Sunday, January 27, 2013

Abigail Rose.

It feels like just yesterday that Broc and I were riding our bikes around the driveway, kicking each other's feet under the kitchen table, dressing up our dog, Chevy, and breaking ping pong records in the garage. Growing up with no other siblings, we were each other's best friend and rival enemy. Now, I consider him only the former, and see him more as a much older, wiser brother, even though I came first.

In 2009, Broc fell in love and married Ashley, and I adopted a sister. I have loved having her as a part of our family, and more and more I see how her and Broc are perfect for each other. It doesn't take long when I return from Haiti that the 3 of us are down in Dad's rec room cranking up the speakers and breaking it down. In my months away, we skype regularly, and I always look forward to their travels to visit me in the spring. During Ashley's first trip, I learned how to say 'sister-in-law' in creole, which translates to 'belse'. Translated literally it means, beautiful sister, which suits her perfectly.

This past spring, we were chatting on one of our usual skype dates, and they broke the news that they were expecting... As you can imagine, the last 9 months have been a huge buildup to meeting the first daughter/niece/granddaughter on both sides of the family. It became evident very quickly that this baby was going to be smothered - No way around it.

I will never forget last night as long as I live... I sat up, wide-eyes glued to my computer screen, with those childhood memories of Broc spinning around in my mind. Before long, his grown-up, beaming, just-became-a-dad face greeted me on the other side of the screen. He gave me a brief play-by-play of the day, and then whisked me into the delivery room where Ashley, glowing and gorgeous, held the most angelic little doll. Yes, my baby brother and his bride are parents! Apparently cell phones were not permitted, but I am so thankful that I can count on a family that goes above the call of duty to break hospital rules. I saw her little hands and heard her cries - proof that baby Abigail Rose is perfect, and like her name, she has already overflowed this family cup with joy!

Welcome to the world, sweet Abby-girl. May these first days of love be a prelude to a life filled with joy, hope and peace! I love you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dirty dishes.

A few weeks ago I found a photo on pinterest of a sign above a kitchen sink. It read:

Thank heaven for dirty dishes, 
They have a tale to tell,
While others folks go hungry, 
We're eating very well.
With love and health and happiness,
We shouldn't want to fuss,
By this stack of evidence,
God's very good to us.

This morning at school, in keeping with our theme of the days of creation (today being the 7th day when God rested) we all wore our pyjamas to school. This was a first for the Benard boys, and by the way they dashed into school grinning this morning, I have a feeling that it won't be their last!

After recess, I rang the bell from my apartment balcony and treated all 5 of them to pancakes to go along with the cozy wake-up theme. We dined, we laughed, we used over a half bottle of syrup, and all left with full bellies. When I entered my apartment for lunch, I took an assessment of the damage. Syrup smudges, crumbs under chairs, a counter full of pancake ingredients, and towards the sink lay a mountain of dishes.

Immediately, my mind zigzagged back to the pinterest poem and I let out a big breath of satisfaction. Within 10 minutes, my kitchen was scoured and swept of all the sticky fingers, and I stood at the sink, thanking the Lord for spilled syrup and little boys that don't take time to cut small pieces and the goodness of comfort food.

I'm so thankful for the sticky juice pitcher that I filled with fresh passion fruit last night for Chelsea and I to sip on and unwind from our days. Thankful for the ice tray that I empty daily. Thankful for the conglomeration of bent forks, spoons and knives that I've inherited over the years. Thankful for a stack of plates and bowls with chips and scratches.
Yes, these dishes may keep me occupied, but I'd much rather clean them daily than have them collect dust in a neat stack. Baking and hosting has become one of my favourite things, and I am so blessed to have co-workers who are neighbours who are such wonderful friends... Beautiful people who I get to do life with, who challenge me, and who bring such joy into my life.

So here's to more dirty dishes, more spilled cups and more sticky fingers.
I just texted my mom to ask her to get me some more dish soap to send with the Canadian team coming in a week... I'm looking forward to using it up. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

He holds it all.

