I'm leavin on a jet plane...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Well, as this post goes live I shall be on a plane sweating and making new promises to God if we only land in one piece... (paranoia will destroy ya)

I can be reached at (847) 696-1234 if needed. And you can always try to send me an email on my contact page.

If I get to an internet connection, I shall update this space.


Peace to you this week,

and peace to me, and mine.


 8:30 a.m. Registration Check-in 8:30-9:45 a.m. Morning Session: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Leader8:30-9:45 a.m. Morning Session: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Leader8:30-9:45 a.m. Morning Session: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Leader8:00-10:15 a.m. Breakfast Meeting: Jim Wallis, Speaker
  9:45-10:30 a.m. Break9:45-10:30 a.m. Break9:45-10:30 a.m. Break 
  10:30 a.m.-noon Workshops10:30 a.m.-noon Workshops10:30 a.m.-noon Plenary Session:
Michael Emerson
  Arrive in Chicago12:00 noon-2:00 p.m. Lunch Break12:00 noon-2:00 p.m. Lunch Break12:00 noon-2:00 p.m. Lunch Break 

2:00-4:00 p.m. Continuation of Morning Workshops

5:00pm Supper for Canadians!!

2:00-4:00 p.m. Continuation of Morning Workshops2:00-4:00 p.m. Plenary Session: Michael Emerson and Rodney Woo, Speakers 
5:00 p.m. Registration Check-in 7:00 p.m. Opening Worship Service Haddon Robinson, Preacher7:00 p.m. Worship Service: Marva Dawn, Preacher

Free Evening

Jazz Night Downtown!

7:00 p.m. Worship Service: Eugene Rivers III, Preacher  



Thinking deep thoughts on preaching...


In the modern era, preaching was the art of writing a sermon. In the postmodern era, preaching has become the art of creating an experience of God.

Leonard Sweet, "SoulCafe"


Irvin Thiessen

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Well, it's finally time for the next generation to start it's farewell. Uncle Irvin has passed away.

He's been suffering the effects of cancer for a couple of years now and last year they thought they had it beat. But it came back with a Vengence and has taken his body, the container, the house in which he lived.

Uncle Irvin was always the quieter one, if a Thiessen can be quiet. But his humor was always perfectly timed. You could finish a phrase and just as quickly he had a smart response.

His life was not easy either. He was the one who remained at home, working on the farm as his siblings went out and built lives for themselves all over the world. He and his wife, Evelyn and their two kids worked hard to make the farm pay but eventually he started driving a school bus to help pay the bills. Illness was a part of their family for a long time, but until now, it hadn't been him who was sick.


Every kid should have an uncle like he was.

He was the one who taught me the value of a day spent at the dugout, out back by the gravel pit back of the house.

He was the one who scared me senseless as I got into a front end loader and raised it up as high as it would go, then started to tip it forwards...

He was the one who sang while driving the dirt roads of Southern Manitoba, "I'm looking under a green cucumber, that I underlooked before...!" Or his other favourite, "Smile, though your shorts are burning!" which to my young mind was hilariously funny.

He was the one who led the church choir for years, because he loved music.

He was the one who, on the coldest, blizzardest Sunday morning of the year, with the roads closed, got the tractor going and rode the 20kms to church, just because he could. And, I suspect, because of what a funny sight that would be seeing this guy on the tractor driving down the closed TransCanada Highway.

He was the one who would pick up the country party phone line, (Where everyone on a road shares the phone line) and make body noises while others were using it. 

He was the one who, one day driving over the hills and valleys of the dirt roads came over a hill and saw a CN Van had run right into a school bus. The bus driver was dead but he got the kids off safely, then the fire started. The men in the van were yelling in terror, and he started pulling them out, one after another. By now others had arrived, but the fire was so dangerous nobody would go in to pull out the last two screaming men. So he did. As he pulled the last of them clear, the van exploded.

He was the one for whom I created the term "Farmer Golf." He had such upper body strength that he would line up a golf ball and pull way back and just hit the crap out of it. And that ball would fly like it had wings and a momma bird and was heading south for the winter. It was something to see.

