Shannon Falls, August 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

It's Done?

Seriously? It's the end of 2012? I've been seeing many year in review posts, and I realized I should probably recap my own year--just to have, you know? Since I don't feel like being super introspective, I'll simply hit the highlights!

Last Christmas break-April brought sorting, storing and selling everything we owned. EVERYTHING. We have a couch and loveseat in storage in addition to our personal effects.

In May we moved in with my parents because we knew we were leaving the first week(s) of June. I finished the school year and on June 2, David and our friend Mo pulled out to cross the country and meet Hayden and me in Seattle on Thursday, June 7.

On June 8 we crossed the Canadian border and immediately began trying to adjust to life in a new country. We couldn't get our items that we'd brought with us until the following Monday, June 11.

Our first intern, Wilson, was here for the summer before we even arrived, and our other two interns, Christopher and Shannon, arrived about 3 weeks later. That began a rapid-fire 3 months of learning new people, our community, and different cultures. Our lifestyle, while somewhat similar to America, was vastly different, if that makes any sense!

In late August, my parents came for their first visit. Early September meant that we finally had to learn what it was like to be missionaries as a family of three as our interns had returned home. Hayden and I continued to find ways to plug into the community and meet families. Mo came back for a visit in October. David continued coaching 12-13 YO football and his team made it to the play-offs in November.

November brought our first family vacation and a trip to MS for Thanksgiving. Exactly one week before Christmas brought a heavy snow (very heavy to us!) and Hayden's first experience with the powder and snow ice cream. Christmas was spent quietly at home with no big parties or family gatherings. So odd.

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We've faced many challenges this year. David and I have learned how to stand on our own two (or should that be four?) feet. Our faith has been stretched and pushed. We've grown. I've shed tears. I've had many joys. I do miss teaching, but I greatly appreciate that people have told us we've been a blessing to them while we've been here. Hayden has had a tough time but loves having parks so close to our home . We miss goofy things such as not paying for parking nearly everywhere, Chick-fil-A, tailgaiting, you get the idea. Those things that make the South, well, the South! Vancouver is beautiful...and dark, in many ways. We've learned that sometimes what we think is our purpose is not always. God has a funny sense of humor.

As I sit typing this on New Year's Eve, I glance out the window at falling snow. Insane. I'm so used to wearing shorts (okay, maybe pants and short sleeves) this time of year. I love wearing sweaters and scarves. I love needing my fireplace more than approximately 8 times during winter. But let's be honest, I miss many things about America, too. I do not know exactly what God has in store for 2013. Sure, I want to lose weight, be happier, blah, blah, blah. But more than anything, I want to be in the center of God's will no matter what. I have to accept that I may not know what the next month brings. I'm doing well to make it through today and that's okay. He has seen us through nearly seven months in Canada; surely I can trust Him with today. He's never let me down. I pray 2013 not only moves me closer to my Father, but a bit closer to those dreams I keep locked in my heart. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snow Day and New Holiday Traditions

I have been waiting for a day like today since we arrived: snow, fireplace, winter wonderland fun, Christmas movies, and snow ice cream. It was just a pleasant cold and then toasty day. Here are some photos to recap new traditions we've started and the adventures we've enjoyed during the Christmas season in a climate not marked by warm holidays.
 Hayden's gingerbread house from Sunday, December 16, 2012 at The Crossings in downtown Van.

 Reindeer food! Highly important for Christmas Eve.
 
 Our first live family Christmas tree. It smells fabulous in our living room.
 
 Selecting the perfect tree. (Pictures a bit out of order. Sorry!)
 
 Enjoying what we thought was a cold day; if we had only known what exactly one week before Christmas would bring!
 
 Thought these blue lights looked great while the snow fell.
 
 Surrounding buildings with freshly fallen snow that was still dropping.

 More buildings surrounding our clubhouse.
 
 Evergreens with a dusting of snow. Perfecto!
 
 Hayden's first snowball just outside our building.
 
 One happy kid.
 
 He has been asking since fall begin for snow so he could make a snow angel. Wish fulfilled.
 
 Houses across the street. Just looked awesome to wake up to this.
 
We ended this day with yummy snow ice cream. Shared the idea with people who have lived with snow nearly their entire lives. How have they not done this?!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Trip Down South

As much as I love to write, I haven't felt much like updating here lately.  We just spent three weeks back in the Southeast, or "home" as we still think of it. Our trip was fantastic. We especially enjoyed the sunshine! One perk of coming back to Vancouver, though, is the "Christmasy" weather. At least with the rain and early darkness it feels more like the holidays somehow.

Our elf, Michael, has made his yearly return. This morning he left Hayden a movie--sort of a WELCOME BACK to help make Hayden's transition easier. Our son is having a tough time with us living here. We heard often over our vacation, "I'm not going back to Bancouber (Vancouver). You and Daddy go back; I'll live here with Nana and Papa." That tears at a mother's heart. When we arrived back in Seattle and retrieved our vehicle, he climbed in, we started down the road, and we heard, "I miss Mississippi." Please pray for him as we still try to find our place here.

I don't have my pictures on my computer to put here for you. We are settling back into our routines and praying through our future days. An early Merry Christmas to you and thank you for your encouragement as we live life and serve in Canada.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Future

Am I the only one who ever just rolls millions of questions about the future around in her head? Now that we're "settled" in Canada, it still seems as if there are unanswered questions about the next few months/years. Maybe that's just the life of a church planter and living on faith. I know there will always be uncertainty about some things. For now I'm simply trusting that He knows all and He will continue to reveal His plan for our lives. That's all I can do. Well, that and take a week away from technology and "life" to focus on my family more intently and on what God is trying to say to us.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Comfort Zone

Have you ever considered that God has to move you out of your comfort zone in the wildest of ways? David and I talked about living in Vancouver even when we dated, but now that we're here it feels surreal at times. There are many times where Hayden and I are the only Caucasians in a room full of Asians. There are times I miss the oddest things from MS--like my gigantic kitchen. Many, many days I never imagined that I would leave Mississippi, much less Ocean Springs.

In just the few short months we've been in Coquitlam, I've learned a great deal about myself. Whether we spend two years or ten years or forever in Canada, God has and is using this time to reveal who Jamie is and who she can be. David and I have stepped out more in faith than we have in any other time of our marriage, I believe. We've learned to rely on each other. I have learned that I rarely put myself out there to meet new people; I typically wait on others to come to me. I've become more cognizant of the face I put forward when meeting/passing people (have you ever noticed how some people just always look unhappy?). Small talk is not my gift, but I'm getting better each day. I've learned a new respect for stay-at-home mothers; in some small, small way I have a slight understanding of what it must be like to be military and to relocate where you have no family and you must start the friends, activities, and involvement process all over every few years. I'm learning to stand up for myself--when I'm offended, challenged, and reproached. I'm learning to live on less, to wait for something I want now, and to be joyful no matter what.

I don't know what our future holds or where we'll "settle" down...or if we ever will. David and I have spent the past week earnestly discussing our lives and how we'd like them to look, what plans God may have for our family, and how we can best meet the needs of our family and our future. Above all else, even if our decisions and our lives make no sense to anyone else, we want Hayden to be able to look at us and say, "My parents were obedient. God may have taken them on a wild ride, but there's not a doubt they followed His bidding."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun with Mo

It's awesome in life that God gives us friends who feel more like family than friends. Such is the case with my husband's friend Matthew. Most people know him as Mo, and Hayden even calls him Uncle Mo. He took a vacation and decided to come spend a week with us when he could have gone anywhere else. We always have a great time with Mo and he's a fantastic houseguest.

