But due to some cancellations and one night of illness, I only had one night away. The other nights I was mostly at home and as it turned out, three of those nights Lauralea was out.
I had time to think. Sometimes that's bad, this time it wasn't.
Upon reflection I don't think I've had a week to do that kind of quiet thinking, or maybe I wasn't ready for it till now. But last week seemed to be about my Dad.
I realized that we don't have a picture of him up anywhere. Like if we don't get a picture of him up some place, I'll forget him. I don't want to forget him.
And the letter. Once a long time ago Dad wrote me a letter, a decent 4 or 5 pager. He would occasionally write something along with mom, but this was from him. It came after he and mom had just met Lauralea for the first time. They liked her a lot and he wanted to take the time to tell me some things.
I remembered that letter last week, and I couldn't find it in the regular places. I was getting concerned it was gone. But last night I found it in a box of love letters. Of course that's where it would be.
As I searched through the boxes I came across letters from both sets of grandparents, and my mom and dad. Out of all that crowd, my mom's the only one left now. She's only 63, but she's the only one left of those who led the way.
Suddenly feels like too much loss over too short a time.
Mostly that's where I've been these days, (Thanks to those of you who checked up on me.)
The season's starting to change in a dramatic fashion, and I'm preping for Board meetings this weekend in Calgary. Between that I've got a lot of praying to do for our kids, and getting things worked out for Refresh next weekend.
Loss is a part of life. It just is. It would have been nicer to see dad not get sick and suffer so much, and it would have been cool to celebrate his reaching his 65th birthday and retirement. But it isn't going to be.
Fair or not it is what it is, life. And moments or days of grief just remind me of the value of that which was lost to me.
At least my memories are fond ones.
Hey, if you are of an age somewhere between 20ish and the upper 30's ish, this weekend is for you. November 10-12 in Winnipeg a bunch of us are hanging out and just reconnecting with God and meeting some new friends.
I'll be there doing some Spiritual Direction stuff for any and all who would like to take part in it.
It would be good to meet you there, so if you have some time and a little interest, check out this link to register.
Oh and if you are in need of a ride, at least out of Saskatchewan, shoot me an email. We'll see what we can do.
Well, here we go, the season is nearly upon us and tonight Micah and I went in search of this wintry nectar. EggNog.
Eggnog by itself is a wonderful seasonal treat, but when mixed with some manner of cola, well it takes on amazing proportions. It turns into a kind of float thing that goes down smoothly.
We finally found some, at our third stop. Safeway was the lucky shop for us tonight so we picked up two litres. Then we headed home and popped the lid.
Chances are we should have bought two.
All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,”? they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!”?
Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.”?
But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what my God says.”?
When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?”?
Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for you will have victory over them!”?
But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the Lord?”?
Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ”?Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace."”?
“Didn"t I tell you?”? the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”?
Then Micaiah continued, “Listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ”?Who can entice King Ahab of Israel to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so he can be killed?"
“There were many suggestions, and finally a spirit approached the Lord and said, ”?I can do it!"
“”?How will you do this?" the Lord asked.
“And the spirit replied, ”?I will go out and inspire all of Ahab"s prophets to speak lies."
“”?You will succeed," said the Lord. ”?Go ahead and do it."
“So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the Lord has pronounced your doom.”?
Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. “Since when did the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?”? he demanded.
And Micaiah replied, “You will find out soon enough when you are trying to hide in some secret room!”?
“Arrest him!”? the king of Israel ordered. “Take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash. Give them this order from the king: ”?Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!"”?
But Micaiah replied, “If you return safely, it will mean that the Lord has not spoken through me!”? Then he added to those standing around, “Everyone mark my words!”?
So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes.”? So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.
Meanwhile, the king of Aram had issued these orders to his chariot commanders: “Attack only the king of Israel! Don"t bother with anyone else.”? So when the Aramean chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. “There is the king of Israel!”? they shouted. But Jehoshaphat called out, and the Lord saved him. God helped him by turning the attackers away from him. As soon as the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, they stopped chasing him.
An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. “Turn the horses and get me out of here!”? Ahab groaned to the driver of the chariot. “I"m badly wounded!”?
The battle raged all that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans. In the evening, just as the sun was setting, he died.
Today around 4 pm I felt the beginnings of it coming, so I prepared as much as I could. It continued to grow and intensify so that by 4:30 I just went home to wait it out.
By five it was totally having it's way with me, and by 5:30 the family was eating without me. I finally grabbed a couple of muscle relaxants and pain killers, and tried to stay out of everyone's way.
