26 February 2007

Winerva Joanne

Yesterday was my very Mom's birthday. Hmmm. I actually can't remember the last time I celebrated my Mom's birthday with her in person. That said, it's my distinct honor and pleasure to celebrate her. Much of what I love and appreciate in life was nurtured by my Mom. She lived an adventurous life prior to getting married and having four girls in six years!!

She models wonderful hospitality, deep loyalty to family and friends, and a sincere commitment to becoming more and more like Christ, among other things. She gives more credit to Dad for taking care of grandkids, but they're still a joy in her life. (She's pictured walking with great grandson Nate and spending time reading to her granddaughters.) She's also a consistent voice of practical wisdom which I apply to my circumstances and then often freely dispense to others. That and many other things are worth celebrating. Mostly I celebrate the gift of her life.
Happy Birthday dear Mom!!

In other news, my sister Carmen "rebuked" me for not having enough pictures of my "actual" nieces, hinting at neglect, if I read between the lines correctly. So I'll offer this photo of Katrina and Georgia skating a few weeks ago.

Which leads me to a few reflections about these precious girls. Yesterday Kate was trying to understand the job I interviewed for. After explaining it as best I could, she resolved that the job must be like the lady at her school who answers the phone and allocates medication.

Georgia and I had an entertaining conversation about the weather. They both were longing for snow so that they could build a proper person out of snow. Although, it's not only the snow to be concerned with, as sometimes Fargo is sooo very cold that they can't spend many moments outside.

Our conversation went like this:
"So, Georgia, did you get a lot of snow last night?"
"Yes, it's been snowing all day Auntie Diana!"
"Is it very cold?"
"I don't know. You'll have to ask my Dad. He's not here right now."
"Did you go outside for church?"
"No, we have church inside" (Duh!!! Auntie Diana! silly question!)
"Right, but didn't you have to walk from the car into church?"
"No, we took the van."

Ah. 'Twas precious. I'm still enjoying it.

24 February 2007


Today I opened a card from someone I used to work with. Not someone in my direct department or area. I probably interacted with this person once a month. he wrote a note to wish me well and expressed hope that i was doing okay.

that's when another wave hit me.

I didn't get to say goodbye to people in "normal" ways.
and i'm mad about that.

You know how you leave a job on good terms and can come back and visit and enjoy a "reunion" of sorts with people you used to see everyday?

That's not on offer.

In fact, I'm not even interested in going back into the workplace, because I don't want to risk running in to some of the people I feel are responsible for the decisions.

So I've been telling God that I'm angry about it. It doesn't feel fair. (I know, life isn't fair.)

Truthfully, this grieves me. Partially because it indicates that I still have to forgive people and let go of the situation.

And that tires me.

I wish I didn't care.

#1 Debbie, Perth, Scotland.
#2 also Perth. Beth doesn't like this photo but I think it's cool.
#3 Karla nearly getting pounded by the waves in Bally-something, Northern Ireland.)

21 February 2007


When I leave town, I ask the post office to hold my mail, and usually, I wait to have it delivered until the second day I'm home. Not sure why, but that's my pattern.

So I opened nearly three weeks of mail today. Several pieces of mail were from my school. I got my grades from my intensive class. That's fun!! I got my bill for tuition for my current spring courses, not so much fun. And then I rec'd this notice regarding the job I applied for with Spring Arbor at their Grand Rapids campus:
Thank you for your interest. We'd love to interview you on the one day we have available in Grand Rapids. Please call us to schedule an appointment for Tuesday, February 20.

WHAT???????? February 20??? As in the day before today, yesterday, that February 20???
You can't be serious.
My neighbors must have heard my groans.
It seriously would have been better to receive a "thank you for applying but we're not interested" letter. Ugh.

So I called anyway. And I asked if I could still interview. And they said, well, no. We are pleased with the applicants and are in fact offering them the position today. (Them, meaning if candidate #1 says no, they'll go on to #2.)


But I couldn't let it go. So I called a few people to pray and intended to send out an "email request and blog campaign" (hence, this post).

