Thursday, December 31, 2009

a new year is around the corner

2009 was not kind to us and i'm hoping that the transition to a new year and a new decade will bring about change that is favourable for us. i'm hoping that the "season" that was 2009 will transition into a season of hope, love and health, particularly for Wendy.

we're going to Beth and Andrew's this evening. i plan to put in a showing at the New Year's party for our community but i'm much more stoked by the idea of going to play some games with them and with the kids for much of the evening. they have a Wii and i got hooked on Rock Band in the last week. Beth absolutely KILLS on the drums, Andrew is great with the guitar and Wendy has already started to learn on the Bass. i plan to keep going on the guitar too, if i can convince Andrew to let me have a go. the kids even get going at it, Hannah is already better than me on the guitar and little Naomi plays the drums to some effect. at any rate, i'm hoping for a couple hours of Rock Band and i'm hoping that it continues to be fun for all.

i'll even volunteer to come babysit in the near future just so that i can play it along with the girls during the evening and practice further after they go to bed. yeah, i go overboard on this stuff but we're all personalities that go overboard too often, aren't we?

well, the best of a New Year to you all. the best of a new "season" in your life. the best of grace, peace and hope to you all and may health be a constant companion for you.

i love you Wendy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009 - call your grandma

my fam was always a Christmas morning fam and Wendy's fam was always a Christmas eve fam. so of course we do our celebration on Christmas eve. it doesnt matter there's plenty of joy to go around.
Wendy pretty much brought me to tears this Christmas. i have this old quilt that my grandmother made me and gave to me when i was a teenager. i've taken it and used it at every home i've lived in for the past (nearly) 30 years (wow). it got pretty old and ratty and worn but it was loved. my grandmother has been gone for several years now and grandpa passed a few years before that so ... i miss them. well, that quilt was falling apart and Wendy took the best parts of it and she framed it for me to put up on our wall in our family room. as i saw it in the frame i just ran my hands over it and remembered the warmth that it gave along with the loving care it always brought to my heart.
i found this vid by Sufjan Stevens (a personal fave of Wendy and i) and it made me think of Grandma.
the merriest of merry's to you all. may the love and care of family be with you and if that isn't possible then see the love and care of Christ around you wherever that may be. it is there.

h/t to The Thinklings

Thursday, December 24, 2009

every little thing she does is magic

i've mentioned my buddy Craig in this space before and i was talking to him last night when i learned that he had reopened his blog without telling me. he told me about this great cover of The Police as done by Linus and the Peanuts gang. you'll love this and if you have the time then go check the link to Craig's blog, woofreakinhoo on the right.

h/t to woofreakinhoo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

waiting, engaging in mystery

below you'll find a guest post by this week's homilist at my church community. i thought it especially cool that we have a pregnant homilist on the 4th Sunday of Advent and i was blown away by her words as they reached to me in varying areas of my life.
Gabrielle Plenart is one of our youth leaders in our community and she and her husband have been extremely valuable additions to our mix. they add joy and energy to their ministry and we are the grateful recipients of the blessings they create among us.
without further ado, here's Gabrielle Plenart. she didn't title her submission so i've taken the liberty for her. hope you don't mind Gabrielle.

I hate waiting. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for my computer to start up. Waiting for my birthday. Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for my baby. In fact, I often do more than one thing at a time so that while I wait for one thing I can work on the other. In market terms I’m considered very productive. And it is because of my dislike for waiting that advent has always been a difficult time for me to relate to. I dislike the asymmetry of the advent wreath as we wait for all the candles to be lit. I get frustrated with the song O come O come Immanuel- I really just want Immanuel to be here. And I don’t think I’m alone. Although most people probably have a higher patience level than I, I don’t think we are taught that waiting is a good thing. Being in stores lately has shown that people are generally very annoyed by waiting. And so the advent season, which is pivotally centered around waiting, begs the question- is waiting a valuable activity? Is it useful in any way to wait?
Madleine L’Engle writes that“If Mary had been full of reason, she would have had no room for the child.” Full of reason is where I often find myself. And often, I must admit, without room for Jesus as a baby. Jesus the healer, the teacher, the saviour, the peace bringer, the radical- yes. But Jesus as a baby?
The mystery of Jesus as a baby forces me to stop and to think. Is there something to be learnt from Jesus as an infant? Babies are in utero for a long time. And then, I’m told it feels like forever before they learn to sleep on their own. And to sit up. And to walk. And talk. Growing up takes a long time. So then why did Jesus come to earth as a baby? Why did Mary and Joseph have to wait for Jesus to grow up before they could see his salvific work? That is the mystery of incarnation. Jesus came as an infant because he was fully human. And as humans, we wait. The process, or the journey of growing up is one of value.
Waiting, in a sense, is engaging in mystery. And when we wait, we hope. Because waiting is, quite literally, an act of hope in what is to come. Waiting and faith, are, for Christians, one and the same. When wait, we believe in what we are waiting for, and we allow ourselves the time to place value in what is to come. Waiting is not passive, but actively preparing ourselves for what is coming.
We wait for many things. We wait for peace, we wait for environmental sustainability. We wait for change, and for justice. We wait for wars to end and for hunger to stop. And waiting engages us in our own reality. Waiting for death gives us time to think about our lives. Waiting for change forces us to examine what is hard about the present. John the Baptist waited for Jesus by preparing the way. Jesus waited to begin his ministry in the desert. The barrenness of the desert became a place of preparation, out of which life grew. The places where we wait become places of life. Waiting is not passive- it is engaging with creation. Waiting is not the opposite of productivity. It is choosing to place value in the process.
Productivity is a cultural phenomenon- we consume because we cannot wait. Our food system injects animals with hormones because we cannot wait for them to grow naturally. We rely on gasoline to get us places because we do not have the time to walk. We update our old electronics to their newer models because we don’t have time to wait for them to work slowly. And often I think we succeed in telling ourselves that we do not need to wait, that we are entitled to our speed.
Yet all of creation waits. We have seasons where our land does not produce. We have darkness every night, and we must wait for the light. In the summer we wait for vegetables to ripen, we wait for babies to be born. The natural world waits. And waiting ensures the balance of life. It is the sin of our instant gratification, our dislike for the desert, our disinterest in mystery that has brought us to a place of cynicism and consumption.
And yet every year, when the land is frozen and the nights are long, we are reminded that waiting, hope, and faith are one. Waiting, or having faith, in not passive, but rather active belief in the good that is to come. When we wait, we are. We wait for the saviour, year after year, and in our waiting we begin to notice. We notice the people around us, the situations around us, the hurt around us. And we begin to see signs of God’s ever presence, markings of heaven on earth. We wait, we hope, and when we look around at our world, each other, at babies, we see that God is with us. Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Glee homage

if you're a Glee fan you'll get this and otherwise you'll just think it's a nice little tune. i personally thought it was freaking huge. enjoy.

h/t to Tyler Stanton

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

what he say?

h/t to 22 words

An Advent Prayer

from A Common Prayer by Michael Leunig

Dear God,

We struggle, we grow weary, we grow tired.

We are exhausted, we are distressed, we despair.

We give up, we fall down, we let go.

We cry.

We are empty, we grow calm, we are ready.

We wait quietly.

A small, shy truth arrives.

Arrives from without and within.

Arrives and is born.

Simple, steady, clear.

Like a mirror, like a bell, like a flame.

Like rain in summer.

A precious truth arrives and is born within us.

Within our emptiness.

We accept it, we observe it, we absorb it.

We surrender to our bare truth.

We are nourished, we are changed. We are blessed.

We rise up.

