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