Some of the kids were so ready to go. Others were less ready. Thomas could have stayed here for a long time. Not in a big rush to take on the things of adulthood. Easygoing, friendly, not hurried.
So again it's bittersweet. And I miss him and the other two already.
Now it's me and Lauralea and Micah.
Just we three.
Ok so it's probably not a good idea to be wearing a tshirt and boxers and have the door open when church people drop by
...and at least I don't wear tighty whities.
Back to the football game.
This dangerous one called Gustav has the potential to be deadly - if it hasn't already been as it crossed Cuba yesterday.
I'm following them on the National Hurricane website.
WMC-TV also has a good resourse page with current images, and links to local news, live station feeds, and webcams in the effected areas.
But the best link I've been following is on Twitter, as people in the effected areas attempt to deal with it. Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best, there's so much fear in many of their short posts. You get a sense of what they are dealing with.
This is a search site that will post every twitter that includes the words Hurricane or Gustav. Follow it if you like.
Well, we got Hillary to Saskatoon for her hair appointment today, and tonight she hops a bus for college. Hope the night goes ok for her. Bus travel can be scary these days.
And speaking of scary, the reason sleep evaded me last night was, - you guessed it. 1:30 am as I am fading into blissfull sleep, a truck full of neighbours rolled to a stop next door and out poured six or seven fully inebriated individuals. Even the driver had a can in his hand.
You just donâ€™t know how much my gut cringes when I hear the neighbours drive up, itâ€™s like Pavlovs dogs.
Around 2 am the police showed up, but even after that, they kept drinking and laughing and fighting and using the yard as a toilet. Any number.
So Iâ€™m really tired, and at the office, getting ready for tomorrow.
I hope hope hope, tonight we can sleep.
Been following the Hurricane news out of the south. Looks like Gustav could be a bit of a mess for Louisiana, and that looks to be followed by Hanna. And, as if thatâ€™s not enough, there are two more storms forming behind Hanna.
Could be a tough couple of weeks for those paradise islands down in the Caribbean. And the southern States.
Iâ€™m following along at the National Hurricane Center website.
Friday afternoon and what I know is this:
The inlaws have arrived, and are in my house someplace. I saw their car as I drove past to an appointment.
Micah has just done day two of High School and by all accounts seems to be enjoying it. Oh and hopefully his room is cleaned out, for the above mentioned company.
Hillary is off to college tomorrow. She is bussing it tomorrow night, through the night, to Northern Alberta. She has a class â€œReunionâ€ Sunday night.
And it looks like Thomas has been accepted to college. Lauralea gave birth to him via C-Section but the birthing pains of the past few days legitimizes us for Vaginal Birth Equivalency.
He wants/needs time to pack and say farewell on Sunday, so Lauralea and I will install him on a bus in Saskatoon Sunday night, to be at the school Monday by around noon.
Deep, cleansing breath everyone.
Now I just need to muddle through the weekend.
I know, I know, two American political posts in one week for me? Well, you gotta know I am a political junkie, itâ€™s just that politics has been quite boring in recent years.
But now, in a bold move;
DAYTON, Ohio â€” In a surprise move, Senator John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate on Friday, shaking up the political world at a time when his campaign has been trying to attract women, especially disaffected supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, McCain officials confirmed.
In choosing Ms. Palin â€” a 44-year-old conservative Christian and self-described â€œhockey momâ€ who has been governor for less than two years â€” the McCain campaign reached far outside the Washington Beltway in an election in which the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, is running on a platform of change.
Bold or desperate? I suppose it depends if you like elephants or donkeys.
I gotta say, that guy just inspires me. He leaves me feeling like there is hope for our neighbours to the south. And if I were an American, I'd punch a chad right next to his name.
Politicians come a dime a dozen. But people who inspire are rare indeed.
We need inspired leaders.
Well, I feel a little Under Attack, like my choices are Slipping Through My Fingers because my Honey, Honey isn't Laying All her Love on Me, but hey, One Man, One Woman, and Just Like That, Bang-A-Boomerang and things change and we are As Good as New.
Now, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do Have a Dream, but it isn't to see Mamma Mia.Â Thank You for the Music idea but I don't like musicals.Â That's Me,Â I know. It's also about the Money, Money, Money but if we could get Two for the Price of One, then Rock Me and I'd Thank You for the Music. That's really The Name of the Game for me.
I could go On and On and On but One of Us will have to decide.
Marc is still out there and need I remind you all, He Is Your Brother. He doesn't seem all Head Over Heels about it either and I've never viewed him as a Dancing Queen. I suppose Marc could watch his kids and he and I could hit the late show. But then you'd have to Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). Remember You Owe Me One so I guess he'd just have to Take a Chance on Me
Course People Need Love including me. So here's an SOS.Â When All Is Said and Done I'll do whatever My Love, My Life tells me to do.
P.S. what was that, did I just hear a Chiquitita Eagle called Fernando at my window?