For this we give thanks.


Friday, December 11, 2009

good on the Sally Army

one of my responsibilities at work is as the liaison for a job search program run through the Salvation Army here in Winnipeg. they do wonderful work and i do mean wonderful.
i see my own share of desperation and anxiety as a welfare worker and one of the best ways i know to help a person is to refer them over to the Work Readiness Program (we call it WKRP) run by the folks at the Salvation Army. they help people with their resume, get their ID together, give them some job search and interview skills and then walk them on their way to employment.
today was the Christmas party at the program and they thoughtfully invited me to come see the fun. they had some games, some lively conversation, a bit of a "devotional" and plenty of good eats (including turkey, mashed potatos and stuffing).
as i walked over for the festivities i thought about the work that Salvation Army does. they run one of the major shelters in our town, they have food programming, clothing programs, spiritual care programs and they simply are a bright light in many communities across the world.
i really do appreciate the work they do.
good on the Sally Army and that's good for guys like me. you see i see my own share of desperation and anxiety and i grasp for answers to life's questions and struggles like anyone around me.
this is an old video that i found posted here and i've elaborated on. it's Christmas time and who doesn't think of the Sally Army at Christmas time? well ok, maybe you don't think of the Sally Army but they still do great work.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

U2 and worship songs

I started thinking about the U2 lyrics that mean the most to me, that really speak to my soul and then some of the lyrics to the most popular worship songs. It hit me. A lot of U2's lyrics are words that I actually CAN say to God, whereas a lot of worship lyrics are words that I WANT to be able to say to God. While most worship songs are true, they sometimes feel dishonest.

found at Abandon Image with a h/t to holy heteroclite

Monday, November 30, 2009

what's out there?

an open letter to President Obama from Michael Moore as linked by Mike Todd and agreed to by me.

Climategate. i don't think i agree but i'm willing to allow for the difference of opinion so i've been reading this blog for a bit now.

i love clever blogs and this one is definitely well done.

Jesus needs new PR will make you laugh out loud in spots as you laugh at yourself (well ok, you laugh at other Christians). don't take yourself so seriously.

crazy church signs by Chad Estes. some of these made my skin crawl.

even if you only read the Background story to this blog you'll be hooked but there's lots more to be checking out at Jesus or Squirrel?

best i can tell Of Wool and Water seems to be a buddy of Of all the Liars in the World. both blogs are honest and beautiful in their own way.

another tongue in cheek blog. can you tell i like this sort of stuff?

with our American friends just past Thanksgiving i LOVED this post at You had me at Idiot about the observations of a non-praying person around prayer and Thanksgiving. it's funny and again, don't take yourself seriously.

Grey Cup 97

that is why the officials count the players on EVERY play. it's heartbreaking for the Rider fans to lose like that but at the same time the Alouettes came back from 11 pts down in the last couple minutes of the game.

it's been a great year for football, and for many it'll be an UNFORGETTABLE year and an unforgettable play to end an unforgettable year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

prayers for the first week of Advent

found in "The Book of a Thousand Prayers" compiled by Angela Ashwin

Christ our Advent hope,
Bare brown trees
Etched against a wintry sky,
Leaves fallen, rustling,
Ground hard and cold,
Remind us to prepare for your coming:
Remind us to prepare for the time
When the soles of your feet will touch the ground,
When you will become one of us,
To be at one with us.

Kate McIlhagga

Your coming is like freedom to the prisoner,
Like the return of those long captive.
You are the movements of the dance I had forgotten,
You are the face of satisfied desire.

My soul is stirred for you, my beloved,
I cannot contain my heart:
For you have seen my longing,
And your eyes are dark with love.
Your love is stronger than death,
Your passion more relentless than the grave.
You will but speak the word, and I shall be healed;
Though your touch is the touch of a stranger,
Yet is your voice my home.

Janet Morley

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jordon Cooper - end child poverty in Canada

Jordon Cooper is one of those blogs in Canada that people need to be reading. he works for the Salvation Army in Saskatoon and sometimes the dude just hits stuff on the head so hard that it cannot be ignored. i work as a welfare worker but by comparison Jordon has a much better feel for the pulse of the poor in Canada than i do. i think it must be because he sees it every day and he must have a heart for the poor.

you absolutely MUST READ THIS POST by Jordon, part of which quotes Ed Broadbent.

i'm serious, go read that.

what are you still doing reading this, go read that.

Jordon just plain owns. well done.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

dark dreams tonight

i woke especially early this morning, the only morning this week where i could actually sleep in, because i was disturbed by the direction of my own sleepy thoughts. i don't take much stock in dream interpretation except that i see dreams as an indicator of what i'm pondering while awake ... and that's why i'm bothered by my dreams. the thoughts i've been pondering during the day have not been particularly dark and yet my thoughts at night, well they were dark. i won't get into it because it wouldn't enlighten you and it'd only embarrass me.
i cannot let fear take ahold of me. i am loved and i am supported much more than i know. i will be prayed for today just like i was prayed for yesterday. even if i'm in the dark i am not alone. Jesus is there and the Spirit will bring light where there has only been darkness.

Abba, speak truth to the dark spaces of my life. bring light where there is only confusion and darkness in my life. show my path to me and even if i cannot see the path then hold my hand and lead on.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

22 days til Copenhagen

very very soon World Leaders will meet in Copenhagen to address climate change issues in this world. the Kyoto Accord will need updating and my own country will need to take responsibility for its own share of the mess we've created with our greenhouse gas emissions. you'll find below a letter that i, as well as many in my community, will be sending to my Member of Parliament so that these matters can begin to be addressed. i'm also seriously considering firing this same letter off other MP's and perhaps to the Prime Minister himself.
it should be noted that actual letters carry more weight in caucus as opposed to an email since its more labour intensive to write and send in a letter. my own letter will pretty much look the same as the one i post below.

Proposed Letter to
Pat Martin, MP Winnipeg Centre
892 Sargent Ave
Winnipeg, MB
R3E 0C7

Dear Sir,

I am writing you to urge you to call for immediate federal government action to substantially reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific evidence indicates that we must reduce these emissions by 25-40% based on 1990 levels before 2020 if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Canada has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Canada is also standing in the way of a meaningful global agreement on reducing these emissions which will diminish the future of our children and our children's children. Other wealthy oil producing northern countries such as Norway have made these commitments. Canada must not be left behind - part of the problem rather than part of the solution. This is not the Canadian way.

I am committing to doing my part. I am personally committing myself to:

1) Walking or using the bus to travel to work rather than using my car (1 tonne/yr CO2).
2) Improving the heating efficiency of my house by at least 25% (1-2 tonnes CO2/yr).
3) Purchasing organic produce (to reduce the use of GHG producing fertilizers)(unknown but substantial).

