Treasures take on different forms

Way back in 1995 in late November Lauralea and I were in North London for two weeks connecting with new friends and living the London life. We wandered and wondered up to the high street one evening in the frosty air and found a little book shop open right there on the local shopping street.

We dawdled through and one of the treasures we discovered was a magazine put out by the BBC with a free classical music CD attached to it. This one was Decembers and it was full of Christmas music done by groups throughout Europe. We bought it and took it home and it quickly became one of our favourite Christmas CD's.

Over the years whenever I could find the magazine in a local bookstore I'd pick one up and more often than not I would enjoy the music on it, meant to give a range of classical musical expressions. I would save it and head out early the next day. Before I would go to the office I would stop in at Tim Hortons and order a coffee and a toasted bagel. Then when seated near a window in the early morning winter darkness, I would pop the new cd into the player and open the magazine and read about life and music around the world.

It was a great way to expand my musical taste, enjoy a good bagel, and experience some culture from the other side of the world. It was rare but occasionally when I bought one, it was a fun way to start the day.

The other day Lauralea and I were with friends at a large bookstore and I came across this months BBC Classic Magazine with a CD attached to it, still in production. I bought it and have been saving it for a few moments of quiet reflection with the CD and the magazine. Maybe a bagel if I'm lucky.

It's become one of those little moments we create for ourselves and then over time the practice becomes a treasure for us. Those are enjoyable treasures to have.

Its Christmas and always a good time to build some of those practices for yourself. Traditions that will be practiced for years and one day when you don't even realize it, they become a treasure for you. Or maybe its time to think about one of those treasures you already have in the tank, and head out and pull out the treasure and enjoy it a bit.

When "Giving Tuesday" feels like we're moving deck chairs around on the Titanic

I'm cold. Can't seem to warm up.
So this comes to you from beside my fireplace.

Many times this past year it's felt as though the world has fallen into its death throes, or it seems to be the case for America at least.

National tensions, racial conflicts, leadership vacuum, and now we are in this place of sexual abuse announcements and America has suddenly decided that its had enough of such things. Feels odd that for decades this behaviour has been tolerated. Allowed even.  Then suddenly America has a crisis of conscious and the list of morally corrupt men continues to grow day by day.

Today was a newish thing to add to the calendar. Giving Tuesday. A day when the world is invited to give to some worthy cause or another. Many emails filled my inbox, and social media was a storm  asking for donations to everything because today is "Giving Tuesday."

Now I'm all for giving, and doing it all year long. But this one gave me pause.

Giving Tuesday follows gluttonous eating Thanksgiving Thursday, and Black Friday (which stretches into Saturday) then Cyber Monday when you can spend what money you have left over, on online purchases. Then after that mad rush of hedonism, well lets give what we have left to the needy, on Giving Tuesday. That'll help us feel magnanimous after a weekend of indulgences.

As you can tell, I'm prepared to celebrate Cynical Wednesday tomorrow.

Is this who our neighbours are becoming?
As we watch them having their fits, we become effected too.

You poke that beast and you run the risk of being rolled over on.
Prophets name it and call them to better choices and online and real space mob mentality takes over and before you know it, somebody's reputation dies, or worse their actual life is over.

One American national writer wonders if there is any coming back from this all. I wonder that too.
Is this just a really low spot that America can somehow bounce back from, or are we watching the demise of a giant.

They say the great ones die from within themselves a long time before they are invaded by another power. I guess time will tell with this giant. It just seems that time is not on her side.

As it is when you stand too near a dying giant, you need to be careful lest you get hit in the throes. Be careful out there and online. Know your allegiances and the powers that be. Be humble but let more of your bold statements be about things that are eternal, rather than trying to prop up a dead giant.

Many have confused their faith with their country's values and it's blurred the lines quite stupendously. As a result, they fight nationalist battles thinking they are spiritual battles. But they're not. Its like a great blindness has settled upon the people, and in the confusion they are killing one another.