He was the one who loved. You could see it in how he patiently served God out on those fields. How he faithfully cared for his wife and kids and his mom and dad. How he worshiped God at the small EMC church in McGregor Manitoba.

He was faithful: full of faith. And now he has gone home, to the place he would sing about and think about and laugh about. He joins the cloud of witnesses who will watch and wait for our arrival.   


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

He whom we love is not here. Tenderly and reverently we commit that which is mortal to the grave; the body returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit unto God who gave it.

For even as we have borne the image of the earthly, we who die in Christ shall bear the image of the heavenly. May the Lord receive him into his peace and raise him up at the last day. Amen.

I heard a voice from heaven saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Blessed indeed, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them.

Till we meet again.


Jesus blood never failed me yet

Friday, January 28, 2005

One of my favourite recordings is Gavin Bryars, "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet."

The first time I heard it was in Winnipeg, I believe it was an Easter Sunday morning. It was playing on CBC Radio 2.

As it played, it captured my attention, deeply. I sat down on the edge of the bed to listen to it all. God was saying something to me.

Gavin Bryars writes about it...

In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song - sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads - and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet".

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment.  ...I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this.

The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man's singing...

He died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony...


We often think that God speaks only in the cleaned up version of life and church and religion. But he does not.

He's communicating to us again and again throughout the day, but do we have ears to hear him?

You can hear a piece from this amazing recording, if you follow this link and go to the bottom of the page.


Technology Helps Mankind...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

She who is my significant other, has taken a liking to that little "send a msg to my cell" box up there.

Now she txt messages me her grocery list and ask's if I can pick up a few things on the way home!

She's not always on top of the latest technology, but boy does she have this one figured out.



Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Micah's falling asleep listening to a tape with me preaching on it.


What can I say?


Sonnet 10

Monday, January 24, 2005

Well, tonight Laura and I watched a movie called Wit. It was an amazing journey through life, into death. As I sat there it dawned on me just how much I've been a part of people's transitions, from life, into death. I've always held it to be the highest honour, to be there like I was on Sunday night. I feel a deep responsibility to walk with people well, as they change worlds. This film was as real as I've experienced it in life. 

In all my stories of being with people when they die, I have concluded that there is an amazing difference, when there is hope. When God is welcomed, or even sought out by the person walking through the valley of the Shadow, the difference is day and night. Trusting in the One who conquered death and made it a slave gives a peace that is real. And for those who are left behind, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Anyway, Linea dropped it by so we watched it tonight. A bit of good medicine I think. Lauralea sat in the corner weeping for most of the film, and I just sat with a stunned look on my face. Thinking about Sunday. Thinking about the fact that tomorrow is my Dad's birthday, (63 I believe.) And how he's been given 7 extra years so far, thanks to two liver transplants.

But I guess my thoughts were mostly with my uncle tonight. He's in a hospital room in Portage La Prairie with the "C" word raging through his body. He wasn't expected to make the weekend, but the body is an amazing thing and does what it will. Mom has arrived there and they wait for more family to arrive. His journey will be done soon, and he goes, filled with hope.

Tonight I needed to see that film because it fills me with hope. The theme of hope in Christ comes through again and again but not through the doctors, nor the one who suffers, but through her words. Or rather, the words of her hero, John Donne.

Rev. Donne has long been my hero too:

Death, be not proud, though some have call?d thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which yet thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more, must low
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then ?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Sonnet 10


Doesn't go away

I'm not finding it easy to get over last night. I didn't sleep much, and I keep thinking...

Being a part of a child's worst nightmare is a foul thing. I hope I was able to give him some comfort. But I noticed it also stirred all kind of childhood memories I thought were left securely in my childhood.

I ran some errands this morning but felt a real lack of patience with everyone, so I came home and puttered around. Good thing it's a day off.

Keep praying for them.



Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tonight was real bad. Got called to the Hospital, MVA with a death so I went.

