Saturday, April 28, 2018

Miriam Goes To Prom

Miriam goes to prom with who else but her drum-line friends.  She had a few requirements when it came to her outfit: solid-color dress, flat shoes, shawl, no makeup, no special hairdo.  It turned out she was comfortable and confident. 


The Corsage...

The Sass

The Stars with the rock = RockStars

The Children.  Aruj and Calvin.  Not Nick

The Core:  Nocholas Pham, Keeton West, Miriam Lewis and Austin Dymont

The Gang

This girl...Miriam Lewis

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tim at UEFI 2018

Tim Lewis, CTO, Insyde Software  (Image courtesy of UEFI)

Although Tim attends and speaks at UEFI Plug Fest almost annually, I don't seem to recall seeing any signs that he was actually there at the conference except for swag that he brings home.  However this year was different.  Not only did my daughter and I join him in his trip and stayed at the hotel where the conference was being held at -- we also got pictures of him speaking!  Thanks to the UEFI 

Tim Lewis speaking at UEFI Plug Fest 2018  (Image Courtesy of UEFI)

Well, it looks like he is speaking in the picture.  Maybe he was actually speaking.  The podium bears the uefi logo.  It looks official.  And video camera was also in the picture.  That looks very real.  But there is one significant part missing in the picture - the audience.  Was he talking only to two camera men and one other person?  I'm sure there were more people in the room but the picture does not say that.  Anyway, I get to make my personal commentary on the photograph because I did not take the picture.  Nevertheless, I am sincerely grateful for the pictures!  

And to complete the story, here are two of my own pictures... 

Tim prepares to speak.

Miriam and her daddy work at the hotel lobby.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Miriam Visits UC Davis With a Different View

With her brother having studied and now works at UC Davis, Miriam got to know UC Davis from head to toe.  And yet today we brought  her to the university once again but this time Miriam had a different purpose - to visit her future school.  That's right, this girl will be going to study at UC Davis for her college education in Music.  In fact, I may say that she was sought after because the university offered her scholarship and invited her to join the university's Honors Program.  Needless to say she feels welcome and is very happy with the prospects of the next chapter of her education.

Brahms gave her a thorough tour of the campus to satisfy her curiosity.  There is nothing better than having your own brother as your guide - he gives the scoop that you need to know.  (Shannon also offered to give her a tour of UC Irvine if she had been accepted and chosen to go there.)  The only thing that would have made the tour better was if Tim was feeling better.  He was quite under the weather but he joined part of the tour anyway. 

UC Davis was photogenic today and so was Miriam.  In as much as she decided to join the honors program, she has the advantage of knowing early which residence hall she'll be living at.  She was particularly glad to know that the Music Department and her future dorm are not far from each other.  Many things were fascinating to her such as the size of the library, the bicycles, and the student union that looks like an airport.  :)  She has yet a whole new world to discover when she will actually live there but for now she can only imagine college life.

What that means to Tim and I is that we will soon be without a child at home.  Life for sure will be different.  We too will have a whole new life to discover ahead of us.  :)

We Praise God Always.

Monday, April 2, 2018

One Score and Seven Years

Tim and I have been married for a long time.  Twenty seven years!  And yet it seems like we just got done with our honeymoon and starting life together.  The time we've spent so far seem short.   If the old saying is right, then we must be rejoicing and enjoying this ride.  :)

At twenty seven years, we have enjoyed raising our children whom we love.  Our youngest, Miriam, will be going to college in the fall.  This means that Tim and I are about to start a completely different phase of our life - the second honeymoon.  Now we are older and wiser.  Twenty seven years has changed us from who we were when we first started.  We are in constant training to be more forgiving and accommodating of each other; less annoying, less irritating and less irritated.  And yet we are aware that as we train we are in the battle ground.  After these many years we learned that as much as we both know that we love each other so dearly, we are only one careless word away from making the other person feel betrayed and unloved.  Likewise, we are only one unguarded thought away from thinking that the other person is our worst enemy.  That's only one tiny area of our life together where considerable change occurred.  But I will talk about them some other time.

This year, we celebrated our anniversary by traveling to Vancouver, B.C.  It was the second anniversary first trip where we did not bring any of our children with us.  The first one was a total surprise to me when Tim organized to leave to our very young children with our friends and we drove thinking that we were going out for lunch.  Yes, we did go out for lunch but we continued to drive after that - towards the airport.  Anyway, that was half painful and half delightful trip.  This time however, was not like that.  Whew!  We planned together!  Vancouver was beautiful because it snowed on the day we arrived and sunny on the following two days that we were there. 

Just the two of us in the beautiful Fairmont Waterfront.   It was like a true honeymoon.  However, at this stage, I am not so used to the idea of not having any of our kids share experience with us.  We have always traveled together since they were little.  Now I have to train myself into a different stage in life.  Overall, it was a great trip, we had a lot of time reflecting on a lot of things.  We went to see many beautiful places, ate at great restaurants, ventured to understand the local culture and spent time just relaxing and being with each others uninterrupted.

Twenty seven years, and we have a lot to learn and experience.  To learn and experience not for our own glorification but for passing on so that others might also enjoy what God has allowed us to.  After all, the end goal of this life and this marriage, as a matter of fact, is to live in the knowledge   that God is God and Lord.

God is good.  He is gracious to us.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Year 2018

Yes, we will remember that on the first minutes of 2018 Miriam was wearing a new plaid shirt
 and that I was wearing white nail polish while Tim and Brahms take their selfie :)

12:00 AM - January 1, 2018 (California Time):  There are four goblets.   

