Fluffy Scarves & Hot Chocolate......

.....along with music that brings back memories of warm summery days are perfect for chasing away the office chills. :) There's so much more of You that I want to know.

How Your love, it calls to me when I lose my way...
...Got to trust that I'm safe and sound,
Got to trust that it all comes down to You.....
... It's obvious no one could love me more
I'm Yours,
And I'm coming, coming back
(Britt Nicole, 2007)



Oftentimes, I'll admire the works of more advanced photographers. I'll wonder where they come up with their creative concepts, and how they find such interesting locations. It's definitely caused me to look at the world around me through a different lens..... could that garden provide good photo ops? Could that abandoned building? How about that field?

For those of you who've visited my home in Ottawa, you'll know that they're developing the suburban sprawl like CRAZY.... right behind my neighbouhood. It makes shopping really convenient of course, but it makes me sad too, to see all those beautiful fields (that I never particularly appreciated before, btw...) built over. They've built plaza's to the east and west, and now the only patch left is an abandoned property directly behind my house.

All this to say that for the past couple of months I've been inspired to go exploring on that property, and see what there is to see. Seize the day and all that! After an initial 15-minute walk-about several weeks ago (after which my camera batteries died on me.....), I finally went back recently. Here's what there is to see:

I thought the markings on this bug looked neat...

Found this one hiding amongst the grass......

Is this what an ant sees?

Love this......

Last shot of the day..... another favorite. This one's for you, Chungi & txp!!


Productive Delay

"Waiting on God isn't about the suspension of meaning and purpose. It's part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn't to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn't simply about what I'll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I'll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He's promised. Through the wait He's changing me. By means of the wait He's altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He's causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands." (Paul Tripp - Meditation on Psalm 27) - as seen here.

I love this reflection. So often in life we are waiting for something.... waiting in line at the store, waiting to see if we've been accepted into school, waiting for water to boil, waiting to meet that Special Person to share your life with, waiting for God to lead you towards that next step in life.... In our age of instant-everythings, this is one of the worst things that can be imposed on us, but whether the situation be serious or less so, the bottom line is that we spend lots of time waiting. I would even argue that we 20-somethings are in the life-stage of waiting as we stand at a great cross-road, trying to discern God's direction, purpose, and passion for our lives.

So how do you deal?

I like this seemingly revolutionary perspective.... that waiting is not purposeless. For me, I am finding that letting God shape my impatience has turned lonely, directionless, or frustrating times into days where I can hope and smile and serve genuinely. I have come to realize that it's ok to be waiting.... to not be there yet, even when it seems like everyone else is miles ahead of me. I know the end-goal will be worth it, and I have such hope in the promise that my Lord has only good in store for me. But more than that, I look forward to who I'll be when I get there..... someone who started by saying "yes" to God in faith, and is hopefully just a little bit more like Him by the end of the process.

What are you waiting for in your life? May the reflection above encourage your heart and motivate you to seek His.

Sola gratia.


Quiet Friday.....

It's Friday. After a huge rush of a week (meetings, seminars, hotels, hearts, and throw in a couple of foreign countries!), the weekend is finally here! Delicious.... I can hardly wait to sleep in tomorrow. Mebbe I'll actually get around to baking my cookies this weekend. ;) It's pretty quiet around the office this morning..... the quiet murmur of meetings in other cubicles can be heard, and I'm sitting here eating oatmeal for breakfast (Sonja!) and looking over a translation request.

In other words, I will be bored quite soon. :p



I haven't felt this way in so long. Maybe never. Have you felt anything like this before? A feeling that comes out of no-where and knocks you off your feet..... something so intense that it can pick you up from the deepest melancholy and make you soar up to the heights.......... It's pure excitement and headiness and giddiness..... It's a buzz in your head. I can hardly sit still. I'm eating but I have no real appetite -- my heart pounds and my tummy tingles. I'm feeling more alive than I have in days, and I'm sure I have a stupid grin on my face.