A young mom and her nine year old son. Mom's DOA and the boys cut up and scraped, but mostly in good shape. We had to tell him.

His dad died a few years ago, now he's a nine year old orphan, no siblings.

Like I said, it was bad.


Please sir, may we have some more??

Four days ago the outside temperature was -35C.  Right now its -2C.

It's absolutely amazing what happens when the warmth returns. Hope happens, future happens, new ideas and a desire to go out happens. Things long since dead in your heart, begin to stir again, and it's good.

The kids are outside, playing. And Laura and I went out for lunch and talked about deep things, because there was hope again? Possibilities, opportunities, generally new ideas? They all come when spring comes.

It's good for now. By Wednesday it's suppose to be cold again..

If there was any propane left in the BBQ I think we'd have hamburgers for supper!! 


Annie Dillard's "For the Time Being"

Saturday, January 22, 2005

"This hospital, like every other, is a hole in the universe through which holiness issues in blasts. It blows both ways, in and out of time. On wards above and below me, men and women are dying. Their hearts seize, give out, or clatter, their kidneys fail, their lungs harden or drown, their brains clog or jam and die for blood. their awareness lower like lamp wicks. Off they go, these great and beloved people, as death subtracts them one by one from the living-about 164,300 of them a day worldwide, and 6,000 a day in the U.S.-and the hospitals shunt their bodies away. Simultaneously, here they come, these many new people, for now absurdly alike-about 10,000 of them a day in this country-as apparently shabby replacements."

"There might well be a rough angel guarding this ward, or a dragon, or an upwelling current that dashes boats on rocks. There might well be an old stone cairn in the hall by the elevators, or a well, or a ruined shrine wall where people still hear bells. Should we not remove our shoes, drink potions, take baths? For this is surely the wildest deep-sea vent on earth: This is where the people come out."


Exactly, this is exactly how I feel when I'm at the hospital.


The New Series Of Russian Emoticons

Friday, January 21, 2005

"The government of Russia is proud to introduce its latest innovation: The Russian Emoticon. Unlike the emoticons from other nations with less technological advancement and scientific ingenuity, the new Russian emoticons boast an unprecedented range of emotions that are incomprehensible to the feeble minds of those in the west. Here is just a small sampling of the power of Russian innovation."

See them here.


Mighty Mini Mac

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I was talking with someone the other day about how computers are getting faster and faster with bigger drives and more memory, but the basic design hasn't changed in what, 14 years? Why can't we get something smaller? Or more stylish? Why must we still interact with it with a keyboard? And why does it have to sit on a desktop?

Yes I know, laptops, notebooks, pocketpc's. But then you start to talk about the software and how you need to be constantly on your guard with spyware and viruses and downloading the latest patches.

You mention the "A" word, but the costs of such a journey are prohibitive. Till now, it seems.

Apple is finally getting closer to my reality; cash.

I do believe I would love the opportunity to explore an Apple system, so many upsides to it.

One day I will, and that day may be closer than I expected.

And if Apple keeps this up, Microsoft will be in trouble.


Heading South for the warmth

There is a pendulum that swings in my life and every year around spring time it makes it's regular appearance. I think it's just a spring fever, itchy feet thing. It's the "if I could live anywhere, where would I live" question. Apparently I am an indecisive blighter.

You see, a part of me would love nothing better than to move to some very small prairie or seaside town where one car will pass by your house each day, and when that happens, everyone in the house comes running to see who it is going past.

A place where you have to "walk uptown" each day to get the mail and the community paper will list your out of town visitors for the week. You know, the kind of quiet restful place that allows room for an "Inner life."

Then, there are days in which I absolutely crave a large city. A city with a virtual cornucopia of media options. Large long streets to explore and find the little gems. A used book store, an amazing mom and pop restaurant with food never before experienced. People of colour, all varieties, and languages and smells. Places to take classes and galleries to discover the latest new artist as well as the old masters. You know, the kind of busy place that allows room for an "Outer life!"

