Getting there...

If you asked either of us years ago, we never would have thought life would be like this!

This blog is the story of our family; as Dad leads, loves, pastors and points to Jesus, as Mom nurtures and supports, as our children follow and grow into men and women after God's own heart.
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MarknBarbie

The epic story of Mark the Dad, Barbie the Mama, their two Pickles Jack and Emmet, and their beautiful girls Paige, Jessie and Ruth.


Independence is unbiblical. And a delusional goal. - Dad

I’m being harsh because I want to get your attention. Independence is not biblical. It’s funny everyone seem to want to push each other towards it.

And then I remember we’re all sinful and misguided. And that’s why we keep forgetting.

Forgetting that the biblical model is dependence on Jesus. Dependence on others.

We just sent a very small and insignificant amount of money to friends in South Africa, who can’t put food on the table.

Maybe we should have told them, “Well, that’s what it’s like to live there. Just work harder.”

No way.

But we feed each other a similar kind of independence lie every day in how we operate. So much so we don’t even think about sharing or working together about the obvious. Like somebody please tell me why out of the 30 houses around me within WIFI range, all 30 pay for their own connections? Bah. Foolish independence.

We do it on how we run our families. Modern daycare exists because families don’t help each other anymore. And the government model only promotes daycare. NOT mom at home. Families are small because people don’t take God at his word to be fruitful and multiply. A verse that captures the imagery of a cup ‘overflowing’.

Like, more than you can handle on your own.

As if you could handle anything in life on your own. The myth of the self made man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and accomplished something is delusional. I did it with my own two hands he must say. I am independent!

Yeah. Did you make your hands? No I think not. How’s about you give some credit to the one that did?


So, I’m glad that for the moment Barb and I have regained our focus, and are keeping the kids at home with us, and having home school kids as ‘mothers helpers’ and of course our family to come help Barb out. And we’re going to keep trusting in Jesus to provide.

It’s very busy, and we are really feeling the loss of our nanny Anika, but we’re inching towards July hoping to get through. And we’re under no foolish thoughts that we can do it alone.

I mean just think, if you operated with an “I can do it myself” attitude in the rest of your life, pretty soon you’d be thinking you could earn your own salvation.

A stretch you say? Noop. It’s exactly why modern culture is resistant to the Gospel. Shame.

Let the Gospel in.
Throw your independence out the window.


Jessie

Jessie


Two years ago today God rocked our world and blessed us with three adorable girls - Jessie May, Ruth Madelyn and Paige Marie. Born just shy of 30 weeks and weighing between 2.5 to 3 pounds they were our little miracles.  
My prayer for my babies every day is that they would learn to know that God is good and that His Spirit would grow in them and strengthen them and God would lead them in His truth. 
And that they may also
Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good;
 seek justice,
correct oppression;
 bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

Happy Birthday baby girls! We love you sooooo much :D

Two years ago today God rocked our world and blessed us with three adorable girls - Jessie May, Ruth Madelyn and Paige Marie. Born just shy of 30 weeks and weighing between 2.5 to 3 pounds they were our little miracles.
My prayer for my babies every day is that they would learn to know that God is good and that His Spirit would grow in them and strengthen them and God would lead them in His truth.
And that they may also
Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

Happy Birthday baby girls! We love you sooooo much :D

Barbie looking glamorous in her latest TV interview. This time for a 700 club spot about Mothers Day. I was on last year for Fathers Day and this brings it full circle. She spoke eloquently as always, can’t wait to hear it all. Miki texted me this image. Thanks for thinking of us TC and giving us a voice. Nice one Sweety.

Barbie looking glamorous in her latest TV interview. This time for a 700 club spot about Mothers Day. I was on last year for Fathers Day and this brings it full circle. She spoke eloquently as always, can’t wait to hear it all. Miki texted me this image. Thanks for thinking of us TC and giving us a voice. Nice one Sweety.

Find the Place where Faith in Jesus is Possible, and Live There.

It’s a girl :)

And we’ll raise her to love Jesus.

On Friday it became real: That we’ve got another one on the way. I saw her heart beat as I held the boys and the foot of mommies ultrasound bed. And the boys were right when earlier this week they said “Oh it IS a girl.” She’s real and she’s on her way.

I thought I’d announce it on a Sunday Morning. :)

Because this time it’s different. She wasn’t a surprise. We chose to have her with us. Because for us, this where the rubber meets the road. This is the place where faith is possible. Having another child pushes us beyond ourselves, just a little more towards trusting Jesus. 

