Wednesday, June 28, 2006

all God's children got a place in the choir

this is our family — at least a part of it. in it, i see the beauty and creativity of the one who made us all. the bible teaches that all of humanity is descended from one set of parents, made in the image of God. and one day, people from all over the world will join together in a great chorus of praise, united in heart but expressing for all
eternity the full range of diversity of ethnicity, language, and culture to the glory of God!

after these things i looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

revelation 7:9-10

Sunday, June 25, 2006

my delight

friday was n's birthday. at 14, she's taller and more stylish than ever, a connoisseur of many kinds of foods (and beginning to show an adventurous streak there?), and a lover of jewels and other beautiful things. her taste in music has grown eclectic, adding a strong dose of r&b and even latin rock (¡viva carlos santana!) to her considerable attachment to classical. spiritually, she seems increasingly concerned about witness, often inviting others to join her in praying for friends. after all of these years and so many changes, she continues to live up to her name — 'my delight.'

after joining some friends at youth group on friday evening — a pool party at pastor m's — a smaller group returned to our place for the all-night birthday celebration. after pizza and cake and a couple of short openers (original little rascals episodes), the movie (shaolin soccer) started at about 1am. mom and dad dropped out at about 2:45, and the girls finally went to sleep at 5:30. i think everyone had a good time, but there were some tired faces when it was time to get up at 9:30.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

a warm welcome

one of the family traditions that m instituted since our move to quebec is the warm welcome — a snack that she prepares as a way of rolling out the red carpet for the girls after a long day at school. this seemed especially crucial our first year here, when most school days were awful and the girls came home tired and discouraged. but even during this past school year, it was a tangible expression of a love that has them in mind all day, even when they're not here.

the school year finally ended today, with b's final exam, but tangible expressions of love have not. during the month-long party we call the world cup, we've been enjoying a special treat every day — most often, m's signature world cup nachos. but today, we also had a beautiful apple oven pancake as part of the end of the school year celebration!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

father's day

i've never been especially comfortable with days that celebrate me (birthday, father's day, graduation day, and the like), but i think i'm getting over it. i certainly had a pleasant time this past sunday for father's day; i've come to appreciate the time to rejoice together, to reflect on what it has meant for me to be a father, and to look to the future. and this year, i got to do it over all-you-can-eat sushi, which was a special treat!

i find it amazing (and not a little disconcerting) how quickly the time passes. the photo is from 10 years ago; as you can see, b and n were little girls back then. 10 years from now, they'll probably both be out of university and might even be married (m and i were at about that age). it's not inconceivable that they could already have children of their own! the thought gives me a bit of vertigo — i think i'm having a father of the bride moment…

still, it's a treat to watch them grow up and to be a daily part of their lives for a little bit longer. i don't honestly know how i'll deal with their moving on to university (though i may get to find out sooner than i'd like with b), but i'm treasuring the days. it's like a chocolate bar — or a sushi dinner — that's so good that you try to make it last as long as you can.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

a month's worth of craziness

okay, so it's not such a great idea to have a blog if you're only going to update it once a month. sorry about that. as you can imagine, the last month has been full and demanding; here are some of the highlights:

m and the girls joined me for the all-church retreat of lighthouse christian church, which was held out in auburn, wa (near seattle). the trip out was one of the worst in our family's history: delayed in montreal (due to bad weather in chicago), missed the connection (the final flight to seattle for that night), spent the night in o'hare airport, flew to st. louis (that's right, missouri) early the next morning, and then finally proceeded to seattle — where all four pieces of our luggage were lost. after waiting in line, then filing the appropriate report, our bags were miraculously discovered in the airport, and brought to us before we left the airport, some 90 minutes later. in the process, we missed a couple of long-anticipated appointments with old friends (and what was sure to be a memorable lunch at daniel's broiler, on the 21st floor, great view of the mountains and lake washington, and so on).

of course, all of that trouble (i.e. spiritual warfare) could only mean that the retreat was intended by God to be a good one, and he didn't disappoint. entitled the life God blesses, i spent the weekend working out of john 15 and focusing on a life of abiding in Jesus. the worship was wonderful and the messages warmly received. in between, we enjoyed renewing old friendships and starting new ones. the beauty and aliveness of the area (it seemed everything was green!) were refreshing to my soul. we closed out a great weekend with a terrific thai dinner with pastor w and his family, and n, a missionary friend on temporary assignment in the area. the return trip was, thankfully, uneventful.

b and n have been busy bees. n has just finished her exams, and is happily done with school for the year. she has played the violin in three performances in the past month — a couple with the youth orchestra and a recital with other students, at which she played both solo and with a chamber music group. at the latter, one older gent kept insisting that she was the best performer in the house, and who would i be to disagree with an elder?!! b is still in exams for almost two weeks (!) and is studying hard. she took the sat for the first time earlier this month, and has begun downloading university admission applications off of the internet. her soccer season has started, and the team is 2-0-2; she hasn't said a lot about it, but i'm sure it's fun to win a bit after last year's train-wreck of a season.

cmds at mcgill finished out its year with a bang, first by hosting the spring version of dinner with doctors, then with a goodbye potluck at the end of may. we have already started to put together our plans for the fall and the new class of medical and dental students.

i spent a week in toronto at nvest, a staff training event for inter-varsity's staff ministering to university undergraduates. i wouldn't normally get to go, as the international student staff typically have their own training, but in this case, an exception was made so that i could prepare for my role at urbana 2006 — teaching a large manuscript study in ephesisans. it was a terrific time in the scriptures, and we even found some time to enjoy the delights of toronto (including some amazing meals and shopping in one of to's five chinatowns). and you haven't really watched the stanley cup finals until you've done it with a group of canadian hockey fans. these people take their hockey very seriously…

and last but not least, the world cup has begun. i would say that gives us a reason to cheer, but given the results of the first american match (a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the 2nd ranked czech republic), that seems a bit overstated. next up: italy. here's hoping the us side bounces back!