some moose hanging out in a swamp on the way back from Glenora



Getting ready to go fishing


Teaching patience


On to the dock at Sawmill Lake


“This dirt is so yummy mommy!”



Our “May” baskets, to celebrate the feast days of Mary & Joseph in the month of May


A look back at her first year. Celebrating Aliz’s birthday!


“Happy birthday Aliz, love from Gianna!”


“Happy birthday Aliz!”


“Love from Kateri”


A pose with the birthday girl


Yummy cupcake


The wax is tasty too






Talking on the phone




Mommy’s big helper; folding laundry. Check out my new haircut!


My new haircut




Community Garbage Clean Up Day


After all that hard work, an ice cream cone hits the spot!



Halted on Iron Road




“Fish on!”


Catch of the day!





Helping out in the garden





Out for a hike with the Lefebvre’s, who had come for a visit



Swimming in Sawmill Lake


“The water is nice.”


“Thanks for the sunscreen mom, but I’m going to enjoy this dirt a la stick!”



Board games and frozen bananas with the Lefebvre’s



The Tahltan River Valley, viewed from up top at the lava beds.



Waterpark in Whitehorse









These next few weeks will be busy, with Josh leaving for 10 days for a trek through Mt.Edziza Provincial Park, and then leaving for Juneau, Alaska  1 week after he gets back. Denise will be attending a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training course. But we’ll hopefully keep you all updated with pictures in between and after:)

Vacations & Celebrations

It’s been a while since we posted an actual photo update, so here it goes. We went on holidays for most of the month of March(for 3 weeks) so that has delayed this quite a bit, especially with being tossed in to the Holy Week/Easter festivities as soon as we got back. But we’re back on our feet and things seem to be getting back in to more of a routine.

To start off our vacation, we stayed in Terrace with the Vandenberg family on our first night(who also really enjoy board games) and the second night at our sister and brother-in-law’s in Prince George. The hospitality was so wonderful after long days of driving. Thank-you!

It’s always so great getting to catch up with family and friends which takes us to a bit of a different space than when we are living in a place where we are doing ministry 100% of the time; just a bit more relaxed. We had such an amazing time with Josh’s family in Chilliwack(spending about 1 week there) and really cherished the quality time, especially since we figured it would be a while before we would get to see them again. We also were able to catch up with quite a few of our friends, but obviously with such a time constraint were not able to see everyone that we had hoped to. We know that we are all still united in prayer! We also had the opportunity to spend 1 week in Kelowna, with Denise’s family, where we had the opportunity to partake in the festivities of a family wedding and a baptism. Amidst the schedule of visiting we were able to gather our restock of supplies and groceries. When our time had drawn to a close we were excited about heading home, back to Telegraph Creek. We missed the quietness and the routine, but felt so blessed in our time we had with family. Sadly, we somehow misplaced or deleted most of our pictures from our vacation:( (which included all of our time in Chilliwack) So our words here and the pictures of our mind’s eye will have to suffice!

Bannock(& popcorn), books, & a movie at the school, for the Scholastic Book Fair!


Riding bikes and helping Grandpa Tom pick up sticks(Kelowna)!


Happy early Easter!


Grandma & Isaiah’s leaning tower of blocks. I honestly can’t remember how many times it was repeated, but when it got so tall that it fell over, it would start from the ground up all over again!


Kateri became best friends with a garter snake, which she named Alivia!


It’s nail time with Auntie Joelle:)


Surprise! Yummy plastic cauliflower!

We had a very blessed Holy Week, despite how busy it was. We were blessed to have the presence of Fr.Harrison, from Victoria,  for Palm Sunday Mass and the Easter Vigil. And we were even able to have a weekday Mass with Adoration & Benediction.

