Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The final post

If anyone is still out there checking my blog, sorry for the delay in posting. I have had trouble uploading the pictures of our Thailand trip where we went on a 2 km long zipline through the rainforest, visited five tribal villages and once again, played with tigers. That is all now a dim memory as we have been here in Canada for over two months now. After spending some wonderful rest time at our cottage, we bought a house in south Regina and moved in three weeks ago. We are loving the space and the unique floorplan as well as quiet time with just the four of us as opposed to a dorm full of students. We do, however, keep up with what is happening in dear Chandler dorm via friends at Dalat and it sounds like the new dorm parents are tailor-made for the ministry of loving other people's kids. So we are grateful for that!

I started my job over a month ago and am slowly figuring out a gameplan. I have already traveled to Saskatoon twice, Calgary for a week and even went up north to Churchill, Man, and Arviat, Nunavut, to encourage the folks in the churches up there. Tim was up there four years ago to do some electrical work and he was excited to go back with me this time. We ate beluga whale, which was chewy, and Arctic char, which was awesome. We even came home with two frozen char in our suitcase! To our great disappointment, we didn't see any polar bears even after two hours of ATVing out on the tundra in search of them. It is definitely a unique experience - a cold one especially for our thin blood - but wonderful nonetheless.

Otherwise, my job is about making connections and encouraging relationships so I'm listening to videos, reading books and going through old material trying to figure out a new way of doing things or of resurrecting an old way. Although everyday is a question mark for me at this point, I'm basically following this adage:
Show up for work every morning
Get my instructions from God
Execute with obedience

It helps that I have a great group of folks to work with who have come alongside with their help and advice.

Tim is self employed. He began Archer Electric this month and has a slate of jobs to do. He's finished two and is working on a third. If you are in the Regina area and need an electrician for a smaller, reno job, Tim's your guy. Kaleb has secured full time employment at Staples and is loving that so far. He had an older Honda Civic given to him so he's got wheels that actually work! Annie started school last week and had a group of girls waiting to meet her when she walked in the door. She is loving being in our own home - she's often had meals waiting on the table after work and has taken to doing her own laundry, which is awesome.
My reading list of late has included Switch and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Too Small to Ignore by Wess Stafford and The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani. I haven't seen any good movies lately because we don't have TV or internet aat the house yet so evenings are full of conversation, baking and playing Ticket to Ride, the game Tim bought me for our 23rd anniversary.

Anyway, thanks for following this blog. It means a lot not only tome but also to Tim, Kaleb and Annie, who have enjoyed all the comments and press we have gotten from our posts. Thank you for your prayers that have resulted. Each one of you has been a blessing and we are humbled that you would be interested and involved in our lives. It's been a great ride but needs to come to an end now. If you still want to keep up with our lives, find me on Facebook.

As we end, let me give you these wonderful words from Scripture as a finale to my cross-cultural blog/diary of our journey around this glorious globe

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us that His ways may be known on the earth, His salvation among all the nations. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him. Psalm 67

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where are we?

In Chiang Mai, Thailand...a place we are beginning to love more and more everyday. We flew here on Monday, June 15, for some much needed R&R. So far we have enjoyed time with Gerry and Beth, friends from Dalat who moved here last week to begin new lives, a 2 km long series of ziplines through the rainforest that got our adrenalin pumping hard, time with the big tigers as they played, night market shopping during a torrential downpour this being wet season, pool time here at the Juniper Tree, shopping at the silver factory (ladies I'm coming home with goods to sell!!) and at the Mengrai Kilns Pottery shop, riding around in the truck taxis, visiting hilltribes, going to church and making lots of new friends. We are also attending personal sessions every day at Cornerstone Christian Counseling Centre and all four of us are learning bunches about ourselves and our family dynamics. We finish up there tomorrow and leave here Friday for one night in Bangkok (isn't that a song??). Bright and early Saturday morning, we make the 22 hour trek to Regina via Air Canada, which will the first time using that air carrier to go this far....stay tuned on that experience. I will post pictures of all these exciting events when I am relaxing next week at the cottage. Thanks for checking in!! And oh, please pray for no overweight luggage as we are once again maxed out on kgs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Random pictures of the last two weeks

Here is a sampling of pictures taken over the last two weeks of the activites we enjoyed with with Tim's sister Pam, her husband Gene and Tim's parents. They left this morning to head back to the US.

Aunt Pam and Annie at Kaleb's graduation ceremony.

