Friday, May 29, 2009


My Grandma Buhler was healed yesterday. After almost 20 years of not being able to swallow and being fed by a tube. After almost 20 years of long days in her chair, looking out the window. After 20 years of being without her husband. My grandma was healed.

I can’t imagine the extent of my grandma’s rejoicing and joy at being able to feast at the Lord’s table, kneel (with ease!) at His feet…the feet of her Lord and Saviour! She’s waited so long to go home. And yesterday was her day. Praise the Lord! While I’ll miss her being here, our visits (which have become harder and harder in the last few years) and letters, my heart rejoices that she is finally free. And who the Son sets free, he is free indeed. Miraculous healing really does happen…

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pictures of a much better haircut

Before (above)

After (below)

He's so smooth and silky soft...

He smells better...but not as good as I was hoping for...

If only this was him going to clean up his own...mess.

The many faces of Lennox

If I had a baby to take pictures of, you wouldn't have to look at our dog so often. But alas, there are no alternate subjects for my photos coming anytime soon. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Honour of My 50th Post…

I actually missed my 50th post, so this is actually in honour of my 50th post, 2 posts late...

50 Things I’m thankful for today (in no particular order):

1) Our family (the two of us)
2) My family
3) Nathan’s family (which is also my family)
4) Our friends
5) God’s love and amazing tenderness with us
6) The hominess of our house
7) The fact that the housing market has gone up since we bought our house
8) Lennox
9) Our opportunity to go back to school
10) That we are blessed with little extras like cameras and macbooks
11) That I can look forward to lasagna tonight
12) That Nathan is willing to goof off with me on a pretty regular basis
13) Nathan’s smile (the one that only I get)
14) Nathan’s smile (the one that he gives so easily to others)
15) My bed
16) Telephones
17) Skype
18) Internet, in general
19) My job
20) My paycheque
21) Nathan’s overtime
22) The rain, so that Nathan doesn’t ALWAYS have overtime and I get to see him
23) New clothes that we have been able to treat ourselves to this spring
24) The sunshine
25) The dandelions on our lawn
26) The fact that we don’t have kids yet (though I would be equally thankful if we did have kids already)
27) My morning
28) Hand lotion from Bath & Body Works
29) The fact that I’m going to live near a Bath & Body Works in a few months
30) My gift card for Bath & Body Works that I’m saving for when we live near one
31) The art and freedom of writing
32) That I can afford a pen and endless paper so that I can write
33) That my engagement ring was returned back in the day and I still have my original one because of it
34) The way God works behind our backs
35) Clean, ice cold water whenever I want it
36) My bike
37) Our car
38) Apple tree blossoms
39) Opportunity to teach piano lessons
40) Ability to play piano
41) Colours (or colors)
42) Doctors
43) My hair
44) Warmth…you know, HEAT
45) That it took me until number 45 to get stuck
46) Memories that I have (and the ability to remember things)
47) That I look forward to visits with people who I haven’t seen in a while
48) The idea of garage sales
49) To have been able to work at camp in the past
50) That I can easily think of 50 things that I’m thankful for (or at least 45)…blessed, perhaps?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Anybody want a dog?

September 2009 – December 2009 – we would take him for December

January 2010 – May 2010 – we would take him for summer

September 2010 – December 2010 – we would take him for December

January 2011 – May 2011 – done!

