Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Thoughts on Advent

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas.  Advent always starts on the Sunday closest to November 30th.  If Christmas eve is on a Sunday, that week actually counts as the last week of Advent

Christmas runs for 12 days, also known as the 12 days of Christmas Dec 24th – Jan 6th.  (Christmas technically begins on sunset of the 24th, this is why it can also be the last Sunday in Advent). 

The word Advent actually means coming or arrival, the focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in his first Advent/Arrival and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his second Advent/coming.  Therefor advent is much more than just simply marking an event in history.  It is the chance to celebrate the truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. This is the process for which we participate and that of which we anticipate. 

As we recognize the double focus of Advent on both past and future this symbolizes the journey of both individuals and our larger congregation. We affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that he will come again in power.  This knowledge proves that basis for Kingdom ethics, for Holy living coming out of the sense that we are living BETWEEN THE TIMES and that we are called to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to us.  So as we celebrate God breaking into history with his birth and the anticipation of his return “all creation is groaning awaiting it’s redemption” This also confesses our own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself”. 

The Spirit of Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation. preparation and longing.  It is in that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation.  It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipated anew, the reign of an Anointed one, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world. 

The Advent Wreath.  The advent wreath is unique and in my opinion much more interesting that the average Christmas wreath.  The Advent wreath lies flat on a table and does NOT hang on a door. It is generally made of greenery and hosts five candles four in the structure of the wreath and one in the middle.  

*The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end.  
*The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.  
*Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sunday of advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ. 

The lighting of the candles itself becomes and important symbol of the season, we light the candles each week in anticipation of the coming light.  With each week that we light another candle and more light comes from our advent wreath we can visually see and process the evil and darkness in the world being pushed back as we the children of God move forward each week in His light.  Finally through the advent time the light that has already come to the world is plain to see as we light the Christ candle. At Christmas and we celebrate and rejoice over the fact that the hope and promises of long ago have been realized. 

The first candle we light is traditionally noted to bring EXPECTATION and HOPE.  
The second reminds us of the leading of the TRUE SHEPHERD 
The third should symbolize JOY.  
The forth candle symbolizes the JOURNEY traditionally the journey of the MAGI to find the true light.  

The fifth candle.. the Christ candle reminds us that Jesus is the heart of the season, giving light to the world. 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Living in the UK Thanksgiving is a day that could easily just pass by without much recognition. It is not a day that is celebrated in the British calendar. 

We did enjoy having friends around in the evening to make the occasion.  Some of our guests had never celebrated Thanksgiving before which was extra fun. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ireland 2014

At the beginning of November Aaron and I both had the opportunity to attend the ELM (European Leaders Meetings) for the company we work for.  We enjoyed being part of the meetings and felt that during our time there we could see how God was working in the various situations that we had been praying about, and asking many of you to pray about. 

On one of the days the weather was even nice enough for Aaron and i to take a walk and see some of the city that we were staying in (Athlone)

On the first day when I flew into Dublin, a wonderful friend who i haven't been able to see for way too long picked me up for a coffee before i headed to the meetings....

oh... I almost forgot.... The oldest pub in Europe is also in Ireland and in the very city we were staying in.  The weather was damp and this was in the evening so the picture isn't great but this is Sean's Bar!

Turning 40!!

This Summer/Fall Aaron and I both Turned 40.  Aaron in August and I in September.  We had thought it would be fun to throw a party and invite our friends to help us celebrate this milestone.  We were so excited with the turn out we had.  It was a real blessing to see how many of our friends and family wanted to celebrate this special day with us, although in saying that we know there were many who wanted to but because of distance were not able to join us.  in saying that.... 

My Dad and Carolyn flew over just for the weekend to help celebrate with us!!!

So, if you have a daughter turning 40 anytime soon, let me tell you from experience.  Flying over to where she lives as a surprise for the weekend will make her feel very special and very loved!!

Some friends enjoying the party

These amazing girls served drinks and food all night long!!!  They did such a great job and are still owed a huge thank you!!  (Eden is in the red dress!)

hmmmm... two big cakes and two chocolate fountains!!

What amazing friends we have to have helped us prepare such great food!

more great food!

another view of friends enjoying the party.

We were so pleased to see that so many of our friends from different area's of our lives were able to come together and enjoy the evening with us.

THANK YOU to all of you who helped make our birthdays so special. 

A visit to Athens

At the end of October I had the opportunity to attend meetings in Athens.  The meetings (as expected) were fun and productive.  On one afternoon we had the opportunity to go into Athens (we were staying in a little village just outside of the city). 

