Our Very Own Ottawa...

Motorhome Meandering #6:  It is difficult to be subtle about anything when you are associated with a 30 foot house-on-wheels.  Like when you  park in a non-traditional (yet perfectly legal) setting.   Kudos to the intrepid Front-Desk Folks at Algonquin College's Residence and Conference Centre, who convinced the City of Ottawa to drop our $95.00 Parking Violation.  Mabel says thanks.  



This past week found us back in our home province, Ontario.  We are making our way Westward, with a stopover for our annual Schat Family Cousins Camping Trip, which was booked before this dream of a Cross-Canada tour even came into being.  And so, we left Montreal and headed straight for our nation's capital.  Given that it was Canada Day weekend, we had some challenges with booking somewhere thrifty to stay, but finally found a place in the Student Residences at Algonquin College.

God is amazing.   I know I've said this before. Please allow me to repeat it once again: God is amazing.  See, before Jer and I even really understood what God was calling us to do with this tour, He prepared a very good friend of ours, Anita Plat-Kuiken, to offer to support us in prayer in a really significant way.  As in, she felt called--and therefore committed herself--to come to our house one evening a week for about three months, specifically to pray about the notion (and subsequently developing reality) of this I Am Not My Own Tour.  Another good friend, Heather Fieten, soon joined us, and the four of us prayed together consistently.  And it was a beautiful thing.  God is amazing.  

We have all missed our prayer times.  They tended to affect our lives over and above the two hour time block we set aside for them. And far beyond just the specific things we prayed for during during these times.  (Editor's Note: The previous are examples of "supreme understatements.")


Given that she was doubly invested (as both beloved friend and Prayer Partner),  Anita and her husband Roger and their son Jared came out to Ottawa to be with us.  It's hard to put into words just how comforting and liberating it was to just rest in the presence of the familiar.  We have already had so many novel experiences, visited so many new places, seen so many unfamiliar things and met so many beautiful people... We are thankful for all of this, and wouldn't change any of it. But it has been a gift to share a few days of life with friends who have known us for years.  Thank you, Anita-babe, and Roger-the-Rock and Jared-the-Constant-Companion, for coming all of this way to be with us.  You have blessed us deeply, and we pray that you were blessed and are blessed, even as you were such a blessing.


We were also able to meet up with other dear friends who now live in Ottawa: Mike and Michelle Hogeterp and their children Jocelyn, Seth and Zoe.  Mike, Michelle, Jocelyn and Seth played various instruments for the composition Jer wrote for me as I walked down the aisle at our wedding nearly eleven years ago.  It was pretty special to meet up with them again.  And this time Zoe was old enough to join the rest of her family as part of the Worship Team who accompanied Jer in leading worship for the combined churches of Barhaven CRC and Kanata CRC at Kanata CRC on Sunday morning.   A huge thanks to the entire Hogeterp Clan for the delicious meals and sweet family time shared together...as well as for my FIFA fix and the ease with which we were able to view the Canada Day Fireworks.  You guys rock! 


Thank you also to Dixons Corners CRC and the other CRC congregations who joined in for Thursday night's exuberant concert. Thank you as well as to Barhaven CRC and Kanata CRC.  It was an honour for us to meet you and to worship with you, especially for your first combined service.  We so appreciate all of these congregations and the work that went into hosting these events.  Thank you all so very much!


The idea of both delighting in God and being sustained by Him is what has struck me this past week.  I see God's faithfulness in the face of one of my dearest friends.  And I delight in the gift of her presence and in the knowledge of how much God has taught me and gifted me through her.  At the same time, the very real challenges of an extended period of unfamiliar situations and people and lack of real routines or sustained rest has also been even more, er, real this past weekend.  We are ready to rest.  God has sustained us, we have worked hard, and now we need to withdraw and just be.  We have been created for the rhythm of work...and then rest.  

And so, dear friends, we will be off-line, off-blog, off-the-grid for the next couple of weeks.  We look forward to meeting up with you again once we are in Thunder Bay.  And may God bless and keep you all in the meanwhile.


"Living well is both a discipline and an art...Discipline your thoughts to trust Me as I work out My ways in your life. Pray about everything; then leave the outcomes up to me...Take a deep breath and dive into the depths of absolute trust in Me.  Underneath are the everlasting arms!"                   From Jesus Calling, Sarah Young


Quote-to-Note: "Thank you for speaking to us about the importance of engaging with culture.  I come from secular culture and was a drug addict and I know what it feels like to experience the Church as not always loving. So thank you for what you said."  A Sister in Christ, with tears in her eyes, talking to Jer after he preached at Kanata CRC, where he emphasized the importance of being real with--and intentional about living in community with--those within and those outside of our churches' walls as an act of Horizontal Worship.


These Are a Few of Our Favourite Things...About Ottawa


Isaiah:  The Kuikens. And fireworks. (And getting stung by a bee and paralyzing my finger.  Ha ha ha.)

Kiara:  Jared only. Oh, and fireworks. Actually, mine is just like Isaiah's.

Lara:  The nurturing-my-soul and healing-my-aching-feet time with my dear friend of two and a half decades (Girl, how did THAT happen?!)...including the best retail therapy session to date, at this inconspicuous-yet-incomparable Mission Thrift Store in Ottawa.  

DSC_1151 (2).JPG

Jer:  Praying, preaching and singing. In that order.  (Editor's Note: Anita, Jer and Lara were able to carve out one night in Ottawa to spend some serious time praying together...and the impact of that prayer time once again blessed and sustained us all.)