We will pay for food and shots. We really want to find a place for him so we don’t have to give him away permanently. Please let me know if you’re interested. The closer to Saskatoon he is, the better…

(scroll down for the real post of the day)

Last night I lay awake for quite a while, tossing and turning. My mind just kept running and wouldn’t stop. Does it ever seem like something is much more exciting before you realize how much work and energy and sacrifice it will require? And does it ever seem like right before bed is the worst time for your mind to run with these things? For me, everything seems like a MUCH bigger deal in the evening/at night. We need to finish our house (siding/soffit/fascia/eaves)… We need to sell our house… We need to find a place for Lennox while we’re gone…will we be able to find a place where he’ll be taken care of and where we’ll feel ok about leaving him? Is moving to Saskatchewan, before the house sells, the right thing to do? Is this the right time to be leaving town? Will I be able to enjoy Fresno when I will be missing so many things here in Canada? Will Fresno be the adventure that it was supposed to be when I feel like I’m sacrificing so many things to be there? I’m not usually one to get homesick or to worry about missing things. I’m usually pretty flexible and up for adventure. But lately I’ve just been wondering about leaving. My mind always goes back to our time of discernment and hearing God giving us the go-ahead to go back to school. If we felt confident then, should we not hold onto that confidence when our minds (mostly mine) starts to wonder about it? It feels like it took so long to find our place in the community and now that we’ve really begun to feel at home here (especially in the last year) we’re packing up. Will we ever be able to feel at home again? Of course we will…but you know how that late-night mind likes to make you think of the worst. I think that once we’re out of town, I’ll be excited about the move again. And certainly once we near the Fresno city limits, I will be hardly able to contain myself. But right now, it just seems like a cliff that I’m not sure I want to jump off of. Will things actually be alright if I leave the safety and stability of this ground?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wordless doesn't have the same ring as Wordless Wednesday, but it works

OK, I can't post pictures without words...I always have to tell you why I love the pictures...
These were all taken with my new Canon 50mm f1.8. I LOVE it!

Look at what's in focus in this picture...the stem and the petals about halfway back on the flower. Isn't that amazing?!

Backlighting makes the petals opaque, thus showing all the different layers and veins. So pretty!

Here the backlighting shows the layers and veins and makes for some awesome rich colors.
Very dramatic.

This one kinda bugs me because it looks completely photoshopped, but it's not! The detail in the middle is actually what my camera caught. Pretty crazy, huh?

I love the color transition from light yellow to dark red throughout the frame. What a great combination of colors!

And in this one, if you look closely, the petals of the middle flower look like they're made of wood. Isn't that pretty amazing? I focused on the tips of the petals so they're in focus while the rest of the frame is slightly out of focus (thanks to that f1.8!).

These flowers are thanks to Mom Buhler...happy fourth anniversary to us!
Four Gerbera Daisies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Niki’s thoughts for the day:

The more I realize that I will be missed, the more I hate to leave.

Sometimes I have dreams that I am sure are quite profound but I just can’t figure them out.

On the dream subject, sometimes I have dreams that seem so real; I remember them like they actually happened and experience all the emotions that go along with them (grief, stress, excitement, embarrassment, etc) the following day.

Come to think of it, I am actually rarely “loud” in the traditional sense of the word…but please don’t take “quiet” to mean shy or un-bold.

We bought our house blindly and will look at more than the floor plan and décor next time we buy. We were blessed to get a good one!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

oxymoron |ˌäksəˈmôrˌän|


a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction

On the weekend, Friday night, I bought a sweater. If you would like to picture it (please do, as it has much to do with this post) you can picture a sweater, bunny hug style. It is striped with purple, brown, blue, teal, beige, ivory, yellow, and orange. Yes, it is a colourful sweater, which I have lovingly nicknamed my “sweater of many colors.” (think coat)

As I was wearing my “sweater of many colors” for the first time today, I realized that I like to stand out. Wearing a very colourful sweater was fun. But then there are times when I wish I would just blend in a bit more. Height is a big area (no pun intended) in which I wish I could blend in more. Then again, I often like to stand out…to be noticed. And as I write that, I think of how I sometimes leave the house in the morning with the sole aim of being noticed as little as possible. Yet some days I deliberately wear bright clothes (or weird ones…red gingham shirt that I found in my mom’s closet in high school) and thrive on the attention and personality. It gives me so much confidence to wear bright, colourful clothes, to know that I made someone look twice. Yet on a day when I’m just not feeling it, those same clothes make me feel even more self-conscious.