It was very special leading the Holy Week services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday; being so involved with the planning really helped us to enter in to the mystery and spirit of it all. I also celebrated my first funeral. It was such an honour to be asked to celebrate and I felt that it was a very blessed time; to be able to share our support for the community and especially the family involved. It is never an easy time, but it was a celebration of a life well lived and an opportunity for all to draw closer in love and support.


Blessing the fire (Easter Vigil)


Colouring Easter eggs.


Celebrating Kateri’s birthday with her homemade “Treasure Island” cake. We had her class over to our house to play games, roast hot dogs, and eat lots of cake!


Celebrating Gianna’s baptism anniversary with ice cream sundaes. Our good friends, the Steiner family, were also in town for the day to visit us!

boy ladybug & spider girl


Kateri learning to ride her bike!


Hooray; all by yourself!


“Look mommy, look daddy!”


Face painting by mommy


Myself & Constable Evan went for a hike to get conditioned for our week and a half trek through Mt.Edziza Provincial Park in early June. I was a little over ambitious, loading my pack to about 60 lbs, but I survived:$

Easter Saturday

We were blessed to have a priest, Fr.Harrison Ayre, to celebrate the Easter Vigil with us, last Saturday evening, along with his companion, from Victoria, Jim. Jim wrote a summary of Saturdays events and so I would like to share his words with you. [Hopefully I will be able to get an update from our end of things, being that it must be close to going on 4 or 5 weeks now. There will be some more shortly:) Along with lots of pictures!]

In the words of Jim: Fr. Harrison and I travelled to Telegraph Creek early Easter Saturday morning where he was to conduct the Easter Vigil. We arrived at Josh and Denise’s place by 11:30am. They provide Lay Ministry to community of TC and the house that they live in is the rectory for St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. The house is only a few steps away from the church. Denise made us a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, raw carrots and sliced apples. Josh and Fr. Harrison were getting their plans together for the Easter Vigil Mass and I was hanging out with Kateri, Gianna, Isaiah and baby Aliz watching Disney youtube movies, on my tablet, while Denise started preparing the after mass potluck stew. Denise came into the living room to say we may not be able to have Mass today. I asked why not and she said there was a grass fire… I didn’t think a grass fire would be that serious, but it turned out that the long dry grass that lay on the rocky ground quickly caught fire and spread at an amazing speed up the hillside behind the house about 1000 meters away. Luckily, the wind was pushing it away from the houses and up the hillside. The fire was moving fast and we could see from the window the flames licking their way towards the top. The fire reached a large bush and instantly, the bush combusted. This looked very serious because the whole area was super dry and the forested edge at the top of this long hill if caught would be a major disaster. The local volunteer firefighters had their one firetruck on the scene quickly and I saw Josh at a distance dragging a fire hose up the hill trying to get ahead of the fire, but the fire soon outran the scope of the hose. Word came that the community should evacuate to the school. I told Denise that I would stay, while she took the children, and finish the stew and if the fire came close, I would take the car and drive to the school. It must have been an hour or so later that Denise phoned to say that fire had been contained and she and the children would be home soon. Luckily the volunteers had managed to get to the top of the hill and dig a fire trench to try to stop the fire from reaching the forest edge which was at the crown of the hill. The fire had died out at the trenches, probably due to thinning spots of grass and luckily, before it could reach the big trees. The timing couldn’t have been better because the Easter Vigil was soon to start.
The Easter Vigil starts with a blessing of fire outside the church. Earlier Josh and I had made a fire pit with an old truck rim embeded in the ground. Fr. Harrison blessed the fire and the cerimonial lighting of the large Paschal Candle started with a prayer. Each member of the congregation, small as it was, gathered around the Paschal Candle holding a long, thin, tapered candle with a round paper shield affixed, to prevent hot wax from reaching their hands.
The procedure was to light each members candle and process into the church. However, the wind wasn’t co-operating so we had to light the small candles in the lobby of the church. Josh lead the procession with the Therible ( the vessel that contains the aromatic incense), Fr. Harrison was next with the Paschal Candle and I next with the Alter missal. The lobby was small and the idea was after all the candles were lit we would, in procession-like fashion, move up the church aisle to the Altar. Behind me in the crowed lobby was Kateri, Gianna and Denise with Isaiah in her arms, and the rest of the congregation. We were all packed quite close in the lobby of the church waiting to proceed up the aisle.   Suddenly, Denise yelled “Kateri!” I turned to see Kateri’s hair on fire. Because every one was bunched up in the little vestible of the church, Gianna’s candle had got too close to Kateri and the candle flame had caught the wispy ends of Kateri’s long beautilful blonde hair. It flared up immediately from the bottom of her shoulder length hair to the top of her scalp in a burst of brilliant orange flame. Kateri had no idea what was happening . I was stunned and paralyzed holding the large missal, but Denise quickly extinghised the fire in Kateri’s hair with a couple of smothering swats. Kateri had no idea what was happening… There remained a contrasting vertical ridge of black burnt ash clinging to Kateri’s blonde hair. The fire was out but Denise kept swatting at Kateri’s hair… Kateri had not felt anything but soon realized what had happened… It happened so quickly and Denise had put the fire out so quick that it was like it had never happened… Denise scolded Gianna for holding the candle so close to Kateri and forced a smile for Kateri’s sake so she wouldn’t realize how serious the matter was… Kateri soon did and started crying…
Every one was in shock… Denise led Katirie out of the church lobby, and back the house, still carrying Isaiah, Josh quickly followed Denise with Gianna, leaving the Therible where it stood. The dramatic event was over and Fr. Harrison, realizing that Kateri was not hurt but only shocked, continued the service proceeding up the aisle with the rest of the congregation. Shortly after the service started, Denise, Josh, Kateri and the rest of the children returned. Kateri’s hair had been washed and brushed and looked no more worse for wear. Quite lucky.
During the homily, Fr. Harrison quite appropriately used “Fire” as his theme…
All in all, Kateri was okay and what hair had caught on fire was insignificant and not noticable. She soon forgot all about the incident and was playing with the other kids later at the after church pot luck.






