Thursday, November 10, 2011

who she is...

Every other year, Miranda’s school has gone on an amazing trip to Churchill Mb. To experience polar bears, dog sledding, how northern people live and the great white north. If you know anything about us you will know how exciting a trip like this would be in our minds. We are all about learning through experiences like touch, smell and talking and meeting people from different cultures. So as we started thinking about Miranda going to this school the last few years and hearing about the kids going on this trip we thought. How cool that she will get to be a part of this. So they had the “meeting” and all the parents that were interested in their children going on this trip showed up to hear all about it. The trip sounded amazing. There would be dog sledding, polar bear sightings, bannock eating and much, much more. Oh wow, how excited we got. Dean and I signed up to go as chaperones. We got on the    internet and researched the north. So excited.

Then the bad news came….. 

There were 5 kids to many signed up and there was not room on the bus. Miranda’s name was picked out of a hat. She could not go.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to beg the principle to find a way to fit her on. Didn’t she know that this was a dream that we had made big for Miranda. A chance to go with her classmates in a way that she could learn the way she learned best. Though experience. Where it didn’t matter if you had dyslexia and had trouble learning through reading books. But where she would learn through touch, sight, smell and talk. I just didn’t seam fair.

So we called Miranda over to tell her that she couldn’t go on the trip. We explained to her that there just wasn’t room for her, and really….she had been to so many places in her 12 years and other kids may never get to see half of what she had been blessed to see and do….and maybe, maybe we could sometime travel up to Churchill and see polar bears and she would get to experience some of what her class did. Right? It was O.K. that she stayed home and ya, they would have fun in class. Right? The other thing is that there must be a reason for her to not make the cut. Maybe there was a reason beyond our understanding, where she should stay home. Maybe it was just best?

She put on her brave smile, and with watery eyes looking at me, she smiled and said. It’s ok, and if we go as a family then we all get to see the polar bears. Colton would love to see them to. Then we could all go. That would be really fun. She turned and walked away. I just couldn’t find a reason where this was O.K.

So this week as part of the school is in Churchill, the kids had a learning day. Where they could sign up for an activity that they would like to learn more about. One of the activities was Cosmetology. Miranda thought that would be fun. So armed with nail polish, mascara and eye shadow, the girls had a fun day of celebrating their beauty. Very fun! She came home eyes blue with shadow and very fancy nails.

Today, a few days later, I happened to be in the school. As I walked to the door an EA came up and said she needed to tell me about Miranda during the learning day. As the girls were polishing each other’s nails, there was a girl from their class that hadn’t been polished yet. She is a girl who is a bit different than the other girls. She doesn’t talk or communicate like they do. She has an EA with her at all times. When the EA asked the girls in the group if someone could polish this girls nails. It was very quiet. Then the EA told me Miranda piped up and said; sure she would love to do her nails. She proceeded to give her a manicure and a great hand massage and treat her with the same friendship she did the other girls in the class.

The EA told me, following day in school, this girl sat admiring her nails. Just like the other girls in their class. She hopefully felt one of them and included.

I looked at the EA and thanked her for telling me this story. I came home from that and told myself, this is the reason. This must be the reason Miranda needed to stay home. Sometimes we don’t see the whole picture. What if this girl needed to feel included that day, and Miranda was the one that needed to be there for her. To be the girl that Miranda is.

             Open. Non-judgmental. Friendly.
              Willing to be a friend to anyone.
This is who she is and I am so proud of who she is. 

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! Matthew 25:40

Thursday, September 15, 2011

summertime pictures

Summer is coming to an end.
 I was looking through a few summer pictures and thought I would put a few of my favorite summer pictures here.

                                    I just love toasted tomato sandwiches

                                      There is no better summer time vegi

      When we were is Greece years ago. We met a woman names Michelle who was there with her 2 girls. She came from Switzerland.  We hung out for the week that we were there and learned one of her favorite summertime things to do is go camping. When they camp, they eat Hachlette (needs to be said with a strong Dutch accent). We nicknamed it Shlapkey( needs to be said with a strong German accent)..
This yummy dish is our new favorite summertime treat!! 

The warm bubbly cheese is perfect on a slice of fresh baguette. 

    Our pond was our favorite summer place on our yard this year. The water was so warm and deep blue

  Fishing at Grand Rapids was our favorite summer time fishing spot this year. This is some of what we experience while up North. So great!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fishing Views

Here are a few reasons that I love fishing.....

