Thursday, December 31, 2009


The last day of 2009 is going out with a vengence... it was -31C this am but the sun is shinning so brightly that you would not think it was COLD outside... don't believe it!
We are having a married couples party and game night starting at 7:00pm tonight and that should be fun.
December 11th was our Christmas banquet and the food was so delicious and the fellowship center was decorated so beautifully. Thanks to the ladies who worked sooooooooooo hard to make the evening special for us.
December 13th was the Christmas concert during the morning worship time. Betty Hale did such a good job leading a team of ladies. Our program was entitled "The Indescribable Gift". Our Kindergarten and Grade One children did the welcome and sang two songs and then it moved into scene one of the manger with children dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, cows, sheep and a donkey. This scene was about The gift of JESUS. The next scene was of Jesus as a child at his home in Nazareth and the arrival of the Magi with GIFTS of their own for Jesus. There was even a STAR (with Ashley inside) showing them the way to the house. Ray then spoke on the GIFT of Christmas and several of the youth and young marrieds came out carrying their specific gifts for Jesus (like a cardboard testimony). Two of the youth were dressed as presents beside the Christmas tree. My class finished with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and handed out candycanes. My class is made up of 2-4 year olds and trying to corral them through the entire presentation was a job in itself! (Nine of them)
On December 18th Ray and I had our 43rd wedding anniversary. We traveled to Grande Prairie and saw a great movie that we would recommend to you: "The Blind Side" which is based on a true story. GO SEE IT. Then we went to The Keg and had the absolute best dinner and reminisced about our years together. He is a keeper for sure! Having two wonderful sons, two beautiful daughter-in-laws and five precious grandsons is a large portion of our memories and future. We have peace knowing that God has us in Canada for a season and we pray that many will come to truly know our Almighty God.
Our Christmas Eve service was attended by around 80 folks. Many of these were from our community and that was our intent when we began having the service in 2006. We lit the last of the Advent Candles on this night looking forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ the next day.
We celebrated the birth of our Savior at the Boshoff home with South African fare on the table and Tiaan & Ciska making a gingerbread house and trying to find WALDO. Lovely friendships is what makes the "body of Christ" so unique.
Ray has been busy with hospital visits and counseling as well as sermon preparations. He is at his computer a minimum of 8 hours a day - either reading, writing, or keeping in touch with folks. He writes a weekly article that goes out to a lot of pastors and friends all over the US and Canada. His Northern Exposure is very enjoyable for him. On the 27th we had our "turn" at the service at the retirement home and handed out candycanes to the folks there. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and ready for another year to begin.
As we prepare ourselves for 2010 I am reminded of something that I read this week - Isaiah 43:14-21 Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? (v 19)
Becoming a new creation in Christ is a thorough, ongoing character reorientation. We have been conditioned by the religious, cultural, and social values of our time. Attitudes, reactions, goals, and thought patterns have been inadvertently ingrained into the fiber of our natures. When we become Christians, everything is suddenly exposed to Christ's scrutinizing renovation.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Identify the evidence of the new creation in YOU.
From God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvie
As I go into and through 2010 I want to daily see the evidence that I have a new life in Christ. I want to look like Him and have His same attitude. Let's make that our goal.....
Until we all look like HIM..... Hope

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas!

More and more Christmas lights come on most every day but you have to understand! Our lights have to go up in September or can't just go outside and climb up on your house with our temperatures and the snow. No putting it off until the week of Christmas where we live. We will present our Christmas "concert" or program this Sunday morning and our first REAL rehearsal was last Sunday....which we did not even get we had another practice last night. This is a BIG deal with blackouts and costumes and even candycanes. My 3 wisemen are the biggest challenge - not just their heights - they just have too much fun!

In the midst of the stage being ready for the program - we had a memorial service today and lunch for all afterwards. The family did an excellent job with a slide show and as usual Ray did a great job with the scripture. Ray had a counseling appointment tonight so he is wiped out.

Tomorrow is our Christmas banquet. We will have it at church and I offered to help with the clean up...yep I did...what was I thinking - obviously NOT! We are also having a potluck after the program on Sunday and young married Bible study following that.

Heather sent us some of the pictures from Thanksgiving. (#1 above left to right is Paul, Caleb, Jacob, Laura and Luke. #2 L to R is Matt, Heather in back and Cole & Peyton in the front. #3 on the right above is Nanny & Papa with da boys.) We were so excited to get them....
I am going to put one from our College/single Bible study from last Sunday - we got the kids to work on a gingerbread house after their study on finances - they did a great job...a couple of them had to leave early so were not in our picture.
It is after midnight and Ray just turned in and I am freezing so will take a hot shower and turn in too. Good night and we will keep in touch.... pray for the upcoming events at church and our program especially. Thank you for holding our arms up. (See Exodus 17:8-14) Hope

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Texas Thanksgiving

As I mentioned in the last blog - we headed SOUTH to Texas for the US Thanksgiving on November 24th and returned the 3rd of December. We arrived in Grande Prairie last night and then drove home in snow. We had actually gotten more snow while we were out of town. I shoveled the driveway today and it had about 4-5 inches but there were some deeper drifts around the house and yard.

