Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent 4

since the last vid didn't work out i'll have to find a replacement. in the meantime ...

the magic begins about 2:20

Saturday, December 18, 2010

dreams ... be careful what you watch on tv

rough night. i made the mistake of watching a show online that involved a crew in a submarine trapped 2000 feet down and consequently i had trapped and alone dreams all night. not at all what i needed.

i called a friend at 1230 am just because i felt like i was losing it. i love that my community has volunteered to help me through this. he prayed with me and i returned to fitful sleep. the dreams were still dark and unreasonable. they made no sense and yet i was terrified to wake unless that caused me or someone else to be lost forever. i woke with a start more than once.

rough night. now i have to figure how to fill my day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wendy's Words of Wisdom

"Ian, I love your crinkles" (those would be my laugh lines and wrinkles that show up around my eyes when i smile)

God i love that woman.

how am i?

i felt better today. my naturopath expects that i'll go back to work on Monday but part of me isn't so sure. the hardest part of my day has been the last 2 hours since i'm all alone and my anxiety of late is centered around the idea that i don't want to be alone. i keep thinking, "you just have to make to 9 am tomorrow when you pick up Wendy". i'm hoping buddy Bob gives me a call when he's done work. one problem there is the fact that i have not been sleeping well all week long. i was given a naturopathic med to help me sleep and it's like my brain is fully awake but i've thrown a veil over my head so that i look at everything through a cloud.

i've had medical appts galore this week. i feel like i've processed so very much and yet i find myself back in some of the same fearful spots that i've been in all week long. that's what happens when i "what if" too much. i am competent, i am courageous, i am capable ... and yet i doubt those things at every turn.

i don't like to hear "how are you?" lately. it's because i don't really want to lie and i have to figure out if you really want to hear how i am. sometimes i've just said, "i've been better" or "not so good" and kept walking but that's not all that good of an approach to people you like and respect.

Wendy is still in the hospital and it has been very difficult for her. i have been a bit of a basketcase (actually more than a bit) and that certainly hasn't helped Wendy in her situation. i'm trying to be active, to do more, because that is what i believe is the path for me to get out of the funk. it certainly wouldn't hurt if Wendy doesnt have to worry about such things and that's more reason for me to be doing them.

this has helped me a little to write this down.

blessings on my love. give her peace, hope and strength.
blessings on the S's as they travel to their holiday destination.
blessings on family who are trying hard to be supportive.
blessings on my church community who have been very willing to help me out of my dark hole.
blessings on me because i need it.
blessings on you dear friend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

i have an anxiety disorder and it has been absolutely ablaze for the last 36 hours. i haven't had such dark thoughts as to scare me this much in many years. last night i had to have my friend Roger stay at our house so that i wasnt alone (Wendy's still getting treatment in the hospital). seriously dark thoughts about my own death and the meaningless of my life right now. my life does have meaning, i just can't see it now.
this is not a suicide note. i just need to get some of this dark out.
i'm asking all sorts of questions, of God, of me. i have a message left for my counselor through work and i very much need to go see him today. i plan on trying to contact my doctor and i already have an appt with the naturopath today.
i'm thankful for friends who care, a wife who tells me she loves me and for ways to express myself.
i slept fitfully the last 2 nights, my dreams are disturbed and i've thought more than once that i'm on the verge of a complete breakdown.
it seems to help somewhat to be doing something but there's also a severe motivation problem right now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent 3

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

quite possibly my favourite carol done up by Annie Lennox in a quirky and thoroughly interesting way. love it.

via Jesus needs new PR

Friday, December 10, 2010

Relationship trumps rule

**** I submitted this article to my football official's newsletter that came out in December 2010. Some of it may go right over your head since it can be a little specific in terms of football rules but there's a principle here that I wanted to get across.

