Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Vancouver Olympic Torch Run

The Olympic torch was coming through a community nearby, so we decided to take in this monumental experience of a lifetime....Lone Butte style.

 Part of the cake they had there...too bad I had to see someone throw most of it in the garbage afterwards...I hate waste like that, but I'll not get onto that topic here!

Waiting, waiting and more waiting

These 3 dogs dressed in outfits made the wait a little easier.

Oh, don't blink...I think the torch just went by!  I was distracted by the adult only Coke bottles!

Our homeschool group's banner for our mini Olympics

Team Holland
excelled in the balloon races

Team France
excelled in egg races

Team Canada
excelled in the feather race

We were Team Japan, mainly because the flag was easy to make and they have some good figure skaters.

Lighting of the torch...let the games begin!

Silly games that is!

Our little group, awaiting the medal ceremonies

Mei Nita Thiessen
Gold, Sliver and Bronze Medalist for Japan

Ruth Angela Ellen Thiessen
Gold, Sliver and Bronze

Kate Marie Joy Thiessen
Gold, Sliver and Bronze medalist for the egg contest

She was stripped of her medal for milk doping...she was getting it back no matter what it took!
Lots of running around and red faced little kids...wonderful sleeps that night!

Some of our special deserts.  Ruth and Mei helped with this one.  5 continents joining together.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sometimes encouragement comes in a little green envelope!

Not only did I receive my Telus calendar (with all those cute animals in it :) but I received a little green envelope which read "cookie crumbs still taste like cookies".  I thought maybe I would find remains of a cookie inside ~ the envelope was fat enough ~ but it was a lovely long hand written letter from an "old friend" in Manitoba.  She was my blessing and God used her to bless me in a way that I haven't been for a long time.  Thank you dear friend!  Looking forward to a chat in March!

Do not think that 15 minutes spent on a letter to someone will go un noticed.  What a blessing to be remembered.  How blessed I was with her kind words to me.  How blessed I was to be included in her life happenings.  God used a very different source for me this week and Lord knows I have needed to
feel God's hand. 

When a little voice whispers to you
 a name
thoughts of something kind to do
think of where it came
your time to be a blessing
and to be blessed in kind

Eating my thoughts

" Do not judge, lest ye be judged .  For by the measure you use, shall you be measured"...

Another truthful Jolene moment.

In the past, I have heard other Moms talk things like "man, I could just strangle my kid today" or "I sure couldn't be with my kids all day, I'd go insane!"  you get the drift.  I always thought they were somewhat kidding...they couldn't be serious or mostly serious.  Kids couldn't actually be that frustrating that we'd want to run away could they?  I honestly couldn't identify.  I had my moments of being super over tired in those first few years, or down because of flus, etc, but never for more than a few days max at a time.  I could always see the sliver lining.

I have three beautiful daughters, now ages 12, 8 and 6.  I have always been an "at home" Mom, no matter if I worked a little on the side, the girls came with me or Daddy had them.  I even homeschooled the oldest for a few years when we lived in another province, in a small town.  I babysat, I volunteered, I had neighbour kids drop by lots.  I loved it.  I loved doing crafts and baking with the girls and I loved being around them.  They could be frustrating at moments when regular things would they would throw up all over you or your company...but that was part of the job description and just fine.  I could laugh about it and keep going.  Or sleep on it and feel better in the morning.

Now sleep doesn't solve it all.  I finally understand what some other Mom's meant when they said "I could never homeschool, I'd go insane being with my kids 24/7!"  I get it.  I understand.  I have felt the funk.  I have felt like a rotten mother who can't get it all done happily and cheerfully, full of the joy of the Lord.
Knowing something in your HEAD "children are a blessing and an inheritance from the Lord" doesn't always make your HEART feel it at every moment.  Just usually those moments come and go fairly quickly, we can recognize it as a 'bad day' and go on.  Feels like I have been having more of those bad days and trying to relate to my tween and growing children.  Different ages have different needs.  When they are babies and toddlers, you love them and keep them alive.  When they grow up more, you are training and developing their's hard work, don't let anyone fool you.

