No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Jan. 2, 2010

It’s quiet here.

Doesn’t occur often and won’t be for long. Brad, Meagan, Cam and Carleigh have taken Declan and Rhys tobogganing. I stayed behind so that Tess could nap and I could provide you all with this yearly update.

Meagan finished school in April and a couple weeks later, moved to Halifax. She was offered a job through her friend, Alex, with RGIS; an international company that handles inventory. After a few weeks, she was selected to train as a team lead and has run some inventories of her own. She particularly enjoys the travelling aspect of her job and has been to PEI and Cape Breton as well as some other less familiar places. RGIS has its busy season, but by fall Meg needed to find a part time job and landed one at a Starbucks in the Marriott Hotel on the Halifax Harbour. She has had to move a few times and before coming home for Christmas found a new apartment with a co-worker from Starbucks. We like to tease her about the number of moves she’s made and tell her not to get too attached, ‘cause with her track record, she’ll be moving soon.

Benjamin is in half-way through his 3rd year of the Bio-Med program at Ottawa University. He and his dad took a weekend road trip this past summer to three universities that have caught his interest for Med school and is wisely keeping his options open. Ben spent this past summer working on his tan….I mean he was rehired by the landscaping company he had worked for last summer and enjoyed an increase in responsibility. Ben too encountered some transition with respect to a place to lay his head at night and has had to “make do” with his current living conditions. I met Dionne a couple years ago in a ladies life group and she and her family have welcomed Ben into their lovely home. When I saw his walk-in closet, I told him that I could spend the night in there…..I think he thought I was joking!

Noah hasn’t officially moved out but spends as few nights here as possible. He and his friend Thomas have been pals since they met the summer before they began grade 4 at LCA and have again become inseparable. Thomas recently found employment and the boys are looking for digs of their own in the City. I may have to call Mrs. Dauray to see what I should do…..Noah got his truck on the road this year and is enjoying all that comes with the upkeep of a vehicle as well as life as a single guy. Noah works with us in the practice and when he moved back home I moved Tess into the hall way to make room for him; he is that much of a pleasure to have around.

Cam is in his Senior year at OFA and has had a very busy year. He attended 5 football camps this past summer and we put 10,000 miles on the car to do it! Cam’s team won their division this year and went to the state play-offs. He was named Lineman of the Year and was also selected to the North Country First All-Star Team. He was also this year’s winner of the Don Petty Award. The winner of the Petty Award should be an outstanding player, teammate and student/athlete and should exemplify leadership, sportsmanship and outstanding behaviour on and off the field. Cam has received an official invite to a Division II school and is still talking with three other Division I schools.

Carleigh-belle turned 15 this past year, whether mom likes it or not! It has been a big year for her in many respects. She arrived home from school on a day in April to discover that her house was on fire. She has gone from having her own room to sharing her space with whosoever-may-come and Cam on the weekends! Despite these challenges, along with other 15-year-old-girl things, she has shown a lot of maturity and unselfishness and we are very proud of her. Carleigh is often compared to her sisters, and though like both Meagan and Tess in some ways, is very much her own person. There is a lot that falls to her young shoulders when it comes to helping out with the little ones and taking care of dad on the evenings when mom is out.

That brings us to the “Expansion Pack”, as Ben fondly refers to them as. Declan is an old soul in many respects, and takes great joy in the administration of his younger siblings. He began a learning to read program at home this past fall and enjoyed lesson time, for the most part. Rhys learned that while Declan was busy doing a lesson, he could be playing computer games. Rhys is the more social of the two and the most perseverant little boy I have ever had the privilege of parenting. With all the talk of water boarding south of the border, I had thought about offering Rhys’ services to the US Defence Department….grown men would be begging for a quiet cell in Guantanamo. Tess will soon be 2, and is quickly outgrowing babyhood. She is a tiny little thing but loves to eat and also loves clothes; I’m guessing that’s Carleigh’s influence! Whether indoors or out, she is never far behind her big brothers and always manages to make more of a mess than either of them. She is well loved by all of us.

Brad and I enjoyed the opportunities we had to travel in ‘09. We spent a few days in and around Washington while Cam was at a football camp. At the end of July, we took the three youngest and drove to Halifax and spent 5 days enjoying Halifax and visiting various ocean beaches. Brad and I took the four youngest to Niagara Falls before school started and spent a few nights at my sister D’Arcy’s place. We had great fun with the kids at Marine Land and then D’Arcy, Lyle and Holly joined us at a theme park state-side. I haven’t laughed as hard as I did when D’Arcy, Brad and I got in the log ride….it was great fun. In October we were pleasantly surprised with a couple buddy passes and decided to spend a few days in Vegas. We enjoyed great weather, food and entertainment and walked until our legs ached. We arrived home in time to prepare for the next get-away when the family (less Ben and Cam) along with Dan and Thomas headed for Surfside, South Carolina. These get-a ways were definitely highlights for us along with visits from family, Friday night football games and family dinners.

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am”. I found comfort in the fact that Paul had to learn to be content…..and I look forward to the day when I can echo his words. For now I must be content in the learning and encouraged as I read on……“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

That was the thought that I ended last year’s letter with. This past year will be remembered for many things, good and not so good. The biggest circumstance that affected our family was the fire that uprooted us from our home in April. Friends of ours who used to be neighbours in the mobile home park next to us offered us their empty mobile home. As the weeks have stretched into months, it became evident that we would be spending winter here and as the Christmas Season approached, I did concern myself with some of the traditions that have made for many a memory in the Allison house. In the past, we have enjoyed opening our home up and having folks in for the 5 days following Christmas. For weeks I wondered where we would put a tree, let alone 2 or 3 that was common for us. Where will we all sleep? We have a Christmas Village that Brad has enjoyed building and for each year we’ve been together, we have a building. A few years ago he and Meagan spent much of their Christmas holidays revamping the Village and it now has a lovely Swiss Alps feel to it. Traditions do play a part in our Christmas celebrations, as I’m sure they do in yours, so what happens when one is forced to abandon tradition?
I grew up attending Sunday School and Church and despite the familiarity of the story, I found myself pondering the oft-repeated themes surrounding the Nativity; I imagined how I would react to my teenage daughter telling me that she was with child. I thought about the fact that Mary was a first-time mom. Was she anxious or did she feel peace knowing that she carried the Saviour? I thought about that long ride to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey while pregnant only to arrive and discover that there was no room.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

The Saviour…..wrapped in cloths…..lying in a manger.

As I drove home Christmas Eve, I was reminded of the humble beginnings that were part of God’s plan for His Son’s and our Saviour’s birth and I was comforted. As I ponder this past year, I am reminded that despite the difficulties and even in the midst of them, I have much to be thankful for. God hasn’t changed, but I think that we have and as we step into a New Year, we look forward with hope and anticipation to all that God has in store.