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:$

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.

Scan 12.09.55 AM


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!

P1190050 P1190047 P1190015Making gingerbread houses at the Rec Centre!

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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Welcome to our town!

We wanted to take some time to show you around our town, so that you can get a picture of where we live. The town of Telegraph Creek is split in to 2 different sections. As you come in to town you will pass the road maintenance shop and yard on the left, with the airport/airstrip immediately to your right. Further up the road you will find the hydro station(huge generators), cemetery, school, a bunch of houses, and the post office.


Airstrip (west)


Airstrip (east)


coming in to town


leaving town








Telegraph Creek hydro station(generators)


Hydro station



Tahltan school playground

Directly after the post office you start going down into the valley, but not before crossing a single lane bridge spanning the narrow chasm formed by Telegraph Creek. As you drop into the valley there is a Y in the road, the branch road taking you down to the Stikine River and the old part of town…

Post office

Post office


Bridge over Telegraph Creek, with post office in the background


Telegraph Creek



The road down to old town


The beach below old town


The old Catholic church


St.Aidan’s Anglican church


Stikine Riversong (now a cafe and souvenir shop)






…while the main road takes you back up, out of the valley, to the other side of town and, further on, to the old ‘ghost town’ of Glenora(about 20-30 minutes).This side of town is where there is the majority of houses, the Catholic church, RCMP headquarters, Rec Centre, gas station/grocery store, Tahltan band office, health clinic, Headstart school, 2 playgrounds, volunteer fire department, and the community garden. That’s about it.


Rectory house (our house)


Health clinic


Tahltan Centre (gas station/grocery store)


Rec. centre


RCMP detachment, with our house in the background


St.Theresa’s Roman Catholic Mission












Community garden

Community garden


Community garden


our back yard


our back yard


a view down Sawtooth Road


the shed


the driveway, from our living room window


Church basement & wood furnace


view of the back of the church, from the altar


view of the church

































Some interesting facts(all distances from St.Theresa’s Catholic Mission):

Closest gas station/grocery store: 150 m

Fuel prices(2 options):  Regular Unleaded 1.699, Diesel 1.679

Next closest gas station/grocery store: 114 km(1.75 – 2 hours)

Fuel prices:  Regular Unleaded 1.339, Diesel 1.669

Closest airstrip: 2 km

Closest commercial airstrip: 693 km(Terrace)

Town dump: 4.5 km

Population: approx. 300-350

Closest shopping mall: 690 km

Closest hardware store: 680 km

Grocery list(fresh groceries/produce every Wed):
Milk 4L   $9.15
Cheese 2.3 kg   $46


Favorite things to do:

-go for a walk

-go to the post office to pick up the mail!

-play at the park

-have campfires and roast hotdogs, with the neighbors

-games night, @ the church house!

-go to the store and buy a treat(popsicle/ice cream)


View from the end of our street (Sawtooth Rd), looking West


View from the end of our street, with the sawtooth mountains on the horizon






Jordan took some great panoramic shots of the Stikine River valley:

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Advent is here!

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.

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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!


Advent wreath at the altar, in the church

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!


(L to R: Diane, Kateri, Maria, Effie, Celena, Rita, Isaiah, Josh, Fr.Kieran)


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!


Set up for Advent retreat & adoration

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.

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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:)


Kateri was very proud of her drawing, of the northern lights, with tub crayons. We thought it was pretty great also!


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.


Lavendar Soap


Grapefruit Soap, with tea leaves

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!


“…and there is still room for more games:)”

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.

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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!

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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!

If you would like information on the Feast of St.Nicholas, for kids, there is a great short video here, and there is a free colouring page here.

Comings & Goings

Pillars of greenish hue stretched from the outline of the peaks ahead to the night sky above, hazy and stretching across the horizon; the snow, passing by on either side, glittering and sparkling like a million tiny paparazzi flashes under the beam of the headlights. This was the scene, driving at 6 am in the morning from Whitehorse back to Telegraph Creek, on the Alaska Highway.


Kids playing on the front patio in our little dusting of snow(Nov 9)


So much excitement over a little bit of snow:)


MY NEMESIS: The leaky pipe under, and next to, the kitchen sink. Not looking forward to repairing that:(


We stayed overnight with Trudy, a member of Madonna House, in Teslin on our way up to Whitehorse. Can you tell the kids were excited?

Our time in Whitehorse was quick, as usual, and filled with lots to get done. We had a great time with our friends, the Lefebvre’s, whom we stayed with again! We were able to get a huge grocery shop in, a hardware shop, and even some Christmas shopping, among other things. We were able to go to Mass on Saturday night, something that is quite a privilege for us if it’s more than once a month.

The following pictures are of the kids at drop-in gymnastics!


Hooray for trampolines:)

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We all went out for supper to Boston Pizza, in early celebration of Denise’s birthday, a luxury we do not have living in the village of Telegraph Creek.


Aliz all snuggled in, taking refuge from the -12 degree weather.

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There’s nothing like a good swing on a cold day!


I’m digging in the… snow?

We attended our Holy Family Apostolate meeting, a group that was started by Bishop Gary Gordon with a vision for families to proclaim the Gospel in the communities they live. Families are called forth to go out to the missionary territories of the world, to the North, to the South or right where they are now. This has been a great source of spiritual support and formation in listening to the voice of God, in our lives, for direction. We  were a part of the group that met in the Fraser Valley for the last 5 years, and now have the opportunity to join with the group in Whitehorse. There are roughly 8 families, along with 4 Madonna House members, who meet on a monthly basis to reflect on a line from the Little Mandate. For more information on what this group is about you can go here, and if you would like to see what we reflected on, at this meeting, you can go here.

It was pretty crazy for us, coming from the small village of Telegraph Creek(with one ‘corner store’) into Whitehorse. Just shifting  from our regular pace of life, even though Whitehorse is still a relatively small city. But I guess that is it, it’s all relative. We have started to realize how we really enjoy the simplicity of being away from the hustle and bustle and ‘busyness’ of city life.


A herd of caribou on the side of the highway(they had actually been blocking the highway) just before the junction of the Alaska highway and the Cassiar highway.

Coming back to Telegraph Creek we arrived an hour and a half before we had to lead the communion service, only to find the power was out. Starting a fire in the church, while fumbling around in the fading light of day, and then starting a fire in the furnace in the house; fortunately the power came on shortly thereafter. However we still ended up celebrating our service with a colder than usual inside temperature.

P1180755 Pink eye has attacked us, slowly making it’s way to all of the kids(as of today). Mommy & Daddy are still holding out.


We continue to feel so honoured, yet unworthy, to be able to serve the community here in this way. Equipped mainly with our desire to serve and to live fully in our family life, we pray that God will continue to use our littleness for His great plan:)


Denise’s birthday ice cream cake-in-a-bowl!


Happy Birthday Mommy! If you wondering, Isaiah bumped his head on the rocking chair.