We did the normal touristy things like Whistler, downtown/Stanley Park, Metrocentre Mall, and he even joined us for our first visit to a pumpkin patch. Enjoy the pictures of our time together (I'll save the heavy duty thoughts for another post).

 Cypress Mountain
 View of downtown from Cypress Mountain.
 Shannon Falls
 Whistler
 Laity Pumpkin Patch


 View of downtown and Running Man from Stanley Park
 Stanley Park colors
 Family in front of Lions Gate Bridge

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Date Night Dreaming

This is really just a quick note, not for anything in particular. David and I went out last Saturday night for the first time in a while. We miss not having Shannon here! All we did was go to supper, but it's amazing how getting a couple out of their normal four walls can get them to talk about all kinds of things.

David and I simply did some dreaming. I don't want to divulge those thoughts, but it was so nice to just hear his heart. I never thought we'd leave Mississippi (or the Southeast) and now I feel we have a world of opportunities available. We don't know yet if we're called to stay in Canada forever or if we'll end up back in the States. If we did, we don't know if it would be anywhere near the South. We just don't know. And that's okay. We're enjoying this season of seeing God work...and dreaming.

A side note: Hayden is doing very well with Strong Start (school). While he and I do projects and school at home too, he thrives in that environment and with other children. And while I did look into it primarily to give us an outlet on the rainy days, it hasn't started raining yet. I bet I just jinxed this gorgeous weather we're still having. Maybe God knew we needed the sun just a little bit longer this year, eh?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Strong Start

It could be that with both David and me working full-time, Hayden in school, and church activities, I had no reason to go hunting extra-curricular activities for Hayden. Fastfoward to us living in Canada and adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle and suddenly I need things to help us meet people and fill our days!

 We've had such beautiful weather (apparently, not the norm and according to friends, we were getting spoiled!), but now the gray skies seem to have arrived. Not so much the incessant drizzle yet, but we have the overcast days. Bummer. We have not put Hayden into a sport this fall for a number of reasons. One is that with David coaching football and only one vehicle, practice during the week could be difficult to get to. The other is that we hope to return to the Coast for a visit at some point before the holidays, and when/if we do, we will miss at least 2-3 weeks. We want Hayden to be consistent if he's going to be involved, and this allows me the time to learn what's here. So that's what has led me to Strong Start.

Yesterday afternoon/evening I was able to venture across the border with some new friends to do a bit of grocery shopping. Sounds like the highlight of my week, right? Well, I was able to have adult conversation with other believers and not have to worry about bedtime (thanks, Dave!) and shop in peace. PEACE, I tell you. No "I want this!" or "What is that?" or "Are we going to another store?" Cassandra mentioned last night about Strong Start. This is the website's definition: "StrongStart BC early learning programs provide school-based early learning services for adults and their young children, aged birth to five, at no cost to families." Nice, right? And it's a come-and-go thing. I don't have to go everyday, I participate WITH Hayden, and it's free! FREE. That's huge. I'm working on the best location for us and filling out the paperwork. With all of the rainy days ahead, this will be perfect for getting us out of the apartment and doing something that doesn't cost us anything but time.

Our most local community centre (yep, centRe) primarily offers recreational activites and some can be pricey. There is an aquatic centre that we'll likely get Hayden involved in this spring. The aquatic centre is more like a YMCA. You have to buy a membership ($$) or we can do drop-ins for, I think, $10 a class. Hayden has done great in the pool and the spring will still be rainy, so this would be a great way to get Hayden moving and out of the apartment again. However, we did find a community centre not too far away that offers classes--some that cost and others that don't. There's a sports class on Thursdays that introduces preschoolers to all different types of sports. So we're going to start plugging in!

Within the next few months, I'll be starting some sort of job, so please be praying for that. Please be praying for David, too, because he'll become a stay-at-home dad concentrating on The Common Place. Whatever we get Hayden involved in, we want it to be good for all of us. With one vehicle, we'll have to do some figuring on a few things, but it's all going to work out. Right?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Short & Sweet

We haven't sent out a recent newsletter, but for those of you who are praying for us, first of all, THANK YOU! We can feel your prayers. Secondly, I have a few personal, selfish prayer requests that I wanted to make you aware of.

-I am looking to start a women's bible study. Please pray that the timing and right materials would fall into place. Also, be praying for the women I would be able to reach. I'm not exactly sure how this study will/would look just yet, but I'm already praying for the women who will come.

-We are just a step away from changing our visas so that I may work. There are a few ways we can change our work permits, but the easiest way would make us happiest, of course! If not, the change will still happen, it just may be more difficult.

-In reference to my being able to work, that means I have to find a job! David has been excellent in helping me look. I may have to take a position somewhere that is not "ideal," but it would allow us the freedom to look for something better/more long-term. I am looking into applying for a teaching license, so please pray that favor is shown on that. Apparently teaching jobs are hard to come by, and coming from a career where the two different teaching positions I've held were gotten very easily, this is all new!

We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing friends and family from MS over the past few months. It certainly helps to boost our energy and spirits!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Shark Bite and Scripture

There are many days when I long to blog, but I feel I have nothing to say. Seriously. Nothing. Tomorrow will mark the 3 month mark of our move to Canada. I suppose adjusting has been fairly easy (compared to other missionaries who have moved to some serious foreign lands. Though to hear all the accents here you just might think you've entered Asia or Europe!). But I'm off task. My point is that a majority of people speak English, stores are comparable (though prices are not!), we do know some folks here (even if they aren't very nearby)...you get the idea. Other transitions have been rough. We have literally had visitors, our summer interns, in our lives and home since we arrived. When Christopher and Shannon left this past Monday, it was time to really find out who we are as a family of three in metro-Vancouver. Sounds easy with parks everywhere and a clubhouse with activities, right? It's more difficult than one might think. And it led to the first days since we've been here that I, deep in my very core, missed our friends (no offense, family) from "home." Maybe it's because I've had more time to think on it this week. Hmmm...

Wednesday was the first fall Parent/Tot Connect at the clubhouse. Yeah, so Hayden and I were the only ones who showed. My heart was heavy. I needed to talk to a woman. Any woman. (Does that sound weird?) Hayden and I went to the park instead. With school back in session, the park was filled with mommies and nannies with young, young children. Sidenote: Any time we meet people, the first question they ask (after "How old is he?") is if Hayden is in school anywhere (preschool) because he's 3. I work with Hayden daily, but sometimes I feel judged because we aren't spending that money to put him in school. I have worked full-time since Hayden was 4 months old. While, yes, I did get summers and holidays off, it's not like having every day to invest in him and create and be with him. There are days I wish he was in school, but for the most part, I'm loving getting to teach him. I just sincerely hope I'm doing the best thing for him. Education is so tight here that kids voluntarily take summer school and tutor for hours after school. It was pulling teeth to get kids to tutoring last year! Maybe next year will be different in some areas that will allow him to attend PreK 4, but if not, I'll just treasure these days. He begs to do school each morning. Hayden was not only just a bit older than the majority of kids at the "green park" as he calls it, he was a full head taller! So his playing sometimes means he's beating smaller children up (unintentionally). Plus, he's still learning how to interact and such. It wasn't a bad time, I just felt alone. Everyone else was grouped up and the one group of mothers we approached told Hayden he couldn't play with their kids' toys. Ouch. It hurt me more than it did him.

Thursday we went back to the same park for him to enjoy the sand volleyball court and sprinklers while we still have sunshine. Rainy days are ahead, friends. He interacted and played well (maybe I should stay out of the picture more) with some kids, but we had to leave just as I was close to getting into some good conversations with the children's parents. I'm still learning how to introduce myself and exchange phone numbers (though my next paragraph explains how Hayden solved that for me today!).

