Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hoar Frost

I really like living in Alberta. I don't enjoy it when it gets down to -45 degrees C, but other than that, I enjoy everything that the province offers us in weather. On that note, I wanted to share this with you.
Frequently, Red Deer gets quite foggy. When this happens in the winter something called 'hoar frost' occurs. This is a special type of frost that forms when the objects [trees, fences, etc.] get colder than the surrounding air and if the air is damp [like with a fog] this leafy frost develops. Apparently, this happens about 4 times per winter here, and it happened this week. We woke up to a world covered in ice crystals. It was like living in a fairy tale. None of us had seen anything so pretty. Jonah even remarked that this is the prettiest place we have ever lived!

Isn't that beautiful!! When it happens again, I'll try to snap a few more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Mani-Pedi

Well today I was able to be off for part of the day now that all of the rush of stuff is over at the College. I worked this morning and then came home to spend some time with the kids. One of the things that Spencer LOVES is to have her nails done. Her daycare provider has painted her nails before and had told me that she just loves to sit to have her nails done. Well, today she asked me if I would paint her nails. Since I have been so busy, I jumped at the chance to do something so fun with my daughter. As you can see from the pictures, she LOVED the experience of having her nails painted. She sat perfectly still and even participated in the whole process. Is she a diva or what??!!?? Wanting mani-pedis at 2! Only a Tannahill!! :0)
Here's Spencer blowing on her nails to help them dry! :0)

Spencer admiring her nails.

Doesn't she have pretty pink fingers and...

pretty pink toes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Performers

Some of our kids have had the opportunity this week to be up and performing for people. I thought that I would share each of their opportunities with all of you.
Lauren was asked if she would be willing to do one of the readings for Advent. Of course, she was thrilled to be asked and jumped at the opportunity to stand in front of people. She needed to do the reading at the start of both services. She did beautifully standing in front of about 1000 people at each service.

She did a great job with the reading she was given to do.

Then she lit the advent candle for this week...the candle of peace.

For the first time in his school career, Seth got the opportunity to sing in the Christmas concert. For those of you who know Seth and all of his issues, you can fully understand how big a deal this is. I sat on the floor at the front of the crowd and cried watching my son do something I never thought I would see. God is faithful!

He stood on stage with his class and 2 other classes in front of an auditorium of family members.
He sang the words.

He even did the actions!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The first day of school - the picture

I promised that I would post this picture and now that I have my new computer I can post pictures again.'s the group shot of the kids from the first day of school.
Spencer was having so much fun squishing in between "JoJo" and "O-nee" That's her nicknames for Jonah and Lauren. :0)


So I have a very busy weekend this weekend. I have an assignment to grade, a test to mark, 7 weekly logs of nursing practice to review and an interview to prep for. On top of all that, I have cellulitis in my left leg.

If you don't know what this is, it's inflammation of the tissues. So basically I have a left shin that is swollen, red, hot and very, very sore. I went to the doctor today and he told me that if I had waited another 24-48 hours I would have needed to go on IV antibiotics. I'm glad I didn't wait. I've taken my antibiotics, my Tylenol and my Acidophilius tablet, so, I'm going to get myself set up, prop the offending leg up on some pillows and mark my butt off!

Also, there's a sessional position that has opened up at the College and I decided that I would apply for it, so I have to prep for a 15 minute interview for Monday at 2:00 pm. I have to teach a panel of 4 -5 people about a skill that I use in my clinical setting for 15 minutes and I have to draw them into the teaching time with discussion questions. Did I mention that the panel is made up of important people like the Chair of the Nursing Department???!!?? So, an already busy weekend just got busier and now my leg is in a bad way.

So, think of me and pray for me that I can get all of these items marked and reviewed, that the antibiotics start working quickly and that I can prep a very engaging teaching time for Monday.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 25, 2009

YEAH!! A new computer

Rob and I had decided that I need a new computer in order to do the work I have at the College. So we had been looking around and found a lap top with all of the things that I need to work at the College. It is compatible with the software at the College so that I can open documents from the students and send them things that they can open [this was posing a very large problem with our old computer]. So, I picked it up yesterday and I am enjoying not having to negotiate for time on the computer with the kids. Also, I'm really, really looking forward to being able to post pictures here again. I have not enjoyed blogging nearly as much without the capability of putting pictures up to show you what I'm talking about. So, you can all expect more blog posts now that I will be able to post some pictures.
I'm off to figure out how the new software works so that I can post some pics!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Make A Difference

This year Rob and I decided that we needed to be a little more active in teaching our children about social compassion and outreach. We have decided to have a family theme that will stretch over the school year from September to June. Our theme for this year is 'Make A Difference'. To meet our theme, as a family, we are looking for opportunities to bless other people. The opportunities can be big or small, local or international.

So, for example, so far on our family's list we have : sponsoring a child through World Vision, making meals for people in our church who are sick or have had surgery, and we have also started providing a loan to someone in a developing country with a microfinancing opportunity.

