not home

Thursday, July 31, 2008
stuck in Winnipeg.

United was three hours late with our plane in Chicago.

No free room.

No food.

Hungry and as they called us, distressed passengers.

We are indeed.

Stuck in O'Hare

Big storm brewing outside so or flight is delayed.

I'm sitting on the floor waiting. At least I'm not stuck on a hot plane waiting.

So far we are delayed half an hour, so far.

I hope this doesn't go on all night. I really want to sleep in my bed tonight.

It's flight UA6657 then flight AC8295 if you want to track them online.

On the way home

should be there by midnight.

It took nearly 24 hours to get here, and it's going to take about 12 to get home.

anyway, leaving now for O'Hare.
I really hope there are no long sitting on the runway activities planned for the day.

See you when its 10 degrees cooler.

So ready to be home

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hot. Humid. All the fun things in life are here.
And I'm about ready to be home.

We picked up a few souvenirs this morning and this afternoon we are heading downtown again. Tonight we are finding Andy's Jazz Lounge, my regular haunt. Mike Smith is playing tonight and I want to hear him.

But now, we are off to find a Chicago Hot Dog. There is a famous place down the road from campus, where we are now.

This clip was taken the other day, after the river cruise.


All. Done.

Sunday, July 27, 2008
I suppose the lead up to the finish has been long and I've already been living into being done for a while now, so that today was mostly a low key day of celebration and realization that I have completed the certificate program in Spiritual Direction at North Park Seminary.

Whew. Wow.

Three years ago when the church encouraged me to undertake this path of certification and training, I had no idea of the intensity of it, or of the work required to complete the course. I do now, and I'm different for it. Better, much better even.

My evaluations and personal reviews with my peer group and my professors were very affirming, not just in the area of Spiritual Direction, but in what I brought Pastorally to the class and to my training. There is this pastoral or shepherding vibe that I carry about in me that, when given room, can bring some healing to a place. Funny how I'm finding myself at the end of that road, again. I need to hear that, and accept that, and use it for good.

My classmates of Cohort 2, classy bunch that they are, gathered from all over the world, and I shall miss them immensely. We have practiced on each other, listened to one another, laughed and cried, literally, with each other, been pressured together, worshiped and prayed and mocked each other, and now celebrated for each other.

Last night I sat beside a Latino friend who finally worked up the nerve to ask about a very painful part of my life relationships that I had shared in direction last year. She had been afraid to ask about it because she did not want to cause me pain, but last night she worked up the nerve to ask. I was glad to be able to tell her how the situation had changed, night to day. She began to weep as she searched for the words to tell me how she had prayed for me through the year.
And that's how it's been for many of us, praying for the other ones.

I will miss them deeply.

It was so good to have Lauralea here today too. Her encouragement to stick with it and freedom to walk away if I wanted, helped me to be able to finish so well. Many many times I was reading or doing homework for the course, working till late into the next morning at the office, and she didn't complain. I was so glad to have her meet this place and these people who have shared my life these years. That was such a good thing, for both of us, and we are grateful.

And now, as we await our flight out of this slowcooker of a city, we shall take in some healing jazz, and some of the best Pizza this world has to offer. A Chicago hotdog, maybe a river cruise, and a shop or church or museum or two. Whatever she wants.

All done, and good night,
from Chicago.

Doesn't feel like saturday

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Still in classes all day, but She comes today!!

Woo Hoo.


hope she remembered her passport...

just a moment of introspection here

Friday, July 25, 2008
These weeks of intensive are fairly named, but aside from the class work, there is always this deep intensive self work going on too.

It's a time of focused openness to God, and a time of vulnerability as your peers poke and test some of your internal processes as you offer direction for others. It's not done with any sense of heaviness or judgment because they do care, and besides, their turn will come next. But they help give eyes to things you may not realize you are doing, or help you face the things you are running from.