Non? Ah Voulez-Vous
I opened up my Internet Explorer and the front page was this news story with the picture that read:
â€œIn this file photo, Liberal leader Stephane Dion leaves a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday, Aug. 19 2008, after answering reporters' questions.â€
Thatâ€™s NOT Stephane Dion, is it?
So Lauralea took my appointment this morning at 8 am and my chivalrous action only delayed my appointment till 10:30, and not a whole year like I had wrongly anticipated.
And to make matters worse, they replaced her filling without freezing which Iâ€™ll never hear the end of.
Mine was not the crown prep I was so dreading, but a filling which, if lack of pain is any indication, was a roaring success.
Course now whenever I talk it sounds like Elmer Fudd and its all slurred. So if you phone my office I think the machine will get it. Better that than to try to explain my struggle to sound like a serious pastor while my speech is slurred and cartoonish.
He's still trying to clean his room for the company coming this weekend and his junk is everywhere.
Hillary is in and out and unpacking and packing and her stuff is all over too.
Thomas is still not sure if he is going away to college this week. So he's filling out forms and working and coming and going and not even sure if he is going. The school has said he's past due, but maybe if he completes all his forms they may still accept him.
Which means I still don't know if I'm driving to Northern Alberta on Monday and coming back Tuesday or not. And I'm on call then too, so I need to make plans.
And he's upstairs trying to bake pies for his employees for the job he finished up today. Now, at 10:45 pm.
And we have company coming on Friday.
And I have a dentist appointment at 8 in the morning, but Lauralea's tooth broke tonight so we are trying to see if her and I can change appointments, except hers is next Tuesday when I might be in northern alberta driving the kids to school.
And I'm trying to hear God about some things.
This is a very frustrating place to be right now and I hate it.
I need some sliced, prepared meats to help me take my mind off things.
Over in Canada weâ€™ve had a deadly outbreak of listeriosis which has triggered a massive meat recall of food processed at a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Ontario. As of Tuesday, there were 29 confirmed cases of listeriosis across Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and up to six deaths as a result.
In this day and age of blaming others I did appreciate that the head of the company today took responsibility for it and said the buck stopped at his desk. He wasnâ€™t shifting the responsibility to others.
And thatâ€™s how they should have responded to this tragic event.
But it makes me think how much trust is built into the food systems here in Canada at least. We trust that when we go to the stores and get some food, that the food will at best, be good for us, and at least not kill us.
I wonder if we trust too easily.
Not that any company would have it in them to deliberately kill off their customers, but where is the line that is drawn over foods imported cheaply from China or India or other points east? What was growing in the fields before those crops were grown? What was used on them or in them to make them look good and edible?
Or even â€œlocalâ€ foods, and by local I mean in this country. Do we know their origin or quality?
This food we put into our bodies in some amazing way actually becomes a part of us. It turns into who we are, physically. And that to me is really amazing, that we eat things that help us to grow certain ways physically at least and probably emotionally or intellectually too.
So why on earth are we not more careful with what we consume?
Many of us choose the cheap over the more costly choices. Many of us, either because we are cheap or because we are poor, go with the foods that are less expensive, and often those foods come from places around the world that we have no power to know how they are grown.
We shop at discount places and get five cans of peaches for $2.00 Woo Hoo, and we consume away.
Even our choice of potato in the local store comes down to trusting the store and shipper and the farmer, for my well being.
A friend dropped off some large brown beautiful eggs a while back and I made an amazing fried egg that was so unlike what the regular white bulk eggs we normally get are like, that it gave me pause. How many other things have I gotten used to, because I donâ€™t have access to better quality items, or I choose cheap. (Or should I say, cheep.)
I think the Europeans, or at least the Brits are further ahead of us on this. You can plunk down a little more cash there for free-range birds or eggs, and yes the food may cost a little more but there are standards of acceptance that you can at least be aware of, as a consumer.
Iâ€™m getting to the age where I canâ€™t just shove whatever I have handy, down my gullet and call er a day. I am more and more making choices about these things, because I know that my body is a part of who I am and I am made up of what I put in my mouth. I canâ€™t afford to put stuff in there just because it looks nice or smells great. I need to take more time to eat in ways that are a help to me, and cause me to be a better person.
But I realize too that itâ€™s not just about eating. It sometimes is about self-perception, or income, or yes, even politics.
Lauraleaâ€™s folks are coming for a visit.
Micah starts school, at High School no less.
Hillary is home unpacking and packing. She leaves this weekend for College.
Thomas is deciding his future which is somewhere between here and never never land, and may require travel and or cash from us this week if he suddenly decides what to do.
We took the little red car to the wreckers yesterday, a very emotional deal for me. I donâ€™t get rid of cars easily, especially when they have been an answer to many many prayers.
Iâ€™m back at work, after the strangest holiday I can ever remember. Strange as in, I worked a lot during it.
