Tuesday, April 24, 2012

His Echoes

Two weeks ago we were packing up our kids after church to head to the Hlushko's family home for another family Easter Celebration. We were so excited to reconnect with our "adopted" family, and share all of what the Lord has been doing in our lives and hear what the Lord has been doing for them. Dana was especially excited to see his friend, and mentor, Ken. As I gathered the kids into the van, I realized Dana's head hanging low and as he told me that Ken had been involved in an accident, we both were in shock. I am so glad, now, that we made the decision to go to Regina anyways, and with permission from the family, I dropped Dana off at the hospital to be with them as they prayed over Ken. I was able to go be with Ken's niece, and my dear friend, and comfort her. Then the call, that rocked me, saying that Ken may not make it through this. I couldn't think, I sent Tiffany to the hospital with her husband and stayed at her house to watch the children and wait. Joined by another one of Peggy and Ken's "adopted" families, the Freisens, we were able to comfort each other. That was a long hard day, and we left that night knowing that it would be the last time Dana would see Ken alive. I can't even imagine what he felt, walking away from his hospital bed. Let alone all the emotions of the his family. Early Wednesday Morning, he passed away. There is comfort in knowing that he was going home to be greeted by Jesus, but we were stricken with grief. Dana started to immediately pray for his family, as he wept. I was in shock. Four and a half years ago, we moved out to the prairies, with heavy persuasion from our new dear friends, Jen and Jordan. We have never lived far away from family and were sad to leave the comfort of their reaches, but we were hopeful of that path God was leading us on and excited about the new chapter of life we were beginning. I can remember feeling that our move would lead into something amazing. The first few months were incredibly hard, and I missed my family everyday. I sunk into a bit of a depression. I tried to snap out of it, even went to the doctor to see if there was something medically wrong with me. To my surprise he said, "You're crazy!". He laughed and told me there was nothing medically wrong with me, I have just had a lot of changes in a short amount of time and my head and heart haven't had time to catch up. He said I need to create a support network here, and the best way to do that in Saskatchewan is to attend a church. Now, this was a mini-miracle, along the way of many little miracles in our lives. This doctor to seem to be a believer, and most doctors would quickly prescribe something for my "depression", but instead he prescribed church. I still find this amazing. What was even more amazing, was what felt like the very next day, we received a flyer in the mail advertising Rosewood Park Alliance's Fall Kick Off, pancake breakfast, Sunday morning service (with childcare!), and an afternoon of activities for the whole family, and the best part it was FREE! I remembered that Jen and Jordan had said this was the church their family attended, and so I thought, I would give it a try. Dana was installing laminate that weekend and I was to keep the kids occupied while he did that, so I thought this was great. I could feed the kids, sit in service and have the kids looked after, and then have a whole afternoon of entertainment for them for free. What more could a mom ask for, right? God had something better in store for me. When I arrived at the church that morning, I was probably having one of my worst days. I literally wanted to drop my kids off in the nursery and just sit in peace and quiet in the lobby until I had to go pick them up. This all sounds horrible, but it was truthfully where I was that morning. But as I walked into the church, I was greeted by a couple who quickly found my a table, helped me get the Kynan and myself food (Ava was still nursing), and even held Ava while I ate. They were so warm, and welcoming, introducing me to more people. This couple ended up being Peggy and Ken. It came out that I was Jen and Jordan's friend from BC, and you could say that is why they were so friendly, but as I got to know this couple more I realized that it wouldn't have mattered. They would have loved on me regardless of who I was. Instead of sitting in lobby for service, I sat with them. Now, I had attended church before and had been baptized and believed in Jesus as our Savior, but this time was different. I can't explain it, but as I looked around and witnessed these people praising and worshiping together, I didn't feel weird-ed out (which I did at most churches), but felt a peace and a "rightness" that I can't explain. And of course Ken and Peggy right beside me. That afternoon, I insisted that Dana join me and meet these wonderful people who had loved on me all morning. Jen, Jordan and Abby joined us too and we were so blown away by this loving family. Ken ended our time together with an open invitation to come to his home for dinner any time. We didn't realize it at the time, but that was not an empty offer, and we would learn also how deep his care for people really ran. I remember driving away that day, feeling transformed, and Dana must have felt the same because I asked him, So what are your thoughts?" (which I still do whenever we leave a new experience). And he said, "Yup, we are going to start going to church, this church, every Sunday!". You also, have to understand, that we weren't church going people. We were sparatic in our faith, not really knowing what a Christ Centered life looked like. Thought we were doing okay by living an ok life, nothing too bad to speak of, praying occasionally. And another thing you have to know, is that when Dana says he is going to do something, he does it. And we did, every Sunday until we moved, we attended Rosewood Park Alliance Church. That decision sent us down a new path, filled with rich blessings, life altering decisions, and a deeply rooted faith, all because of one family's love and generosity with their time. Over the past several years, Ken held true to his promise, and welcomed us into his and Peggy's home for countless meals, family holidays, special family events. Dana and him shared a mentoring relationship which led into a private bible study and eventually a men's study. I still remember the day when Ken shared with us that he viewed us as his "chosen" family, and Dana as his brother. We were so blown away by this, but truthfully had felt the same towards him, Peggy and his family. Who knows where our lives would have ended up if it hadn't been for this couple. I could have just stayed for service in the lobby and walked away never to return again, unchanged. But God knew what we needed, He knew exactly where to lead us, and I am so thankful that God loves us even when we don't give Him the time of day. That one fact alone changed our lives forever. I could go on to share the numerous other stories of how Ken changed our lives, but I am sure there are many from many others. His echoes of his love, care and generosity run deep and wide. That is how God created him. He gave Ken an amazing partner in Peggy and together they served the Lord well. We were blessed enough to be apart of their ministry and their continued ministry. So as we mourn the loss of this man who meant so much to us, we feel incredibly blessed. We embrace the man that Ken is, the example he laid out for us, and try to let him go as he is embraced by His Heavenly Father. And in the words of our Pastor Jerven, from Ken's service, Ken will be greeted at the gates with Jesus saying, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I absolutely love my daughter. She shows me everyday what it means to be a good friend and embrace in the little things. She is truly generous by nature. Every chance she gets she is giving something to someone, whether it is a necklace she made, a toy that she thinks they would like, or a drawing she worked all afternoon on. Sometimes we are called to teach our children and model good character, but there are times I think children surpass the teacher and end up teaching us more than we could ever imagine. Not all days are filled with peace and joy, but more and more I am learning to embrace my sacred role as mother- it is a privilege.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Prayer for Today

