Thursday, 28 May 2009


Northern Ireland is where I was born and where I lived till I was almost six. Though I was very young, I do remember a few things, though I must attribute the strength of these memories to home-videos and visits.

I remember being at the beach, building sand castles under cloudy skies. I remember circling round-abouts with Uncle Ian till we were nearly sick. I remember feeding pigeons and swinging on swings. And perhaps my strongest memory is Irish dancing all around the house. (I still sometimes do this.)

To this day I love being by the ocean, especially when the skies are gray, and I still absolutely love to swing. I fondly regard pigeons and would circle round-abouts if there were any here.

All this to say, I have a thought that I would like to think through on paper. And so paper, please be patient with me.

“And if you should become a stranger, you know that that would make me more than sad.” This is a song about Scotland, and it has made me cry more than once before. And then it has made me think, more than twice before.

You see, I have grown up in a very Northern Irish setting, even within the United States. We sort of speak a different language at home. We love our tea, enjoy all sorts of craic (our term for good fun), and we treasure our sweets and biscuits (candy and cookies, for all you Americans). I’ve grown up blasting Irish music in the car, instead of the latest pop band. And I’ve listened to, and at times joined, when I’m brave enough, countless ‘lively conversations’ (that to the American would appear as quite the debate) about the politics of the country to the operations of the church there. I’ve always quite preferred their sense of humour and feel as though I could live on tea and chocolate bars. I invite a ‘lively conversation’ any day and wouldn’t mind getting my accent back.

At the same time though, I am very much so American, and am the first to say that I have loved living here, loved much about the people, and loved many people. I have immensely enjoyed the opportunities and outlook here, and am extremely thankful that I have had the privilege of spending most of my life here. And probably will spend most of the rest of my life here, if God deems.

But still, there is that longing in my soul, for the Emerald country. I know a bit of it, for a part of my life was there. And I know much of it from visiting and visitors, and my parents of course. But there is still so much I don’t know, that I crave to discover.

At this point, I would call Northern Ireland two things – one of my homes, and an acquaintance, and a very good one at that. And if this acquaintance was to become a stranger, you know, that would make me more than sad.

My hope rather is that perhaps one day, I can call her a true friend, after having spent precious time with her, getting to really know her and enjoying the wonderful things that I have heard about her and gotten a taste of from her dear friends.

I miss something, I think, because I have missed many things.
Just to name a few- growing up in their churches and schools and learning their culture by living in the depths of it.

But then, of course, I am glad I have missed those things because I have enjoyed so very much here. And I would never change that. Never. I trust that God knew best and moved us according to His perfect clock and plan.

Still, a good song from home makes me miss her.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

backyard bliss

I had chocolate with my cereal this morning. Should I be concerned?

Twas a glorious yesterday and today. I (finally!) went to Target and developed my photos from a semester in Israel and Egypt. I must have stood at the Kodak picture machine for a solid hour, sorting through hundreds and hundreds of shots. Let the scrapbooking begin!!

I would define today as: backyard bliss. I spent my whole afternoon with two very sweet wee girls. Stella is five and Coco turns three tomorrow (about which she is so excited that she burst into singing happy birthday to herself a day early). We coloured. We blew (is that really the past tense of blow?) bubbles till we nearly passed out. We bounced on the trampoline until we were all bounced out. We sipped apricot tea. (A five year old who drinks tea!! I love it.) And thanks to Stella, each of my toes is painted a different colour, ‘like the rainbow’ she says. And all the while, we listened to the birds because ‘they all sing a different song’.

I do believe that we have a lot to learn from children. Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Scotland has arrived!!

Last night was an exciting night in the De Courcy household. My Gran May and Granda Gordon arrived in from Scotland, and along with them, a whole suitcase full of … the goods. Tea bags. Chocolate bars. Biscuits (aka: cookies). Oh it was wonderful. We all sat up late chatting and catching up over many a cuppa. They are here for the next few weeks and so I’m bound for many a laugh and story. My granda is known among the family as the comedian. He is still pulling pranks, though he’s near eighty. And for as old as he is, his jokes never tire. He always has a trick up his sleeve and has us laughing all the time. And my gran… now can she tell a story!! She instantly has her audience captivated by her thick brogue, sparkling eyes, and hand motions. Not to mention, she is the most in-style 70 year old I have ever known. The lady is always in a pair of high heels. I actually plan on borrowing a pair. Who needs my sisters anymore to share with? I have my gran.

By the way, my gran is ‘shrinking’ in height. What most would attribute to the aging process, my granda blames on Scottish short-bread.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

God, keep us from being merely dreamers. Make us doers.

I wish we could send mail to heaven. If we could, I would. I would write a thank you letter to Charles Haddon Spurgeon for writing all that he did, for he always points me to the lovely Lord Jesus.

The other day I was sorting through some boxes in the garage and came across a book called Morning and Evening. It is a collection of writings from Spurgeon, a late lover of God. I cracked it open then and there, and haven't closed it since.