We, (as in Lauralea and I) are trying to be more patient with ourselves. This year, with itâ€™s cancer scare and quick surgery and then the big wedding and the guys and I completing major educational milestones has left us a bit gasping for air.
Deep cleansing breathâ€¦
Last week as it turned out, I had to come to work for about a day and a half to help with some surprise things that can occasionally happen. So by Saturday I turned off the computer and email and net, and left it off until this morning.
I believe I have caught up with the emails by now.
Welcome back to work.
While we were picking up Hillary in Saskatoon today, we hit a used record store on 2nd Ave, then crossed the street to a used book store. (Note the theme.)
We found an autographed copy of â€œIf youâ€™re from the prairieâ€¦â€ which is an amazing book with words and paintings that prairie people will get. It's always resonated with who we are because we love the prairies.
We found the copy and decided to celebrate our 23rd anniversary by getting it.
Lauralea is already sitting in the chair beside me, reading and weeping.
A good book is like that. It just always fits.
When we were in Chicago on the Saturday night we attended a free concert at Millennium Park down by the lake.
It was a gorgeous night and people had come to picnic and enjoy the evening with good food and friends, a little wine, and some amazing Pavarotti sounds.
Our class got there late, but what I heard was simply glorious and even from such a great distance, the sound was clear as a bell.
Those Chicagoans could sure make a picnic out of most outdoor gathering occasions I noticed.
Nicely done Chicago.
As a dad sometimes a quick angry response to my kids has left no room for them to move forward. It shuts off any opportunity for life or growth or even a quickly healed relationship for them. My very bad.
Other times I try to create room for them to grow and respond in opportune ways. Ways that bring life to them and to our relationship. Yeah they mess up, that happens, lets move ahead.
It dawns on me again this week, that the one way is ungracious or a better word might be disgrace, and the other way is gracious and creates room for life to happen.
Feels that way in the work that I do too. Sometimes situations are just shut down walls of no room for movement or life or, grace. And other times the most offended person steps up and creates room for life to happen again, and grace is experienced.
Itâ€™s so cool when that happens.
And so painful when it doesnâ€™t.
Kinda fits the day around here too.
Back to school shopping, for one kid only.
Went back to work today too. Ill try to squeeze the weekend off though, Tuesday is my formal day back at the office.
Yeah, for being +34 the other day and this coming Monday too, today was an Autumn tease.
...or terror. I have much to do before the snow flies.
Itâ€™s cold out there tonight, considering that two days ago it was +35 and by Monday that temperature is booked for a return appearance. But tonight a cool wind is blowing, which makes it feel like Autumn is right around the corner, and Iâ€™m not at all ready for that.
It is late though, but for it being my holiday time, I should be in bed. But Iâ€™m up thinking about a few things, a few people.
I am thinking about a few of you that I know out there who sacrifice your time and energy and sometimes a bit of time with your family, and your income, to do something you feel strongly called to do. Serve God.
You are out there, (and Iâ€™ve been praying for you) daily taking care of churches and caring for people. You have sacrificed comfort and ease for hard work and difficulties, because somewhere inside you felt God call you to a place or a work, and you honestly only wanted to be faithful to that sense of call.
And now you try to love people who donâ€™t like your accent or what you wear or even how you do things. Some of you serve two or three churches and that leaves you with no time to go deep with people you truly care about.
Some of you work â€œpart timeâ€ because the church doesnâ€™t have enough money to pay you for full time work, and we know that part time doesnâ€™t mean you go for half a visit when someone is dying in the night.
Some of you work with people who really donâ€™t want you there, and they worked hard to make sure you wouldn't come there, and now that you are there they work hard to see you leave.
Others of you, if you were to count up the hours worked, are getting about 8 or 9 or 10 dollars an hour, while trying to pay for an education that didn't always prepare you for these realities of ministry.
Little fruit, lost moments with family, driving a tired old station wagon. These are some of the things you know well.
Tonight I'm thinking about some of those pastors who have lost their way a bit, or who are discouraged. This isn't a pity party here, this is just me, a fellow pastor saying I know, I get it. I understand and I've been talking to God about you, and your needs.
I need to remind us that success, our success, doesn't look like the success the rest of the world knows and aims for. That there is huge value in sacrifice, and that following a call God has placed in your spirit may not be easy, but it is the road we choose to walk.
So continue to walk it out. Remain faithful to God, and love your spouses and your kids. Do what you can to point your people to God, always pointing to the cross and Christ who hung there. And as best you can, love those Christ has brought you to. More than teaching or leading or counselling them, love them. For that will do more to see them change than any other one thing you can do. Just love them.
And take care of your own hearts. Guard against unforgiveness which leads to bitterness. Keep praying. Take a nap. Play with your kids. Be real. And love the one you're with. If that's yourself, it still follows.
And now I shall follow some of my own advice.