It is a time of being brought to your internal processes or sometimes defense mechanisms, and you are encouraged to look there, and go there and see what there is there. It can be exhausting, yet I mostly like it so that I can see what's there. I don't always trust my own judgment about myself.

Tonight, after an exposed day, I'm thinking why I have struggled to allow my feelings a respectable place at the table. No, I'm not a touchy feely guy, and I'm ok with that, we all are not the same. And to be sure, I've come a loooooong way with that all. It's just that some of that Loooooong way is only surface and underneath it all, feelings are still not a legitimate player in me.

I sometimes diminish my or other peoples feelings I guess because I consider them invalid or weak or something. Yet they can be the most profound indicators of the condition of the soul. My nun tells me that feelings are indicators of the state of the soul, and she may be right. Probably is. But I still have a ways to go.

I feel like I want to sing "Feelings, whoa whoa whoa Feelings...."

Anyway, you are not my shrink, nor is this space. It's just what's going on in my head, miles away from home, after tons of hard work.

Tomorrow is more evaluations and reviews and a supper out with the class. Then I think we are heading down to millennium park for a concert and fireworks.

But best of all, Lauralea is arriving sometime tomorrow. Then we'll have to see about all these "Feelings."

Good nite from Hot humid Chicago.

Prayer of Surrender

The other night as I rested and tried to sleep there were many things going through my head. Things that I don't wish to face, yet I really need to face. Roads I don't really want to go down, yet I know they are roads down which I will see God. I suppose I was just wrestling with God about being obedient, till 2 am.

Then this morning in prayer, a classmate brought to us and reminded us of the Prayer of Surrender, by St. Ignatius. It's not an easy prayer to own, and some of the words want to get caught in the back of the throat, but I prayed them. I think I need to keep praying them for a while.

take, Lord, and receive
my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
my entire will,
everything I have and call my own.
You gave me all these gifts,
and to you I return them.
Dispose of them entirely according to your will.
Give me only your love and grace.
this is all I ask.

St. Ignatius


and amen.

Dear Lauralea

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Ok, as per your order, I got you three like this:

And I got you three like of this:

And I got you some of this:

And I got the guys lots of this

And I got me this:

Not a bad haul for an evening's effort.

Everybody's happy.


a sense of...


So our class is using the old Seminary Board room for our classroom and we sit across from one another, which can be really interesting if the presenter is completely uninteresting, or regurgitating some stuff we have already covered. We are actually starting to behave like grade 12 students who own the school and know that in a few short days we will graduate.

This morning was one of those mornings when the guest presenter was, well, just off his game a bit. I thought it was just my perception till I looked across the table at people with their eyes getting bigger and about to explode, or yawning or doing email on their iphones, or as one guy was doing, marking down every time the presenter used the phrase "a sense of." (Which, for those of you who are keeping score was 74 times not including the half hour before he started keeping score.) And another classmate who kept track of the "Um's" which was 96 times.

We sat around the table at lunch and laughed like I haven't laughed in such a long time. Kinda good to be back in High School once again.

Tomorrow I believe the topic is Psychology and Spiritual Direction.

I'm sure that will be like leading the lamb to the slaughter.

On my way to class... Wednesday

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Full day today.
Lecture stuff all morning, then this afternoon I am offering Spiritual Direction to someone in the Cohort 4 class, and finally we will have our peer group presentations on issues arrising from our Direction.
Yeah, I know, bla bla bla...

Tonight I'm getting to a lecture on campus by Robert Kelleman on The Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.

It's suppose to be very good. Hope so.

Anyway, I've updated my flickr photos, taking some shots on the way to calss this morning, and in class.

Here are Tom, Neil and David, in my class.

And here is the set I'm updating.


Morning Prayer Time


Gotta get back to it.


In Class

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
yep, I've arrived at North Park and yesterday was spent north of the city at a beautiful retreat center.

Quiet. All day. It was good.


