Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Update Tuesday

So if you have been following for a while you have seen the posts about our family moving to Hamilton.  Every Tuesday my husband posts on his blog; an update about our journey.  This week he was talking about community and he shared what we have learned over the past ten years.  Wow! Typing ten years just caught me by surprise!  Anyhow, reading the post was a great trip for me down memory lane.  We have had the privilege of sharing our lives with some amazing people.  Some of them are still a part of our lives daily and some have moved away (or we have moved) but all of them have played a significant part in our journey.  I can't imagine what our lives would have been like without them.  Community is important and Jesus has some great stuff to say on the subject.  Check it out on http://www.jasonmcgibbon.blogspot.com/

Tomorrow is the start of our Advent List and I will begin to post about our adventures.  I really can't wait!

Monday, 29 November 2010

The List - Let the Conspiracy Begin

It is Monday morning and I have been up since 5am.  It is not that I can't sleep because I am worried about something but I think I am up because I can't wait for the day to begin.  I am excited.  More excited then I have been in a while.  I don't feel tired.  I feel energized and no I have not had a lot of coffee yet!

So why the sudden change?  It began last week when I posted the video on the Advent conspiracy.  I have not been able to stop thinking about it.  I am not sure if it was the question that asked, "How would Jesus spend Christmas?"  Maybe it was the fact that our Christmas spending in Canada could solve the world's clean water problem.  Maybe it is that no matter how many great events I attend or Christmas carols I sing, my soul has often longed for something more, something different, something that is missing from the Christmas that we have created.  So I began to pray and ideas began to pop in my head.  Crazy ideas.  Exciting ideas.  What could we (The McGibbon Family) do, to join the conspiracy?  What if we didn't just say, what a great video or what a great message; what if we seriously thought about how Jesus would celebrate.  What if we as a family were part of the conspiracy?  What if this advent season we truly did our best to enter the story?  What if everyday from December 1st to December 25th, we did something as a family to try to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.  What would that look like?

Well, I am not quite sure but we are intent on finding out.  Last night, as we began to decorate our house for Christmas, we sat with the kids and told them about the idea.  We talked about the video.  The kids began to ask questions.  We began to brainstorm ideas.  We all started to get excited.  We started to make a list and everyone was contributing.  We began to conspire.

So I am up this morning.  I can't wait to get going!  I can't wait to see how the list plays out.  I can't wait to do some of the things on the list.  Our kids have fantastic ideas.  Twenty-five ideas.  Twenty-five ways to try to celebrate Christmas like Jesus. We are going to post about what we are up to each day.  Maybe you would like to start your own list.  I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Let Advent Begin

Last year for Advent our family made a Jessie Tree and I posted our daily readings on this blog.  Our Jessie Tree is up again this season and waiting for it's ornaments.  We will once again be reading from scripture each day.  If you would like to follow along from last year here is today's reading.  There is a reading for each day including Christmas.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Advent Conspiracy

Only a couple of days until the first Sunday of Advent.  I love this video and have not been able to stop thinking about it. Can you imagine the implications......

Want more info on how to get involved? Check out The Advent Conspiracy .

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Not Big Santa Fans

Okay, so I have a confession to make.  The McGibbons are not big Santa fans.  This is the first year that Trinity has been willing to go to the local mall at this time of year, as up until this point she has been terrified that Santa would come (even in July) and get her.  This reaction does stem from a mall incident, in which a well intentioned Santa, tried to chase her down to give her a candy cane but she absolutely believes Santa is a bad man.  The strange part about this story is that Trinity has always loved strangers.  This fact has terrified me, as her mom because no matter how many talks we have had she never really gets the concept of stranger danger except when it comes to Santa.

My kids have never really believed in Santa and we have never put any gifts under the tree that were from Santa.  As a natural and adoption blended family, we took Santa off the table when Daniel and Caroline came to live with us over seven years ago.  Daniel was just about at the age when he might have heard at school that Santa was not real and so we didn't want to lose his trust over a fake guy in a red suit.   In order to prepare for this, we sat Liam (who was three at the time) down and told him that Santa was just like Buzz Lightyear from his favourite movie Toy Story.  We said,  Santa was a fictional character that someone made up.  Liam was devastated.  Not about Santa, he actually could not have cared about him but he was shattered from the news about Buzz.  My husband Jason posted about this experience a couple of years ago on his blog in a post called Santa Claus