The city I live in is a pretty fair mix of the two. I see it as God being gracious to me. I know that after a week the small town would pretty much make me crazy and I'd probably yell at the writer of the local rag to mind her own darn business about who is and isn't visiting me at any given time. And after two weeks the word probably wouldn't be darn.

Nor would I always enjoy the big city noise and lights and activity. I would probably take to escaping to the lakes where I would have to buy a cabin and spend all my time in the city working to pay for the cabin I purchased so that I could enjoy more peace in my life...

You see, I am a blighter indeed.

Prince Albert leans towards the quieter end of things, and I'm fine with that. But God knows my "Big City Spasms" and has created opportunities for me to be in larger locations. I get to attend board meetings in large Western Canadian cities. And once a year I have opportunity to get to Chicago, for pastors meetings and continuing education stuff. This is proof to me that God does indeed like me.

So, I'm preparing to be over stimulated in Chicago the first week of February. Honestly the best part of the trip is always in meeting new people and old friends. I know that some of you live down there and others of you will be there for the week too. So why don't we get together and hang out a bit.

Contact me here and let's make some plans.


meh, whatever...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

So, Becky directed me to this test to tell what age you act. Since I'm so old and wise, I thought this experience might add to my great wealth of wisdom. So I took it.

I think the test is broken, I mean, Becky comes out at 29 and me at 26?

Course, I did wear (and preach in) a Jet's Jersey last Sunday...

I may need to talk with an image consultant.


You Are 26 Years Old


20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.


A new friend

Well, today I found Dean, of Jet's Jersey fame, and offered to take him out for lunch. He kindly agreed to my suggestion! So we hit the lunch rush and got the last available table.

It was a good thing he was interesting cause we had a long wait for our food to come. But it was worth the wait!!

Turns out we have a lot more in common than the Jets. Jazz music, Italian cooking, movies, and God all were explored. Come to think of it, we were sitting there comparing pasta recipe's... sheesh...

Anyway, It was fun getting to know someone new. He really is a cool guy.

Thanks again Dean.   


A Celtic prayer

In the morning light, O God,
may I glimpse again your image deep within me
the threads of eternal glory
woven into the fabric of every man and woman.
Again may I catch sight of the mystery of the human soul
fashioned in your likeness
deeper than knowing
more enduring than time.
And in glimpsing these threads of light
amidst the weakness and distortions of my life
let me be recalled
to the strength and beauty deep in my soul.
Let me be recalled
to the strength and beauty of your image in every living soul.

Celtic Benediction, J. Philip Newell


Nouwen on Finding Solitude

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.

Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love."


Being weak isn't weak, really!

Tonight I was suppose to be at worship practice, but I'm also on call at the hospital this week. Well, tonight just before worship practice, the hospital called, and I went.

I met with a man and his wife. He had just had emergency surgery, it was cancer. They wanted someone to pray with them and visit them awhile, so I did. 56 years together and they had no children. She made a point of communicating that to me . They were afraid, but at peace.

I then made a trip up to another room on the 4th floor to see a friend who is in advanced stages of Alzheimers. He was busy trying to remove the handrails, till I reminded him that they were there for people to hold on to while they walked. We returned to his room and prayed together a while. He had been growing uncomfortable in his wheelchair, and I was unable to help lift him up, so I went to get some help. The nurses knew just what to do to ease his discomfort.

Finally, I headed down into the care home part of the hospital. When I walk into that place I shrink in size and age mostly because it always takes me back to when I was a kid and we would go visit my great grandma. This home always reminds me of hers back in Warman.

Anyway, I went to check on an elderly lady from our church who is living out her years there. She was already in bed and mostly asleep, lights all on and an open book across her chest because she still loves to read. I prayed silently and left her to her dreams.

I drove home slowly through the darkness thinking how life ends like it begins. We enter this life needing help and support from other human beings. And we end it in much the same way, needing help and support from other human beings.

We spend our adult years being strong and independent, able to make our own choices and go where and do what we please. Then, before we know it, we need help again. Another human, another person willing to walk alongside us and help us as we leave.

Amazing to think that God made us to be this dependant on others. Amazing that while we have the strength, we fight that dependency, that "weakness" with all we've got.

