Motorhome Meandering #11: Note to self: While the three roof vents sported by Mabel are small and their coverings only crank open to round 'bout a 45 degree angle, when there is a downpour, the amount of rainwater that can make its way into Mabel (and onto the mattress of her double bed) is considerable. Thus, remember to close the roof vents when you are vacating Mabel. Umm, all the time.
God is good. My last blog posting found us somewhat fatigued and a a bit burnt out. Thanks to all of you for your support and prayers in response... Our time in Calgary has left us refreshed and, once again, blessed beyond measure:
Calgary is a kaleidescope! This city sprawls and refuses to be pigeon-holed in any way. Look one way, and you see a high-rise cityscape sky line looming. Look in another direction and you find wheat fields gently rolling. Drive a bit and you are greeted by the sight of foothills and a coniferous tree line that hints of the West Coast to come. Turn around a corner in a gated suburb and you find yourself on the banks of the Elbow River with a myriad of walking trails meandering along and around it. Calgary might be famous for its Stampede, but there is plenty more to her than that..
We loved our time in Calgary. We were invited to stay in the home of a couple from one of the CRC churches who were out of Province for their son's wedding. (Don and Jannette Nauta, thank you!!) The kids got to sleep in this sweet double-loft bunk bed contraption that provided hours of delight during both sleeping and waking hours. Laundry facilities, a bath tub, an oven, all were once again generously offered for our use. So, so lovely...
The local cause the Calgary churches elected to support for their stop on this I Am Not My Own Tour was Calgary Campus Ministries. One of the CRC chaplains, Paul Verhoef, served as our main liaison and also invited our family over to his house for supper when we arrived. There we met his warm-and-wise-and-witty wife, Monique, and his three wonderful children, Noah, Aaliyah and Zoe. They fed us Glory Bowls (worthy of the name, let me tell you!) and shared of their family time and their friendship in a way that nurtured all four of us. We found this family of five to somehow become really familiar and really dear to us really quickly. Precious, precious time.
When I was communicating with Paul about our families before we actually met, in order to prepare our kids for what was coming, Paul said that his children (aged 14, 12 and 9) were all awesome with younger kids...and then, having heard from me that Kiara appreciated knowing these little details, he added "especially 5 year olds." So I paraphrased this for Kiara on our way to their house, which leads us to this posting's:
Quote-to-Note: "Those girls are NICE. You told the word, mom! They both DO like 5 year olds. A lot!" A very happy and full-to-the-brim Kiara after spending time with Aaliyah and Zoe over the course of a couple of days. Ach, thanks you two!!!
I also got the chance to visit family in Calgary. My mom's sister, Aunt Janna, and her husband, Uncle Bert, invited us over for supper where we shared a delicious meal with them and with their daughter, my dear cousin Elisabeth, her husband, Scott (so wonderful to finally have met you!) and her three wonderful sons. Again, dear, dear people and precious time.
Calgary also provided us with the largest gathering of people to date. Over 500 congregants from five different Christian Reformed Churches in Calgary came together at Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church for a combined Worship Service Sunday morning, and a couple hundred returned for Jer's concert that night. A huge thanks to Paul Verhoef and Greta DeGroot for all of their work organizing these events. Special thanks to Darlene and the rest of the Worship Team Jeremy joined on Sunday morning as well. Also to Naomi Bula, who came out on behalf of one our sponsor's, World Renew, thanks for your presence and support. Over $15, 700 was raised over the course of the day. To all of you from Emmanuel CRC, Maranatha CRC, Covenant CRC, River Park CRC and the Lantern Community Church, thank you for your incredible support and for raising your voices with such beauty and power! May God bless and keep you all.
Editor's Note: Calgary sports an incredible Science centre called Telus Spark. Zoe Verhoef joined me and Isaiah and Kiara for a day of exploring this fabulous place. Their outdoor-kids-only-zone, The Junkyard, is one of the best examples of a space that respects children and their ability to play and problem-solve and handle materials and social interactions without adult intervention I have ever seen. The entire place is an inspiration and was a highlight, as you will see...
These Are a Few of Our Favourite Things...About Calgary
Kiara: Our time at the river with our friends (Monique, Ailiyah and Zoe Verhoef) and making outfits at the Science Centre.
(Editor's Note: One of the galleries at Telus Spark was a series of foam mannequins and an assortment of fabric scraps and swaths that kids could drape over the mannequins and secure with real dressmaker T-pins to create outfits. Kiara was inspired...and so was her mama!)
Isaiah: Being at the river and making my top at the work table at the Science Centre.
(Editor's Note: Zoe and Isaiah spent quite some time at a Maker Station type gallery at Telus Spark, making spinning tops out of an assortment of electrical appliance parts using hot glue guns and a bunch of other "real-life" tools.)
Jer: The sheer number of people who came together was exciting. Getting to play for such a large group was a real highlight.
Lara: Watching Zoe, Isaiah and Kiara discover and explore and play hard together at Telus Spark. And watching Aaliyah and Isaiah frolic fearlessly in Elbow River. And singing with Jer at Sunday night's concert, the day after we celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary, two days after sharing our how-we-met story with the Verhoefs.
Editor's Note: Jer and I met through music...kind of. We had both heard each other sing and play guitar a couple of times over the course of a few years but had never been introduced. Finally, Jer took matters into his own hands (kind of) and asked his sister Leanna to ask her friend (and my sister-in-law) Yvette to ask me to sing with Jer and Leanna at a coffeehouse held in the basement of a church in London, ON. We gathered together at Leanna's apartment on a Thursday night to to meet and begin to rehearse and the rest, as they say, is history... (Contrary to how this all might sound, we had graduated from high school many years prior to this, er, invitation.) ;)
"The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near to Me. When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with Me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more." From Jesus Calling, Sarah Young.