The past 1 1/2 years has been very much a growing time for me.  I have left everyone and everything I had come to love and know.  My hubby is now away from us more than he is with us.  It is temporary, I remind myself, but being alone 24/7 with all the children weighs heavy on my heart.  I'm homeschooling them all and living away from anyone my age. It is difficult and I won't lie.  Some days are good and I'm on top of things, focused and feel good at the end of day.  Other days I feel like "man, why can't they just help me out without me having to constantly remind them?  I feel like I nag all day...are they ever going to grow up into responsible women?"  I know what an awesome challenge I am faced with to grown these girls up into women and I am horribly ill equipped.  Yes, I know this is where God's grace and mercy comes in.  Just don't tell me "you shouldn't feel this way, your children are a blessing and your greatest purpose right now"...I KNOW THAT...I just want to run away today!  hey hey!  Us Mom's need to encourage each other.  If you can relate, then sympathize, if you can't relater, pray and encourage!

Lord give me patience, wisdom and understanding and forgive me for not understanding other's frustrations.  Help me to be encouraged and to be an encouragement to others when they are having "those" kind of days.

Now to go make cinnamon buns...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More books! I'm on a reading mission lately!

I have been filling my head with knowledge in the financial world.  Some things have been purely secular based, others faith based ~ and guess what?  Sometimes they say the same thing!  The one thing they ALL say ~
Take 10-20% of your income and SAVE it!  Storehouse principle, etc.  Save it for retirement, save it for a raining day fund. 

The 2 latest books I am devouring...

Just noticed my bookmark in Thrifty is a coupon page!  haha

I have been trying to figure out TFSAccounts and then came upon this book in the local library.  It is a very good thing.  It is great for one income families, because everyone over 18 years can open one and contribute their $5000/year.  It is made with your "after tax" money, but any interest you can generate from a savings account, mutual funds, stocks, etc is completely UN TAXED when you pull it out.  The book is easy to read, and shows examples of different aged couples, contributing different amounts and when they reach the $1 million amount.  Very eye opening.  So, we will definately be using a TFSA for our savings as you can withdraw money for something you are saving for, and then put that same amount back too.  Great way to save for a vehicle, vacation, house or retirement.  In the long run, I personally wonder when the gov't may change some of the rules, as they will be losing some income from us!  ha ha

THRIFTY is a fun read.  Basic thus far, stories from some prominent people in our culture and their upbringing and how they are frugal or thrifty.  So far, it's about using 2nd hand (recycling), reducing waste, etc and still having little pleasures to enjoy.  Most say they don't skimp on the quality of their food, most eat organic as much as possible, but just buy what they eat, etc.  Using vegetables that are looking a little wrinkly as a good stock broth, etc.  Cooking only what you can eat, or immediately freezing an extra portion and MEAL PLANNING.  This is something I have been working on...looking in my freezer, cupboard and planning a weeks worth of meals.  For my small family, I don't necessarily feel I need to do more than that at a time.  Of course, I keep ideas in my head, but don't write down further than 1 week.  The girls have been helpful with this and are growing up their taste buds some and enjoying different foods now ~ what a blessing.

Click on any of my links to Amazon and the commission I will earn goes to Adopting Families.  Thank you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I admit ~ I will never be a Martha Stewart

So what is wrong with me?!

Warning:  this is a real Jolene post, the real me and my real thoughts ~ so they are not yours and may differ slightly or entirely!  Not saying one is right or one is wrong...these are my thought processings.

I have been giving this a lot of thought actually ~ why I have no desire to have a home like in the magazines.  I have done tests about Spiritual Giftings/Talents, I have done Learning Styles tests...and I have looked back hard at my life to see what it is about the "show home" mentality that I can't wrap my little head around.

I do look at home design books, decorating, renovating, etc as it is an interest to me ~ see our 1907 character home renovation ~ I do have some of this in me.  BUT everytime I look at these, my head thinks "they could feed thousands of people with the price of that countertop!"  If it isn't broke, why replace it? Guess so that the thrifty ones can buy it economically priced from them right?  One woman got a whole new stove and the only difference between the two was a little white trim around the mother in law is enjoying the "old" one!  While I enjoy the look of some of these items, especially claw foot old tubs, tiled showered, etc I always think that someone is getting rich on feeding people's greed or having to keep up appearances to please who?  Look at all the holidays we have and how commercialized they are ~ buy christmas presents and pay until June on them ~ don't forget Valentine's Day or you're a rotten husband/wife/boyfriend, etc ~ buy chocolates and baskets for Easter ~ the list goes on and on.  Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating, but why all this money out and buying and buying just to throw it away? 