So now to today and the reason for "Shark Bite and Scripture." I'll try to be succint in my storytelling. We met some new friends today---families from Poland. They were very nice and shared toys with Hayden. I think one mother and I will make plans to get together again soon. Her son, Michael, let Hayden play with his awesome shark. After a while, a mother and older daughter (my age) got into the pool. I looked up from one side of the pool to see Hayden attacking them (playfully) with the shark. They were so cool about it. The daughter, Kaitlyn, really played along. The first complete thought Hayden got out to her after "biting" her with the shark was, "Hey, hey. 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'" (No, I have not coached him to say that to strangers, either. Thank you, God, for a brilliant son who probably gets why we're here more than I give him credit for!) That led to a discussion on his knowing Scripture, Kaitlyn asking where we go to church, me explaining here and motioning to the complex, and her saying, "Oh, are you church planters?" I.was.shocked. She admitted that she wouldn't know anything about church planters except that her pastor is doing a series on that currently. We had a great discussion. We exchanged numbers and will likely get together for a game night. She was totally cool in Hayden coming over to play Guitar Hero.

After the week I've had, I have been praying every night for friends. I haven't had to go out of my way to make new friends in quite some time. I never changed schools growing up, so college was the first for that. and then the second time was when David and I moved to Southaven after we were married. I just thank God for connections today: I didn't want to work out this morning, but since David and Hayden were both still sleeping, I got my butt up and got it moving. As I was returning home, I passed the mom and son of a family we met at Christopher and Shannon's farewell party. We had a nice discussion outside. Touching base was good; she's so friendly and in the same boat we are having just moved here. Then we met Kaitlyn as well as Michael's family at the pool. Forming relationships here has been the most difficult for me. I hope today is a sign of days to come!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gearing Up for Fall

I couldn't come up with any snazzy title, so that's what you're stuck with (note the irony: "up" and "fall." I'm a dork.). This has perhaps been one of the oddest summers I've experienced in quite some time. There have been summers/periods of major change: graduation/college, working my first "big girl" job, getting married/moving in the spring and working full-time as a married woman, moving back to the Gulf Coast to begin teaching, quitting teaching to open a daycare only to not be involved in the endeavor as of July 5 via a text message and then having to scramble to find a new teaching position or other job. You get the idea. And then this summer and a major move...to Canada. And I'm not working (yet). And we left our huge house for an apartment. And we don't have a church home here (as we are the church). And making friends is sometimes very, very, very difficult. And our lives just look different.

I hope my family/friends don't take offense to this, but I don't necessarily miss the MS Gulf Coast. I miss the people. I miss things about the States. There are days when I just want to go across the border to be IN America. The odd thing is, we have the same or the equivalent here of nearly everything we have at "home." But there's a different feel to it. There are times I'm simply reminded (by goofy, off-the-wall items/scenarios) that I'm not in the United States anymore. We are doing well at making this home, but it is taking time.

Last night was a farewell/until-next-time party for Christopher and Shannon as they leave early tomorrow morning to return to Kansas City. It's been great having Shannon live with us. I appreciated having a girl to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to spend "girl time" with. She, just like Pia, fit in well with our family. She's welcome back any time! I digress. We met a family last night. The dad is a police officer (Royal Canadian Mounted Police: RCMP) and mom was a teacher in Ontario. They recently moved here and while not believers (I don't know that for sure, however), they are experiencing the same issues we are. They have an eight-year-old highly intelligent girl and a long-haired, blonde cutie 2-year-old of a son. The mother and I exchanged numbers and I hope we can have them for a meal and let the kids play more often. My goal is to meet other mothers/families. Thankfully, our community clubhouse is starting a Parent/Tot Connect each Wednesday. That may be our ticket. I have to make each conversation intentional. My goal is to start a ladies' Bible study very soon and not only that, I just need to make friends. My soul craves it.
 
My Visa (and David's actually) is being worked on. He, come to find out, was actually given the wrong one which resulted in my receiving the wrong permit. Once those are switched, I will likely see about becoming a sub teacher (which pays incredibly well here) and tutor. David will become more of the homemaker, but he's about to take over supper duties, so I think we'll work out just fine. He's still finding ways to make The Common Place a fixture in our community. He wants us to do things the closest to perfection that we can. I plan to start a Bible study and then see, between working, where I can best fit in more ministry opportunities. One idea David and I tossed around was a learning/Bible story time where I can focus on certain letters and associate everything with them: activities, songs, crafts, stories, Scripture, etc. I haven't focused as much attention on that yet as I probably should have. Guess I know what I need to do this week!

As I close, some "Hayden-isms" for you:
-Whenever he tricks you, he says, "I tricked you out!"
-My FB status tonight: Hayden just came out of our room, pulled his shirt up, sort of marked a spot on the upper right hand-side of his ribs and said, "You see this? It's still hungry." Pause for laughter. "Or maybe for just a drink." Cheeky grin and dimples working hard. Crazy kid.

And now I'm drawing a blank. He's so funny. Frustrating, too. And he forgets nothing! But here's to a fall that will be filled with even more changes. Thanks for your prayers and keep them coming!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

GASP!! An update...

I'm sure some of you think I've fallen off the face of the planet, but in reality, life has just been filled with changes. Some of those I'm at liberty to discuss, some I don't care to, and some would just make me sound like a very petty, immature person. So...let's move on to more delightful topics.

September will be a month of evaluating where things are for The Common Place; don't misunderstand me--that doesn't mean things are bad. It simply means we are seeing where we are and what our future is once Christopher and Shannon return to the States. Wilson and his energy have been missed, and Shannon has been a fantastic addition to our family this summer. Christopher sure knew how to keep us laughing. But come September, the three of us (plus Hayden) have to take a serious look at how we plan to continue reaching not only our immediate neighborhood, but Coquitlam.

My parents (the Nana and Papa) just stopped for their first visit. My mom arrived about 9 PM Monday night, and my dad flew into Seattle Wednesday mid-morning on his way home from a work trip in Japan and then drove up. So it was closer to about 1 PM before we saw him. We had a full day with my mom Tuesday to show her where we live and our "hang-outs," then we hung out at home and chilled while David had football practice. Wednesday was a late breakfast at IKEA, a bit more sight-seeing around Coquitlam and then waiting on dad to arrive for a late lunch/early supper. By the time we showed him the area, his jet lag was severely starting to set in, so we called it a night. Thursday was Whistler; well, more the drive up because by the time we actually got to Whistler, we had just enough time to eat a late lunch and check out a bit before we needed to head back for David's football practice. Hayden, mom and dad and I killed time at IKEA across the street from the practice field. Friday was downtown and Stanley Park and then mom and dad left mid-afternoon for Seattle to stay overnight for an early Saturday morning flight.

The staggered arrival times made doing everything we really wanted impossible. It was still a great week, though, and now I seriously need to clean again! Hayden did not want Nana and Papa to leave. I think he acquired eight new airplanes this past week thanks to them! We are working on a visit to the Gulf Coast with a special surprise for Hayden thrown in. Hayden has mentioned a few times that he misses our house, but overall, he seems to really like living here in Canada.

In some ways, it feels as though we've been here forever. But there are times I'm greatly reminded that we're still finding our way. Hopefully, it won't be as long before I update again!

Friday, August 10, 2012

What's New with the Ainsworths!

(This is a large portion of our most recent newsletter that went out. For those of you that didn't get it, here's what's going on in Coquitlam. This was written by David in case third person references made you wonder!)

"Our apartment here is about as much of home as this particular apartment will be. We know we are only in this one for just a year so we haven’t gone overboard on decorating but Jamie has done a great job of making it feel like home for the season that we are here.

