Thankfulness Day 15: A Good Last Day

Friday, October 31, 2014

It is our last day here on Les Iles de la Madeleine. Actually the last day is over, and now it is late, and we are finishing packing. There are two piles waiting by the front door: the pack-in pile, and the ferry-pile, to which we've made sure to add important things like chocolate and Settlers of Catan...

Darkness has settled over the Islands, and there is a quiet calm to the air. It is actually the literal calm before the storm, as there is a big one scheduled for tomorrow. Sometime during the night, the wind will hit, that Islands wind that always smells of fish and salt and happiness, the wind that catches your breath away and causes you to stand half bent over with the force of it. I am greatly looking forward to the ferry tomorrow, and I am also hoping that it will be a smooth crossing. :)

This morning, Ike and Papa and I sat over coffee at Tim Horton's, listening to the jabbering of French all around us, and happy to once again be a part of the pre-breakfast crowd of Islanders-at-Tim's. We talked, among many things, about why we are so grateful for the life God has given us and the opportunities we have to serve Him. This trip has been short, but we have been blessed to see God mightily at work in several people's lives as He draws them ever closer to Himself.

And I am grateful for an amazingly beautiful day today. When the last appointment was over and we had said all of our goodbyes, the four of us kids and Papa climbed Butte Ronde and just stood for a long time, looking over Havre-aux-Maisons, and the little piece of land that is Les Iles de la Madeleine, and the blue-grey sea that stretches away to the horizon on all sides. It is a precious place here - there is a reason why the Islanders call our little village of Havre-aux-Maisons "Île aux Trésors," or "Treasure Island." Although if you ask me, I remain convinced that there really is a treasure, and that it definitely lies buried in a certain mysterious rocky spot on Butte Ronde... :)

But for now, it is time for bed, as we will be up and boarding the ferry in just a few hours!


Thankfulness Day 14: Pictures Taken by Augs

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm really grateful that Augs has been taking so many amazing pictures this trip (as always). And few places, if any, could rival the beauty of Les Iles de la Madeleine...

[a random shot of Ike when the guys were out taking pictures]

[shipwreck at L'étang-du-nord]

Thankfulness Day 13: Christian Fellowship

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Here is where we have returned winter after winter for ten years. For the opportunities to serve the living God, we returned, sometimes with reluctance because of the sacrifices that we knew lay before us, but always with gratitude for the beauty that He set before us and for the warmth of the French people who could not understand that Californians would love their wild, isolated island archipelago in the cold season.

From this deck, over the hill, past many steep cliffs, across the water to Ile d’Entrée (you can see it there in the distance)  the miles of sea stretch out beyond the horizon, out into the bold depths of the Atlantic. Between the Gulf and the Ocean lie two islands that still belong to Europe, though they hug the shores of Newfoundland.  There is where I want to go next, though I am thankful for this return to the Magdalen Islands.  I am thankful that there is a presence, however fragile or tiny it may be, of Christianity here, but there on those islands of France – where are the believers?  Where is the fellowship that one Christian can have with another?

The isolation of this place from the large churches of America is almost palpable. We must be ever thankful for the fellowship we enjoy on the continent, and we must pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send more workers to His fields.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes: 

"The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian 
a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. 
Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; 
they receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord,
 in reverence, humility, and joy. . . . 
It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day.”  

- Ems

Thankfulness Day 12: A Painting Lesson

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The other day we had the opportunity to visit a long-time friend here on the Islands. Annie is an amazing artist, so we were very happy to receive a painting lesson from her!

Ike, me, and Ibs, receiving instructions from Annie on how to get started 

This is the painting we were trying to copy

Ready to start!

Etienne (in the middle) is a great friend, and I love practicing French with him. :)
We had a grand time painting, and went home very inspired to start working on some projects!

- Ems

Thankfulness Day 11: Continued Islands Ministry

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three full days here so far. I am tired, but it is a good tired, because there is no other place I'd rather be right now: in the center of God's will, serving Him here on Les Îles de la Madeleine. The needs here are staggering, but the beauty is breathtaking, and I am grateful for His continued blessings!
Here are a few pictures...

 [taking care of a friend's baby while they were out]

Thanks to Augs for the pictures!

