Tuesday, December 29, 2009


January 29, 2009: Mom's 57th birthday :)

Mom's surprise birthday party was a definite success!!!!! it was so much fun surprising her! The evening before her birthday I wrote her a card with a coupon for 2 free breakfasts at Cora's breakfast... We arranged to have the flowers ready and waiting on the table for us when we came, so when Mom said to the waitress in her cute way: "it's my birthday today, and my daughter's taking me for breakfast!" the waitress replied, "I know... I think the whole restaurant knows it's your birthday!" :) Mom nearly fell over backwards when she said that, and saw the flowers :)
Carole and I worked late last night when Mom went to bed to get everything ready, so when we came back from breakfast, everyone was there waiting! she was so surprised she teared up... she loved it though :) all day she's been saying how wonderful her birthday was, how much she loved every moment of it!

Thank you to everyone who came for the tea party - it was late notice, and we're so thankful that each of you could have made it out. She's such a special person, and we all thank God so much for her example of love, humility, and hospitality to everyone.

my new nephew David and his dear mommy, my sister!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I never saw a moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

-- Emily Dickinson
Part Four: Time and Eternity , XVII

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ashleigh's Soccer Games

This year Kevin & Carole decided to put Ashleigh on a soccer team... at first she would run away from the ball, but thankfully by the end of the season she had greatly improved, and was becoming quite the seasoned soccer player by the time the season was over! :)  

Ashleigh's loyal fans - who were often more interested in the candies and chips than in the game itself :)  it got pretty chilly towards the end of the season... 


date with the girls :)

The other weekend Rachel, Maria, Sharon and I had a wonderful time minigolfing together... sisters with sisters :) we had a great time! all of us were pretty much evenly matched, each of us being way over par :) maybe that's why my nose is all wrinkled in this picture, hehe

Maria was quite the pro - her first time mini-golfing, and she got 2nd place!

Thanks for coming out with me Rachel & Maria! :)
we're still missing the other half of our date - don't let me forget it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eternal glories gleam afar, to nerve my faint endeavour

This life of ours on earth is but a preparatory one... You are tired and weary and you feel at times it is too much for you? Go back and look at your life and put it into the context of eternity. Stop and ask yourself what it all means. It is nothing but a preparatory school. This is but the antechamber of eternity and all we do in this world is but anticipatory of that. Our greatest joys are but the first fruits and the foretaste of the eternal joy that is coming.... It is the sheer grind of daily life that gets us down.... But the answer is to look at it all and to put it all into its great context and to say, 'We are going on to eternity and this is but the prepareatory school'. What a difference that makes...

'The world is too much with us,' that is our trouble. We are too immersed in our problems. We need to look ahead, to anticipate, to look forward to the eternal glories gleaming afar. The Christian life is a tasting of the firstfruits of that great harvest which is to come. 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that lov e HIm'.... Realize something in mind and heart of the glory of the place to which you are going. That is the antidote, that is the cure. The harvest we shall reap is certain, it is sure. 'Therefore,' says Paul to the Corinthians, 'be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord'. Go on with your task whatever your feelings; keep on with your work. God will give the increase, He will send the rain of His gracious mercies as we need it. Thre will be an abundant harvest. Look forward to it. 'Ye sahll reap.'

First Book of Daily Readings, exercpted from Spiritual Depression, pp200-1. M. L. Jones

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Wedding Day??? (family, watch out!)

hehe I could never keep a secret like this -
but it's a great idea! :)
it'd probably be so much fun too! :)
it might be the closest I ever get to the real thing :)


Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am blessed

Last winter I took up singing in Leendert Kooy's choir (the OMCA concerts). It was such a blessing to sing praises and have fun times and fellowship with people of all ages. One of the song arrangements we learned was especially an encouragement to me both during that time and still now. It has reminded me time and again to bless the Lord, even when I least feel like it.

I am blessed.

Thru sunshine and rain, even sorrow and pain,
Jesus is my comfort and my guide;
For His love for me and His grace has set me free,
And some day I shall stand by His side!

I am blessed, I am blessed!
Every day that I'm living I am blessed!
When I wake up in the morning till I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed, I am blessed...

I've shoes for my feet, I have plenty to eat,
And a home in heaven by and by.
And through my new birth, brothers sisters here on earth,
We shall share in that home beyond the sky!

.... ..... .....

He gives you more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sends you more strength when the labours increase;
To added affliction He's adding His mercy;
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace...

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure;
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He's giving, and giving, and giving again!

And when we've exhausted our store of endurance,
Our strength may have failed ere the day is half done.
When reaching the end of our human resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

my first bike: Ninja 500

I recently bought something that I had always dreamed of, ever since I was a child... 
a motorcycle! :)

... part of me still can't believe it's actually sitting in the driveway! 

It's such a fun way to get around, and it's already starting to feel quite normal... which is a good thing I suppose. I've had a couple of close calls, but nothing too scary yet.  I've learned a lot about defensive driving, learning to read other drivers and stay out of their way.

