Friday, June 24, 2016

Slow and Steady

The skin I feel comfortable in is starting to shed and I'm not sure whether to grab hold of it, or shrug it off my shoulders. 

Hidden behind the 30 year old me is the 12 year old me who hasn't really changed.  She's just buried under pretense, self-imposed expectations, and graceless dreams.  She's worried to be set free because what if the life she dreamed of having doesn't look quite like the life she actually finds herself in now?  

But there is this percolating in my soul.  A longing for more but not the more I longed for before. The old dreams need to die to give life to the new. I still long for places unseen, adventures and accomplishments.  Yet God keeps trying to teach me something different. Over and over the message seems to be the same:

Slow down.  Cease striving.  Be still, and know, that He is God.

Breathe in, breathe out, and there it is again. Weed a few more weeds, water again, push back the chaos and keep working knees to the dirt.  Wipe another cheek, read another book, wash another round of dishes.  Do another push-up, take a few more steps, run a little longer.  Open the Word, meditate on it, be planted firmly by the streams of water again.

It is in the patient endurance of the mundane, it is in the daily disciplines of regular life that the landscape of character and holiness is formed.  That the life I really want, emerges.

But I want it all now.  I want the vistas.  I want the quick and easy, I want the flashy and the important.  I don't want to wait.  And so I walk quickly and talk fast and write lists and do more.  With the hope that the life I want will come about.  Now.

Forget weeding and leggy hostas, give me the picture perfect garden now.  Forget the nose wiping and breaking up fights, give me the beautiful family dinners now.  Forget training and re-training these tired muscles, give me a lean figure now.  And forget fighting off another sinful habit, give me a sin-less soul now.

Breathe in, breathe out, and there it is again.  A different desire in place of the old.

 "Meet me here, in this life I'm in," my soul whispers, "Help me accept the person I am, and believe in Your promises of who You are making me to be.  Bring life into the mundane motions of everyday life, MY everyday life."  

It is no surprise my word this year is surrender.  I feel like I must surrender my big insta-plans and replace them with the slow and chiseling realities of process.  I'm having to re-learn what it means to dream. My youthful, naive dreams of accomplishment, travel and fame are unraveling.  And instead, I dream of true surrender.  Of a spirit of contentment. Of a quiet acceptance of what is, in every season.  Of living with hope of what is to come, alongside a peace of what is now.

I think true visions and dreams start with surrender, and trust:  

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion."  Philippians 1:6

Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Vancouver Family Summertime Fun in 56 Ideas

Nothing like summertime to do more exploring and adventuring with your family!  Most days I think I've 'seen it all' in Vancouver...but I am still discovering new things.  This year's list of Summertime Activities is filled with a bunch of places we've yet to see.  Hope you get some new ideas.

Gastown Grand Prix

Cliff Falls

Places to go, Things to do:

1. Arts Alive festival in Langley
2. Drag racing at mission raceway.  
3. Gastown Grand Prix  Simply the coolest city event I have ever been to.  Watching bike racers race around you at break neck speeds, with tight curves, around cobblestone gastown.  If you've never been- GO!
4. Picnic and coastal bike ride at Terra Nova Park in Richmond.
5. Skim boarding at Boundary Bay Regional Park or Centennial Beach   what an amazing beach!  The tide goes so far out making for a very shallow pool for the kids!
6. Beach combing at Cates Park, North Vancouver
7. Watch artists paint in stanley park, and bring our own canvases.
8. Cultus Lake Waterslides.  Kids loved it last year, not sure how Fiona will do this year but we've got to try it at least =)
9. Take the boys mountain biking, maybe down Burnaby Mountain
10. Langley BMX track to watch bike racing. 
11. Rock hopping around Whytecliff Park.  A family favourite, the views around horseshoe bay are simply stunning.
12. Terrible karaoke, knick-knack shopping, and interesting food vendor sampling....what is more interesting than taking the kids for a cultural experience at the Richmond Night Market?
13. Fly our kite at the Pacific Rim Kite Flying festival at Vanier Park in Vancouver.
14. Family camp at Camp Barnabas.  Can't wait!
15. Bike around or explore the Reifel bird sanctuary.  Have yet to check it out.
16. Rocky Point Park is always a hit.  Spray park, ocean, playground...doesn't get much better!
17. Take the older kids to the fireworks!
18. Garden City park in Richmond.  Never checked it out....
19. Sushi by the bay, or fish n' chips in White Rock.
20. Bike around the seawall at Stanley Park
21. Go to a Vancouver WhiteCaps game

Hikes to explore with little legs:

1. Jug island hiking trail  5.5 km.  It ends at a beautiful swimming spot....maybe we'll bring swimming wear and a boat to pull the kids behind in?
2.  Hike around Sasamat lake, then go for a swim!  The perfect summer swimming lake.  Warm, no boats, soft sand...perfect for later evening swimming before bed.
3. Mystery lake at Seymour.  Another 'hike and swim' family event.
4. Buntzen lake in Port Moody.  Beach, hiking, swimming, bald eagles...what else do you need?
5. Cliff falls hike.  A perfect length for little legs.  Bridges, creek-bed, waterfalls, awesome.
6. Quarry Rock by deep cove.  Beautiful look out.
7. Burns Bog in Delta.  Bring the bikes!
8. Teapot hill at Cultus lake.  So fun!  The trail is littered with teapots to spot and count as you hike and it has a GREAT and rewarding look-out.

Backyard and Local fun:

1. Krause berry farm raspberry and blueberry picking.  Jam making is a must this summer!
2. Sleep out in a tent in our backyard.
3. Family race day for a good cause: Drime's Run for the Nations
4. Geocaching 
5. Spray park day!
6. Roast marshmallows in our backyard (over a stove, of course)
7. Evening walk to Menchies
8. Lion's Park in Port Coquitlam.  New!  Renovated!  Loved the new playground and the walking trail.  HOW have we never been here before?
9. Make giant bubbles!
10. Sidewalk chalk neighborhood bomb.
11. Have our neighbors over for a BBQ.
12. Sprinkler fun in the backyard.
13. Work on a backyard fort, or tree house.
14. Watch daddy try kite-boarding (that's for you, Jason!)
15. Upright paddle-boarding on a date with hubby.  (Can the baby be in a carrier at the same time?)
16. Teach the boys badminton.
17. I love this need to scour pinterest when lists are made for you: messy twister? glowsticks in the pool? SO many fun ideas.
18. Backyard movie theatre at night, or go to twilight or one of the local outdoor movies
19. Paint our front garden rocks
20. Squirt gun obstacle course race.  The boys will LOVE this. 
21. Lemonade stand and art sale (Silas really wants to do the art sale part).
22. Canoeing at Brae Island in Fort Langley
23. Overnight camping trip with Daddy at Brae Island
24. Frog catching at a local pond
25. Bike jumps in our cul-de-sac
26. Picnic breakfast
27. Ship-to-shore Canada day BIG SHIP festival in Steveston.

For a good list of fun playgrounds, check out this link

We're actually hoping to start a family-friendly outdoors club and drag any willing families along for some kid-friendly hikes and active trips.  We're thinking of hikes, a canoe trip, skim boarding, mountain biking, etc.   Message me if you are interested in joining us as we seek to build community among local families, explore the great wild outdoors, and foster a love of athleticism in our kids.

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