Rest and Recreation

Smoky Mountains

I recently read these words:

Sabbath is for rest, retreats are for reflection, vacations are for recreation, and sabbatical is for renewal. Continue reading

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Best Photographer in Brussels

CLP LogoI might be biased about a few things. But only a few things.

One of them is my family. I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful boys. Trust me!

My wife is a photographer. We have an in-home studio and she focuses mainly on photo sessions with families. The descriptive line of her photo business is: From belly to baby & beyond. That gives a pretty sufficient explanation of her style of photography.

She also enjoys on-location sessions – especially outdoors at some of the beautiful treasures around Belgium. And there are some really nice outdoor settings in our neighbourhood as well.

Today she went on a mummy date with our boys, one in the early afternoon and one in the late afternoon. The plan was to take photos of them, to get a little practise in, while also playing with the boys.

Below are some of the images, which I think are simply spectacular. Hence, the unbiased claim of ‘best photographer in Brussels’. 🙂 If interested, you can visit her website and Like her Facebook page. Continue reading

But A Mere Mist

This past Saturday, my grandfather passed away. It was good, as he had both lung and brain cancer, and following the treatment for the brain tumours, his health headed downhill fast. The suffering has ended, praise God!

You know, when we experience death, not ourselves personally, but experiencing such via loved ones who pass away, I think it provides an opportunity to survey life as a whole. Nothing else can bring us to ponder certain things except through the eyes of death.

It is a horrible reality, is it not? Death is the furthest from the will of God! And I am glad that through the resurrection of Christ, death has lost its sting! But, in this age, we still must embrace it. Continue reading

It’s That Time of Year Again…

I must admit it. I love the Christmas season. I love the lights, the trees, the smells, the goodies, the giving and receiving of gifts, the cold, the snow (if it comes), the Christmas movies, the time with friends and family, the delicious and usually huge meals, and so much more.

Yeah, I know. I sound a bit worldly, heh? No mention of Christ and his coming into the world. Well, I absolutely adore him and I am filled with gratefulness for such an act. But I believe I understand the importance of Christ’s incarnation on a regular basis.

But, with the holidays and Christmas time, well, that comes around one time a year for me.

Now, I know, it’s just the end of October now. There is still this ever-discussed holiday we call Halloween (I share my thoughts here), as well as the well-known American holiday of Thanksgiving. So why the rush?

Well, there is no rush. I just love the start of November as the days get colder, the leaves begin to change orange, yellow and brown, the wearing of warm clothes, and all things as we lead up to those beautiful holidays.

Actually, maybe I am in a rush. I listened to Christmas music for the first time this morning – ON 25 OCTOBER!! And now, writing this article, I am reminded to put on the music again.

Ok, maybe I am pathetic.

But really….I do love this time of year.

I think my parents made it quite magical growing up. We always had lots of lights outside and a big, beautiful tree with coloured lights. Yes, I prefer coloured lights over white lights. My wife prefers the white lights, so we make compromises.

At times, during the days leading up to Christmas, we would have friends over to make gingerbread houses. That always proved interesting! Graham Cracker houses, candy, gum drops, candy canes, white icing for snow and coconut for snow. My mom definitely makes the best snowman cookies in the world – little Hershey kisses for hats, mini-M&M’s for eyes and buttons, and the scarf made with coloured icing. Oh goodness, my mouth is beginning to water. I would enter these things in any holiday cookie contest!

White Christmas’ were really not an option growing up in Memphis. It would get down, at times, in the low 30’s or high 20’s F (or around just below zero C). But our colder days are in late January and February. So I cannot even remember if it ever snowed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. But, nonetheless, the cold weather lets you know what time of year it is.

I love watching Christmas movies like Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story (thanks to TBS running it 24 hours straight), etc. But my favourite two movies are A Christmas Carol (probably the Muppet version the best) and the newer movie, Polar Express.

When it is time to sit down at the table for the big feast, ohhhhhhh yes! The turkey, honey-baked ham, hash brown cheese potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, dressing, gravy, deviled eggs, rolls, and a few other things scattered across the already full table. And then, whatever dessert mom had cooked up (and maybe a snowman cookie or two as well). Again, my mouth begins to water.

This Christmas, I will be able to visit my family in America. The past 2 years, we have celebrated with our British family in northern England. So this will be our first Christmas in the US since 2007, and my son’s first in America. Therefore, I look forward to it with much anticipation.

So, it’s not quite that time of year again, not quite the holiday season just yet. But it’s that time leading up to it, which is just as unique and amazing for me, as I am able to experience the longing and anticipation for that wonderful time of year. Hence, maybe it is that time of year again….. And I embrace it with all its wonder and anticipation.