Microfinancing is a wonderful opportunity in which you can give a small amount [or a large amount if you so choose] of money to people in developing countries who are trying to start businesses so that they can be self-sufficient. After the person has started their business and is making a profit, they pay the money back to the microfinancing company, who pays it back to you. So, when our money is paid back, we can then invest it in someone else trying to start their own business.

This theme will be sacrificial on our part as a family and at times has not brought out the best sides of our children as they are sacrificing things for themselves in order to help others, but it is great. It is great to be able to stretch, and grow in our compassion for other people. It has been challenging to see the need of others around the world and prayerfully decide where to help.

So, if you feel so led, come along with us this year as we Make A Difference....

Friday, September 18, 2009's official...I'm too close to 40

Well, as I said in the title of this blog, it is now obvious to me that I have gotten WAY too close to 40. I just spent some time at the eye doctor today to find out what I already knew.....I need to get glasses.

I have always had fabulous vision, but I have noticed that I have been having problems seeing very fine things at work [like insulin syringes and telemetry strips]. Since this is a very important part of my job, and since I haven't been to the eye doctor in about 15 years [yikes], I decided it was definitely time to pay one a visit. So, the very nice Dr. Holtom told me that I was in need of some glasses for reading.

Well, they are ordered and my heart skipped beats at the $461.00 price tag for the glasses, lenses and eye exam. But, I guess after this week, I'll be able to see more clearly and that is a good thing. Even though it is forcing me to take a nice long look in the mirror and come to grips with what is staring back at me....I am aging. Sigh.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meep....Meep...It's The Road Runner

I feel like I'm that cartoon character that I watched so often as a child. The cartoon character was called the Road Runner. He was this super fast blue bird, who spent his time running through the cartoons and fending off attacks by Wyle E. Coyote. I am thankful that I have no human nemesis like Wyle E. to fend off, [ well at least none that I know of ], but I can totally relate to running like the Road Runner.

Take today for example. Here's a brief overview of my day:

1. I have to read in order to prep for the nursing lab tomorrow at 8 am on pre-and post-op care of patients. I'm not teaching this lab [thank God :-) ] but I need to be prepared to answer student questions when they're in their small groups.

2. I have to make the snacks for the kids school lunches. Buying store bought snacks was killing our grocery budget. So, after thinking long and hard about it, I decided that I could make their snacks from scratch, thereby, saving us a little $$. So the baking plan for today is 5 dozen sugar diamonds, 2 batches of peanut butter cookies, and 4 loaves of pound cake. Whew!! So far, I'm done with the peanut butter cookes and the first part of the sugar diamonds. So, I still have some time in the kitchen.

3. I need to do laundry. For all 6 of us. Laundry is actually a household chore that I enjoy, but it is time consuming. Also, Rob has no idea who belongs to which clothes so it's just easier if I do this job.

4. Housecleaning. I have to give the house a once over so that it's good to go for the rest of the week.

5. I need to make sure that the kids have finished all of their homework for tomorrow. I've been caught a few Monday mornings with panicked children that need help to frantically finish something that they had all weekend to finish but didn't. I've learned my lesson on that one. Everyones' bag gets checked on Sunday afternoon to ensure that we're all on the same page with what needs to be done.

6. I need to do some grocery shopping to replenish what I used when baking today. I think we'll be completely out of flour, sugar, milk, butter and some other things.

7. Then I need to read some more. I have nursing students completing Nursing Care Plans for their patients for the very first time this week and I need to review them. So, when all that other work is done, I need to sit down and spend some time in the nursing diagnosis and care plan book so that I'm ready to help them with that on Tues. and Wed.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Rob is out today all day at 2 church services in the morning, prep for his young adult service this afternoon and then doing his young adult service tonight? So, the above 7 tasks are being completed by me with no help from my wonderful husband, while 4 kids go about their own activities in the house!!!????!!!!!

I guess you all get the picture. So here I goooooooo.....MEEP......MEEP

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First Day of School 2009

Well, another first day of school has come. I am so excited for each of my kids.

Jonah is starting Grade 5. He is maturing so very much and I have realized that I don't have much more time with him. He will always be my son but his days of living in my home and being in my life every day are winding down. He will soon be off to college and out into the world. It is a bittersweet feeling. I can hear my mother-in-law saying "Come on Andrea. Stop being so morbid!" I don't want to be morbid, but I just see that he is getting ready little by little. I know that it is the way that life is supposed to go, but I my mother's heart is twisting at the thought. I think God has me think about these things so far ahead so that I don't completely fall apart when they happen. When they come, He has prepared me in little tiny steps to deal with them in a healthy way.

Seth is starting in the Pathways program today. He is at a new school, with a new teacher and I have really prayed about this placement. I feel that God has opened this door, and so we are walking through it with great excitement. This program will focus a lot on behaviours and social graces and interactions. Seth still needs a lot of education in these areas so we are happy about him being in this program.

