Jan 30 2012


by andrew

Time is a funny thing. Take for instance the time that I am spending to write this when perhaps I should be sleeping. From a certain vantage point this time could be better spent. And from another, this is the best way to spend it.

For some reason this day culminated in a peculiar sequence of events and observations that might have otherwise gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the curious case of Benjamin Button. Do you ever notice that? How some days more than others just seem to be trying to communicate a particular message all their own. Maybe every day should be like that and it is only certain days that we’re actually listening carefully enough to catch it. And then again maybe some days just shout their message more loudly than others.

So much time has passed since last I wrote. That must be some sort of psychological hurdle that ironically prevents me from writing more frequently until finally some sort of unavoidable inspiration overcomes the inertia of all the things that have passed unrecorded and I have no choice but to but to let it all come flowing out in a colorful outburst laden with weightier harmonies than any routine life-stenography could carry.

Today was dripping violently with Time saturation as though the last few months have been soaking in it and someone finally decided to raise it high with discovery’s expectation for how much It held and how long it would take to drip out.

I have been driving myself hard the last few months particularly with work. It’s easy to do as I love what I’m good at and there’s no shortage of things to demand my particular zeal for stubborn problem solving. But in the middle of that seemingly inescapable and delightful storm also comes the burden of feeling like my other priorities – some of them like family, which are far more important – are just getting the left-overs of me at best. And while I know that the blessings of my work at home situation afford me much greater flexibility and more time with my wife and kids than most, it still doesn’t feel like enough – it feels like I should have more for them and less for work. What do we allow to devour our time?

We were clearly past due for a vacation and what better way to spend it than a weekend-long prophecy seminar about the End Times, some time catching up with family and friends, and a solid day of shopping in Winnipeg? Yes, when we returned home after almost a week I knew that we had a great vacation because we needed another. Time.

But the healthiest part was going (nearly) cold turkey on work for a bit. Of course this means that I’m having to drag myself past some reluctance to build up steam again, but I think that this is a good thing too and will hopefully help me strike a fresh and more stable balance as things settle out once more.

And then there are video games. Ah how quickly dormant passions resurface when the right conditions conspire to release them: the placebo of an outlet that involves problem solving of a very different sort than the routine, a new facilitator (iPad ironically purchased solely for work at the first), and the excuse of vacation time. If you don’t understand how I can connect the concepts of Passion and Gaming, then you have somewhat to learn about the authentically male heart. In perfect Eldredge-ian philosophy (most of which I believe is very very truthful) I can recognize that hours and hours poured into colonizing planets, designing and commanding fleets of ships, and taking over the universe one star system at a time Is really nothing more than my male heart seeking a visceral kingdom building experience. And yet that is Time that completely evaporates, and there is a real Kingdom to build, and the mind knows this even as the spirit knows that Kingdom is far more real and adventurous than even the most cleverly crafted game. Ah but we we like our instant gratification don’t we? There’s nothing quite like starting with only one planet and no technology and in the span of a few near-all-nighters defeating 4 other alien species for domination of the universe.

There is nothing like the innocent disappointment of a child who missed out on some enjoyment of an incredible moment in life because it didn’t match their expectations of how it was going to or should unfold to drive home the lesson that every moment in Time is precious and if we are constantly requiring them to fit our preconceptions of how they ought to play out then we will be constantly let down. Today reminded me that Time is not something we can place demands upon, but that we will also have a far superior experience within its confines if we decide to make the most of it and savor. This was essentially the encouragement and warning I gave Reayah. It was also the wisdom shared by Renee’s grandmother at the girl’s Tea Party that Renee and the girls hosted here while the boys and I holed up upstairs and did guy things.

Then today my laptop power supply fried out. It was the oddest thing. The failure caused a fluctuation in the power of other things plugged into the same power supply, accompanied by a faint pop and the smell of toasted electronics though it took me a minute or two to figure out what had happened. (Almost) nothing lasts forever and Time claims many things. In the instance that I figured out what had happened, the implications threatened to choke me. Thankfully the power supply for my old laptop turned out to have the same exact watts, amps, and plug size, and I can use that until the new one arrives.