And it’s where the rubber meets the road for others as well. Because you could explain away twins and triplets as a miracle no one could prepare for. So of course we needed some grace and help. But now? Now you can’t get past it. We’re having another child because Jesus told us to. 

So at this point, you either walk away and call us crazy, or take the leap of faith with us and trust in Jesus with us. 

He’s been coming through for us in big and small ways for years now. And He will keep on doing exactly that. 

Come with us. :)

Find the Place where Faith in Jesus is Possible, and Live There.

It’s a girl :)

And we’ll raise her to love Jesus.

On Friday it became real: That we’ve got another one on the way. I saw her heart beat as I held the boys and the foot of mommies ultrasound bed. And the boys were right when earlier this week they said “Oh it IS a girl.” She’s real and she’s on her way.

I thought I’d announce it on a Sunday Morning. :)

Because this time it’s different. She wasn’t a surprise. We chose to have her with us. Because for us, this where the rubber meets the road. This is the place where faith is possible. Having another child pushes us beyond ourselves, just a little more towards trusting Jesus.

And it’s where the rubber meets the road for others as well. Because you could explain away twins and triplets as a miracle no one could prepare for. So of course we needed some grace and help. But now? Now you can’t get past it. We’re having another child because Jesus told us to.

So at this point, you either walk away and call us crazy, or take the leap of faith with us and trust in Jesus with us.

He’s been coming through for us in big and small ways for years now. And He will keep on doing exactly that.

Come with us. :)

Jack

Jack

Wagon ride at Springridge Farm with my Emmet :)

Wagon ride at Springridge Farm with my Emmet :)

Kent

I thought I’d post the text of Kent’s funeral. I’m off work today on some very important business and had a few moments…

For Kent:

Good morning everyone.

We are here again. It was not very long ago that we were in this same room, saying goodbye to Grandpa.  And now we are back to say goodbye to Kent. The eldest son. 

For me, my first thought is that Grandpa leaving and now Kent shows me that time is definitely marching on, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. My second thought is that I’m glad we have each other. Because I would not want to walk through this life without my very big family. I’m lucky to have you guys, and so was Kent.

So again, today we’ll try and walk through Kent’s life and try and come out on the otherside with Hope, and maybe forgiveness.  Because we are family that needs Hope, and we are a family that needs to forgive.

So, I’m going to pray, and Jeff is going to start.

Jesus get us through this. I told grandma I would get her though it but it’s you that we all need.
Amen.

Jeff you can start

———————————————————————————————————-

Uncle Kent raced his first car before he was born. If I have the story straight it was a yellow ford convertible.  Grandma’s contractions were getting stronger, Grandpa was in the back seat freaking out as any first time father should, and Grandma’s brother Mac was driving the car.

Grandma and Grandpa had left Toronto for the weekend and were visiting Grandma’s Great Aunt Alice and Uncle Nash’s farm in Morrisburg. No story is complete without mentioning Morrisburg. Apparently the head of obstetrics at their Hospital had told Grandpa to just go and not worry about an early labour. “Irving, if it’s gonna go, it’s gonna go.”

And well, it went.

“Are we there yet Mac? How many more lights?”

“Not much further Ruth”

40 minutes of driving brought them to a hospital in Cornwall, and Uncle Kent was born. Premature at 7 months. I have 3 premature little triplet girls at home, born at 7 months I know how fragile that is. I’m pretty sure Cornwall in the 50’s wasn’t as advanced as McMaster Children’s Hospital. But out Uncle Kent came.

Fast forward through 30 years of life that Jeff talked about. Life as an older brother to Roger, and at first as Grandma’s little helper and sometime doting brother to Karen.  Through some good times with his family, brothers and sisters. But not always. My birth and adoption away from the family. The tragic death of his younger brother Roger.

Through all of that Kent was racing again. He was wild. He was reckless. Grandma begged him not to get a motorcycle. He did. He took a motorbike he couldn’t handle onto the QEW and was run off the road. He got hurt bad and life as he knew it ended.

At this point it’s fair to ask, Um Mark, where is the hope in that?

Well, we can talk about his contributions to memory research.  Which I think are wonderful.  And we as a family are happy that research could be done and that Kent was a part of that body of work. And through that I do have hope for other people, that this research can help us understand and care for others.