And take, for example, being noticed when I walk into a room. Sometimes I love to be the centre of attention and other times I wish I could just be invisible and literally blend into the wall. And the confusing part is, I’m not sure which one is more “me.” I kinda feel like the louder, brighter, quirkier side is more me and then I realize that certain situations change that (feeling like I’m being misunderstood or simply not understood or judged) so then I feel like my default is hiding, which makes me wonder if that is more me. I think I’m both. I would feel SO incredibly stifled if I had to be a quiet, plain, background person for the rest of my life, but I would feel far too exposed and lacking of depth if I was constantly “out there” for the world to see and know.

Maybe I’m a colourful, quirky introvert. Yeah, that’s it. *sigh* My life is an oxymoron.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sometimes we need a recap...

I am often amazed at how much has happened in the last 9 months. As I type this and count the months on my fingers, I realize that 9 months has another significance. Something to do with birth, I believe...I'm sure there's some deep, wonderful parallel that can be drawn between birth and new life and our last 9 months, but I'll choose to move on and continue with the post that was already in my mind to write.

I've realized that through switching blogs and posting more often than I did before, some details may have been lost in the shuffle. I probably have readers who have read each and every post and know exactly what has been happening, and others who have read most of them, but feel like they are missing something, and then others who have perhaps only started reading (???). So, for my sake and yours, and so we're all caught up to the same place, I've decided to write a short recap of the past 9 months.

September 2008
One day in the first half of September, I was sitting in my office, checking my email, and I got a short note from Nathan letting me know that something had happened at work and that he was heading home for the day. I hurried home as fast as I could and found Nathan broken and humbled. His struggle with internet pornography had come out.

This was followed with an immediate 2 week suspension which involved ALOT of driving (to and from Saskatchewan a couple times), a couple meetings, some confessions to the youth and church, and, later, a five month unpaid suspension.

We chose to continue to attend our church and walk with them in a healing process (for both of us).

October 2008
This is the month when Nathan found another job. He worked long hours at the Cargill here in town doing soil testing.

We really began to heal and feel God working in us. The shock of how our lives had just changed was wearing off and the deep soul-work was going strong.

November 2008
Nathan's job at Cargill was finished and he found another job here in town right away. Praise the Lord!

More deep, hard soul-work.

December 2008
Our "new" life is starting to feel like we have a new normal but the stress of everything has been catching up. We really felt like we needed a break with family, and, despite not having much time off for Christmas, we were able to make it to Saskatchewan for Christmas!

January 2009
A new year, a new beginning. When we began the healing process, we chose not to make any decisions about our future until the new year. Now it was the new year, and we began to look at our options.

End of January brought a weekend set aside for prayer and fasting. God spoke to us pretty clearly about moving on from this place. We met with the church leadership and were affirmed in this call.

We put our thoughts about attending seminary into motion.

February 2009
The official resignation. We shared about our healing that had taken place (and was still taking place). We shared about our plans for the next couple years.

Nathan was getting really fed up with his job, so we began to discuss how much longer he would have to be there.

March 2009
Nathan got another job and resigned from his old one. (official job count in 6 months = 4) The end of March saw two weeks of much needed time off for Nathan between jobs.

We put our house up for sale privately this month. Beginning to make plans for a move to Saskatchewan to put our stuff into mom&pop storage and then continuing on to the south.

April 2009
Nathan started his new job back at Cargill. He enjoys this job so much more.

More plans for moving. The house is getting fixed up (not that it took much more than a few paint touchups and a thorough spring clean). Continuing to get calls about the house, but no offers.

May 2009
We listed the house with an agent.

We decided that we would make the move to Saskatchewan at the beginning of July, whether the house is sold or not.

Healing seems pretty complete by now, at least in the initial area.

Still no baby...2 years, 9 months and counting...still hurts...still a hard wait...enough said...

