A Busy, Blessed Weekend

Over the last few weeks I’ve drafted up a few blog posts. Because of the long winters we have I can get grumpy and have a tendency to whine. So, needless to say, I’ve opted to post nothing. Like the old adage, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”

This year my focus has been thankfulness. We are facing several trials in our life but through it all God is faithful and blesses us greatly. This weekend was an example of that. We were able to spend some time in Charlottetown and do a bit of shopping. Natalee also participated in a Fashion Show Fund Raiser for the IWK (children’s hospital in our area). She’s a natural model!

My favourite part of this weekend was letting each child pick a toy at the toy store – within a price limit. We did have some tears due to difficulty of making a decision but it was fun to spoil the kids a bit. We also had supper at a restaurant which is a nice break for me. Overall, I love spending time with my family!

Here are a few photos we took over the weekend:

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Chris’ sermon prep (the kids’ puppies were snuggling him)

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January 23

Life continues on in the Keezer home. It has been very cold (-19 and a wind chill of -30 or so). So we’ve been enjoying the sunshine from our back room. It’s my favourite place in the house because it has windows on 3 walls. It’s a lovely place to relax, read, or take an afternoon nap.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken over the last month:

Christmas with Mr. & Mrs. Keezer

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New Years at Bob’s house on the ocean

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Playing in the snow

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A trip to Charlottetown to play at an indoor play-place and enjoy Swiss Chalet (compliments of a lovely couple who gave us a gift card for Christmas)

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My new cozy sweater made by our awesome neighbours – check out Ureshii online!

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12 of 2012

How is hour New Years progress coming? I like to take my time to process the previous year and plan for the upcoming. I hope you are not discouraged in your goals. We have many tomorrows to accomplish our 2013 resolutions!

2012 was hard for me in many ways. I wanted to close the book on 2012 with 12 things to remember and be thankful for (in no particular order):

1. Spending 5 days as a couple in sunny Orange County California at the Resurgence Conference was one of the biggest highlights. We learned lots and were challenged. We also met Mark and Grace Driscoll. Overall it was a dream come true for both Chris and I.

2. Our new home. We’ve moved just 400m from where we were before but this suits us much better. We have an extra bathroom, more living space, and a lovely enclosed back yard for the kids to play. Plus we are already connecting with the neighbours.

3. A beautiful summer. I don’t have a specific memory but we spent lots of time at the beach (minutes from our place) and the weather was nice and hot through the season. Our potato farming friends could have used more rain but we thought the weather was just fine.

4. A big blessing in 2012 was moving to PEI for Chris’ job at the church. Chris was without work or working odd jobs for a while previously. We were thankful to have some stability again and truly where God wants us.

5. Making new friends and connecting with old acquaintances. Moving sometimes means having to start over. Not for us! We have felt so welcomed and were able to reconnect with Chis’ university friends and family we rarely saw previously. Plus our church family has been awesome!

6. The blessing of another pregnancy. This is fairly self-explanatory.

7. In the spring we began Dave Ramsey’s FPU. It has been pivotal in our finances!

8. Last winter i found the Leading and loving in online conference. I was so encouraged as a pastors wife. I look forward to it again in a few weeks!

9. Celebrating 5 years of marriage!

10. Cutting out Facebook. What a time absorber! I was finally convicted enough to shut it down for good. I’ve been freed up to focus better while I’m home with the kids and be more intentional with my friendships.

11. A new love of reading. I was never a big reader. I joined a book club with some of my mom friends and its just exploded from there. In the last year I read 7-8 WHOLE books! I know that seams silly to avid readers but I am notorious for starting a book and never reading it to the end.

12. Our farmers market and getting local food from our weekly veg box.

I have been apprehensive as to what 2013 will bring but I am choosing to anticipate a great year. As my goal for this year I am learning to be more thankful.

Our families’ theme verse for this year is Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Happy New Year!

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Top Five

Last year, around this time, I wrote a post “Is It Worth The Candy?”. This is somewhat a followup post to that.

I’ll be honest. I hate halloween! And no, it’s not because I’m a Christian and halloween is a  satanic/demonic holiday – although that is one issue. We are Christ followers and that does affect how we do life. However, my concerns with Halloween has to do with the current state of this widely celebrated festival and it’s negative implications. Plus, I hate people asking me, “what are you guys doing for halloween?” My answer is not a quick one! So, this post is a way for me to concisely put down my objections and create a clear argument to retort with when I am faced with “the dreaded question”.