Spring around the corner?

The season of Lent is underway and, as we begin to contemplate entering the desert with Christ, we feel that we are immersed in the richness that there is in the Catholic faith. With this season also comes the increase in things happening around here. But it is great being able to be the organizers and being a full part of it all:) Last week we had a holy hour with Adoration to spend some time with the Lord before the start of Lent. Although it was a small turnout it was a great time to re-connect with God and just be in the silence. We had an Ash Wednesday service this week and just prayed the Stations of the Cross (and will continue every Friday in Lent).

It is 5 degrees Celsius here, but in the sun it feels like 15; pretty much t-shirt weather today. They had their annual ‘Winter-fest’ at the school and had snowshoes and cross country skis for all ages, so we all got to try it out!


Today, in Telegraph Creek, with the sun shining and the snow melting!


Winter-fest; Kateri on X-Country skis


First time on cross-country skis and enjoying it:) Isaiah & Gianna were content to hang out in the sled!


Slow & steady:)


A natural!


Enjoying it!


“Look what I did mommy & daddy. Someone left a marker out for me!”


Our booth at the Telegraph Creek Health Fair! Spiritual health is only one of the critical areas in our overall health & well-being. Had you thought of that before?


The display we put together for the health fair.



Aliz recently discovered the best seat in the house!





The ‘Reading Corner” at the entryway to the church is now decorated with a mobile containing the Valentine’s cards from St.Andrew’s Cathedral Grade 2 Prep Class (St.Andrew’s Cathedral, in Victoria, recently twinned with us as our sister parish).



Someone was tired. Didn’t want to go down for a nap, but fell asleep on the couch anyways.



Tahitian School Valentine’s Dance



“Smile for the camera!”



Jump rope for heart!


Jump rope for heart!



This is amazing!