We are still attending our church. We are still feeling support from our church. We are also feeling, more than ever, that it is time to move on.

I am feeling excited about moving, but not sure how it all works from the "moving" side. I've always been on the "left behind" side of the picture, so I am trying to learn from this to know what to do and not to do the next time I'm on the "left behind" side again. Am I supposed to feel excited? Or am I supposed to feel sad about leaving? Am I supposed to be trying not to think about it? Or should I be planning everything out? How can I be sensitive to the people we are leaving behind while still being excited? I just don't know. I guess the last few weeks/months before a big move are always kind of different, right? *sigh*

June 2009
Now I'm predicting the future...Nathan will work until the middle or end of June. We will try to get together with as many friends around here as we can before we leave. We are putting it all off right now (kinda) because of Nathan's long hours. We're hoping that once his job is done, we'll have some time to see everyone...but guys, it's not like it's for the last time, right???

July 2009
Move to Saskatchewan! The U-Haul is rented. The destination is set. The house is not sold, but hopefully that will be settled by then too. We hope to spend the month visiting family and friends in the Saskatchewan area.

August 2009
More visiting. Packing (what will we take down south, what will we leave) kicks into high gear. We hope to leave for Cali in the middle of August sometime...stuff down on that end starts around the 20th, so we hope to be down by then.

So that's our last nine months and next three months! That's our year, I guess...hope this was helpful. It was helpful to me to write it all down...I'm sure I've missed something, so if you know of something in our life that I missed, let me know.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


It was just time...

I'd say my skills are improving...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And so it goes...

Tension headaches. Knots in my shoulders. Unable to fall asleep at night. Unable to wake up in the morning. Mind running 100mph in 50 different directions.

We’ve decided that we’re moving in 7 weeks. Our U-Haul is booked. It’s official. And I’m officially stressed. I think I deal with stress pretty well. I get really quiet and tend to zone out (more than usual). It’s not like I get crabby or impatient. Unless you know me, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that I’m stressed. And that’s the way I like it.

I do take some action when I am stressed, though. I don’t just sit quietly idle with a zoned out look on my face. So what do I do? Well, I clean as much as I can. I play with numbers (our term for budgeting). I think A LOT. I write. And mostly I try to organize all the chaos in my mind by making lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Lists put into order that which was previously without order. It allows me to see 10 different thoughts, in one place, which were previously going in 10 different directions in my mind. The first thing lists do for me is they allow me to see that all the chaos isn’t really chaos at all. Everything is manageable. They also allow me to place check-marks beside different tasks as I complete them until everything is checked off (thus making life seem, again, more manageable).

So if you were to look in my house, in the first drawer to the left of the fridge, you would find three lists that I made this morning:

List #1 – Things to do before work (real estate agent coming at 11am).
List #2 – Things to do today (in general).
List #3 – Things to do everyday to be ready at a moment’s notice for someone to look at the house.

And the only reason these lists are laying haphazardly in my “junk drawer” instead of neatly in a row on the island is that we listed our house with a real estate agency today! (I doubt that random papers make a house look more inviting or homey or like you might want to buy it.)

As you can see, Nathan and I made some decisions yesterday. After a long talk about prayer and guidance and free will and faith and miracles and the way God works…we made some decisions.

Decision #1 – we would list our house before the end of the week.

Decision #2 – we will be moving to Saskatchewan on July 1, whether the house sells by then or not.

And that’s about the time my huge shoulder-knots showed up. The headaches and weird sleep routines had been around already, but those knots are something else!

I almost sat down right then and wrote out 20 pages of lists and thoughts…but I waited until this morning and only wrote what I needed right then. I think I’ll have to do some organizing of my thoughts when I get home from work today too, but wow. Big things are happening! Aah!!! (yes, dear friends, that was a 3-exclamation mark “Aah!!!”)

