Friday, September 3, 2010

Joey's Birthday

We have got to be one of the most blessed families on earth! This little guy was out 1st foster baby and came to us when he was only 2 days old. We had the honor and blessing of helping to raise him for almost the 1st 2 years of his little life. In that time, we got to know and love his Mom, Dad and Grandparents. They are great people and we consider them a part of our family as well. After leaving our home over a year ago, we have been able to keep in touch with his family and they welcomed us into their lives as well. This is one of the greatest honors a foster family can get and we are so grateful.

I will always consider Joey one of my sons and he'll hold a special place in my heart forever. There are still times when I imagine what it would be like to have him living with us today and I must say I could really see Graeme and Joey being pretty close, but the biggest handful of mischief ever. We'll always be here for him (and his family) should they need us.

Watching the boys play.

Joey flexing his muscles.

That being said, our little guy turned 3 recently and I was able to make him a special cake as I have done for all his birthdays thus far. It turned out so well and was so much fun to make that I think I might just have to make this one again! Looking forward to many more birthday celebrations with Joey and his family.

The Giant Hamburger. Golden yellow cake, frosted with a peanut butter icing for the bun and chocolate peanut butter meat. The ketchup is strawberry jam and the lettuce is dried kiwi. It was like having PB&J for desert!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The B&B Dream

At long last, a peek into my brain...

I would absolutely LOVE to open a Bed & Breakfast some day. God planted this one in my brain a number of years back and he's been working it through slowly; preparing myself and my family for what might be more than just a great dream. While some B&Bs are quite luxurious places of rest and relaxation, others are much more simple and down to earth. My vision is far from luxurious, yet it is definitely NOT simple. The vision in my mind's eye is a homey country retreat that would invoke the comfortable memories of decades past. A place that can take people back to a "simpler" time.

Please allow me to share with you my mental picture. This home would be located outside Winnipeg (or another major city center yet to be determined). Somehow, I see it near a town something like Neepawa, MB; picturesque and quiet. The property itself would be large enough for a simple farm designed to help us educate, entertain and feed our family and guests. Nothing major, just a couple cows, chickens, horses (for riding), bunnies and maybe a pig or two with a garden full of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is something to be said for the comfort that fresh farm eggs and home made breads bring to one's heart and tummy. For the families, we could show the children what farm life is like (it could be quite eye opening for some of them I'm sure) and provide for them the freedom to run, laugh and explore (something most urban raised children and adults just don't get enough of). My husband and I have always really enjoyed exploring, so I pray the property would be treed well enough to encourage peaceful exploration. I am also hoping that there will be a pond or river nearby for people to enjoy; there is nothing more wonderful that looking deep into God's creation to remind you that He is amazing!

The main house would be an older two (or better yet three) story house, loaded with plenty of character and interesting nooks and crannies. There would be at least 4 bedrooms open for guests (not easy to do with a family of 5-6 already residing in the home, but God knows the full plan). I see it something like this house, here in Winnipeg (Dalnavert House). It's beautiful!

I also see 3 additional "cabins" on the property for those looking for a much more private stay. These could be both new buildings and renovated buildings with a more rustic charm. I see a small library and quiet places to sit and enjoy. A game room, stocked with board games, puzzles and other activities to keep one's imagination alive and children entertained on indoor days.

One can't talk about all this without at least touching on one of my favorite subjects, FOOD! Cooking is something I enjoy so thoroughly, that you all know the food will be amazing and plentiful. Fresh baked bread and goodies (healthy enough to cancel the guilt of coming for seconds). Sweet special comforts for each guest and traditional, home cooked meals, like Grandma used to serve. I would customize the menu, based on people's needs or wants, because this is the part that means most to me. I want the guests to feel blessed and important; just the way we all are special to God. Though I know I could never emulate that intense a love, I would hope that through me (and my family) each guest would know that God is love and we are but one simple expression of His love on earth.

I would like to see a larger building on the property made available to hold meetings in should a group come for a retreat, but this is still very new in my brain and already my mind is already wondering "just how is this all going to be possible?".

I know in my head that a lot of this dream will come in stages, as it takes time and money to build up something like this. I also know that all things are possible through Christ and so we are trusting in Him to make these things clear. Already, God is preparing my husband's heart to see this vision and see that it might actually be something he would like (he's a city boy through and through). Even typing about it now gives me chills of excitement. Like with so many other "ideas" God gives me, I know that He gives me a practical plan to accompany the flighty excitement, so the practical business woman in me can already see three stages of development here.

After finding and purchasing this amazing property the "business plan" would begin something like this:

1) establishing of the garden/farm to help sustain our own family
2) opening the rooms for guests
3) further development of the property to accommodate more guests and groups

I have spent the last 5 years in the dream stages, but now God has begun to really stir this in my husband's heart (at least in thoughtful consideration). He is much more of a cautious soul than I and, let's face it "farm life" wasn't something he ever imagined his life's path would take him. He also never imagined himself married with 3 children and a home and look at us now (and honestly neither had I)! As things are right now, I honestly could see something like this starting to take form in the next 3-5 years. I look forward to this family adventure so much, but will wait upon the Lord for his timing! For now, we will keep praying and keep dreaming.