Oliver, roasting pumpkin seeds October 2011

Here are my top five issues with October 31st and the events surrounding it:

Greed – this is the reason I don’t understand halloween. Why am I supposed to sit at home with an investment of chocolate waiting for kids (note: strangers) to come to my home and collect it because they may or may not have a good costume on? One word, greed. I often hear, “that’s the fun” or “it’s all about the candy”. Well I think it’s weird!!! If we were in the 1950s and I actually new and invested in my neighbours, and they in me, I may think differently. In our culture today this is self-serving behaviour and not something I like to encourage.

Over-spending – How much do you spend on halloween? Costumes, candy, decorations, the gas to drive to the “good neighbourhoods”, it all adds up! Do you budget these items? Did you know Christmas is around the corner? Let’s be honest, stores know we are big spenders. They totally take advantage of these ‘consumer holidays’. Those marketing executives are good at their jobs! Do you think your money could be put to better use – rather than feeding the poor chubby kids down the road?

Health concerns – First, have you ever wondered why the flu vaccine comes out around this time? When you feed your body too much sugar and don’t give it proper nutrition and rest (it’s probably hard to sleep because of all the high fructose corn syrup, fat, and salt you are pumping into yourself) it causes your immune system issues, and some people are effected more than others. You might come down with a scratchy throat or the sniffles or the full on “out both ends” situation. The flu is not a coincidence. Second, Isn’t there an obesity epidemic in North America? Is overconsumption something we want to ingrain in our children? Plus, I don’t even want to get started on all the GMOs (genetically modified organisms) that junk food contains and how they effect your body (encouraging obesity and other health complications). Side note: you are lucky, I’m going to stop here. I could make a whole post about this topic!!!! I am showing self control. Moving along…

Natalee, making pumpkin seeds Oct 2011

Child slavery/human trafficking – this breaks my heart! Many major chocolate producers turn a blind eye that children are the ones harvesting cocoa to produce our precious halloween candy. It’s a disgusting irony that children will be out all night in North America collecting candy while children in developing countries are denied their freedom to help produce that candy. A wonderful mom named Kristen wrote – better than I ever could – on this specific topic in her blog Rage Against the Minivan. I would REALLY encourage you to check it out. My note here is please be a responsible consumer if you are buying treats! Buy local when possible and buy Fair Trade. Yes, it’s more expensive but it is worth it!

Over-sexualization – there may be some scary costumes out there but those are clearly plastic, fake, and fairly easy to explain to a child. My issue is more with the sexual costumes – sexy cheerleader, slutty nurse, sexy kitty. And it’s not just adult costumes. I’m already horrified year-round how our young girls dress and are expected to be sexy and grown up (if you don’t believe me google Madonna’s tween fashion line, Material Girl; also this is her daughter Lola’s blog about halloween, she’s 15 by the way) wearing heavy makeup, short skirts, and even fishnet stockings. There is also a trend of baby string bikinis! When it comes to October, in Canada, let’s be practical: it’s COLD. Ladies, please clothe yourselves!

I want to pose this question to you: Why do you celebrate halloween? Is is bad to take part in these festivities? Of course not! But don’t just settle with, “well, everyone else does it.” Your mama taught you better than that! And my mama did too. Where do you think I got my “why”-mentality from? And I hope to pass that along to my kids.

Our Family October 2011

Because of our convictions Chris and I have decided to spend our October 31st differently. We have chosen to invest our time and money in our kids in another way. We have budgeted for a wonderful family evening of events. We will be bowling with the kids, eating out as a family (BIG treat for us!!), and then heading to the church to watch a movie on the big screen. We call it the Reformation Celebration (FYI Reformation Day is also on October 31st).

Our kids still don’t understand what halloween is. Natalee has been asking some questions and we tell her honestly, “many people enjoy dressing up and going door to door to get candy but we have chosen to spend our evening as a family.” As the kids grow and ask more we will honestly answer them with our clear convictions. I know this isn’t a “protective phase” that we will grow out of as our kids get older. We want to raise our children to question society and the status quo. Rather than blindly do what everyone else is doing we hope that our kids choose to do what they want, not following the crowd – in all situations.

I hope you take time to consider your  family traditions. Why do you celebrate October 31st the way that you do?

August 13th

Aside

We are mid-way through August…can you believe that? So far it has been a BUSY yet wonderful summer. To catch you up here are a few photos on what we’ve been doing.

Picking strawberries at Rennie’s U-Pick. We picked enough to freeze and enjoy through the winter.Image

Eating Ice Cream after soccer.Image

Watching the Lobster Carnival parade with friends (which we got a free 5Lb bag of mussels out of!)Image

Growing tomatoes & enjoying the hot outdoors.Image

Spending time at Cousin Bob’s place. We were dog-sitting at one of the most beautiful homes in the countryside of PEI. We were right on the ocean. On our walk the kids wanted to throw rocks in the bay. How serene. Image

It’s been a lovely summer and we have a few items left on our to-do list for the summer (Avonlea Village, Magic Mountain, and hopefully camping). Thankfully we have a few weeks left to fit in these activities.