And the first morning is behind us and now things will pick up speed considerably. Right now I'm on lunch break, (Yes Lauralea I am eating, I just ate one of those peanut butter bars you sent along...) and catching up in the computer lab.

Computer lab over Lunch

That's Marc from San Diego who is smiling. And, if he reads this, he's in my class and an alright guy.

That's taken a moment ago from my seat at the computer.

In other pic's you can check out my flicker account with some more images.

The Retreat Chapel

I've started a new set for this trip to make it easier.

It's here.

Anyway, things are underway. I've been sleeping up to nine hours a night, and I'm still tired. Probably the heat and humidity. It'll melt anything, especially good intentions.


Be well. And boy's don't forget to mow the lawn.

In Chicago

Sunday, July 20, 2008
I have arrived.

Small planes. Full planes.

It dawned on me as I sat in O'Hare for a while today, waiting for my luggage, that the Airport is the first contact one makes with the spirit of a City or State or Country when you fly in.

When you drive in, you ease into it and get accustomed to it, but flying in can be a shock to the system.

Because each place has a different vibe, or spirit.

Flying into O'Hare is not unlike a shot in the gut.  The whole American vibe and big city feel, etc.

Course, maybe that's just me. Or maybe I'm just sensitive towards it. It probably explains why I get a gut feel of a country or city when I first land in an airport.


Interesting that. There are upsides and downsides to everything we are, I guess.

Anyway, tomorrow early the week starts with an all day and evening silent retreat.

I shall use the cone of silence to talk to God.



Waiting to Fly

It seems a crazy time to travel as I sit here at gate B7 at the Saskatoon Airport.

Too early.

And I'd love a coffee but I don't want to wake up my system yet. Maybe I can sleep during takeoff.

... Gotta go. They are calling.

What’s a guy to do?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alright you travellers. Question.

It’s going to be HOT and HUMID in Chicago while I’m there. As such, I plan to wear loose and little clothing, especially during my forays downtown.

So, how do I carry everything with me?

My wallet and camera and pda. My change and a map or two, pen, napkin or kleenex for that emergency nose problem, etc.

You get what I’m saying?

In Winter I have enough pockets for it all. But summer travel is tough. Pocket space wise.

I’m not a big fanny pack guy, and carrying around a manpurse, well, it has to be a big manpurse to carry all that crap.  And I’m not secure enough in my identity to pull that off.

So options?

What’s to be done?

What do you do, when you do it. Or do you even do it?


Talk back.


Isle of Mull

Friday, July 18, 2008

Last summer, on our way to Iona off the west coast of Scotland, we took a ferry to the Isle of Mull. We landed on Mull at a town called Craignure which is a most beautiful part of the earth.

The other day I found this webcam that is just north of Craignure. It faces north east, and the land across the water is the mainland of Scotland.

I’ve been watching it for a couple of days, waiting to see a huge ferry or two pass by. Mostly it’s been obscured by low, lazy clouds. But its beautiful.

It helps pacify the urge in me to be near the sea again.




All systems are go


- All assignments must be submitted from previous courses before the start of this intensive.


- Complete the required readings before the week of the class.


- For either Vest (ch. 1-10) or Rice prepare a question, comment, and significant quote for each chapter.

CHECK and Emailed

- Write a 8 page paper on how you envision spiritual direction being extended in your life and ministry?


- Be punctual, present and engaged in all scheduled events of the week …  This is a very full week; please come as rested as possible and minimize activities outside of the program.

CHECK. Well, as CHECK as possible.

- Prepare a presentation for a group of your peers of an issue arising from your spiritual direction since your last supervision.


- Prepare and Lead a morning, midday, or evening devotional office as assigned.


- Be prepared to create a sacred space for your spiritual directing sessions through the use of textile and symbols.


- Prepare and bring written records of one or two dreams that you have had along with your reflections. (see Guidelines for Dream Reports).


- Complete self, course, and program evaluations.



