Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spot the difference

Ignatius-in-the-moss 1000 Ignatius at the beach A few things have changed since my last post. I am writing from the computer at my mum and dad's place in Brisbane, Australia. This will be home for my boys and I for the next little while. It is hard to believe that we spent 2 amazing years in Vancouver, and we're back here in the Sunshine State. It almost feels like a dream. Vancouver and the community we encountered there has left an indelible mark on all of our hearts. Little Ignatius will remember very little in the future, but it will always be the place where he was born and we will tell him lots of endearing stories about all of the wonderful adopted family he has there. I have so much to say to all of the beautiful people we met and grew to love during our time. So much gratitude to extend. Thank you friends!

Our leaving and returning was and is bittersweet. We are thrilled to be reunited with our family and friends and this beautiful sunburnt country but we also left so much goodness and beauty in Canada.

Some words I wrote to friends in a goodbye party invitation express my thoughts well:

Our time in Vancouver is coming to an end.
Our flights are booked and our departure date is looming.
2 years has flown by and we are reluctant to leave this city and the amazing people who call it home. But we feel like our season here has come to an end.
And we leave with grateful hearts and good memories.

We return to sisters and brothers, parents, grandparents, nephews and nieces.
We return to old friends and new challenges; to finding our place and purpose in a city both familiar and foreign.

We have learnt A LOT!
We have been challenged.
We have had a lot of fun.
We have been unemployed, we have worked, we have studied.
We have been in awe of the beauty of spring crocuses and fall colours.
We have grown; in faith, in hope, in capacity for love, in desire for peace, in clothes sizes – oops, we have even grown a new family member.

You have all been a part of making our time here rich.
We leave overflowing, with blessings to take and share.
(Ignatius rugged up on a trip to Bowen Island, just before we left BC, and at the beach this week at Currimundi, also covered up, but for sun protection, not warmth. We found a beautiful cool refuge under some shady pandanus palms to protect that gorgeous milky skin of his.)

Thank you father God for this year, this season, these many seasons! Thank you for your abundant provisions, your glorious creation, your people everywhere. We're excited about today AND TOMORROW!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Father and son

Dad-and-Iggy-in-the-garden Josh-and-Ignatius-sleeping early-bath-time sleeping-on-dad Boys Iggy-holding-on-to-Joshwa silhouette-yellow bathtime-fun-bw Morning-cuddles My two boys. What a joy. Josh will often lie down to comfort Ignatius and get drawn into sleep as well. When I once got out of bed before them both it was such a joy to hear them wake up together and chat away - Iggy speaking in his own gurgly way. The little guy was unsure about it the first few times, but as you can see he now loves baths with dad. What a blessed lady I am. (Oh and I should mention that Josh isn't a poser at all and wouldn't really want me posting a whole lot of pictures of him if I asked his permisison. I just can't help myself taking a bajillion photos of these handsome two.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A name

I thought I would share a few words about how we chose the name Ignatius for our son, and today seemed very fitting as this is the feast day (October 17) on which the Roman Catholic Church remember and honour St Ignatius of Antioch.

One of the biggest reasons for us moving to Canada was for my husband to study theology at Regent College. Over the last 2 years, we have both learnt a great deal about faith and theology through his studies, and as a result of being a part of the Regent community and our local church community - Grandview Calvary Baptist Church - quite a mouthful I know. We felt it would be fitting for our child, conceived and born here, to have a name that was connected to this foundational and transformational time in our lives.

We threw around a few great Bible names and then we started talking about saints we liked. Up until recently I have had very little exposure to saints and their significance for church life today. Our protestant background (at least in my experience) doesn't place a great deal of value on the saints. I thought it was even heretical the way some churches almost seemed to worship these ordinary people who had lived and died.

I have recently come to a new appreciation of saints as ordinary people who have gone before us and set an example of what a life lived in faith can look like. Saints need not have been perfect or infallible (no one is), but are praised for their reflection of the character of Jesus. There are different categories in the different churches for canonization (making someone an 'official' saint) - the righteous ancestors of Christ, prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs and confessors, bishops and priests who fought against heresy and, today, holy people in all walks of life can be recognized as saints.
Biblical timeline with Ignatius
St Ignatius was just one of these men, and someone whom Josh came across in his studies of the early church. He was born in Syria around 30-50 AD. Ignatius was appointed bishop of Antioch in 69 AD and died around 107-ish AD. It is likely he was a disciple of the apostles Peter and John. The timeline image above shows the overlap of their lives (Ignatius is in grey above John in yellow, to the right of the picture of Jesus) and how soon he lived after Christ.