Lauren is off to Grade 2. It truly does feel like yesterday that she was an infant sitting in the middle of the carpet of our living room in Fond du Lac. Back then all she did was sit and drool and now she's a very mature 7 year old picking out her outfit and all its' accessories for the first day of school. The outfit she picked even had a co-ordinating scarf [Mom T, you know which one I mean :-) ] and she had to have me tie it just the right way so that she had the right 'look' on. She is 7 going on 16. Sigh

Spencer is at Dorothy's today since I am working later on. She was so excited to see "Dorfee" as she calls her day home provider. We have been so blessed with this lady. She has taken a little girl who hated anyone but her dad, and turned her into a precious little lady that loves everyone she meets. I am so thankful to her!

I was going to include the group shot I took of everyone this morning, but of course the computer won't co-operate with loading the pic, so I will get Rob to e-mail it to me later.

I have to say that I was really proud of myself. Why you might ask??? Well, here's why...I didn't do anything embarrasing. Really, I didn' crying, no waving... just sitting in the van, dropping everyone off and smiling....smiling about these 4 precious gifts that God has given me. Smiling that I have the wonderful blessing of living in a country in which my kids are being educated. Smiling about being able to come home and have a hot shower in peace!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life Comes Together

Well, I don't know about all of you, but our life this summer has been an absolute whirlwind! We have been busy with me working different shifts at the hospital, Rob doing all kinds of things at the church - including being away for a few days for a leadership conference. Also, the whirlwind of having all of the kids home 24 hours per day without the distractions of school life. WHEW!!

On top of all of that, some decisions have been hanging around our heads and weighing on our shoulders. Decisions around schooling for Seth, and work for me and upcoming things in Rob's ministry with the Young Adults at CrossRoads. This week it feels to me like life is finally coming together for the Fall.

We have settled on changing Seth's school placement from the Foundations program that he was in last year to the Pathways program. In the Pathways program, there is a smaller class size and more staff. Also, the focus remains on working with problem behaviours [of which Seth has MANY]. That is such a relief to me. I felt like he was just not in the right place last year and after praying about it and asking questions, this new program seems like it is a very good fit for him, and for us.

Also, I just found out today that I will be teaching again at Red Deer College in the Nursing Department. I am excited to again try my hand at teaching. It is exhausting, but very fullfilling and it makes me happy. I get the opportunity this Fall to teach a 2nd year clinical rotation and then move into a 1st year clinical rotation. So, since I taught 3rd years last year, this will give me some variety and a bunch of new experiences. I also get to work with different teams of instructors, and that will also teach me so much.

Rob is nailing down his schedule of events for the Fall with Young Adults and we are both excited about what is coming up for that group. They are a great group of people who love God and want to open up the community to new people and introduce them to Jesus. We are so blessed to be able to work with them, support them, and participate with them in the family of God.

Also, we have some exciting things starting with our family this Fall. We both feel that our kids need to recognize that they have a role to play in the larger world around them. That they cannot sit back just feeling content with their lot in life. They have an obligation to give to others that are less fortunate than them and there are many ways to do that. This Fall our family is going to explore that idea. Hopefully we will do that in very practical ways. I will keep you updated on that.

Well, that's what's new with us this week. Next week Rob's sisters and mother will be here with us so we will be busy spending time with the family that we love so much and see so little.

Hoping your lives are 'coming together'.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I woke up this morning and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. Gratefulness to God mostly.

I am grateful for so many things, my husband, my kids, my health, that I have a job that meets our needs and pays our bills, for a great church family that loves us and is mentoring Rob into becoming an even better pastor. I'm grateful for a wonderful group of pastor's wives that are so different, married to such different men, but still working together to meet the needs of our congregation. Thanks Ginny, for setting up our time together on Sat. It was wonderful!

I'm grateful for a great extended family in which we can be ourselves and spend great times together [some of which are coming up shortly :-) ]. I'm grateful for good friends near and far that love and support even when you don't know it.

I'm grateful to my husband for loving me even though I can't manage money to save my life and all my other faults that he simply overlooks each time he tells me " it's easy to love you". Because it definitely is NOT easy to love me. I know it takes a lot of work to love me, but he does it with such patience.

I'm grateful for my children that are not perfect, but have made my life a rich and interesting collage of stories, experiences, memories and adventures yet to come. I have found that being a parent is the hardest job I will ever, ever have...and there are days that I am still shocked that God has entrusted me with little people to raise...but I wouldn't trade it for all the world. My children have made me a better person, and for that I will always be grateful to them.

Most of all, I'm grateful to God for sending Jesus to die on the cross for me even though I in no way deserved it and can do absolutely nothing to ever deserve it. I am looking forward to heaven with such expectation. Eternity is going to be great - way, way beyond great!!

Thanks for sharing my day of gratefulness with me. Sometimes I tend to spend more time with my focus on the things I don't have or would like to change instead of placing my focus on what I do have and appreciate about my life.

Monday, July 20, 2009


As you can see from the badge to the right, I have gone into the Facebook world. It is rather addicting really. There are SO many chat, writing little comments, sending whole e-mails, adding pictures and I'm sure others I haven't quite figured out yet.

So, if you do Facebook and you haven't found me, look for me and we can connect over there.