Now where is my passport? And what kinds of clothing can I pack that travels well (Doesn’t get all wrinkly), and is cool (Because the temperature in Chicago this week is in the mid 30’s C and that is before the humidity).

I need to remember to pack all my completed assignments too. Oh and American money, and a few maps, and I need to print off my ticket.


I think I’m finally ready to go, finally.

The journey starts tomorrow night and continues early Sunday morning at 6am with my flight to Chicago. I arrive at three and hopefully I will be able to get to the place I am staying, before 5 pm. Nearly 24 hours after I leave home.

The week looks pretty full with lectures and classes and practicum, mornings afternoons and evenings. There is even a book signing party one of our course supervisors is hosting as a celebration of the launch of a book she has been working on, through our years there.

Then, next weekend Lauralea is flying down to join me for Graduation. That is so cool. Some friends are making it possible for her to join me for the day. We are so blessed.

Then we’ll do a bit of sightseeing, and take in some Jazz, and get back home.


This course has taken so much out of me, and put so much into me that I sometimes wonder who I am without the constant requirement that another homework deadline is looming. It will feel so good to have completed this work, SO GOOD. I think it will really energize me to finally be done.

And then, to live it out. To be a certified or certificated Spiritual Director. Not that the certificate will make any difference, but there will be expectations that loom from it. Expectations to serve and care for people, in these ways.

It’s a bit exciting too, not really a heavy thing. Because it is who I am. It fits me well and I look forward to being able to offer it to others.


It’s been a long time since February 23, 2006 when I was accepted into the program. So much has changed.


I can’t believe I’m nearly done.

North Park Seminary, here I come.




When you get what you want, but not what you need

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I love this version of Coldplay’s Fix You. Of course the concert is filled with screaming passionate Canadians and no, that's not an oxymoron.




When you try your best, but you don't succeed

When you get what you want, but not what you need

When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep

Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face

When you lose something you can't replace

When you love someone, but it goes to waste

Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And I will try to fix you


When you get what you want, but not what you need...

That line has been haunting around in my head the last 24 hours.

When you get what you want, but not what you need...

Isn't that what so much of our pain is from? We don't have, so we fight and kill and push and destroy to gain what we want, and in the end, it wasn't what we needed anyway.

When you get what you want, but not what you need...

It's like a huge admission of personal failure when we face ourselves or our fathers or our mothers, or our God and say I don't know what I want, but you know what I need. Can I have some of what I need, please?

When you get what you want, but not what you need.

I've been around the sun enough times to know that I know what I want, and to know that that's not what I need. Still it doesn't stop me from wanting.

But at least I have learned that I would far rather get what I need, than what I want.

When you get what you want, but not what you need.

But still, even at age 44, it's hard to face myself, or my wife or my God and say I lay down what I want. Can you give me what I need, please?

Yet somewhere in that admission of personal limitation there is room for mercy and grace to push through. And the Light will guide and ignite you. And you will find what you always needed.

And wanted.





The Pastor as Spiritual Guide - Howard Rice

Wow. Where has this book been hiding.

The way Mr. Rice explores the recent history of Pastoral ministry and calls us back to the simple basics of being Spiritual Guides for the church fits exactly with who I always wanted to be as a pastor. It's like finally I've found a pastoral ministry book that makes sense to me in deep ways.

4/5 but only because I don't hand out 5's.


Messed up sleep patterns

I think it started last Saturday night. Between getting the kids off to camp and some drunk neighbours I actually got 2 hours sleep.

Then in the afternoon I slept for four hours.

Then that night I slept for nine hours.

Then Monday night I slept for six hours.

Then Tuesday night I slept for five hours.

Then last night, again due to drinking neighbours and some dingbat ringing my doorbell at 2 am, yes I know the two are probably related, I got five hours sleep.

The reasons are complex and numerous. Homework issues. Drinking neighbours issues. Busy street traffic issues. Even birds singing at three am when they wake up issues.