By 6:30 it started to ease up, and as it got better I realized how exhausted I was.
By 7:00 except for a few phantom shots of pain, it was mostly gone, and I was done for the day.
Wow, that was a big one.
My conclusion? I think I'd be rubbish at living with chronic pain. I think I'd be a miserable cranky old fart.
Or, I'd rise to the occasion.
"There is a brownish image of Jesus that hangs on children's bedroom walls, in fellowship halls of Catholic and Protestant churches around the country, in mission stations around the world. Even the most Protestant of Protestants knows the picture from Sunday school days or Grandma's living room. But most can't name the painter and wrongly assume that he was Methodist or Lutheran or Catholic. His name, in fact, was Warner Sallman (1892-1968), and he spent his entire life in Chicago. Of Swedish and Finnish extraction, he was a lifelong member of the (Swedish) Evangelical Covenant Church."
We have a signed print hanging in the church, mostly because Sallman was an Evangelical Covenant guy.
Read the rest of the piece in Christian History, here.
Wish i wasn't a few thousand kms away, I'd love to hear Wallis.
"New York Times best-selling author Jim Wallis will be speaking in Chapel this morning at 10.30am. The author of "God's Politics" and a nationally recognized speaker on faith and politics, Jim will be sure to bring a timely message in light of the upcoming elections. In addition, Good Morning America will be filming the service, which will include the North Park Gospel Choir, for a special to be aired in the next few weeks. You don't want to miss this significant event in the life of our campus. We hope to see you in Anderson Chapel this morning."
I'm thinking this one for my new banner picture?
The Artsy Blurred Black and White pose.
Change the glasses, remove the facial hair and
forward comb the top hair and instant costume!
You can see more pics in this set on Flickr.
Lauralea was Florence Nightengale, Thomas went as Helen Keller, and Micah went as a Jehovah's Witness.
Something about a server being moved and SaskTel not being helpful at all, and there you go, I get blogstipated and a free month of service (due to the kindness of one very frustrated Prairie Fusion).
It warmed the cockles of my heart to get concerned phone calls from you, and not just the ones from my mom and my mom in-law either, but the calls from people who actually take the time to read this stuff. Nice one that.
I will back post a couple of items that I wrote over the weekend, just for the record.
Now, back to our originally scheduled programming.
And all the more perfect since I spent the day cleaning out the gutters and exchanging the summer gear for the winter. I think we are ready although we may need another shovel or two. Looks like those snow removers we had last winter were on their last legs when we put them away for the summer things.
Put away the bench Hillary made, then I put away her bike and thought of her and how tough it is to grow up. Put away Johanna"s bike and saw the bent brake handle which reminded me of the day she got hit by the car...
Put away the two garden spades. They"re both still covered from the clay and dirt from dad"s grave.
I was glad to be able to do the work alone today. With the skies gray and cloudy and the temperature only 1 degree, and all these surprising memories, it was good to be alone.
Easy tears today too. I dunno if they came because of the day, or if the day lead me to them, but there they are. A commercial on tv and a song on the radio and there I go, all watery in the eyes.
I don"t wish my family back here the way it used to be. I just wish it wasn"t so, different. Or so hard.
So much of our identity seems to be tied into how we connect with those closest to us. Half the kids move away, and you"re the guy with two kids at home. Your parent dies and you"re the guy with no dad. You live within these sets of people and relationships and then they change and you"re left standing there with the question, who am I without ________ around.
Today I was just glad to be the gutter cleaner and yard cleaner-upper.
Now just the windows need plastic on them and off we go, into winter.
Adrian Plass, and his wife Bridget.
Twelve years ago we stumbled upon his writing. “The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Age 37" was our first stop on this delightful journey and he"s continued to make us laugh, and feel particularly well liked by God.
Anyway, he"s on a tour across Canada with Steve Bell these days, and tonight he and Bridget talked for an hour in a Saskatoon church. We went with Marc and Dixie and had a nice supper in town, then headed to the concert.
He did not disappoint these spiritual groupies at all.
After their talk, Steve did an hour too, which is always good. But Lauralea and I had a chance to meet and talk with Adrian and his wife, to try to communicate how much his writings had encouraged us, without being completely gushy.
We bought his new CD and I had brought along the first Plass book we had purchased, which we got him to sign. They were surprised to see that book still around, and were delighted to sign it for us.
In Canada, being a fan of The Plass is somewhat like a belonging to a small fanatical fan group. Not many people know of him, but if you do, you usually love his work.