I have a confession to make which seems only more appropriate to make as we are leading into Easter, and our thoughts should be reflecting on Forgiveness and well.... Jesus. Some confess Him to be Lord, others rebuke the even thought of Him, while others remain indifferent. I know Him to be many things in my life, one of them being my friend. I talk to Him throughout the day, asking Him to give me strength for the day, patience with my kids, understanding towards my husband, and grace towards others. I plead with Him at times and ask him hard questions like, "why". I also get angry when I feel as though He has not lived up to His end of our relationship. You know, those unanswered prayers that have you wondering if He even cares. For lent, we have set up a little prayer corner in our already very small trailer, but I felt we needed a visual reminder to slow down our day and take time to reflect, pray, give thanks, forgive. But, I have not been a very good friend to my savior. I don't think I have sat in that corner more than 5 times in the last 20 days. I have called out to Him many times over the last few weeks, but rarely have taken the time to hear what He had to say back. I rarely sit in stillness, silence or even pause to reflect on what I have lamented to Him. He may know every whisper in my heart, but I have not offered Him that same attentiveness. Last night, I even flipped through my bible as I was watching a show thinking.... I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe I would find wisdom through osmosis.

Lord, I am sorry. Please forgive me. I am so thankful I have a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He sent His only son for me. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Hold me to your bossom and shelter me from every evil thing. Fill our home with your presence and remind us to find joy in the little things today and always. Teach us to embrace each other in kindness and gentleness. To love. Thank you for the mud puddles in our lives and thank you for showing me that joy even exists in the mud. You are so wise and you know the plans you have for me. Amen.

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies all your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Isreal:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place it remembers it no more.
But from the everlasting to everlasting
the Lord's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord, you his angels
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cookies in the Kitchen?