But this won't be enough. We need Canada wide policies. As my representative in the Federal Government, I urge you to make a similar personal commitment and to insist that Canada become a leader rather than a problem in facing the greatest challenge of this century.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Fergusson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stand by me

i won't be afraid, just as long as you ... stand by me

it gets me every time.

i've seen this video several times actually but most recently it was posted by Post Modern Pilgrim

Friday, November 20, 2009

there is enough

Judas used to hold the purse. he was the money man at a time when we didn't have or need much money in the first place.
the boys were all relaxing away the hours when Mary came in. she had a "history" apparently and i wasn't the only one who got a little uncomfortable whenever she came on the scene so she could hang around Jesus. we all wanted to hang around Jesus so i get that she wanted that too, i just got queezy whenever she showed up. she's a nice person i suppose but i just couldn't get past the shivers that went down my spine when i thought of her life before Jesus. Jesus talked a lot about forgiveness and how those who are forgiven much have more to be thankful for but it was always too much of a leap for me to look past the history of this woman and see her forgiven future.
i found myself agreeing with Judas on this occasion. i can't believe that i'm admitting that.
Mary broke into our serenity scene. the boys were all enjoying our meal, our time with Jesus without all the bustle that seemed to happen whenever we weren't sequestered away somewhere. Mary came in like she owned the place and she went straight to Jesus. she didn't bother to ask any of the "boys" if we thought it might be ok, she just barged in and immediately went to see the master. she carried a little glass jar, i didn't know what it was until she broke it open.
the smell filled the room. it was a beautiful. the windows were open so i'm sure that people passing by must've smelled it too. people stopped and lingered nearby. it's not at all often that you come across a smell like that in your daily battles. in most scenarios a perfume like that is a burial perfume so people save up all their lives to have something like that available when the time comes that it's needed. who was supposed to be dead anyway?
Judas was indignant. hey, we were all indignant, Judas was just more vocal about it. Judas was saying (i was agreeing) that this stuff could've been sold for a year's wages and we could've really helped the poor with this. he was right, we could've done a lot with the money that came from that perfume. now it was splashed on the master's feet and she had dried things up with her hair.
don't get me wrong. we later all learned what Judas was about but we still could've helped some real folks with the funds that came from something like this. i was most struck by Jesus' reaction.
he said, "there is enough". his Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and there is enough for this and for more. Mary would be remembered for lavish praise and the gospel is about much more than good news for the poor. she is remembered for lavish praise and that is not a waste.

Jesus was saying, "you're not poor; you're not rich either but you're not poor." you have an inheritance and your Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God has more for you and there is enough to cover this expense and much more.

Jesus wasn't saying that God wants you to be rich, he was saying you're not poor, and there's a difference there. if the Father can care for a sparrow and a lily then He'll definitely be able to watch over you too.
it just hadn't occurred to me that Jesus' riches went a lot deeper than whatever coin was carried in Judas' purse.
there is enough. there is more and your Father has enough to meet your need.

i can still smell that perfume and i hope the smell of that worship lasts for millenia.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Octopus love

h/t to centuri0n for finding this

Shane writes to unbelievers

i read Jesus for President last year ... and it started to change how i do some things. it changed me a little bit politically, it reinforced some already existant views toward peace and most importantly it opened my eyes more toward the poor. Shane is recognized among evangelicals and emergent alike as a guy who rocks the boat, and rightly so because the boat needs more rocking if you ask me. he writes an incredible treatise on what the gospel REALLY is instead of what is seen in our supposed Christian culture. he apologizes to everyone who doesn't believe or no longer believes because they have been turned away by those who claim they're following Christ.
it's an incredible read and it'll only take you a minute.

h/t to captain estes for finding this

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

what happened to the Prodigal's boss?

time's are hard. i'm fortunate enough to have a little set aside but really ... there's a famine going on. it's a miracle that i can keep a few farm animals alive as i find some meager things to feed them. it's even hard to find servants who'll work with them. who wants to sink so low as to work with pigs? i was lucky to find this Jewish kid, at least i knew that he wouldn't kill and eat the pigs, he just doesn't want to go that far.
funny story. this kid was actually carousing around town for the last year or so. he was spending everything he had as he trolled from bar to bar and went from woman to woman. since i happen to own one of those establishments where he's spent much of the last year then i've been a happy recipient for all that coin that he's been throwing around. he kept my other business interests alive as he spent his way toward my pigpen.
man oh man has this kid fallen a long way ... but what do i care? it's gotten my other interests into great stead and it's on its way to getting my farm interests into another good stead.

what do you mean he's leaving? he can't leave, i've got him just where i want him. just where i need him. the fact that he's miserable is just his own fault.

what am i supposed to do now? how's a guy supposed to support himself in a famine when i don't see any other young punk out spending his inheritance? well, there's lots of poor folk around, i'll be fine. won't i?

God's Economy

I want to introduce you to a guest poster, my buddy Craig who is a fellow member of my church community, a pastor type, a bright light, and my guitar teacher. Craig leads our adult teaching time called Definitely NOT Sunday School (you can see a link to the right under "my church community's blog") and this past Sunday we welcomed Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove into our circle for a little story telling and mutual equipping. It was a brilliant hour that I loved and it has already given birth to a couple other post ideas that I hope to run with down the road.
I know that the experience of sitting and listening to Jonathan during our DNSS time has caused me to want to go out and read his books. I plan to start with "The New Monasticism" before moving on to "God's Economy" and I expect that both are going to be great reads.

and now, here's Craig.

I have long believed in the power of story, I've always been a voracious reader, and eventually I became a writer. I think this happens a lot. What captures me in a book is the writer's voice - and I don't mean "tone" here, I mean the choice of words, the way the sentences flow, the cadence, all the things that allow me to disappear into the story. When I am reading a great book, I sort of forget that I am reading - rather, the events are just unfolding in front of me. It is like I am sitting on a porch and listening to a really good storyteller.

I've read some of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's work, and was captured by his gift of story. He could talk about Martin Luther King, the story of Mary and Martha or his mom's chocolate pies, and he had me... right there on the porch, engaged and leaning in. What a delight it was to actually hear him speak this Sunday. I love seeing someone using a gift with such joyful abandon. Some storytellers fall in love with their own stories, and it shows - they delight a little too much in the cleverness of the tale, or put a bit too much of themselves into the telling. It is difficult to articulate what I mean - but I think you have probably heard this sort of storyteller.

What I love about Jonathan's stories is that he might know he is a gifted storyteller, but he understands where that gift has come from. He speaks with a gentle ease, and you get the sense that he just came upon these stories, and said, wow, look at these... these are beautiful little morsels. I think I should share them. And that is the grace part. Jonathan's faith shines through his stories, and it's not a fairytale kind of pious faith where everything is beautiful and shiny. Listening to him at DNSS, and then later as he preached at St. Benedict's table, I knew that he struggled just like we do. He didn't have all the answers, and didn't pretend that he did. He was just a storyteller, going down the road, talking about the world, the things he's seen, the people he met, and the God he knows. He knew where he got his gift, and I am delighted that he shared some of those beautiful morsels.

Check out Jonathan's website at:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

football season ends

that's me, front row 3rd from the right. i was the Side Judge at the Division 3 High School Final. the game was relatively uneventful but it was a ton of fun. the referee (the guy in the white hat) is my buddy Tom who is probably my closest friend in officiating and the guy who roped me into officiating football. just to be assigned to a Final is significant but to get the white hat is a special plum that indicates the type of season you've had. i'm happy for Tom and i'm happy for me.

til next year boys.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Larry Norman

i still miss Larry Norman. he's moved on to much better things ever since he passed in Feb 2008 but my mp3 is still full of his music. i found this embed at The Thinklings and thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i have some "issues" with the CSI franchise

CSI is running a trilogy this week, and i've been watching. they've been involving characters from all 3 series in order to tell an ongoing story. the main character so far has been Dr. Ray Langston played by the wonderful Laurence Fishburne. i've been watching and enjoying, if i ignore those things that i don't like about the franchise.

