Friday, October 23, 2020

Time, and A Reflection on Blogging

Time. It's such a strange reality, isn't it? 

Last week I wrote 'May' on Jacob's paper because my perception of time is all scrambled this year. 

Then yesterday I ordered a graduation cap and gown, and I ask myself in amazement, "How?" 

I wonder what it must be like to stand outside of time... never hurried, never in want, never worn out; without regret over the past, and without anxiety over the future. From this side of eternity, it seems to be an unimaginable peace.

But for now, time just keeps pressing forward, never skipping a beat, never pausing for a breath. Time waits for no one. The world spins unceasingly, hastening around the sun in continuous motion. Another day comes. Another day ends.

I've regularly tried to pause and take in the moment. I've tried to savor and remember, to hold in my heart the substance of various joys and trials. I've tried to number the days God has given me, both in recollection and in anticipation. I've endeavored to see the handiwork of God and to render Him praise, and I've aspired to train myself to have hope and confidence for the future.

This month marks 10 years of blogging for Days Ordained (with nearly 500 posts). In a small way, journaling here has been an avenue for me to pause and remember. The practice of slowing down long enough to gather snippets of moments and to recall the faithfulness of God has been so very good for me. I'm sure, without a doubt, I could produce a long list of ways this blog has been of value for my growth. Yes, truly, the list would be long! So I am grateful, even in light of the fact that this growth hasn't always been pleasant, nor did it arrive by modes that were welcomed. In retrospect, however, I am grateful indeed.

I have been too shy (and perhaps disinterested) to ever make efforts to stand out in the blogosphere, but I am grateful (even tickled!) by the fact that some of you have followed me all these years. In the earlier days, when I was posting more frequently and my readership was highest, I was even too reserved or embarrassed to respond to most comments. On the other hand, I received few comments in comparison to my audience stats, which only left me wondering who exactly was connecting with my words and images. I've always appreciated when people came out of the woodwork!

Increasingly, I am becoming aware of a particular group of women coming here for insight on some particular issues. As my family grows and the original ease of writing here has worn off, I wonder at times if I might be able to write on topics related to womanhood, relationship, and ministry. While part of me wants to believe I have absolutely nothing to offer, the other part remembers that time and experience have been strict tutors. 

So what might be next? I don't know, except that I'm not entirely ready to sign off. After 10 years, I still find I desire to journal and post images as a creative outlet. And if this blog serves only as a place where I get to push past the discomfort of exposing myself in some way, I am content with that. I've learned that discomfort is the only way to make quantifiable growth in life, and this blog has been such an avenue. In the end, it is still a place for me, just like it was from the beginning.

Simply, I get to look back and I get to look forward; I get to recount God's faithfulness and then place my expectation on that faithfulness to keep us to the end. I get to remember that time has always been kept safely in his hands.

These images are from last month, but they seemed fitting...

Another day rounds the corner as the sun sets below the horizon, and time slips out of sight once again. And so life goes. 

God, give me eyes to see in light of eternity...


Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Two understatements: 

We spend a lot of time together. It's a good thing I like him.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September Trip- 2019

For a while today a heavy ocean fog swept inland, sending fingerings of white clouds streaming over roofs and palm trees towards us. Michael grabbed his camera and took an opportunity for a study break, while I looked on from my workspace thinking about fall. For a moment it felt a bit fall-ish, even though the temperatures here are only rising this week, while dry SoCal winds are picking up and fires are raging. But for that moment I let the imagined feelings of autumn linger. 

Crisp temps, colors, scents, sweaters, apples, lakes and rivers, cool city streets, rain.

Of course, I began to miss my family, my native land, and my mother tongue. 

When I uploaded pictures to my computer yesterday, I came across this file from a visit to my sister's one year ago this month. Jacob and I had traveled home for my youngest brother's wedding. I had the distinct pleasure of helping prepare for the ceremony and reception with my sister. Working like this with her was an experience I relished, one I've not had opportunity to experience much with family because of geographical distance. 

Jacob, on the other hand, loved being the oldest cousin for once among a small gang of boys.

My camera lay largely packed away because it was a busy week of work and visit, and the fact that Jacob and I lost a full day stranded in Michigan meant the work was extra focused. (It was yet another tale of travel mishaps that no longer surprise me... lightning storm and flooding, missed connection, lost luggage, no vacancies, seedy motel, stolen credit card, little sleep. Still worth it, though, hands down.)

I did capture a few moments anyway. Below, the old airplane tire swing that was ours when I was little.

Obviously, Tante Katherine need to swing with the boys, too!

I enjoyed catching up with extended family as well, even meeting many new family members, like spouses of cousins. I think the last time we saw each other would have been at my grandmother's funeral, nearly 10 years ago. (Images of that trip HERE.)

It was a simple and beautiful wedding for these two in our town's covered bridge over the Gatineau River. The funny reality is that I met my brother's wife for the first time only after the ceremony! Things like that are definitely not perks to living far away!

(Image not mine)

There was a smaller, more intimate reception for family the following morning. Here is my mom with four girls now. (Left to right: My sister, Melissa; my newest SIL, Dale; my mom, my Maman; my SIL, Melanie; and me)

And the gang of boy cousins... My two older boys were missing, obviously, and now we have a brand new baby boy born this summer. I couldn't decide between the two pictures: the one above was their own pose, and the one below was how they repositioned when someone suggested moving in close. Both show a group of really wonderful guys!

A short hike in the Gatineau Park was a real treat for me. My old stomping ground...

Lookout and, er, old make-out point!

And then, once again and far too soon, homebound. We've long been accustomed to lengthy airport wait times and layovers, but how wonderful it was just to flash a passport at customs instead of a visa with an alien number. I do feel like a real lucky girl to have two homes I love!