We were created to need others, to depend and rely on them. Yet, to admit that we need others is seen as a weakness, a limitation.

Sad really, because God gives grace to the humble, the meek, the lowly. That's where his presence is the most profound, most amazing. We look with human eyes and see frail souls, ineffective and weak. God sees someone willing to listen, someone ready to receive his touch, his breath.

There is a lesson in there some place for us. A lesson to become as a little child maybe? A lesson not to esteem personal power and individualism as much as we do perhaps?

I'm not sure what it is for you, but for me it's that weakness isn't a weakness, it's a strength. I need to learn ways to live in that strength,  ... or should I say weakness?


Things are lookin up

Monday, January 17, 2005

Today after we took the car out to the shop for brake repairs, Lauralea and I headed downtown for coffee and a break. We got sidelined by a book sale, and when we get sidelined like that, well it usually means the rest of the day is gone.

Anyway, Laura picked up Tolstoy's War and Peace, (Showoff wants to read it again) and George Eliot's Adam Bede. A 598 page head turner by her account. I got "A Song for Relinquishing the Earth," a collection of poetry by Jan Zwicky. Lauralea doesn't always get the poetry I like. She likes it all to rhyme. She likes Tolstoy, and hey, I like free verse, what can I say?

Except maybe for a quote: 

a place of worship
a laying down of arms.
Open Strings
are ambassadors from the republic of silence.
They are the name of that moment when you realize
clearly, for the first time,
you will die. After illness.
the first startled breath.

And the one book we could agree on was "Food of the World, Italy" by Linda Doeser. A great picture, recipe theme book on the great foods of Italy. The whole collection cost us $13, what a steal.

So, we were motivated. We came home and planned an Italian Supper, complete with my Inspirational Aglio e Olio, (without the anchovies). We used a recipe from the new book for stuffed tomato's and got some Italian bread and broiled some chicken and, mama mia, we ate well today. Of course, the kids don't realize just how well we ate! "What's an anchovy? There's fish in here? in the Tomato?" Blah blah blah.

So, nice day today, oh and the weather is warming up nicely from the -40C it was yesterday morning.  Right now it's -14C. What a difference a day makes with this weather.


Also, if you're interested, you can check out a site I've been working on for a couple months now. It's finally up and running. The Bison Cafe, here in Prince Albert. You may recall how the first time I found it, it was like finding hidden treasure. Well, I got to help them out a bit too, with the site.

Now, since Monday Night Football is over for the year, it's time for some freeverse!


The Ministry of Grace

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Friday, after I had posted that piece on my general discouragement, the day proceeded to get worse. By the time 5:30 came around and my car had lost all it's breaking ability, and it was colder than a polar bear's nether regions, I returned home. Somewhat incredulous at what would be next.

When I got home, surprise! The ministry of God's grace was applied to me. It came through a most unlikely medium, a shirt. Well, to be more exact, it came through a jersey. When I saw that thing, it was pure grace applied to my soul. It was that I was loved, that God knew my address and my desires. That he was well aware of my situation, and that it would be ok. Good even.

The stresses didn't go away, the van was still broken, but that was ok. God knew.

Then, Saturday morning arrived. I awoke at 5:30 am and I couldn't get back to sleep. The day was pressing in on me and I was concerned. I needed to get to Saskatoon for a meeting and it was nearly -40C. I wasn't sure about the car.

As I couldn't sleep any longer I got up and fussed around a bit. I was able to get the car running, but it made me a little late for an 8am meeting I was to attend to.

After the meeting and some errand I had to run for family members, I was trying to finalize if I should attempt a run to Saskatoon for the meeting I had planned for the day. The cold would surely test the car, but I thought I might be able to make it. I stopped for gas, and steam began to rise from the hood. Sigh.

It turned out to be a small leak in the rad hose. I got into the car, with a "now what" going on in my head.

While all this was going on, my cell phone rang, it was Lauralea. Someone had called her and they knew I needed to get to town. They also knew about my vehicle challenged lifestyle. They had offered their vehicle to me to use for the day.