Funny how these opportunities come around now and then, and what a Devine treat they are, from One who like us a lot.
You can become fans of The Plass, by visiting his website and giving a listen to some of his work.
Go on. You know you want to.
-put away summer stuff, bikes, chairs, lawnmower, etc.
-put plastic on windows
-get car plug-ins ready, with timer
Last night Micah and I cleared all the leaves off the yard, and we got the lawn mowed all at the same time.
Autumn preparations are well underway.
His defense team has produced a very convincing argument that poked such huge holes in the testing process, it"s unbelievable.
Still the organization in charge refuses to accept the evidence.
Landis" team found that:
The positivity criteria was not met
The sample was actually mislabeled, and the testing lab failed in it"s own strict procedures.
The specimen was so contaminated/degraded that by the lab"s own criteria, it was untestable.
(Read it for yourself here.)
We should see the same media frenzy over this that we saw over the possibility of a positive test for him. But we don"t.
I"m not that big a bike racing fan, but I am big on injustice. (Besides, some of my best friends ride bikes)
Dick Pound, the WADA, the USADA, and the testing lab need to step up and own their mistakes.
Maybe they can still salvage some respect for themselves and the sport, if they start dealing honestly about these things
Had a good time at small group last night, looks like Velvet Elvis is going to give us lots to talk about and explore.
We ended up talking about different styles and approaches to worship. It was fun, but it reminded me of a similar conversation I had the other day with someone, from another church. It was their opinion that their worship was kind of lame, and that other churches worship was great and awesome!
“Our perception.”? That"s always the kicker eh?
I will often keep a record of what songs we sing and one reason I do that is so that when someone says we don"t sing enough “Praise God, Hallelujah Choruses,”? I can look back and see where we are at.
Couple of days ago someone (different person than above) mentioned in passing that we were doing a lot of “Old Dusty Hymns”? lately, and no real cutting edge “Praise God, Hallelujah Choruses.”? So I took a look and out of 18 different songs sung, only four of then were “Old Dusty Hymns.”? And of the remaining 14 songs sung, ten of them were in the top fifteen songs sung in churches all across North America. (Check the hot 100 worship tunes in your country, here.)
Obviously the person"s perception was different than ours. But this is a perfect illustration of how differently we perceive things, be it worship or our job or even our spouse.
There are a lot of things that effect our perception. We have a fight with the kids or we are tired or we are sick and on meds, or we"ve just gotten a huge raise or the government has just sent us a cheque for $400. Those events all effect how we see things.
I"ve been thinking again lately that maybe a part of maturing is the ability to see and know that our perception isn"t always trustworthy. And that"s why we need others to whom we give the room to speak into our lives. People with a different perspective than our own. They help us see things well and clearly, even when we can"t trust our own motives and perspectives.
Hmm. Another reason we need friends.
Tonight at 7 we'll gather over at 3038 Sherman Drive for some tea and prayer. We are just starting a new book called Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell which should be a good time.
The group is mainly made up of 20, 30, and a few 40 year olds and we hang out, drink tea, pray, and look at a book together.
If that fits then check in.
Velvet Elvis Excerpt
...Because when it comes to faith, everybody has it. People often tell me they could never have faith, that it is just too hard. The idea that some people have faith and others don"t is a popular one. But it is not a true one. Everybody has faith. Everybody is following somebody. What often happens is that people with specific beliefs about God end up backed into a corner, defending their faith against the calm, cool rationality of others. As if they have faith and beliefs and others don"t.
But that is not true. Let"s take an example: Some people believe we were made by a creator who has plans and purposes for his creation, while others believe there is no greater meaning to life, no grand design, and we exist not because of some divine intention but because of random chance. This is not a discussion between people of faith and people who don"t have faith. Both perspectives are faith perspectives, built on systems of belief. The person who says we are here by chance and there is no greater meaning has just as many beliefs as the person who says there"s a creator. Maybe even more.
I feel a bit gypped this year, Autumn wise.
I was gonna rake today, and put the summer things away, and wash the windows, and clean the gutters.
But it"s less than inviting out, with a below freezing temp.
So maybe I"ll watch it from my window.
Suppose to be warmer later on this week.
Course, it doesn't look as bad as the University bowl in Saskatoon looks. Hey, isn't that Hillary...?
Been burning the midnight oil working through books and papers for my course. Last night I was on a roll and got a big paper written. Crawled into bed at 4:30 this morning, but it"s done. It only needed a little tweaking in the light of day.