1) everyone is gorgeous and brilliant - i have NEVER seen a work environment where everyone could be a runway model and yet they're portrayed as the most brilliant of geeks who would've had to spend their first 25 years surrounded by testtubes and bunson burners. seriously, how am i to believe that Natalia Boa Vista is supposed to be a scientist? you mean she gets to be brilliant AND she stops traffic just by walking around outside?

i suppose i could understand if there was ONE pretty scientist in the franchise but they are ALL pretty scientists. even the dudes are pretty. the only normal looking folks on any of the shows appear to be the Lieutenant types in Las Vegas and Miami. i say that because Flack in New York is also a pretty boy. i've NEVER seen a work environment even close to any of these work environments. i mean, i've fairly average looking but i might be the among the best looking folks in just about any work environment i've been a part of, and that says nothing of the level of brilliance that is around me in any of the plethora of jobs i've had.

2) Horatio Caine is the new James T. Kirk - remember all the jokes that used to be made about how mono-syllabic William Shatner was as he played Jim Kirk on Star Trek? Horatio is just plain smarmy. how do writers get away with these one-liners as he puts on his sunglasses and says, "that's not a threat, that's a guarantee" (cue the screaming music).

3) this is beneath you Gary Sinise - Sinise has got mad acting skills. he was Christoper Walken-bad-guy good in Ransom if you've ever seen that. he had a very interesting cameo as the Marshal in The Quick and the Dead; i thought he stole the show in Apollo 13 and of course he was phenomenal as Lt Dan in Forrest Gump. it's a shame that CSI: NY may be what he is recognized for at the end of the day.

4) Laurence Fishburne is no slouch either - when i think of Fishburne i think the Matrix flicks, where he was amazing. he's also done Shakespeare on film where me played Othello. he played an excellent Sheriff alongside Sean Connery in Just Cause which i really enjoyed and he had a bit part in one of the most underrated movies of all time, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

5) they've gotten rid of some of their best characters - Warrick Brown may've been their most human character. he had a gambling problem, he made very human mistakes, he had a son he hadn't known about and he knocked heads with many in authority. and they killed him off. incidentally, that dude was gorgeous too. Gil Grissom wasn't gorgeous and his quirkiness added to the franchise much more than any other character in all 3 series.

6) they seem to be showing a lot more violence ast the seasons go on - my wife and i agree on this point. i've always been a bit queezy when they do the medical closeups of bones snapping or bullets ripping through flesh or something and there are regular times that i just avert the eyes. i guess i'm saying that just because you have a cool technology doesnt mean that you have to show it for all the world to watch.

so ... this doesn't affect the fact that i keep watching all 3 shows, because i do. i'm a bit bummed at losing Warrick, Grissom, Delko and even Tim "Speed" Speedle but i'm still watching. i've enjoyed this trilogy as Dr Ray (Fishburne) has been the main focus trekking through Miami, New York and finally returning home to Las Vegas tonight. in general i like the franchise, i have my issues but i still watch and enjoy. i hope you do too.

and now shallowfrozenwater is proud to close with Horatio Caine; "at CSI Miami, we never close" (puts on his sunglasses and cues screaming music) and we bloggers never close either.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the prophet Jeremiah

y'know how some people remind you of Bible characters as you interact with them? there's one believer in my community that when i hear him speak and when i interact with him on our journey together i often think of the prophet Jeremiah. it is traditionally held that Jeremiah wrote the books that are attributed to his name, in particular i want to shed some light on the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
i went to lunch with Jeremiah today, he treated and he additionally blessed me as we discussed our life and how the walk can get dark but there are are also moments of hope. my Jeremiah said to me today, "it is during the times that are darkest when you feel like you are completely alone that God most desperately wants to break through into your life and provide you with the hope that you so desperately want". we discussed hope and faithfulness and how they are related since the darkness breeds a need for faithfulness and faithfulness will bring about hope. as i think about my own struggles i very literally said that faithfulness can be a strength for me but hope is still a desperate need. Jeremiah built me up as i considered my own need for hope.
we discussed the cloud of witnesses that the writer to the Hebrews (whoever she was) wrote about. i expressed my own joy at the thought that saints gone by could be cheering me on even though i believe a better interpretation of the passage talks about how the testimony of faith of those saints gone by is the example we need to emulate. i mentioned that i think it may be a Catholic thought but i'm ok with the idea that my grandparents, that St. Francis, that St. Stephen could be cheering me to the finish line. Jeremiah quickly pointed to saints who haven't passed yet and yet they provide light and hope for the journey everyday. he mentioned one of "his" saints who has not passed yet but has been a reservoir of hope for him. i told Jeremiah that i loved him and i thanked him for bringing hope to my life. he had an abysmally rough week and yet he found the strength to minister to me today.
you have people like this around you. they lament and they find hope and joy in the faithfulness of God.
thank you Abba for saints gone by and for saints who surround us with light everyday. bless Jeremiah, grant him peace and bring continued hope to his walk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GoD and DoG

hattip to Following Frodo

Hate it here

Wendy's halfway across the country in Victoria while i waste away here in Winnipeg. this clip is Wilco and it tells the story of a guy who's partner has left. the story actually refers to a partner who isn't coming back and that isn't the case in my situation if you know the song and were about to panic for my sake. the song was introduced to me by guys like Craig and Andrew who are both big Wilco fans and well, i just love some of the lines in the tune. i truly do hate it here when Wendy's not around, my life feels like it goes right to crap if i don't have her steadying influence around me.
i had football all weekend so there was no time to think for the first few days she was away but then Monday came and the anxiety was palpable as i rode my bike to work. my own insecurities and loneliness caused me to worry about what things would be like without Wendy in my life and how i truly would Hate it Here in some senses, but then i remember that i don't have to live in those depression and anxiety moments and i am not alone.

i don't know how helpful it is for me to dwell on this thought but i truly do miss her when she's not around.

dispenser of hope

i loved the tv show MASH for a lot of years. near the end it got way too political in an attempt to be relevant but whatever. as the series ended Hawkeye had a bit of a mental breakdown and i remember a metaphor from that time of the show that just struck me. Hawkeye said that his job was to "pull bodies out of a sausage grinder without going insane" and i've sometimes thought about how that relates to my life and my job.
i'm a welfare worker. i see desperate people everyday and i see all sorts of need everyday. most of the stuff that i can provide within my job is the band-aid solution of "here's a pittance to keep yourself alive, now the best thing for you is to go find some work so that you don't have to rely on income assistance any longer". that's definitely just a band-aid though (in it's best light), the best medicine that i have for folks who are desperate ... is hope.
i pull bodies out of a social sausage grinder, hopefully without going insane. i want to be encouraging, i want to provide hope, but it's so hard when things are so very bleak and folks have little to no options and a plethora of barriers.
i wish i could tell you stories but i can't, i have to protect people's confidentiality.
this concept extends to my blogging practices also. i try to leave encouraging comments when i visit your blog. sometimes i'm blind to what is the encouraging thing to say and how it is that i can try to send some hope your way but know this, when i don't know what to say then i still try to say a little prayer of thanks that i've found you amidst the struggle. i understand that some folks must think that it's creepy or flirty for a stranger to leave a comment that tries to speak to the darkness that they're in but that is not my intent. we need to spread hope in whatever corner we are in and it doesnt matter to me if i've actually met you or not. i want to encourage because we're in the struggle together, we belong, and we all need hope.
give hope. people need it. they want to hear encouragement and they aren't hearing it anywhere out there in dark and cold. pull bodies out of social, spiritual and emotional sausage grinders. be a dispenser of hope.

i pray for a blessing of grace, peace and hope in your life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

if i had a Twitter account

i don't. i just can't get past the name.

i'd tell you that Wendy is off to her sister's place (up at 4 am for a 630 flight) so i'm batching it for about 10 days. i feel sorry for the dog who'll miss Wendy and will have to rely on my memory to actually feed her on time.