I am feeling excited. I am feeling nervous. I am feeling stressed. But it is good. Maybe, before I try to take control of the situation with my lists and organizing, I should just stop for a while and be ok with not being in control this time. I don’t always need to be in control. I have a feeling that there are some valuable lessons to be learned in just sitting back and saying, “Yes, Abba, I trust you.” Hmm…perhaps that is exactly what I will do…

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've been thinking that I want to switch my blog back to Thoughts From Second Street ( It just seems so much more homey and like me. I liked What Else is Red for a while, but it's really worn off. I still love Thoughts From Second Street. So tell me, would it be weird to go back, even though I won't be living on Second Street anymore? Please, please let me know what you think!

More random stuff...and pictures...

Random stuff...accompanied by some pictures...enjoy!


The weather these days isn’t that great for shorts and t-shirts, but it sure makes some great pictures!


My breakfast this morning. I was hungry for fresh muffins so I made myself some. FYI…it only takes about 5-10 minutes to whip up the batter a
nd they can bake while you’re getting ready. SUCH A GOOD WAY TO START A RAINY MORNING!!!


Our apple tree is starting to turn green. The leaves are just starting to come. I went outside to take a picture of it this morning, but it was raining and I remember what my friend, J, said about moisture in the camera. (not good) It made sense, so I ran back inside when I realized it was still raining. No pictures of my apple tree today…


Lennox is going in for a grooming later this month. He’ll celebrate my sister-in-law, Karis’ birthday with a new ‘do. He will be so handsome! AND he’ll smell good for a day or two! These days he runs through so much slough-like water that he smells pretty atrocious most of the time. Since we’re paying more than 50% more for this trim over his last trim, we’re hoping for some better results…


Four years ago today I was very excited for tomorrow and was panicking because I woke up at
6am with a cold sore. I was going to see Nathan for the first time in 2 weeks. My bridesmaids were going to be arriving that day. Family and friends, from as far west as BC and as far east as Ontario and everywhere in between, were going to be arriving. What an exciting day! (except for the cold sore, which I prayed into remission the morning of the wedding while at the hair salon)


We have no big plans for our actual anniversary tomorrow (since we went away on the weekend)…perhaps I’ll cook one of our favourite meals (???) and we’ll play an extra game of Rock Band or Canasta to celebrate. And who knows, we might stay up an extra half hour til 9:30pm, just because it’s a special day! (I wish I was exaggerating with the bed time and yet, last night, our lights were off by 10pm) We’re so old! No wait. Most old people stay up way later than us (as was learned in the 8 months we lived in a seniors apartment complex). We plan to change this bedtime routine when Nathan doesn’t have to get up at 6am anymore!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I've been thinking that I want to switch my blog back to Thoughts From Second Street ( It just seems so much more homey and like me. I liked What Else is Red for a while, but it's really worn off. I still love Thoughts From Second Street. So tell me, would it be weird to go back, even though I won't be living on Second Street anymore? Please, please let me know what you think!


Yesterday was a rough day for me. It feels like our house will never sell. I know, I know…everyone tells me that it’ll sell. But I guess I feel like it’ll be like the infertility thing. It happens to everyone else, but not us. It was hard to think about being in Altona for another year, not because I don’t love this place, but because now that we’ve announced that we’re leaving, it feels like we (and some around us) have done a lot of detaching. There are few commitments. Everything is geared toward leaving in 7 weeks, right down to our menu. And yet if the house doesn’t sell, it puts everything on hold. Nathan would have to find another job. We would feel like we’re “in-between” for another few months. These last 9 months have already felt a bit detached with everything that has been happening…I can’t imagine 6 or 12 months more.

I arrived at the post office this morning at the same time as a friend of ours. He’s the type of person who really wants to know how you’re doing when he asks. And if you lie and say good, I’m pretty sure he can tell. He has a way of getting right in there deep, even just in the span of time it takes for me to open my mail box. It was so nice this morning to be seen through. I wish more people could see through me, even without me having to take the first step (because I don't when I'm sad or discouraged). I think it must be a gift, to be able to see through people. Certainly not everyone has that gift. What would you call it? The gift of encouragement?