More grace applied to my life. More of God, more peace, more love, more grace.

So, I took their auto to Saskatoon for the day, and had a wonderful, warm, safe ride. My meeting was very very encouraging. I left feeling hopeful and blessed and watched out for, for the first time in a long time.

I returned home with a lighter heart than I've had for a very long time.

Oh, and when I got home and went to pick up the car with a hole in the rad hose? Well, the people who had the car while I used theirs, had decided to change my broken rad hose, for a new one. 

More and more grace. More and more of God and his love.

I am overwhelmed, undone, grateful. I am a man who has experienced so much undeserved Grace in his life this week.

What can you say to Grace except thank you. Again and again, thank you Father.

And thank you to Dean and to Phil and Janet and Claude and Leighton and Mom and Dad, who were conduits of God's grace this weekend. Whether they knew it or not. Thank you. 



what I wore to church today.

Uh huh, I did too.

Led worship in it, preached in it.

It was all good!


You're not going to believe this...

Friday, January 14, 2005
So, given this blue funk I've been in, and some of your "very encouraging words," I though I may end up like this for a long time, then I got home.

Now, I may still be in a bit of a state, but Dean is trying his very best to move me up to higher ground, and I am very grateful.

You remember Dean don't you? He was the guy who won the Jet's Jersey from McDonalds last year.
And after I entered ton's of times, Dean won it.

Turned out I knew Dean from town. He's always been a pretty cool guy, but today it turned out he was not just cool, he's one awesome dude.

I got home and guess what was sitting here waiting for me, yep, the Jet's Jersey, still mounted in it's plastic case.

So, here's to Dean, and people like him. People who live out what they believe.

Thanks Dean. It will be well loved and always have a home here.

Alright already...

Right, so this place has been a little silent as of late. I think I haven't wanted to come here and just be all negative, but I'm gettin old, so if I wait for a happy day, well, I may never write again!

And to be clear, the positive in these days have been the people connections I've had. Generally, ministry time and visiting time with people has been an encouraging thing.

I think most of my heaviness has come from stresses that add up.

I have about 5 major points of "Organizational stress" I'm facing right now. Organizational, administrative things I need to take care of, but they don't come easily to me, so they are points of major stress.

Trying to be present for my family, while my head is trying to carry that stress means that I'm short tempered and impatient when they surprise me with extra demands. I hate that I am like that.

Receiving word that a favorite uncle will soon be done his life on this planet, and he's only in his mid 60's.

And the cold. It's so cold right now. As one of my friends from America's south said to me the other day, "Why, oh why do people need to live in such a place...!" Which is a question I've been asking a long time.

I suppose the bigger question is why don't we just shut life down when it's so freaking cold. Why don't we close the stores and schools and stay in safe warm places drinking warm drinks and reading books.

The cold is a stress too. Manageable  when the other stresses of life are not to bad, but in times like these, well, death to the cold!

Then the cars. Last week the kids got to school and the car wouldn't shut off. So, the driver did what any sane high school student would do. She left it running and went into class! After the office noticed that great clouds of smoke and steam were pouring out from the hood, they called her down. To make a very long stressful story short, it involved me and a funeral, and a broken van in the shop, and just about some bad words, but we got it home, and running again.

This morning, it's -35C, before windchill, out there, and as I'm driving down the road, my brakes go away on me. No brakes. And tomorrow I need to be in Saskatoon.

To top it all off nicely, I spent four hours with my grade 5 son last night, trying to help him do his homework that he hadn't done all week and now was due the next day. After the stern discussion using plenty of the "fail" and "Grade 5" words over and over, we got at the work. What blew me away was that I was having a good deal of trouble doing the work. It was 4 pages of wordsearches for pete's sake. Easy peasy, but I couldn't do it. The word's were not included, so you had to find words in the maze of letters, but good grief, I thought I may have been having a stroke or something. So I sat there while he asked me, "Is such and such a word??" Later on, Lauralea came home and took one look at it and pointed out any number of words in it we had missed. If these kids didn't have her around, they'ed be in a class for the kids of challenged fathers.