Wendy flew into Victoria BC this morning, the same morning that the Olympic Flame is in town. i think it'll be a bit zoo-ish in Victoria today.

i'd point out that i'm reffing a High School Quarter Final tonight, reffing the Rural Manitoba Final tomorrow and i'm the Head Linesman at the Juvenile Final on Sunday. busy weekend.

i think i'll be assigned to my 1st ever Provincial High School Final in a couple weeks. i'm more than a bit excited at the prospect.

i got called to read scripture on Sunday and i advised that i'm coming off a cold and i will be spending all weekend yelling across a football field. i don't think i'll have much of a voice left on Sunday morning so i asked for a raincheck.

i asked a co-worker if she might consider becoming an official with us and she's considering it. way cool.

i managed to borrow a parking space at work today so that i can get to my game on time and it wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg to pay for parking all day.

i have 4 injured players on one of my fantasy hockey teams. that's a lot, especially since we don't allow subs in that league.

i'm getting LOTS of phone calls at work today which is fairly normal at the end of the month (every month).

i don't know if i'll be able to blog about much at my hockey blog this weekend given all the football stuff going on for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the Macedonian man

Paul sees a vision during the night. he sees a Macedonian man, a Greek and he beckons Paul to come over there and help them. the church was still a toddler and it hadn't even dealt with its first real trial yet, but that trial would come soon enough as Paul worked his way west toward the homes and lives of Greeks and Romans. the toddling church was a bunch of ragtag Jews; fishermen and other poor folks, simple folks, but it would soon add cultures to the mix that were as alien to Jewish culture as mine is from their's right now.
Luke was a Greek. i've heard some argue that Luke was actually the Macedonian man from Paul's vision as he pondered what path he would go and was impacted by those ponderings as he slept. maybe it was Luke who imparted the need of Macedonia and who quite likely beckoned, "come over here and help us".
what is Paul without the Macedonian man? what is the church without the move into Greece and later Rome? the church builds in Greece, it's led to Rome where it is traditionally held that Peter becomes the first Pope. does Peter go to Rome if there is no church already there? do we have a church like one we have today if Peter doesn't go to Rome? do we have a church at all if Paul doesn't go to Macedonia? if Paul doesnt go west then perhaps he heads east and perhaps a young church has to battle other philosophies for prominence as it moves east. perhaps Christianity doesn't become a major religion at all. maybe, i'd be some sort of druid or something today, who knows really?
how much do i pay attention to "visions" in my own life? do i truly hear the small voice and do i act on it? how does that affect my own life and the life of this no longer toddling church?
maybe our little choices really do echo out over millenia. this decision certainly looks like it was more than just a restless night's sleep.

Monday, October 26, 2009


h/t to Solar Crash

i realize i put up my share of U2 vids here ... but this one actually features Mary J Blige and quite frankly the woman just blew me out of the water with her performance here. i've never been much of a fan of her work but this may cause me to take another listen.
i was home with a cold today and this brought a bit of light to a pounding skull. enjoy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

my Dad would lead the standing O

my Dad plays the accordian. yes, it's true. suddenly scores of you say to yourself, "so THAT'S why ..." when you think of the weird crap that you seem to find on this blog.
this kid completely kills on this thing and i could just see my dad's eyes getting saucer big as he watches.

h/t to randall friesen

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

150 posts in, not bad eh?

i think that's pretty good. in case you do some quick math as you note the archives you'll only see 148 posts listed but just know that there's 2 posts that have remained drafts because ... they're not for public consumption. sometimes i just talk to myself, to God, or to a particular person who isn't you. i'm still counting those posts and this is 150.

here's some stuff that's going on for me.

- i've caught a cold. this is brutal awful. i can't afford to be sick and Wendy can't afford to live with a sick person amidst all the other stuff of life that has to work around. i'm drinking tea, taking all sorts of vitamins in an attempt to quell the tide heading my way.
- Wendy will be taking a jaunt to visit her sister. this has been an awful year for Wendy and we haven't known if she'd be able to take ANY holiday time given her health needs. her sister brings joy to her life and i'm very pleased that she can get that although i'm always miserable when Wendy's away.
- i didn't sleep well a couple nights ago but it was because of some other exciting stuff going on for me
- i've applied to work a different job in the same division where i'm working. it's a lateral move but it also gets me more exposure to other facets of the same division. it can be an emotional risk because much of my emotional makeup can get wrapped up in how happy am i with the work that i'm doing.
- playoff football assignments have come out. if you're a long time reader you may recall my ordeal with my first Referee assignment, it was brutal. well, i guess i improved a lot because i was assigned 3 playoff Referee games including the Rural Manitoba High School Final and i'm under the distinct impression that i'll also get to be on the field for another High School Final (which i've never been priviledged to do).

blessings on your journey my cyber friends and fellow children as we stumble heavenward.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what's out there?

what a great idea! i've been following this blog for a bit now and i just loved this idea. i don't know if i have the jam to do something like this but i still love the idea.

last what's out there? i found some pretty cool stuff and this blog lands right up there with some of the best that i found last time.

and here's another one.

its really hard to do religious comedy, particularly if it doesn't cross the "line". actually, this particular blog first turned me on to i've just started to watch and i've now decided that i'm going to watch more. you can follow a link at the bottom to watch a couple seasons worth of MrDeity.

another fun one called fun theory brought to us through the holy heteroclete.

is it ok to laugh at this?

related to my world hunger and fasting posts last week i link you to a quiz put forward by Compassion International. best i can tell Compassion is a quality international organization.

i need squiggly lines. this is a fantastic analogy by one guy who's been speaking to me on many topics of late.

God listens to drunk prayers. Steve Bell points to a story told by Tim Huff. there's a song to download and plenty of pensive moments. great story.

Kester Brewin blows me away sometimes. most recently he visited the US and had some really poignant thoughts about their society. he put out a 3 part post on Laws and Packaging. seriously, every American should go read this. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Operation Christmas Child

my dear wife's parents are REALLY involved with Operation Christmas Child here in Canada and in case they ever come to my blog i just thought they'd get a real kick out this video.
i'm proud of the work you do Mom and Dad.

