A Salute (More than a Farewell) to Fredericton, New Brunswick

I (Tim) totally plagiarized this title from a recent post by my friend Jessica Newman – hope that’s okay, Jessica.

As you all know by now, Tuesday, Oct.18, was our last day in Fredericton, NB.  We came to Fredericton just about two years ago, following an unexpected pregnancy that threw an indomitable wrench into our plans to go teach English in Korea (more on that here).  Pursuing a brief opportunity to help my brother-in-law out with his construction company – which it turned out was just a plot by Kathryn’s sister Pamela to get us in the same city for a while – we ended up deciding to make Fredericton our home base, until other opportunities arose in the future.

Well, what can I say?  We’re so thankful to Pamela and Tim Naugler for orchestrating that move on our behalf, because our 2 years in Fredericton have changed our lives in so many ways.  In this post, I want to point out some of the factors that have impacted us the most during our stay.

The Meeting Place Church – how many people, like me, have looked at the majority of religious institutions (i.e. churches) in our day, then read the Bible and observed the incredibly insightful sayings/teachings of Jesus, and wondered: “how did this beget that?”  Or, “what happened between then and now?!”  Many Christians grow up ruled by guilt rather than grace, feeling that – at best – that they are never quite living up to God’s demands, no matter how hard they try.  TMP is part of a worldwide network of churches who have realized that the overriding theme of the Bible is God’s grace, which is greater than any of our shortcomings.  People in these churches strive to live a biblical lifestyle, as opposed to a religious lifestyle, modeled on the teachings of Jesus and the priorities of the early church, as presented in the New Testament.  It’s so liberating and refreshing to be a part of this movement, and I thank God for it!  Why is the Fredericton area such a great place to live?  Maybe in part because quite a lot of its residents attend TMP Church, and they are always taking practical action to make their communities a better place to live in.

One of the best parts of TMP life was having a small group of friends to meet with every Tuesday evening to discuss life, the message that was preached on Sunday, and to pray together.  They called these Lifegroups, and our Lifegroup was a great mix of students, young adults, and parents of younger and older children.  We really valued this time each week and will miss our lifegroup as we move on.

Radian6 – By the time Eden was born, in July 2010, things were getting really tight for us financially.  I was working as a home support worker for Bayshore, which was personally rewarding but financially horrible.  It was not uncommon for me to get a call the night before my shift, informing me that it had been canceled, which meant no pay.  Kathryn hadn’t quite qualified for maternity EI (she’d only worked 620 hours in the last year, but needed about 640…withholding resentful comments), and our savings from Labrador were long gone.

Enter Radian6.  I will always be grateful to Nigel Orfei for choosing to hire me last year.  In return for the ability to provide for my family, I happily gave my all at work.  I made sure every customer I dealt with knew that I took my job seriously, and that I wanted to help them, not just for my own sake, but because I was proud of, and grateful for, Radian6.

Let this be a lesson to goverment officials and investors who are involved in funding business start-ups.  When a company succeeds like Radian6 has, it doesn’t just create jobs (such a stale term).  Employment with Radian6 meant being able to remain close to my parents and siblings; it meant having the opportunity to maintain my entire family’s health and well-being through an excellent benefits program; it led to the development of new skills and abilities I will apply to any job I take on in the future; and perhaps most importantly, it gave me the chance to make new friends I never would have met under other circumstances.  Effective job creation doesn’t just come from make-work projects or Occupy Whatever protests; it’s a result of enabling smart and ambitious guys like Chris Newton and Marcel Lebrun to put their ideas into action.  Hundreds of families are benefiting from this company in ways far beyond their paycheques (but those help, too).  I wish the company continued success, not that they need it 🙂

I’ll wrap it up with the following  summary of how much has happened/changed in the last 2 years:

  • We became parents, with a second child on the way
  • I’ve gained work experience in the healthcare and customer service/SaaS industries
  • We’ve sold our first house
  • We’ve experienced a new kind of church fellowship that we intend to take with us wherever we go
  • We’ve made dozens of friends we’ll never forget
  • I’ve grown a beard and Kathryn’s gone short-haired (this is significant)
  • We’ve lived in a beautiful, huge house and realized that bigger is not always better
  • I’ve learned to play bass guitar

And these are only the things I can come up with off the top of my head.  It’s truly been an eventful and lifechanging period in our lives.  I’ll close with a quick story that may also impact my future career path.  I believe I shared this before, but I was at an appointment a few months ago and was talking with my chiropractor about the dilemma I have with wanting to be a physician and – what I perceive to be – the excessive/reckless use of drugs in mainstream medicine.  She has encouraged me to considering chiropractic, which I’m not sure about either (too complicated to get into!), but she did offer this piece of wisdom: “Before you get into any field of health care, figure out for yourself what your philosophy of healing is.  What kind of a healer do you want to be?”

This advice has provoked a lot of thoughts in me.  I guess I was pretty narrowly considering traditional medicine as the only option if I wanted to really make a difference, but there may be other options to consider.  Healing doesn’t always come in the form of surgical or chemical intervention.  For now, it’s back to Geology, but who knows where this Australian adventure will lead us.  Good luck Australia, in bringing us as many joys and rich experiences as we’ve experienced here in Fredericton!

Winner of the Giveaway!

Hey everyone!