Ever since we have gone paleo, I have not done a ton of baking outside of our treat Good Morning Muffins, which I only make maybe once a week. Other than that there is no baking in the house. Well, today this kids were outside playing in the freshly fallen snow and I remembered when I would make chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa for my kids on days like these. It made me sad to think that I couldn't do that anymore. So I went online to see if we could find a recipe that was paleo and delicious. And this is what I came up with.... Enjoy this recipe from Paeo Gal.

Mixing the ingredients....

Forming the cookies...

The final product, a little crumbly, but Ava (still rosy cheeked from playing outside) gives it thumbs up. She doesn't even know there is no sugar in it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gone Paleo

It has been awhile since I posted and there has been alot of changes in the McCallum household, but today I am only updating on one of those things and that is... we've gone paleo.

At first when I heard of Paleo Diet from my mother-in-law, I thought it was just another one of those things that she was trying to get fit, but when I realized that it has been almost a year and she is still going- I had to take a second look. Not to mention that she has dropped something like 10 dress sizes in 10 months! Something worth looking into, right? On our trip back to BC this Christmas was a perfect opportunity for me to see it in action at Carleen's house and ask as many questions as I like. Of course, Carleen didn't change her diet for us. She served what her and Al would normally eat and within the first few days the first thing I noticed was Ava's whole domineer had changed. She was calm, collected, and.... sweet! Not that she is not sweet, but we have been working with her for what seems forever on her melt downs and controlling her emotions. She started to turn the corner last spring, but at Baba's house she showed a whole other level of calm. It was so nice. That already sold me on it, but after discussing it with Dana about all of our digestive issues and of course Kynan's dairy intolerance, we thought what is to lose? SO we went for it.

{Fruit Salad Breakfast and Elijah helping by cheering me on}

What is Paleo? I really don't want to go into details, but basically we don't eat refined sugars, grains, legumes, or dairy. Which seems restrictive, but with some awesome recipes from Everyday Paleo, and Paleo Comfort Foods, we really feel like we are not missing much. Not to mention how good we feel, how much less we are are craving sweets, and how little the kids are 'snacking' on not so good foods. It is a little more pricey way of providing nourishment to your family with the increase of meats, protein and fresh produce, but in the money we are saving by not doing any McDonalds runs or eating out as much as we use to, I feel like it balances out. The other, somewhat negative thing, is that it does take prep. I was usually one of those throw something together kind of gals, but with paleo you do have to be more planned and organised than that. However, what it has provided is an opportunity for the kids to be more involved in the kitchen, they learn about different foods, and they even have started helping with the clean up (Ava did the dishes this morning). So it is a little more work, but the rewards far out way that. If you want more detailed information about Paleo you could visit Robb Wolff's site here. It has a ton of great information.

{Cucumber Tuna Boats for lunch. Kynan, the 'tuna fan' is excited!}

So all in all, we are enjoying the journey. I crave sugars less, have little or none digestive issues after eating, and have even noticed my tummy starting to trim down (and it has only been three weeks)! I don't weigh myself because that's just depressing AND a totally inaccurate way of determining success. We are basing it on feeling and behavouirs and we couldn't be more happy with the results.

{Our Paleo fridge. Stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, sliced chicken, lots and lots of farm fresh eggs!}

{Our Paleo Pantry! When we got back from BC, I rid our cupboards and pantry of anything non-paleo so I would not be tempted to jump off the band wagon. So now we have jars (excellent storage containers) of dried fruits, nuts, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, gluten free baking soda and baking powder, ect.)

So my next big plunge is work out. At this moments, I really do nothing outside of running after the kids and regular family activities (walks, biking, swimming, ect.) So in Feb (So like 4 days), I am starting a basic at home work out routine at home 3 times a week. I've been looking into Moose Jaw Cross Fit, but right now it really isn't in the budget of a starving student family ;)

That's it for now. I am hoping to get on again soon and post about our other new adventure, home schooling!!! Who new I would end up as one of 'those' moms. LOL!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exactly Where We Are Suppose to Be

