Christmas Memories in the Making...

After a broken car, some tears, and a $79 God-send of a flight, Jake and I made it to Quebec City where we spent five days with the whole clan (my side of the family).

Pack 28 people into a massive chalet, and enough mini-stick tournaments to make your head spin, and you've got a fun family Christmas. We had a great time, and aside from wishing I'd saved enough money to ski the slopes of Mont-Saint-Anne, I was so happy that Jake could get to know everyone better. He is now familiar with the names of my aunts and uncles, and had some fun trying to walk around with little cousins attached to his legs. Both Jake and Nathanael (my sister's husband) quickly learned that beards and being married to the coolest sisters this side of the St. Lawrence makes one a popular commodity.

Needless to say, I gained 7 pounds. The food was delicious, and constantly abounding. I couldn't escape it if I tried, so I gave in. And delighted myself in star-shaped chocolate cookies topped with peppermint, and pumpkin cheese-cake, and warm, savoury apple crisp. Yes, this is what I lived for. Not to mention the endless amounts of chocolate covered almonds and gingerbread cookies.

It's safe to say that Ashleigh will be implementing a strict diet of... well, you know how I feel about diets.


It's time to go for a walk...

I am so grateful to the aunts and uncles who made it possible for Jake and I to go (chipping in a little bit to make the unexpected expenses a bit more bearable). I am also grateful that God is always teaching me things, not to mention that he provides in ways we never expect. Oma lent us her car until Saturday, which is such a blessing.

Today was kind of stressful, as we, once again, had to think about what to do about a car. We decided that fixing it up was the best route to go, instead of getting a new one. Please pray as we continue to look for God for strength in such a crazy time!



Book Readings...

Since May, I decided I wanted to read more books. I have been out of the fiction scene for a while, but in highschool, my sister (who is still an avid reader) and I would consume Christian fiction books. We would raid the church library, eating them up as if they were wonderful morsels filling our starved minds. I was amazed at her propensity to read, and watched as book after book was written on her tracking sheet; I'm sure she still does it, but she used to rate the books to remind herself if she would ever read it again. I was just as enthralled by books; I remember one time in particular, I was supposed to be studying for my Grade 9 exams, but was instead caught up in a whirling Roman times Christian romance trilogy, each book consisting of easily 500 pages. The captivating words of Francine Rivers in the Mark of the Lion series enlightened me to the world of fiction, and I would be forever enchanted by the way she encorporated the love of our Saviour into her works of writ.

Since May, I have read 19 books. Among those are some non-fiction titles, although my appetite for fiction has grown steadily as I have become more accustomed to reading once again. It truly is an art, and only over time can one get used to sitting for long periods, staring at letters on a page.

I started and finished a book today, and let me tell you, it didn't take much for the author to rivet me with his words. The book is called "Immanuel's Veins", by Ted Dekker. I enjoy this author immensely, as his suspense and mystery is quite thrilling. This book in particular was different than any other I have read, and his allegory for Christ's love and ultimate sacrifice for us was written in a most unusual manner. It is not for everyone, but I encourage you, if you would like to experience a thrilling and captivating story about one man's journey in pursuit of saving his one and only love from the grips of evil, you must read this book.

Once again, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. I am leaving for Quebec tomorrow, and most likely won't be online until a week from now. Be blessed by the hope of our loving Saviour!



Hope...and what Christmas really means...

This Christmas is a little bit different for me.

#1 I'm married. Naturally, my first Christmas as a married woman will look just a tad different than the last.

#2 I'm not celebrating Christmas in Ontario. For the first time ever. This year, the Winder clan (including said husband and my new brother in law) will be spending five days in Quebec from Dec. 23-27, celebrating this wonderful season in a massive chalet with 9 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, etc (you get the picture). Since it was my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary this year, they decided we should celebrate in style, and have a smashing time chilling with the fam. I'm looking forward to it :)

#3 Jake and I had our own little celebration on Saturday. We decided to do it up family style and had Christmas morning this past Saturday by opening our gifts, reading Luke 2, and making some fantastic cinnamon buns; then we roasted our first turkey that evening, after watching The Dawn Treader at the movies. It was so nice, and we're happy we could celebrate this holiday, just the two of us, before joining the rest of the fam later on this week.

Here are some pics of the past week-end:

Jake and I were also talking about what we want to focus on at Christmas. There are so many cliche phrases one could use, "Jesus is the reason for the season", "He sees you when you're sleeping", (that last one was a joke)....

seriously now...

How does one recognize Jesus' birth as the catalyst for the salvation of the world? That He was born human yet divine? He was not conceived a human way; as was told to his mother, Mary, who had very legitimate doubts as to her pregnancy without "knowing" a man: "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

The Son of God. Who came to save the earth. Doesn't this fill you with hope? In a few short months we will be mourning his death, yet remembering it was that death which saved us... then rejoicing at His resurrection, reminded again of the new life we will one day receive in Christ.

No matter what happens this Christmas, let's continue to remember this hope...the hope of salvation for a dying world, and the hope of the new life in Christ.

Pass on the Good News to everyone you meet!

Merry Christmas!