Back to houses.  I understand new windows, in floor heating, etc ~ things to make a home more energy efficient and cozy.  I understand shelving and organizing.  I just don't know how to do it myself.  I know rubbermaid.  I see a basket and think "man, I'll have to dust that"...BUT I did buy 3 baskets last year to keep library books in etc, and yes, they don't look so pretty now...what happened ?  ha ha  Maybe now I will make some sort of material why if I am project oriented, do I feel like this is a waste of time?

Honestly, I am wondering how I will have grown in my opinions by the time we have purchased a different home for ourselves.  At the moment, we are renovating our primary residence in Manitoba in order to sell it.  We will keep renting this little abode until God shows us the next step.  SO, once I move again, will I finally be able to break down and actually purchase a matching table and chair set? We have stream lined our worldly possessions so much, that there would be nothing to fill a new home with!  I already worry about not being to find a good 2nd hand store to replace things like a table and chair!  ha ha

Here's an example:  we had completely gutted and renovated our living room/dining room in Mb.  We thought, wow, a nice antique looking buffet thing would be awesome.  We searched and searched.  Finally never did purchase anything because we couldn't justify the expense.  We kept thinking, for $700 we could take our girls on a nice holiday!  So I can hardly even justify an expense unless it is a smokin' good deal or we really need it...we didn't even buy a crib for our babies!  We finally bought a good stroller (on sale) and used it like crazy.  I couldn't justify the expense and was happy with borrowing or using hand me downs.  In "learning styles" they do have a name or category for people like me.  BUT I wonder if I can change a little?

Was I born this way?  Was I raised to think this way?  Or has being married to a man similar to myself just magnified my tendencies?  We would much rather save the money for a future holiday, etc and wait for a great deal to come along.  Now does this make us people who can use delayed gratification?  Or is this the line or thrift vs cheap?  Thrift knows a good deal and will spend the money and will be giving to other things.  Cheap just buys cheap.  We do like quality and will wait, but I doubt we have paid full price for anything...seriously.

My sister was a great dreamer, organizer and general person to pretty up things.  I did copy some of her ideas at the time (doilies on the night stand) but found myself in my teen years trying to develop my own uniqueness besides being her little sister.  When my sister died, I found myself lost in the feeling of how to be myself and not turn into her, as people missed her.  Does that make sense?  I had a real identity crises for a year.  I couldn't figure out how to act or be me.  I think I finally decided to be everything she wasn't.  SO I was practical.  I would figure out how to be good at other things and forever be different than her.  Guess maybe she just didn't follow through on her promise to decorate my home for me.  Not her fault.  Who knows how much of how we act and are is because of silly things like that?

Well, my brain is tired.  I don't want to be a parasite, just feeding off others in a bad way ~ but why not save items from the land fill when possible?  Guess that is my mentality.  If someone wants to get rid of their "old" stove, yes, I will take that "old" stove and use it another 20 years quite happily.  Guess if no one changed their decor, I would be out of luck and have to, gag, ah, buy new!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Belated Christmas entry

Yes, I realize it is January 2010 and I haven't said anything about Christmas 2009 ~ guess there have been reasons.  We had a very blessed Christmas season.  I tried to pay closer attention to some details and we were faithful with our advent calendars, etc and did lots of baking and making trays to take to our neighbours, etc.  We even got some cards out to friends, although I ran out of family photos and stopped then.  My sister was the big lover of Christmas and would decorate and be giddy all the season long.  We used to sleep by the tree at night and even did that when we were 17 and 19 years old!  (Our last christmas together)
Our girls participated in a concert for the community dinner (see post below) and we had a good time giving back and sharing the meaning of the season with others.
I was also invited to a cookie exchange with some local ladies, which was so nice!   My two youngest girls came along and enjoyed a fancy luncheon!
Ruth serving bonbons and nuts

Beth had the cutest old antique chair that the girls loved!

