Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Christmas Preparations

Hello! Christmas is a big deal at our house (well, so says the self proclaimed "Elf" of the family). We drew names back in July and there have already been hushed conversations, scurrying hither and thither for supplies and plans brewing for the Lancaster Christmas 2011. For those of you not in the loop- we draw names so (darn) early because we all make (at least) one gift for that person who's name you drew. We can purchase other gifts for each-other (though we like to keep it small), but that one gift must be handmade. I think every year we draw earlier and earlier due to the handmade gifts needing a bit more time to think through, construct and wrap. (I LOVE warping gifts...) Here's the who-has-who for this year:

Emma has Arielle's name
Arielle has Mom's name
Mom has Emma's name
Dad has Liam's name
Liam has Flynn's name
Flynn has Dad's name

We used to not know the who-as-who until the unveiling Christmas morning... but someone was way too too curious to not just leave well enough alone and would lay in bed at night thinking through... "Okay... so if I have _____ then Dad can't have ____ ...." and by Christmas would have that part figured out. I'll extend a little grace and say that that person was young and curious .... We just don't do it that way anymore- so that person can lay in bed at night and think of other things. :)

Arielle (on behalf of the Lancaster Clan) 

P.S. 73 days, 12 hours, and 5 minutes until Christmas

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beach Vacation Photos

Our family just returned from a wonderful family vacation last week to Edisto Island in SC (South of Charleston). What a delight it was to be able to spend uninterrupted time together as a family... riding bikes the whole time, spending time on the beach, watching the turtles in the pond below our condo, riding bikes to the Piggly Wiggly (Grocery Store) for groceries.... and just reading and resting... and talking. Here's a few photos of our time together!

Emma, Dad, Mom, and Flynn on the deck looking down at the pond and turtles below

Liam making dinner- mack 'n cheese with tomatoes on top!

Riding bikes to the Piggly Wiggly- Dad, Emma and Mom 

Our precious Emma!

Mom .... with the ice-cream. 

Emma and Mom riding on the rumble strip- we loved to sing and harmonize to our favorite hymns on the rumble strip- it makes you sound like a opera singer with vibrato!

The back deck was a great place to catch up on some reading!

Flynn and Arielle making dinner.

Here's Emma right as she thought she was going to get pounded with a wave..... um... Not. :)

More soon- once I get them off of Mom's camera!

on behalf of the Lancaster Family


Friday, March 11, 2011

Answer To Prayer

I thought as I am 'The Dad' 'round these parts it would behoove me to add a post to our family blog.For this first post I'd like to tell you about a wonderful answer to prayer we received from the Lord for Liam and Flynn. 

As some of you know, the lads have been seeking direction for the career they feel called to in the military. I had been praying for a year or more to make a contact with a man of faith who had also served in the same specialized capacity that they aspire to. Typical with God, his answer was far more than we could have expected. 

We had the great honor last month to meet in the home of a man who had served 23 years in the Navy,retiring as a commander. His basement had photgraphs and memorabilia from a long and vigorously served career which was certainly impressive in its own right. The best part was how honestly he described the many rewards of this work and the considerable cost to him and his family. He was very straightforward about the challenges and struggles he wrestled with to his faith in Christ and didn't hesitate to answer some very personal questions about these things. I was quite overwhelmed by his dedication to service for his country as well as the equally dedicated men he served with. It has given Liam, Flynn and I a much greater respect for those who protect our country.

After our visit the lads didn't say a word the whole way home, lost in thought over what they had heard. Interestingly it has served to encourage rather than the opposite and they have increased their efforts to prepare because of what they learned about in this meeting.

Please pray for Gods continued leading in this area of their lives. There are some substantial decisions ahead of them and they need His hand guiding them. 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Baby Turned 14 this week!

Second birthday of the year goes to our Emma Joy! Hmmm... it's a sad thing and a happy thing when everyone realizes the baby is growing up! Fourteen years old. How did that happen? She's growing into a lovely talented young lady and is getting into more of the domestic realm - by choice instead of force. Cooking, helping Arielle will various sewing projects, cleaning .... but she still enjoys writing lengthy adjective frosted letters/essays/books and has her nose in the thesaurus often- finding a "better" word for everything.

