Saturday, January 21, 2012

Watoto


The Watoto choir is currently on a 6-month tour of "Beautiful Africa: A New Generation" in Canada. They performed at Coastal Church this evening, and we had the privilege to not only see their vibrant production, but also meet a very special girl. 11-year old Sandra from Uganda is the sponsored child of Serena's godparents!

The joy of Sandra and the other Watoto children is absolutely radiant; their love for Jesus is so evident. It's a humbling experience to have these children who have so little and have suffered so much in their young lives to minister to us who have so much. As the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:27,

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chinese New Year


DRAGON OF THE NEW YEAR
By Serena
(Inspired by her "Dragon" painted with Indian ink from Mr. Tony's class)

I start to grow cold
When I see you
With your scales of gleaming gold
And your coat of blood-shot red
And your thundering voice
That rings through the air
Like the bells on a steeple.

Dragon, O Dragon
What is this year?

Dear child,
It is Chinese New Year.

Related Reading:
Festivals and Faiths: Chinese New Year by Catherine Chambers
Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival by Sanmu Tang

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Have A Dream

“Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus. On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an annual American federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January. We don't hear much about it here in Canada unfortunately. Serena & I watched a great little biography on Discovery Education called "The Boyhood of Martin Luther King, Jr.". We read up on and discussed the history of racial segregation and the civil rights movement. The highlight was listening to the audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech, "I Have A Dream".


Serena started writing her own "I Have A Dream" scroll. Apart from her dreams to have a chestnut brown morgan and a white grey dapple thoroughbred, she also has a dream that one day "there will be no math". Needless to say, her dreams are a little less lofty than Dr. King's.

Related Reading & Resources:
"Martin's big words: the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
"Viola Desmond won't be budged" by Jody Nyasha Warner
"Where Monsters Can Grow" poem
Red Letter Christians: What would MLK do? Christians and Climate Change by Jarrod McKenna

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snowy Owls


Lucky for us here in B.C., this is a major snowy owl flight year. They migrate south from the arctic only once every 4 or 5 years due to decline of their primary food source, the native lemmings. Serena & I packed our binoculars and headed to Boundary Bay dyke this week. We were treated to a spectacular nature show of over a dozen snowy owls dotting the shoreline. The birds, many of them juveniles, are huge and magnificent; their gleaming white feathers shine bright against the clear blue sky. My dinky little digital camera looked extra dinky next to all those telescopic camera lenses around me. For more impressive photos, try the ones taken by photographer Pascal Marchand. It was a great experience for Serena since she just did a project on owls last year. We're just super thrilled for this rare opportunity to see these majestic snowy owls in the wild with our own eyes!

Related Reading & Resources:
Animals the Live in the Tundra: Snowy Owls by Roman Patrick
Snowy Owls: Hunters of the Snow and Ice by Elaine Landau
CBC News: Snowy owls flock south to B.C. for rare appearance

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sir John A. Macdonald


January 11th, 1815 was the birthday of Sir John Alexander Macdonald, our country's very first Prime Minister and the father of Confederation. Serena & I, with Maple Leaf flag tattoos on our face, put on our CANADA shirts and went to celebrate with our homeschool friends at SDHL.


Each kid came with 3 facts about Sir John A. Macdonald - Serena did hers using popplet. We started with a patriotic singing of our national anthem, then there're map puzzles, trivia challenge, skits, and songs about Prime Minister Macdonald. The kids pulled all their information together and created a timeline for his life. Naturally, we couldn't have had a birthday celebration without an actual birthday cake. Sir John A. Macdonald would've had fun and signed off on this 197th birthday party!


p.s. Did you know that he was homeschooled before he went into law?

Related Reading & Resources:
Remarkable Canadians: Sir John A. Macdonald by Rebecca Szulhan
Library & Archives Canada
Macdonald & Laurier Days
Scottish Canadian Politicians
The Greatest Canadian series by CBC Television
Prime Ministers of Canada: Sing and Learn Canadian History by Sara Jordan

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Leg Godt

I had fond memories of building this little house when I was about Serena's age. Imagine my surprise when it resurfaced after years of being buried in storage. Serena & I got working immediately, and I'm not sure which one of us had more fun...
On the other hand, I'm not so fond of these Bionicle figures that don't look like anything to me. Nevertheless, little Miss Girlie-Girl was thrilled to own her first set of boy-toy and confidently build this "Waspix" contraption all on her own.
We love these versatile sticks & connectors. Serena has built cathedrals, towers, rockets, submarines... all the while trying to keep her kitties from tearing them down!
Hard to believe these little blocks have been around for over 50 years and are as popular as ever. LEGO, from the Danish phrase "leg godt", means "play well". Serena was the grand architect of this Lego loft studio equipped with flat screen TV, roof-top hot tub, and car porch. I think she plays well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Threshold


A Remembered Perspective

Behold I stand at the door
And I need not knock
For the door is unbarred
And opened for me
I peek across the threshold
Into this week, this month, this year
And I am almost overwhelmed.
I behold the struggles to come,
The people to meet
And jobs to accomplish
In so little time.
So much to learn,
So far to grow and my puny resources.

But then I remember
Why the door is unlocked,
And who opened it to me.
My perspective is altered,
My Saviour, my Lord, my friend.
I gaze across the threshold
Into this week, this month, this year,
And I am overjoyed.
I behold the trials and tribulations
that will build my character
The people to meet,
opportunities to witness and learn
The tasks to accomplish,
humble service to the best of my abilities
And the time is precious
So much to learn and to grow
With more than my own resources.
My Peace, my Provider, my Teacher.

And then I remember
Standing on the threshold
Into this week, this month, this year
I remember to nail my sins with confession
to that cross where His blood does wash.
I remember to lay my burdens at the foot
of that cross and pick up His yoke
whose burden is easy.
I remember to be nourished, refreshed and
renewed by His power, His peace, His comfort.
I remember to look to the Author,
and the Perfector of my faith,
for He is the light for my feet.
I’ll stride across the threshold
Into this week, this month, this year
Knowing He has gone before and will be with me still,
My Guide, my Lamp, my Salvation.

A Cross, the Threshold,
My perspective altered by remembrance of Him
Into this week, this month, this year.

Thank you for blessing us with your friendship this past year. We look forward to another year of adventures as we stride across the threshold together, remembering Him, our Teacher and our Guide. 

Happy New Year!