The First and Greatest Painter

Rows of tulips in various colors.

Rows of flowers at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Photo: Julia Ozab)

Every Spring as the flowers open to the warming sunlight, we are reminded who the first and greatest painter is. He doesn’t need paint or canvas. He paints in wavelengths of light, and his subjects are also his canvas.


Tulips (Photo: Julia Ozab)

And he gave us the eyes to see the beauty and the minds to appreciate it. We paint it, we photograph it, and we write words inspired by it. We will never improve upon the original, but we will always strive to come as close as we can.

Farm and tulip rows

Looking across the field to the farmhouse (Photo: Julia Ozab)

May the beauty of Spring remind us of the beauty we were created for, and may we grow in holiness as we finish our walk with Christ through Lent and rise with him at Easter.


Today is Julia’s birthday and we are taking her to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival tomorrow to celebrate. It’s going to be a glorious day.

Five Minute Friday


Happy Halloween!

Winnie the Pooh jack o' lantern with matching honeypot

Photo: Julia Ozab (2006)

There is a lot of controversy in some Christian circles over Halloween. Should it be acknowledged, let alone celebrated? If so, how? Thomas Blevins addressed this topic last week on Elevate Dads, and Addie Zierman (author of the beautiful memoir When We Were One Fire) shared this post from 2012 with her fans online. I think Rachel Held Evans (author of Evolving in Monkey Town and  A Year of Biblical Womanhood) has the best take on the subject. She posted this on her Facebook timeline today.

“I was a God-fearing Christian until I went trick-or-treating when I was eight and converted to paganism,” said no one ever.

So calm down. It’s a fun holiday. Focus on the positives and enjoy it. My wife and I always celebrated it as kids and we turned out okay. Plus, it’s not like we have a choice. Halloween is Anna’s favorite holiday. Why?

She loves Halloween because she loves dressing up.

Anna’s first two Halloween outfits were our idea. Who doesn’t want to show off their cute kid in a cute costume. So at nine months, she was Winnie the Pooh in a bee outfit. She had a matching Winnie the Pooh plush toy in his own bee outfit, which she carried as we carried her. You can’t get much cuter than that.

Her costume at 20 months was a monkey, complete with a banana from her play food set. This time, she got into the swing of trick-or-treating around the complex, walking up to the doors, holding out her bucket, and signing thank you.

Since then, she’s chosen her own costume. At two, she was Elmo. At three, Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty). At four and five, she was Super Girl (her only two-year costume to date). At six, she was Merida from the movie Brave, and this year, she’s Snow White.

Halloween has become a dress-up holiday for her, and since she loves dressing up, it’s the holiday she looks forward to the most. The candy is secondary, and the darker aspects of the day don’t even register for her. Why?

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Anna bouncing

The Joy of Jumping

Anna ready to bounce

Photo: Julia Ozab

There is a simple, indescribable joy to jumping. Most of us forget it by the time we grow up, but spend any time around kids and you’ll remember . . .

The wind in your hair.

The springs in your feet.

The feeling of flying.

Pure joy.

I get to see that joy a lot in my daughter. She love to run, to wiggle, to dance, and to play. But most of all she loves to jump. The higher she soars the happier she is, and when I watch her my heart soars as high as she does.

We all went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon, last Friday. It was a beautiful day. The rain held off just long enough for us to enjoy the flowers, the food, and the fun. Anna loved taking pictures, but the highlight of her day was the Madjek Air Monkey Motion. She got to do what she likes best, jump.

Pure joy. Watch for yourself. And try not to smile.

Five Minute Friday

Stop and Smell the Flowers at “Tulip Fest 2012”

Tulip Field

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm.

Photos @2012, Julia M. Ozab.

Red, orange, pink, yellow, and violet: symphonies of color serenaded cotton-ball clouds and a bright blue sky. It was a beautiful morning last  Saturday at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm; we chose the perfect day to enjoy their 2012 Tulip Festival.

We drove up from Eugene that morning, arriving shortly before noon. The first thing our daughter Anna wanted to do was ride the Cow Train. We bought her a ticket for $2 and walked to the edge of the tulip field. Pulled by a John Deere Gator, a long row of black and white cow shaped cars rolled out alongside us. Each had a different name; Anna chose a cow named Chloe. We buckled her in, and the train rolled into the tulip field.

Cow train in the tulip field

The cow train rides through the tulips.

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