Hayden is really starting to finally find a routine. We had a rough few weeks there, but we made some changes and put more of a structure in for him and it seems to have done the trick. Jamie has found some awesome learning activities for him to do each day so everyday when he wakes up now he wants to do “school” so Jamie spends the first couple of hours each day teaching him, doing crafts with him, and just spending some time just the two of them. It is really cool to see him glow with pride as he completes crafts and certain tasks. We have a pretty smart little boy and I am so thankful he has a great mom that takes time to help him sharpen his mind everyday.
    
      On the church front things are moving along. We have had 2 teams come through to spend time with us. The first was First Baptist of Biloxi. They were here around the middle of July and they helped us prayer walk our ministry area, and then came back another afternoon to put on a Family Fun Day. We had to scale things back quite a bit at the direction of the city, but we had a really great turn out here in our local park that the whole city uses. It is an awesome facility and I think many of the FBC Biloxi crew got a little jealous that we get to use that as a place of ministry. We also had a college group from Heart of Life Church in Kansas City come through. They spent a week with us and we did a day of service projects in the City Centre area, we served at a local Christian Based Drug Rehab Center, a local food bank/soup kitchen, and they spent quite a bit of time hanging out at the same park FBC Biloxi did the Family Fun Day. Our goal is to be consistently out and about in the community, and they did a great job continuing the work that we had already started when we first arrived.

We are going through a stage of learning, planning, and discerning God’s call for where we go next. We started a very informal gathering on Wednesday night and we just need to know what direction to go with that. One of our biggest needs right now is a core group of people to come along side us and help us. One of our interns has already returned home to Mississippi. Wilson did a great job for us this summer; he is an energizer bunny and I don’t think he ever runs out of energy. He was such a blessing because he was a self starter; many of the relationships that have been formed at the park are due to his consistency and willingness to be all things to all people. I am so proud of the guy he has turned out to be and can’t wait to hear what God will do with his life going forward. For now he is back at Mississippi College and I know God is using him on that campus. He was a huge help and a vital part to every single thing we have done this summer.

     As the summer is coming to a close things will probably not slow down much for us. I am coaching a football team here; it is nowhere close to American football and definitely nowhere close to football played in Mississippi, but it has been really cool to connect with my fellow coaches and the players on our team. Being from an area where football is king to so many, it’s almost like I became an instant go-to guy for questions and things. I am praying and seeking for ways to expand my role there with some possible bible study huddles or something. I am not sure what will happen if anything so please join me in prayer for open doors there if God wants me to be used in that capacity with the football league here.

     Adjusting has gone well overall. We are so confident of our call here, but we do miss all of you and having the ability to just call and get together at a moment’s notice. Life here is very different. It looks alot like home, but it is amazing how refreshing it is for us to drive 45 minutes and go to Washington to go grocery shopping or something. Believe it or not, we have found we save so much money by doing that; we do not do it very often, but when we are doing a big shopping trip, it is worth is to drive over the border to get what we need.

     We still have many prayer needs that need to be addressed. God has blessed us so much throughout this journey so we do not doubt His power and His timing in making things happen. We are still working on Jamie’s Visa issue. The Association here is helping us get it all worked out so that she can seek a tutoring position or something to help make ends meet. We know and God knows exactly when it will be an absolute necessity for there to be some external income coming in and we have full confidence that she will either find something or God would raise up more financial partners to help us make this ministry possible.

     Another prayer need of ours is just that the transition/seeking stage that we are in at The Common Place would be one that makes us stronger. We are definitely seeking the Lord for direction on some things and it is my prayer that HIS plan become what is important and nothing else. This community around us is a great one: awesome people, open minds, and big hearts. We just have to figure out the best way to serve those people and help them see the truth, love, happiness, and life that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to be ready to move and we need people around us to help us move. Pray for both of those things if you would.

     Lastly I will just say that we miss all of you. Please know that our doors are always open for a visit. I hope that finances will allow us to come back home either for Christmas or Thanksgiving and we will get to see many of you but anytime you may want to venture to Vancouver, let us know and we will be happy to host you. Please lift us up in prayer. Some days are tougher than others and sometimes it is definitely lonely, but the power of your prayers is what will help keep us plugging along. I am trying to figure out the easiest way to send out another email with some pictures from what has happened so far so be on the lookout for that. For now I will wrap it up. We love you all. Keep praying for us."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not a Scrapbooker

I am not a scrapbooker (much to my husband's dismay). I stole an idea from a friend who is also not a scrapbooker: rather than try to make folders or big books of all the fabulous artwork and events and vacations she and her children participated in, she used boxes. I grabbed empty totes that I had (nothing too huge) and stored Hayden's important milestone papers, artwork, items to reminiscence over (when my baby boy is HUGE! and gone; tear...), etc. I've done this for two years now: one for his birth through first year of "school" and the second one for his second year of school (ages 2/3). I love it because I can go back through the boxes that I've marked and ooh! and ahh! over each piece, and I did my best to date his artwork. I do not print pictures and put them in books like my grandparents did (again, not my thing and we have this awesome thing called technology, so I usually only print the pictures I really want to display or else I whip out my handy smartphone and just show him off that way!).

Now that we're in Canada and I'm getting to be a stay-at-home mom for a bit, I find myself missing picking him up from school and all his fabulous creations. And thanks to Pinterest, I have found some great ideas, while others have left me feeling like a mother who is not involved enough (sigh). I know there's no way to do everything I find, and when we either have or adopt another baby, I want to be able to do similar things to remember these sweet, sweet "baby" years. There are definitely pictures, art projects, memories, etc. I wish we'd done with Hayden. But I'm trying to not let it be too late for other ideas. For Christmas 2011, we made gifts for everyone from Hayden. I've already found the project I want to do this year. In fact, we'll probably get started soon. I just love being able to give gifts that may not be able to be used but are given for their sentimental value. Hopefully, it shows we've put more thought and time into our gifts than "Oh, look! It's another tie." or whatever habits we fall into with gift giving. (And no, I'm not sharing what we're doing this year as many family members tend to read this. If you're not family and you're curious, let me know!)

I'm definitely trying to mark the holidays or other important days with projects Hayden and I create. I remember holidays as times where my sister and I spent hours with our mom in the kitchen making way too many sweets and Chex Mix and yummy goodness. Hayden loves art projects and he helped me make quite a few last year--you can see our footprint turkeys on Facebook if you're really interested. I want him to remember growing up as a time where mom sat down with him and made stuff (even if my OCD nature craves perfection and his toddler/little boy personality does not!); I can't always take him where I want to (ie., Disney now). But we can make memories like I have planned for next week--a morning at the sprinkler park four blocks away with a picnic lunch; movie dates at home with mom with dad is at football practice; a photo scavenger hunt of various shapes.

So now, if you've read this far, you might be scratching your head wondering how my not being a scrapbooker ties into all the mumbo jumbo you just deciphered. Well, here's our big project #1: a handprint/footprint ABC book. This will be something he can look back at when he's older and I'll have to cherish always. Once we finish the alphabet, I plan to venture into the months, seasons, holidays (as they come up) and numbers. Google some of this stuff and see what you find. It's overwhelming!
See what I mean?! Some of this I stumbled across accidentally. I'm creating a binder with sections for all of our handprint/footprint art. I can't wait to see how all of this turns out. Happy creating, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Know us by our fruits

If I was honest with myself (and the humble few that read my ramblings), I have felt more like myself in the last week-two than I have since we got here. Now I do understand that anyone would probably feel "off" moving to a new country. Yes, my new country is just north of my old country and many of the things here are quite similar to America, but it still feels different. I'm finally learning my way around, I know street names!, and I can drive comfortably to just about anywhere.