This one especially spoke to me. May it speak to you as well.

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10
"‘Whatsoever your hand finds to do’ refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart finds to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out ‘whatsoever our hand finds to do.’ One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we ‘find to do’ day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do – ‘do it with your might.’ Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of today. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do today. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve Him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength. But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lies in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our ‘hand finds to do’ let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect."

Well said, Spurgeon. Well said. Oh how I need to hear this, often!! I pray to God to make us faithful doers, here.

The other week I went to go see Slumdog Millionaire with my sister. At the finish of the movie, as the credits were rolling, I was ready to go to India with the good Gospel news. However on the car-ride home, I was convicted as I reminded Beth, who was about to buy a plane ticket with me, that He has placed us here currently and has called us to share His love with the people here. (Funny how God often challenges me when I'm in the middle of challenging others.) While yes, it is all fine to desire to do something noble for the Lord elsewhere, it is wrong to forget or fail in the place He has placed us at any given time. We too often as Christians look forward to 'missions' and abort our mission here. Is not California just as lost as India? Is not the name and justice and mercy of Jesus made a mockery of in the United States? Are there not lost and lonely people just around the corner? All that to say, let us not disobey His command 'here' and expect to fill it 'there'. Be consistent. Get real. And let's start lighting up our work-place, home, school campus, and street.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

summer so far

I think I’m addicted to Honey Bunches of Oats, the cereal. I went to bed last night, hoping that morning would come quickly, because morning means cereal!!

How glad I am that these summer days have arrived.

Summer is wonderful for many reasons. Sunshine and music. Time with my family. Walks around the neighbourhood. Beautiful nights and no homework to stop me from enjoying them. Cups of tea and writing letters. But most of all, I love it for the freedom. The freedom to read and write whatever. The freedom to go to the library and pick up any book that fits my fancy. The freedom to study Spanish. You get to do certain things that you had to put on hold during the school year.

Oh this summer is going to be wonderful. A lot to enjoy. A lot to accomplish.

So far, I’ve enjoyed a visit from an amiga. I brought her to my most favourite place in all of Orange … the Orange Circle. It’s where I bring everybody who comes to visit. So if you’re ever around, phone me, we’ll go. Anyways, it’s one of the biggest antique malls in America and is home to my favourite diner. The Filling Station. It’s a converted gas station, where cars used to go to fill up. Now people go. Banana pancakes, fresh fruit, Spanish omelet … coming right up. oh yes.

Anyways, as always it is a good time catching up with a friend. And catch up we did, over cups of tea and a nice long walk. Not to mention, we watched I Am Sam, probably one of the best movies ever made. It never gets old. I love it more every time.

We just moved into this house about a month and a half ago, and so, as you can imagine, there is plenty to do. And because flowers always help make a house a home, mum and me spent nearly the entire afternoon in the garden yesterday and today. I still have soil in my fingernails to prove it. Weeding, watering, planting. We did it all. And I must say, although pulling out weeds isn’t exactly the most amusing thing in the world, it is quite satisfying when you get a deep root out; actually it becomes a sort of game to find the longest root.

Tonight I went to the meeting at my church. We learned from Jesus’ example on how to pray. We looked at the Lord’s Prayer. Point in brief: ‘For prayers to get to heaven, they must start in heaven.’ In other words, prayer is about His glory, as is everything. It is His will be done. It is His name and fame taking preeminence. It is us surrendering to His pleasure and perfect purposes. And in doing so, it is all well with our souls.

Summer... so far, so good.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Paper is Patient

It was Anne Frank who once commented that paper is one of our most patient friends. It waits for us to articulate our thoughts. And I am so glad for that.
I think that is one of the reasons I most love to write. Writing allows us to think through things, figure things out, and then best of all, record them, for when our memories let us down.
And not only that, but writing is a wonderful way to share. To share life. To share memories. To share laughs. To share tears. To share blessings. To share with others that which God is doing in our lives.
So hence the reasons for starting this blog. Now I just hope all my readers are as patient as paper.

Unfading Hope

Well it’s been a few weeks now. A few weeks of looking and listening for that perfect blog title. A few weeks of patiently waiting for that moment of ingenious glory to fall upon me.
I’m telling ya, naming your blog is quite a responsibility. You want it to mean something. To be an authentic representation of your soul and your goals. You want something clever, something catchy… but not cheesy. Absolutely no cheese allowed.
So, here I am to report that after weeks of searching for that blow-your-socks-off blog title, I have come to this …
Unfading Hope.

Now, I know. It’s not that original. It doesn’t have some deep, secret meaning. It’s not a metaphor, and it’s not even alliterated. But it’s true. And I like it, because of that.
I have a hope imperishable, undefiled, which fadeth not away. I have a hope that never disappoints. I have a hope that is never put to shame. I have hope today, and I have hope for every tomorrow into eternity.
… because of Jesus Christ. Who is the Hope, who is my hope.
(And so it is only proper that the theme of my life is the name of this blog.)