Hey rookies, let me tell you a story (some of the facts have changed to protect the participants from their own douchbag-arie). It was my first year in the MFOA and although it’s true that I’ve always been a wonderful thing to behold in general, I had a difficult time on the field. I was terrible. Really terrible. You may be thinking, “you’re still terrible Ian” but in truth I’m just less terrible now. Seriously, I haven’t seen ANYONE in the seasons since who struggled so very much with the learning curve that is the first season in the MFOA, at least I’ve seen nobody who struggled and then stuck it out since that time. I got an award after my second season for being so improved but that’s only because of how bad my first season was. Are you getting a picture for just how bad I was? I don’t think you are but out of self preservation I’m moving on.
I was the Line Judge at a High School playoff game. I think it was a quarter-final but I only say that because I can’t imagine that I got assigned to any big game whatsoever that season. I was on the wide side on a punt, so of course I had to hold the LS. It made me feel a bit less nervous because I didn’t have to worry about the no yards cushion (5 yrds up and 8 out), the no yards call, or the block ... or so I thought. The punt was shanked and landed 3 yards beyond the LS and 8 yards in front of me, soon thereafter it had a Team A player lying on top of the ball. I don’t know why I didn’t think about the No Yards call, but I didn’t. The whistle blew and all I remember is my white hat coming running out and screaming “THERE HAS TO BE A FLAG ON THAT BALL!” Was he right? Absolutely he was right. Was I pissed at the situation? You bet I was. I was pissed that I had completely screwed the pooch but also because I had just been torn a new one in front of hundreds of fans and both teams.
I’ve thought about that moment a lot over the seasons since. I’ve thought about it because I’ve seen guys decide to walk away from the association rather than deal with the grief and embarrassment of those sorts of moments. I’ve had to bite my tongue a couple times this season because I’ve been the white hat. I don’t want to be the guy who loses it on someone else and I certainly don’t want to be on the other end of that “conversation” ever again. When I’m the white hat I think about the fact that I’m going to need that rook for the rest of this game, the rest of this season and for many seasons to come so I can’t rip him a new one, even if I believe that he’s just made the worst call in the world. I find it’s much better to ask myself first: Was he out of position? Did he report to me properly what it was that he saw? Are there any unanswered questions? Do I trust this guy to do a competent job? As I review those questions in my mind I realize, yes he was in position, he saw what he saw, we can deal with any application together and I definitely need to be in his corner here. If you have a memory of me this season doing otherwise then I want to sincerely apologize for any offense.
I’m a social worker, in fact I’m a welfare worker. I know a little bit about trying to motivate people, even the unmotivated. I also believe in community, in belonging, in a certain fraternity that our association needs to be. It is my belief that those who are encouraged to learn, sometimes the hard way, really do become part of a fraternity as they receive the support they need to receive on the field. The difference between a special interest group and a community is found in the depth of relationship. I have found that community develops when we relate to one another. If we are to be a true association we need to worry about issues of support, issues of relationship. If we are to work together we need to learn to be cohesive. For me, matters of relationship trump matters of rule. I’m not saying that you ignore a rule on the field so that you preserve a relationship with a fellow zebra. I’m saying you have to trust that the guy across from you can and will do his job so that the entire crew is effective. You have to trust that you’re not going to see everything and your crew can add as much to a game as they do their jobs in a competent way. When the mistakes happen, and they will happen, then you have to find a way to be respectful and learn together at the same time. That’s going to mean that we need to carry the new guys, especially the terrible ones. It means we have to carry the slow guys, even the good ones. It means we need to respectfully discuss what we see and sometimes disagree with one another so that at the end of the day we can raise a glass without raising a voice against each other.
Let me rewind. In my story I think I would’ve appreciated if my white hat had remembered that I was a rook who had shown over the course of a season that he was just plain terrible. I would’ve liked for my white hat to come running up stating (or perhaps forcefully saying) “Ian, throw your flag”. It turns out the Team A player on the ball was the punter, so he was onside, but how could my white hat declare him onside if I didn’t flag the No Yards?
Over the years since that incident the two of us have chatted and I’m pleased to say that he has noted that I’ve improved considerably and I no longer think he’s a complete asshat. I’ve gone for beers with this guy since, we’re ok, honest. The relationship is cool and we have an understanding. We’ll be respectful of each other and if he ever makes a mistake I’ll just laugh and call him a greenhorn or something. Some people are just terrible that way.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

one of my favourite things

today is my 44th birthday. i've been stressed of late and not sleeping well. my wife is in the hospital and i wander around an empty house when i'm not spending time with her. i woke this morning and i had to very literally drag myself out of bed so that i could get off to work today.

as i went through my day at work one of my favourite things happened. it was unexpected although i don't know why it was unexpected because it happens on this day every year.

my wife called my phone at work and sang Happy Birthday to me. she made me weep as i sat and listened to her. i archived the message so that i could hear it again whenever i wished to. i wept again as i wrote this blog post.

she truly is one of my favourite things. the things she does for me every day truly are my favourite things. this one thing that she does for me every year truly is one of my favourite things.