I left the post office feeling encouraged. What a good way to start my morning. Interesting how it affects others when you use your gifts…it has me thinking about my gifts and how I use them (or how I should use them more).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Think, pray, memorize.

As I was getting ready for work this morning, my mind was working. What is it that God requires of us?

This verse came to mind:

“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Ok. That was clear. Good answer.

In that moment, I was so glad that I’d memorized verses in the past. And I thought that I should probably start memorizing again. Apparently it gets harder after a certain age…

Friday, May 8, 2009

Clouds and Answers...

It’s cloudy. It’s dark. It’s +1 degree. It’s May 8. What???

Canada punishing me for making plans to move somewhere warmer?

Days like today make me so sleepy. If only I could just close my eyes…just for a minute…

In true random style…my answers…

I really like orange. It makes me feel hungry and happy. That’s why my basement and front door are both orange (but a rich deep orange, not a light, bright pumpkin orange).

I also like green. It’s restful. It’s peaceful. It’s natural. It’s the color my sister and Marsha and I painted my parents’ family room as a surprise…it’s also glow-in-the-dark, come to think of it. And, the first house we bought was green…also glow-in-the-dark. Go Riders.

Blue is nice. When the sky is blue, it means that it’s summer. When the water is blue, it means that the sky is blue and, therefore, summer. Our bathrooms are blue. My jeans are blue. I have three or more blue blankets in our house. Blue is nice.

Red is the name of my blog. I do like red, but it has to be a certain shade of red to REALLY appeal to me. If it’s poppy red instead of cherry red (according to Mr. Laurentian) it just won’t cut it.

Yellow is a happy color. My high school bedroom was yellow. It’s the color of warmth and sunshine. It’s hard to color something yellow, though, because it’s usually pretty light. But light is good.

I like brown. It is warm and cozy. A lot of our house (kitchen and entrance and living room and hallway) is one shade of brown or another. Almost everything goes with it too.

Black is a good classic color. White is also a great classic. I love them both, though if you want me to get all technical, they aren’t really colors in and of themselves. Depending on the color theory you’re working with, they’re either all the colors mixed or the absence of color. (right?) Speaking of science, last night, as Nathan and I were going to bed, I explained to him the difference between mass and weight. Oh, the things I remember from high school science. It’s all so practical! I just can’t keep all my knowledge from spilling!!

What color don’t I like? Um…pukey green-yellow-brown. Peach isn’t my favourite either. Pink is pretty good (for certain things). Purple is with red in that it needs to be the right color of purple, but get it right and I love it.

If I could have a cat and name it anything, I would probably name it…
Burton or something. Or Louise. I would have to have two cats, though, if I named one Louise. I couldn’t just have a Louise. I would have to have Burton & Louise. Don’t ask me why.

I’ve had a lot of cats in my day. Would you like to hear some of the names? Butterscotch (Buddy), Ginger (Ginny), Cinnamon, Vanilla, Paprika (Pappy), Caramel, Chocolate, Peppermint, All-Spice (Ally), and Cocoa. I know there were more (Alicia, do you remember?) Do you sense a trend? I recall us kids raiding my mom’s spice rack and flavouring cupboard whenever there were new kittens… We also had Oscar, Sally-Sue, and Kitty, but they didn’t fit in at all. Our dogs (Zasha, Rocky, Goldie and Mocha) didn’t fit in either.