But that’s just me complaining.

At least I have a great bed to be lying awake in. And I live with someone who at least makes being awake in the night interesting.


But boy I could use a nap, and it’s only 10:30 in the morning.


of robes and absinthe and belly button fuzz. (Yes it all fits)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I know this place has become about as interesting as picking lint out of your belly button lately, but hey, your belly button thanks you...

It's all homework related absence you understand. And as the french like to say, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. (Ok you can laugh now. Even if you don't get the joke, trust me it was a good one and people passing your computer screen behind you will see that and laugh out loud and you don't want to be found to be uncool and not get the joke, so just laugh already)

Enough jocularity for tonight.

I am very glad this night, that I don't find myself in the shoes and robes of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 0 days 10 hours 46 minutes and 38 seconds the Bishops of the Anglican Communion gather to deliberate and retreat and hopefully listen and pray.

They find themselves at the end of a very dark alley with no seeming recourse that doesn't tear the fabric of who they have been. Some would say that tear has already been made. Probably the tear is in Christs eyes.

Anyway, some of my best friends are of that communion, seeking to be faithful in difficult times and so these days I am remembering them and praying for them and hoping for the best for them.

May God be with them in amazing power and presence and may they be distracted in all their plans by His beauty and Glory.

May He be the head of his church.

up. again.

Monday, July 14, 2008
In bed early tonight.

Fell asleep quickly.

Awoke thirty minutes later.

Still up.

I hate when that happens.

Summer Yard 2008

yard summer 2008


Where have I been?

Indeed. Where.

I have been working hard to make sure our church kids get to camp and back, and that has resulted in major loss of sleep, but hey, I’m younger than my wife, so I can handle it I’m sure.

I’ve been walking through some grief things with the loss of a friend and coworker. That’s taken up some space in my head and heart.

I’ve been working like a crazy man to get ready for my last summer intensive at North Park Seminary in Chicago. This will be my last instalment of a three year commitment towards a Certificate in Spiritual Direction I’ve been working on. And if it doesn’t kill me first, it will be an awesome thing to have experienced and grown through. This Saturday all the work has to be completed as I fly south for the week of morning, noon, and night class work.


More subtly though, I’ve been thinking through what it is I do with my life on earth. It’s not directly related to the previous points, but they do come into play a bit. No, I’ve more been thinking as I enter my mid forties and have really about 20 years of work time left according to the rules of the land, what is it that I wish to give my life to.

For a long time I have been thinking in one direction. Working in Spiritual Direction areas, developing young pastors and working with them to mature into quality people who can last and be effective through long tough ministries.


But maybe that is still for a place down the road.

The other thing friends have been speaking towards in my life, is working with struggling, broken churches that because of their brokenness have lost their way or become the butt of many community jokes.


Both of these areas speak to me of the future of the church. She needs so desperately to be healthy again and to find her life in Christ. And she needs quality, and dare I say it, Godly pastors who love the church and are ready to give up their own agenda and ready even to die for her.

It’s no great surprise that both these needs are also not easily transferred through a weekend seminar or a couple of months of presence. Both of them, broken up churches and growing up pastors require presence over an extended period of time. They require someone to commit and be there and love them and not give up on them even through their mistakes and successes.


As for me, yes I have my preferences but the words that I preached yesterday come back to haunt me as I knew they would even as I spoke them. That we as followers of Christ are agents of sacrifice. We are not people of our own agenda. The end of that road leads to being swallowed up by great fish and getting all slimy.

We are people of the cross and that symbol means nothing if it isn’t about sacrifice and love. If we call ourselves disciples of Christ who gave up his own desires for the sake of love, then we too need to walk that road.

So then, I may have my preferences, but in the end I want to lay them down trusting that God knows me better than I know myself.


What better way is there to live a life than to be known by and be obedient to the God of the cosmos?