she blessed my day just by being who she is.

i love you Wendy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

more Advent 1

gotta love Sufjan and if you don't then take a listen. this version does take a little getting used to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent 1

Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon

not your typical Christmas song but i'm purposefully putting this one up because i want to get you thinking about other matters than buying.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

back at the hospital

it has been on the schedule for a couple weeks now but Wendy was admitted to the hospital tonight. it wsa supposed to happen 9 days ago but the beds in the eating disorder program here in Winnipeg go first to others in the city who are in a more precarious mental health situation. it seems that the person making the arrangements was ill one day and that meant she delayed her going in for at least one of those days.

it has been a stressful time of preparation. i get in the way too much it seems and we haven't exactly seen eye to eye on some things. i've been trying to be flexible and i'm trying to hear her as she's expressing what she needs from me but the added stress in our life together has made every burr seem like a heart attack or something. i know i'm hard to live with ... but we all are.

i'm trying to pray about it and i know that i'm worried about it all. i just want some relief for her. i want her to have her life back so that we in turn can have our life back.

this past Sunday was the end of the church year. we begin anew with advent next Sunday morning. i've often thought during these transition types of days that my prayer continues to be to ask for a new season. i remember praying very fervently for a new season last New Year's and well, the season hasn't exactly been new at all. i'll still pray for answers, i'll still pray for her.

the phone call from the hospital came this afternoon but word didn't get to me until she came home from a doctor's appt. i had made it home after a long day at work and i was busy shovelling the 6 inches of snow that has been falling and blowing for nearly a week now. i've been sitting and stewing about it for a couple weeks now. it's what i do, when i get in a bad, stressful place i worry too much.

i dropped her off at the hospital. she has a nice room to herself. we spoke briefly about how she felt during the start of this ordeal. i won't be telling you about that although she did use the word "numb" to describe how she felt. pray for her. pray for me.

the penultimate supper of Doctor Who

i love me my Doctor Who. i "believe" this one doesnt take into account the most recent Doctor.
oh, and by the way my favourite Doctor was Tom Baker, that'd be him 3rd from the right.

via glocal christianity

Friday, November 19, 2010


it began last night and there was about 6 inches on the ground by the time i had to run to catch the bus this morning. this year has been a record for the more than a decade we've been in Winnipeg ... Nov 17th was the longest into the year that i was able to ride my bike to work.

i got up and realized that i'd need to dig out my winter boots and i still need to find the liner to my winter jacket. i was at the bus stop this morning when i realized it was recycling day so i ran back to the house to put it out. consequently i missed the bus by a couple seconds max. that's ok though, it'd mean that i could go shovel the back walkway. i still wouldn't have time to clear the car off for Wendy but at least she wouldn't have to trudge through the snow much on her way to clearing the car off.

it's been blustery all day. kinda like me lately. the more i think about it the more i realize that i'm not ready for this sort of thing and i'm not sure i'm talking about the weather anymore.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

sorry about my language

i was in a truly pissy mood yesterday. i was just angry about apparent rude behaviour of others and i was offended whenever i had to go through channels at work to accomplish what i could do on my own but was required to get approval for.

we had a staff meeting yesterday where i was one of 3 trainers trying to explain what and how to accomplish something that people will need to know how to do. we got to the "Any questions?" section at the end and there were a couple questions but all of a sudden the room exploded in all sorts of cross-talk amongst themselves. i just sat there thinking that i had already been through all of this training myself but i couldn't afford to chat with my neighbour while there were still questions to be addressed. i actually couldn't hear the questions that people had or the responses from my fellow trainers because there were 10 other conversations going on at the same time. it was thoroughly rude behaviour and i thought, "what is this, grade 9 homeroom that we need to discuss our lives instead of talking about how to get our job done properly? we're still at work right?" i actually had to yell in the room "QUIET PLEASE" so that we could hear the questions that were being asked. these are adults we're talking about, not 12 yr olds.

that just pushed me down a pissy road.

i'm angry about something else though. i'm stressed and angry at God because Wendy has to go back in the hospital. i've known about this for some significant time now but as we get to crunch time my anger comes to the foreground. i know that we're good people, that Wendy's good people, and yet we have all this shit to wade through. the air around us both is blue based on the fact there are occasions that one or both of us are swearing like truckers as we try to get a handle on the stress and other shit to deal with.

i'm not a swearer. really, i'm an exceptionally good lad. i've also sworn more in the last year than i remember swearing in the previous 43, i mean total. i'm just angry about it.