As if attempting to tie all those threads into a final tapestry from the day, Renee decided she was going to watch a movie tonight and it was going to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. For all it’s shortcomings it’s still an excellent thought-provoker and I found one thing in particular resonating quite deeply: “when it comes to the end [of a particular plan, of a day, of a season, of a life], you have to let it go.”

How true. Seems like there was more I had intended to write, but coming to the end of this post I am discovering that my brain is using Time less and less efficiently the longer I keep at this and I too have to let it go.

Nov 13 2011

Life in Winnipegosis

by renee

So, we’ve been in one place since April. That’s hard to believe. We have had a couple little weekend and a 2 week-long trips during that time but always returned to our little spot in front of Leon’s work shop and beside the barn where Lewis the Llama and Pixie the horse are always wondering around. Last week, as Andrew wrote, we moved from our trailer into an old, but warm 3 bedroom house in town. We loved being at Leon & Jenn’s but it was getting too cold and instead of heading south for the winter this year, we felt we were supposed to stick around. This week, it became winter officially. The temperatures have dropped (and will keep dropping) and the snow is here to stay. Being in a cozy house with lots of room for the kids to frolic makes me almost welcome the cold winter weather. For after playing a while in the snow, or a long walk to the library and back, we can leisurely take off our boots and coats with plenty of elbow room and enjoy the rest of the day indoors, sipping hot cocoa, playing games and doing more school (winter is a great time to get more school done-less time outside)!

I can say that I have become a country girl. I really love it here. I loved the spring when the snow was melting and people starting riding their quads, and the town got together to work to sandbag around the lake again. After it dried up a bit, we’d pass the tractors and other farm vehicles along the highway and wave to the farmers as they started planting. The summer was a blur, gardening and enjoying the sun. The fields were golden yellow and comforting. Fall brought out the big combines that took up the whole shoulder and your lane and some of the far lane, but around here, there was never any traffic so it was always easy to pass them and the kids made sure to wave as we were going by.

Now, winter is here. After this season is over, we’ll have stayed here a full year. One whole year in one spot. Nice. We’ll see how anxious we are to start traveling again in the spring. Andrew wants to be in Colorado for the spring/summer next year, which will be nice, although I can say already that I’ll miss this place.

I love Winnipegosis. I love the size. Even in such a small town (630), there are many stores here where you can find almost anything you’re looking for without having to drive to the large town 30 minutes away. There are two grocery stores, a hardware store, a Chinese restaurant, a hospital, a hotel, 2 banks, a pharmacy, service shops, real estate, salons, and a fire station with the only pink fire truck in Canada! I love the little library, which is as big as our living room but Zach thinks it’s the best library ever, since we did some cool crafts and played a few games there in the summer and he can take home a new bookmark and stickers after every visit. They can also order in any book I request.

I love the way people wave you when you pass them, whether they know you or not. I love the feeling of community. Even though we might not know many people here yet, many people know of us and have heard of us. Yes, people talk and gossip, but it seems to me so far that it’s more of just talking about what’s going on around town, and not malicious. I feel that if anything ever happened to us or if we really needed help, we would have lots of people come and help. We’ve felt that with many of the places we’ve visited and groups we’ve become a part of. We are so blessed and thankful to have so many people in our lives who we can love and trust like family and who love us. Many of them are not near us and are missed.

After a week of being in the house, we still need to move a few things from the trailer yet, and then do a thorough cleaning and winterizing. I’m planning to paint a few rooms in the house, just to make it more personal. Andrew rolls his eyes at me and smiles when I tell him what I’d like to do and try to explain to him, from an artist’s perspective he importance of colour in our lives.

I’ve used about half the tomatoes we harvested for sauce but still have many more to can or freeze. I need to can my beets as well. They are getting soft. We have a lot of storage space in the basement for food supplies that will come in handy and be important especially during the winter when blizzards and electrical outages and other inconveniences could prevent or limit our access to outside supplies.