Now, if I can just do that for these next 20 years, then whatever happens I can consider my life a success.


borrowing a neighbours wifi...

Thursday, July 10, 2008
After three days of dying and three frustrating days of me trying to get repair people in my yard, our sasktel phone and cable and Internet is dead.

Very frustrating.

Is the world at war?
Who is the president now?
Is the iPhone 2 released? How about the iPod touch upgrade??

Three days with no incoming data and I don't know what's happening.

I may freak out.

Untill then, send canned goods and dried astronaut ice cream to my house.

That should keep us alive.

My cell is 306-981-6630

Text me or call if you need to.

Over and out from the data darkened house.

Oh and thanks neighbour for the use of your wifi signal.

Peace. Out.

heading home from the office

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

after a particularly difficult day in which I thought that today was Thursday and I attempted to leave home and go to my Thursday appointments. Luckily Lauralea was at the door and got through my daze that today was really Wednesday. Luckily again that the calendar was on the fridge and she had to prove it to me, which she did.

That kind of explained most of my fuzzy day, which is why I am at the office tonight, working on the service for Sunday.

So I’m going home, keenly aware of the acute pain so very many people are in tonight. There is so much pain going around, be careful out there won’t you?

And tonight if you find yourself one of those hurting ones, let me pronounce a blessing upon you, ok? You just read it and act like a sponge and soak in it.


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

and all the love of God, the Father,

and the closeness of the Holy Spirit,

be with you this night as you rest,

and tomorrow as you arise,

in Him.




and good night.




When somebody mentions Hugh Laurie…

I still think Bertie Wooster rather than Dr. Gregory House.


Pushing it too hard

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Striving. Leaning into the corners. Watching for the boundaries and then pushing right past them…

I try, but I can’t do it like I used to. I’m not a college aged kid any more. I guess.

Books, thoughts, words, integration, focus, then more and more.


Thinking the words through and bringing them into who I am changes my understanding and my approach. Subtle shifts happen in how I see things, and I am renewed.

But I press in to the next work and I’m not ready for more “Renewal.”

Like growing pains in the legs of a 6 foot teenager. Too much growth, brings pain.

Oh it will be ok when you absorb that growth, but for today it just hurts.

So you take a Tylenol and stumble home, falling into bed, brain tired, and body hurting.


And barring any middle of the night train wrecks, back pain, or insomnia, tomorrow you get up and get back at it once again.


Who am I becoming…


this is not nice. Google can be evil.

So it seems my Gmail account has been suspended, hopefully only until tomorrow.

I turned on an app to move a bunch of old emails from my hotmail accounts over to my gmail account and gmail thinks I am a spammer.

Do I look like a spammer????

Well, probably, but that’s beside the point.

This is very frustrating.


I’ll just announce my unsent emails here then shall I?:

“Yes, there is worship band practice tonight at 7 pm”


If you are trying to contact me, try my office at 306-764-7155 or my home at 306-764-0701.

Or leave a comment in the section below.


I just hope my incoming emails are not getting bounced back.

Let me know if they are.


and let’s hope tomorrow I won’t be a spammer any more.


Group Spiritual Direction: Community for discernment - Rose Mary Doughtery

Monday, July 07, 2008
Practical insights into leading Spiritual Direction in groups.

Possibly Thee book on this theme. Many other authors reference this work.


Spiritual Direction in context - Nick Wagner

A good collection of essays on themes pertaining to Spiritual Direction.


Care of mind Care of spirit - Gerald G. May

highlighting the unique differences between Spiritual Direction and psychiatric dimensions of spiritual direction.


For corsework.

What is all the rain that didn’t fall all spring deciding to fall this week?

What, is all the rain that didn’t fall all spring deciding to fall this week?


A work in progress

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I have a friend who is a gifted painter. She re-creates beautiful images from scenes she sees. I have always been amazed when she, or other artists work in one small corner of the painting. Adding a touch of black here or a dab of grey there. How do they know where to add the dab of colour, while just looking at that square inch of painting? Then, standing back, you take in the painting as a whole and it takes your breath away.