Thankfulness Day 10: On the Islands!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank-you SO much to those of you who were praying for our trip + ferry crossing yesterday! Everything went smoothly, and nobody got sick, despite some rather rolling swells and a boat that was definitely moving... at one point I walked up front to get a drink of water and it was quite difficult to even walk, let alone keep the water in the cup. :) The waves were hitting us on the front corner, which meant that every couple of seconds the whole ship would give a lurch and roll heavily onto one side, then mount up the next swell and sit suspended for a moment before sliding down into the trough between waves and beginning all over again.

Now I am sitting in a warm kitchen on Les Iles de la Madeleine, listening to the sounds of the waves as they break against the shore less than 100 feet away, and feeling the wind shake the house. It is so good to be here. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I pray that God will work through us, despite our inadequacy.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday's ferry trip:

 The last few people in the ferry-lineup, waiting to board

 Looking along the side of the boat, while still in the harbor

Pulling away from Prince Edward Island

In the middle of the crossing, there is a point where you can't see land in any direction for a while...

They really pack us in!

Watch Live: Emily's Arrival on Les Iles de la Madeleine

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If you happen to be viewing this blog around 7 Atlantic time (that's somewhere in the next 35 minutes), Ems and Company will be arriving at Cap-aux-Meules and plan to wave out the window so Curtis and I can watch from home. Join us if you'd like.  Here's the webcam site:

Or you can visit the home page for the islands at: to see where they'll be serving in the coming days.

Ems said that their van is parked on the raised ramp section of the boat, so they will likely be one of the last to disembark.

We are missing them already!

Posted by Emily's Mum

Thankfulness Day 9: Ferry Day

This is what we will see in just a couple of short hours...

So happy to be taking the ferry today! We got up early this morning and looked out the window to see if there is any wind (there is) and if there are any whitecaps on the ocean (there are), which means that the long crossing may find most of us sleeping and trying not to look at the horizon. It is not a good idea to watch the horizon line going up and down and all around, when one is on a large boat in the middle of the Gulf... (I speak with experience :).

However, it may prove to be a calm voyage and if so, there are sure to be several competitive games of Rook. Also there is a lovely bag of peanut MnM's waiting to be consumed, and a good book which I'm halfway through reading.

I'll post pictures of the crossing tomorrow!


Thankfulness Day 8: In for the Night!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What a day this has been! We were up at just past 5:00 a.m., to grab a quick breakfast and pack last-minute items into the vehicle before hitting the road for Les Iles de la Madeleine... and then there were miles upon miles of driving, most of it through a deluge of rain, made warm and pleasant with wonderful company and stimulating conversations. It has been a long day, but good, and the sound of the wind outside reminds me that in just a few short hours, we will board the ferry for the five-hour trip into the Gulf of the St. Lawrence... I can't wait. :)
For now, I'm super grateful to be settled in for the night!


Thankfulness Day 7: Solid Examples of Young Couples

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I am so grateful for the young couples in our lives who faithfully set an example of Christ-centered courtship, engagement, and newly-married-life. Such examples are, unfortunately, a rare commodity, and I deeply admire couples who abide by Biblical principles even when the going gets tough.
Zack & Kristen (pictured in this post) are great relationship mentors. Over the past few years, our family has had the privilege of watching their love story unfold, complete with a beautiful wedding and the beginning of a new family firmly grounded on the belief that --while it's not always easy-- following God's will is always the best course of action.
Last year they were part of a panel of speakers at a marriage conference we attended. They told stories of  God's leading them together and what He taught them along the way. Our family still talks about the principles they shared: heeding parental advice, not giving into temptation, and living life abandoned to Christ, despite the magnetic pull of culture.

So to all you young couples who are faithfully staying the course - keep up the good work! There are a lot of single people taking notes from you and being greatly encouraged by your faithful example.

Thank-you, Zack & Kristen!

Thankfulness Day 6: Brothers in Leadership

Monday, October 20, 2014

This picture was taken last year when Curtis & one of his classmates were chosen to teach a group of students at Oak Brook College of Law's yearly conference...
I am so grateful for brothers who are sought out for their ability to lead well!

Thankfulness Day 5: Best Tomato Soup Ever!

Friday, October 17, 2014

This is by far the best tomato soup recipe ever, in my opinion... no surprise that it's by the amazing Ree Drummond (her cookbooks are totally on my wish list!!). So far, every recipe of hers that I've made - thanks to, has been fabulous. This tomato soup is no exception. The only downside? You won't have any leftovers, it's that good...

Best Tomato Soup Ever 


1 medium white or yellow onion
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
One 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


To begin, dice the onion. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Throw in the onion and cook until translucent. Now dump in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the tomato juice.

