Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 31, 2010

As we wrap up another Christmas season, with all the trappings and commercialization that seem to become more invasive every year, I ponder why we really do all of this. It would be so wonderful to simplify it all and get back to the real reason why we even celebrate this holiday. Even within the church, we seem to become so harried, getting ready for Christmas Eve services and focusing on how to best get the message of new life out to as many people as we can. It was a very low key Christmas for us, with only the two youngest home and it seemed rather quiet, but pleasant at the same time. Now that it is over and we have experienced yet again the wonder of Christmas and anticipate the challenges and blessings that 2011 will bring, I ponder what I will do differently.
I have just finished reading 'The Power of a Whisper' by Bill Hybels, which raised some questions about how I have lived my life in relation to the whispers that I have ignored, the ones I have chosen to listen to and why I don't respond more readily and eagerly to the ones I receive daily. It is thought provoking to realize that God continually nudges our hearts and yet I tend to push that aside and carry on with the way I want to live. I would like to think that I aim high in all my intentions and ambitions, but lately I think I have only scratched the surface of what God would have wanted for me. How many blessings has He arranged and I've missed?

The beautiful children of Kenya.
My thoughts wander back over the past 12 months and I realize how blessed I am. We welcomed two new beautiful granddaughters into our family this summer. We spent 2 weeks at our cottage in NB, learning how to 'operate' our two new kayaks. Andrew had a unique opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Africa, visiting rural Rwanda and Kenya.

Sarah (16) and Anna (15), Christmas Eve 2010
It has been a full year and we look forward to what 2011 will hold for us. We realize the two youngest are quickly becoming young ladies and before we know it they will be pursuing their own interests and making their way in this world. We are so very proud of them both and know they will excel in whatever they choose to do.
A new year is upon us - will I continue to do day to day, week to week, month to month as usual or will I dare to step beyond and ahead.
'And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.' Ezekiel 36:26

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kayaking 101

October 1 ~ 28 degrees C ~ perfect day for an adventure.
Starting out ...

The kayaks are still being used and today was the first time I had really tried one out. Andrew and I decided to head to Nictaux Canal (actually Andrew decided, I was just along for the ride). Nictaux is a little place just south of Middleton. So, we both took the day off work, hoping the weatherman was correct in telling us that no rain was in the forecast. I must say that I was a little timid about this whole thing, but once we got in the kayaks and headed out, it was great.

Beautiful rural Nova Scotia in the fall.

Almost to our destination - the lake.

We had time to talk and enjoy the fall beauty of NS. It was fairly windy and the wind was against us as we headed out, our destination a small lake at the end of the canal. After about an hour and a half we made it to the lake, but there was a low bridge and the lake looked rather rough, so we decided to turn around and head back. Needless to say, my arms and shoulders are suffering a wee bit tonight. About halfway back, the sky opened up and it poured rain (thanking the weatherman for his accuracy in the forecast at this point).

The end of the journey - note the drowned rat look - not so attractive!!
Still crazy, after all these years ...

Life goes on. The teenagers are growing up and away, so time to develop some activities we can enjoy together. Looking forward to Thanksgiving, spending time with family and friends and always remembering that God is the giver of all good gifts.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer 2010

What a busy summer. Each year as I finish up my work at the end of April, I have a list of the many things I will accomplish over the next 4 months, but the months have slipped by and my list still seems rather long. At the end of June, I began another part time position with a real estate office doing admin work, which I am really enjoying. Right now, it is working out to be about 4 hours a week and I will continue to work at the church for 15 hours per week. So, it may end up being a rather busy fall.

Miss Eden Jacquelyn Cross born on July 13, 2010. So beautiful.

On July 13, we welcomed a precious new granddaughter into our lives, Eden Jacquelyn Cross and we made a trip to NB to meet her. This summer we decided to purchase not one but two kayaks. Andrew has been wanting one for a couple of years, so we went to Pictou and purchased them from Freedom Canoe and Kayak. Needless to say, Andrew has been thoroughly enjoying the sport and the girls had fun with them while we were at the lake.

Sarah trying out one of the kayaks on a very calm day - Harvey Lake, NB.

Anna in the other one - they were both pros!!

Grampie enjoying some special time with a special little girl.

Early in August we made our annual pilgrimage to our cottage on Harvey Lake and enjoyed some quiet, relaxing time as well as some hard labour. Deciding that the camp needed some TLC, we spent the good part of a week, scraping, priming and painting. We finished 3 sides, so the remaining side and the shed will get their share next spring/summer. I also decided that we needed a change of color after 40 years of it being white with green shutters. This decision didn't sit too well with some of the fam, but I think they are starting to adapt. Hey, we could always change the color next year!!!

Oh, the joy of owning a cottage. It took a lot of time and hard work to scrape, prime and paint the camp.

But the end result was quite lovely. Colors are pewter with sun-dried tomato trim. The steps and screen doors are on the to-do list for next year!!