There has been a lot of things happen since my last post and I apologize to my very few readers for not being more diligent and updating more. Things at the Port are finally feeling more settled. Honestly, it felt like a long hard summer that was extremely lonely as I didn't know many people and Dana was hardly around. When fall came, so did a sense of routine, new people, and blossoming friendships for both the kids and myself. Dana has been like a little kid, filled with eagerness to learn and excitement for his new environment. I am so thankful that he is feeling settled and motivated in his new adventure. As for myself, it feels like after a very restful summer "off" of activities, I have been launched into a little bit of a whirl wind of new ideas, a growing business, and establishing friendships; all of which have been very positive. God has been so faithful in providing new positive friendships in my life. A fellow photographer and now gym buddy, has been more than an answer to prayer; she has been a life line this summer. Preventing me from shutting out the world. Another mom, who shares similar values and parenting style, has also been a wonderful breath of fresh air and her children have offered a great new companion for Ava. Of course, every day, other relationships are being nurtured and established and I am really starting to feel at home here. Another exciting thing has been the growth of my photography business, which has more than quadrupled since last year. I have been busy with family, maternity, baby sessions, and (new to me this summer) weddings. I have loved every minute of it and I truly owe it all to Dana for pushing me and encouraging me to chase after something I have wanted for a long time. Another new, exciting and challenging, event on our horizon is the prospect of Homeschooling Kynan. This is something that was laid on my heart last winter. Something that I felt at the time, I was not capable of nor did I want to attempt it. But the more and more we ponder this option for our family the more excited we feel about. Every family is different, and this may be just right for ours. We are still considering all the possibilities, and hope to make a decision by December. So yes, alot. But also it all feels normal family stuff. On top of it all, I feel that we are doing and where exactly where we need to be. That this is what God had planned for us all along. I see purpose in everything we are doing, and am so grateful that God has been with us every step of the way. We are suppose to be challenged and stretched. That is when we learn to depend more deeply on the one who created us. For strength, encouragement and wisdom. I find myself encouraged and inspired here. I am doing things that I never felt I could or had the energy for. I am working out, eating healthier (still not great, but better than before), I launched my wedding photography business this summer with huge success, Iam reaching out to the community, I am reading my bible daily, I am looking into Homeschooling, I am more patient with my kids and enjoy them more than ever before, I LOVE being Dana's wife and all that I am blessed to serve him, and ultimately I feel closer to God than I have ever felt before. I still have a long way to go. After all, we are all works in progress, but I am so thankful that God designed Caronport to be one of our stops on our journey. We are exactly where we are suppose to be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One thing I have really enjoyed about living in Caronport, is the sudden repreive I have from all my commitments. We have nothing on our calendar except a few visits from family and to go see some friends. That's it! No where to run off to. Nothing I HAVE to do. Our days are so relaxed and the kids are seeming to enjoy this break in schedule. Our days usually consist of getting up, eating breakfast, playing outside, having picnic lunches, reading in the afternoon's, enjoying the garden, going for walks to the corner store, friends, enjoyment.....peace. I mean, there are some crazy days like today where I wake up to everything out of the cupboards and on my living room floor because I slept 10 minutes longer than I should have and the kids thought they would feed themselves. Or the black marker that is on my computer screen because I though Elijah was playing with Ava in her room when I was doing a load of laundry. I thought wrong obviously. I am hoping by confessing this, I am not thought of as a bad mother, but rather an imperfect mother who is doing her best to live in the moment and rejoice in the day we are given. Moving is always an adjustment. New friendships take time to form. There is always the beginning awkwardness that takes time to fade away. It's exhausting starting from scratch and to continually put yourself out there and be vulnerable to what people may think of you or perceive you. But isn't it worth it, considering what you might gain? That person may be that long lost friend that will end up being a life time friend. Or maybe they will impart wisdom or speak truth into your life? Maybe they will give a much needed wake up call and replant your path in life? Who knows, right? In talking to a new (possibly great) friend last week, I realized that I am an "all in" kind of person. Right out of the gate, I throw in all my chips, I open up, and I hope that I connect. I wear everything on my sleeve. My emotions, my past, my thoughts, my passions, EVERYTHING. I also tend to be a little uncensored because of this. Which sometimes people consider it a fault that I say the wrong thing, or share too much, but I choose to believe that this makes me human and imperfect. Someone who is yurning to improve and grow and gain wisdom, but recognizes that I am weak and insecure and possibly naive. I love how moving out here as put all this in perspective for me and allowed me to truly embrace... me. I feel free to be who I am and what I want to be, without fear of judgement or being cast out. Cast out from where? I haven't even been 'cast in' yet. So there is this sense of freedom here. Peace.