Maybe having Pia (our exchange student who lived with us for five months 18 months ago) with us is helping. It feels as though she never left! We have done quite a few touristy/sight-seeing things with her here, so maybe getting out of the apartment more has had an impact. Maybe it's having the First Baptist Biloxi mission trip team here, so it feels like "home" has come to Vancouver. It was awesome to see so many recognizable, smiling faces on Monday afternoon!!

The gray skies have a big impact on my attitude. I just want to sleep! I'm a little worried about the winter due to all the rain and dreariness, so I'm trying to enjoy our "dry" season right now. Our community pool is heated, so even on cool 60/70 degree temp days, Hayden and I can still venture to the clubhouse/pool and meet families. We have some other avenues we're exploring for us to meet moms/families. David has stepped up searching out volunteer and plug-in opportunities. He's also coaching middle school-age football. We're trying to get ourselves out into the community and learn where people are. As those who journey here find out, the majority are not interested in God or religion. Many, many families/individuals have more money than they know what to do with, so they feel they don't need anything, least of all a God they can't see.

Matthew 7:15-20 says,    15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits."

We desire for those we meet to know us by our fruits. As odd as this may sound to some, we don't walk around the streets 24/7 toting our Bibles or stand on street corners preaching. We are meeting people where they are. We are loving on our neighbors (or neighbours) one at a time. Sometimes I feel like those reading my FB statuses may see that Hayden and I are at the park or pool or doing something else and think we're not making any impact. We are, I assure you! This is not the Bible-believing, everyone-goes-to-church-regardless-of-what-I-say-Monday-to-Friday-and-do-on-Saturday-night South. We've had to find our way in this city and understand where we can best fit in. It is a little difficult to explain. We have to SHOW people that they need Him; that's difficult when they have EVERYTHING else they could possibly need or want.

Our neighbors know we're here. And not just because of the noise we make! They've seen our interns in action, they know we're church planters/missionaries. When our downstairs neighbor that we met at the pool asked if we were missionaries, she knew exactly why we were here. And yes, she's a Christian but she was receptive and open to establishing a relationship with us.

I'll close with this: I told David one night that the biggest change for me was adjusting to the fact that everywhere we've been, we've met our friends through church. Here, we are the church. We're having to meet fellow Christians without the aid of Sunday School or morning worship services. And it's been possible. However, we are meeting lots of unbelievers and we must form relationships with them. And sometimes that means not making the first thing I say to them, "Are you a Christian?!" I have to say, "Hi, I'm Jamie and this is Hayden. Would you like to arrange a play date or get together for dessert/coffee sometime?" We have to be open and be ourselves and our fruits will tell them why we're here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Month In

Whew! We’ve now been in Canada for over a month. How can that be!? Pia is here from Germany for two weeks and she and Shannon have gotten along well. Hayden is definitely enjoying have two beautiful ladies in the house to entertain. Starting very soon, I’m going to begin a pretty strict routine for Hayden and me. We both need it. 
 

We have met some pretty great people here. The funny thing is, they’ve all been Christians! In such a dark city, everyone we’ve met thus far and formed relationships with knows Jesus. That has helped this Momma’s heart. Daddy is coaching middle school football and his other assistant coach is a Christian. Nathan and his wife, Cassandra, have 3 children and another due this month. They had us over for a cook-out last Sunday. Hayden and their 2 ½ year old Jeremy got along fantastically. They played with water guns until they dropped.! I see their family being fast and good friends. I took a banana pudding (and secretly, they admitted they wished we had brought sweet tea, too!) that they scarfed down. I'm serious. Recipe has already been shared! 


Yesterday we went to Whistler, sight of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Olympic Village. Hayden pronounced it “Whist-a-ler” every time. Pia, Shannon, and David saw one bear and got a picture, but Hayden and I didn't make it in time. We have some other sightseeing activities planned before I post my thousands of pictures. 


I’ve had to start jotting down things Hayden says or does so I’ll remember to record them in his journal Whenever we go to Wal-Mart, there’s a mountain fairly close. And every time he remarks, “That’s the biggest mountain ever I seen!” It’s just so comical the order of his words!


Last week Hayden hid David's computer cord. After an hour of searching and him being in time out until he could remember where it was, I noticed one of his tool boxes that he never closes was closed. Sure enough, there it was! As soon as we showed Hayden we had found it, he shrugged his shoulders, put a dimpled smile on his face, and said something adorable to the tune of, “See? It was there for a reason.” Off he trotted to your room, happy-go-lucky, while David and I couldn’t decide whether to stay mad or just laugh.


“Stupid” is a bad word in our home. But Hayden's way of saying it without thinking there will be repercussions is to just spout off, “I didn’t say ‘stupid!’” And then we all look at him because no one accused him of saying it but he wants to say it so badly he finds ways to incorporate it.


We also met two of our 3rd floor neighbors directly beneath us: Justice and his mother, Erin. We had a nice time at the pool and I repeatedly apologized for the noise we’ve made. We have a rotating door most days with 3 interns, and Hayden's still not quite used to apartment living. However, if I say we’re going “home” when we’re out somewhere, he'll quip back, “No! We’re going to the apartment!”


Oh, here are a few local things I’ve observed that I want to remember to share when people ask what it’s like living here:


-Common phrases: “No worries.” “Cheers” “Eh?” (of course) “For sure.” “Ya.”


-You have to pay to use shopping carts at most places. It’s usually a quarter or a dollar. You do get it back, but we have a hard time remembering to take change with us!


-There are no refills on pop at many locations. And for those that do offer “bottomless pop,” drinks are usually $3, instead of a typical $1.89 in MS. When we do eat out, which is rare, it’s water for us!


-Walking to most places, including the grocery store and mall! So different! And taking cloth bags with us; many grocery stores charge $.5/bag. That can really add up, especially when you’re paying recycling fees as well.


-No AC in our home. Right now, we’re in our hottest months, which are still a breath of fresh air compared to MS summers, but the apartment gets still at times. Since we’re on the corner, we get quite a bit of sunshine and that heats the apartment up, even with our standing fans, by the time we head to bed.


-Football is an afterthought sport; not the be-all/end-all for many Southern/SEC families.


-Sunshine in the summer until almost 10 PM; winter is going to be very dark, however.


-The landscape is so different. I can stare at the mountains every day. And driving just a few feet or miles changes the view of the same peak.


It’s amazing how so many things are similar to “home” (stores, restaurants, places to go, etc.), but it’s still somehow so different. I’m glad Hayden is exposed to this and seems to be loving it.
**Additional things of note to the Canadian lifestyle:

-There are very, very few to NO left turn lanes. This means traffic comes to a complete stop for someone to turn.

-If you ever need to kill time, drive through just about any neighborhood and court how many houses don't bother to take their Christmas lights down. The number is insane. -Leggings/yoga-workout pants seem to be capable of being worn with any type shirt. And I mean ANY.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Who'd have thunk?!

Who'd have thunk (yes, done on purpose) that I'd be living in metro Vancouver from small-town Mississippi waiting at Sea-Tac for our German exchange student? Just seems so odd. We have lots of visitors coming over the next few months. After that, I'll probably be in a dry spell--maybe even a tad depressed. We're starting to make some good connections in Coquitlam. Pray we find good friends soon--you know, the ones you can call at the drop of a hat. It would definitely help Canada feel like home more.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canada Day

Ever seen "Canada Day" (July 1) on your calendar in the US and wondered what it is? I did and never bothered to look it up. It's the United States' neighbor-to-the-north's Independence Day. Fitting. Every city/community seems to put on its on own celebration. Coquitlam's reminded me of Ocean Springs' Peter Anderson Festival--except here everything but food was free. There were sections to the celebration, too. Oh, and fireworks that were supposed to be done at 10 PM; we didn't go because our little family was exhausted (my face got sunburned even with my hat and complete cloud cover--and yes, I know you can get sunburned with clouds. I'm just noting what happened.) The fireworks didn't happen here because some individuals got into the blocked-off section and couldn't be found, so the city didn't take the chance shooting the fireworks.