Has it been difficult over the years to not make Santa a part of the festivities?  Not really.  We love the Christmas season.  We love decorating our house and tree together, we love seeing family and friends, we love our church's Christmas pageant in which anything can happen and we love reading the Christmas story while we put out our nativity scene.   It has been difficult at times to explain to our kids why other adults tell this little white lie every year and why they can't tell their friends the truth about Santa.   It has been frustrating when some adults have not realized the absolute terror that Santa brings about in our daughter.  In particular, telling her it is okay that we don't have a chimney, that Santa can still get in our house because now you can buy a special key at the store and leave it under you mat so he can get in.  As you can imagine this was not good news to small child who has nightmares about the bearded man in the red suit.  It has sometimes led to some awkward moments in public, as my not so quiet angels share their feelings about the whole subject.  It is has been enlightening over the years to hear their views on this weird custom of making crying children sit on the knee of a total stranger for a picture and how we tell kids with a smile on our face that Santa is going to break into our house while they are sleeping.  It has not impacted the heart of our Christmas festivities in the least because Santa really doesn't have anything to do with the heart of Christmas.

Santa wasn't there in the manger when God broke into our world and sent Jesus to dwell among us.  He wasn't there when for thirty-three years when Jesus lived on this earth and He wasn't there when Jesus laid down His life to save us.  For us that is and always will be the heart of Christmas.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Joyous Reaction - That's What I Want

The Christmas countdown is now at 35 days!

In keeping with the holiday spirit, my dad sent me a great video this week. Apparently, on October 30th of this year, the Philadelphia Opera company invited some other choir friends to help them out with a surprise concert at Macy's.  Macy's is now open on the site of what used to be the great Wanamaker Grand Court Organ company. They still do mini-concerts daily and weekly on the great pipe organ that is in the Grand Court.  I think the architecture and the beautifully restored organ would be a wonderful treat for any event but the video that my dad sent me is a of a very special event, an organized random act of culture.

The Joyous Reaction
I don't think the shoppers were prepared for the surprise concert that they received while they shopped on this particular busy Saturday.  As the worlds largest pipe organ began to play The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah",  over 650 choristers,  who were dispersed among the four floors of crowds began to sing.  What I love about this video is the shoppers that get caught up in moment.  All the choristers seem to be wearing a special button and they look like they are having a great time but it is the shoppers that were unprepared for this event, who I like to watch the most.  In particular, there is this woman who just throws her hands into the air and is fully immersed in joyful reaction to this wonderful surprise, as she too begins to sing with gusto.

I want to be like that woman this holiday season.  That despite all the business that surrounds Christmas that I don't forget to be joyful, to be fully immersed in remembering why I celebrate this particular day and to not be distracted by my to do lists or all the details that need to get done. I have no idea of the religious convictions of the woman in the video but for me she was definitely a beautiful light amongst hundreds of shoppers and choristers.  Her reaction to the moment and the words of the song made me want to sing and to praise the King of Kings.  And so I did. 

I wasn't able to make the video as small as I wanted. Here is the link to the video.



If you like art, music and creativity check out my husband Jason's blog for Free Art Fridays

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Christmas Countdown

Only 39 days left until Christmas!  Yep, it is true.  I knew it was coming up.  I mean the stores have all had lots of Christmas decor and merchandise since the day after Halloween but I thought I had more time.  Nope.

From here on out life will be crazy.  Not that I find it is ever really not crazy but it will be crazier than ever for the next month and a little bit.  So if you are like me and have not started your Christmas shopping or decorating and you have just woken up to the fact that time is ticking away, then today is the day to get started.

I have taken the first step.  I put on some Christmas music and changed the background on my blog.  So now I can say I have started!  Look for more posts in the nest few weeks on quickie appetizers and helpful hints.

If you feel overwhelmed by it all, may I suggest that you start with reading the Christmas story in Luke.  It is always good to start with what Christmas is truly all about.    If you need some checklists and a plan here is link to a great website that will help us get organized.

So grab yourself an eggnog; the season is upon us!

Luke 2

Jesus' Birth in Bethlehem
 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Friday, 12 November 2010

A Day to Remember

My friend Victoria sent me these photos of the day
Yesterday,  November 11th, was Remembrance Day.  For the first time since living in Milton we attended the legion's Remembrance Day Memorial Service, held at the Evergreen Cemetery near the centre of town.  As the kids and I walked towards the cenotaph, where they were holding the service, our thoughts were on our Poppa Les.  He was a pilot for a Lancaster bomber in the second world war.  He died a few years ago but even TJ misses his great smile and and his love and affection for them.