last night my wife took out some tuna and then started to cry after she opened it because Maddie (that would be our dog) used to love to eat the oil and water left behind. i just hugged Wendy tight because i'm also angry about losing Maddie still.

i called someone in my church community last night to explain why i wouldn't be showing up for one of our meetings last night. i explained to her that i'm just in a pissy mood and i'm coming down with a cold. i also said that i suppose Wendy might be able to convince to go to the meeting but left to my own devices there was no way that i was showing up. when i said to Wendy that i wasn't going to the meeting she didn't even try to convince me otherwise. it's undoubtedly true that if i am tired she's just plain exhausted.

i ate, watched a little tv with Wendy, did the dishes and went to bed last night.

i've been thinking that i should return to the counselor i saw last year. i'm not an angry man, i'm not impatient, i'm not frustrated ... normally. today and lately that's exactly what i've been.

how long oh Lord? how long?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

15 song shuffle

i saw this done by Lisa and i knew that i could easily do something like that too. it's a little bit of fun and we'll just see what we end up with. i have a pretty eclectic mix on my work Media player.

so here's the first 15 songs that came up on shuffle from my Media Player music library. you can do this too, and i'd be interested.

1. Marie - Steve Bell
2. As long as the Sun - Steve Bell (interesting, 2 in a row)
3. Reservations - Wilco
4. Blowin' in the Wind - Neil Young
5. Love is So Blind - Mark Heard
6. Learning to Fly - Tom Petty
7. Waiting for Aidan - Steve Bell (ok, is this thing broken? i'd say that only 10% of my player has Steve Bell music on it. where's the Larry Norman?)
8. Stubble and Hay - Gord Johnson (another friend)
9. Eventide - Steve Bell (sigh. maybe its a sign)
10. Twelve Good Men - Larry Norman (WOO HOO!)
11. Things have changed - Bob Dylan (another very cool tune. it was on the soundtrack for Wonderboys)
12. The 59th Street Bridge Song - Steve Bell's kids as a bonus track to Sons and Daughters. it's pretty cool actually.
13. Day Tripper - The Beatles
14. Airline to Heaven - Billy Bragg and Wilco (i've actually learned to play a rendition of this song on my guitar and it sounds rather cool if i do say so myself)
15. Outta Mind (Outta Sight) - Wilco (my buddy Craig should be pleased to see how much Wilco comes up in this discussion too.

ok, i changed one of the tunes because tune #16 was one that i couldn't resist. technically i cheated but you wouldn't have even known had i not had a guilty conscience about it.
well, that's me. how about you? throw down a link or a comment if you do the same because i'll want to see it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

an interesting development

i married a Mennonite. i'm very much inclined toward peace and justice issues although i'm not sure if i'd call myself non-resistant. at the very least i suppose i'd choose the label of pacifist for myself. i believe in peace and i'll eagerly point out that i stand against war in this troubled world. if i were asked to serve in the Armed Forces or if i had ever been conscripted (conscription is not in place in Canada and hasn't been since the Second World War i believe) then i would refuse to serve. that'd mean that i'd end up in jail or some lumber camp had i been born in a different era.

recently we went through Remembrance Day in Canada and nestled on either side of Nov 11th were two football games where it would be required to wear a poppy as a sign of remembrance for the fallen. i've always thought that Remembrance Day is a respectful day and i haven't had the internal ethical problem with an outward notification of my respect by wearing a poppy, even though i'm overtly opposed to the concept of war. i have taken to wearing a Mennonite button around Remembrance Day that i think is "better" than wearing a poppy. the button says, "To remember is to work for peace" and it falls into line with my thoughts around the concepts of war and respect for the fallen.

it was being strongly suggested that the entire crew attending these football games wear a poppy and i decided that i didn't want to risk that anyone would be offended by wearing my button on the field if they thought that i was being disrespectful to the memory of the fallen. so i wore a poppy since the purpose of the poppy is "Lest we forget" and not something like "isn't war glorious?" or some such twaddle. i believe in remembering and respect for fallen soldiers so that jump was not a difficult one to manage for me.