As we walked around the city as a group of tourists i was saddened by many of the things i saw.  The economic crash a few years ago in Greece has caused great heartache in the city and probably through most of Greece.  You could easily see where once there had been thriving business' now stood vacant run down buildings.

It was an interesting experience for me to stand on Mars Hill and look over the city.  This is a place where in Biblical history we know Paul stood and made note that they worshiped anything and everyone even to the point of have a plaque to an unknown God.  As i stood at the top of Mars Hill looking over the city I was saddened to realise that in this place there are still so many who don't turn to the one and true God. 

A Panoramic view from Mars Hill looking over the city of Athens. 

Amongst the amazing beauty of the historic city are the lost and forgotten buildings. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Kids and phones......

So... I left my phone unattended! Probably a mistake but also worth it as this is what the kids who got into it decided to do!!!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Transform 2014

Transform 2014

Rome, Italy July 21-26 2014

One of the main projects Eileen works on throughout the year is the Transform conference in Rome.  This year was exceptionally tricky with various team dynamics along with a new baby in February and trying to work while also trying to be on maternity leave.  All in all in seems to have ended well. 

Through the week we were about 225 people at the conference centre.  Many of those attending the conference as participants headed out to work with people in the various nations of the Mediterranean, there were even some who went to non-mediterranean nations to work with these people who had moved from their home countries and were now living in Western or Eastern Europe.

We will send through some of the stories we hear of those who went out in the coming months. 

A real blessing for me, allowing me to actually work while i was at the conference was my mother.  My mom came over and stayed with our family for 5 months ending with the conference in Rome where she tirelessly looked after Jeremiah so i could be available 100% to do my job!  

Grandma & Jeremiah at the Vatican

Registration day! 

Grandma & Jeremiah keeping up with the program!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Updated photo... again....

My word... we seem to always need a new family photo... these kids grow like weeds!!
Caleb is now 15 which amazes me, how can i possibly be old enough to have a 15 year old child!!
Eden is 13, Nathan is 11, Zachariah is 2 and Jeremiah is 4 months... I will leave it to your imaginations to guess how old Aaron and i are!!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Life in the UK Test... Done & Passed!!

The life in the UK test... was this morning Friday (May 2nd 2014)

Thank you to all of you who prayed for my (Eileens) test this morning.  I read the book, did the time to study up and thankfully managed to pass the test!!  I was nervous going in but thankful to know so many of you were praying.

now for the next stage...  I now have a special number i can add to my naturalisation application that will help the process.  I believe that was the last thing i needed so i will now work on getting the paperwork together and making the application.

The final end goal with be to have a British passport.  I do not lose my Canadian or any part of my Canadian citizenship or rights but it does mean i don't have to worry about my visa in the UK expiring or laws changing that cause me to do extra visa applications... and the real bonus will be not having to wait in the foreigners line at the airport... at some points of the year this can actually be a 3 hour wait!!!

Please pray with me through these next steps... they will take months to actually get any response on the application so don't be surprised if you don't hear anything on the process for a while!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

A grandchilds right!!

Well, every family has different things that are important to the children. In my (Eileen) family the kids seem to all watch and see when they become taller than Grandma Renaud!! Eden has achieved this goal just before her 13tg birthday.. She is very pleased with herself! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

A New Family Photo!!

It has finally happened!!  
We have a new family photo!!  I do like to wait until you can get a view of the littlest ones face but some times it takes longer than expected.  Jeremiah is now 2 months old so posing very nicely!!

If you would like a printed copy of our updated family photo just send us a quick email.  We have ordered some and are hoping to send them out in the immediate future!


Aaron & Eileen
Caleb, Eden, Nathan
Zachariah & Jeremiah

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Monday, Family day for a walk!!

On Easter Monday we took the opportunity to escape the city to a nearby village, Gerrards Cross.  It isn't a big place but we really only went for a walk in one of their local parks that also has a small forest area.   

We all had a wonderful time and felt refreshed just getting away from reality and spending some time with family.  There was a large group of us with Grandma and Grandpa Lawler, Grandma Renaud, Uncle Marc, Marc-William, Uncle Jon, Auntie Tina, Tolkien, and Grandma's dog Chase and of course our family!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter

We wish you all a very happy Easter! 

He is risen! He is risen indeed! 

Well, it is fall already... time keeps sneaking past us faster than we can keep up with it. The kids are back in school and loving it! A...