The Joy of traveling....and coming home

We spent the weekend in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with my parents so I have a ton of pictures from there.  I collaged a few and I'll highlight a few more but I won't bore you with the whole 197 photos :)  

Simple Joy 231:  Pet moose crossing sign in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan....the kids thought it was funny.

Simple Joy 232:  Impromtu photo shoot with the kids on a big rock under "Mac the Moose"

Simple Joy 233:  A visit in Brandon on the way home with my Grandma Martens.  Apparently it had been several years since we'd seen her so it was good to get reacquainted.  Still going strong at 94 years old.  Very impressive.

Simple Joy 234: If you know me, you know I have a love of coffee mugs.  The mug has to feel right in my hand and not just every mug is good for every drink.  Some are specifically for tea, some for coffee, etc.  And...on top of that, I have a special attachment to Starbucks mugs.  They have so many styles but I really haven't met one I didn't instantly fall in love with....I love the stark, simple logo;  I love the feel of the heavy mugs in my hand;  and I think I love the connection with their establishment date (my birth year).  That's the Joy.....  
 .....this:  not so much.  I took my coffee outside onto the deck as I do sometime to have coffee in the early morning with devotions.  And....the cup slipped out of my hand, both breaking one of my favourite mugs and also dumping a perfectly made cup of Mint Mocha coffee.  Waaaaaahhhhh.  
Ain't it fortunate for me that my thrift store carries mugs I love on a regular basis :)

Simple Joy 235:  This morning my neighbour called me over to see her Monarch-caterpillars (Monarch butterflies to be) which are happily gorging themselves on her Dill plant.  She planted Milkweed this year specifically to attract the Monarchs and instead, less than 10 feet away, they're perfectly happy munching on dill.  Hopefully none of the birds will get pickle-flavoured snacks and we'll be able to see these change to butterflies :)
 235 (part b).  Found these amazing silk flowers at my thrift store today - pulled the plastic heads out and have piles of flowers for some really cute cards!

Relatives are out from Edmonton today so I hope that the next few pics from me will have some really good FAMILY-Joy shots with all the cousins together again!

Simple Joys 218-230

 Simple Joy 218:  Football tournament this weekend and this photo in particular of my youngest (the QB) with a perfect handoff to his receiver for a TD.

  Simple Joy 219:  Same tournament, second day:  this photo of my oldest son, #42 playing Cornerback

 Simple Joy 220:   A favourite mug.  You know how a mug just feels right in your hand and that seems to make the coffee even better?  This beauty is a "second" from my Aunt Jan's stunning pottery collection, simply because I think the glaze dripped into blobs on the unique and the perfect mug for me.

Simple Joy 221:  A treasure found at my local MCC store - the entire boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - I think I paid about $2 for all these books together. (Sorry, the picture's sideways...I'm too lazy to go back to Picasa).

Simple Joy 222:  This lovely little fawn stood less than 10 ft. away from us on the bike trail at Bird's Hill when we went camping.  We talked and took multiple pictures and it never moved except to take another bite of grass and then to pose for another photo.

Simple Joy 223:  Camping. This was a FANTASTIC holiday for the kids & I.  Swimming, biking, playing on the beach, Geo-caching, catching squirrels, sleeping in "our" tent trailer (soon to be ours) much fun.

Simple Joy 224:  Our tent trailer.  See previous post for more detail about our new adventure.

Simple Joy 225:  A clean fridge.  Need I say more?

Simple Joy 226:  My new favourite breakfast:  Granola or Kashi, blueberries & strawberries.  Mmmm.

Simple Joy 227:  SuperRope.  This is way more addicting for me than Angry Birds ever was.

Simple Joy 228:  Another MCC find:  this tape holder is perfect for my ink pads.  I LOVE cheap organizational finds!

Simple Joy 229:  New Nubar nails for the end of summer. 

Simple Joy 230:  Birthday pedicures with my DD (a few weeks late but just in time for the end of summer) and eye appointments that all 3 of my kids ACED.  In fact, the doc said Cale had "better than 20/20 vision"  Whew.  It's actually kind of a relief considering I hadn't taken them for eye check-ups for about 5 years.  Oops.

And now, we're off to Moose Jaw for the weekend with my brother and my parents.  Looking forward to the tunnel tours, the mineral spa, some antique shopping with my Dad and some great food.


Adventure awaits us

One of the verses that has been running on a continuous loop through my head all year long has been this: 

Habakkuk 1:5
"Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed.  
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe even if you were told!"
It's been my theme verse this year and at almost every single turn, I've found it to be true.  
God has things in store for me that I wouldn't have believed possible.....and the fun part?? 
Waiting and watching to see what the next one will be.

This past week, it was camping and a tent trailer.
We've camped in the past of course, in a big old tent.  We gave it up when we got stuck in Banff one time with 2 little kids, 1 degree and raining.   We didn't have enough blankets or body heat between the 4 of us to warm up. Yucky.  So, we took an indefinite break.  But I've always wanted to get back into it with a tent trailer instead of a tent.  And more recently in the past year or so, when our good friends have been importing trailers.  Everytime a new one comes into their yard, the craving gets deeper and the roots of the dream grow.  