I love technology.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good Friends

We recently had some very good friends from Wisconsin visiting us for about a week. Chelsea and Ryan were just jr. high kids when we started youth pastoring in Wisconsin, now they are our friends. They drove 26 hours each way to see us! We had a wonderul time catching up and spending time together. I am so thankful for good friends that you can just be completely yourself with. Chelsea and Ryan, thanks for the visit. You guys mean the world to us.
We spent a great day in the mountains! More on that in a future post...

Several soccer games were played.

We played many games of Catan!
There were also many nice talks and one episode of frantically searching for Seth. [Thanks Chelsea for your help with that. You really kept me calm! :-/ ] All in all a great time with truly great people!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

14 years

On Wednesday it was our 14th wedding anniversary. We were busy with company here from the U.S., so I didn't have the chance to hop on here and blog. As I look back on the last 14 years, I am really shocked that we have been married this long. It sounds like such a long time and yet feels very short. But, as I look at the ages of our children and I look back at all of the places we have lived and done ministry in, I can see that 14 whole years have gone by.

I sat for a while on Wednesday and spent some time thinking about my life. I have been so blessed! Being married to Rob has been a wonderful journey. To have someone who knows everything about you and still loves you, is a very special thing. People who have met Rob have often said to me, 'You must be a special person to be married to him. I could never do it.' Those comments always make me smile, because in so many ways Rob is so much easier to live with than I am. I just look nice and kind on the outside, but living with me is not always easy. For example, Rob is much more flexible than I am. He is very quick to forgive, and that is often difficult for me. He is spontaneous and a lot of fun. He pushes me to try new things. He is faithful. He trusts God without wavering. He does his best to spend time with the children and with me doing things that we enjoy. He is very often the last one to get anything new, putting the needs of the children and myself ahead of his own. He works hard and goes above and beyond providing for his family. Rob balances me perfectly. Our relationship works because we balance each other completely. His strengths are my weaknesses and his weaknesses are my strengths. Together we are better than we would be alone.

That does not mean that there are not times that we struggle. We definitely do. But at the end of it all, we recognize that God put us together to help each other. To bless each other. And yes, at times, to challenge each other and to help the other one look at our issues and deal with our stuff.

I recently heard someone say that their marriage ended because they just didn't have what it took to make it work. That saddened me. It saddened me because this individual didn't recognize that no couple, no matter how wealthy, healthy, committed or in love they are, just inherently have what it takes to make a marriage last a lifetime. I have discovered that at some point every couple comes to the place where they feel like they don't have what it takes to keep going. That's when you both have to roll up your sleeves and build what it takes. This is the work of marriage. It involves spending time together, doing things that matter to the other person. Talking about the real you...the you that is hard to share. It involves letting someone else point out your weaknesses and to challenge you to work on those things. It involves LOVE.

Thank you my darling for 14 great years, I am enthusiastically looking forward to 14 more. I am excited to walk this journey of life with you holding your hand and experiencing all that life has for us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to freak out your mom.....drink Tylenol!

Yes, you read that correctly. I have Spencer home with me today and while I was doing some much needed laundry, Spencer must have somehow opened one of those 'child proof' caps which apparently aren't actually child proof and drank about 25 mL - 30 mL of Tylenol Cough and Cold. I found the cap of the bottle under the ottoman in the living room and then started to get concerned. I then found the bottle under the couch in the living room .... empty! Now I was in panic mode!!!!!!!!

So, the panicked mother in me was ready to call an ambulance and wisk this now very sleepy toddler off to the ER to have some intervention and the nurse in me decided to call Poison Control to see if she had ingested a toxic dose. Thankfully the bottle didn't have all that much left in it.

Edward, the very nice man who answered my call at Poison Control did all of his investigations and calculations and told me that she had not ingested a toxic dose of any of the 4 medications found in the preparation. He just told me to check on her every 30 min to make sure she was still rousable. As long as she can open her eyes and look at me when I talk to her, everything is fine.

So, she slept for about 30 min. with me frantically checking her every 5 min. I just had to keep checking on her. I felt awful! Well, then Rob came home for lunch. He walked into the living room where she was sleeping on the couch, he kissed her, she opened her eyes and said, "More cake?" She then walked to the kitchen table, climbed into her highchair and proceeded to eat 2 whole pieces of birthday cake. I realize this was not the healthiest of lunches, but quite frankly, she was awake, alert, talking and walking so she could have whatever she wanted. If the kid had wanted a pony I likely would have tried to find her one!

So, I guess this is a crisis averted and a huge lesson learned. I always keep the medications in a bin at the top of the linen closet, so they are completely out of the reach of anyone by Rob or I. Last night I forgot and I left the bottle on the counter. NEVER AGAIN WILL THAT HAPPEN!

Filling you in on the birthday events....

So, I did mean what I said yesterday and I am going to blog more regularly. So, here I am to fill you all in on how the big birthday went.

We had pizza, chocolate cake and we laughed....a lot. I have a wonderful family, and they have taught me that life should not be taken so seriously and that laughter really is the best medicine.

My mother-in-law called and didn't believe me when I told her that I was 37. Thanks for that Mom. I really love that you think I am still so young and hip! :-)

My parents called and sang to me....that's an annual tradition for them and it really did make me smile.

The kids made me little homemade cards and things, and wished me 'Happy Birthday' a lot.