Be it ever so humbleâ€¦
Yeah, itâ€™s good to be home. After Chicago and then Edmonton Iâ€™m thinking lately how living in complex, difficult places effects a person. Just a few days in a large city leave me frustrated and a bit angry.
I think thatâ€™s as deep as this post will go.
Its good being home, even though itâ€™s still hot. I get a few more days off to rest up before back to work next week.
If you want to see some pics, I created a set on Flickr.
It really is good to be home.
Running on hour two at the Apple Store, and the Apple TV looks amazing.
Although the family is embarrassed by me looking at my You Tube videos on the big screen here. They won't come near me.
Next up, we are getting to the new Batman flick at the IMAX here in the Mall.
It's where the actual bodies of people have been plasticized and made to be in various poses.
I'm still not sure how I am feeling about it. It's something I've wanted to see for a long time, but it felt weird.
I've been with dead bodies many times, and others I've been with when they have died, I have a deep respect for that final human step.
So there was a strange feeling about this display, that tried to be about education but sometimes felt like it was about money.
Anyway it was a cool opportunity, probably once in a lifetime.
Today we are off to see the worship space for much of Western Civilization, the West Edmonton Mall.
Oh and yesterday was the hottest day of the year here, another sweaty day in paradise.
So I figured I'd have a hotel bath. Good idea.
My home bath tub is small and shallow and a bath there is anything but enjoyable. (think packing a cello in a Volkswagen).
So I had an idea. My friend just bought a Jaguar x-type, half mid life crisis, half just a great price. So my idea was that my midlife crisis will be getting a big, wide, sloping back, bathtub.
Now that is a sweet idea.
God is always moving, always at work in and around us. He is busy being God, reaching out to us, loving us, desiring contact. And we, often unaware of all the grace at work on our behalf, miss the point.
We miss the subtle contact and look for the earth shattering, life splitting event.
Or worse yet, we carry on with our busy lives, too focused on our own stuff to look for eternity or the Holy. What self absorbed blighters we are.
I want to listen for the movement of the Holy Spirit in my life, but Iâ€™m not sure I have the courage to do that. When he calls, many times it comes in the form of an invitation to faith. To trust.
Think, the children of Israel standing by the Red Sea with the Egyptians beating a path to their rear guard.
Think, Peter getting out of the boat.
Think, Jesus in the garden, hoping his life wonâ€™t end in the morning.
There is always an invitation to faith, and I donâ€™t know if I have even a mustard sized faith to believe him for the big things he may be asking of me.
They seem so huge, and I am so, so ordinary. So me.
Funny that, (funny interesting, not funny Haha) funny that even after all these years of knowing God, I still occasionally struggle with faith. Stepping into, and trusting the unknown, especially after heâ€™s always shown himself faithful to me.
I think itâ€™s just a bit of weariness tonight. The weather has been so hot, and the evenings have been spent on beautiful outdoor patios, chatting with friends, staying up, probably too late.
Tonight Iâ€™ll do a little more reading and maybe a bit of studying, then get to bed. Tomorrow is another day, with itâ€™s own new and unique invitations to faith. And God will be active and moving, looking for those whose hearts are moving towards his own.
May you sleep well this night, and may your own hearts be moving, towards His own.
Yeah, nearly 30C without air conditioning.
Windows wide open, loud, crank the tunes louder, and drive hard.
Which made the cool of the evening so much more enjoyable.
We went to a friends place for a BBQ supper and just mostly chilled out on the deck, watching the sun go down, and take the heat with it. It was in the country, so the view was clear.
And then as the sun fell beneath the horizon, the moon rose up on the other side of the sky, nearly full.
We are tired. Lauralea is already cutting wood beside me, so I'm off to the shower, then I'll join her. Tomorrow is another hot day.
Driving the kids to school because at â€“43C my van was the only thing to start, and dropping them off at school and going home.
Yes, when itâ€™s +30C this weekend, lets give pause and remember.
Chilling. Yes I know.
Jesus People USA are doing a very interesting thing with discipleship. Inviting people to come live with them in the Community.
The Evangelical Covenant Church website has a piece on this.
The Project 12 discipleship program offered by Jesus People USA Covenant Church gives participants the unique opportunity to deepen their spiritual lives by living communally.
â€œI think the strength of real discipleship is not just needing new information, but transformation that comes through relationships,â€ says Glenn Kaiser, one of the churchâ€™s pastors who helped create the program.
The 10-month Project 12 program includes in-depth biblical studies, history, theology, prayer and meditation, lectio divina, inner-city work with homeless families, and a two-week mission trip. The program has used books by N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jean Vanier, and A.W. Tozer.
Only a couple of the courses are lecture-based. Most of them are in a question-and-answer format. â€œItâ€™s talking and reasoning together,â€ Kaiser says.
Ultimately, it is the community based education that makes the program unique, Kaiser says. Students live among the other members of Jesus People (JPUSA), all of who live communally in the inner city of Chicago.