Ignatius was arrested by the Roman authorities because he refused to renounce his faith in Christ and in order to make an example of him, he was sent to Rome to be killed in the colloseum. The Roman authorities hoped this would discourage the spread of Christianity, but it had quite the opposite effect. It seems that through-out history, the persecuted church is often the most vibrant, living and growing Church community. On route to Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters encouraging various churches along the way, which went on to be very influential in the development of early church doctrine. One of Ignatius' focuses included an emphasis on the significance of the Eucharist or the sacrament of communion - which is something I have also come to a new appreciation for, in part as a result of taking a class on the sacraments myself at Regent.
Saint Ignatius's most famous quotation, comes from his letter to the Romans:
I am writing to all the Churches and I enjoin all, that I am dying willingly for God's sake, if only you do not prevent it. I beg you, do not do me an untimely kindness. Allow me to be eaten by the beasts, which are my way of reaching to God. I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ.
Another famous Ignatius - Saint Ignatius of Loyola was also a pretty amazing man; born in Spain in 1491 he was seriously wounded in battle and had a personal conversion during his recovery. Ignatius gave up a life of nobility and devoted himself to following Christian spiritual leaders such as Francis of Assisi. He composed 'spiritual exercises' to encourage others to follow the teachings of Jesus. He was a founding member of the Jesuits. The name Ignatius is believed to be of Latin origin and means "fiery one" (ignite...). I like to think of this in terms of passion, and hope that our boy lives a passionate life, 'on fire' for peace, justice, love, hope...

Paul is my father's name and I love, admire and respect him greatly. As an adult he really is one of my best friends. It seems only fitting that our first born should carry his name. (As a Newington, Ignatius Paul also carries a wonderful legacy in this last name from Josh's father Charles too, and all the excellent Newingtons who came before him). The apostle Paul, St Paul, was also an amazing man who we studied particularly for a season at church this year.

Ignatius text drawn by my friend Cassie on a sweet card she sent us.
Icon image from here.
Timeline scanned from a book we have: The Timechart of Biblical History.
And lastly here is a picture of our young saint: Cheeky monkey

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm thankful

pumpkin-pieces I have SOOOO much to be thankful for. And Thanksgiving is a wonderful reason to celebrate with friends and name those things. I have so much abundance and richness in my life. An abundance of good people, family and friends. An abundance of good food. A lovely husband. An adorable son and a great God! Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. We enjoyed some local harvests including my first pumpkin pie - which I determined to make from scratch in protest to canned pumpkin. Homemade-pumpkin-pie Thanksgiving-boys Thanksgiving-ladies Fruitp Thanksgiving-with-Wottons-and-Tor sleeping-soundly-on-brown-patchworkp 3-weeks-watching-daddyp I-and-mum-morning-cuddles Here is my post from Thanksgiving last year. I just love this poem. I followed this pumpkin pie recipe, making the base as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ignatius Paul Newington

Fresh-from-the-womb Tuesday the 18th of September at 10.16am, Joshua and I held our son in shaky arms for the first time. I thought there would be more tears on my part, but there was mostly wimpering amidst laughter for me at the incredible gift of birth we had just partaken in. We feel amazing blessed by the whole experience. My labour was short and sweet, actually sweet might not be the right word, it was an amazingly intense experience but truly great to see my body doing what it was designed to do. The creation and sustaining of a new life inside my body is really completely miraculous - that God should allow me this is truly an honour! I could go on and on... We are all healthy and happy. We gave birth at home as hoped, attended by two brilliant midwives and have been overwhelmed with delicious homemade casseroles and treats in all shapes and sizes from our wonderful community and adopted family here as well as love from our family in Australia. Adoring-mother My-2-boys-sleeping Boys-in-the-morning Iggy-and-flowers Iggy's-hand-curled-up Iggy's-beautiful-lips Ig-sleeping-soundly Iggy's-long-toes Iggy-going-to-church Marvellous-Nancy Matt-and-Ignatius I'm hoping to write down our birth story soon in some detail. But for the moment I hope these pictures with suffice.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Cloudy-blue-mountains I love mountains, especially covered in evergreens and lots of whispy clouds. I'm partial to a touch of snow as well. These are pictures from the Rocky Mountain drive I did with my mum and dad. Green-grass-and-fence-with-cows Misty-trees Wildflowers Concrete-mountains Purple-flower-in-Jasper Mountains-in-clouds Lichen-on-branches Church-steeple

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Peony-squarish These beautiful ladies deserve a post of their own. After the winter ground had thawed this peony plant came back from hibernation. I love that about spring here - everything is bare in winter, and so when green shoots start to show their faces, it is all a surprise as to what will be in the garden. (Well it has been for us at least as we've been in a different house for each spring). This peony plant flowered in June when mum and dad were visiting. It is such a gift to be able to enjoy something so beautiful that was planted by others. I have also planted some peonies and other bulbs, that did not flower this year, but I hope will be appreciated by future tenants at the 'treehouse'. I think flowers are a lovely legacy to leave, don't you? Peony-buds Peonies Peony

The photos to match the sketches

Picnic-and-poppies Cutting-bread-for-picnic Iced-tea Tomatoes-and-bocciccini Painting-in-the-garden Josh-reading-in-the-garden It's September the 8th! Wowsers! I think I am going to use lots of exclamation marks. I feel like I need them! Vancouvers delightful summer has come and gone. Well not quite gone, if it is anything like last year then Septmeber will be a beautiful 'Indian Summer'. The days however, are certainly getting shorter, I've caught some sneaky leaves falling, children have gone back to school this week, AND we have a baby arriving this month. Big change is in the air and I'm excited about this new season in so many ways. In reflection on the loveliness of summer's abundance, and in preparation for change, I've been meaning for a long time to post photos, before they get forgotten on my over crowded hard drive. I hope to have lots more up over the next few days.