in His shade

This was the scene on our back deck the other day. Em and Soph are aspiring artists - their handiwork covers their bedroom walls, and their little sisters love to be wherever they are. It is a pain to carry all the equipment down the steps to the deck from the house, but to see all of them together, busy in the sunshine, is great.

All this happened in the shade of our favourite tree - Tree of Heaven - which has grown each year to cover more and more of the deck. Aptly named, it reminds of us of the shade of our Father's hand.

Today was a great day. One of those days where all good things happen. Christina came to watch Rachel and Janneke, so Ralph and I could take Em and Soph for a hike in the Short Hills Provincial Park. Sometimes, when we are with the four of us, I feel as if we are caught between two families - with two daughters or with four daughters. I am so thankful that Em and Soph miss their sisters when we are apart. They love being able to do "normal" things - so they say, but they also reflect in passing with comments such as, "I don't think Rachel's chair would fit on this trail" or "Janneke would love to touch the moss and flowers."

Some time ago, I came across a number of documentaries that came from people just a bit older than me who discovered in their adulthood that they actually had a sibling they never knew. A disabled sibling who had been sent away - because that is what you did back then. Fascinating stories that evoke a range of emotions. Check out this website: The Teachings of Jon.

I am so thankful for the ability and means to care for all four girls in our home. Even if we take a few hours away from Rachel and Janneke, everyone is excited to go home and see them again. We are also blessed with loving respite workers and nurses who love them a lot.

Speaking of being loved and cared for, we continue to be humbled by the efforts with fundraising for our wheelchair-accessible van. This past week, Sarah V made cookies and sold them to people who stopped in to buy Norwex cleaning supplies from her mom Lisa. The other day, my neighbour Tracy told me her kids are collecting their loose change for our van. We are so loved.

Rachel is not impressed by something?

Soon, we will enjoy a pork roast in St. Anns and a wine/cheese evening at Club Roma. The excitement is building! Please check out the Appeals for Wheels website. I overheard Carolyn saying that tickets must be purchased in advance for the Club Roma event, so they know how many to plan for. Harv and Carol would also like to hear from those who are coming to the pork roast for the same reasons. Their RSVP is via Facebook.

If you can't reach either, you can always connect with Ralph or with me.

Hope your weekend goes well. Enjoy the long Canadian holiday weekend!

I often find Rachel sleeping in this relaxed pose.