â€œIt is like if you went to a Bible school and you were able to live with all your instructors.â€ Although classes are led by leaders from Jesus People, members of North Park Theological Seminaryâ€™s faculty also have taught.
Even the evaluation of studentsâ€™ progress is rooted in community. No grades are given. Rather, leaders discuss with students how well they are doing.
The program was launched in 2006 after years of consideration. Kaiser would research discipleship programs as he traveled with one of his bands throughout the United States and Europe.
People from around the world have applied to be in the program. Applications are being accepted through September 1. Classes start September 20. Students can join the program at the beginning of any of the trimesters into which the program is divided. The $3,000 tuition includes room, board, and books.
Kaiser says anyone seeking to grow spiritually can benefit from the program. Some students return to their home church, others use it to prepare for the mission field, and others have elected to stay and live at the community.
I love the idea, and I know some of the pastors there. If they can make it work, it will be very cool.
Well well well, FINALLY somebody has an actual dead Sasquatch.
Press Conference to confirm will be this Friday. Plan your day around it.
via. Brad. My Bigfoot Connection.
It often happens that just before our vacation, we have a real deally of a go, so that's how I know it must be on.
I thought I was helping out by clearing off a 6' x 5' x 4' high rubarb plant.
Turned out I was wrong. I could tell that by the size of the knife she brought out - to clean up my mess.
Even after 23 years I get it wrong. I really thought I was helping her because she wouldn't have the time to do anything with it...
But I was wrong.
I think our understanding now is that I don't touch her rubarb or rasberries or strawberries or cherry trees or goodberries or blackberries. I need to let her deal with such things. I need to be patient about these things too.
So we ate bran muffins with rasberries in them this morning, and drank tea and smoked the peace pipe.
I believe our holidays have now begun.
3:50 PM CST Tuesday 12 August 2008
Tornado watch for
Prince Albert - Shellbrook - Spiritwood - Duck Lake continued
Funnel clouds and possible tornadoes are possible this afternoon into early this evening.
Conditions are favourable for the development of funnel clouds or weak tornadoes. These types of funnel clouds form out of large cumulus clouds or very weak thunderstorms and normally do not have the energy to reach the ground. However one or two of these funnels may briefly touch down and can become destructive over a very small area. Treat all funnel clouds and tornadoes seriously and avoid when possible. Should one develop overhead take shelter until it dissipates. Remember these funnel clouds will normally appear with little or no warning.
Well, this could be better than cable tv!
Iâ€™ll have to get a good seat and keep my eyes opened.
We took all the songs we sing and placed their words on a blog, so that now we have a list of our used tunes and the variety of people who create our worship slides for Sunday can go there and access the words in the ways we normally sing them.
Create your own and you can leave it with public or private access.
Well I should make it clear, they ran the girls games, never did see a guys game.
I think, though I'm not sure, that that sport has the smallest use of clothing of any of the sports.
Interesting way to start off the Olympics.
So as the week went on it became clear that I wasnâ€™t going to be able to get away from work just yet, but the guest speaker had been arranged for and so I led worship and let him preach.
It was a good thing to do.
He (Marc) had prepared some really good material and his point was well made and effective.
And, I got to twitter a bit during his preaching, which Iâ€™ve wanted to do. (Iâ€™d also like to work out a way for people to ask questions while Iâ€™m preaching, via Twitter, but thatâ€™s another question for another day)
Anyway, it was good to listen to another one preach, and it was nice to lead worship again. The best part was again how God orchestrated the different parts of the service to fit so well together. That always is cool.
Now, lets see about that holiday.
WINNIPEG - Amid a circuslike atmosphere, a community paid respects and said goodbye Saturday afternoon to Tim McLean, the Winnipeg man who was savagely stabbed to death on a Greyhound bus July 30.
Seven months pregnant, Stacey Titterton stood on a sidewalk in sweltering heat to ensure a peaceful funeral for the slain 22-year-old man she'd never met.
Titterton, like hundreds of others, was there to send a message to extremist protesters who had threatened to picket outside the funeral and to disrupt family and friends of McLean's.
After much fanfare, those protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas never arrived. However, an estimated 300 to 400 peaceful mourners came to mourn with the McLean family outside the church.
"I think we're a fairly strong community, so when someone starts bashing someone that died, that we will unite together. We have to show that Canada will not tolerate this," said Titterton, who was standing in the shade alongside a like-minded friend.
"I don't believe it's any of my personal business to be (inside the funeral), because I didn't know him. But I believe showing support outside, there's nothing wrong with that . . . this is just an honest, silent way of showing the way we feel."
McLean, was stabbed to death and beheaded last month, as the bus travelled to Winnipeg from Edmonton.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, a recent immigrant to Canada, is being held as a suspect in the killing, which chilled the nation and garnered worldwide attention.