h/t to St. Aidan to Abbey Manor

Sunday, October 18, 2009

i blame Luther

Luther really opened up a can (make that a Diet) of worms when he nailed up 95 Theses on a Wittenburg door. the religious climate was pretty cold where no-one outside of the priesthood could really understand the goings-on during mass and salvation was sold to you if you could pay. i gotta admit that he definitely brought Christendom back into the eyes of the common man, using the language of the common man but he also started us on a path that caused some "issues" for guys like me. the concept of sola scriptura brought scripture into the vernacular and eventually brought many versions and translations of the scriptures on to my desk, but it also put the church on a path where Christian life became all about "rules for how do i live better?" instead of "concentrate on the relational with God". we as the church worried a lot about what the rules for living were and less about asking ourselves how to find God amidst our living. we became more teaching focused since we needed to learn from the beginning and we became less focused on relational worship.
from Luther we went to other various reformers and we in turn concentrated on the scriptures in the hands of the regular man. we ran away from tradition and ritual, but it's not like that's a bad thing ... completely. from the reformers we begin to see groups like the Puritans who in turn focused more and more on the concept of piety and holiness. in other words the list of rules for living better became a full fledged movement. holiness is not a bad concept at all except that in our thirst to learn to live better we did away with tradition and the relational nature with God. we kept God at arms length because we hadn't figured out how to be holy according to our rules and since God is by definition holy then we would always have to keep relationship with God at arms length.
i'm a product of my own background. my family has a Puritanical bent. the Evangelical movement is much about teaching on how to live life better and less about relationship with the mysterious. it is more about do as i say and hierarchy than it is about vertical relationship and ritual than i want it to be. it has more to do with following the rules than it has to do with letting the church's tradition speak to you from beyond millenia.
consequently, i struggle with the rules that churches tell me i must follow in order to be a believer. i struggle that i don't see enough freedom in my daily walk with God. i want to have a connection to the ancient, to the traditions and rituals that come directly from Christ. that's how i want to find value in my walk with God. i want more reliance on liturgy than i want reliance on teaching from the pastor. i want a connection to God through ritual, through symbol and i want that ritual and symbol to come to me from the 1st century. i want my worship service to be balanced between the centrality of the Eucharist and some teaching from the scriptures. i want singing of spiritual songs and i want to hear from the Word, scriptures handed down through the centuries to draw us closer to God.
i read a blog post recently talking about the importance of liturgy and it pushed me a tiny bit in the direction of this post. i want to hear and rely on the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed more, not because i want to put the Creeds on a pedastal but rather because i think they point me to God a bit. we've been discussing what place the Eucharist has in our church services during our Adult Teaching time prior to worship over the last month or so and a common theme that came out to me was how the Reformation changed the balance of the worship service so that we relied more on teaching (since the common man needed more teaching) and less on the ritual found in the Eucharist. i think that many churches are still there. we've gotten away from the mystery of faith and have boiled it down to a list of how to live. i've got to think that when i think of worship now i have less and less interest in teaching and more and more interest in the mystery.
so you see, Luther you really opened up a can. some of the stuff you brought out has helped multiple millions move toward faith but also it has moved us away from some ancient connections to Christ as we moved away from the mysteries of the faith. i'm getting more and more joy out of ritual, out of the mystery in my walk with God. i've decided to keep the teaching part in my own walk too but i still want a better connection with ritual and the ancient. that's just how i feel and yes, i kinda blame Luther.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a letter to a 16 yr old me


i won't ask how it's going because i already know. you're doing fine by the way, be encouraged. i'm writing you from just over 25 years in your future because i need to smooth over some stuff for both our sakes.
first of all, relax. you'll be in love, you'll get married, you'll actually get to have sex some day and you'll be very happy with the mate you choose. Jesus won't return before you get a chance to have all those experiences. don't do anything rash, just chill. sex is overrated anyway. don't get me wrong it's great and you really enjoy it but it's not worth the wishing effort that you waste on it. it's just better to relax and let your friendships support you better. i get it that you're just 16, and it seems like forever til you'll get to the place that you'll "do it" but ... you will do it and you'll be fine.
the world isn't going to explode over these 25 years ahead of you, in fact the Berlin Wall will come down and you'll even get to see and touch it before it does. i know, that was pretty cool. by the way, when you're in Berlin you'll see a Lambourghini and actually take a picture of it, don't misplace that picture, because your friends won't believe you when you tell the story. you'll worry a lot less about the arms race in time and the Soviets end up losing power so that there's a lot less "us and them" talk globally. you even end up marrying a girl whose dad was born in the Ukraine. that's cool.
you'll fret over what you're going to do with your life but don't worry too much about that either, like i said, you'll be fine. you'll help people and you yourself get helped. you'll own a house, you'll be involved in life events that give you life, you'll be a part of a church community that reaches you in depths that you don't think you have. you'll bless people and they will bless you. your vocation will fulfill you and you'll love your life. get used to riding your bike because you'll truly LOVE that you're commuting to work by bike while staying not nearly as svelt as you are right now.
by the way, you cannot just continue to eat whatever and whenever you like. your preference for Oh Henry bars and Pepsi gets your waistline into predicaments that you're still trying to get out of. ease up a little will ya?
people really do like you. everywhere you go, you find friends. try to be more friendly. i know you get absorbed in your own stuff but you really should pay more attention to other folks. contrary to popular belief it's not all about you. people hurt and you can help. don't be afraid to reach out and you'll see that your friendships deepen.
listen for God's voice and actually do what you know you need to do. i have a scar right between my eyes that i wouldn't have if i actually listened to what i knew God was telling me to do. i got into an accident doing temp work at a factory and i came within a centimeter of losing an eye. to this day i think of that when i look at my own mug in the mirror. listen to me, i've been to places that you haven't been to yet.
learn to pray. much of your thought life is prayer so learn to think on the right things. talk to God about the friends around you, they're just as confused about how to live as you are.
Grant and Paul - these are your significant friendships right now. you still stay in touch and Paul will stand up beside you at your wedding (you'll be in his too). your friendships could be a lot deeper now than they should be so you really should try to go deeper now so that they last later. i haven't seen either guy in like 15 years although i do get the occasional email from Grant (you'll find out what email is later).
Sarah - she really digs you, but you know that already. you're probably thinking that she's really annoying right now, and she probably is, but she'll need you in a couple years. incidentally she'll play the lead in a Senior play at her high school and she'll rock the world with it so she won't always be this annoying. she'll have a spiritual struggle of immense magnitude and she'll be asking some serious questions of you. be there for her long before that conversation and you could probably lessen the pain of her struggle. she may not throw all spirituality away which is what i last heard that she had decided to do.
Sandra - she digs you too (don't be a dog about it). i'm actually a bit proud of you here, you really help her on her journey of faith. keep it up and keep helping folks like that.
your family - your parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary last summer and they're still very happy together spending your inheritance. listen to your sister more, she needs you and she loves you very much. give your elder brother a kick in the pants because he needs it too. your eldest brother has already moved out and he'll have an interesting journey too but everyone will be fine.
music - i love music today probably because i paid so much attention to it when i was you. listen to the radio more, you can easily sort out the good music from the stuff that brings nothing to the table. sing more. play more. don't regret the conflict that you had over choosing between music and french class, you made the right call. you'll study a bit of theory and you'll learn a new instrument over the next couple decades. you'll even play a song on the guitar with all your siblings and their spouses at your parents 50th anniversary. your father will be astounded because he won't see it coming.

when you see a pretty blond smiling at you in college, you're about to enter a world of hurt so be careful. in some ways it shapes you and in other ways it busts you up for the next half decade. i don't know how to advise you on that one because if you run away from that then you'd probably be a different man than the one that i know today.
i like you Ian, i really do ... and i'm not alone in that. bless those around you, keep praying, and just chillax a little. you'll be fine.



Friday, October 16, 2009

ok, so fasting is HARD

16 "When you fast, don't put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are fasting. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. 17 So when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then people will not know that you are fasting, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you.

today is World Hunger Day and i blogged a tiny bit about it yesterday. i want to risk losing all spiritual reward for my exploits today so that i could also hopefully impart a little of the struggle.
i've been fasting today. i decided that i'd eat breakfast and i'll wait until after the worship service tonight before i'll eat again but ... it's freakishly hard. i've fasted before and i don't remember it being more than a blip of a struggle but this time? it's different.
i cannot get past how much of a wuss i'm being as i also regularly have thought of over 900 million people in this world who live through this sort of thing out of necessity and not by choice. i've been picturing fathers in Africa who choose not to eat so that their child can have a meager meal. i picture mothers in Asia who may only have access to a tiny bit of rice to feed their entire family for the next week. i think of folks in China who have to consider that the egg that i could have for any normal breakfast would be a treat that they may not come across again for a calendar year.
and i sit at my desk at work and my stomach growls and i moan inwardly about why i can't go have a cup of coffee to start my day. i'm a complete wuss.

my life is beyond phenomenal when i put on my global specs. 2/3rds of the world would walk for miles on broken glass just to have the chance to join even the lowest tier of my economic society and i complain about a stomach gurgle.