And lest we start dancing around the fallen giant which you may think deserves it, remember it's happening in other countries too. This is no time for high and mighty "I told you so's." Its a time for humble realization that it can happen here too, and it will if we are not willing to be different and to pray and to humble ourselves before God.

Welcome God's blessing to the land that way. Pray, serve, and love your communities in humility. You and I don't have all the answers to the questions we will face, but in Christ there is hope.

...and love and peace and joy.


Being on vacation for us means getting to see the kids, scattered as they are across the continent. It always requires a bit of effort to make the trip, but its good to see them all again.

Winnipeg was great and warm for the season. Means we could walk lots and stop for amazing Ice Cream at the BDI.

Then to Wisconsin for time with the grandkids. 
And these amazing autumn colours.

It's been beautiful so far.
Let's see what this week brings.

My love of Eggnog gets press

I suppose you would call them the good old days of blogging when local news organizations would call me for an opinion on some story or another that I had expressed here in this space. But those days are far far behind us now and its quieter in that way.

Until last Thursday when I was contacted by Maryse Zeidler, a reporter out of Vancouver who was doing a story for the CBC on Eggnog in the stores early. She had seen my photo on Instagram last week when Lauralea showed up at home with some Eggnog for me. The earliest we had ever seen the Nog in the wild.

We had a chat about it on the phone, and last night I saw the story she was working on. Its a fun piece looking at the early release of the seasonal treat this year.

It was enjoyable to do that again, and I'm writing this here mostly so I don't forget it. :)
And to post a link to the story, so I can go and reread it when I am old and grey. Well, old anyway.

Here's the link to the story.

Now go buy yourself a small litre of the stuff. Before it goes away.

When I was experimenting with an inverted V antenna

via Instagram

When I was experimenting with an inverted V antenna, (ham radio) my wife came out and her only comment to me was, "Hmm looks like a sail!"
I know she's a keeper because I've heard what other ham wives have declared in similar situations. #VE6VOR #amateurradio

Living and dying in the valley of vision

Last Sunday we had two guests with us at worship. A young man and his wife who shared with us a God given vision they had, to go to Argentina to work with the churches there who needed help.
They were going into some more language training this autumn and their house had finally sold and they were off to walk with God in this exciting life adventure.

Then yesterday we received word that the night before, on Wednesday night, he died of a heart attack.

Oh God we don't understand these things. It seems all wrong. But we trust what we've come to know in your character. Be present, be a comfort, be mercy for friends and family who grieve these days.

An old Puritan prayer.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, You have brought us to the valley of vision, where we live in the depths but see you in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin we behold Thy glory. Let us learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine; let us find your light in our darkness, your life in our death, your joy in our sorrow, your grace in our sin, your riches in our poverty, your glory in our valley. Amen

The air speaks of change

There is change in the air now.
In seasons, in families, in work.
In energy, in health.

This is the part of the year that I love.
The heat and toil of summer is ending.
The cool of the year grows.

"Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent."

Thought of the day #329

If the movement of your life is towards God, things become clearer.
If you harden your heart, the less clear things are.
Thought of the day

That is to say that some seem to struggle for clarity in their lives, in their day to day coming and going. That it seems less and less clear to them the ways to walk in.  Their hearts are hard towards God, or at least they are moving in a line away from God and his heart.  God allows their hearts to be hardened because they chose that direction to move in.

But for those who are in movement towards God, things in life become clearer the closer you are with  Jesus. Not that it is an easier life for sure, but it is a life marked by an often singular clarity on most things.

Just saying...

O God, gather me now.

O God, gather me now
to be with you
as you are with me.
Soothe my tiredness;
quiet my fretfulness;
curb my aimlessness;
relieve my compulsiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.

O Lord, release me
from the fears and guilts
which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions
which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open
to receiving what you give,
to risking something genuinely new,
to learning something refreshingly different.

O God, gather me
To be with you
as you are with me.

Ted Loder

Praying for Peace (You can do that you know.)

Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

Psalm 122