Wednesday we celebrated that evening with a friend of hers from church and swim team. Very sweet young lady. Dad said that they reminded him of Chipmunks on caffeine. I think the family size bag of twizzlers and the cheesecake had something to do with it. Liam gave her Converse shoes... but they were the spin off brand- so Mom calls them Convicts instead. :) Ever the practical one- Arielle gave her money for camp (Emma's working hard and saving up to be able to go to summer camp this year at Worldview Academy) and Flynn, Mom and Dad bought her an iTunes gift card- Emma can finally buy the soundtrack to her favorite movie- Swan Princess. She's been humming the "Far Longer Than Forever" song and trying to learn it on the piano for ages!

A "sleep" over followed- and.... You guessed it- they didn't sleep much. But the buzz of sugar enabled them to get up early to find a light dusting of SNOW on the ground... not enough to stay longer than the morning- but it was a welcome surprise!

Happy Birthday Emma! We love you and are so excited to see where God takes you in your 14th year!

 The Lancaster Family

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Can't believe it's February!

Hello Friends and Family!
   The Lord continues to work in our lives as the year hurtles on at a furious rate! Not that we are all that busy - just doing the things that we feel are important for our family during this season- but the time seems to just be gone so fast! Here we are reporting from a February that, at least here in North Carolina, seems to be unable to make up it's mind about which weather it likes best! Sunday was right around 70 degrees, sunny and wonderful- and the next few days were wet and coldish- but the fog was magical and lovely- just in a different way than Sunday. It's all in the way that you look at it- isn't it?
   We have all enjoyed the snow- and the prospect of it (the hope of it happens much more often than the actual event!) since Christmas. The mountains surrounding us have gotten more than we have - which was a bummer for the kids, but left Mom and Dad more than a little glad to have been bypassed yet again. During a trip and the beginning of January to visit friends for dinner in the mountains- we were delighted to  see the snow up there covering everything so delicately! (Yes, the friend's house is pink- like a Charleston pink. The girls loved it!) :)
    We are also adjusting to only having three teenagers now. Arielle turned 20 at the end of January! We enjoyed having a quiet evening at home as a family- with brownies made by Emma and ice cream made by Breyers. Inside the bag that Arielle is about the open at Left is an awesome book that she's been drooling over for several months on sewing fun, creative children's clothing. She was thrilled! Also was a lovely spreader that her talented woodcarving daddy made for her to put in her hope-chest as well as some tea-party china for the same purpose.
      As some of you know, January, February and March are our main Birthday months- with Arielle, Emma, Bev and Pat all two weeks apart. So... now we have an almost 14 year old Emma.... how could that possibly be?
      More Birthday posts to follow!

The Lancaster Family

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thinking about a road trip...

It's been a while since we've driven across country. Dad's pounded into our heads that we don't drive when we visit family back in Canada- we fly. Driving takes too long- we fly. So with the exception three moves to and fro from Canada to North Carolina- we fly.

So when Dad proposed that we all go to the family reunion in August and drive... he was met with a most disapproving audience. "No, no no... we don't drive to Canada, we fly" was the almost unanimous decision. It was almost because that's what wives are supposed to do- "Yes, honey... that sounds nice."

But Saskatchewan isn't Alberta and we do have five drivers instead of the original two and we won't be driving flat out day and night. There are interesting things to see and do along the way. Arielle has already sent away for visitors guides to the cities that we will be passing through (assuming that we still do decide to do this... some still think that we should fly). The Creation Museum is along the way, Laura Ingle's House... isn't along the way, but while we're out of the house we might as well go.... That's what Emma said about the Grand Canyon.... but she got out voted. Too far.

Who knows... it might be kind of fun. It will be out first (and maybe our last) big road trip as a family. Grampa's 80th birthday is the occasion for the reunion and we haven't had a reunion since Emma was 3 or 4 years old... she's grown a little since then.

Still planning... we might just be driving back to Canada instead of flying.

The Lancaster Family

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Start of the Lancaster Family Blog

Dear Family and Friends,
2010 has been an eventful year filled mostly with travels and times that brought us all closer to the Lord. Though the trials were difficult at times, it reminded us of the poem, that most of you have read, called Footprints in the Sand. God never ceases to carry us when we can no longer walk on our own. We are thankful for the travels that God allowed us to take, both spiritually and physically. You will see through almost everyone’s paragraphs that these travels were definitely a highlight.