Couldn’t resist!



Mommy & daddy, look, I lost my front tooth!





“I’m 4 years old!”



Forgot to take pictures of the cake pop cake, hence the plain cupcake that we tried to stick the candle in to. We had the kids’ adopted grandparents, Kitty & Jim, over for supper; Gianna’s favourite, of brocolli soup!



An apple a day keeps the doctor away! All of the kids have been enjoying putting these together, with a bit of help from mommy & daddy. Gianna got them for her birthday!



“Daddy, am I your star?”, “You sure are beautiful, one of 4!”



“Smell the flower!”



“Hooray for minions!”



An outing to the sledding hill!


“Daddy where are the keys to the car?”



“My first one!”



“I loooooooove puzzles!” A birthday gift.



Just hanging out in the hockey net. The rest of these pictures are taken while we were at one of the girls’, in Kateri’s class, birthday party.


“This is so much fun!”


“This balloon is great.”






“You caught me!”



The joys of static electricity.


Time is winding down as our holidays draw near and we have been counting down the days on our calendar in excitement of seeing our family and friends from here to Chilliwack & Kelowna!




The great white, soggy, north!

Well, it’s been a while since we had an update on our life. It seems like life just keeps going, even when we don’t stop to write about it. So here it goes…

P1190463 22-27-49It seems like so long ago now, but we were in Whitehorse the week of January 12th to 19th, and what a week it was. On a little side note; we were blessed by the presence of Fr.David Reilander, from the Hamilton Diocese (Ontario) and a seminarian from St.Joseph’s in Edmonton, Tin Tran. they had both joined us for Mass in Telegraph Creek the weekend before, and then had hit a moose on their way back to Whitehorse on the highway from Telegraph Creek to Dease Lake. Fortunately they survived with only a cracked front fender, a missing side-view mirror, and a big scrape down the side of the vehicle.


We had a photo shoot session with Fr.David before Mass. He really hit it off with the kids.

IMG_1326 IMG_1321Our main purpose for being in Whitehorse was for the pastoral study days. It was great being able to catch up with all of the pastoral staff, along with friends, and even made some new friends. Fr. David had a great presentation/workshop on forgiveness and healing. We first addressed the effects of sin on individuals and groups in our communities then led in to the personal effects of receiving God’s forgiveness, from our own experiences. In a nutshell, we had concluded that the effects of sin in our communities weakens personal self-worth and the foundation for a healthy communal experience of life, leading to life revolving around dysfunction. His presentation concluded with taking a look at healing and offering forgiveness. It was seen that forgiveness leads to an antidote for the cancer of sin in communities. We discussed our role, as pastoral staff, in our parishes and they place we have in people’s lives as, the truth is, many of us feel unqualified in our ministry. Discussing ministry, we were encouraged to take our own personal experience of sin and forgiveness and share it with our communities. This was very reassuring, the we minister from our experiences. I would like to share a few of our compiled thoughts with you, as I believe they are relevant in whatever situation we are in, even family life;

-Stepped approach to deal with issues, rather than expect immediate results; start with self and keep grounded, be aware of vulnerability, be gentle with self.

-Be aware of our own emotional state before dealing with others, don’t raise the bar of achievement too high, meet people where they are at.

-Healing and forgiveness is a process and is not limited to a certain time period; Jesus did not save everyone in his time of ministry, initiate contact and invite people to the sacraments, use humour, smile!

-Patience, patience, patience.

-Forgiveness is not conditional.

-Multicultural issues; not all cultures have the same sense of forgiveness. Actually we discovered this week that in the Tahltan dialect there is no phrase for “I’m sorry.” It is a belief that Tahltan people never intend to hurt one another being that there is always a reason for one’s action. Traditionally, if a person was seen to have wronged another, there would need to be a time of restitution. This is an ongoing discovery for us as we continue to get to know people and the culture here. We are constantly reminded that we are to be ‘little, poor, childlike.’