So, like I said in my last post, I gave a couple of my friends the mandate to keep their eyes open for an inexpensive tent trailer for the kids & I.  

Enter:  my Great Big God and his ability to blow me out of the water.

Within a week, I had a trailer to "borrow" for 2 nights, a dear friend who is a pro camper willing to camp with me and "show me the ropes,"  my friend's FIL's truck available to pull my trailer because I don't have a hitch, and miraculously - 2 campsites right across the path from each other booked at Bird's Hill Provincial Park (where campsites are nearly impossible to come by this late in the season).   AND, despite my DD having the flu for most of the time, the kids were hooked.  They all want to do this again and again.

So....I call the people who so generously loaned me their trailer (which was, by the way, for sale already last summer) and I ask your trailer for sale, and what would you like for it?  She comes back with..."What would you like to pay for it?"  Oh dear.  These are lovely people who were already so gracious in letting me use it...I don't want to insult them but on the other hand, I can't do this if it's too expensive - I have a pretty tight budget.   So I cross my fingers and tell her my budget - my top dollar and a low-ball offer too to give her a range and some idea of what I can afford.  

She comes back with a counter-offer that is LOWER than my low-ball offer. 

Hmmmm.....again, not prepared for how extravagantly my God wants to bless me.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, we now are the proud owners of this beauty:

Ok, no.  The real moral of the story is:  Wow...check out what my God can do.

The return of Simple Joys

It's August.
I've been taking a break from recording my Simple Joys that I started in January.  
Not that there hasn't been joy in my life to record.....exactly the opposite - so much joy and so much good that I haven't taken the time to sit and blog about it - ironic, isn't it?  So....I'm back.  If you want to see the first months of my Simple Joys, you'll have to read back in my blog.  If you want to see pictures of what my summer has been like so far....come for coffee and I'll show you my Project Life album that's a 2011 work-in-progress.

 I chose JOY as my word for this year.  It was certainly a goal of mine - to look for, find and experience the Joy in things around me...not just the big, obvious things, but sometimes the small, insignificant things that bring me little moments of joy just to remind me that I have a Father-God who's greatest joy is to show me himself.   BUT, by now, 1/2-way through the year, I'm in a different place.  Finding joy has become the norm for me.  I see it all around me in the good, the bad, the funny, the sad.....I see how God is moving and working and I'm finding that I see it more quickly and more often.  I think now, in this season of my life I would more likely choose a word like Expectancy instead of Joy.  I no longer wonder IF I'll find Joy today.....I wake up each morning wondering WHEN God will surprise me or WHERE I'll see my first glimpse of Him that day.  

So, with expectancy.....I will continue on in my daily search for Joy.  Here are some of the most recent things that have made me smile :

Simple Joy 213/365:  New steel spatulas from a local flea market.  More than the spatulas, the joy came from 
a.) the kids were ALL off at camp for the week; 
b.) I had the house to myself; 
c.) I had good friends to spend the morning with, and.....
d.) the feeling of contentment. 
There were a lot of very cute antiques and jewelry and furniture at this flea market - it was SO much fun to walk through, but...I'm in purge-mode, not fill-up-the-house mode and it felt great to be disciplined and content.

 Simple Joy 214/365:  Painting the trim on Mom & Dad's house.  Yes, that's me up on the ladder.  Not my favourite place to be but it wasn't too bad.  It was smoking hot this day so we didn't finish it all....but we got a good portion done. 

Simple Joy 215/365:  At the beach with friends.  I spent about 10 hours this day out at St. Malo with some friends who camp there for a week each year.  It was SO fun.  It rained for the first part of the day and we sat under this awning and read magazines and then burnt later in the day at the beach :)  My craving to do some camping like this with my kids was only heightened by this day's activities and I think it's time to do something about it.....we'll see how my camper-scouts do with the limited budget I've given them....I really think this would be great family time for the kids & I.

Simple Joy 216/365:  Mica took this photo of a flower in Grandma & Grandpa's garden last weekend.  I've included it here because the photo itself is amazing.....she's got a great eye!  And just screams best-summer-ever to me.  This whole yummy hot summer is a huge source of Joy in my life :)

Simple Joy 217/365:  Winkler Bible Camp.  There are a lot more pictures than these but for now - a quick collage of the kids as I picked them up at camp on Friday night.  All 3 had more stories to tell than we could fit into a 1 1/2-hour ride home.  Apparently it was an AWESOME week.  They're tired and dirty and can't stop talking about everything they did.  In fact, as I'm sitting in bed typing this blog entry, one of my kids is sleeping down the hall, but still talking (in his sleep).  I'm sure if I went to listen more carefully it would be more camp stories.  So, the joy this day goes to 2 things.  Winkler Bible camp and it's place in my kids' summer and life experiences AND having everyone home, sleeping under my roof again!

And to sleep.  The next 2 days are Football-full.  That's a good thing.  The 6am start might not be.