I spent most of my time explaining to TJ about the service, and making sure the kids could see, so when the ceremonies started I was not prepared for the emotions that flooded my heart.  As the veterans marched into the service and we sang "O Canada" I could feel the tears silently making their way down my cheeks.  As we sang and I watched the men and women who have served our country I was struck by the burden of emotional memories that they all must have to carry.  The memories of the loss of close friends and the sacrifices of having experienced courage, fear, death, life and best and the worst of humanity.  In the morning sunshine,  and as they sang our national anthem that burden was written all over their faces and I was undone.

I have always thought we should honour those that have served and continue to serve our country but yesterday I think my heart got a glimpse of the cost.  My head always knew that tremendous sacrifices have been given for our lives today in Canada but yesterday my heart knew it, and was broken by it.  Thank-you Poppa Les.  We will always remember.


They shall grow not old,
As we are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them , nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
"We will remember them."

Friday, 5 November 2010

Brain Tumour Free Day

Liam November 2008
It is really hard for me to believe that it has been two years.  Two years, since I kissed Liam, and held his hand while I waited for the anaesthetic to take effect so his neuro team could take out his brain tumour.  When I think of that moment, all the emotions come rushing back and my heart still starts to race.  But then I remember that Liam isn't lying in that bed anymore.  He is upstairs in his room reading, finishing school work so that he can go outside to play basketball.  I think of all of the prayers that were prayed that day and in the following days to come, as our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ (many who we have never met) covered Liam and our family in prayer for every half hour of every day that we were in the hospital.  We are truly privileged to have been able to walk that journey with all of you no matter how hard it was.

With each day that now passes I am learning to let go a little more and worry a little less.  Liam's physical health is better than we could have hoped for.  He is a little more anxious than he used to be but then again so is his momma.  We are both learning to worry less, pray more and to trust God's word and our experience with Him.  God never left us during that time.  He was there for every step when everything seemed like it was falling away, He never let us fall.  So today we celebrate.  We are one step farther into Liam's remission and one year closer to the five year mark when Doctor's will consider his surgeries a cure. So Happy Brain Tumour Free Day buddy!  What a testimony God has given you to share.  I am so proud to be your mom.
Liam climbing in the caves at Mountsberg October 2010

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mac Kids and the Pepsi Refresh Project

If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that we spent quite a bit of time at Mac Kids with Liam.  It is a fabulous children's hospital but it really needs a new playroom!  This friday is Liam's two year anniversary from his first brain surgery.  In honour of this occasion please vote to help the families and the kids that still have to be at the hospital.
Help Mac Kids renovate the children’s play areas at the hospital. All you need to do is vote!

The Hamilton Tiger Cats are competing in a special Pepsi Refresh CFL Challenge in order to win the top prize of $50,000. The money would then be donated to Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation to renovate the play areas at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Every team in the CFL participated in the Challenge, each with an idea that would have a positive impact on their community. The contest is now down to the four teams with the highest number of votes.

Offensive Lineman Marwan Hage is leading the project for the Ti-Cats in hopes of renovating the indoor and outdoor children’s play areas at the hospital. Being able to provide an interactive space conducive to play and creativity would be a wonderful benefit to our patients.

Show your support and vote for Marwan’s idea online at  www.cfl.ca/PepsiRefresh.

Please vote twice a day everyday. On November 12, the field will be narrowed to two finalists. Voting for the final two players will close on November 24, 2010.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Having fun on our driveway
 I wanted to get this done yesterday but I was so tired from our Shine Your Light event that I could barely string two sentences together.  Today, I am still a bit on the tired side but I am typing anyway.  Hopefully, it will all make sense.

Thank-you to everyone that came to our event.  Throughout the night we probably had over 300 people from the community stop by our house.  It was a great time.  We handed out candy bags with scriptures, cute little stuffed bears, and for the first time we ran out of hot chocolate!  It was chilly.  We even saw a few snowflakes!

Our candy and hot chocolate station

The flash on my camera is on the fritz so thanks to my friend Cheri, we actually have a few photos of the event.

It was hard to imagine that we won't be here next year, dancing with our neighbours and spreading a little light but our hope is that this event will inspire someone to be a light on their own street.  You don't have to have a band, you could have a ghetto blaster and an ipod.   Hand out coffee for parents if you don't like hot chocolate.  Make the event your own and be creative.  The important part is to be a light on your street and to engage with people around you.

Liam and some friends

Even though it is our last time hosting the event in Milton, we still think it is a fantastic way to meet the people in your neighbourhood.  So who of our Milton friends is going to carry on the tradition?

I wonder if we should warn the people who buy our house?  They may need a lot more candy......

Our worship team
My homemade costume of a tree with a cat stuck in it

Our new house in Hamilton will be a great place to host a Shine Your Light event next year........mmmm I guess I will have to start planning my costume.