I don't know why, I don't know how. I don't know what this means. This just is.

Why do I feel this way? Why does this keep resounding in my head, my heart?



POP 40%...... pfft. I should know better than to trust the weather report! Presently I am stuck at the office, because it is thundering and raining in sheets outside. SHEETS. It hasn't rained this hard in awhile. Who would've thought that just a few hours ago I was sitting out in the stuffy sunny hotness, shoes off and eating my lunch? I don't think an umbrella would've done me much good since it's so fierce out..... but I'm regretting forgetting it anyways. How will I make it to the store before prayer meeting in time to get ingredients to make this for tomorrow? Pooey. >.<


It's Been Awhile.........

Wow. End of July already! Isn't it depressing how fast the summer flies..... it's been a packed summer! Flying off to serve again in a foreign country...... building new and old relationships....... getting highly involved at church..... exploring all sorts of new places and events in Ottawa....... so much has been happening in everyone's lives! Not to say that this is summer's end..... there is one month left before things settle down into the regular rhthym of school, and until then I'm sure every moment will be full. :)

Not much time to post anything really worth reading (I'm @ work right now.... it's a slow day but still! Can't spend too much time blogging..... :p), but I intend to soon! I've come across some great articles that I would love to share with you all, and I realize it's been almost exactly a year since I've had this blog lay-out.... might be time for a change. ^^ In the meantime, I've updated a bunch of links (on the right -->); of most note are the new links to photographers that I've become addicted to lately (esp. Pretty In Pink and NicoleVan). Check them out! They do a beautiful job of capturing and immortalizing every moment of the day! *sigh* Oh to take photos like that of the people around me some day........ ^-^

More soon!


Shall I Indeed?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no
Sometimes that's the way it goes
You're not giving any secrets away
Who's to know, who's to say
Sometimes it's hard to live this way
Holding on, letting go
When it's sometimes yes
And sometimes no
Jill Paquette, "Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No" (2003)

Several of you who are wonderfully caring and concerned for me have asked me about that last cryptic blog entry....... *laughs* I never thought I was one who could be cryptic about anything but I guess necessity is the best teacher! Just a word of assurance that I am still alive and I am ok. I think I still have a bit of mulling and thinking to do, and it was a bit of a trip last week emotionally, but even today I think I'm seeing the light. :)

Letting go and letting God..... I don't know why this is a lesson that must be learned the hard way though countless repetitions over our lifetimes. Why doesn't it ever stick? "Doesn't God ever get frusterated at what slow slow learners we are?" I wonder sometimes. But no.... in His infinite grace, He's always there, ready to show us the way back to Him when we are ready. I think I'm finally ready. Already today He assured me of His faithfulness through this blog..... what a chord it strikes with me! How encouraging it is to realize that even the strongest of us has to WORK at trusting our Father, that it isn't some ability that comes naturally with maturity. Have a peek! I hope that you too are encouraged and strengthened by the testimony of Sarah's life -- that you too will be convicted to let go of whatever it is that you've been clinging to, and by doing so, also be a testiment to God's wondeful faithfulness!!



"Can I ask you a stupid question?"


"That wasn't a stupid question."

"Are you busy tonight? Can we go driving and chat?"


"I'm surprised."

Me too.


The Art of Being a Statue....
(Good Friday, April 6, 2007)

It's FRIGID out. Ouuuuuuuuch -- my fingers are frozen!! What are we doing here, you ask?

Here we are at Dewberry Trail near Mer Bleue birdwatching..... chickadee-feeding to be precise! We brought birdseed, and Mum and Mui are braving the blistering cold and standing as still as they can to try to attract the birds to their hand. I think Mum's better at it than Mui; she's too fidgety. *laughs* Me on the other hand..... I've retreated to the car to try to regain feeling in my poor frozen digits.