Lana and I together for one last photo op at grad.

We worked the 10K water station at the Malakoff 26K race last Sunday. This is at 5:20 am waiting for the first of 1600 runners. Our friends, Lyn and Debbie, ran and placed 2nd and 5th respectively in the women's category.

We enjoyed batiking for the final time. Kaleb joined us and between he, Annie and myself, we made 12 table napkins of various colours and patterns.

Aunt Pam and Grandma were good at it and enjoyed the painting except that it was desperately hot out that day.

Grandma was a good bargainer at the night market in Batu.

We all went out for market fresh breakfast one morning and this fellow asked Kaleb to help him make Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun, a rice dish. So Kaleb took a quick lesson and away he went!
The steam is hot so Kaleb had to work fast!
Here he is scraping the film of rice together with the shrimp.

Ta da! It wasn't too bad when we added the chili sauce :)

Tim and Rosie are good friends. She is the drink lady at the morning market and gave us all a round of free drinks for breakfast. Rosie recently underwent knee surgery so she no longer walks around taking orders - instead she sits on the stool and yells!!

This accident happened across from the school. The ice truck was going too fast and tipped over onto a car, which was completely scrunched underneath. The tow truck came and got the car out just as we drove up. We're not sure if there were any injuries or fatalities.Pam, Gene, Tim and I ferried out to Pulau Payar for a day of snorkeling. It was the most amazing snorkeling experience I've had so far - thousands of fish! We even swam with a 5 foot long barracuda with lots of sharp teeth!! It was gorgeous out there and we enjoyed the water and the beach.

We headed up Penang Hill for some cooler weather plus tea and scones at David Brown's Tea House. It was a lovely excursion and a great way to 'waste' a morning!

Tim's parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this week so we treated them to supper at the revolving restaurant in downtown Georgetown. In less than an hour, we went the whole 360 degrees around and could see the mainland, bridge, harbour and lights of the city.

Pam, Grandma and I went to the Kenko Fish Spa, where three sizes of fish 'eat' the dead skin on your feet. It was a wild experience to have these fish attack my feet! Thankfully we started in the tank with the smallest fish in order to get over the strange sensation. We moved onto the medium sized fish and finally, the aggressive large fish. Our feet were definitely well exfoliated after this!For their last meal with us, Kaleb wanted to take our guests to the Korean Palace for the ethnic specialities he loves. It is a one of a kind dining experience, that's for sure! The bbq is in the table and the thinly sliced meat is cooked by a server. Rice, bulgogi, pickled spinach, kimchi and many, many side dishes came with this. We had 69 dishes on the table at the end of the meal! And our waiter was a Nepali fellow ... working in a Korean restaurant in Malaysia! So funny :)
Our shipment went out today - 3.74 cubic metres or 21 lockers/boxes are now on the way to Canada. It takes approximately 45 days by boat to get to Vancouver and then a few days by truck to get to Calgary where we clear customs and pick up our stuff. A good portion of our clothes are in the crate so we are hoping it doesn't get stuck somewhere! We leave for Thailand early Monday morning and are only taking one suitcase plus carry on each.

Family pictures

Either she's saying 'Hold on a minute' or 'I'll take four of those'...not sure!
I can fly!
One, two, three jump!! OK, who jumped on two??

Surf's up, dude!

Knock out :)

Rejection...sorry, buddy, not you this time.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


We've been asked why we've been involved in dorm parenting, why we chose to work and live at a Christian school, how we can engage teenagers when they are so fickle and tempermental. I admit - there's a lot of drama with teenagers, too much some days actually. Lots of hormones, hearsay, poor choices, miscommunication, generation gaps, tears, tantrums, laziness and lost homework. About week 12 of 20 in a semester, the energy levels are sapped and the good intentions of parenting can sometimes be lost in the business of 'just getting by'. But every now and then, a student would say or do something that would make it all worthwhile and that's all I needed to recharge my batteries to keep going. These are like 'little wonders' that are mentioned in a song by the same name. Here's a sampling of those little wonders that made all the difference to me when I was a dorm parent and will continue to touch my heart long after I leave Dalat in a few days.....

I thank you always for welcoming me with a bright smile. You've shown me what it's like to be a Christ follower and I've been blessed just seeing you everyday.

Sacrifices you made for God blessed a lot of people and made big differences.

We both loved the time we spent together and will pray for you and may God bless your family. We love you and we always will.