We stayed with Matt & Heather the first four days in Texas and Paul & Laura and boys joined us for Thanksgiving day. We had turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, ham, sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole and Mammaw's rolls (but they were not as good as hers). We had pumpkin pie, coconut pie, chocolate pie and pecan pie. Some of us drank eggnog and Laura, Heather and I drank coffee with peppermint whipping cream - YUM! Before we ate we headed off to the Old Alton Bridge in Corinth and took a million and one pictures.... ok, maybe not that many but poor Matt did not get a day off. I hope he sends us some real soon. Pictured above is Luke (11) , Peyton (7), Jacob (15), Cole (9) & Caleb (13) on the bridge. This was taken on Laura's camera and I emailed it to myself.

That night Matt & Heather went to her parents and Paul & Laura went to the Marriott in Ft Worth and Ray and I had the grandboys all to ourselves. We got us all jammies and took more pictures - the boys were real troopers about the picture taking. We got a gingerbread kit with 5 small houses and each boy decorated one. Each house had its own personality. We watched Elf and had a discussion on families afterwards. Ray, Luke, Cole and Peyton played Monopoly and Jake & Caleb got into the electronic games. I was the banker. It was such a fun evening and I will remember it for a long time.

Saturday Matt drove us down to Arlington and he, Paul & Ray played golf. I shopped at Kohls (I did this several times while there) and rounded up some items for our Christmas program. I got the 3 gifts for the Wise Men to take to Jesus and then tried to figure out how to get them back to Canada!! (They all made it.) We ate dinner that evening at Red Lobster - yummy cheese biscuits and coconut shrimp. On Sunday we worshipped at LABC and got to see a lot of our friends. We enjoyed our time in Adult I Sunday School the most. It was great to visit with such sweet folks that we love. Sunday night we attended a 60th birthday party for Rick Hale and got to see a lot of our friends.

On Monday LaRue had made me a dental appointment and Dr. Wallace was kind enough to fix the little chips in one of my front teeth! I enjoyed working in his office prior to moving to Canada. After the appointment Laura, LaRue, Emily, Kathy and I had lunch at Fuzzy's (a new Mexican place).

We tried to take the boys to school as much as we could to be with them. It is fun to pray with them while driving to their schools. Jake & Caleb were about a foot taller than me which was a shock - just since we saw them in March!! Monday night we drove back to Corinth and surprized Cole & Peyton and ordered pizza. The look on their face when we rang the doorbell was priceless. We played Clue and watched Matt win both games! It was so good to say goodnight prayers with the boys. As we drove back to Arlington we listened to the Saints beat the Patriots - yeah.... I bet Joni (my sister-in-law) loved it! She is such a Saint fan.

Tuesday we picked up Janice & Max at the airport (usually they are picking us up but they celebrated Thanksgiving in California with one of their sons). We had been using one of their cars since they were gone.

Tuesday night we enjoyed a Braums sunday...I had a Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Crum Cake Sunday....

Wednesday we got to visit with Linda & Larry Carter for a while in their home. We would have loved to have seen others too but our time was so precious and we wanted to be with the family as much as possible. Caleb had a basketball game on Wednesday night and we were glad we could watch him play. We told them goodbye after the game and spent the night at the Grabers. It was soooooooooo hard to say bye - we do not know when we will see them again.

Max took us to the airport on Thursday morning and we got home around 8:30pm.

I am getting ready for the pastors/wives that will be in our home tomorrow evening. Ray has helped me clean some (mainly putting away all the costumes, etc for the Christmas program that were laying EVERYWHERE in the living room) and I made pralines, vinegar cookies and fudge. Also made a run to the catholic church to pick up a bread order, visited the dollar store and bargain store for last minute details for the party and the program and then went to the grocery store. You ALWAYS have to go to the grocery store after being gone on a trip. The roads were quite slippery.
Ray has a couple to baptize this Sunday and that will be an exciting time for us. Ron & Kim Hart have been a part of our church since we have been here. Ray performed their wedding on the 7th of November. We will practice for our Christmas program and then have college/singles on Sunday night ( I will prepare the 7 bean soup recipe but since one of the girls is a vegan I will leave the meat out of some of the soup). Off and running here we go. Can't wait to see what all God has in store for us and our church. He is so awesome and as we celebrate His birth I pray that each of us will make more room in our lives for Him to live through us. MERRY CHRISTMAS Hope