Mennonites do NOT wear poppies. i am not a Mennonite however. i do ref football with a Mennonite who took a little grief over his insistence that he would not wear a poppy. i was in there trying to help protect his right to remember in his own way but i can't believe how political the situation became.

a poppy is not a magic button. to choose not to wear one does not mean that you're disrespecting every veteran who has ever served in a war. to choose to wear one does not make you more of a patriot. we all have rights and we all remember in our own ways. i respect my friend's right not to wear a poppy because i too do not believe in war but i also chose to wear a poppy because the point of the poppy is Lest we forget ... above all else. i still will fight against any insistence that i must fight (yeah, i realize the paradox there) but i also won't disrespect anyone who thinks i "may" be insulting someone who died to help preserve the freedom i have to believe as i do.

it's an interesting development.

Lest we forget.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

some advice for 20-30 yr old unmarried women

if you're wondering if that guy is too old for you to be dating simply ask him this question:

"Hey, you know that tv show that had Uncle Jesse in it?"

if he answers, "You mean, Full House?" you're good to go;

if he says, "You mean, Dukes of Hazzard?" then he's too old for you and run away.

you'll thank me later. thank Wendy too, she gave me this gem.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

my football season ends for the year

no high school final for me this year, not like last year anyway. i will get to be a ball boy for a high school final so at least i'll get to see the game and be involved in some way but still it's a tiny letdown that i don't get to be on-field.

i was always a baseball guy. i started football because my buddy Tom asked me to and i wanted to be a little more busy during the course of the year.

i'm REALLY enjoying it for the most part. the guys are supremely cool (mostly) and they make allowances for the fact that everyone is different for how they do things. i only know of one other person who goes to games by bus and then begs for a ride after the game from anyone heading in the general direction of my side of town. those guys who are apparently annoyed don't get "prevailed upon" again and i'm finding that i'm picking up more friends as we chat during the ride in the direction of my place.

so ... i'll be a ball boy for 2 more games and then i'm done for the year. as far as the on-field stuff is concerned i'm done. every year we have a wind down party where we all get our paycheques for the season. i'll have worked over 30 games this season so i expect a decent payday. we also have a lottery on pay night where all the guys in our association throw $10 in a pot and we draw names. i won the lottery 2 years ago so that makes for some extra fun as we enjoy the camaraderie of the night and the football season.

i'm so tired today. it's been a long and fun haul. i have enjoyed the ride.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

does this sort of thing happen to everyone?

so i was the Back Umpire (that would mean i was the deep guy) at a High School Junior Varsity Semi-Final football game last night. i was anxious about the game all day long although normally i wouldn't. i was anxious because my last game had gone poorly after i didn't see 2 calls that i should've seen. so i was nervous and i got to the game with loads of time to spare before kickoff. i was dressed and fully equipped for the game; in order to do this job i would need my uniform, my bean bag for marking punts, my game card, pencil and my whistle on a lanyard around my neck and nestled in my front shirt pocket. there was no way that something stupid would happen to me this game.

or would it?

i lined up for the opening kickoff and my first job is to judge where the kick would come down and signal which referee would signal time in as well as watch the ball carrier or the blocks depending on my assignment. the ball is about to be kicked off and i reached for my whistle ... which wasn't there. wait a second, i distinctly REMEMBER getting my whistle out and putting it around my neck, i checked several times because i'm neurotic like that, but there i was with the ball in the air and no whistle with which to call this play that was about to happen in front of me. thankfully they kicked to the other deep guy so i actually didn't need a whistle on that play but still i was standing there without a whistle and there was a good chance i'd need that over the next 2 hours of football.

so i ran to my Line Judge who had the key to the official's room where all my gear was and i tore apart my own equipment bag looking for my whistle. i couldn't find it. i found my backup whistle so i threw that in my pocket and ran back to the field. thankfully there was an offside on the kicking team so i made it back on the field just in time for the rekick. it was at that moment that i realized where my whistle was.

the whistle is on a lanyard and it normally rests in my shirt pocket. it was still around my neck but somehow it was now sitting between my shoulder blades after it had gotten completely turned around. i had been wearing a couple layers of clothing so i hadn't noticed that it was backwards and of course none of my compatriots bothered to see or point out that i looked like an idiot with a whistle in the middle of my back.

i mentioned to Wendy that this sort of stuff doesn't seem to happen to other guys and she affectionately said "yeah it does, they just hide it and don't talk about it". maybe i should take some consolation that i'm a bit of an open book and just laugh at myself a little more. maybe stuff like this will teach me not to take things so seriously and have a little more fun with life. i'm still chuckling at my own ineptitude sometimes.

tell the truth, this stuff happens to everyone. it does so.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

how do you take your coffee?