The ladies who I am getting to know.  Beside me on the left is Carmen, who owns the "ciderella house" on little Pressy Lake where we go swimming from her dock.  A couple others volunteer at SMAC as well, and one does weaving and one has a little golf course!

We waited for Gregg to come home and then went outside our fence in search of a good
 'charlie brown' tree

Now after some fun family foot races to the road, we stopped to check our mail!

The corner by our place, heading to our mailboxes


Ruth with our 1st year married love birds ornament.
We all have special ornaments for the year we were married and when the girls were born, but poor Mei, guess we didn't spend any money that year!  So I look every year for a 2003 ornament in 2nd hand just never know!

Finished trimming the tree, Kate is wearing a shirt "save our forest" and laughing about it.

Christmas Eve meal together...waffles with blueberries, whipcream, peanut butter and chocolate syrup, apricot syrup, or regular maple syrup!

Yes, it is Mickey Mouse, but that is the only waffle iron I from my Zellers points!

After our family starlit walk..."I am so sweaty Mom!"

The girls have a saying with their Papa "the rosey cheeks of the old seniors"...she sure has rosey cheeks!
Now for the Bible reading and opening presents!

We gave each girl a little Ty teddy...Ruth's was a giraffee for her herd of them, Mei got a puppy and Kate a horse to add to her herd.

We forgot to give Mei her birthday gift in September, so she got a new Dr's kit. (she sold her old one when we moved and really missed it)  Here Daddy is showing her the proper way to use her instruments...with tickles to make your patient relax Mei!

Opening little snowman globes that shine pretty colors from Grandpa & Grandma T.
I realized later that I took lots of video, less pictures.  We gave the older girls each a new Bible in the NIrV which they really like.  I had also traded some Mary Kay makeup for little trinkets, etc for the girls and that was their Christmas.  They were very happy and we didn't want them to be expecting lots of material goods at their age.  Funny how even in the woods, there will always be those Jones' to keep up with.

The next morning, bright and early we stole over to Nana and Papa's to open a few gifts and bug them.  Nana told Papa to light a pretty fire in the 2nd fireplace...opps...where did everyone go?  ha ha

Watching papa open a new cowboy calendar and his "rodeo rama" board game.  The girls are wearing their new PJ's from them as well.  They each got something 'precious' from Nana's supply of tea cups, etc for their cabins as well.
And a good morning should be followed by ...

making perogies!  Cottage cheese for Gregg, potatoe and cheddar for us and blueberry just for fun!
We had already made the cabbage rolls earlier!

My darling always shows appreciation for a good meal by cleaning up...aint' he sweet?

My brother's family came Boxing Day for a few fun filled and action packed days...8 children ages 6-16...Nana and Papa count their blessings!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

On my bookshelf this month...

Remember I mentioned my sheer delight when I discovered a whole SHELF load of financial based books at our local library?  This is the 3rd book we are reading.  Now some people make New Years Resolutions come January 1st, but we often take a good hard look at our life direction and finances is a PART of that.

I would call this a main stream, not faith based book, but we believe God gives us wisdom and advice through many different sources.  Be in the world, but not OF the world right?

So, I've also been watching on line programs from a great TV program called It's A New Day...yes, the great funny people are related to us, and their program guests RELATE to everyone!
They had Franklin Santagate on the program for 4 days in January talking about God's will, VISION, plan and purpose for your life.  Franklin mentioned that God will speak to us in 10 ways...
5 ways from Heaven, 5 from earth
Heaven 1. audibly 2. angels 3. spirit to spirit 4. dreams 5. visions
Earth 1. His Word (Bible) 2. preaching 3. prophesy 4. people 5. circumstances

How very interesting that the book I am reading and some articles I came across all are pointing in the same direction!   They are all shouting out loud ~  What is your VISION?!  What is your family's vision?
 What is your purpose in this life?