Have a blessed weekend! oxoxo

Nov 4 2011

Profound Happenings

by andrew

We just moved into a house for the first time in 2.5 years. Weird. I’m too exhausted to dive into the mundane yet fascinating details that could become poetic. We will see how house-living for a winter treats us and then in all likelihood move back into the trailer and hit the road once again come spring. But next spring we have our sights set on Colorado for a summer, and that would be really nice.

The house belongs to Renee’s grandparents, and it is quite a blessing. It’s pretty old and rough around the edges, but more space than we know what to do with. It was so interesting…. of course this is the first time that Sky has been in a house – like, to live in – and if we went in another room he would always get a little upset and come looking for us. It was bizarre to have to walk 30 feet through 2 rooms in order to throw a diaper away. The kids are all super excited to have their own bedroom space even if the boys are sharing a room and the girls are sharing a room (although Bennah does have his own little nook with a mattress in the hall).

There are many settling in adventures yet to be had. I think my biggest concern is that we’re going to acquire a bunch of stuff that we’re just going to have to get rid of again in the spring. The prospect of expanding bothers me, although it is super nice to stretch out. Still have to winterize the trailer and do a bunch of other stuff.

Now I am even boring myself. What a whirlwind. The Denver trip was amazing. Still reeling from that.

Zach had a hard time going to sleep tonight because of the creaky house. Or the excitement. I’m looking forward to a nice quiet work environment for once, where I can be upstairs at my desk while the kids wreak havoc downstairs. So much more I want to capture about this moment, but everything feels bland and gray in my tired foggy brain.

What a blessing it is to be here, and what exciting things are on the brink of unfolding this winter!

Jul 15 2011

The last 3 months in Winnipegosis

by renee

I started writing this about a month ago. It takes me a while to finish anything lately. I have many projects waiting to be completed and goals to accomplish. One of the biggest goals I had this spring, was to have a garden. We planted 3 gardens this year. Or, I should say, we are sharing 3 gaardens. My grandparents just recently moved into an assisted living complex so I was offered the use of their garden. I planted some things for myself, but I started it mostly for my aunt and her family who live in Churchill, Manitoba but spend the summer in Winnipegosis. They have since mostly taken over the job of weeding and watering. They leave end of August and while they can enjoy some things while they’re here, I really hope they have at least some squash to take back with them. Another of my aunts, a veteran gardener is graciously sharing her enormous and delicious garden with us. We are also sharing Leon & Jen’s wonderful garden as well. The kids have worked very hard this year planting and now weeding. It has been rewarding for me to share in their excitement at seeing the corn growing almost as tall as them already, the little carrot tops finally poking up through the soil and being able to nibble the lettuce and beet leaves while they work. This year we planted herbs, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, a few varieties of squash, cucumbers, beans, peas and onions. Between the three gardens, we are hoping for an abundance of food to store, share and save for seeds. We spent a couple of weeks in Winnipeg, at the end of June, visiting with my family. We wanted to stay longer, but I wanted to get back to the gardens. Two weeks is a long time for weeds to grow! I ended up having to replant the lettuce, spinach and carrots in my aunt’s garden, but everything else survived.

We’ve had many adventures already in the three months we’ve been here. Since we arrived in April, we’ve experienced a blizzard, cool spring weather, thunderstorms, flooding, ticks, mosquitos, and now the heat of the summer. The hot temperatures have killed off most of the mosquitos (yay!) and persuaded the kids to cool off in the pool pretty much every day. The evenings are almost always cool and pleasant.

Last month we had friends come and visit and just enjoy the day, fellowshipping  together. The women went on a quad ride led by Jen, the veteran quad-er. Knowing all the paths and deep water holes to take us through, she led us in and around their property and across the highway along the river. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but ending up really enjoying it, even though I did run right into a barbed wire fence. The shiny new quad got a scratch and I was a little embarrassed but got over it. It’s such a different way to enjoy the wide open country, and darned if I’m not turning into a bit of a red-neck!

We love our family and friends that are here have really started to enjoy the “Village on the Lake”, even though the lake has almost taken over the poor village this spring. Bible camp was cancelled this year on account of flooding, which was a big disappointment for the kids but with the almost limitless possibilities for them here already, they got over it. We (or mostly they) swim in the pool, go for walks in the pasture, explore the junkyard, build forts, go for quad rides, jump on the trampoline, drive to town for treats and visit family and friends.