In closing, Theresa Vogel, the pastoral administrator here in Telegraph Creek before us, had a presentation on ‘Bethany Groups’, groups formed in support of grieving and so named in that they recall the visit of Jesus to Mary and Martha at the time of the death of their brother Lazarus, in Bethany. The struggle with Death, appears to be one of the main catalysts for many of the difficulties and trials in these northern, isolated communities. The most need arises at such times. So often, in our day and age, we look at grief as a disease to be avoided, rather than a wound to be healed. Practically speaking, the ministry of consolation is the ‘heavy lifting’ of missionary activity in remote areas, as much as we would like to celebrate the sacraments of the young and the vigorous and rejoice with the community at exceptionally happy times. It is said that grief is a consequence of love, and likewise our belief in the death and resurrection of Christ is also a consequence of love and fills us with hope to share with others. We went over the practicals of the events and preparations surrounding the death of an individual and concluded with, that for all involved (leaders, volunteers, communities, participants), moving forward is about healing, in whatever form it may take, coping with a new reality, and finding a new way of ‘being’.

All of these reflections and our time was extremely blessed and, in a huge way, left us feeling more prepared to be able to minister and continue to be present to our community. If we could put it in one sentence, the overlying theme of all of the presentations was that our own experiences leave us suitably qualified to bring Christ’s healing, forgiveness, and consolation to all those in need of His hope!

Fr.David also announced that he will be coming back, in the summer, to serve in our diocese for the next 3 years. What a blessing!

We were also excited to be in Whitehorse as we were going to be able to attend the Holy Family Apostolate meeting. Unfortunately, all of us, except for Josh, came down with the stomach flu. We spent much of our time recuperating and even stayed a couple extra days until everyone was feeling better to travel. Isaiah got hit the hardest, struggling through for about a week and a half.

There was a cold spell in Telegraph Creek the week or two before going to Whitehorse, with temperatures down in the 20 to 30 below range which seemed to aggravate our Diesel truck leading to a bit of an engine coolant leak. Fortunately it had’t got too bad before we made it to Whitehorse and we were able to check it into the shop. One of the challenges to living in a remote area is not having access to a full service shop or a parts store within 600 km. With a new water pump we were on the road and been running strong ever since.  God provides and we were blessed with a timely and generous donation which payed almost exactly for the entire cost of the repair!

Aliz had many first’s while we were in Whitehorse. She got her first tooth:) Aliz is at the stage where everything is taste tested, no matter what it is. If it is within reach, it’s in her mouth. So it was a full time job, almost, just running surveillance. Now, as you can imagine, with 8 kids running around (our kids as well as the friends we were staying with) there was a lot to keep track of and the one day Aliz had found a battery operated tealight candle. By the time we got to her, after tending to Isaiah getting sick, she had the taillight half in her mouth, but with a missing battery. We did’t hear any distress, but figured we should take her to emergency just in case. So she had her first x-ray and fortunately there was no battery! Aliz also had a battle with the stairs. Fortunately both her, and her guardian angel, won out in the long run!


Yay! Friday night movie night with the Lefebvre’s!


On our way home we stopped in Jade City, about a little over an hour north of Dease Lake, to visit with a Catholic family there. With a population of about 20 people they make up half the population of the little town. We had met them in the summer, in a very brief exchange of about 5 minutes, so it was nice to get some time to  get to know them and share our stories. With 8 children of there own our kids loved the excitement of getting to know them and the welcomed break from traveling.

We arrived back in Telegraph Creek greeted by rain showers. All the snow had cascaded off the metal roof, careening in to the van, and into the parking spot for the truck on the other side of the house. Fortunately the van was just far enough away from the house that there was no damage and I just had to dig out the front corner of it. After about a week of warm weather it has turned cold again and the parking lot is a sheet of ice. Two days ago it snowed about 5 cms so now it’s even more interesting with the ice under the snow.