Seth even sang me an original song he composed! It was fabulous. He played his little toy guitar and sang and the song went something like this...

Yay, it's Mom's Happy Birthday.
And we're going to eat cake.
Yay, it's Mom's birthday and we're going to have candles and balloons.
Yay, it's Mom's birthdaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I realize that he's no Bob Dylan, Joan Baez or Peter, Paul and Mary, but it was a nice little tune and we all laughed and smiled along with him and when he was done we clapped for him like he had played at Carnegie Hall! :-) He was thrilled with himself. We were thrilled with him too!

My wonderful husband brought me something 'uplifting' like I had asked him for and I got the most beautiful roses. They smell lovely and they make me smile.

Rex and I played a pretty enthusiastic game of fetch.

Really, one of the best days ever!! A special thanks to all of you that e-mailed and called to wish me a fabulous birthday. You're the best and I love you all!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to ....Me...YUK!!

Hi everyone.

If there's anyone who still checks this blog since I haven't written for so long [I am going to change that starting today], today is my 37th birthday. All I can say is ...YUK!! Of course, being younger than me, Rob is enjoying this a little too much. I have asked him to stop or when his 34th birthday comes around this year, he will get a little dose of what he is dishing out on me. That brought him under control! :-)

While I do feel that I am getting way too close to 40, I do realize this morning that I have a lot to be thankful for. Here's my list:

- a loving husband who has stuck by me for 14 years [more on that on June 24th]

- 4 great kids who all told me 'happy birthday' this morning and that I'm 'the greatest mom in the world' can't beat that! :-)

- a new puppy [more on that in a later post too], who is lots of fun and something I've been wanting for a few years now

- a wonderful new church family and amazing group of pastor's wives like I've experienced no where else in ministry

- a job that pay such good money and provides for my family

-the nicest house we have ever lived in

-good health

- a wonderful family that is the best in the whole world

-good friends [most of whom are way too far away....I miss you all so much! ]

- a great country to live in where I am free to worship and live my life as I choose - YAY CANADA!!

- most importantly, a Lord and saviour who loves me no matter what and stays beside me in the difficult times and in the times of celebration

Thanks to all of you for celebrating my day with me even if you can't be here for pizza, cake, balloons and the presentation of my children's handmade gifts later today. You have all made my life so much more enjoyable and you make turning 37 bearable. :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back from the dead....

I can't believe that it has been this long since I blogged something. I have had so many of you e-mailing and even e-mailing, texting or calling Rob to tell him to get me back on here and let me fill you in on how we are doing and what we are up to. So here I am.....

The truth is that we have been having issues with the computer uploading any pictures, so I can't publish any pics with my posts, so it has deterred me from posting. Rob is being nagged constantly about it so, hopefully, he will fix the issue so that I can show you in words and pictures what we have been up to.

So, we have been very busy. My time at the college was very busy. It seemed like every waking moment I was working. Kudos to all of you who are teachers or are married to teachers. That is a job that is all consuming! I was either at the college or hospital actively working with students, or reading books and articles for prep for teaching, or marking assignments, or talking with students on the phone or responding to e-mails from students or meeting students in the office at the college. I really did enjoy the job, but I do have to admit that I am glad that it is over and done with for the time being. I am enjoying working my shift at the hospital and then coming home and just doing nothing with Rob and the kids. I am working casual on the Cardiology unit at the hospital. That is the unit that I had my students on. I really like the floor, like the nurses and I felt that it was a much better fit for me than the ER.

The kids are great. Jonah turned 10 on April 24th. Where has a whole decade of being a mother gone??? I am shocked by how quickly that time has passed, because I know the next 10 will go by even faster and he will be gone off to start his own life. Don't get me wrong, I do want him to be independent and self-sufficient, I just can so clearly see how quickly we are going there and I still feel like he is that little baby that I held in my arms for the first time feeling blown away by the miracle of conception, birth and motherhood.
Seth is having a few issues at school. Nothing new for Seth, but I think some new situations for his teaching team to deal with. So, please pray about that.
Lauren is fine. Still the diva. Spencer is quickly following in her sisters' footsteps. Here's an example...

Today we went for a walk by the Red Deer River for Mother's Day. Spencer was adamant that she was walking the whole way independently without being carried or even holding our hands. Rob and I laughed so hard about this as it took us back in time to a family hike we took for Thanksgiving in 2003. Lauren was a little over a year and she too, was adamant that she was doing this hike on the Bruce Trail completely independently. It is amazing how strong those Tannahill genes are! Anyways, while everyone else is watching the geese, ducks, and muskrats swimming in ponds just off the river, Spencer is constantly saying hi to people, dogs, trees you name it. :-) She defintely is a social butterfly! It is 17 degrees C here today, the sun is shining and we have just had a wonderful day as a family.

We had Ezra Swanson visit in March. I can't believe it was that long ago! He and Rob went to Banff skiing. It was great to spend time with him and hear how he is doing at West Point. It was also nice to hear how all of the Swansons are doing.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers. As I said above, I have had a wonderful Mother's Day. I also will try to be more faithful in my posts. Now that I have more free time, that shouldn't be a problem!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Seth Update...