As for the sections of the celebration, it was odd. For example, we had a jump house (Wall-E) located in the ARTS section (random). So while everyone around us was creating pottery or paintings, kids were jumping and sliding for us. We also had a sno-cone/popcorn booth over near the skatepark. All of our proceeds from our food sales is going to a hope recovery home that helps homeless individuals prepare to re-enter society as contributing members. Wilson and Christopher (our 2 male summer missionaries) were going to man the sno-cones/popcorn because they have formed relationships with quite a few of the regulars at the skatepark. Shannon and I helped at Wall-E. When we had a break, we grabbed some lunch and ate while we walked to check on the guys. They were swamped. I mean, not just a line, but quite the crowd. So we jumped in and got a system rocking and rolling. I texted Conrad that we were helping the guys and probably weren't going to make it back to Wall-E. Our line never really stopped. That's good for the hope recovery home, and we met lots of super folks, but my back hurt so badly last night. Six hours of sno-cone/popcorn-making is a long time. It was worth it, though.

Unfortunately, it meant I didn't get to walk around and take ANY pictures to share. Let's just say there had to be a couple hundred thousand people come through (there were skating competitions, bike riding  competitions, and volleyball tournaments going on around just us; that doesn't include the Arts, Community Conservation, etc. sections that were busy as well). We estimate that Wall-E had over a thousand kids jump.

I'm not sure what you've heard about Canadians and if they're rude or what-have-you, but I would say that 95% of the people we've met are extremely friendly. And I've NEVER met so many polite children (and I'm not even just talking Asian kids). One of the things Conrad shared when we visited in December and we were driving around, is that people are hungry for community. The ironic thing is that  even though people are dying to connect with others, they surround their homes with high walls or hedges that block everyone. Yet, they want community.

I went to a ladies only BBQ Friday night and met some very unique, awesome ladies. You never know what accent you'll hear and from whom. Shannon and I met two Asian women who came to Vancouver via London and South Africa. I could've listened to them all night! We have also been going to a Coffee Connection in the clubhouse each Saturday. It's pretty much the same people, but this most recent Saturday I met the clubhouse caretaker's wife--she's from Romania and came to Vancouver via Italy. They left Italy because their young son was treated as trash because they weren't Italian. Such interesting stories!

Hayden says he enjoys living here; I'll be happy for our dry months to arrive so we don't all feel so blah. My allergies are really acting up. I still want to get out and do things at 9 PM because it looks like 6:30/7 PM in Mississippi! This morning because I was stuffy, I discovered that the sun rises about 4:45!

My visa should be sorted out this coming week or so for work, and our exchange student arrives next Saturday! We can't wait to see Pia. Wilson has visitors coming for a few days and they'll be here this Wednesday. It'll be good to see friends from church.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I can always write again. Stay cool, everyone! It seems everyone but us is in an extreme heat wave. Love you!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Weeks

We have been in Coquitlam for two weeks now. Much has changed in our lives: our routines, our flexibility, our perceptions. It's still taking some getting used, but I think living here is going to be very good for our family.

Tomorrow our last 2 summer missionaries, a brother and sister duo-Chris andShannon, arrive from Kansas City. Shannon will stay with us and Chris will bunk with Conrad and our other summer missionary, Wilson. In July, our "daughter" from Germany is coming to visit for two weeks. I can't wait to see Hayden's reaction to Pia after not seeing her now for 18 months. Pia was our exchange student for 5 months. She fit with our family perfectly.

With so much rain lately, it's been hard to do much outdoors. We've gone to parks when we can, and IKEA has been our best friend. Hayden gets to play free for an hour in this awesome, secure playplace and we can wander through a 2 story, economical housing store and/or have a snack/drink in the cafeteria. You can get a drink for $1 (unheard of!) with FREE refills (even more unheard of!!) in the cafeteria. Hayden gets energy out and we get to actually talk to one another.

Canada Day is next Sunday. I'll do my best to take pictures. It's Canada's version of the 4th of July. The Common Place will have a part at LaFarge Lake--popcorn, ice cream, and a bounce house. Great way to meet our neighbors and those in our community since we're still a few steps away from getting anything up and running. Still praying through activities/opportunities and trying to meet our neighbors.

I'm going to try to make Sundays my official blog time. That way I can just catch up on the previous week on a day that should be fairly restful. Please pray that we'll make solid friendships soon. David and I have been on one 'date'-out to eat alone. Most of our outings will consist of free activites as there is so much to do outside. Tim Horton's is a coffee chain found everywhere. They are super cheap and another great way to meet locals. Have a great week! It's 5:30 here and we still have a solid 4 hours of sunshine ahead!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sticker Shock

When David and I were in Vancouver/Coquitlam in December, we did make it a priority to swing through a few grocery stores and take note of grocery prices as compared to the Gulf Coast. However, it's definitely not the same as living here and trying to cook for a larger group.

I just thought prices were high on the Gulf Coast. Don't get me wrong--groceries have definitely gone up at "home." We do have Wal-Mart but even prices there are higher. For example, gummy snacks (10 packs) are approximately $3.87; a 3-pack of popcorn is roughly $2.00. That may not seem high to some of you across the US, but my child is a growing hoss! Oh, and taco seasoning! We were paying $.67 at Wal-Mart in Ocean Springs; add a dollar to that here.

It's just that, as you know, things add up! This summer (for the next 10 weeks) I am cooking for approximately 6 people. Hayden eats what we do, and he can sometimes out-eat me. (They say you can double a boy's height at age 3 to see how tall he'll be when he's older. If this holds true, Hayden should be between 6'8"-7'0"! My dad said he's rather clothe him than feed him!)

David and I sat down today and came up with approximately 2 weeks of meals that can be made cheaply for larger groups. Once it's back to the 3 of us, I have a few things I'll throw into the rotation. We're trying to be smart with our money. Eating out will definitely be a treat, not the norm. I miss things like Chick-fil-A and the dollar menu at McD's. Geez, that makes me sound like I eat out all the time! But you get the idea of where I'm going with all of this.

If you're interested in sending a box :) we have honestly been making a list of stuff that is just outrageous here (or that we can't get).

We hit 70 degrees here today, and you should have seen the kids at the sprinkler park! I know our friends and family at home are sweltering. I hate that, but we finally have a day of sunshine in the ten we've been here. Happy summer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tired

To have half the space of our former house, I sure am tired. Unpacking is hard work! I want to write a longer post later, but just know Hayden has grown up overnight. The stuff he says! We got through the border fairly easily and just have a few links to work out. Hayden loves to stand on our balcony and introduce himself to everyone who walks by! We have a Canadian bank account and cell phones. We haven't done much exploring on foot yet because I wanted home set up. I miss my ceiling fans and sweet tea! We get internet on Monday so I'll write next week. Until then!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

City Livin'

We're here! I'll update with how everything went at the border and what our new place looks like once my stuff I here and put up. We do have Internet already and we made a quick trip to Walmart last night so we can function until Monday. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Slowly ripping off the bandaid

This week has felt like I've been slowly pulling off a bandaid. I admittedly had a meltdown the other night but very few people would understand the specific reason why. I am better now. Change, especially of this magnitude, takes some adjustment. David will be in Boise tonight. Everything really is packed; I have a few things to wrap up but overall, we're ready. It's been taxing repeatedly saying goodbye to people. We've eaten fairly poorly and we're exhausted. Since David left on Saturday, I've been able to say, "I just have to get that done by Wednesday night. I still have time." Well, that time runs out tomorrow. I don't necessarily want to go anywhere but I don't want to stay home. Make sense? I know we're hitting the ground running in Canada, so I feel like there's no rest or complete relaxation in our future. I'm at the point I cry at random stuff at the weirdest times. It's just exhaustion and change. Plus, I know I'm anxious about our flights on Thursday. Hayden has been a pill at times because he can sense everything, too. Once we're settled, I want to hide for a few days!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not sure what to do!