Aliz is enjoying her new discovery of being able to haul herself up in front of the television! Front row seat!


It looks like Aliz got demoted for a doll:)











Aliz is enjoying Isaiah’s new tool bench!


Bishop Gary Gordon, the most recent bishop of our diocese, had recently been moved to the Diocese of Victoria and had been talking to people down there about the possibility of twinning with a parish in the North. So we have been in contact with St.Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria, as of late, and they will be twinning with us here at St.Theresa’s in Telegraph Creek, along with the communities of Our Lady of Fatima (Iskut) and St.Mary Magdelene (Dease Lake). We are not sure what ‘twinning’ will look like at this point as it is a new concept to both diocese’s, but we envision a sharing of resources and of prayers for needs. Kind of like a faith community home away from home, although that is what the Catholic Church is about. Our most immediate needs are prayer, especially for healing, a sign to go at the end of the driveway so that people know that the church is here, and a wheel chair access ramp. Other projects forthcoming will be a new roof and a cement pad at the base of the church steps.I will share with you a little bit of what I shared with the rector at St.Andrew’s about our communities:

The main reserves of the Tahltan First Nation are located in Telegraph Creek and is home to about 400 residents, of which approximately 350 are of Tahltan ancestry. You can find out more about the Tahltan people here. The modern history of Telegraph Creek dates back to the 1860′s with the Stikine and Cassiar gold rushes. These events led to the first major influx of non-Tahltan people into their territories. As its name suggests, Telegraph Creek was named for an overland telegraph line that was to connect southern Canada to the Yukon. Construction of the line was started in 1866 and finished in 1901. It fell into disuse with the increasingly widespread use of wireless radio communication in the 1930′s. The community of Dease Lake is closely linked with the community of Telegraph Creek, as it is the village at the intersection of the Cassiar highway, the only road accessing South to hwy 16 and North to the Alaska Highway, as you come out from Telegraph Creek. Telegraph, Dease Lake, and Iskut

Dease Lake began its existence as a trading post started by the Hudsons Bay Company in 1837. It would become a stopping point for prospectors heading north for the Stikine, Cassiar, and Klondike gold rushes. Dease Lake is located about 50 km north of the Stikine River and is the junction to Telegraph Creek. Today the town is considered the government centre and supply point for the district. The present population numbers around 475 of which approximately 45% are Tahltan.

Iskut is another community that is closely linked to Telegraph Creek. The Tahltan First Nations’ territory spans these three communities, and beyond. Therefore, between these 3 communities there are many relatives, and it is quite common to see people who come to visit their family in town at our services in Telegraph Creek.

The Catholic missions in these communities are the southernmost communities in the Diocese of Whitehorse; St.Theresa’s (Telegraph Creek),  St.Mary Magdelene (Dease Lake), Our Lady of Fatima (Iskut). Currently, Dease Lake is without a pastoral administrator, so they have Mass once a month, and both Iskut & Telegraph have communion service every Sunday along with Mass once a month.

As for distance, Iskut is located on the Cassiar highway about 886 km north west of Prince George. Dease lake is another 84 km(1 hour) North. To get to Telegraph Creek you turn off the main highway at Dease Lake and go another 112 km on gravel road, twisting and winding throughout the Stikine River Canyon. I have never seen anything quite like this road; very scenic and quite windy with some very steep grades. It is the most remote community accessible by road in BC.

As far as church community demographics, St.Theresa’s is 96% 60 yrs old +(this doesn’t include our family) and currently there is 2 other caucasian people who attend(besides ourselves). We have anywhere from about 10 -17 people attending the services on the weekend. There have been requests for baptisms as well as catechism classes. So we are looking at starting catechism classes in the near future as well as sacramental prep for parents. This Sunday we are starting up a children’s liturgy of the word. It will only be our 4 little ones in attendance but it is a start and something we can invite others too.  There are 35 school aged children in the community, and most young people leave for their grade 9 – 12 schooling in other larger cities(such as Terrace). Currently there is one young person attending(who comes with her grandparents).