I answer the phone at work because people expect me to, even though I don’t really want to and wish I didn’t have to. I used to help in youth even though I really didn’t want to (this was more in the beginning when I didn’t know anyone and was SUPER stressed) but as the pastor’s wife, people expected it. I also cook supper some nights because it’s expected. I can’t think of very many things that change what I do just because people expect it…Oh wait! Sometimes I’m quiet because people expect it. It’s not as simple as just not talking, but it’s more not making jokes or being as outgoing because of what people’s surprised reactions would be. Perhaps I can break out of this again when we meet all new people at seminary…? Not that I’m a loud person who’s just being repressed…I’m just not quite as ordinary and quiet as I sometimes seem to be…I’d say this blog is a pretty good indication of what goes on inside. This, plus many more layers, of course.

p.s-Marsha?! Why didn't you tell me that I was missing your link on my sidebar!? I've been missing your posting since I started my new blog!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Random stuff…

We still haven’t sold the house. Yesterday the guys at work (and Patti???) gave me some advice for our sign, so I went home after work and re-designed our “for sale” sign. Behold, the old one then new one:I am definitely not a designer, but I don’t think it looks too shabby…


So, this morning I figured out why I can’t keep up with trends very well: I’m never sure how to do them. Take, for instance, the recent scarf trend.

I would love to wear a scarf, I love the look, but I have NO idea how to wear one!! How do you wrap it? And what types of outfits does it suit?

I am so clueless that I would probably look completely weird but think that I was right in fashion central. Help! Karis? I am also not sure what type of shoes/sandals to wear with my tights…any suggestions?


I haven’t been taking as many pictures lately. I feel like I’ve taken pictures of everything that there is to take pictures of in our house and on our yard, at least until the apple tree starts to bud. So, unless I want to drive around and find something interesting to photograph (which Ryan does amazingly), I’ll just have fewer photos this spring than last. I did notice a decent size hole that a woodpecker has been making in our apple tree. (I’ve been watching it for over a month)

When I grabbed the camera, I thought the hole went right through and I thought there would be cool wood tunnels to get pictures of, but alas, tunnels there were not. But climbing the tree was fun! And I was amazed at how deep and big the holes were! Woodpeckers are pretty amazing creatures, despite killing trees…


And since I’m uploading pictures, I thought I would share a picture with you that I took on my first walk with my lens.

I like the detail in it: the rungs of the ladder and the links of the chain. Yup, pretty cool.


Oh, and here’s a picture of Lennox.

This is right after his walk. When he was a puppy, he would do whatever he could to avoid water, but he’s picked up this annoying habit (at times) of running through puddles. He’ll stay dry until the last 2 minutes that he’s off the leash. Then, he’ll take a big run and splash all the way down a ditch that’s full of water. He just splashes and runs until he’s completely soaked. Sometimes, if we really need him to stay dry, we’ll call him before he does that. But watching him splash and play is so much fun, despite the wet shakes, dirty tail my jeans, and footprints on the floor afterwards.


Hmm…what else? Well, Mother’s Day is coming up. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it very much. Sure, it’s about our moms (who are wonderful and we love them very very much), but it’s also a painful reminder that I’m not a mother yet. I'm expecting it to be better than other years, though, for a couple reasons. The first reason is that Nathan and I are going to Grand Forks (for our anniversary) from Saturday to Sunday so we won’t be in church for all the hoop-la. The second reason is that I’ve done a lot of mourning and healing in these last 6-9 months and the hard days aren’t quite as hard as they used to be. I say this loosely…in general they aren’t as hard. Certain things still tip me off balance and throw off my day. But, praise the Lord, those days are much fewer than they were a year ago! Whoo-hoo!


The end.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Question and Answer

If you could ask me one question, what would it be?

What would be the best thing that could possibly happen to you today?

If you could see any one person who you haven’t seen in the last 10 years or longer, who would it be and why?

If you could travel to one place in the world and then were never allowed to travel out of country again, where would your last vacation take you?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rich Soil...

Many students, after leaving communities like Bible college (or, for some, summer camp), feel an emptiness that leaves them confused and disillusioned. Suddenly their reality is that their local church, or whatever community they find themselves a part of next, is vastly different from the community they just came from. They struggle with what seems like such dry spiritual soil after the rich, nourishing soil of a Bible school community.