I know that many of you like to hear about how each of the kids are doing. But I have had so many great e-mails and comments when I have talked about Seths' progress. Well, here's another of those posts. I had a parent-teacher interview with Seth's new teacher this week. Mrs. Manning is an older lady who has been teaching for many years. She has just returned to school after having a hip replacement. Now for those of you who truly know our Seth, you must be thinking [like we were] how is this woman possibly going to manage Seth? Well, for starters she has two wonderful assistants that help her in the classroom. But, I have to say that this woman is strong and commanding. She may look like someone's grandmother [and she is], but she runs her classroom like a navy captain.

Seth has taken to her routines like a fish to water. He has tested her but realized that it is Mrs. Mannings' way or the highway so to speak. He is now doing addition and subtraction equations orally with the rest of his class. He is interacting more and more with his classmates. His penmanship has improved dramatically. He just completed a rollerblading unit in gym class and was the only one in his class to stop and help a fellow classmate off the floor when he had fallen.
Seth has continued with outbursts and tantrums but he has started to request going to the time out room when he is getting upset. This past week, as he was getting upset, he asked to use the bathroom. He went to the bathroom, and was able to come back to the classroom and continue on with the classroom activities without ever having had a meltdown! For Seth that is HUGE!!!!
We are allowed to visit his classroom at any time so I will take some pictures and post them here for you so you can meet Mrs. Manning. I believe that we have met a woman that is going to change Seths' life for the better. I am so excited to see what God has planned!!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Thanks to all of you that have been praying for me as I settle into my new life as a teacher. It is tiring and a little overwhelming making sure that you are teaching these students everything that they need to know in order to do well in the clinical setting. I really hope that I do a good job with it.

I had my first crying student. I was shocked. I have only been teaching a week and I have already had to deal with a crying student. Those of you who are nurses know exactly how difficult nursing programs are. Frankly, I think they should be challenging. Nurses don't sit behind desks all day. We do very important jobs that affect people's very lives. I guess that sounds a little dramatic, but it is true. This student was just feeling overwhelmed by the serious nature of what nurses do. If we give the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication we can cause serious harm or even death. That can freak you out. It should freak us out.

Now, for me, being in charge of 8 students all at very different level of competence is freaking me out for exactly the same reason! Please pray for me as I walk through these clinical days over the next few weeks. I need discernment, wisdom, knowledge and patience as I try to teach and guide these students through caring for the patients.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My How Things Change

I wish that I had something positive and uplifting to post about today, but I don't. I have had a very tough week. Now, before you all think that someone here has died or something, let me just say that Rob, and the kids and I are just fine. But, we had a call from very good friends of ours in Wisconsin this week. It was the husband calling to inform us that his wife has left him. I have to say that I was completely in shock. So, we have spent this week talking with this distraught husband and praying our butts off. I had left several messages for my friend, and she finally called me back today. It was great to talk to her. It was so hard though hearing her pain and knowing that there was nothing physically I can do about it.

I have to be honest, when we got this call on Monday, my gut reaction was to fly to Wisconsin and intervene in any way that I could. However, my very logical husband pointed out that I couldn't do that and even if I could, this was a situation that I am powerless to fix. I sure wish that wasn't the case. Don't you wish that you could fix situations like this? Am I the only one that feels that way?

While talking with my friend on the phone today it was like the miles had melted away and we were together again, sharing our lives honestly and completely. I could hear her pain, confusion and also her love. It made me again want to make the trip and help to reunite these two that Rob and I love so very much. But I can't. So, I will pray. I will pray diligently that God will break through and have His way in this marriage and in these lives. He knows both of them and what needs to happen to bridge the gulf that sits between them, and only He can mend broken hearts and release people from the bondage of their past and allow them to live the life that He wills for them.

I am thankful that God does care about His people and that He never leaves them. I am thankful that I don't have to intervene, because I can ask the One who is all knowing and all powerful to intervene. Please pray along with us for our friends. God is still in the business of miracles and we need one!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feeling Blessed

I have to say that I am having a time in my life in which I am feeling incredibly blessed. Rob is loving his job at CrossRoads, I am starting at Red Deer College, the kids have all settled in at their schools, the baby is loving her new sitter, the house we live in is the by far the best we have ever lived in. It is a little overwhelming actually. As I look at our current circumstances, it makes me realize how dark our life had been sitting in limbo for the past 2 years.

Looking back on that time, I see that it was a very, very lean time. It was lean in a number of ways: it was lean financially - 6 people living on 1 income is very challenging. It was lean relationally - Rob and I did very well in our relationship during that time, in fact, it was one of the best times in our marriage, but with our families in Canada and many of our friends busy or going through difficult circumstances, many times I felt very isolated. It was lean spiritually - it truly was a time to seek God and talk honestly with Him about the 'why' of our circumstances. I know that I am not alone in wanting to know the 'why' of my circumstances. However, I went through some long moments with God desperately wanting Him to talk to me and having Him ask me to trust Him and wait for Him. I don't know about you, but the trusting and the waiting are very difficult things for me to do. I do understand that we can't always live on the 'mountain top', and that the valleys of life are very important for us to learn to lean on God and develop trust in God's faithfulness. I do really believe that we did learn a whole lot about God's character and quite frankly our own, as we walked through those days, months and years.