i can be a bit quirky. some call it weird but to me it's just quirky. there's a difference y'know.

i don't like cream in my coffee; i put milk in it. yeah i know, what's the difference right? i was once told that if you wanted to lose 5 lbs you could just switch from cream to milk in your coffee. i did that when i was about 25 and i never went back. the funny thing is, i don't remember losing no 5 lbs, in fact my gut is decidedly larger than it was when i was 25.

i can't really tell you how much milk to put in my coffee either. well, kind of but not really the same as normal folks. sometimes i don't care, like maybe i'm at Tim Horton's for some joe and it's not worth the effort to explain just how much milk needs to go into my large leaded beverage. in that scenario most folks just ask for a single or a double or whatever it is that turns their crank and in that situation i just go with a single but that's not really what i want.

are you ready for this?

i want enough milk in my coffee that the milk goes down to the bottom and bounces back to the top. that's the right amount of milk for my cup of coffee.

now you know and you're the better person for knowing it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wendy's Words of Wisdom

"pain is pain"

we were in discussions with someone who is going through a hard time and that person tried to minimize her problems in light of the stuff that Wendy has had to deal with. i was astounded by the depth of grace, empathy and strength Wendy showed as she wouldn't let someone else's pain be minimized one iota. i was proud of Wendy for "weeping with those who weep".

how often i've heard people minimize my suffering by wondering out loud what pain i could possibly have had to endure. in truth the depth of pain is irrelevant because pain is pain however it is experienced.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween one-upmanship

there has been talk over the decades about how the world likes to scare one another at Halloween. i've never been part of that crowd and after i read this story i was VERY thankful that i'm not.

check this out:

"At this point fear began to grip me, and, though I fought against the notion, I began to worry that this was no longer a game nor a fantasy ride for haunted entertainment. I worried that I had walked into the trap of some profoundly disturbed individual. I was sweating and my heart was racing.

The casket was lowered into a hole in the ground, and I heard dirt landing on top of the lid as sounds from above grew muffled.

I began to cry."

seriously, how can you be sure that this is a joke when its happening to you in the moment? i'd be freaking out and yelling any and all safe words or threats that i could find my in my head.

go read the rest of the story. really, if you like me at all this is a good find so go read that. i suppose if you have some heart troubles or you're a child then maybe you don't want to go there but everyone else go check it out.

via Jordon Cooper

Thursday, October 28, 2010


just think about how many people this represents and the level of need across the board.

via 22 words

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i emailed Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren is coming to Winnipeg next February. he'll be one of the talking heads at the Refreshing Winds Conference held at Canadian Mennonite University from Feb 3-5, 2011. in the past our church community has invited other speakers from this conference to come join our community for worship on the Sunday morning after the conference. let me tell you it kinda freaks out a worship leader on that morning if they realize that someone the calibre of John Bell is sitting amongst us as they lead worship. anyway, i just wanted to invite Brian to join us for worship on that morning, just to see if perhaps he might want to do that. i also would've pitied the homilist on that day at our community.

it was a bit of a difficult experience to find out how to contact him but there was a contact icon that i could follow off so i began with an email. Brian McLaren doesn't know me from any schmoe off the street so i had to figure out how to send an email to him that if it ended up in his spam filter he still might actually read. the contact email icon detailed that if you wanted to invite Brian to speak at your church you could contact him through his representative.

so i fired off an email.

the subject line said "i don't want you to speak, i just want you to join us for worship". i thought that the idea of having no responsibilities on a Sunday morning while he engaged in worship might be of some value to him. here's my email to Brian.


My name is Ian Fergusson and I'm a member of a small ecumenical church community called Grain of Wheat Church-Community in Winnipeg, MB Canada. I'd like to invite you to join our worship service on the Sunday morning that you're in Winnipeg speaking at the Refreshing Winds Conference on Feb 3-5, 2011. The Sunday in question would be on Feb 6/11.
We have a small group of folks who are presently going through A New Kind of Christianity and I might add that I'm enjoying it immensely.
Since you'll be in Winnipeg I was thinking that you might enjoy sitting amongst us for worship. John Bell and Marlene Kropf have both done this very thing with us in the past.
You can respond to me if you like but I just wanted to put the invite out there for you. We'll have many people at the conference that weekend anyway and if you're willing I'll make the arrangements for someone to pick you up and return you to your accommodations after worship.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you're curious I also have a blog where I've posted about you a couple times when some of your thoughts have impacted on me in the past. You could find that at


Ian Fergusson

i didn't know if i'd ever receive a response and if i didn't i wasn't going to take it personally at all. yesterday i received a response from Brian through his representative.