Next - and this is important - in order to combat the acidity of the tomatoes add 3 to 6 tablespoons of sugar. Now, you'll want to start on the low side, then taste and add more as needed. Some tomatoes and juice have more of an acidic bite than others.

Next, add 1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base to the pot. Now you can add lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, then heat almost to a boil. Then turn off the heat.
Stir in the cream. Add the basil and parsley and stir.

Serve the soup warm!

{thanks to for the picture & the recipe - note: I modified the recipe just slightly}

Thankfulness Day 4: Games with Family

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful to be part of a family who loves games!

Thankfulness Day 3: Brothers Who Cook

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

 {the most amazing triple-chocolate-pudding-pie ever}

I am so grateful to have guys around who are capable in the kitchen. That doesn't mean they spend all their time there - these days their schedules are packed with studies and work - but when they do step into the kitchen, they know what they're doing. And they sure know how to create incredible meals! It probably all started with Papa's example, who loves cooking and who makes a legendary seafood pizza...
I'm really blessed to have these fab guys around!

Thankfulness Day 2: Time Spent with Curtis at Medical School

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Today I had a grand time with Curtis at medical school! I always enjoy it when I can join him for a day, because we love spending time together, and it's fascinating to get a window into the life of a med student. For most of the morning he was busy with lectures, during which time I sat in the med students' cafeteria and mowed through a very long computer-to-do list, and enjoyed wonderfully tasty smells wafting by (it seemed like everyone was eating something with bacon in it... all looking delumptious. Oh yum.).

In the afternoon, Curtis had something called a "Simulated Patient work-up," in which he got to act out a patient encounter just as if he was the real doctor -- giving the patient a global check-up, and specifically evaluating them for chest pain. Then more hours of study. And reviewing notes with classmates. And discussing material with professors. And finally, home!

If there is one feeling that I'm left with every time I join him for the day, it's that God is incredibly good to us. The university in this state has one of the best medical programs we have ever heard of, and the people we've met are amazing. I'm also very blessed to have such an incredible brother (three of them, actually)!

[For a meeting of med school Alumni from the 50's, Curtis was chosen to represent the current class - hence the above picture as he describes the med school of today]

I am so proud of him!

34 Days of Thankfulness

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
I'm excited to announce that today's post is the first in a series on Thankfulness: a post a day for 34 weekdays, between Canadian and American Thanksgivings, highlighting things for which I am thankful.
And the best part? Ike is doing it with me! You can read what he has to say over at
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post!

Recent Doings

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn in Vermont is always beautiful, but I think this year is one of the best. For weeks, the trees surrounding our house were various shades of flaming red, yellow, and orange, and then almost in one day they turned a dusty color and began coming down in droves. Now there are huge piles gathering on the ground, and the dogs have been spending hours lolling about in them. In another week or so, we'll probably be officially into "stick season," as it is known here -- the period when there are no leaves on the trees but no snow yet either. And I am SO looking forward to snow! I can almost hear the Christmas music playing already... :)

Our front yard!

Sunset over Camel's Hump

The last few weeks have seen a lot of company at our place! We love it when Curtis' classmates come over... most of them are great cooks, so we all cook together and share recipes. My absolute top favorite has to be Gobi Manchurian! It's an Indian dish - basically deep fried cauliflower in a spicy red sauce - and we made it again last Sunday under the tutelage of Curtis' study partner (pictured below). The four and a half hours various ones of us spent at the stove babysitting frying cauliflower were totally worth it!!
And the post-dinner ping pong games were a blast as well:

Playing doubles - glad to be on a team with this ping pong expert!

And finally, a couple of hiking pictures...

 Amazing bro.

Looking down from halfway up Mt. Adams, in New Hampshire

More posts coming soon!

Paralegal Liaison!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I'm super excited to announce that I have been elected to the position of Paralegal Liaison for Oak Brook College of Law! 
I'm so looking forward to working with the Alumni... encouraging Paralegal students, helping fellow Paralegal grads to connect with the school & to find job opportunities, and so much more.
It is really encouraging to see more Christians become equipped and knowledgeable about law and politics through solid, Biblically-based training at OBCL -- they are helping prepare this generation to make a difference in the world, and I'm excited to be a part of it. 
Here's to another great year for Oak Brook!

-Emily Adams, Certified Paralegal :)

[to learn more about OBCL, go to]
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