It's been nearly three years since Jon and my older boys have flown home, and Covid regulations don't make it very hopeful that we'll get there anytime soon. Nonetheless, a trip back through pictures did me some good today. 

And as a bonus, this little blog lives on for another post...


Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Small Miscellany of Notes

July 27

For the first time in months and months, I find myself at a coffee shop with my little books and my computer. I’m seated outside, of course, but it’s a wonderful feeling of renewed normalcy. This area, which is usually bustling with international tourism, is now a quiet place for thinking and writing.

I have always kept a weekly goal of doing something out of the ordinary during the summer break. My kids are rapidly growing out of childhood and into adulthood, so these outings are typically with my younger boys now. (The older two are always welcome but frequently have plans or obligations of their own.) Today I dropped Andrew, Jacob, and a friend off for a time of snorkeling with the leopard sharks. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll see some cool marine life despite high tide and murkier-than-expected water. They invited me to join, assuring me that having their "momsy" with them was not uncool. I love it so much that they asked! But I also think they shouldn’t have me in tow all the time. Plus, the water is really cold today! 

Ah, it’s a peaceful day.

Not for everyone, though. As a society, questions and unknowns linger long. We wait for this situation to blow over, but it seems to just intensify as it is prolonged. Accusations, suspicions, and corruption run rampant. Evil is an undeniable absolute, hiding in plain sight.

Just like the rest, we are waiting for some sort of plan for the coming school year, unsure how to prepare and proceed. Like others, we have disappointments because some desires won’t come to fruition. And we are saddened by what see happening, even recoil at our society’s response.

And yet, curiously, this has been such a peaceful summer for me.

I hear of the sovereignty of God discussed. It’s true that he is ultimately in control, that not a single thing can transpire outside of his will. We do right when we rest in this knowledge. But personally, I don’t feel at peace simply by hearing the word ‘sovereign.’ You see, God could be a righteous bully wielding this sovereignty because it’s his prerogative to do so. He could execute his righteous justice however he pleases. Or he could sovereignly turn his back on us and leave us all to our own doomed devices.

No, for me peace comes with the remembrance that God is good. His goodness towards us is that which is loving and kind, and he promises only good to those who belong to him. Yes, he is fully sovereign in all things and at all times, but his goodness fully permeates his sovereignty. There is nothing to fear when his sovereignty assures that we are in his care— his good, kind, and protective care.

And that changes my perspective all the time. 


Notebook scribbles: Undated

Beware what you give to unstable friendships.
Beware of self-serving religiosity.
Beware of humble words where humble actions are lacking.
Beware of the arrogant grin, comments from under the breath, and sideway glances.
Beware of lip service.
Beware of duplicitous behavior.

Beware of thinking Proverbs are just interesting sayings.


Journals and Discussions: On Aging

Aging is a privilege and a gift. (Just ask any cancer survivor.) 

Learn to embrace it.

To the young that mock it, just know that you are aging at the very same pace as all the rest. Also realize that you are nurturing a culture that will only come back to bite you. Mockery illustrates immaturity, even foolishness; it does not glamorize youthfulness.

On the other hand, maturity is a responsibility. Maturity is the reward of long-term, deliberate wisdom acquisition. It is a responsibility not only because it is a hard-earned treasure, but also because it must be passed along. Aging, however, is not synonymous to maturity gained through wisdom. Value the aged, but nurture intimate friendships with the wise.

Also, cognitive knowledge is far different than experiential knowledge. Surround yourself with people who are older than yourself– people who have traveled farther and longer, who have lived with purpose, and (especially) who have come through trials of various kinds. Remember that not every lesson needs to be learned the hard way! We can learn from imitation and practice.

Finally, true wisdom is a close companion of humility.


A quote from the back of a notebook: On God's sovereignty and on words

"He speaks and crafts every piece of matter woven into those scenes, and that is why they happen. His speaking is their happening." (source unknown)

I am studying the power of words. Kind words or slander... they are both powerful in their own way. 

True words are from God, whereas slander, by it's very definition and history, is from the devil and Satan-like.

Words build up or destroy; they can have the power of life and death. 

God's Word is living, active, and eternal; it will not return void; it cuts like a double-edge sword and discerns the intentions of the heart.

The gospel are words of LIFE! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

We came to be, we live, and we die according to God's spoken word. 

Words matter.


Lessons from Jesus: On relationship and new life

It has been said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so I've decided to spend more time with Jesus in the Gospels. These are my observations on how He related with the woman at the well, so that I might learn:

Jesus was compassionate; he gave respect and regard to the woman as a created being.
Jesus was grateful to receive refreshment from someone commonly deemed "lesser" and "defiled."
Jesus's motivation was not to condemn and shame, but to set free from the vain pursuits of this life.
Jesus offers relationship, not formalities; he does not demand works for approval.
Jesus shows us it is most loving to share truth than to hide it in fear of offending. 
Truth must be shared lovingly.
Jesus demonstrates that relationship with God will nourish and sustain our being far more than mere earthly sustenance. True life is lived in the spiritual realm.
Jesus saves and transforms. Relationship with Christ changes a person; they are a new creation. The changed person, then, will do the will of God because of that change. 
The Spirit of God empowers that change, day by day.
Isn't the progression of Jesus's interaction wonderfully fascinating? From the initial moment of contact to His indwelling power, we can learn from him and rejoice because of him!


Images: July 15

I was perched on a cliff trying to get close while keeping my gear dry, all paparazzi-like. 
My boys assure me it's okay to be paparazzi-like.

Jacob... Always with a flip.

Andrew... Always trying something.

Jacob... Thumbs up.

Andrew... Feet up.

Favorite shot, below.

They jumped till the sun set. Over and over again, they jumped.


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