Lately in church the same kind of thing has been going on. I’ve been stepping back and just looking, seeing what the painting looks like from a bit further back. I have been surprised, and pleased.

Yes, when you look at one small area of the painting, there is a dab of black on someone's life. A bit of pain and loss, or they just don’t really want to face the things they need to face. But in that same square inch you also see their growth and the love they have for their children or parents or their God.

Then you step back and take in the whole picture. The individual stories that colour the painting. The movement of God through and between the different colours. And it makes sense, it all fits. It takes on a beauty and a value too great to know.

It’s most fun to watch the church be the church during the sharing of the peace, or even after the service, how they linger and share their stories and check up on one another.

Today again, God was in the house, and they shared love with each other. Not just that superficial kind of love either. Oh yeah I know there is still that kind of self serving love out there, but this place is changing. It used to be a “Friendly” church, without being a church of friends. But I would say that more and more they are becoming a church of friends. That just pleases me to the point of tears.

It was good to gather with them again this morning, and to experience God in them too.

The portrait that is being painted will be a beauty, full of colour and life. It will be hard to place a value on it. Someone I know has already spilled his blood for it, and that gives it a value beyond measure.


I can’t wait to see the finished work.


Spent the day in the east

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today I spent nine hours on the road travelling to the east side of the province. I made the run to take Thomas to camp and to pick up some of our kids, including Micah, from camp. Sounds like they had a blast.

I gotta say, that part of the province is beautiful. Lush green, trees, hills, a real beauty.

But four hours drive there and four back with a two hour break in between, makes for a very long day. So it’s good to be back.

Just a long day on the road.

And now I shall post this and do some more prep for tomorrow morning.

And if you get a chance to see mid-eastern Saskatchewan, you should do it.

(Photo by Micah)

Photo by Micah


see through a glass dimly

Friday, July 04, 2008

It’s not just my teeth that are running at a midlife level, so are my eyes. This year especially, my eyes have taken a turn for the worse and if I read close up or in the dim light, like in bed, then I need to hold the book 4 inches from my face and remove my glasses.

The regular reader to this space will recall that I am in the midst of a reading frenzy, trying to complete a small stack of books and write papers on them.

Because of the new difficulty with my eyes, I have become a font snob. I don’t need no small curly fonts when I’m mowing through data. I need some good old Times New Roman so I can get the stuff into my head, at a rate acceptable to the deadlines laid out for me.

One of the books in particular, should be 300 pages but to save money they shrunk the font and made it a little prettier, perhaps as a distraction, I don’t know. It’s presently around 190 pages. And I’m “mowing” through it at about a page every 5 minutes.

SO, I figured out my solution would be to go to a drugstore and get me some of those high power reading glasses and get busy with the book.

And no.

I tried them all on, did the tests, tried again, but they were all blurry for me.


Nothing worked. Maybe with prescription glasses, reading ones don’t help. I’m not sure.

But I’m back to sitting in bright light, late at night, reading. No reading glasses for me.



My world is getting smaller, shrinking a bit as I focus on class work and reading for class and my work at the church, so I crave open spaces again.

Yeah, didn't take too long to abandon a nice colourful design for the site.

But I've been thinking, again,


Actually she's like me in the whole clutter thing, she just doesn't need to be worried about my mad random thinking.

And now that she's not reading, where was I...

Oh yeah, "one"

What if, we had kinda like just one of the stuff we needed.

You know. Like one, or perhaps two but no more than three,



One pencil.

One purse or briefcase.

One scissor. Or is it one scissors?

One radio.

One plate per person.

One vehicle.

One bible.

One salt shaker.

One quilt per bed.

One outdoor hose.

One box for useless papers.

Or one useless paper.

One couch.

One box of storage.

One coat.

One pair of underwear.