We are still doing school nearly every day but only one subject a day, math or writing, just to keep their mind from turning to mush over the summer. We have taken the summer off in the past only to discover that they have forgotten almost everything they have learned in the previous year and I’ve had to teach them some things over again, or it takes them way too long to adjust to school schedule again. If we continue through the summer, it’s not so difficult to start again in the fall.

Well, I have now finally, after 3 months, accomplished another goal tonight: finishing a blog! My next goal will be to not wait so long before I write the next one.


Apr 11 2011

Day 730: The End is the Beginning

by andrew

I wish I could convey the immense import behind the (humanly) unplanned, colossal culmination of crossing the border back into Canada on April 11th upon completing our family mission to visit all 4 corners of the United States exactly 2 years to the day after we originally departed Virginia on April 11th 2009.


YHWH our Father in the heavens has without fail secured our path on every mile of this amazing Journey. For the last several weeks – despite continual rains on the west coast and some more dicey weather in parts – we have had sunny weather every single departure day. We’ve hit some weather on the road, but always way milder than forecasted. And the Provisions along the way have been even more specific and personal than just the weather on every given day.

Today we drove northward up through beautiful BC. Jasper tomorrow perhaps. Eastward to Manitoba. A new season begins, and with it many uncertainties and questions that we know will find doors opening in their time.


2 years. I am feeling inordinately sentimental at the moment. Or maybe it’s just too warm here in the 24-hr Denny’s with wifi that I walked to from the Wal-Mart next door here in Quesnel (“Que-nel” for all you tourists) BC.

Joy was a baby when we left. This is the only life she knows and has no context for what life in a “house” is like. Now she thinks she’s 4. And it’s hard to prove she’s not. Jaiden barely had a vocabulary, but his laugh is the same. Zach still jumps off of everything despite our futile efforts to extend the life of our trailer interior, but he has started school and grown up in so many other ways during this time. Reayah and Bennah have blossomed in numerous areas. They’ve mastered bike-riding, scrambled up scree cliffs, built forts throughout the continent… I better not start lest I spend the rest of the night listing.  It’s hard to imagine them 2 years ago.

I almost can’t remember what normal used to be. This is normal now, and it will keep changing, just the way I like it. I feel like we are discovering a life story that was written for us from the beginning of time. Rather than muting our free-will it intensifies it. All of our decisions – especially the second-guessed or uncertain or even less than ideal ones – are met with plot twists that keep the story interesting. It is a wonderful epic treasure hunt where the hidden prizes and rewards are things that haven’t even occurred to our searching imaginations: new relationships, breathtaking geographies, self-discovery, family bonding to a degree that’s hard even for us to realize and appreciate consciously much less express to others, memories whose imagery fades but which pull our spiritual roots deeper and deeper, anticipation, letting go, learning… to keep moving.

Life is moving. Whether across the continent physically or in your own personal development, perspective, and spiritual universe. Growth. Why do we crave new things? How can we be quenched?

Life is a quest for the elusive infinite.

Journey is a verb too after all.

Oct 20 2010

Day 554: The River

by andrew

Life is a river filled with self-reflexive microcosms. The Road.

Mostly it is a constant rushing, a blur of events carrying us incessantly forward, inexorably onward. Time.

But there are moments. An eddy in the currant snags the shore and strands time’s gaze. The river doesn’t stop, doesn’t even slow, but the inertia temporarily presses perspective into a recline between the water and the sky, and it feels like floating inside a transparent womb. There is no up or down, east, west, north or south.

There is no movement but constant motion surrounds. Weightless.

And then time’s tyranny takes account, finds a subject stranded, re-asserts its impatient decree. The womb shatters. And for a fraction of perception everything stops: motion, sound, pulse, vision… every gaze is frozen, pure, unfiltered, and collides into a choice: cling to jagged womb fragments or PLUNGE.

Such chatic contentions consume themselves before they even exist – time reverses upon itself for a span too short to measure and the decision is made before the choice has even penetrated the mind. Falling.