Just after lunchtime, Winnipeggers crammed sidewalks in a peaceful blockade to stop the protesters.
The Westboro protesters had threatened to picket the funeral with the message that McLean's death was God's punishment for Canada's policies that enable homosexuality, abortion and adultery. They never came, following promises by the Winnipeg Police Service anyone disrupting the funeral would be facing arrest. Several members of the group also were turned away from the Canadian border Thursday after Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day issued an alert.
We spent this beautiful evening sitting in an outdoor coffee place, with some old friends from our history.
They came up yesterday, just to see us a bit and last night we shared supper together and late today we showed them Prince Albert, and spent a lovely evening eating good food and good drinks and remembering and catching up and updating each other on our lives.
It was so good to see them again, and how often will someone drive 9 hours just to see you and hang out a bit and eat a bit then drive back 9 hours? Thatâ€™s just cool.
So hereâ€™s to good memories and old friends. And when you can mix the two, its way more than double the fun.
Russian tanks have entered the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, says Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Georgia has been fighting separatists with ties to Russia in order to regain control of the province, which has had de facto independence since the 1990s.
Georgia is reported to have said any involvement of Russian forces in the conflict will result in a state of war.
Russia's president promised to defend Russian citizens in South Ossetia.
Moscow's defence ministry said more than 10 of its peacekeeping troops in South Ossetia had been killed and 30 wounded in the Georgian offensive. At least 15 civilians are also reported dead.
Nato, the US and the EU have all called for an immediate end to hostilities.
Georgia's president said 150 Russian tanks and other vehicles had entered South Ossetia.
He told CNN: "Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory."
Mr Saakashvili, who has called on reservists to sign up for duty, said: "This is a clear intrusion on another country's territory.
"We have Russian tanks on our territory, jets on our territory in broad daylight," Reuters new agency quoted him as saying."
He also said Georgian forces had shot down two Russian jets on Georgian territory, although Russia denied any of its fighters had entered its neighbour's airspace.
Moscow's defence ministry said reinforcements for Russian peacekeepers had been sent to South Ossetia "to help end bloodshed".
Following reports of Russian deaths, President Dmitry Medvedev said: "I must protect the life and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are," Interfax news agency reported.
"We will not allow their deaths to go unpunished. Those responsible will receive a deserved punishment."
More wars and rumours of war.
You should be in bed by now, and fast asleep.
I sweat so much today, think I should have lost like 8 pounds. Most of the day was about the funeral I officiated at. Now, think of me in my black suit, with black shirt and black tie and black undershirt, and the outside temperature was about 28C. Add to that that the church air conditioning was broken, and the trip out to the cemetery 30 minutes north of the city was in a limo with a broken air conditioner and there you go. Me sitting in a puddle.
For a multitude of reasons, this funeral took between 12 and 15 hours to prep for and walk through. That felt like a long time to me, but you do what you gotta do to be ready for it. I know it isnâ€™t about the amount of time for us, because weâ€™re not about the volume of product we get out the door. I know that, and I get that.
After the funeral I ran up to the hospital where one of our people had just undergone surgery and I hadnâ€™t been aware of it. She wasnâ€™t doing really well, and she was hurting and lost and alone and I stayed with her a while. We prayed and she wanted me to come again, which I promised before I remembered Iâ€™m already on day three of my holidays. Iâ€™ll need to fulfil my promises somehow.
I left ICU and as I was walking past the waiting area I enjoyed a moment in the air conditioned bliss. I collapsed into a chair, undid my tie and leaned back, closed my eyes and realized Iâ€™m not 25 any longer.
Iâ€™m not doing things like I did back then. Iâ€™m not doing as many things or as fast. No, Iâ€™m surely not 65 yet, but I realized I am exactly in between. Iâ€™m 45.
So, I am smarter, and I do better work because I am more experienced, but itâ€™s a trade off for youthful energy and zeal and ignorance.
What mad designer made it work like this.
â€œOh, you can be youthful and full of energy and life and be stupid, or you can be wise and experienced and insightful and slow.â€
â€¦yeah, the blue pill or the red one.
I think I like this place better, but the promise to go up to the hospital to visit people while on my holidays indicates that I may still be stupid.
Either that, or Iâ€™m beginning to realize how growing older can be just a really scary, lousy time, and nobody should have to be alone when it hurts and your body is failing you and your mind is fast following your body.
Yes there are some perks with aging. But there are some penalties too.
Iâ€™m just not yet sure if itâ€™s a fair trade off.
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
You know that summer is here when the Proms is happening in the United Kingdom.
And of course BBC 3 is right there broadcasting live many of the concerts.
These are the days of beautiful, live music that stir the soul and heal hurting hearts. So bring it on and listen to as many concerts as you can.
Right now BBC is playing a concert and the music is Ravel's BolÃ©ro, one of my favourites.
On Sunday after the closing song of â€œThey will know we are Christians by our Love,â€ I made a bit of an irreverent, but fitting comment that they will know we are Covenanters by our Potlucks.