Beverly (51 years old)- It’s fun to think of you and to send a note to say that we are so thankful for you, our friends and relatives!
I pray for all of you often.
My memory throughout the year has really been about relationships.  What a rich topic with much to learn! So, as I tell you what I’ve doing this year, it makes me think about the people that I do them with. What a blessing! From taking up running and swimming, walking with my neighbour, teaching my kids, cooking meals, going on dates… whew! My heart is full! Thank you all for your love.

Arielle (19 years old) – This year has been full of exciting travels as well as a year of character building and refining times as well. Our family traveled to several interesting places this year. One of my favorite things that we did would have to be the time that the boys, Emma, Mom and I spent with friends in Georgia at a summer camp taking the camp youth tubing! The weather was great, water skiing a blast and… I guess basically it was one of those “all American” wonderful, clean, fun summer memories. I was also blessed to be able to make the trip to see a friend get married, as well as help with wedding preparations for 3 weeks in September in…. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was a great experience to be able to get a taste for another culture, as well as participating in a very lovely wedding celebration that was steeped in meaning and their Christian faith. What a fabulous trip! In the end it was great to come back because the saying is true, “There is no place like home.”
My prayer for us all is that we would all learn to deeply understand the joy to be home- not ever dreading returning.

Arielle, Emma, Liam & Flynn
in Sterling, Scotland
            Liam (17 years old)- This year has been eventful. At the beginning of this year I joined a swim team and, while swimming with them I made some great friends that push me every practice to not give up and to race everyone in the water- including myself. Over the summer I have stretched myself, not as a contortionist would, but I guess you could say that I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the … twilight zone. Just kidding. I have started trying to open up and be more positive, I have also been able to stay off sugar and artificial flavors for14 months- in order to cure my acne problem! I have done lots of great things over the past year like getting the opportunity to travel to Scotland with the pipe band for the world championships in Glasgow- that was amazing. I have learned so much this year and I hope to learn twice as much next year. I wish that I could have spent more time with all of you but, alas… I don’t know half of you half as much as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

            Flynn (15 years old)- This year has pushed me spiritually, physically and mentally. I believe this has been a learning year for me (but I guess every year is a learning year). There have been new experiences with swimming and a more concentrated band competition year. The biggest experience for me (and I believe our whole family) was our trip to Scotland for the world pipe band championships. The experience there was something our family will never forget. My only disappointment was the fact that Dad was not able to come, having to stay home and work. It was sad to see those breathtaking estates and castles without him. But it was pretty much a very good trip. This year I was also pushed physically, by joining a swim team. As I am low on finesse it was a struggle, but a wonderful swim instructor who kept me persevering throughout the year blessed me tremendously. I pray that this year would provide me with more understanding, wisdom and knowledge.

Arielle and Emma with fellow drummers
from the bagpipe band
            Emma (13 years old)- The year seems too full to relate all of its highlights. Our band kept us busy all year in preparation for the world pipe band championships in which we placed 11th in the world out of 80 bands. Also some good friends of ours invited us to tag along with them as they ran the tubing activities at a youth camp down in Georgia. Being staff for campers my age was an interesting position to be in. The beautiful setting we were in was a wonderful testimony to the glory of God. When asked what my prayer for the next year is I would have to say that it is that we would have the opportunity to have more of you over to our home in the coming year. Hopefully, next year won’t be so involved and we will see more your lovely faces than last year.

Patrick (50 years old)- This is a different Christmas letter for me. Let me explain. As I look back on this year and the many blessings that our family enjoyed this year I realize with real sadness that to a great extent that I was not part of it. This year I worked. I worked long and I worked often. The greatest blessing I received this year was a word from some dear and faithful friends reminding me that my family is growing up at a breathtaking speed and that I need to give my strongest efforts to making the most of this time. My prayer for all of you is that you would learn this lesson quicker than I have. Good honest toil is a fine thing but it shouldn’t own us. So, hug your babies while you have them. If they’re already gone bring ‘em home and squeeze them like there’s no tomorrow.

          In closing we want to thank you all for your faithful friendship, prayers and the various kindnesses you’ve extended in this year and in the past. The Lancaster’s wish you all the merriest of Christmases and Gods best in the coming year.