Boy, there are so many chickadees! And they are all so cute, especially when they puff up their feathers to keep warm -- they look like little cotton balls!! ^-^ We brought peanuts too, to try and draw out Mum's favorite cardinals and bluejays, but it would seem that the larger passerines are too clever to fall for such ploys. *lol* We did see several bluejays, a cardinal, as well as some blackbirds and mourning doves, but they stayed aloof.

And me being me of course, was more concerned about getting some good shots as opposed to getting them to feed in my hand (although one did perch on my hand for a little while!). Geeez.... birds in the wild sure are hard to capture! They don't stay put for very long. And lets not get me started on the shortfalls of my camera...... darn lagtime to focus, darn lagtime to shoot, darn lens that can't zoom in close enough....!!! *sigh* At least the lighting was good enough to get sharp images. Despite the camera, I managed to get a few good shots. :)

My dear Finepix, you have been a faithful friend, but I really do think it's time you were retired.....

Living statues...... (click here for more pictures!)


Another Spring.....

.....another new beginning. Another post. Wow, I haven't posted in a looooong time. It hasn't been for a lack of desire, I'll say that much in my defence......... I just never seem to be able to sit down and WRITE. :P Even now.... I'm not promising this is well thought-out! I'm just taking a break from the salamanders. *hee*

It's another spring..... I don't think I love any other season more. Spring embodies glorious hope in new life and new beginnings..... I can't help but be lifted as I marvel at the blue skies peeping through between buildings and spectacular sunsets (pretty much all I get to see of the outside nowadays! It's so sad really.....) after missing them all winter; I can't help but hope in the fresh beginning, and hoping that this time I'll reach the High Places that I've had my eye on for so long. Nevermind what people say about muddy sidewalks and spring rains. It's still a beautiful season!

Carrying on my thought about spring and muddiness and new beginnings and reaching your dreams..... you really can't achieve your goals, your dreams, your High Places without a certain amount of messiness and difficulty in between, can you? I would like to think that I might be able to reach those crags without doing the hard work to reach them, but that isn't reality. Reality is daunting, and maybe that's why I've been standing at the foothills for so long, wringing my hands and casting sidelong glances at those majestic peaks.

Maybe this time I'll stop worrying and take that first step. The Good Shepherd has always promised to be there when I need him.... I think it's time to take him at his word. I don't know how to get to those peaks.... what paths to take, what equipment I need, what dangers I need to be aware of..... but perhaps I just don't need to know.

I still miss you..... but there is someone who misses me more right now, and I can't fairly spend any more time wishing for you while he's waiting for me.



Yeeeeah.... back after a loooong absence. I dunno what has kept me from posting........ maybe because my thoughts haven't been as turbulent as they were in the fall and I didn't need an outlet as badly.....??? I COULD blame it on a packed schedule I guess, although that's not a good excuse. *grin*

There has been lots happening on the Steph-stage! Since the last time I posted, h2o participated in CCCO's 2nd Iron Chef event (see h2o's picasa site for pictures!); we've had to deal with some fall-out from that. Since November I also went on some interviews (with Starbucks and Parks Canada) and then was offered a job with Parks! *yaaaaaay*...... I've been there for three weeks now and I'm enjoying myself quite a bit.

I work with mostly older ppl, but they are such a good-natured and amicable bunch. I'm working as the assistant for the National EI (ecological integrity) Monitoring program.... basically assisting with whatever projects my boss (and, by extension, his "first-in-command" guy) needs help with. Right now I'm helping prep and coordinate the switch-over to a new database, and also organizing a big meeting in the states..... all new and all super exciting! Gotta admit.... was a little intimidated at first, but God has been so faithful in bringing good ppl alongside me to teach me the ropes and to encourage me. ^^ In fact, the whole process of when and how I found, applied for, then got the job -- and even what skills have been required on the job -- was undeniably a God-thing. I love it when I can see His hand just guiding each step I take! It's been amazing to see how He works and times everything to perfection...... isn't He just the best?? (*haha* I know.... understatement of the year, right??) Eventhough other ppl keep telling me, I'm still not convinced that I'm gonna be a federal lifer. *lol* This is a term position and I do want to return to school in the sorta-near future..... but we shall see!! OH. Other classic advice offered by a fellow federal employee from church, "In the gov't, you've gotta work SLOW. If you think a task will take you a week to complete, take a month to do it." *hahahaha.....* Whaaaaatevs...... I'm not convinced of that either! Perhaps I'm young and innocent. ;) And another thing..... *sigh* I wish my French was better!!! It was pretty pathetic the other day, using the French-English dictionary and trying to decipher an e-mail that must've been three sentences long. :S