But, sitting where I am sitting right now, I wouldn't change the last several years for anything. I see now that they built our marriage up to a place of great strength, honesty, love and reliance on one another. I see that it built my faith that God would meet our needs. He certainly did. We didn't have savings but we our bills were paid every month because of His provision and Him moving people at various times to bless us. It built my character as I was forced to take my eyes off of myself and focus instead on The One who held my life and circumstances in His hands.

I am sure that many of you are going through valleys right now. I just want to encourage you to spend time with God. Talk to Him, and really wait for Him. Listen to what He is trying to tell you and walk where He opens the doors.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trying to take the whirl out of the whirlwind

Well, my life is officially a whirlwind!! It is very difficult trying to juggle 2-3 paid shifts at the hospital a week with a day or two of unpaid orientation at the College. It is especially hard when the hospital shifts are night shifts. I am trying to do this so that when I walk into the College a couple of weeks from now, I don't look like a complete idiot. If there's one thing I know about teenagers and young adults, it's that they can spot an unprepared phony in a heartbeat. These students will have paid a lot of money to the College for this experience and I want to do a good job, so I have to put the prep time in. Along with that, both Lauren and the baby have colds and have been up in the night stuffed up and just generally not feeling well. That's always the way it goes right?? When the parents are stressed, the kids seem to get sick and add to an already busy time. Not that you don't love your kids, but it just seems that sickness comes at the most inconvenient times.

I do want to take this moment and give my wonderful husband a kiss on the cheek and a pat on the back. Rob has been wonderful through all of this. He has by and large managed the night duty with the sick girls because I have been at work and he is covering the home front while I am at the College this week because, of course, the school age kids are off school due to a Teacher's Conference. Thanks Rob. You continue to be my knight!!

Well, I found this picture of the baby that Jonah took last week, and it just made me smile and melted some of the stress away. Because of that, I decided to share it with you. Happy melting!! :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

CrossRoads Church

So, I just thought I would give you guys a glimpse at our new church. CrossRoads Church is a church unlike any other that we have had the priviledge to work at so far in our ministry career. This building houses a sanctuary, multiple offices, a first aid room, library, gym, cafe with large seating area, a chapel for smaller weddings, and funerals and for overflow seating on Sunday mornings and a full commercial kitchen. The have multiple pastors and support staff as well as maintainence staff and a full time chef. That's right a chef!! Maggie is wonderful and she and her team of volunteers cook up wonderful things that are sold in the cafe on Sunday mornings. They also make the food for funerals, and they cater many of the weddings that happen at the church. The cafe is the site of many wedding receptions for the Red Deer area. The church is always hopping with activities, not just church activities either. Many of the facilities are rented or borrowed for community events. We are quickly outgrowing these facilities, but with the current economic conditions, going ahead with the planned building expansion may have to wait a year or two. I will try to nab some pictures of the inside so that you can see it first hand.

Rob, Anton [the new Missions pastor], and Jordan C. [the Sr. High youth pastor], spent a day last week on some Indian Reservations up in Rocky Mountain House, a community about 45 minutes from Red Deer. The conditions on the reservations in some cases are awful and it will be nice to take part in some home missions projects geared at blessing the Native People around us. On many of the reserves the water is not safe to drink and many people share homes due the level of poverty. They have very sub standard health care available on the reserve and many have little or no way of getting transportation into town to see a doctor. Substance abuse and domestic violence are huge issues as well.

Pray for Rob, Anton and Jordan as they work with a couple who are living on the reserve and trying to reach out to the Native people. This is missions at it's best - meeting the needs of people right in your own community.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our House

Well, here is our new home at 716 Lancaster Dr. in Red Deer. It is a nice bi-level home. I will have to get a picture of our back alley. Here in Alberta it is very common to have no drive way or garage in the front and to have on the street parking in the front of your home. In the back, there is an alley where you can park additional cars and put your garbage out. It is odd for Rob and I and when we buy a house we would really like for it to have a driveway and a garage.

Here's a picture of our entry taken from the living room upstairs. That's the closet to the left there, and right by the closet is the stairs to go downstairs to the family room and the kids bathroom and bedrooms.

Here's the eating area in the kitchen. There's a nice breakfast bar area that we could put some stools at. But for now, we're just going to leave it.

We have two full baths that are pretty well identical.

Here's our basement family room which is just down the stairs from the front door.

Where Has Seth Tannahill Gone?

Seth's teacher in Fond du Lac, Melissa Kees has asked me to do a blog entry on where Seth has gone to help his previous class adjust to him being gone. So, hello from Red Deer, Alberta Canada to Olivia, Emily, Kira, Rene, Montea, Fernando, Mrs. Kees and Mrs. Coyne from Seth!