Well, ok, the idea breaks down. But you get what I'm after here?

We go through life gathering stuff that sticks to us. Then our job becomes that of stuff storer, and as we age we gather more stuff and need homes for our stuff.

My kids grow up and leave home and when they leave, boy do they have stuff. Not junk, well mostly, but stuff. We've taught them how to gather stuff, I'm just not always sure we've taught them how to not let the stuff own you.

That is a tricky one, because stuff accumulates around you as you progress through life.

You need a certain wrench or pen or marker or scissors for a certain need. Then when that need is met, you are still left with the tool you required, so you rightly save it, because you just paid for it and may have need of it again. This is good stewardship.

But then you end up hauling that tent around for the rest of your life, the one you used for just that one trip camping and have never wanted to use again.

I don't know, there are no easy answers here folks.

Well, unless you have a quonset in the back yard you can use to hold all your stuff.

Collecting or gathering is passive, it happen to you as you progress through life. But divesting yourself of your stuff needs to be active. It takes a deliberate act on your part to lighten the load.

To get rid of. To give away.

I'm not saying I have a handle on this yet people, I'm just saying I've been thinking...

Which can always be dangerous.

“No you’re an anti-dentite”

As near as I can tell my last dentist appointment was two and a half years ago. Not that I’m an anti-dentite, but you know, why poke a stick into a hornets nest if there is nothing wrong with them being there.

teeth Anyway, my local dentist and support staff got tired of nagging me to come in, so they finally just booked an appointment for me and told me to be there. And I, who teach them the value of mutual submission, was duty bound to be there this morning at 8:30am.

Turns out I only have two cavities and for me that's hugely small. Can I say that? Hugely small? You see usually I go for the big numbers, 5, or 7 or even 9 cavities after such a holiday from the dentist. Maybe my kids luck or whatever it is with cavities is finally rubbing off on me. Or maybe it’s just getting old.

One small cavity and one bigger one on a tooth that has already been filled to capacity, so there is really not much tooth there to work with. That may need to be crowned.

Now if only I can figure out this eyeglass reading thing.


Some days I’m not sure it’s worth getting out of bed

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Pregnant man gives birth to baby girl.








I told you so.

If you are reading this from bed, just stay there today. Start new tomorrow.


Beautiful July Day

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

and I have so much work to do that it’s freaking me out.

I’m going to find a quiet, cooler place to get things done.

If you need me, just call and leave a message. Or call and leave a message with my wife. Or write an email. Or send me a letter through the post. Or send me a telegraph.




Trying to get sorted


I received the news on Monday, that the day before a friend had died, violently.

Just south of Edmonton, on a very busy stretch of highway.

His wife is in the hospital. She should physically recuperate.

But he is gone.


And so you get on with the work you need to do.

But its like there is this heaviness nearby, and when you stop to turn around and look again at what it is, you are confronted again, with his sudden death.

And I feel like violently retching. Sick to my stomach.


So the day plunders on. Heart heavy, eyes moist, stomach uneasy.


If you think on them, please pray for the family.


Uh, I forgot to get you something Canada

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

And so another July 1 rolls around, Canada’s Birthday.

Woo Hoo, happy birthday Canada. What is it now 141 years old? I have friends with houses older than you. But none the less, Happy Birthday.

I have become convinced that Canada Day celebrations are for kids.

Micah is away at camp and well the girls are no longer here, only Thomas is here and he’s hardly even up yet.

But previous years would see us get involved in some city celebrations and activities and then end the day by attending fireworks at the river.

Not so much today.

I’m doing homework and Lauralea is doing some chores or something.

Ooh my, what a great way to celebrate the Birthday.

We are learning new ways to be a family I guess. Maybe we’ll go out later and look around at the celebration activities. (bbbboring…)

Or maybe I should just focus on this mad homework rush I am in for a couple of weeks.

But happy birthday Canada. You don’t look too shabby for 141 years.



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