It’s been a while…

…we have not been great at the updates. Maybe it’s because nothing super exciting has happened. For this blog post I will update you as to what has been going on in the Keezer home. I’m sure you all were worried 😉

Here are 10 random things to update you:

1. We have been busy! Two kids + two jobs + household duties + guests + commitments = one busy household. I love it all and I am trying to learn balance, being intentional and some other words/character qualities (could I be more vague?).

2. Chris has signed up for his gun safety course. The hope is that he’ll be certified and packin’ by next moose season so we can fill our freezer. You can’t get any more local and organic than hunting your own moose.

3. We are experimenting with wheat/gluten in our diet again. We know it may not be the best but gluten free wasn’t working the way we had hoped. We were also starting with GAPS but…long story short…it didn’t work out. We are at a place where we are trying to balance nutrition and our budget. At the end of the day food is a means by which we nourish our bodies and we will do the best with what we are given.

4. Our two kids are such a joy! After my miscarriage I have been more thankful for the kids I currently have. I have also realized that having two is a LOT of work! For those that are curious, we don’t have plans for another baby any time soon. We are enjoying where we are right now.

5. We love Summerside! The grass is green and the beach is just down the street. I can tell we will be spending a lot of time outside (and I generally don’t outdoors).

6. Chris & I been going through Dave Ramesey’s Financial Peace course. LOVE IT!

7. Oliver is almost 18 months (on the 29th) and is talking up a storm! the way he says “I do!” makes me laugh. He also loves to read and be outside – he will try to escape if we aren’t watching.

8. Natalee will be four next month. WOW! She is the same as she was last year in a lot of ways. Kid’s don’t change a lot once they get older. She is my challenging child but also a great joy!

9. Chris loves working at Summerside Baptist with Pastor Don and all the other volunteers. He is also an amazing preacher (other say this, not just me)

10. I’ve been continuing with my business with Stella & Dot. It has been GREAT to say the least. I’ve also got one lovely lady on my team. To learn more you can check out http://www.stelladot.com/beckiekeezer OR email me beckiekeezer@me.com. I love to talk about it!

February Fast: Week 1

I know it’s a bit past the mark of week 1 but here’s my update:

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The beginnings of our garden

I was grumpy! I think this was because I was faced with my reality and had no way to escape. It was a hard week but by the end of it I was able to persevere.

Once I was pro-active I was able to be encouraged by the trials that faced me. Lately I have been thinking about my method of parenting. It has been a struggle with transitions and me just not “getting in the game”. I have been very tired lately but my children still exist and I need to be involved. So, I have added another website to my “allowed” list (because it’s really an e-book). The website is http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/. So far what I have read has been encouraging in my raising little ones.

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One of the beans beginning to sprout.

We have started our seedlings, as of Groundhog Day. Today (Sunday) Natalee found a sprout. If you garden a bit you would probably guess it’s a bean sprout. And, yes, it is! I don’t usually plant beans indoors because they grow so fast but Natalee wanted to plant them. I’m glad we did too. It gives us hope for the rest of our plants (which are; Roma tomatoes (7), bell peppers (15), Amish Paste (roma) tomatoes (21), Sweet cherry (12), and beans (4), if you were curious) that won’t sprout for a while yet. My hope this year is to make and can tomatoes and salsa! Last years crop was whipped out by blight and I accidentally forgot to plant any peppers, just more baby tomatoes. This year I was more aware of the seeds I planted

Some other projects that I completed this week were curtains for Oliver’s room, double layering the curtains in Natalee’s room to make her room darker, and simplifying our files/cleaning off the desk – my theory is, it is easier to simplify than organize!

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My clean desk, on top and inside! I used to save A LOT of paper. Now we are working on a "less-paper" system.

Overall I still need to cut out technology. I have been watching more shows (like ‘Friends’) than I have been reading or doing something productive in my spare time. In moderation I don’t mind watching sitcoms but I’ve gone through two seasons in the last week and a bit. So, unless I’m sewing, I shouldn’t have it on.

One thing I’ve been thinking about on my fast is that EVERYTHING involves technology these days! It is hard to communicate without it! So I’m working on my “mission statement” with regards to how I use social media and other connective tools. Like I said before, technology is not bad but it’s how we use it that can be harmful to us.

So here is my big question:

How do you use texting, Facebook, twitter, pinetrest and other online tools that are enjoyable and in moderation so that they don’t consume your entire life?