We were hoping that our 3rd granddaughter would arrive while we were on vacation, but nope, she decided to hold off. Lila Adelaide Naugler made her appearance on August 21 and I ended up going back to NB solo to help out where I could. We are so blessed to have these two beautiful new babies in our lives.

Miss Lila Adelaide Naugler born on August 21, 2010. So perfect!!

Grammie with her sweet granddaughters, Charlotte (2), Eden (6 weeks), and Lila (4 days).

Some of our summer was also spent at the pool and on the soccer field with our wonderful teenagers who are still under our wings.

Anna at the NS Provincial Swim Competition in Bedford, NS. She loves the water and here she is competing in one of her favorite strokes, the breaststroke. She achieved all personal best times except for her short free.
Sarah (back row, 3rd from left) with her summer soccer team. They were the gold medal winners in the New Minas Invitational Tournament. A great team and a well deserved win.

Now, we are back to the reality of fall activities and anticipating what God will do in each of our lives. Lou Fellingham is one of my favorite singers and I have been listening to some of her music. This song is a glimpse of how I desire to live.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Life

She is so very perfect!

We have just spent some time with our newest granddaughter, Eden Jacquelyn Cross. She is perfect and such a beautiful gift. I know that Kathryn and Tim will be great parents and cherish the moments that only a little girl can give them. We are so very blessed to be able to share in the joy that a new life brings.
Oh how I love those bare baby toes!!

And, this is my lot in life, right now!! They are so great!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big Tancook Island

Well, time for another post. Last weekend, we decided that a 'family' trip to Tancook Island was in order. We also invited our small group to come along and two dear friends from our group came with us. It was a day that started out with one of the girls dragging her heels, but as the day went on, she realized there was no way to get off the island, except to wait for the ferry to take us back to the mainland, so ended up enjoying herself, despite of her initial attitude. It is an interesting island with interesting residents and the girls saw a way of life that was rather foreign to them. We hiked about 6 km through woods, along the beach and back to the ferry via the dirt road. Pictures tend to tell it all, so I will insert some takes of our day away.

Who really wants to be on a ferry with her Dad and Mom??

This is an extreme example of the state of vehicles on Tancook. This car was on the wharf when we arrived. Was beginning to wonder what our day would hold!!

In complete contrast, some beauty of the island.

The beginning of our hike across a meadow towards the beach.

A pond held back by a high natural dyke of tumbled stones.

A little snack break on the beach.

Our dear friends, Kim and Judy, who joined us on our adventure.

Visit to the local graveyard. Some unique stones and quite a few 'Crosses' (our son-in-law's relations).

Buoys in tree.

I wonder how many pictures have been taken of this house - the most colorful one on the island.

All in all a very enjoyable day with outstanding weather. I am gearing up for our next adventure which will hopefully be whale watching off Briar Island before the end of June. Looking forward to the first soccer tournament of the season this weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Becoming Me

The Nickerson clan around 1970.

Maybe it's because I am very close to being another year older, or possibly the fact that I will be Grammie to 3 beautiful girls by the end of the summer, but whatever the cause, my thoughts drift to the past - where I've come from, the present - where I'm going and the future - what my legacy will be.
So I'll start with where I've come from and maybe by the end of this blog I will have saved some money on therapy. Being raised in a family with 9 children I felt that during my pre-teen, teen years my identity was babysitter/peacekeeper and generally avoiding the fray and challenges that my parents dealt with on a continual basis. To this day I will try to avoid conflict at all cost, which I believe is a direct result of my upbringing.
When Andrew came into my life, I completely fell in love, wanting and needing so much to be with him and to begin our life together. As I reflect on this time, I wonder if I was also looking for an out - to be someone special and unique in his eyes. So instead of GIVING - my time, my love, my care, I was running full speed into the role of TAKING and it was so, so good. Andrew was my healer and everything I had ever dreamed that a great husband would be. However, throughout our married life I realized that my identity was once again being tangled in with being a wife and eventually mom. There were times during these years that I felt completely lost and really did not understand who God wanted me to be. The busyness of raising 5 daughters and the reality of desiring to keep our marriage alive and vital was very draining and the years seem to have sped by so quickly.
Although I have gone to church since I was a wee child and considered it always to be important and relevant in my life, I ponder on "why?" and the answers are varied. Being a part of countless small groups, being involved in various ministries through the years, always striving to do the "right" things - investing my time in activity - is this why God created me? Or, as I am slowly beginning to understand, am I here to desire and hopefully achieve a loving, nurturing relationship with my Saviour? There are times I feel I have done everything so backwards. As I seek God and my heart aches for a new closeness with Him, I wonder if the "things" I try to accomplish now, will be for Him rather than me wanting the affirmation of 'a job well done'. Why has it taken so long to figure this out?
Which brings me to the present (or near present). Five years ago, on a whim, I decided I would apply for a part time job (after 23 years of "working" in the home). This was a challenge for me and after the interview (very nervous) and then getting the job, it seemed to fulfill this strange need of someone else appreciating the work I was doing (again looking for affirmation). During this time my baby sister became ill, was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma (bone cancer) and within 40 days left this earth. She was the gentlest, kindest, most loving person I knew. So, over the duration of her sickness and death every ounce of joy and sense of happiness was sucked from my being. And here we have it again, my sense of identity wrapped up in being the oldest sister, trying to protect and care for and 'save' someone who I loved so much. There was a period of time after Wendy died that I knew there was a battle being waged for my soul. It was so palpable and also very frightening. There had to be prayer warriors bringing me to the throne of grace or I would not be where I am today. God won that battle and He will always be victorious. He conquered the grave and death for me and I am so very thankful for that. All He wants from me is a relationship and yet I when I seem to get close, I veer away. Presently, I am working as a ministry assistant at our church and wondering if this is where I need/want to be. The job can be challenging and I do enjoy the work, but again trying to figure out if God's plan includes this.
On to the future - my legacy. As I think about our grandchildren and the world they will be a part of, I pray that they will learn about the amazing love of God. If I can contribute to that knowledge, I will consider myself blessed and complete.
I am on a journey, and yet I'm not alone. My family, my friends and my God travel with me. May I be identified as a Christ follower and be open to opportunity and growth - all for Him.
James 4:14 ~ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rajaton, Risk and Restlessness