12:00 AM January 1, 2018 (Wisconsin Time)  There are five goblets with one virtual person :)

So we celebrated the changing of the year with Shannon remotely.  That's right.  We were virtually together - laughing, talking and watching Pride and Prejudice.  She prepared her food as we traditionally do on New Year's Eve - and so we were eating together.  The only limitation was that we could not pass the food from our table to hers nor from her table to ours.  But it worked out really well.  To be on Skype for almost six hours was good!

The frustrating part of the whole thing is the fact that we could not feel the person on the screen, we could see her plants and cats but we couldThe other challenge was having to watch a movie simultaneously on Netflix.  But my kids are technical enough to synchronize our electronics regardless of the distance between California and Wisconsin.

The Lewises will always find ways to be a family 

That hair though


Friday, December 22, 2017

What Do I Want To Do - 2018

The Question.  The first day of winter was a clear sunny day.  It was cold but the sun was warm.  Tim just got back from one of his trips to Asia.  It is good to have him back, we could walk and talk.  His question this time was unexpected:  "What do you want to do next year?"  Coincidentally,  I was ready with one answer.  That made our discussion very lively.   Then I asked him the same question.  He was not prepared for an answer.  It is unbelievable because he is the one who is always forward-looking.  Could it be that my answer derailed his intended answer?  So I said, we can answer the question according to the different areas of life because there we definitely have many ideas which are not sufficient to sum up what each of us want to do for the whole year.  And yet if I think about it, all those little goals that we want to do and accomplish, if we want to make it count, better lead to the big goal of our being.

My Thought.  Next year I will be sixty.  A year older and hopefully better than myself in 2017.  That does not mean super performance,  instead it is a means of motivating myself to strive forward.  At some point one must try to thwart the effect of age while we can.  What that means in detail will not be mentioned now so that it won't get jinxed.  This should be easy to measure because I have last year as basis for my progress.  But not really.  I need to use some time to really reflect on how I lived last year; how my resources were allocated - my time, my thoughts, my energy, my money, my words, my artistic abilities, my internet access, my food, etc.  How much was dedicated to express love to myself and how much was dedicated to express love for God and others.  What did I do to make myself look good and how much was intended to glorify God.  These are easy to answer if I do not consider the motives in my heart.  How much did I do mainly to look good in the eyes of people?  Only I can answer the question.   It requires honesty and sincerity.  I can't keep fooling myself.  Time is running against me and I do not have a good measure of how much is left for me.  But I have control over how I will use that time - one day at a time.  One day I will see my Lord face to face and when that time comes will I have the face to look at him?   Will I be able to say that I have spent my days on earth building a good relationship with him, pleasing him?  Or will I be so ashamed that I didn't know him well because have spent my time here on earth making trying to preserve my life and manage my image subconsciously reflecting the sinfulness of my heart?  Lord help me.  

What do I want to do next year?  Let me think again.

Unadulterated Life.  I looked at the trees around where we were walking and I envied them for they know exactly what they do next year.  Plants have only one inherent purpose in life - to multiply themselves.  All the things a tree undergoes every year, growing, flowering, fruiting, and even going dormant, etc., all lead to the big purpose of the plant.  What's more interesting is that in the process the tree also provides shelter and food for other created things around it.  I envy the trees for they are not plagued with the need to impress that interferes with their purpose. 

Man is also vested with an inherent purpose during his time on earth - to match the nature of his creator and to love his fellowmen.

 "Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise."
~ Horace ~

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Never a Still Life

Painting flowers can be frustrating sometimes.  One night I started a project on very fresh flowers and the next day they were all facing downward. We often hear the phrase 'still life' to refer to certain works of art.  Still life, according to my uneducated interpretation, has one characteristic - staged and unchanging.  The image is maintained.   

Still life is meant to be still.  However, in the case of making art using things that are organic (living matter) there is no such thing as still life.  My art is currently focused on botanical subjects, in other words- perishables.  Assuming that lighting is a controlled factor, my reference fruits and flowers are never still. They change, the flowers droop and loose petals, the fruits get spots and they shrivel a little more everyday, the leaves dry out and curl, seedpods crack open and burst, etc.  Not that these are all negative occurrences - no in fact they display very interesting, uncommon and sometimes even more beautiful form. All these observations happen on my drawing/painting table on a daily basis.  Therefore, it is fair to say then that there is no such thing as still lifeStill life is an anachronism.  Life can't be still.  Only lifeless things can be still.   This is not a new revelation or discovery because it has always been that way.   Rather it is a matter subversion.  :)

Well then, let me take this opportunity to digress.  Life is never still.  Life is timed.  Time dictates the movement of life and man cannot do anything about that.  King Solomon in his God-given wisdom understood this dance between life and time when he wrote the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.  
~~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." (v. 11)  But we, in our natural mind, desire to preserve specific moments of this life.  When we're having fun, when we're experiencing glory, when we have a lot of money, when the people around us are accepting, when we're healthy, when they are healthy, when we're skinny or when our skin is tight and elastic :) we want to freeze it.  We strive to keep it that way - like a still life where the only change is the accumulation of dust.  But alas, we do not control life.  Life is timed.  There is a time for everything and therefore laughter cannot take the time allotted for weeping.  God obviously designed life so that we get the total package of experience.  It is a test we all have to take.  What then can we do?  "There is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot..." (v. 22)  We are left to deal with our attitude towards everything under the sun.   

Going back to art now, 'still life' can still be achieved by faking the effect of time on a perishable subject.  A quick snap shot preserves the image.  In life, we can file those memories that we like to keep. And even though we cannot linger on one enjoyable segment, the memory of it might remind us that time keeps a tight schedule and that the next segment might be different but equally beautiful.

Life is never still.  Life is timed.