Ahem, yes indeed.
So for those of you who have eaten one too many jello salads at church potlucks, now itâ€™s payback time. You may now play with your food.
Enjoy. And donâ€™t loose too many work hours on it.
The day Thous gavest, Lord, is ended
The darkness falls at Thy behest
To Thee our morning hymns ascended
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest
We thank Thee that Thy church unsleeping
While earth rolls onward into light
Through all the world her watch is keeping
And rests not now by day or night
As o'er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day
The voice of prayer is never silent
Nor dies the strain of praise away
The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren 'neath the western sky
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high
So be it, Lord! Thy throne shall never
Like earth's proud empires, pass away
Thy kingdom stands, and grows for ever
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.
The cake was dark chocolate, with a creamcheese centre and the creamcheese was filled with chocolate chunks. That's long been my favourite that Lauralea makes, and she's always made it well.
Thomas gave me a boxed set of James Bond movies and Micah is taking me out to see the new Batman movie.
The church got me a singing card (Thanks for all the big bucks), and Lauralea made me breakfast and a card.
Hillary reports to have made me a card and since she makes $29 an hour she figured an investment of $38 in me was enough for my birthday.
So, not a bad day. I think we may be watching Bond, James Bond, tonight.
And thanks for the good wishes.
Not only my birthday, but today starts my yearly holiday break. Woo Hoo.
And, though Iâ€™d like to say I was wakened up with a long lingering kiss from herself, it wasnâ€™t to be.
She was already up, coughing and spewing and generally being totally and completely ill.
And that didnâ€™t really get me up anyway. No, it was the phone call after 8 am from a family in town whose funeral for their dad I was going to attend this week. Well it seems the family funeral plans have degenerated into an internal squabble, and half the family doesnâ€™t like who was going to do the funeral and half want me to do it. Now they arenâ€™t really talking, and they want me to take care of, well, everything.
So, on holidays, but not.
Lauralea is as sick as it gets, but her â€œonly gift to me is the special meals she is preparingâ€¦â€ so she isnâ€™t going back to bed anytime soon.
And yeah, like that.
And Iâ€™m 45. Thatâ€™s like there is no way to deny or work my head around the fact that I am indeed middle aged.
I even bought a exercise cycle the other day and have been working out on it â€“ well, twice so far. But yeah, I am well ensconced in middle age.
Woo. hoo indeed.
At least I know what Iâ€™ll be doing this first week of holidays. I donâ€™t always like not knowing what Iâ€™ll be doing.
and thanks for all your facebook well wishes. You are a great bunch.
Sometimes I feel pulled in too many directions.
(A pic taken yesterday with my brothers Apple computer.)
On this Civic Holiday I wish to pay homage to the Province Iâ€™ve lived most of my life in. Saskatchewan.
Iâ€™ve lived here a total of some 28 years or so, so I speak with some authority.
Sadly however, I was not born here. But many of my family was. My dadâ€™s side of the family broke the land and built a family farm north of Saskatoon, even before this place was an official province. So I figure I have land rights here.
Why I love this place?
1. Its perfect rectangular shape.
This place is the best and easiest place to draw when you are in grade four and asked to draw a picture of your province. Four lines, shaped like a rectangle. How perfect is that??
I love this place.
2. The People.
The people here are people close to the earth. They are well grounded and caring people. Iâ€™ve traveled a bunch and the more I get around, the more I appreciate the generous and good people of this province. If you have car trouble here, no problem, just stop and ask.
Recently we had some friends from BC travel through the province and stop in for a short visit. That small exposure to Saskatchewan hospitality made them want to live here, and the last I heard they were making plans to move.
This place has great people.
3. The Saskatchewan Roughriders
The green Rider-Nation extends across this country from sea to shining sea, because once youâ€™ve been to a rider game and suffered long with them through their drought seasons, you are hooked.
I was here and old enough to remember the end of the Ron Lancaster winning years, and itâ€™s been such a looooong loosing season, that this present 6 and 0 year has been fun. But the fact that we have had a 25 year loosing streak has only brought more fans to the green and white. Where else on earth (Beside Toronto and their Loosing Leafs) could you see that happening?
No, the riders are a provincial deal and people travel for hours just to get to a game.
And even when Iâ€™ve left the province, Iâ€™ve still cheered for the Green and White, because they are the best.
4. Saskatchewan is not about the individual, it is about the community.
Opposite to Alberta with her rugged individual emphasis, we are about the community. This may have come from the early years when you needed your neighbours to help survive the long winters. You couldnâ€™t get by on your own.
Out of this emphasis came universal health care, and, I believe, the Credit Union movement. The Co-op (Cooperative) was all about us doing things together that we couldnâ€™t do apart.
The world has benefited from this distinctive of being from Saskatchewan. And we are too community minded to honk our own horn about this.