Then forward, into a vague familiar rushing. Momentums match and fuse. The shore fades away. It’s almost as if nothing changed yet something feels different… there is a dull throbbing.

Several shards of womb removed leave vivid scars of joy. Memories.

Older scars fade slightly.

The rushing intensifies and there is only the river. The Road.

Apr 17 2010

Day 371: Now What?

by andrew

You know, I had this whole thing planned – we were going to hit day 365 and I was going to write this extremely insightful and introspective post on what it means to have been at this for a year already… Well, the day came and went and we’ve been so busy that we didn’t even notice. Isn’t that typical? And doesn’t that say everything right there all by itself?

Mar 29 2010

Day 352: Full Circle

by andrew

It’s hard to believe that in two weeks we will have been at this for a year already. Amazing!

We are settling in here at our friend’s in Pennsylvania where we started out last year around this time after a wonderful but all too short 2-stop journey up from Georgia. We camped at the fantastic Newport News Park for a few days and missed our dear brother and sister and family who used to live just a few short miles from there.

We had a wonderful time with our dear friends Ben and Elizabeth – hanging out at the campground on Saturday and then at their place on Sunday. Joy really took to their little girl who is only 2 days older. Now, every little girl Joy sees is “Aa-bee, Aa-bee!”

I had a business meeting on Monday with the very talented and creative folks at Ethicom (who are also long time family friends), and afterwards I brought the whole family over to their office for what was supposed to be a short visit (not wanting to impose). Well, it turned into quite a much larger adventure than that and by the time we left a couple hours later the kids all had their own offices, Bennah was working for $10 a day, they had produced their own “magazines” with a little help from a copier, and they each had a new writing/sketch book and an umbrella. They were talking about their new offices the rest of the day.

Keith from Ethicom put it so well (and I hope he doesn’t mind being quoted here): “It was a pure delight to have your little family come and spend a few moments showing us what true creativity really is. We need to be reminded that the Lord teaches us about Himself through the lives of little children and to always look at life through their eyes.”

The delight was ours! And the reminder was so valuable to Renee and I as parents. We can easily get caught up in the duties of raising children and sometimes forget the simple delights. We often look at things with our adult perspective and only see the extra work that a child’s whims might entail. But if we return to our own child-like vision still buried down deep underneath all the grown-up responsibilities and “mature” perspectives we’ve collected over the years, we can quickly tap into an endless wellspring of simple joy. To all our dear parent friends out there: chase the whims of your children with them through their creative and carefree eyes and you will discover the delight of remembering that anything is possible!

From there we headed up to our old stompin’ grounds near DC. It was a lot of fun watching the kids’ reaction to the familiar sites. They were beside themselves with amazement. Bennah kept exclaiming: “I just traveled back in time!” It was surreal in a beautiful way.

On Wednesday I dropped in on my old buddies at the White House and had a wonderful time catching up a little with them and hitting my Chipotle for lunch. Yes, it is my Chipotle. I used to make the pilgrimage at least once a week while I worked there. So many things have changed and so many things haven’t changed. Several people asked me throughout the day: “So, do you miss it?” Do I miss working at the White House? I told them all the same thing – I loved working there, and I would love working there again, but I do not miss it; not one bit 🙂

Our youngest son Jaiden asks us almost every single day no matter where we are: “can we ride the metro train sometime?” Our universal answer is, “yes – sometime.” So, Thursday was finally sometime and we rode the metro into DC and invaded the National Museum of Natural History. The little ones tired out in pretty short order, but Bennah and I made an extended exploration while Renee took the others for snacks in the Fossil Cafe.

The Pohick Bay Campground in Virginia near our old home was so nice – we wanted to stay longer, but Friday came and it was time to leave. We had a very pleasant journey up to PA and are now enjoying the farm, the kids have their friends again whom they’ve been looking forward to seeing for months, and we are getting ready for Passover.

I’m still incredibly busy with business and have added even more new projects to the list. I much prefer drinking through a fire-hose I suppose. Episode #5 is now live! I need to catch up on 3 months of photos to my SmugMug galleries. Spring is coming and YHWH’s blessings abound!