Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Other Side

Québec. No matter what the political climate or the debatable opinions and issues, the other side of the river is where it feels most like home. It's the place of my foundational years, and where memories of childhood remain vivid. It's where the years spent in nature-- in the lakes and rivers, forests and fields, snowy hills and summer caves-- formed a part of my personality and interests, instilling and nourishing a love of natural beauty. 

But more than that, it's the place I keep coming back to for family. I am the unconventional one, the only one who packed up for a time but never returned. So now I go back for family, for parents and siblings, for nephews... and for my own children. 

My sister and her husband are extraordinary hosts, opening up their beautiful hand-crafted home for the entire extended family to spend days together. They are in the business of manufacturing blissful summer memories for our kids, now seven boys and my lone girl.

(Another snake. I can't get away from them nowadays with all these boys.)

The newest addition and long-prayed-for babe!

Exploring in nature is a highlight for my boys, and the discoveries and experiences are so different from our SoCal opportunities.

Little boys and wild raspberries everywhere. Both such delights.

Summer trips north would be incomplete without a frog-catching excursion...

Here, my mom up to her ankles in mud with all her grandkids just moments before the first of many blood suckers clinging to skin was sighted. This is how I remember her best, and I think one of her strengths as a mother: She entered the world of childhood with us, unencumbered, and found pleasure right there with us in our discoveries of God's creation.

He stepped on it a few times before finding this snapping turtle below the surface of mud and grass. That would be Michael, never bothered by possible risk of, well, something like having a finger lopped off. Maybe it's my doing, since I've always erred on the side of adventure and discovery more than over-protection.

Quintessential image I often see in my mind: Little roads by the river, over train tracks and through greenery leading to special little places

Evening fishing with my youngest brother along the river

I cannot conclude any other way than by saying the Lord has been good to me, and it's not because of anything I've done. I am just so thankful. I was thinking the same on our wedding anniversary yesterday. After seventeen years, Jon and I enjoy a solid marriage only because of the grace of God. Really, it's not because of anything we have done or deserve, just grace.

This morning as we rushed around getting ready for church, there was a conflict between two of my kids. This issue was still unresolved when I drove in with the kids, so I reminded them that human relationships are extremely fragile. Since we are prone to offense, either by offending or by being offended, we need to cultivate a heart of humility and forgiveness. We need to be quick to admit to our insensitivity or our pride... quick to repent and quick to forgive. It's the only way relationships survive.

Jon shows me these things in his relationships with others, but more specifically within our marriage. Ultimately, we seek to forgive because He has forgiven us. It's all the grace of God.

So, yeah, I am thankful.



  1. I just want to say, I always enjoy your blog.
    I love how you capture life through your camera lens. (Artistically, and technically), but also your sentiments. They are thought-provoking and genuine. Your comment on how human relationships are fragile and how we are prone to offense couldn't be truer - and the only remedy being self sacrifice. Such a great reminder to direct our children to the source of the issue instead of just outward correction.
    Also - the area where you grew up is really beautiful except for maybe the blood-suckers.

    1. Thank you Carol! Blood suckers are not my favorite either, but now the boys have a more interesting story to tell! Thanks again for your kind comment!


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