So now I"m turning to a book review. I"ve got some good music playing on the computer, “Sound of Majesty...”? which is a choral work program found on Moody radio. It keeps me connected to the real reasons I"m doing this kind of homework, without getting me all pumped up and groovin...
Suppose I can"t delay it any longer.
You can listen along with me to this rich program by clicking here. And no, I won"t be up till 4am again tonight, promise.
And you, go worship God with some other human beings tomorrow ok? It"ll do you good to get your eyes lifted up.
Peace and blessings.
By the time the world wars came around the numbers of the soldiers who would aim directly at their enemies had increased. But you still had stories like “Christmas in the Trenches”? coming out of the battlegrounds.
Armies have done a lot over the years to deal with the insides of the soldiers. They do things to make them better fighters, less considerate of their own instincts, and more ready to follow orders into violence.
I was talking with someone this morning about this whole thing.
We seem to have become a society in which training for violence is a normal part of life.
The games we play are increasingly violent. I"m not even talking about the semi-violent kinds of video games out there. But some of the stuff that"s out these days is so violent and requires such a rawness that it"s breathtaking. One popular game is described as;
“Player is a young man working with gangs to gain respect. His mission includes murder, theft, and destruction on every imaginable level. Player recovers his health by visiting prostitutes then recovers funds by beating them to death and taking their money.”?
Yeah, one of the more popular games out there that many are playing.
And if it"s not real enough in the video game, you can shift to real life where you can go out and learn to shoot actual people in games of laser tag or paint ball. Certainly the level of violence is different, it"s apples and oranges. But still, does it train us for violence?
This week I"ve been under the weather, flu wise, so I checked out some television the other night. I"ve never seen CSI before, (and yes, I realize how much I"ve just confessed!!) but wow. Some of the images shown on that, and a few other shows are so amazingly violent. They are the kinds of things I"ve seen occasionally when I"m in the hospital doing on call stuff. It"s not what you would see in the normal course of a life. And they are violent, shocking images that deaden the senses. I mean hey, when you"ve seen every side of a woman in a bikini, hanging upside down, decapitated, what"s left to see really.
My point is, are we raising a generation of hardened, violent, sense-less people for whom it"s a normal response to a hard life to go to school with a hate list and a gun, or to take a bunch of school aged, nonviolent Amish girls hostage to sexually abuse and then kill?
Don't hear me say that anyone who plays the games or watches the programs is wrong or even evil. It"s just not that simple or clearly a right or wrong thing. But I am concerned how we as children, youth, and adults, are being trained and shaped by the world in which we immerse ourselves.
Maybe we should take the time to look at how we are being shaped, and what is being trained into us.
If it"s true that you become more like the people you hang out with, maybe it"s also true that you become more like the things you immerse yourself in. And in a growing number of cases, that is a very very scary thought.
For what it"s worth.
This low grade flu thing is just getting so old, and Lauralea continues to cough and choke and sputter, even after ten days. I am so tired, but sleep seems to run from me when I try to catch up with it.
Such a strange Autumn here. Sickness in body and spirit, day after day, night by night, it lingers.
Tonight in my homework I came upon this blessing. I"ll take it for myself and offer it up to you too.
Be blessed, and get some rest. I will.
May the love of God watch over you;
May the peace of Christ fill your heart;
May the presence of the Holy Spirit fill your sleep,
and speak in your dreams.
A boil-water advisory has been issued in Prince Albert ”? the largest community in Saskatchewan to take the precautionary step in recent years.
The advisory was issued Tuesday after a valve attached to a city water line broke earlier in the day.
Water gushed into a hole that crews were working in, depressurizing the drinking water line.
Colin Innes, Prince Albert's director of public works, said it's possible that allowed impurities into the water supply.
"There is the potential for something to get into the system," he said.
The city is advising people to boil water for drinking, brushing teeth and washing vegetables.
Water pressure in the pipes has been restored, but the city plans to keep testing the water for at least another day. The results should be in by Thursday, Innes said.
About 41,000 people live in Prince Albert, the province's third-largest city.
Oh great. Good to find this out after supper.
And why can't they put this important announcement on their website?
From a number of places I read that, “Suicide is the third leading cause of death in Canada ahead of HIV/AIDS, diabetes and car accidents.”?
It seems a good chunk of this is due to depression: "Of the many mental disorders associated with suicidal behavior, depression is the most common. Two-thirds of those who die as a result of suicide have some form of depression."
Colleges are now responding with programs to help their students.
But chances are growing that you will at some time be effected by the death of someone you know and love, because of suicide.