I'm not even sure where this could or should go job wise. But much of what seemed on offer in this position seems good and hopeful, and life-giving, and practical. And well, it just seems heartbreaking to get this close but then,

So my Mom prayed with me.
I rang Lori.
Lori prayed among other things, "Lord, if this is meant to be, please make the person rethink the decision..."
I thanked her and moved along to talk with another dear prayer friend Mary. And as we talked and prayed, we prayed in that same way. "Have your way, Father, we submit to you and trust you for any outcome. But if this interview should happen, we're asking you to change the situation."

And while we were talking, my call waiting buzzed. I recognized the number from the college.

He said, "I kept thinking about this. If you can meet for an interview Friday, I'm not saying you'll get the job, but I think the least we can do is engage in an interview..."

So here's where you can join the "fun," would you please pray? Pray for God's best. For God's outcome. For this man to be blessed for listening to the prompting of the Spirit and for the best person to be selected for the position? For God's provision for all of us? And for God's glory above all? Or, I'm sorry, please forgive me for suggesting what you should pray. Please pray however you feel led.

It's quite an adventure, see. Regardless of what happens, today's turnaround lands in the miraculous category for me.

Pix #1: Cappuccino and delicious soup, Perth, Scotland.
Pix #2: Beth, Dunkeld, Scotland.

20 February 2007

kettle, biscuits, and back to life

These are a few of the mainstays here in Northern Ireland. And they've become parts of life that I've really loved. Because wee Beth's condition began so fragilely, all her bottles, dummies (or as I would call them pipes, or pacifiers) and syringes had to be prepared using filtered water, boiled water, and/or a sterilization process. She's never had a cold, ear infection, or even "nappie" rash so it must be working...Anyway, as the first photo shows, tea and hot beverages are definitely a necessity.

Biscuits, on the other hand, are not what a person raised in the states would know as a biscuit. But they are fabulous. Truly. So much so that I purchased this very biscuit tin so that I can share biscuits with visitors at my very house.

I'd post the picture of how many biscuits I brought back with me, but well, um, yes, I might be too embarrassed. Perhaps a visit to my lil house would be a better way to view (and sample) some of those.

Alas, such a life can't last forever. I'm back in West Michigan. Back into the space of trying to figure out what's next.

Part of what's next means I could be available to drive friends to the airport today. (Sigh. Florida fun for them!) And I could meet some other friends to connect over lunch. God also arranged another "garage talk" with my neighbor, who interestingly, offered to pray for me for a job.
And I could play with another friend's kids...and talk a bit too late into the wee hours with their Mama which I may regret tomorrow morning.

All this AFTER doing my schoolwork, really.
I'm reading, reading, reading,
and writing, writing, writing.
What I wonder is, how did I find time to work 50+ hours a week?

14 February 2007

crowded loneliness

the imagery of this terminology allows for contemplation and interesting conversations. That is, if the lonely ever interact with the crowd.

Mostly this has been my experience as I sit in a foreign country doing homework. Normally it wouldn't be lonely, because I'm quick to strike up conversations with those around me. But for the sake of attending to school and trying to get back to other more vacationy activities, I've been forced into an introverted stance. Yuck. I'm like a rubber band stretched nearly to snapping. Or perhaps, like a gasping fish just outside the water. (Too dramatic?)

Last night Gilly, Tommy and I were praying about loneliness in a wee boy we know and love. It was a sense that surfaced while we were praying. "Lord, please remove the loneliness from our wee pal."

It's one thing to joke about my extroversion in a place where I must exercise discipline to accomplish a task. It's quite another to consider this precious wee soul and imagine his cries in the night.

Abba, thank you that you are a friend to the fatherless and the one who comforts the poor in spirit. Help us to be like you.

12 February 2007

February 10!!!

It's true, I'm a few days late...but I wanted to take this wee moment to wish my nephew a happy 20th birthday!!!! I cannae believe it. But I celebrate Jonathan and all God has for him. He's a great "kid" who loves Jesus and loves people and has about the most easy going personality of any person I've met.

AND, the celebration continues as Jonathan shares the day with the person I was named after, my Tante Dini (Aunt Diane). No, that said, it doesn't give anyone permission to call me Diane, because of course, my name is Diana....one of the reasons I don't like being called Diane, since you care, is because of my Aunt. Since it's HER name, I wanted a different one...yes, I realize how selfish that sounds.

She's a great lady though. And hopefully I'll see her again soon.

Happy Birthday Jonathan and Tante Dini! May God bless and keep you in this new year.