I hope that title doesn't sound as if something terrible has happened...because it surely hasn't. David and a great friend loaded the moving truck this morning. I took the customs paperwork back about 2 hours later, and we were...done. I've had an afternoon to sit, watch tv, and doing nearly nothing. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't things floating around my mind to do, but I have nothing pressing. We have my school stuff to take to our storage unit of stuff staying here and we need to finish packing suitcases, but other than that, I think things are pretty much done. Other than final goodbyes and visiting places we won't have in Vancouver. I'm going to miss Chick-fil-A!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Long-term sub

Our friend Conrad is doing me a huge favor. Surrey Christian School needs a long-term substitue from October through mid-June. I created and emailed Conrad all the documents required for this position. The posting expires June 8, and this would be a perfect opportunity for me to get my foot in the door in BC. I know many of you are praying for us and our journey, so you can add this specific request.

If this isn't it, I don't know what is, but God will open another door. This would still allow me to teach without the full pressures of the job. Plus, I wouldn't start until October! It's for a history, Bible, and English position. Thanks for praying!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2.6

2.6. Only 2.6 more days with my 7th graders. While I'm actually very ready for the end with my darlings (that sounds awful, I know), it also means we're THAT much closer to leaving the US. We just found out today that for our Visas we have to have passports. For us, that's not a huge deal; it does mean we have to trek to NOLA this week to get Hayden's. Nothing like last minute, right?!

We had a "scare" with housing, but praise God, the lady we initially spoke to about her apartment dropped the rent! It's a long, detailed story, but we know for sure that we're back in the apartment we were planning for in the beginning. It was also very humbling to know that not even having met us, she wanted us. She told our friend Conrad (who's doing the footwork in Coquitlam right now) that she desired for us to come in because she knew we would take care of the place.

Please be praying about work. David's clergy Visa doesn't allow him to work and that's fine. We knew it wouldn't. We can go "x" amount of months thanks to our partners where I don't necessarily have to work. But we have found a long-term sub position at a local Christian private school that would get my foot in the door and could possibly garner a full-time, full-school-year position the following fall. If I got this position, I would start in October and go through June. Pray for David too as he'd become a stay-at-home daddy and the housekeeper and cook! I don't know if he's ready for ALL of that on top of the church business that we'll be jumpstarting and pouring our lives into.

David leaves two weeks from this morning and Hayden and I leave in a little less than three. We have some major (teary) goodbyes in that time. God just continues to work everything out; we knew He would, but He still blows my mind!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lock it up

Well, it's officially official. We just locked our first homes' door for the last time. Rather bittersweet. There were things I loved and hated about that house, but it was where we brought Hayden home and where we spent four years of our five year marriage. I loved the space; hated cleaning 2200 sq. ft. Loved that Hayden could ride his bikes inside; hated the white carpet. Loved the yard to play and entertain in; hated keeping it cut 10 out of 12 months (that's what it felt like!). It's sad but exciting to say goodbye. I knew one house growing up. Hayden won't be that way but it's cool. Here's to new adventures in Vancouver!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Common Place

The church we are starting is called The Common Place. We even have a FB page and it's completely humbling how many people are praying for us. In a month, we should have spent the first night in our new home. That's insane to me. To realize how close the last day of school is. The kids have gone crazy and we can feel the anxiousness of getting to Vancouver and getting settled. I've been very lazy on posting but if you ever think about a move like this, let me know. It's awesome but also a lot of work!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting Closer

Well, we are out of our house. Not "officially" as we still have a load for the dump, a yard sale pile, a last storage unit run, and the cleaning to do. I've cleaned about a 1/3, and once the rest of the items are out, it should go quickly. Vancouver has been real from the start, but there's something different now that we're bunking with my parents. We hadn't planned to "move in" until later this week, but we had completely taken apart Hayden's room and we couldn't use our kitchen. Pray for us as we finish our last month on the Coast. We have to do a bit more condensing and decision-making, as our space in Canada will be so limited. Our commissioning service is next Sunday, May 6, at FBC Biloxi. Our bodies and minds are tired. This isn't like a normal move and so the details can be overwhelming. MCT2's are in a week and a half and I'm not sure how my kids will do. They're so over the year and my mind is on so much. Thank you for your prayers and I can't wait to update with news and pics from Canada!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Short and sweet

My house is looking very empty. My students have lost their minds. Our lives are in boxes. Our commissioning service is May 6. I am tired. Yard sale on Friday. Tons of stuff. Tons. Come buy it! Moving in with my parents for May. Taking Hayden somewhere special this weekend. He will be 3 on Tuesday. Having a birthday/say goodbye to friends party later. No time right now.


I don't usually write in all simple sentences but ask my students: I'm so overwhelmed I've been making up words in class. Great for an English teacher! Oh yeah, field trip coming up and state tests. Ready to be settled in Canada!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The countdown

By this time in two months the Ainsworth's will hopefully be Vancouver residents! That's barring any holdups at the border.


We are in about the last 3 weeks in our house. For the most part, everything is packed. We're in the selling, storing, and getting read to load phase. At this point, I will be very happy to be settled in Canada.

We have to get Hayden's third birthday party planned. There really aren't many places on the Coast to have an affordable party. The last two years we've had it at our home but that impossible this year. Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

June 7

It's official! Hayden and I have plane tickets for June 7. David and our friend Mo will be road-tripping it with our car. They've always wanted to, so this is the perfect opportunity.


I'm off for spring break and I'm keeping Hayden home next week. Based on the way he's behaving today, I'm not sure how much I'll get done. I really need it all done except for the essentials. I also want to do things with him next week, not just work at the house. Guess it'll be a day-by-day thing



Friday, March 23, 2012

Moving On Up!

Yes, folks, we have a place to live in Vancouver! It's actually just down the hall from the guy we're going to church plant with. We had initially planned to live a little ways away to reach another side of the city, but this works out perfectly.

David was planning to make a trip back to Vancouver in May for a conference and to house-hunt. However, we didn't hit BUY on the plane ticket we were looking at just yet. The next day (no really, the next day), our friend said he knew of a lady down the hall moving out of the city and wanting to rent her fully furnished apartment until next June when her daughter moves back from Toronto. Thank you, God!

So while we'll be in an apartment, and not a townhome, we won't be in a high-rise, at least not for the next year! This allows us to replace furniture piece-by-piece and save up to get something a little bigger (maybe) later on. Since I'll be doing the majority of the cooking for our group and our missionaries, this location is perfect. It also allows me to take Hayden to events at the Nakoma Club--the community clubhouse/gym/pool/etc.

I'm very happy with our new "home." The colors the lady has are a little crazy, so we're working with them and redoing a few things. The master bedroom is lavender with black furniture. I wanted a black and white bedroom with red touches, so now I'm thinking black with touches of purples. I can't wait to go (thriftily) shopping!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Boxing up

I'm desperately trying to sort and box up our entire lives. I love to organize so this process would actually be pleasurable for me if I wasn't having to stop every 30 seconds to clean up a Hayden mess, get Hayden something, or watch Hayden do something! You get the picture. Hayden wants to "help," but it's more of a "let's-see-how-much-longer-I-can-make-this-process-last-for-mom." I'm going to start taking days here and there to work on my house without interruption. And noise. And incessant questions!