Tim here.  I put the names of all qualified commentors from our last post into an excel spreadsheet and used the random number generator from random.org to pick a winning cell.  Congratulations to #15, Dave Laver, of thelavers.com – I think you and your family will enjoy these treats very much over these upcoming chilly days (in Canada!).

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway.  Our computer seems to be having issues again (posting from Pamela and Tim’s right now), but once we get some post-move downtime we’ll be updating the blog with some great new content!

A la prochaine.

 

100th Post and a Giveaway!

This, my dear friends, is our 100th post since we started this blog in 2009. We wanted to do something special to celebrate, so we decided to do a giveaway. I (Kathryn) personally love giveaways and always enter them, even though I never win. My sister won one once so that’s my motivation!

But first, let me tell you about our wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We went to Nova Scotia to celebrate this lovely holiday with the Jamieson family, since it was going to be our last Thanksgiving together for a while.  The weather was warm and sunny, there were pumpkin and apple baked goods galore and we were all together, which doesn’t happen very often since our family is so large. We went to see some of Kentville’s finest Pumpkin People.

Smurfs!

Eden wasn't too into it...

We took a family picture on a very large chair.

I was a little squished...

We went to the Wolfville Farmer’s Market, which was awesome except for the fact that we wanted to buy a whole bunch of produce but it would have been pointless, since we were being fed by my parents. Being accustomed to the crowds at the Fredericton Market, it was such a surprise to actually be able to walk around at a leisurely pace, and not have to worry about running people over with the stroller.  The market had a great assortment of items for sale and we did end up getting a few of our favourites: cheese curds from Fox Hill Cheese House and Samosas.  When we lived in Wolfville we used to go to the market all the time and it was really nice to be back.

We also stopped by JustUs, my favourite cafe, and bought our giveaway prize for this post…but more on that later! I love their motto – People and the Planet before Profits – and I love their products.

Mom and Dad made a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, which was absolutely delicious. Especially the homemade, from scratch, apple and pumpkin pies! They even went all out and got a free range organic turkey which was huge and scrumptious!  Tim played a lot of Mario on the Wii, since we don’t have a video game system any more.  At times it was quite amusing, especially when some of us less experienced gamers joined in!

My parents also wanted a nice family picture of us, so we did a little photo shoot:

Holding Eden's hand away from her mouth made for a cute picture

We stopped in Moncton on our way back to Fredericton for a meal with Tim’s family and got a great family photo there too:

The extended family minus Amy

It was nice to break up the drive and visit with Nana and Grampy Cross before heading home.  Of course, the delicious food – including another pumpkin from scratch! – was a bonus too:)

Over all it was a fantastic weekend and we’re so happy we decided to make the trip. Now we’re back to facing the daunting task of moving, packing, sorting…etc.  It will be all done by next Tuesday, thankfully!

In the mean time, and since you probably won’t hear from us for a while with all the traveling and moving we’re going to be doing over the next few weeks (we leave Fredericton on Tuesday, October 18 and board the plane from Halifax on Saturday, October 29) we’re going to give one lucky winner an awesome, cool-weather prize package!

We know that there are a lot of you who read our blog but never comment (we see the site stats), so if you’re one of those people, here’s your chance to come out of the woodwork! You will want to enter this giveaway, believe me. I personally would like to keep the prize for myself, but that wouldn’t be very generous would it?

To entice you more, here is what’s up for grabs:

You know you want to win it!

1 bag of JustUs Peppermint Stick Dark hot chocolate

1 canister of JustUs looseleaf Rooibos tea

1 looseleaf tea diffuser

2 JustUs chocolate bars – one white and one dark chocolate

This is a great prize for anyone needing some comfort and warmth on these cool October nights.  To be eligible to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

What is the best “green”/natural/alternative product or lifestyle change you’ve incorporated into your life over the last few years, and why?

The responses to this question will help us find out about some cool new stuff we can investigate/blog about, and help us get to know you better.  We’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner. You have until Sunday, October 16 at 8pm ADT to comment, after which point we will do the draw and announce the winner in our 101st blog post (after e-mailing the lucky person). If the winner is someone we are going to see before we fly across the world, we will deliver the prize personally; if not, we will mail it out.

We look forward to reading all your answers and finding out more about who is really following our blog!  Happy 100th post and thanks for being part of K&T – Life Adventures!

Best customer response I’ve had yet

Even though I’m super excited about moving to Perth, leaving Radian6 is going to be hard.  I intend to write a more in-depth blog post about this shortly, but in the mean time I thought I’d share this amusing email I just received from a client.  I’ve been informing most clients I’ve dealt with recently that I’m moving on soon – mainly so they know that if they respond the case will likely end up with someone else – and most have replied to me with a standard, “Thanks for letting me know, best of luck in your new adventure” kind of response, but this was the response I got today (sorry it’s so small, haven’t got heaps of time to work formatting.  Hold ctrl and roll your mouse button forward if you need to zoom).  My email to her is below, followed by her response at the top

I must admit, it’s touching to know that a customer is willing to drop all professional email etiquette in order to express their concern over the fact that you won’t be there to help them anymore.  Sometimes I think I relish positive feedback a little too much, but it is fun to receive.

On another note, our next blog post is going to be out 100th post since we started this blog!  We’ve decided to do some kind of giveaway (and it won’t be a giveaway of all the stuff we couldn’t sell at our yardsale) so keep an eye out for that post and maybe you’ll be the winner!