Thanks, Ian - I wish I could come. Thanks for your invitation - it sounds like a great opportunity. Maybe another time! - Warmly - Brian

oh well. i still think it's cool that he took a moment to respond to me personally. he won't be able to join us for worship but still it was appreciated that he considered the offer.

Brian, if you ever read this ... you missed out buddy. i'm still planning on attending the conference so i'll probably mention this interaction to you at that time if i can get anywhere near you.
at any rate, i just appreciate the man and how he has helped me make a little more sense of how i'm viewing my faith. it's not about hero worship or whatever, i just appreciate how the man thinks and i'm willing to debate those areas where we disagree or agree.

so, i emailed Brian McLaren and he was thoughtful enough to respond. cool and peace to you my brother.

Friday, October 22, 2010

the future of the church?

i just found this to be intriguing and thoroughly interesting. it was also very cool to hear from a handful of men that i respect a good deal.

via holy heteroclite

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Staying Alive/Another Brick in the Wall Mashup

Jackie is a Bee Gees fan but this kinda "mixes" it up a bit. you could really confuse some people if you played something like this.

via 22 words

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

i believe ...

i believe ... there is one body and one Spirit; just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

i believe ... that animals break through to your life much more than you think they do. that they ingrain themselves in your soul so that you never forget. never.

i believe ... that dogs are light years better than cats.

i believe ... that its perfectly ok to be an introvert and that means that i don't have to speak up in meetings even when some think that we HAVE to hear from everyone.

i believe ... that the designated hitter isn't truly necessary in Major League Baseball. if you can't play defense then maybe you can't play ball anymore. at the same time Vladimir Guerrero is my fave baseballer who spends a lot of time at DH.

i believe ... that you should absolutely keep your phone away while you're driving and the idea of texting while driving is beyond insane so that i wonder how stupid you could possibly be.

i believe ... that it's rude to point out a mistake when it happens in public. if you think it's funny to tease a busboy by applauding when he drops some dishes then you should try being the busboy.

i believe ... in the breakout pass, the dipsy-doodle, the no-look, the 2-1 fastball, the tight end slant, the kick save (and a beauty), the ground ball with eyes, the duck snort, taking the extra base and hitting it on the screws.

i believe ... in being as honest and frank as i can be, hopefully without sounding like an ass for my frankness.

i believe ... that a person should work for his pay and be paid for his work.

i believe ... that those with multiple barriers need help toward self-sufficiency.

i believe ... we're all in a search for community, for belonging, but few realize it and just call it a desire to be loved.

i believe ... that you mourn with those who mourn and you rejoice with those who rejoice, even if you all you feel is the opposite of the other.

i believe ... that playing the guitar helps me adapt and relieve some stress. i also believe it is not unreasonable to bring along my tunes for a 2 minute walk to the store.

i believe ... that i get absorbed in whatever is happening to me and i routinely forget or neglect to think about how things are affecting those i love. i have to remember to listen and feel more.

i believe ... in giving respect.

i believe ... the Philadephia Phillies are the best team in baseball right now because their pitching is head and shoulders better than any other team in the playoffs. i also believe that the Texas Rangers are going to give the New York Yankees a SERIOUS run at the AL championship.

i believe ... that the Toronto Maple Leafs will NOT go 82-0 this season but i'm still not giving up on the idea that it's possible.

i believe in riding my bike or walking instead of taking my car if at all possible.

i believe ... that my wife loves me deeply despite how dweebish i can be.

i believe ... that God redeems. God takes worthless things and makes beautiful things; that life is being found in me.

i believe. i just believe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Maddie remembered

she was a beautiful thing to behold and she knew it. she was a prancer but she was also fast and streamlined. most of her dog friends have been large but that was no matter, she would leap over them and run circles around them.

we didn't know her birthday so we counted back 15 weeks or so and picked a day in March to be her birthday. the day we selected was actually St. Patrick's Day but we had no clue if she was Irish or not, it's much more likely that she was your typical Canadian. it was a sunny day in June when Wendy asked me if i wanted a dog and i didn't have to think longer than it took for the sound to register in my brain.

she would hang her head out the window in the car and when we'd go for a walk she would want to smell everything and everyone.

she loved and she was good at it. people liked her first because she was a pretty thing and she wanted to be greeted.