We still need to find someone to take our dog, Belle. I do not want another pet any time soon. I have enough to worry about without an animal, too.

On another note, today is our 5th year anniversary. Here's to an exciting next five! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rambling...

Thanks to Pinterest and some new favorite mommy craft bloggers, I have what feels like a million ideas floating around in my head. Most of the projects look very simple and inexpensive, but we're very concerned about space when we move, so I'm having to wait on the majority...and that's killing me! I can't wait to be able to stay home with Hayden and do projects with him (now that I know good places to get ideas!).

I do much better when I'm busy. When I have a ton of things to knock out each day, I find I get more accomplished than when I know, "Hey, all I have to do today is organize this stuff and do the dishes." I've let Saturdays become lazy days, and I don't like the way I feel at the end. So I'm taking steps to prevent that. Part of what I'm doing is being more pro-active. For example, I'm about to reintroduce exercise into my life. I feel huge, gross, and ugly. My clothes don't hang right. My body is sluggish. My knees hurt. I want to be a hot, fun mom. Hot, but modest! I'm sick of being the biggest person in the room. I know I don't have the time I did in college. I lost 60 lbs. in college and I felt so alive! In organizing stuff for the move, I found clothes that I had forgotten about because I haven't been in them in 4 years! Yikes. That's embarrassing. And horrifying. I remember how easy it was to buy clothes the last few years of college because none of them had an X or a W as part of the size. I want that back! I know my husband will read this later, but I want to be consistent and push myself without having to have someone standing over me. Where has my willpower gone?

Church was good today. I really, really enjoy our Sunday school class. I'll be sad to leave these couples. I feel like we've finally started connecting with some of them and it's my own durn fault it took this long. I'm working on becoming more social. I have a hard time making small talk, especially with girls. I'm also working on my relationship with God; that's been a huge part of what's going on with me.

I'm looking into routines for us in Vancouver since we'll all be together much more each day. I've told David that I MUST have at least an hour each day to work out or run or just for me. Hayden is fantastic and brilliant, but he's a toddler. For example, he had a complete meltdown in the kitchen at breakfast because the corners of his pop-tarts were broken. Heavens! Then he'll say something so beyond age almost-3 that we're speechless. I'm debating if I want to try to learn sign language or another language, like Spanish, with him. He learns both at school, but I'm not fluent in either, so it would definitely be a learning process for us both. I figure he'll probably pick up French or Mandarin (or both) pretty easily in Canada.

On a random side note, I'm watching "A League of Their Own" while I write, and I just realized I'm so like Rosie O'Donnell's character in this film when it comes to sports--loud, vocal, over the top. I miss basketball and volleyball!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Out?

Here lately I've been strongly thinking about getting out of the blogging world. I just don't blog enough. I'm definitely not dedicated enough to do it daily. I have too many other projects going on to blog each day. I suppose I could blog weekly? That's a thought. I really enjoy the blogs I read and would like to add more, but it just seems time gets away from me each day.

I don't know. I just added pinterest to my life, so that may consume me for a few days! I have some crafty projects I want to do before we move. Just small changes--mostly to things we already own. We'll see!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Turning a corner

I have hesitated to say anything about the topic I'm blogging about tonight. Hesitated for many reasons. One of my greatest faults as a mother is that I play the game of comparison. I read my froends' blogs, Facebook statuses, you get the idea and I see where Hayden is in relation to their children. I shouldn't. I know this, and yet I'm a glutton for punishment!


Hayden is a very verbal, intelligent child. But we have struggled mightily in one area: potty training. Hayden has a great deal of Holloway in him. What do I mean by that? Holloway's do NOTHING until it is their idea or they are completely ready. So why was I surprised houseboy should be any different? Because since Christmas a YEAR ago he has been telling us, "Potty! Potty!"

I thought, "Awesome! He will be trained by 2! Sweet! We are looking' good." So we tried. And tried. And tried again...during every extended school break and the summer we tried. No luck. He wasn't ready. I backed off. I just knew when he went back to school this past August he would be trained within weeks because all of his friends were going and school usually helps with this sort of thing.

It helped alright. It helped so much he only would go at school! And then he started going at church. But he would not go a single time at home. Until tonight. He has finally decided to be the complete big boy that he is! I think he knows what he's done the past year with potty training but we are finally seeing progress. HE told us tonight he needed to go, took himself, did it all, and we celebrated. Boy, did we celebrate. We have a little way before we're 100%, but I feel a weight has been lifted.

I'm so proud of him. He'll be three in April so I know he's on track, but it's been so hard because honestly, he looks about 4. I feel like people look at me crazy with him in diapers/pullups. I know I'm imagining this, but I know some of you mommies have certainly felt his way about some issue!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Closer and closer

I haven't blogged in quite some time. To be honest, I've been going through a range of emotions and some are very difficult to express. Everything continues to fall into place but as the time to depart draws very close, sometimes our patience wears very thin. There's still so much o be done. I have yet to pack the first box. Hello, Mardi Gras break!!


We look everyday for what we are soon to call home. I want decorate in my head, but all I have is a faint, very faint, idea of what we will have.

My 7th graders state writing test is so soon. Do you honestly know how hard it is to teach hook, thesis and clincher writing skills when it just comes naturally? Sometimes I feel like Sheldon on "Big Bang Theory." There was one episode where he tried to teach Penny physics. That's about what it's like!

Pray for us. Many days are overwhelming. I'm planning a baby shower this weekend. Party planning is not my gift, but it has to get there for once we are in Vancouver!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

MIA

I know I've been MIA, but our lives have just been nuts. David is at a NAMB conference this week, so I'm playing single parent for the next few days. I'm tutoring after school, so I'm nearly 45 minutes-hour later getting home each night. Our friend from Canada that we'll be church planting with will be here next week, so we're having a Super Bowl Party, and I'm hosting a baby shower (with some wonderful friends who kindly offered to help) in February for our fabulous friends who helped keep Hayden in December. We can't wait to meet baby Noah! Oh yeah, and I need to put a brick on my son's head. All of his shirts are too short and his shorts are just too small. Love me some clearance racks!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sweet Prayer

At age 2 1/2, my son is very, VERY good at being 2 1/2. So there are times when I am overjoyed that I must be doing something right! Well, WE must be, I mean.


Hayden's normal school teacher has been out due to a pretty severe illness. Each night at bedtime after devotion, we pray. I've been encouraging Hayden to pray for his friends and family. The first night he wanted to pray for Jesus. Hmmm. Interesting. I encouraged a second option. He chose Mary. Jesus' mother. Another interesting option. Having just come through Christmas, he's very stuck on certain figures.

We've been making progress with our praying and Hayden's initiative. Tonight blew me away, however. This is his prayer, without any encouragement from me:

Dear God, Thank you for Ms. _______. She sick. Keep her safe and keep her safe. Amen.

I thought it was a beautiful prayer. I nearly cried!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Speechless

No, not really. But I have such a gamut of emotions that I don't know where to begin.


Vancouver prep is in full swing. So much to do and so many things to consider.

In closing, I am about sick of a few folks' negativity on FB. Do people really have nothing positive to say or to be grateful for? It gets old, and I'm a huge Negative Nancy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to School

Tomorrow starts the spring semester. I've had the most enjoyable teacher work days yesterday and today, primarily because I actually got to...wait for it...gasp!...work. I have lesson plans in and ready up until Feb. 10. And then I even know in my head what's coming after that until May! Yippee!

My child is too smart. I wish I tape recorded everything he said. I journal to him and I try to record as much as I can, but there's no way to remember everything!

We are kicking off the major portion of our fundraising this month. Please be in prayer for David as he attends NAMB conferences, travels, and works out details. Things keep falling into place, and it's not because of us!