I remember being warned about this change before I left Bible college. I remember thinking, “Yeah, sure it’ll be different,” but being completely blown away by how different it actually was. I always thought that community (a spiritual community) was something that was just a given, especially after such a positive high school experience of spiritual community.

So what changed?

This is where I get stuck. What did change? Why is the typical church community not the same as a Bible school community? And how can we, who are fresh off the boat, so to speak, share our excitement about what we just experienced? Is it possible to create a similar environment, rich soil for growth, in our churches? What would that take?

It would be interesting to observe a Bible school community intentionally, from the outside looking in. Given the opportunity, I would try to notice the different relationships that happen (because I suspect relationships play a large role in the creating of community). I would notice the levels of relationship (intimate, personal, social, distant). I would take note of interactions on these different levels and see what works and what doesn’t. What are the pros of this type of community and what are the cons? What makes this community a safe place to be vulnerable? Who are the people there and what is their focus? What are their goals? What is the goal of the community as a whole?

I would then go on observe a number of churches. Large churches, small churches, mega-churches, churches in small towns, and churches in cities. I would talk to people and ask them about their church. What works for them and what doesn’t? Why do they attend? What keeps them coming back week after week? And what is the mission statement of their church? I would hang around for a while and watch that church’s dynamics. I would learn what type of relationships and components make up these churches.

And then, after all this observation, I would compare what works in these different communities with what doesn’t work. Is something that works in a Bible college setting able to work in a church setting? What are the aspects of community that make it a spiritually rich and nourishing one, and can these aspects be implemented at will, or do they just happen naturally?

Obviously, I don’t have the time or the resources (or perhaps even the objectivity) to travel around and observe different spiritual communities. That is probably not a realistic short term goal. But I do hope to be able to observe a few different spiritual communities when we make our move down south. I want to take note of the spiritual communities that I will be a part of: the churches we visit before we decide on one; the church that we decide on as we become involved in it; the seminary community as a whole; the on campus apartment community.

Will our seminary experience be different from our Bible school experience? Probably. Will the soil be rich for growth? I hope so. As I get older, I’m realizing more and more that each experience is what you make of it. And I don’t want to waste this opportunity to live intentionally and learn what it takes to create a close spiritual community.

I’ll share my findings…

Friday, May 1, 2009

Play Time

Evening high: +4 degrees
Sunrise: 6:05am
Sunset: 8:47pm

Now that our days are so long and warm (yeah right), it seems a shame to sit inside when the sun is shining outside. And it’s especially nice to get outside during a sunny evening after a cloudy, rainy day.

Well, it was a beautiful evening yesterday, so Nathan and I went outside with Lennox to play.

First toss of the ball: stuck in the tree.

Out comes the camera…
“Niki, don’t take pictures of me.” – Nathan (laughing and groaning)
“But Nathan, I take beautiful pictures…” – Niki
“I still don’t like pictures of myself.” – Nathan
“Come on…I need a normal face to get a beautiful picture.” - Niki

Second toss of a larger ball to get the first one down: stuck again (how does a soccer ball get stuck in a tree???)

A few tosses of a tennis ball get both balls down and playing resumes.

Play, play, play.

Lennox got tired pretty quickly. That +4 degree sun on his black, shiny coat must be hotter for him than us. This is Lennox saying, “I have my stick…I’m happy chewing on it…please don’t come take it away and throw it again.” And Nathan is thinking, “Come on, dog, play fetch with me.”

Now Lennox is playing, but keep-away isn’t quite what Nathan had in mind.

Me playing with Lennox. He likes me…there are no favourites…

Me playing the “get-away” game with Lennox. (I hold him down and he tries to get away) He loves it…it gets him SO excited!

Aah, there’s a nice smile…see Nathan, I told you I take beautiful pictures when I have something to work with! (he agreed)