Wow, March 10! Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.
Anna had an opportunity this past weekend to participate in a weekend with Rajaton, a 6 member acapella singing group from Finland. It was part of an event that the Nova Scotia Choral Federation had organized and Anna is a member of the Annapolis Valley Honor Choir, so was able to go. She had an unforgettable experience and I'm sure the memories will be with her for a long time. Andrew and I purchased tickets for the final concert on Sunday afternoon. I wasn't sure what they would be singing as I had heard that they do a lot of ABBA songs, which Andrew really isn't a big fan of. We were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed 2 hours of wonderful singing, finishing the afternoon with their signature song "Butterfly" backed up with a 500+ voice choir at the Rebecca Cohn. It was beautiful and the sound was amazing. I think we need to embrace more cultural experiences, which will segue into my next thoughts.
I have been thinking a lot about short term missions or possibly spending an extended time in a third world country, maybe partnering with someone who is already established there. I'm not really sure where these thoughts will lead and not sure if this is just a stage of life phase, but I hope that if doors were to open in this direction I would be willing to step out and give what I am able. There are times that I feel that living in this North American culture, we tend to develop a sense of complacency and I wonder if this is what has created this feeling of restlessness.
Life continues on - loving my God and my family.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

As We Weep - Do We Respond?

Well, here we are at the end of January and has a month changed anything in my life? Not significantly. As we witness the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti via the immediacy of the media, my heart weeps for these precious people. Our youth pastor sent me a link to a message by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church - very moving, very real. I believe as Christians in North America we will have much to be accountable for. I am going to try and link this message. I think you will have to copy and paste the url (my computer skills need honing!).
If you have an hour and a half to spare, this is well worth taking the time to listen.
Carrying on, fiercely loving my family and knowing that when all is said and done, God will indeed win the battle.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


What a beautiful time we had as a family over the holidays. It was a joy to spend so much time with our sweet granddaughter, Charlotte and it was the first time in awhile when we were all together under one roof. A good friend of Heather's (Laura MacDonald) and a very gifted photographer made time to come and shoot some family photos (not an easy task as our family gets larger!). Thank-you, Laura.

December 28, 2009

As we begin a new year, I am thinking about the areas in my life that need evaluation. Work, home, relationships, family .... As I consider the past year and think about the months, days, hours that have slipped by, I wonder if what I have filled those days with, coincides with what God had intended for me. Are my choices wise? Do I grab those opportunities that could affect others? Am I really living and offering my best to the ones I love the most? For a lot of the past year I would have to answer no to these questions and step back to consider how can I change that outlook for 2010.
Work, for me, is an extra curricular activity. It is something I enjoy and it allows me to spoil the girls a bit. However, stepping into a position that was new and really not established and to try and develop the responsibilities as ministry assistant has, at times, been a challenge. Have I accomplished this? Is it time to allow someone else to grow here? This has been something that has occupied a lot of my thoughts over the holidays.
I have always thought of our home as a safe haven, a place for family and friends to gather and have fun, have thought provoking discussions, have good meals. I hope that as the years have come and gone, that our children have felt comfortable bringing their friends here to hang out and just be themselves. Again, as the children leave the nest, am I using this home to it's full potential? Is there something I'm missing?
My relationship with God, with my family, with my friends are so very important to me. To establish solid, loving relationships needs so much evaluation. I know I need to prioritize the discipline of setting aside the time to read, study and spend good quality time in my relationships. To quote John Fisher ~ "I need to find out what is big enough to move me forward and overcome my own barriers to change. It may be my spiritual gift; it may be forgiveness; it may be my new identity in Christ, it may be a missionary call ... whatever it is, real transformation isn't going to happen until I am in its grip."

"What will it be for me that will transform me so much that it affects what I do and say?"