The above book asked me to write down my TOP 5 "values" in life, not goals, values...such as Security, Freedom, Marriage, Family, Charity, etc.  Then I was asked to break each of my 5 values down into goals that I can obtain hopefully by the time I die...right?  He thinks that if your main values are family, marriage, freedom to travel and charity work, etc, then why on earth are you working 60 hours a week and not having time with any of your values?  He says people often change their life when they realize what their actions are really doing to themselves and that their values are not being fullfilled.  He sees this as the main cause of "mid life crises" because someone works so hard for a nice house, car, career position only to wake up one morning and realize their kids are all moved away and don't call.  That person may have always wanted to feed their marriage and family more than anything else in the world, but the world distracted and all their "things" don't make them happy.  This is all common sense isn't it? 

What did you dream about doing or being as a child?  What made your heart jump with delight or anticipation?  Do you still get that feeling now?  Or is life boring and you feel unfulfilled?

Well, on on the air programs, Franklin Santagate talks about how God wants to give us a hope and a future Jer. 29:11 and it IS GOOD!  I need a vision/dream for my life and my family.  Then I need to set goals to work toward that.  Same advice as the other book, but with the Godly base.

What is a vision?  Vision is always greater than ourselves.  It is always beneficial to others.  It cannot be accomplished on our own power.  For a vision, you will be willing to die for it.  You will feel that burning inside of you that YES, this is what you were meant to do/be!  If you meet someone with a vision, you will know it because you may not be able to shut them up about it!  ha ha. You may not even see the whole fulfullment of your vision, like Abraham's decendents as the stars in the sky...Abraham saw one son!

What is purpose?
1. Gifts/talents that God set in you from the beginning.  Some people can sing like a bird, some people can fix anything with little effort, some people can decorate a house beautifully, some people tell stories to capivate anyone...etc.

2. Passion ~  what you have always wanted to do.  Maybe paint, etc.  This passion may not actually turn into your "bread maker", but may always be used as a hobby or something to bless with on the side.

3. People ~ Serving/blessing others

4. Place ~ Where and to whom you want to release your passion and talents to will equal happiness daily.

Think about your life ~ what you have been involved in and how would rate your satisfaction at that time?  When have been the most happy?  Doesn't mean you weren't tired, etc, but were you satisfied?  Do you believe God has a plan for you? Ask God to show you and give you passion.  The passion or dream will often change your direction and God is faithful to keep guiding you and changing your direction as you are willing to be used.  You may start off in one direction and will take you and sway you as he sees your obedience.

I am rambling on because I do have a passion to find my passion!  ha ha!  I/we are asking God to show us and guide us into His plan as well...not expecting the road to be easy.  If you are curious, please look up the on line programs from Its A New Day and let God's word sink in and inspire you as well.  Satan seeks to distract us, God seeks to use us!

Be blessed, and be a blessing.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Soon to be a memory...

I waited eight years, living in what you could call a 2 bedroom apartment.  We enjoyed our life, counted our blessings...2 of them little girls to cherish.  The third blessing was on it's way...over due... and we were honestly thinking her little basinet could fit between the sink and the microwave.  My dear hubby was in school with a heavy course load, then we looked at one house.  We put an offer in, trust me, I was very surprised my hubby even went that far!  They took the offer on my birthday!  We could get the keys in 2 hold off little baby, if you're not coming now, just wait until we are moved in ok?  Possession date was Sept. we ran (or waddled) over to the house with our dear realtor and took a quick picture with the SOLD sign.  By this time, I wasn't feeling well and thought "this little one is going to pick tonight aren't they?"  Sure enough, our story was one for our realtor to repeat many a time.  We went to the hospital in the evening and at 00:55 we were blessed with our 3rd precious daughter.  Went home that same day to finish up packing (thankfully our church group came in and tossed everything over the balcony and carted it to our new home)...and moved in on Sept 18th, 2003.  Oh what a beautiful day!  Friends brought buns, cheese and chilli.  We slept on our mattress in the middle of the living room while they "quickly" moved a wall, made a closet and painted our bedroom.  What sheer bliss...sitting there, watching my earthly belonging carted into a new home by all our loved ones.  Maybe not the most recommended timing, but it was God's timing.  How I waited for, prayed for and longed for that home.  How we loved every weird little part of it.  Ok, we didn't love the 70's carpet, but we loved waving goodbye to it!
These pictures were taken after we had been away from our home in Manitoba for 1 year.  Not quite the same anymore, and now we will be revisiting this home to make into less ours, and very much more someone else's.  This is part 2 of my letting go.  Part 1 was actually leaving it and renting it out as we moved to BC.
I will go from East to West, these are the 2 sheds we would see from the kitchen window
Moving south of the sheds, into garden...yes, that was strawberries and flowers...ha ha
And yes, that was an outhouse, we turned it into my garden shed :)