We gotta take time to connect with people. Not just surface connections either, but connections that lead to life.
Maybe even physical life.
If you find your comments being moderated don"t take it personally, I still like you. It will just take time for me to clear the comment.
Thank you for your patience.
If there wasn"t a place to go to, I don"t know how or if I would take the time and effort to really think and process and consider these things. I mean, the memories would come and my prayers would continue. But it"s good for me to have to make an effort and set aside extra time, just to remember and say thanks. Probably how I"m wired.
So we brought a rose, and remembered and said thanks.
It was good to do that.
A wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon in October, with friends, telling stories.
Later on, I realized I should listen to myself once and a while. I might learn something.
I hate/love when that happens.
...being vulnerable will involve pain and hurt occasionally, but it will also create a space for true deep connection with others. Being an artist involves vulnerability, which can create a space for beauty to be found, explored, and enjoyed by others. But that vulnerability also creates a space in which harmful people can do damage. If you stop being vulnerable then those who are drawn to you or your work will no longer be fulfilled, and they will have lost the opportunity to know greater beauty and love and depth.
So there needs to be a way to be safe from the harmful ones, and that seems to be the lesson these days, for you. It is a learned thing to walk in forgiveness and love, it does not come by instinct. And anyone can love those who love them back, that is not a problem at all.
But if your spirit/artistry is going to reach the important other levels, it will need a place to practice this kind of care. To learn to be vulnerable and to love back when love is not given to you.
Your life and work will take on even greater beauty and depth, because you have taken time to learn these secrets.
Yes, there will always be creeps and losers, but its how we learn to live with them that makes a difference in us. And don't kid yourself, everyone knows who is a jerk, but by not responding as everyone else does, you stand out. And people are interested in that.
The proverbial “They”? would say that a change is as good as a rest. I"m not really sure that is the truth at all, and after this weekend that"s the direction I"m leaning in.
Most of the problem was health related. Lauralea got sicker and sicker, and I kinda tagged along, trying to keep up with her.
For her, the cold moved from the front of her head, into her throat, down into her lungs, back up in a detour through the front of her face again, and has seemed to settle in her chest. And how lovely it was to be kept up to date on the present location of it...
But, like she is want to do, deny deny deny, and it won"t be happening to you.
Tuesday afternoon during some free time we dragged ourselves over to Banff and took some pics. During lunch we were hanging out with some old friends, getting to know some new ones. We found a great all pasta place in Canmore and we just connected for a while. That was good.
Then for supper we hung out with some friends from Winnipeg. They are on staff at the Winnipeg Covenant Church now, (The whole staff there is under 24!). It was amazing to see what these guys have grown into. Very cool indeed.
The sessions were well done, by excellent people. But given the general health of the population, I think most people were running at half speed.
Yesterday we wanted desperately to get home earlier, so we left as early as we could. Then we traveled back to get Lauralea"s forgotten purse. Road repairs in Calgary slowed us for an hour, then we stopped to buy a book, a few donuts, and a run to the Zellers Pharmacy for a drug top up.
By the time we got to Saskatoon, we were able to drive Hillary home from her night class at 10 PM, and we pulled into town around 1 am or so.
Today I have retreat hangover and Lauralea is in bed, trying to get better for her night class tonight.
A change is as good as a rest? Nope, not always.
It"s good to be home.
I received word today that he passed away last night.
I stopped looking for the answers to some of the "Why" questions of life a long time ago. Sometimes life doesn't make sense, and surely it isn't fair.
My hope is that at the end of it, Somebody will even the scales, and help me understand things.
I'm just glad I'm not alone in finding my way through this life.
Please pray for his family now.
What I love about her look is that it is an expression of something deep and real about her. Her clothing tells me a story about her ministry. The story is tells me is of a person who has a romantic embrace of the world, who wants to flow with things, who treasures warmth and richness and pattern, and who isn't smooth-edged but multi-textured. She wears solid clogs, and boots. But they always gleam and she moves gracefully in them. She is not ornamented with much jewelry (not even a wedding ring, if I recall correctly), and she is rich in her simplicity.
This is a spiritual leader who has either intuitively or intentionally learned how to express essential aspects of her inner life by her exterior appearance. Her look is beautiful, consistent, extremely attractive, flattering to her, and communicates a knowledge of self that is very confidence-inspiring.
What story are your clothes telling about your ministry?
Yeah, good question that.
Check out http://beautytipsforministers.blogspot.com/ and get help, especially if you're a minister.