Thank you so much for being supportive of me.

Thank you for making my life so fun.

There are many memories I have with both of you that will resonate in my heart forever. Thank you for making those memories with me.

You make your dorm daughters and sons feel like they're really home. It's been such a blessing for me to get to know you.

It's not an easy thing to have to say good bye to kids who are a part of the fabric your life, who you love like your own, who leave you notes like these when you need it the most. So far, I've said good bye to David, Dennis, Laurian, Nathan, Santi, Kirsten, Yea Lim, Joycelyn, Chan Yang, Chan Mi and a bunch of other kids plus a really good friend, Colleen. My tear ducts are working overtime! In a few hours, I will do it all over again for another group of students as they leave to board planes. Maybe I will connect again someday with a few of them, maybe not. But at the end of the day, I know that life is really measured in these little wonders and that, despite the drama and the heartache, it's been a great ride here at Dalat. Whatever we did for the Lord will not be wasted in His economy and whatever we did for ourselves, I pray He will redeem for His glory and make wonders out of it all.

The future arrived

The future has arrived today

The future's alive, alive as can be

Just open your eyes, it's as plain to see

Just don't be afraid, just keep going on

One step at a time and you can't go wrong

It's time to create

Time to grow if you feel right

The world, yeah, she's changin'

Don't it make you feel alive

The future has arrived

The future has arrived today

(from Meet the Robinsons)

The future arrived for us tonight as Kaleb officially graduated from high school. No more classes, exams, homework, assignments, projects, field trips, sports teams, recesses, lunch hours, dress codes, library fines (!!), research papers. His high school career is behind him and the wide open future is before him. As their class verse from Galatians 1:15 reads, "God has special plans for me and set me apart for His work, even before I was born. He called me through His grace."

Here is part of the reflection that was read about him tonight by his Bible teacher, Mr. Hurlbut:

Kaleb, your mother says that your birth was a surreal moment. When you finally started breathing a light shone from heaven through the ceiling of the hospital and an angelic choir sang the Halleljuah chorus. OK, perhaps it wasn't that surreal but it was clear from the outset that you were a special child. When asked on your Dalat application, "What single event has had the greatest impact on your life?" you replied in typical Kaleb/postmodern fashion, "I have had a jumble of events that have caused me to be the way I am." Kaleb, you indeed are unique. Your heart for the underdog and for those on the periphery is a genuine reflection of Jesus - and your faith for the impossible is a gift that God wants to give to the world through you. Your pronounced social gifts enable you to navigate within a wide range of different people and to connect with them supernaturally.... Continue to question, Mr. Archer, and recognize that your curiosity is not an obstacle to faith but an avenue for His revelation. Continue to explore those crazy ideas, and then expect more than a few of them to take root and blossom. As you love others and follow faith you will leave a legacy.

Good thing I took Kleenex with me on stage!

Two little junior marshalls started the processional. They were so cute!

Kaleb, again first in his class down on the aisle.

I was asked to to the prayer of invocation and sat on stage with Rev. McLeod, the guest speaker, and Aunt Val, who gave the benediction.

Annie was an usher and, being seated last, had to sit across the aisle from Tim.

Kaleb receiving his diploma from Mr. Steinkamp, the school director. Dalat tradition has the graduates giving Mr. S. something at this point - this year it was Magee noodles and chocolate bars.

Kaleb and his grandparents who came all the way from the US for this occasion. Kaleb is the only Archer boy to carry on the name!

Family again - all smiles!

Kaleb and friends at the hotel before going to the Wailing Wall to sign yearbooks and to the Senior Party for final good byes.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

More grad stuff

Kaleb's class put on a wonderful Senior Chapel on Monday evening - their way of leaving a final blessing with the Dalat community. They wore t-shirts that said Generation X and focused the evening on how to make a difference by doing little things. Some students gave personal testimonies about how Christ has changed their lives and the friends who have helped them on their faith journey. Others mentioned small ways friends and teachers had blessed them. It was an excellent way for these students to end a year of servant leadership among their fellow students.

This morning the Senior Wills and Assembly was held. Kaleb willed a tall styrofoam column from a previous drama set to George, a Superman belt to Santi and Alan, his dorm brothers who have issues with low riding pants, and a book to Nathan, another dorm brother who is a voracious reader. At the last minute, he also willed his Canadian flag to two middle school Canadian students, hoping they will keep the spirit alive!