I've begun this post many times only to hold down the backspace key and start over. This week has been such a smattering of colours and conversations that it's hard to know where to begin.

~ Ashley is due today. TODAY. Every time my What'sApp ringer goes off on my phone, my heart skips a beat... I can't wait to be an auntie and welcome this little babe into the world, no matter the distance! 
~ This past Saturday afternoon I sat with Pierre and watched the late afternoon sky turn to dusk. 3 years since the earthquake, evidence of brokenness still exists, but through the cracks, there is so much light. I am in awe of the way that the Lord redeems.
~ I adopted a new student (sort of)... The Beaurivage family has moved down to Haiti long-term and Joslyn is taking secondary correspondence courses, so she has joined in on our afternoon study period in the classroom. It's so nice to have another girl around!
~ Yesterday morning I smelled something awfully familiar. A terrible stench that could only mean one thing: You have a dead rat in your house. Worst. So I enlisted Noah and Caleb to my search party, and after emptying my storage closet, we found it. I am still cringing as I type, but fortunately I have students who willingly assist me in times of crisis.
~ Sarah and Creighton booked their wedding date! I'm so excited to celebrate with them this spring!
~ I read this really good article last night. ( It's about life questions and choices and the freedom we have in the Lord. It was just what I needed.
~ Grant Rumford just called me. He and Sandy are on the island for the next few days with a dental team. I can't wait to see them and hear all about 'my kids'!
~ We've been studying creation in devotions. Did you know that there are over 10,000 species of birds and over 40,000 species of fish? I typed 'bird' into google images and we could have scrolled through pictures of different vibrantly feathered friends for days. I find it so incredible that the Lord didn't just create one type of bird or mammal or fish, but THOUSANDS. If that doesn't show His creative side, I don't know what does. Don't even get me started on sunsets and fingerprints.

And maybe that's where I'll stop. Despite the randomness of this blog and these moments, I rejoice because I am held in by a Maker who is not just before all things beautiful, but holds them all together (Colossians 1:16). As the weekend draws near, may I rest in that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ever-pressing onward.

The last couple of weeks have been a revolving door of wonderful people and places, where every minute that passed just wasn't quite long enough. In many ways, sitting on my velvet couch this afternoon with the fan blades spinning overhead, it feels like I never left. And yet the memories of my Christmas break take me back to a dreamland of foreign familiarity.

Perching on my parent's couch overlooking MillRace Road, mesmerized by the giant flakes falling down. Sitting round Oma and Opa's kitchen table for Sunday lunch of homemade vegetable soup and golden zwiebachs. Sipping warm Starbucks deliciousness with Darcie. Embracing Ashley, my sister-in-law, and feeling the kick of little feet belonging to my soon-to-be niece or nephew. Raising my candle with the rest of the congregation in Wainfleet BIC's Christmas eve service. Holding the oh-so-sparkly hand of my dear, newly-engaged Sarah. Road tripping to Springfield with Ryan. Breakfasting and praying with friends new and old.
These are just a few of the highlights forever etched in my memory from a farewell to 2012 and kick-off to 2013. I am so ready for all this year has yet to hold, while also marvelling at how much it has held already.

Thank you for journeying with me this year. I'm excited for all that is to come in this place where the sun shines bright and the mountains awe and the people embrace you with open arms. A place where bare feet meet tile floors. Where friends come over early and stay late. A place where Creole greetings are heard across the sidewalks and every evening is a picnic supper. Most of all, a place where you can hold hope, and where every morning 10 feet scamper into a one-room schoolhouse and 10 bright eyes seek to learn.

My deepest prayer for 2013 is that my eyes would stay wide open so that I don't miss a moment on the horizon. And not just my physical eyes, but the eyes of my heart. That I may be continually aware and fixed on the Lord's presence with me as I venture outwards and onwards. Praise be to the God who keeps us ever pressed forward to what lies ahead.