We are hoping to travel to Juneau, Alaska in the summer for training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

Preparations are in full swing now as we get ready to shift into the season of Lent. Who knows where January went, but it sure flew by. We have also had some changes to our vacation schedule since we had posted about them last, so an update will be coming shortly!


A smile from one (y)ear to another




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.

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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.


Fr.Robert placing his ‘heart’ at the feet of Jesus


Fr.Robert celebrating Mass


Celebrating Christmas Day Mass


Aliz & Denise placing their ‘heart’ at the feet of the baby Jesus


“Our hearts are mangers to receive the newborn Christ-child!”











Merry Christmas!

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.


Down by the river, at Glenora


The sledding hill


Auntie Diane did a pretty spectacular job with the set of face paints that the girls got for Christmas


Isaiah, in his new bathrobe, working the numbers at his new work bench

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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.

P1190339 P1190329We 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.


Snowblowing the driveway!


The girls’ lovely window art!


Handmade window art, by Kateri & Gianna


Kateri & Gianna’s new doll house, crafted by daddy, painted by mommy and daddy


Doll house!


Out for a walk

“I’m happy in the snow”


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.

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It seems like time has flown by since we last posted our happenings, and it has! Our biggest highlight was the surprise we got when Josh’s parents pulled in on Friday night(Dec 5) while we were visiting with a member of the community. We were visiting and decorating cookie tree ornaments when all of a sudden a vehicle came barreling down our driveway. Looking out the window we were shocked to see a vehicle, let alone Josh’s parents, driving up to  the house. It took a few seconds before we even registered, well maybe it took a little longer than that. But what an incredible surprise. The kids were also very shocked. We realized what being away from family for that long does, especially when you are used to seeing them so often. The big eyes and strange looks didn’t last too long though. We were able to spend lots of time together over the weekend, one of the beauties of living somewhere where there isn’t really any other distractions or places to go. Jordan and Josh took a trip down the road to the Tahltan River, the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, and the ‘lava beds'(rock formations/terrain, along the road, formed by old lave flows), about a 50 minute round trip, as it was Jordan’s first time up and had arrived during the night. Two of Josh’s siblings, Elijah & Shaelyn, were eager to get in board games, as they were my two regular gaming partners and I think were feeling a little bit of with withdrawal. It was great having the family addition to our regular Saturday games night. We also got to spend time tobogganing, painting in the snow, gingerbread house making, impromptu adoration, and enjoyed an early Christmas feast. What a true blessing it was; the best Christmas present ever!


Like the mini-wheat beard?

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We had the opportunity to attend a skating party/potluck in Glenora. It was really neat because it was a very family oriented event, with 11 kids in attendance. We had a fire on the frozen pond, skating, and a great potluck dinner! We had a family with 2 little ones join us, from i think about 25 kms downriver, where they live in a cabin. What a neat story to hear about, and so if you think we live at the end of the earth…

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celebrating Denise’s baptism anniversary!

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We attended the Community Christmas Dinner, last week, and had a great time! Santa Claus showed up and brought gifts for all the children. He was vey generous this year:)


Kateri’s prize for winning the primary colouring contest at the school!


Isaiah’s cookie and bean pole concoction!

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Josh drove down to Terrace last Friday to pick up Denise’s sister, a 16 hour round trip. They stayed with the Vandenberg’s, a Catholic home-schooling family that were friends with our friends:) One of the great things about being up north is the opportunity we are getting to meet such amazing people.

We haven’t really got much more snow here, only 4 to 5 inches in total. The ice rink recently got finished, so we took the opportunity to go skating and sip some hot chocolate.

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We got together with a couple of people from the church community to decorate the church for the Christmas season. Afterwards we had a light lunch!

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