Abba, open my eyes to change. open the doors of our rich societies so that more might be able to escape poverty, oppression and hunger and find a life that they deserve. help those of us born with a silver spoon to realize that there are many many more without a spoon whatsoever.

and Ian? don't be such a wuss either.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fast for Change

World Food Day is tomorrow and Canadian Food Grains Bank is heading up an initiative to try and get Canadians involved in Fasting for change and raising the profile of 900 million people worldwide who are chronically malnourished.

go check out Fast for Change to get more info. there will be a worship service tomorrow here in Winnipeg that i will be at. if you want to attend then you'll just need to show up at St. Mathew's Maryland Church at the corner of St. Mathew's and Maryland Streets at 6 pm tomorrow evening. there are also several other events planned at the church throughout the day.

whether or not you actually fast is up to you and what you think you're able to do according to your health needs. let's try and bring about some change though.

in closing i want to add this link where i found this quote:

When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist.
- Dom Helder Câmara, late archbishop of the Brazilian diocese of Olinda and Recife. Oct. 13 was the anniversary of his death.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

when God ran

i saw him run to me, hold me in his arms, held my head to his chest and said my son's come home again.
he looked at my face, wiped the tears from my eyes and with forgiveness in his voice i felt his love for me again.
he ran to me.
when God ran.

(that's the chorus of an old Benny Hester tune)

the concept of God running to me as i return to where i belong has always brought joy to me. God runs to us, that's how much He wants us back and welcomes us back.

h/t to Nullus Extra Cruem

Friday, October 9, 2009

what's out there?

i wish i wrote this blog. it pokes fun at everything about Christianity and we have WAYYYY too many sacred cows. i guess maybe i like irreverence without heresy, in other words ... take yourself less seriously.

here's another one for you. i love it when we can discuss something intelligently and have a little fun with it.

and another one.

this blog has been throwing down simple statements for a couple weeks now and i've just been enjoying most of them. one of the statements made me laugh out loud and i like to laugh.

i loved this and look for a post for my version of this sort of thing as soon as i can write something up that i like.

this post was like watching a trainwreck, you didn't want to see it but you just couldn't look away.

my buddy Andrew

i mentioned Andrew briefly in my last post but i haven't ever gone too indepth about him here. he's the closest thing to a brother that i have in my church community and i'd run through a wall to help him if i could. we've been in the same seed group together for ... 8 years i guess, and that's a significant thing because we change our seed groups every 2 years or so in our community. we've gone through some struggles and we've been alongside when the other has needed something. he's a strong man of God that i love and respect more than i probably tell him.
we came to Winnipeg and we joined our community where we have happily remained for 12 years now. i didn't find Andrew as a close friend at the time, instead i latched onto some fatherly types that helped me grow a lot before i began to "come into my own" as it were at Grain of Wheat.
since we began to spend a lot more time together and shared our struggles more then he has been a tremendous resource for me and an example of someone who wants to reach out to God and find Him. his daughters are dear to me, his wife is a dear friend who encourages me and helps me along the path.

my family is not present with me here (outside of my dear wife of course) in this tundra-land but i have a brother who checks in and shares his struggle as i share mine. we're planning a brisk game of Settlers of Catan for Saturday eve this weekend. i love Settlers and i can never seem to beat Andrew at it.

Andrew introduced us to an appreciation of Cat Stevens (you may know him now as Yusuf Islam). if we ever owned a cat we'd probably call him Stevens because of a running joke that we have between our families.

and with that statement i give you Cat Stevens, courtesy of Andrew.

Monday, October 5, 2009

breathe deep

hat tip to my buddy Andrew who tipped me off to this tune oh those many years ago. i love you my brother.

peace be still

It had been a monstrously busy day and we had seen so many things. You had a struggle with the Pharisees and your own family hadn't even understood what you were called to be doing (not that any of us understood that anyway). You healed all kinds of sick and you told a whole bunch of stories about the Kingdom of God (whatever that is) and as the day came near to ending the people still pressed you for more. Finally you said, "Let's go to the other side of the lake" and we could see the exhaustion in your eyes. The fishermen among us knew their way around a boat much more than I did so I tried to stay out of the way and soon we were under sail and underway. One of the problems was that we left in a hurry though. We had to hope we could land in some little cove on the other side so that we could go into a town and get some food, we didn't bring anything.
The lake (why do some call this a Sea anyway?) was really quiet and the sunset followed by starry skies was a beautiful thing to behold. You were so tired that you fell asleep in the stern while we sat together and spoke softly of all the things we had seen lately. The idyllic scene was not to remain though. Pretty soon a wild wind swooped down upon us and we were soon engulfed in a cyclonic storm that heaved the sea around like we were in the middle of an earthquake. The waves lashed up and over the sides of the boat so that it was already filling. I'm no good trying to help with sails so I tried to bail water out with my hands but it was coming in in buckets while I threw out handfuls.

and you slept.

Our world crashed around us and you were sleeping. I was beyond frightened, I don't belong on the water to begin with, I can barely swim ... and you slept. I was the first to say, "Wake Him up" but Simon didn't seem as scared as me and James looked only a bit worried. John came along beside me to try and calm me a little, but it didn't help. Then Andrew lost complete control of the sail and I must've gone straight white as a sheet (which is a considerable thing because I have a great tan). I could tell they loved Him and they didn't want to wake Him, but I was panicking and that spreads through a small group faster than a great secret.
We forgot who He was. We forgot what we had seen not only that day but also for the many days preceding it. Instead we rushed to wake the Lord of all things, the waker, the giver, the calmer.
Don't you care? Can't you see my world falling from around my ears? Do you see this wind and those waves? I'm dying here and you don't seem to care or to notice.

You said, "Why are you afraid Ian? Do you not realize who I am? Is the Lord of all things swamped by your petty battles and disagreements? Where is your faith? What have you seen and what do you believe you will continue to see?"

Peace be still and it was.

What kind of man am I following? He takes my apprehension, my anxiety, my fear and He brings the light of comprehension to it. This isn't just any man like the rest in this boat are and I wonder if I'm the one who has been asleep this entire time.

Lead on my Christ. I'm awake and I'll try to pay attention.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary to me!

i actually don't know what i want to do with this idea. technically i passed my 2nd anniversary of this blog on Sep 30, but it's not the same either. originally this was strictly a fantasy hockey blog and i blogged about hockey for several months before getting noticed by a hockey website. i moved the fantasy hockey thing over to and i kept the name, because i liked the name. after a while i decided i had more to say so i resurrected this blog so that i could delve into other issues.

occasionally someone from the hockey history happens across this blog. in fact if you did a google search for shallowfrozenwater you'd see some hockey stuff right up front and you'd be chanelled over here if you clicked on it. i figure that someone might just be a bit surprised at the subject matter if they came here ever since i decided to speak up on more subjects than just hockey.

if you're here for hockey ... you'll still be able to see some of that, but mostly i have a higher mindset on most days around here. you're welcome to browse all you want though. you might just find more about me here than you would over at my hockey blog anyway. if you don't want to browse then be blessed on your journey anyway, and there's a link to my hockey blog over on the right there.