These are some of our views from the boat one night this weekend up at Grand Rapids

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dryberry lake, Ontario

This weekend we spent our time on a small lake in Ontario. It is not a campground lake but a place where you need to boat into and find a camping spot on an island or on shore wherever you can. We found a great spot on the remote lake that was just perfect.
While hiking around the girls came upon a turtle laying her eggs in the sand. They sat there and watched the whole process and even took a video.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

sometimes you just have to cook!!

Around our house, it's all about the food and the friends that we can experience it with. Here is a little sample of some of the fun we have had in our kitchen that was designed to share with our friends.

Friday, February 25, 2011

tropical Cyclone Yasi

Tropical cyclone Yasi devastated our friends town in Mission Beach Australia. We are so sorry for the people who are now in the process of cleaning up their towns.
We are especially praying for Mary. A dear woman who we stayed with for a week and truly came to love and admire. She is morning the loss of her son during this horrific cyclone. Mary taught us the true meaning of hospitality and we can't wait to see her again.
Mary our thoughts are with you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earthquake in New Zealand

Here is a letter we just recieved from our couch surfing friends who just went through a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand. We are so happy to hear that they are O.K.

Dean, Wendy, Miranda and Colton

We have finally got Internet back. Here's the situation at our place.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck about 5km from us. I was at work and was talking to Helen on the phone. I heard Helen scream and then the phone went dead. Before I could even wonder why she was screaming our offices started shaking like mad.

Things were falling over, the whole building was shaking from side to side. I dived under my desk and spent the time hoping the second floor didn't come down on me.

After it all stopped, I grabbed my gear and headed out as we evacuated the office. I hopped onto my motorbike and headed home. The roads were crazy. I rode on the footpath in some places so I could get home. I was glad I had the bike as the roads were gridlocked for cars. All the traffic lights were out and it was mob rules at the intersections. There was mud and water everywhere from liquefaction. The roads were buckled and shops were collapsed.

I got home and Maddi and Helen were fine. They were pretty scaredThe inside of the house was a mess, but otherwise intact. We have some big gaps between our house and the driveway now, and it seems like the garage has moved a few inches further away from the house.

2 days on we are still without power, water, sewer or phone. I have a small generator which I bought for emergencies, so we can watch the news and charge up our cellphones when needed.

We have set up a long-drop dunny in the backyard. It is a work of art if I don't say so myself. Lucky I have built a few in my time.

We are still experiencing aftershocks. There was one just then. For those of you who haven't experienced one, imagine if someone takes your house and hits it so hard it wobbles from side to side for a few seconds. This is accompanied by the sound of a substantial explosion quite nearby. It is usually preceded by a loud rumbling noise like a jet aircraft.

But we are alive and well. Our back neighbours' house is wrecked (split in two) and many more from behind us are in a bad way as well. It seems our street of older weatherboard houses came out OK again. But we will all need a good building inspection before we can move onto fixing any damage.

Darren, Helen and Maddison

Friday, February 18, 2011

MS Liberation treatment. Did it work??

That's the question that keeps coming up.

The short answer is YES!

The long answer is much more involved. Now that we experienced what we did and know what we know. It is much more complicated than a Yes or No answer.

Before we left we didn't know what someone with MS really experiences. We learned that someone with MS may or may not experience:

-loss of sight
-foggy brain
-finger dexterity loss
-loss of balance
-loss of use of arms
-severe head aches
-loss of bladder control
-very weak bladder

 These are only a few of the things that they may go through.
The symptoms vary from person to person and sometimes from day to day and year to year.

Because dad lives in Alberta and we live in Mb. we don't see him as much as we would like and so didn't know all the symptoms that he experienced day to day, other than the obvious.

We spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica with dad and we met a huge group of people suffering with the symptoms of MS. At the Clinica Biblica in San Jose, they do 80 Liberation Surgery's a month and have been for 7 months. They have such amazing doctors who took the time to meet with dad and get all the information through EKG's, ultrasounds, tests and interviews so they could make sure he was a great candidate for the surgery.  That is where we learnt not only what dad was experiencing, but also what so many others experience also. 