I love this about us.
5. Corner Gas
This funny funny show, based in Saskatchewan, has become so much bigger than prairie humour. When I travel and mention where Iâ€™m from, people ask about that show and I can proudly confirm their views of life in small town Saskatchewan.
It does real Saskatchewan small town life, to a tee. And thatâ€™s whey itâ€™s so funny.
6. Itâ€™s Beautiful.
Thatâ€™s why I love this place.
Now, why do you like it?
Boy I was tired.
Holidays begin tomorrow. But it looks like we have a funeral to be about on Thursday, and I should be in the office a couple of days this week for meetings and a bit of finalizing the Internship we ran this summer.
But that nap was gooood.
The week draws to a close tonight and I am glad.
After the tough journey home we were contented to fall in to bed last night, somewhat exhausted. Three or four hours later we were awakened with loud music and drunken partying just outside our bedroom window. The neighbours and their many guests were intent on partying till they dropped. And they didnâ€™t drop.
I donâ€™t know how they can maintain a drunk as long as they are able, really. And I totally donâ€™t get a culture where thatâ€™s what you do with your friends, all night long.
I donâ€™t get it.
Except maybe to try to fill some empty space inside with numbing, pain dulling activities, I suppose. The kicker is that that is what their kids learn to do with their lives too, and the cycle continues on towards the abyss.
Anyway, the police didnâ€™t stop them, and we couldnâ€™t get any sleep in our hot room with the window closed, so we eventually just got up.
So we are tired, and one of us is very cranky because she is also getting a cough in her chest and head. And, there are five cars at the neighbours house, which causes a sick feeling in our corporate gut tonight.
And tomorrow I am talking a bit about being salt and light in a world that is often tasteless and dark. And I look at my neighbours and wonder if I have anything profound to say. We have worked to be good neighbours to them and their children, but Iâ€™m not too sure how effective that has been.
The house next door is a rental property and we have contact with the owners and I know that a few properly directed complaints would get them moved on. I believe some of the other neighbours have made complaints and we have had contact with the owners, but we are concerned that the kids, who already have enough working against them, donâ€™t get moved around again and again.
So we do pray for them, and we try to be salt and light around the different neighbours, but days like today really test things.
Which may just underscore the depth of darkness that resides out there in the world. There have been such great depths of pain in our world these past days that it makes one almost feel hopeless.
Late in the night on a quiet run of highway in Manitoba, a 22 year old is killed on a Greyhound bus on his way home to his family.
As it would happen, the same hotel we were stuck in during our delayed flight, was the hotel that some of the passengers of that bus ride were being kept. It was also the place the family of the slain boy were being gathered. Some of them needed to talk, to say some things, to exercise some inner demons. In such a darkness, the lightness of listening can help to dispel a little of the darkness. So we did listen. Just small, informal ways we listened to some staff and family with the hope that the deep dark of their night might lift just a little bit.
But dang, the darkness is deep out there. And in such a deep darkness, even a small, flickering flame can make a huge difference.
This I know is true.
I hope it makes a difference for our neighbours one day too.
And she isn't always one to turn on the phone... but that's another story for another day.
Today when I turned on the cell there were a ton of messages from a bunch of you who live in Winnipeg and offered us a place to stay for the night, and refreshments to partake in.
How cool was that, to get those invitations. You people are too cool. I'm only sorry I didn't have the phone with me at the time.
So thanks to those of you who kindly offered your hospitality this week. I may try to get stuck in Winnipeg again real soon.
So it seems I am now aÂ bona-fide, certified,Â Spiritual Director. That may make no difference in what I do around here, but it does give me greater tools to use. I know there is more depth in there too, after having taken the course, and that's good.Â
The course came for me at a time when I was getting really tired of doing the same things over and over as a pastor. It really opened new rooms within me to explore and findÂ resourcesÂ in my relationship with God that I never new existed. I am better equipped to offer care now. I have experienced greater depth in my relationship with God, and with others I must add too. So I am very glad for being able to take the course.
And I am very glad for being done the coursework too.
I think it required more from me than I expected it would. It certainly asked for more from my family and more from my church than they signed up for. But they were both veryÂ supportiveÂ and patient with me.
Now, after 24 hours travel home, (It's SOOOO good to be home and I won't fly United or maybe even Air Canada again for a long time if I can help it...) yeah, it's so good to be home.
Well, there are some repairs to do in the house after last springs snow melt. And we go on holidays next week. And I gotta keep listening for God for this Autumn. Whether I like it or not, things feel like they are shifting, moving around. I need to listen carefully and hear well. Maybe I can hear better without the constant expectation of needing to finish my homework that I've felt each week, for the past three years.
Ahhh. Feels good to be done.
and at home.
Oh, and P.S.
Thomas and Micah, on their own for the week?
They totally owned it. They proved they are mature, able young men. I think they took better care of the place than I do, and they certainly ate better than I did.