Sigh. It's all just been getting the better of me. I'm waiting for it to get better, praying, hoping... It may just be the dead of winter thing, along with the cold, but it is getting the better of me I guess.

But I am still here, barely. Life continues on at seeming breakneck speed, and I am beginning to make choices more in line with my gifting and calling. To do the things that I do well, and leave the rest to others with those gifts.

So at least I am learning something. And the people stuff I do is going well, and it's an encouragement to me. And I'm enjoying having CBC Radio 2 on in the car and office. And spring is coming... not.

Let's not get carried away with too much positivism here eh.



Monday, January 10, 2005

Choices. Choices make the difference. Two people are in the same accident and severely wounded. They did not choose to be in the accident. It happened to them. But one of them chose to live the experience in bitterness, the other in gratitude. These choices radically influenced their lives and the lives of their families and friends. We have very little control over what happens in our lives, but we have a lot of control over how we integrate and remember what happens. It is precisely these spiritual choices that determine whether we live our lives with dignity.

Henri Nouwen


Potty mouth

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

So, the other day on my way home, I stopped in at Future Shop (spit) to pick up a gift for the women in my home.

While there nature called, she wanted a good chunk of time with me. So, off I hurried to find a washroom with an available seat. No sooner had I begun my commune with nature when my cell phone began to ring!

And ring and ring and ring. Mostly because my coat was hanging on the door and out of my reach.

So, what's the etiquette with that? Do you answer it and carry on like you're sitting at your desk working on some other project? Do you answer with an out of breath, "I'm bizzzzy!" or would a "...I'm sorry, I'm really unavailable to take your call at this time, please leave a message..." 

And what about an inside the washroom protocol?

Do you answer IF there is no one else in the room? And if someone else is feeling natures call, do you mutter something like "can't even get any privacy in the privy, mutter mutter..." and let it ring? Cause I can't see you carrying on a deep conversation with someone, while other people are doing their business and listening in on you. And worse, what if they flush, or make other washroom noises, how do you explain that to your outside caller? ...


These are the things I lay awake thinking about last night, because I couldn't sleep. I have a difficult funeral tomorrow morning, and I don't have peace about it yet.


Holidays melt away

Monday, January 03, 2005

Well, I recon that holiday is over. This morning the calls started hot and heavy, seemed like GrandCentral Station round here. So I'm kinda back to it, work that is. Maybe I'll try to take the remaining day or two off later on in the month.

Lauralea got this "Look" in her eyes when the phone started this morning, so we made some plans and headed out for supper and a movie. We went out for pizza and then headed to Oceans 12. I'm still not to sure what I thought of the film, but I think I liked it!!

Anyway, things are picking up speed now. 

One of my desires for the year is to keep developing my writing. So I want to continue to use this place for that exploration. I have a few writing projects I've been asked to complete this spring, but I'm looking forward to continuing on in this space.


A generally quiet Sunday

Sunday, January 02, 2005

As Sunday's generally go, today was much different.

No early rising to get to the church an hour before everyone else. No service or sermon to be nervous about. No worship team to practice with. No coffee or drinks to put out. No million things going on in my head at the same time, trying to track every piece of information people pass to me in a crowd on Sunday mornings. 

I was free to Worship, to simply focus on God this morning.

The kids headed to our regular house of Worship. Lauralea and I walked to St. Georges, the small Anglican church across the street. The couple who care for that flock have grown dear to Lauralea and I these past years, and it's close, and nicely different than how we usually worship.

It was good this morning. By "It" I mean our connection with God. We were able to connect with one another and with God, in simple yet profound ways.

If it's true that God gives grace to the humble, then this little bunch of people are blessed indeed. 

It's been a good week off. I've noticed I've been calling my folks more often, and been more relaxed at home. Wish I could be this way when I'm busy working. Wish I could turn if off and be at home when I'm home.  I haven't learned those lessons yet, but who knows, it's another year.

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