The other major thing filling my days this fall term (haha... still thinking in universitysome of our kids performing a hilarious Christmas play about a giant turnip.... *LOL* (L to R: Emily, Eric, Karen, Nancy, Jo-Jo terms!) has just been church..... have so many different ministries this term! Jean and I started teaching the SK/gr.1 kindergarten Sunday school class in September....... it gets tiresome to have to do prep for it every week sometimes, but it DEFINITELY helps to have someone wonderful like Jean to work with (*yaaaaaay Jean!!* Go team work!!), and those munchkins have completely endeared themselves to me (am I using "endear" correctly? you proficient writers out there -- ahem! Lyds/Carmie -- can correct me. :P). No matter how tired I am, once I'm in that class telling them a story or seeing their enthusiasm during a game or watching them create their crafts, I know it's all worth it. I really just pray that God is/will use Jean and me to drive some truths into the hearts of these little ones! I've also been leading worship and helping out on the worship team alot more this term..... those that lead do it almost once every month..... and then the other weeks we are usually helping each other out. We have a running joke about who's done it the most weeks in a row. *laughs* Must admit.... It's great fun to play with this team of friends!! I enjoy it alot. ^^ Last but certainly NOT least, h2o's been HUGE for me this term. In many ways, I am glad that I didn't get a job until December, because honestly there have been so many logistical and other background details for big events such as the Iron Chef and Winter Gala to take care of. Seeing as other people have been busy, I'm glad that I was able to have some time to take care of things a bit. The flipside of the coin is that sometimes I've felt like I'm doing it all alone...... but it's really a matter of perspective. Everyone has seasons in their lives; mine's for most of this semester has been to help with h2o. I've been blessed to have the "time-off" to focus on ministry (not just h2o, but all those other things I mentioned). Praise God for that too! :)

And speaking of the Winter Gala!!!! After much humming-and-hawing and haggling over dates and responsibilties and all the rest of it, we held h2o's 2nd annual winter gala on boxing day last Tuesday. What a night!! Always tempted to say, "we pulled it off" but somehow it doesn't seem like the right thing to say because it was definitely by Father's wonderfulness that it all happened. We had a FANTASTIC team this year taking care of decorations and another for food..... the church basement was completely transformed into an elegant dining room! And the food was preeetty good too, if I do say so myself. *grin* (food crew: Hats off to you all!!! It was such a pleasure to have you along for the chaotic ride.) Andrew and Jon stepped in pretty much at the last-minute to be MC's, and I thought that they were wonderful at it!! I'm SO glad that they agreed to do it. :) And oh, we had SUCH a huge turn-out.... more than we expected! And definitely more than last year. People that had just gotten back to town and such kept phoning us and telling us that they could come, and asking if they could bring friends..... with the food and the fun games and the wonderful atmosphere, I think everyone had a really good time. I definitely did! Took TONS of pictures of course.... they're on my Picasa gallery (click on collage) for your viewing pleasure. :)

Click on me!! More photos here.
Yeah..... new photo gallery! Picasa web albums just works so much better with the programs I already have..... if you already use gmail and/or hello, I encourage you to look into it! Feel free to peruse my gallery and add comments (I'm not sure if you can add comments if you're not a member..... find out and tell me. :P).

AAAAlright..... that's quite enough from me, wouldn't you say? *hee* Until next time........