Further south, the garden, row of red raspberries, red currant, gooseberry and a yellow raspberry.  There is a back alley on the right, so our property goes from street to back alley, to the other street.  3 lots in all on a corner by the last street in town on the west.

View of the south side of the house, the ripped up deck (to get the piano in).  The tree and deck will disappear and we'll put a new deck on.  The lean-to on the right is the kitchen, with the main entrance.
My computer is not loading anymore pictures, so I will update more later.  If you can, try to leave a comment and if you can't, email me or facebook me and I'll try to change whatever it is that I need to change.

Back yard, lined with big willow trees, sandbox....and....

Tree fort we started

Inside the West sunroom

Shelving in sunroom, door to living room area

Staircase up, of course, the walls will get painted
What color do you think?

Kate's old room, we're not going to bother repainting it...way too time consuming.  Painted floor in this room with a top coat.  The little knob on the left is for a little door for the crawl space AKA "secret passageways"

Ruth and Mei had requested a pink and purple room. They thought it was very beautiful...what color do you suggest for the repainting?  The floor is all orginal wood, so we'll re-do it.  It ends up a light color.

Other side of this room, they have lots of neat little corners, etc... but hard to photography unless you are a monkey!

Mainfloor livingroom projector screen, in wall speakers, etc.  The speakers are coming out and the wall repainted...hoping we have enough of the original color left!

When our renter was in, this is the living room, on the right is the projector wall.  We had completely gutted these rooms.  Put insillation in, vapor barrier, painted, redid the floor, etc.  Definately made the room warmer and less breezy.  There are pictures of that transformation on my link to an old fotopage on her.

Mainfloor masterbedroom, can't see the whole thing, but that is the color.  It has a small closet our neighbour friend put in for us the day Mei was born :)
There is another smaller room painted a pale yellow that we used as a baby room/office.  It shared a wall with the master bed and has a gross carpet.  Underneath is wood we think, so both these rooms will get the flooring redone.  Then the whole house will have NO carpet!

Oh yuck, a 6 foot something basement storage area...The basement will get a new south wall and some sort of fixing up.  Oak Lake battles water in the basement because it is built on an aquifer.  We only had water once...the pump usually keeps up!

This is the south wall on the right that will get replaced.  A cistern is on the left.  This was after a very wet spring.

Kitchen, this is unfortunately what you see immediately after entering the house.  I'd love to make an entry way on the deck area.  These cupboards will be painted, the floor laminate and that is about it.

Kitchen window, looking outside.  This was where we had our bench and table.  Wondering if putting in a new window would be worth it...time is important too.

looking from the kitchen, into fridge, storage and laundry room, on the left is the door to the bathroom.  The floor will get laminate, maybe some pantry shelving, but don't think we'll focus too much on this area.

To the right in the laundry room, the fridge goes on the right, the pantry shelving would go in this empty spot.

Oh ugly bathroom!  You shall be demolished and given a facelift!  Everything out, rearranged and happy!
So you can walk into our house, through the kitchen and laundry, into the bathroom, through the master bedroom, and into the living room.  Girls loved doing the circuit!

From the street, our house on the left, waiting for the Fair Parade to go by.  The house will be painted.  It has fake shutters ... Gregg wants them pulled off.  The house is white with black trim.  What COLOR do you suggest?

I'm up for suggestions...we want to do this fast, economically and with the most return of course...doesn't everyone?
We will be putting on a deck as well.  I was thinking white spindles like in the front of the other house we did in the previous post.  This house was built before the 1930's and added onto.
Thanks everyone!