Immediately following the surgery most every one felt different. Some experienced huge things. My dad was one of those people. For him, the first thing he noticed was that his head felt clearer. He soon after noticed he didn't have a head ache. That continued on. If you are a head ache sufferer, you will know how great it is to NOT have a head ache. Dad usually had a head ache for 90% of his day. So this was amazing.
He woke up from the surgery feeling very strong and had lots of energy. Because of the vein puncture sight in the main vein in his leg. He had to keep his leg perfectly still and straight for 8 hours after surgery. He felt like he wanted to get up, but he had to stay in bed. The next morning though, he got up and wanted to go to see our friends to see how they were feeling. He also wanted to find someone to dance with. He really felt good and did find the lady next door who also had the surgery the day before and she was ready to dance too. Very fun!

Within days following the surgery, dad kept having more and more surprises. He noticed next that he had his finger movement and dexterity back. He also found that he could put his ankle up over his knee while he was sitting. This is also something that he could not do for years.  Every day it seemed to be one more thing that he found he could do better and felt his legs getting stronger. His balance improved every day, so that after 8 days he was back to walking with a cane and feeling he could go further without it.

We also met people who were in much worse shape than dad was in. We met a 40 year old french girl. She was sitting in a wheelchair when she arrived. Her head looked like it was very heavy, she could almost not keep it up. She could barely lift her arms up and could only keep them there for a few seconds before they would fall back into her lap. She looked very tired.
The day after her surgery she came back to the hotel(double tree Hilton San Jose) where we all stayed for 2 weeks. She looked so much better. He face looked much more aware and less tired. She held her head strong. She had a big smile on her face and had a much stronger voice. She also ate her breakfast herself. She hasn't been able to hold a fork and eat herself for YEARS!! This was so amazing to see. The next thing we saw her do that same morning was wheel her chair. This was obviously very hard for her to do. But she was doing it. This was the day after surgery.

Another girl we met was also 40 years old. She has been suffering from MS for 25 years. She told us how she sees double and very blurry vision. She had to look out the side of her eyes to see people. She said people always think she is crazy because she is looking at them from the side. Immediately following the surgery, she could finally see clearly. She also said how her head felt so clear and light. 

                   This is all very life changing stuff.

All these things that we saw from the people we met made us clearly not understand why this is not being done in Canada. All these people here could be in the comfort of their own county instead of having to fly to Costa Rica. It is very frustrating to understand. This surgery is not a "new" thing. It is angioplasty. Something that our doctors have been doing for years. Most people know someone who has had a very similar procedure done.

                                    Just not for MS.

I think if the people who make the decision to not do the surgery in Canada were to go to Costa Rica and observe this being done there. They would see the truth and start to give people the opportunity to feel better here in Canada. 

All in all, this was an amazing experience for not only dad but for us also. We learnt so much. We met some amazing people who we will continue to keep in touch with. 
I would encourage anyone who suffers from MS to look into this procedure in Costa Rica. The company that puts this together for Canadians is called Passport medical in Vancouver. They do a really great job and make it really easy to organize. They do all the work. If anyone has questions we would love to help in any way.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jaco Beach


                          Waves, Sand

                   Coconut Oil Massage

     Swimming, Splashing, Surfing, Diving

                Steak, Salad, Camaronies

                         Wine, Dancing


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Salsa and snapper

We had a great weekend. We came over to Robert and Zida's hotel for the weekend on Jaco beach. We did some walking on the beach, eating yummy food, salsa dancing and reading lots of books.

      Good thing Erin Funk is a good dance teacher or the salsa dancing would have been way less fun.

    Today Robert and Dean went on a fishing trip. They left for a half day of fishing which ended up turning into a full day opf fishing as the captain really wanted them to catch a big red snapper.....which they did.
Biggest Red snapper we have ever seen.

Dean slabbed it up and we will be sharing it tonight with a group coming over for the super bowl party.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

more costa rica pictures

We stayed at the Double tree hilton hotel. It is a really nice hotel

We brought some epicure guacamoli spice with as usual and we made some fresh salsa and guacamoli for lunches.

We went on a wood working shop tour one day

We also went to cafe britt to buy coffee

A buffet breakfast ws included in our hotel stay.

                                                             dads physiotherapists
                                                           Gabby, Jose and Caudio
                                      Some of our gang.  Heather, Henry, Gail and Glen.
                                           We often met in the halls to hang out and talk