These 3 pictures were taken on Seth's last day of school in Fond du Lac. He still talks about his class and teachers there. The top picture is of Seth and his teacher Melissa Kees, the middle picture is with his teacher's assistant Mrs. Coyne, and this one is a picture of Seth with a part of his class. There are a couple of girls missing from this picture since they weren't at school that day. Rob and I can't thank the team in Fond du Lac enough for their tireless work with Seth. He has made many gains because of their perserverance. We owe you so much. We miss you!

This is Seth's new school...West Park Elementary school.

Seth getting off the school bus after a long day at his new school.
His new bus driver Carol does not compare to Ann and Willie. We miss you!

This is Seth sitting on our new front porch.

Here's Seth helping to decorate the Christmas tree at his Grandma's house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Some news...

First of all, our new Canadian e-mail address is up and running. It is . I know that many of you have been waiting for that info. Our old Charter account will no longer be valid later this week, so you will have to change that address if you want to keep in touch.

The other thing is that I just got off of the phone with Wendy at Red Deer College and she has offered me the 7 week sessional teaching position!! I start on Feb. 19th and I am so excited. So I guess now I have to look into starting my Master's degree. That's sort of bittersweet I guess. Anyways, I'm off to take some pictures of Seth to post a blog about him later on tonight as requested by his Wisconsin teacher Mrs. M. Kees. :-)

I'll write again later.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Finally....Hello from Alberta

Well, the POD finally arrived 2 days ago and we have the computer unpacked, the internet service started and I can now start filling you all in on how we are doing. After living for weeks without our belongings it is so nice to be able to sleep in our own beds and to have the things that make our house a home! :-)

Thanks to many of you for your messages on this blog, your phone calls, and your e-mails. So many of you have been keeping in touch and that is so very nice.

I have still not had the time to load new pictures into the computer yet, [I will do that later today], so this post will not hold pics, but I have so many things to let all of you know, that I will spread things out in a few posts.

Rob is absolutely loving his job at CrossRoads church. Everyone has been so welcoming. They have provided meals for us [since I didn't have pots or pans to cook with], they provided extra beds for the kids to sleep on, they have even offered us the loan of cars so that we can have a second car to get around town! Talk about generous!! Rob is busy meeting with various groups of the larger young adult group here to find out what they would like to see happen with the group. He is also working hard at making connections with other young adult pastors in Calgary and Edmonton. Rob loves to work in collaboration, so he is really excited to meet others doing what he is doing and joining up with them to reach more young adults. Every day he comes home talking about the great things they discussed at the church, the great people he has met and the great experiences he is having. I have to say that while I realize that it is very early on in the process, this is the most fulfilled that Rob has been in starting a new job. Rob is finally working with people that are of like mind and heart to him. They see ministry the way we see ministry and that is so wonderful to be a part of. Continue to pray for him. He needs to have some clear direction from God on how to guide the young adult ministry here to try to meet the needs of over 400 young adults. Not a small task!

I, on the other hand, have decided that I don't like the ER at all! The Red Deer ER services approximately 200 patients per day!! It is a swirling chaotic mass of patients. It is a pressure cooker and it is just too much pressure for me. While the paycheck is very, very good [I'm making $13/hour more than I made in Wisconsin], I can't be driving to and from work in tears and breathing into a paper bag, so a change is very necessary. So, last Sunday in a mass of tears, I prayed and asked God to open another door for me as far as work was concerned. I thought that I would call one of the other hospital managers that I had already talked with and go to another unit. However, God it appears had other plans. While at church last Sunday, a woman walked up to Rob and introduced herself. It turns out that she is a nurse and works at Red Deer College teaching in the Bachelor's Degree program. When I walked up, she asked me how I liked work at the hospital. I told her the truth. She looked at me and said, "Well, you need to come and teach at the College. We are desperate for teachers!" She went on to give me the contact info for the Associate Dean of Nursing and encouraged me to call her.

First thing Monday morning I called Wendy, the Associate Dean of Nursing and she told me that this lady had already been in her office that morning telling her all about me and encouraging her to hire me! :-) I had an interview with Wendy on Wednesday, and she took me all around introducing me to everyone as "the lady who is coming on board to teach Nursing 384." She had not even checked my references yet! So, this interview was just to get me a job teaching a 7 week session of medical-surgical nursing and having clinical students on one of the surgical floors at the hospital. I will be teaching in a group of 3 teachers so that I get the opportunity to share the responsibilites and have some support while getting my feet wet. Wendy also told me that they do their hiring for Fall teaching positions in late February and that they will have a number of teaching positions available!! I am over the moon. If I want to have a job that will pay me 12 months out of the year, I will need to start my Master's degree, but I think in this case, some short term pain is worth the long term gain. This summer I will have to pick up some casual shifts at the hospital so I am calling the other managers that I talked with to see if I can switch floors so I will keep you posted on that. I am so excited about this whole new career path that God may be opening up for me.

Well, that's the work scoop. I do want to say a special thanks to my friend Laura Doern who called the other night and encouraged me to look for a different position. It is so nice to have friends that know you so well and speak truth to you! :-)

I will post again later today or tomorrow with some pics of the new house and the kids. I am so glad to be able to blog again. I have missed all of you! :-)