But that still doesn’t really give us Hope for Kent specifically. He still lost the best part of his life. We had a version of him the past 30 years, the only version of him I ever knew, quiet, always ready to eat another piece of pie with Melanie. But, really, in a lot of the ways that matter, he died many years ago. No chance to have a wife. No children of his own. No chance to gather good memories of time well spent. No chance to grow out of his wild self and hopefully develop, apologize. We had him with us for 33 years after, but he could not hold onto us.

As always, I think the only hope for Kent is Jesus.

Now, I have zero evidence that Kent in his wild last days he believed in Jesus at all. 
But, I don’t care.

Because I read the bible: Romans 5:8 “For God shows his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.”
Let me translate that for you: Jesus died for Kent. Wild Kent. Foolish Kent. Jesus died to save him.

And feel this: 
We are all fools in Gods eyes. Full of anger, unbelief, resentment, you insert your personal failing into the blank. I know what mine are.

Again I read the bible “There is no one who does good, no not even one.” Psalm 14

See might think we come to God and this life with all our goodness. I’m a good person, or at least pretty good. I deserve a good life. I work hard I deserve to x y and z. Really? You ever get angry? Held a grudge? The bible calls that equal to Murder. You ever lie about anything? Then you’re a liar. You ever take an extra long lunch break, it’s called time ‘theft’ in the workplace that costs the U.S. $70 billion a year. Ever wish you had something someone else had? That commandment  9&10. Coveting. Ever acted selfishly? That’s called Idolatry. That’s basically commandments 1, 2 and 3 because you’re saying I’m in charge of my own life, when you’re not. That’s the biggest sin of all because you’re actually worshipping yourself.  You’ve kept all those? Wow that’s a lot of pride and arrogance you’ve got. That’s a sin too.

You see we’re all broken and lost. You just might not have noticed because you haven’t fallen off your bike yet.

Which is why the Gospel is such good news. We are all fools. And Jesus died for all of us.

Do you know Easter is coming? That 2000 years ago Jesus looked into the future and knew who you were, knew who Kent was, and loved you and him enough to die. That he hung on a cross and was buried, went down into hell, and three days later kicked the gate off of that place and walked out so we could too.

So what does that mean for Kent?
I think it means Jesus is in charge. And He is good.
I heard it said best “there will be surprises in heaven.”
And I hope to be surprised at the people I see there. 
I hope to be astonished at how wide and how deep is the love of God.
So much so that it brings me to my knees, 
Saying “Yes Jesus. You are Good. No one is good and forgiving like you.”

I hope to see Kent with a new body. 
I hope to see Kent with a new mind. A mind restored. 

I think there is work to do in heaven. Working and living a full life doing something with that new solid body and mind.

And I expect after millennia, the time that Kent spent on earth will feel like a premature life compared to the time spent in heaven really and finally living.

I hope to meet the real Kent there.
The Kent as he always should have been.

That is the only hope that we have.

———

And so Kent we send you on your way. We pray Jesus is doing what he does best: finding people who are lost and redeeming them. I hope you are hearing his voice even now. “Kent, my name is Jesus. I am the Alpha and Omega, you did not follow me but I have come for you. I died to fix what was broken in you. Come with me, I’m going to remake you into the man you were supposed to be.”

Amen.

How I do the dishes when all my kiddos want to be right beside me - put them in highchairs, give them raisins and voila!

How I do the dishes when all my kiddos want to be right beside me - put them in highchairs, give them raisins and voila!

Locked myself out of the house but 4 out of 5 kids sleeping in strollers ain’t bad and Aunty Liz is coming with refreshments. Thank God it’s also beautiful out!

Locked myself out of the house but 4 out of 5 kids sleeping in strollers ain’t bad and Aunty Liz is coming with refreshments. Thank God it’s also beautiful out!

Emmet, Paige, Jessie, Ruth
They all decided to sit down with their chairs in the middle of the lawn like this. I think the girls were wondering why Emmet was holding a hockey stick instead of a ball - he clearly didn’t get the memo 
:)

Emmet, Paige, Jessie, Ruth
They all decided to sit down with their chairs in the middle of the lawn like this. I think the girls were wondering why Emmet was holding a hockey stick instead of a ball - he clearly didn’t get the memo
:)

Emmet and Jack  ~Dec 2012

Emmet and Jack ~Dec 2012

Spring walk with Aunty Karen! @apalomer

Spring walk with Aunty Karen! @apalomer


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