It’s Saturday morning and as I sit down to write… the house is still quiet. Liz is up but still in “stealth mode” and the kids haven’t yet stirred. No telling when that will change. Pollux, surprisingly is not feverishly wagging his tail and staring deep into our eyes… his way of telling us “It’s time for a walk!”
If I can hear one thing… it’s via anticipation and it’s your voice… yes you.
“Has he fallen off his rocker!? It’s not thanksgiving… either in Canada OR the US!”
It’s not “officially” Thanksgiving, but last Saturday afternoon, after posting, we sat down to a terrific turkey dinner put together by Liz’s fairy hands.
- We’d run out of Stove Top dressing a while ago so she made the real deal (first time ever).
- Jellied cucumber salad… no cottage cheese, so you substitute “faisselle”.
- No buttercup squash here so she used “potimarron” which, I just learned, is “red kuri squash”, so, still officially squash (although I’m still more partial to buttercup).
- For dessert… pumpkin pie (brought some pie filling back this summer)
Thanksgiving’s not a public holiday here so rather than have it on the actual weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving we opted for last weekend, knowing that the kids would be on school vacation and the pace would be a bit slower. (Sophie even had her best friend from school over for the day… it was her first Thanksgiving dinner and the first time she’d experienced saying grace as a family)
In all of this, you can see that Thanksgiving dinner involves a bit of flexibility here. It’s not quite the same… but that’s true of just about everything when you’re living on the mission field.
1/2 Vacation Mode
Although the kids were on vacation, they spent a lot of time doing homework so as to have it out of the way and to be able to enjoy full vacation mode this week. This meant that Liz was NOT in vacation mode as she wound up helping out.
I didn’t have to teach in Angers this week but Poitiers is only on vacation this week, meaning that I was there as per usual. Full vacation mode (for me) kicks in this week… although I have some marking and some translation to work on.
This week I discovered fall-blooming camelias. Somehow, in the past 3 years I’d never noticed them before. They make the onset of winter just a little extra nice (even though winters here are already much more mild than in North America).
It appears as though the folks who came as first time visitors, a few weeks ago, are really enjoying the presence of God in our services as they’ve been coming quite regularly. I’ve purposely been digging into the New Birth: what it means to have a relationship with God and how that comes about… how our experience of repentance (death to self), baptism (where we take on Jesus’ name) and the infilling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2.4) mirror Christ’s experience of death, burial and resurrection power. This is how Paul frames the gospel message (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).
If you’ve ever had the experience (real or perceived) of taking one step forward and two steps back, you’ll know how we feel about this next detail.
We received word that the Canada Revenue Agency does not consider us residents of Canada. On one hand that might seem obvious given that we’re currently residing in France. Consider, though, that the bulk of our revenue is from North America and we have consistently paid income tax there. So for Income Tax purposes… we’re tax residents.
When we got that news, Liz & I had to take a good, long walk (the kids were still in school). That news was a bit jarring because up to that point we were receiving certain benefits (family allowance) which helped pay for things like the kids’ school and braces. Loss of residency status could have an impact on those things… not sure yet (even though we still pay income tax there). If that happens, that will put a further (and not insignificant) financial squeeze on us.
The worst case scenario is that they ask us to repay some of what’s been paid out to us since coming here. That would be a very tough pill to swallow. We’re not there yet… I have to keep telling myself
“don’t dip into tomorrow’s problems today.”
In the meantime… we continue to put one foot in front of the other and try to honour God – praise Him in the good times, praise Him in the seemingly not so good days!
How many times do we see it exemplified in the Bible. James, Paul and Peter all broach the subject to early Christians…
- James 1:2-6 – “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
- Romans 5:3-5 – “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
- 2 Peter 1: 5-6, 8 – “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness… 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let’s be clear… I’m still working on this for the most part… Like Paul, I’ve not yet achieved, but that’s the goal. Some days are better than others but in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. As my grandmother would say… “That’s my sermon for today.”
God bless you and thanks for stopping by.
Let all you read inform your prayers for us and for France.