Friday, 31 July 2015

School spirit

If you speak with me even for a few minutes about my kids' school, you will quickly catch the enthusiasm I have for it. We enrolled our children in the local Francophone school (different from French Immersion.) There are about 120 kids in the school now, up from 75 when Colin started in senior kindergarten. Almost every class is a split grade (which I love.)  There are a grand total of 9 teachers in the whole school.  My kids have had 6/9 of them, and we will add one more to that total come September.  The principal, the secretary and all the teachers know all the students. There are many opportunities for learning and interaction with children of all ages.  Plus the french language education is exquisite.  18/20 new junior kindergarten students do not speak any french at all on their first day of school (despite having at least one parent fluent in the language.)  By December, they are all fluent.  While the school may lack in fundraising capabilities (because of the low number of families) and extra curricular activities (due to manpower), I still love our choice.

One recent memory has been permanently etched in my mind, and it exemplified the great big family quality that our school has.  At the end of the year talent show, the grade 5/6 class performed a dance to the popular french song "Magic in the Air." It's a super fun dance song, with a great beat that makes you want to get up and move.  As soon as the first few notes rang through the gym, the rest of the students cheered; clearly this was a song popular in every grade.  The 5/6 students were cheered through the first half of the song, clapping, whistling.  But then, bit by bit, the rest of the school could no longer hold back.  Everyone was soon on their feet, students and teachers and parents alike, as we all sang and danced along.  Over 200 people moved in unison, feeling the energy of the song and the school.

Our school is such a great example of community.  Everyone is working together, living together, loving together.  This isn't just a bunch of bricks guarding our kids for 6 hours a day.  This is a place we are growing together.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

One square house

I'm in a mood right now, and you should probably stop me if I try to list my house for sale.

We spent last week at a cottage.  It was rectangle in shape.  In the middle was one large gathering room, with couches, chairs and a fireplace on one side and a long dining room table that seated 10 on the other.  Two bedrooms stemmed off one end and two off the other.  There was a small outcropping on the side for the kitchen and bathroom.

I sat there one evening and watched the 11 children play and 8 adults chat, and I thought this is really all the space we need.  This tiny cottage had four bedrooms, which is one more than we currently have.  It had a large gathering space where many people could mingle without it feeling over crowded.  The whole thing must have been less than 500 square feet and it felt more than adequate.

I've felt similar in pioneer replicas of homes, where small spaces felt not only comfortable but even spacious, using an open concept and without stuffing them full of unnecessary things.

I'm feeling an urge to simplify again...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


We spent last week up at a cottage with my grandmother, my sisters, my cousin, and all our little kids (11 in all.) All of my kids loved every minute, but none more than Ben. Given the freedom to explore the world at large on his own, to dig in the sand, jump in the lake, fish to his heart's content, climb over the park, and generally wander to feed his imagination, he was a completely different boy.

So often at home he gets caught in whining cycles, crying about not keeping up with his brothers, teasing his sister, a little lost for what to do. He's like a lion pacing in a cage and it all explodes in bad behaviour. I always knew he did better out of doors, but to see him thrive like that was joyful. Now I have to figure out a way to keep this boy out of doors all summer.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Answering our own prayers

A great thought I read about the other day - the tendency in our culture to answer our own prayers.  Often in our prayer life, we pray for things like "please keep us safe and warm" and then we turn on the heat when the temperature drops. Or we say "give us this day our daily bread" and then jump in our car to buy some from the store. We answer our own prayers.

Do I have faith to pray for things I can't answer? What miracles are awaiting me if I could only step out of the safety of what I already know? Can I stretch myself to ask for something only God could answer?

I feel like when I pray, I shouldn't be too much of a bother. I express gratitude for blessings I have, all too aware that I have more than most people in this world could possibly imagine. I feel like I should save my "asking" for times when I really need something to go my way. But there seems to be this gap in my prayer habit - this space for God to move in extraordinary ways, in ways that I couldn't possibly imagine. There are paths he has for me that aren't even tiny bubbles of thought in my mind. I have all these ideas of what things I could do and how my life could take shape, and somehow that is actually limiting me. I'm not giving God room to move in my life and take me down unimaginable roads.

Prayer doesn't have to be reserved only for special times. I think God could make our lives filled with extraordinary things if we only open ourselves to his possibilities.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A little work and the coolness factor

"You guys can watch a little TV after lunch while I do some work." I offered.
"What work do you have to do?" Caleb inquired.
"I'm working on movie screenplay.  I have to write more pages today."
"A a real movie script?" Caleb's eyes widened.
"So, will it be in the theatres?"
"That's the idea."
"Will your name be in the credits?"

My coolness factor doubled today.  Maybe even tripled.  Funny enough, I've had several films I've worked on appear in theatres, all which featured my name in the credits.  Most of this was before kids (although not all.)  It blows ours kids' minds that we had alternate lives before we had them.