Pix #1: Jonathan and his fiance Amara in June 2006.
Pix #2: Dini and me in her house in Washington, 1103

10 February 2007

beauty in despair

I realize that "despair" may seem extreme.

But some endings are just that.


So it is as Beth and Karla fly home tomorrow.

Time has gone too quickly.

Friendships and conversations and relationships fall into one of the greatest gifts of life. Saying that doesn't mean they're easy.
In fact, we've had some hard and long conversations this past week.
But they're rich.

To quote one of my wee friends on this journey, they "shape us into better people."
Isn't that what we're called to do?

Our friend Paul once wrote,
"Don't give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.
Rather, spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

The truth is, to say goodbye requires that at some moment we said hello. We interacted with each other's lives.
And those interactions were so good that we don't want to give them up.

Of course, these goodbyes do not mean we won't see one another again.

We're not sure when or how or where.

Regardless, we celebrate the overlap of lives and experiences. And we thank God for the gift of community.

We are better followers of Christ because of it!

#1 walking along the streets of Perth, Scotland
#2 River Tay
#3 Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
#4 The five at Debbie's house in Scotland
#5 A "highland coo" outside Dunkeld, Scotland
#6 Beth, Karla and wee Beth

08 February 2007

best face forward

here's a question...can a person look better in a picture than they actually look in real life?

We certainly could attest that the reverse is true.
Some people just donnae look good on photos...not the case with weans (kids) really. they're so gorgeous. They pretty much look good even with a dirty face or a pouty mouth.
Adults, not so much. Not all the time anyway.
So here's a few photos for you to enjoy (without knowing how it took to get them to look as "good" as they do).

And just one more

top: tommy, gilly, karla and beth
next: glorious wee beth
next: Gilly's brother in law and nieces, Russell, Meghan, Kirsten
next: the girls at the garden center (aye it looks like a wee cafe coffeeshop. we're baffled too!)
finally: Steven and Vanessa and Karla looking at the photos of Karla and Keith's
"weans." "Aye," they both said, "they're gorgeous!" And we concur!!

06 February 2007

no power

My digital camera blinks this wee message: battery exhausted!!!!
so I cannae post a new picture.

We're actually visiting some "old" friends, Stevie and Vanessa (see the new link called UK allstars, or something, i cannae mind, on my friend's interesting links) whom we met when they visited New Hampshire ten years ago. They have three kids, born within 11 months (not triplets). It's amazing to share stories of kids born prematurely, kids who had a brain bleed and subsequently have cp, and ultimately the miracle of God's healing and His presence along the way.

It's good, yet bittersweet, to swap the stories. We long for the complete healing God offers. In the meantime, these friends in Scotland, and our dear friends Keith and Karla in Michigan, join their voices and hearts asking God to provide the best life for their precious kids. We walk together in the journey. And it's a privilege.

Pressing in as we go...

05 February 2007

tor toy zees

So in a conversation just the other night there as Gillian asked us about childhood pets, Beth, Karla and I were speaking of dogs, mostly. Gillian says, "well, we had a few tor toy zees...but they ran away." To which Tommy said, "in a span of three weeks??" Which helped us translate her Scottish and realize she meant a tortoise, or in common English, a turtle.
We're definitely learning a whole new English language here again.

The truth is we're hanging out with and absolutely loving wee Beth. She is a miracle. She is clever. She is absolutely gorgeous. And a miracle. Born April 11 (2006)at 1 lb, 4 oz, presently weighing in at 12 lbs, 8, with no visible "defects," she is lively, engaging, alert, and ridiculously happy. She wakes up happy. She goes to bed happy. We watched the videos of her first several months and cannae believe the size of her and the color of her. She definitely fought for life. Although my previous post recorded the benefit of death, and we're definitely called to die, our bodies tend to naturally fight for life. And wee Beth proved it. It's amazing. We have an amazing God. More photos of this precious treasure later, I hope!!!

In other news, internet access is not as accessible as we might have hoped. So...these posts may be short and rather infrequent. But we're having a great time. It's been lovely weather (40's and 50's) and sunny. Absolutely brilliant!!

01 February 2007

right very now!!

on a jet plane...

but the snow is fallin, fallin, fallin...

so your prayers for safe and timely connections are most welcome.

And stay tuned!