Some people would say that I'm crazy to have such a hobby as this... but is it really?  I've always openly admired motorcycles, loved looking at them, dreamt of riding one, and now the day has come... 

and it's great :) 

Visit with Steve & Amy in Woodstock!

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of helping Steve & Amy move their things into their summer internship home in Woodstock. What a huge house for such a small family! :) It was so nice to visit and spend some quality time with them! it's wonderful to have them so close for the summer!

Church Pinic 2009!

I don't have very many pictures of this event, but it sure was fun! Thanks to all the organizers!  you all must have put a lot of work into it to make it a fun day! others have posted pictures, but I didn't have my camera along, too bad...

What a beautiful day it turned out to be, with the sun shining and blue skies!  We played several fun team games with everyone of all ages helping each other... I think our team got last place :) "and the last shall be first" but we didn't get a prize :) 

This year they had their first (annual?) Dessert Queen Contest.... and guess who was the unlikely winner? me! bewildering thought, eh? :) maybe I've inherited some of Mom's talent after all!   Mom was runner up, along with Laura A.

It's such a blessing to be part of the family of God, to be part of the church community, sharing time and fellowship and food and games together, being with one another not just on these fun filled days, but most especially throughout the year.  We need more of that beautiful caring relationship among the Church today. I'm thankful for the gift of my church family, and pray that we may be an example to the other churches, and a light to the world, shining God's precious love, drawing them in.  

pick up your cross

"Jesus invites us to be his disciples. If we choose to accept his loving invitation, we must understand that there are certain conditions to be fulfilled. One of them is a willingness to accept the cross. Is this a once-for-all taking up of one particular burden? I don't think so. It seems to me that my "cross" is each particular occasion when I am given the chance to "die" - that is, to offer up my own will whenever it crosses Christ's. This happens very often. A disagreement with my husband can cause an argument and harsh words, even if the matter is ridiculously small - "When are you going to get that dashboard light fixed in the car?" I have already mentioned the light three times. It may be time to keep my mouth shut, but I don't want to keep my mouth shut. Here, then, is a chance to die. A decision which affects both of us may be a fairly big one, but we find ourselves on two sides of the fence. One of us, then, must "die". It is never easy for me. Shall I make excuses for myself (that's the way I am; it's my personality; it's the way I was raised; I'm tired; I can't hack it; it doesn't turn me on; you don't understand) or shall I pick up this cross?

"Perhaps my illustration seems to trivialize the cross of Christ. His was so unimaginably greater. What cross could I possibly take up which would be so analogous? Just here is the lesson for me: when Jesus took up his cross, Hewas saying yes with all his being to the will of the Father. If I am unwilling to say yes in even a very little thing, how shall I accept a more painful thing? What sort of practice does it take for a disciple to learn to follow the Crucified? A friend hurts us, a plan gooes awry, an effort fails - small things indeed. But then cancer strikes, a daughter marries unwisely, a business folds, a wife abandons her home and family. The call still comes to us: Take up your cross and come with Me. With You, Lord? Yes, with Me. Will You give me strength and show me the way? That was My promise - is it My custom to break promises?"

Elizabeth Elliot, A Lamp for My Feet

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family Night! :)

The other night we enjoyed a fun night of fellowship with the whole family... even Steven & Amy and Tim & Charlene made it! As is Mom's custom, she spoiled us all with her excellent cooking... and I made the same dessert that I made for our church picnic last weekend: a heavenly chocolate mousse cake... this recipe is amazing! yes, I'm finally learning the ropes in the kitchen, and it's actually quite fun!

Somehow we managed to get all the kids together for a picture, before it started pouring buckets...
We had a fun time playing Bonanza! my first time ever... great game, although I must say, my brain was fried after a long day at work, and it took me the whole game to really get the hang of it! :)

all that hard work paid off, eh Charlene? :)

This kid's a brain, as you can see! :)
(playing cards, and only just over a year old :))

silly poses for the cam... :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

China Earthquake - 2008

About a year ago, there was a terrible earthquake in China. One of the reporters who went there to investigate further into the cause of the earthquake, and to interview the mother of one of the children who died, encountered animosity and even violence from the authorities, which was caught on video... you can read/see the video about it on the Financial Times World News website.

It's so sad to think of the incredible amount of oppression and intervention of the government on every part of the life of the Chinese people, and even on outsiders! We know of it, but often forget about it - they live such a different life, so totally unfamiliar to us.

We can be so thankful for the freedoms that we have here in North America! Sometimes it seems as if we're slowly giving up our freedom in other less noticeable ways (but perhaps more sinister?) - take for example the new driver's license: it's got a radio chip and barcode in it that can be tracked through some sort of magnetized code (I don't understand it completely). You can read a little bit about it on The Toronto Star's website. The U.S. is also starting to issue these new "enhanced" drivers licenses (click here or here to read more).

Sign of the times? who knows...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Valley of Vision

Thou incomprehensible but prayer-hearing God,

Known, but beyond knowledge,

revealed, but unrevealed,

my wants and welfare draw me to thee,

for thou hast never said, ‘Seek ye me in vain’.

To thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;

possess me with thyself,

with a spirit of grace and supplication,

with a prayerful attitude of mind,

with access into warmth of fellowship,

so that in the ordinary concerns of life

my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,

and in habitual devotion I may find a resource that will

soothe my sorrows, sanctify my successes,

and qualify me in all ways for dealings with my fellow men.

I bless thee that thou hast made me capable

of knowing thee, the author of all being,

of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,

of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.

O God, attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage;

I need the same counsel, defence, comfort I found at my beginning.

Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,

more perceptible to those around.

While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect him on earth,

While he pleads my cause, may I show forth his praise.

Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,

And whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,

thy blessing attend me.

Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,

I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,

fearful, but thou hast delivered me,

despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.

Thy vows are ever upon me,

And I praise thee, O God.

--Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, God Enjoyed

Monday, April 27, 2009

Columbine High School Shooting - Parent's Address

Just a week ago we passed the anniversary of the horrible high school shooting at Columbine (April 20, 1999). Darrell Scott, the father of one of the victims of this tragedy, spoke to the House Judiciary Committee just a month later.

I couldn't find his address on the House Judiciary's Website (I'm wondering if they might have taken it off), but found it on the National Rifle Association's page (find it here). His address is very moving, and forces us to see where sin and violence actually come from - our own hearts.

"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?...." James 4:1

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

His Masterpiece

My life is but a weaving, between my God and me,
I do not choose the colours, He worketh steadily,
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned. (anonymous)

I found this poem while reading Corrie Ten Boom's book, A Tramp for the Lord. Her life was often hard and full of sorrow, yet she always rejoiced to see God's working, and loved to do His will and tell of His love. Her testimony is such an example to me, how she persevered, trusting the Lord, even when life looked anything but hopeful. She says,

Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown.

Looking at life from God's eternal perspective gives hope; I know that all things will work together for good, because I love God, and I know I'm called by Him (Romans 8:28). There are so many things right now that I sometimes think, "What His purpose in putting this in my life? why do things have to happen this way? why does it seem like everything is going wrong?"

But in the broader perspective, we must learn to see that God has His own mysterious purposes, some of which we will never know until we join Him in glory. And really, "this life is just a vapour... it will soon pass away." When we get to heaven, it will seem like such a short moment that we were here on earth, and we will wonder why we didn't trust God more, live for Him to the utmost of our ability, or love Him to our greatest capacity. Why do we worry about our lives? what can we accomplish by worrying? God will take care of you, and show you His ways if you keep trusting Him, resting in Him, waiting on Him.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seasons of Darkness

We must remember that seasons of darkness in the Christian's life are in fact, normal.  We still should try to rise above the darkness, to reach for the light of Christ; but above all we ust remember that we are not lost, and that we're not in this on our own.  Christ is right there with us.  

I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, 
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay, 
And set my feet upon a rock, 
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God; 
Many will see it and fear, 
And will trust in the LORD. 
Psalm 40:1-3

Take Strength

"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
2 Timothy 2:1

These strong, simple words can be spiritual adrenaline for us when we need them . They were written by a man who knew what he was talking about, as he himself was in prison. He was writing to a young minister who was also suffering and evidently tempted by doubt, fear, even uncertainty of his call. The older man admonishes him very lovingly to take his share of suffering, take his share of hardship like a good soldier, and to take strength from the grace of God.

Where shall I ever find the strength I need to get through this experience, this ordeal, this day, this week? The answer is Take it! Take it from the grace which is ours already, in Christ Jesus.

"Here it is," He is saying, "Will you have some?"
"Yes, thank You, Lord. I'll take it."

A Lamp for my Feet, Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, March 2, 2009

Faith Bible Conference

February 9-13
LaFayette, IN

One cannot help but come away from Faith Bible Conference refreshed and energized in your walk with the Lord. Listening to these men and women of faith stimulates a desire for truth, growth in faith, passion for lost and hurting people. This conference, though it is designed for those heading into the counseling ministry, has proven to be very helpful for me in my walk with God.

We get a whole lot of knowledge and theory in our Reformed churches; and for sure, this is all very good. But what are we struggling with every day? what are we saying, thinking, doing? how are we spending our time? sometimes it's hard to connect theory with practice. We struggle to know how to handle our problems Biblically. I struggle to know how to help my friends - what do I say when they go through hard times? How can I help them, and direct them to the One who can alone provide true hope even in our trials?

God has used this conference to bring me to my knees and to see my sin. But He doesn't just leave it at that - He also shows how we can overcome those sins and live a life full of joy and hope! It is my prayer that I may learn to put to practice what I'm learning, and help others to also find the joy and hope in believing in our Saviour's name.
We had a wonderful visit with Steve and Amy and Sierra on the Sunday that we were there; they've been living in Chicago while Steve goes to seminary training there.
The weather was beautiful, perfect for a walk... it brought back memories of Michele and my walk from the previous year...

Sunday night, Brian, Liz, Charlene, Tim, and myself all enjoyed playing a game of "Train through Europe" (is that right, Charlene?)
I didn't really take many pictures the rest of the week...
packing up and heading home!