Happy Avinursary. what? that's how i say it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

flags of the world

this flag showed up on my LiveTraffic Feed and i'm pretty good with flags, but i don't have a clue what this one is.

any wisdom for me out there?

my other religion is HOCKEY!

i'm the biggest hockey fan you know, seriously. except you Joel, you're the biggest hockey fan you know. if you read this then you may not know that i also write for 3 (count 'em, 3) sports websites; 2 for hockey and 1 for baseball. they all are on the topic of fantasy sports ... which some of you may think is too geeky a topic for you to delve into, even with a trained professional like myself. it's not though and there's plenty for you to learn in this area. if you're in a fantasy hockey pool (or a baseball pool during baseball season) then you can get some help with your team here or here for baseball (but i'm not the only guy writing on either site so you'd have to search a bit for my work). the best part of the deal is that you'd be dealing with me, which may be a curse or a blessing, you decide.

my Leafs lost in overtime to start off their season last night. i'm bummed about it but i'm extra bummed because they lost to the dreaded Montreal Canadiens after having a 3-2 lead in the 3rd. you see, i have 2 favourite hockey teams; the Toronto Maple Leafs and anyone playing the Montreal Canadiens. oh well.

why do i mention all of this? because it's a part of me and i'm jazzed up by the start of hockey season. it's not really a "spiritual discussion" and it's certainly a sport that focuses on violence too much but there's speed, beauty and grace in that game that many people just don't get. you may consider this a wart on my soul but in the end i'll just call it a beauty mark and move on.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


this was originally found here.

i actually heard a song on Christian radio that spoke something to me last week, it talked about pretending not to see the homeless guy on the street for the 21st time that day. this man (or woman, or child) is everywhere ... and we don't see him. i'm a welfare worker and i don't always see him. i'm looking for him but i don't really know what to do to help him. it's a complex issue.
is my response simply to be merciful? does that mean i should be emptying my pockets of change for him or should i walk with him to the shelter? maybe both? is that enough?
i'm not trying nor could i ever be the voice of God inside your head and my own confusion on the issue doesnt instill much confidence for what i'm supposed to do, but i want to be merciful.

i'm as willing as the "next" Christian to be friendly to the poor that comes across my path, but is that enough? some argue that showing respect for the man standing in front of you is all that person desires but what of the bigger picture? what of the traps and barriers in his life that keeps him in the same cycles?

i don't know, i just don't know.

open my eyes. help me see the Invisible man. you don't have to go to Calcutta or the pool of Siloam to find someone who needs you.
open your eyes and respect who you see, whatever that means to you then act on that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

blessed be the hands

one of my favourite blogs to read is Subversive Influence because he's right here in the same town that i'm in, we run in some of the same common circles and yet we've never met (that i know of) so there's still some mystery attached to him. Brother Maynard runs that blog and regularly inspires me with the stuff he puts up there.
in this situation he's got me thinking about hands and i've always been fascinated by hands because they do so much. i long for my hands to be blessed in the things that they do and i pray that they are. i'm rendered speechless by stuff like this because i know that it'd give me pause and probably make me weepy if we did a blessing like this in our community.
we should probably do that though.

Blessed be the work of your hands — Holy God.
You hold us in your hands.

Blessed be the hands that have touched life.
Blessed be the hands that have nurtured creativity.
Blessed be the hands that have held pain.
Blessed be the hands that have embraced with passion.
Blessed be the hands that have closed in anger.
Blessed be the hands that have planted new seeds.
Blessed be the hands that have harvested ripe fields.
Blessed be the hands that have cleaned, washed, and scrubbed.
Blessed be the hands that have become wrinkled with years.
Blessed be the hands that are scarred from doing justice.
Blessed be the hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be the hands that feed those who are hungry.
Blessed be the hands that comfort the dying and touch the dead.
Blessed be the hands that greet strangers.
Blessed be the hands that guide the young.

Blessed be these hands — for they are the work of Your hands.

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the smallest member of the family

my dog's name is Maddie and she's very predictable. when we got her she wasn't predictable at all but after 9 years under our roof we can see some definite characteristics that she's taken from our family, ok she's taken them from me. we named her after my wife's favourite author, Madeline L'Engle.

she's so scared she should be a cat.
any big truck that goes by will cause her to go darting under a table, a chair or between your knees if you happen to be standing in the neighbourhood. most of the time that isn't an issue since most of the truck traffic happens while i'm at work so i don't have to worry much about getting taken out by a low bridge tackle by a 40 pound mutt. however, this issue is the most problematic whenever its stormy outside. she's deathly afraid of thunder and lightning. as a general rule she doesnt come upstairs to the bedrooms in the house so that we don't have to worry so much about dog hair all over the place but when it storms she slinks upstairs because the fear is palatable and can be seen in the way she holds herself. the general rule is that when it storms, Ian sleeps in the basement with the dog. that way she has someone to comfort her and everyone in the house can still get some sleep. our basement is sheltered enough that she can't really see the flashes or hear the roars anymore.
she gets that behaviour from reading me i suspect. when i'm in a bad spiritual space i tend toward fear and depression. i'm a worrier. Maddie serves as a reminder to me that i myself have a buffer from the scary things of life and Abba is willing to go sleep in the basement with me too. then when the thundering stops i can return to my proper place and know that i'm protected throughout. that lightens my heart sometimes so i don't really mind it when i have to go sleep in the basement with my dog, i really need that sometimes too.
i remember how much of a support Maddie was to me when i went through a winter of depression not so many winters ago. she thought we were just going for long walks along the river but i knew that she was supporting me through a scary time.

she can tell time.
we feed Maddie her supper at 7 pm and regularly she shows up wherever i am at 7 pm and she places her head on my knee as if to say, "know what time it is? i do." she's very cute. other times when i'm away at 7 pm so that Wendy feeds her then Maddie still tries to convince me that she hasn't had her supper when i return. we've developed a little phrase saying, "she's had her supper so don't let her lie to you."
i'm a slave to my schedule too. i like things the way that i like them and i don't like to be delayed more than anyone does. structure is comforting to me like it is for many. Maddie likes structure too. we go for our walk in the mornings and we have suppertime at 7pm sharp. she's a master of the puppydog eyes approach to getting what she wants. sometimes i'm a master of that too.
how often do i do things spiritually because that's the way that i do them. i find comfort in keeping it the same and when it's not the same i break out the puppydog eyes to God and i say "uh, do you know what time it is? i do." i'm thankful for the daily graces in my life and for an Abba that really does know what time it is.

she's a popcorn fiend.
i made popcorn this afternoon as i watched some football and my dog turned into a Pavlovian drooling machine as the popcorn popped and later we enjoyed some of it together. there's no way that you can ignore a drooling animal as she leaves little puddles (literally) on the floor next to the couch. don't worry i cleaned it up.
i'm a slave to my own desires too. i'm also a popcorn fiend but there are more things that i can substitute for popcorn in that sentence.
everything in moderation puppy (or Ian). there is much freedom available but don't be a slave to anything. one batch of popcorn is a nice treat but popcorn as a meal won't get you very far at all. i really do believe in freedom for the Christian and i think that Acts 15 is a pivotal moment in church history as a battle between the law and grace caused a turning point in people's lives. i don't want to be a slave to anything so i just have to find some of my own moderation of my freedom amidst all the drooling for my own desires.

sometimes when Maddie is doing something weird i say to my wife, "that's YOUR dog" even though i know that dog belongs to me. there are just so many things that Maddie does that reminds me that we are the same, she and i. they say that dogs and owners begin to look and dress the same, we're opposed to little outfits for our dog but i certainly get that beings living under the same roof begin to show characteristics that bleed directly from the lifeblood behaviour of the alphas already in the home. i've looked for a pic of our pup and unfortunately i have failed to find one, you'll just have to believe that she's a beautiful thing to behold ... she gets that from me too.