she was scared of big trucks, biters, vacuum cleaners, brooms, and being left alone. she was a decent guard dog when she warned me about someone trying to steal my bike and when someone tried to break in the front door. a simple bark was all she needed since the burgler couldn't see that she was mostly harmless.

we'd take a walk everyday before work and she'd chillax in the backyard with Wendy several times a day. when we were away for a couple hours she'd jump in the air outside the window so that all we could see was a bobbing puppy head. when she was a very young pup she would twist her ears so they looked like horns (no i'm not joking) whenever she got excited.

she left us gently during a nap. it was the day after Thanksgiving 10 years after she joined our family. the doc gave her a sedative and she fell asleep as we both comforted her. when she was asleep she was given another injection to stop her heart. she didn't feel a thing which is loads more than the constant pain and discomfort she has been in for the last 4 days.

i cried today and i've cried a lot over the last few days as we said goodbye. i'll always love that little pup.


Maddie is in pain and her situation hasn't improved. when we saw the vet this weekend we were able to get a little pain medication to go along with an antibiotic just in case this was only the case of an infection. this is more than an infection though. the vet has indicated the cyst is necrotic and vascular ... i had to ask what that truly meant and i learned that the situation is dark.

the best decision for Maddie is the worst scenario for me. we have an appt this afternoon where we'll say our goodbyes.

i will always love this soul that has touched mine in so many ways.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

how she saved my life

i was in the deepest darkest emotional hole that i had ever seen in my life. i'd known bouts of depression before but this one was by far the worst i had ever seen before or since.
i was working as a counselor at the residence of an Aboriginal High School in Northwest Ontario. that meant that i was a general all-around parent for 14 adolescent Aboriginals for the duration of the school year. the job was pretty cool actually, they paid me to play road hockey and help with homework. the drawbacks were that i had to eat my own cooking and i was 5 hours drive from home for 5 days at a time.
my depression centred around the thought that i felt i was missing my life when i was not around home to enjoy it. it got to the point that i was weepy all the time, with little or no interest in what was going on in my life. eventually i called the boss from home and said ... "i just can't do it. i'm not coming in to work."
that began a 4 month stint of hiding out in my basement trying to make some sense of my life.

into those depths came a 4 legged angel of mercy. Maddie, my dog, saved my life. on occasion we'd go for long walks during the cold of a Winnipeg winter. we'd walk beside a frozen river while she wandered off leash with so much to see and sniff. you could see the excitement in her body as she ran back and forth, never too far to be away from me but far enough that she could sample the world down by the river. at other times we'd drive to the big park in the middle of town and we'd watch her leap into fluffy snowbanks and jump around like a gazelle on the Serengeti. it was joyful to share in her joy and i was honoured that she was sharing her life with me. when we'd get home she'd happily climb into the cuddle chair with me and she'd fall asleep in my lap as i watched tv.
she saved my life by showing me how to live. she showed me joy and allowed me to share in it.

Maddie is sick. she has had a cyst on her stomach for some time now but it has never been problematic. recently the cyst grew to 2 or 3 times it's normal size and it seemed obvious that it isn't the harmless thing that it used to be. she saw a vet last night and we heard the dreaded "C" word. we don't know if indeed this is the end but it could go either direction ... with what looks like it could very well go the wrong direction. Maddie is bleeding from her cyst and it doesn't look like it's improving.
i've wept a lot today. i've held her and i've been thanking her profusely for all that she has meant to me over the last decade.
she saved my life and i'm mourning that i cannot seem to save hers. i love her immensely.
the joys of life have been significant with her around. i want to be alongside her if this our her last walk together.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Own Little World

here's a decent little tune that deals with stuff that i think about quite regularly. i'm a welfare worker so this hits home for me. the embedding was disabled so you'll have to follow the link.

via Waving or Drowning?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

beautiful things

i only just heard this tune for the first time when it got posted on a blog i'm following. i've posted about this band in the past when i put the song White Man up here and quite frankly i'm really getting to like this band. when i'm done posting this i'm thinking i'll do a search for more of this band's stuff.

via matt stone

wanna see me in action?

i ref football. want to see me online? the local tv station does local football coverage and you can see running down the field trying to stay with a running back.

go to

go to Videos

go to Sept 16, 2010 Game Highlights

look for #12 in stripes. it's not like i would be able to stay with the running back but also i don't have to since i have the Head Linesman further downfield to pick up the coverage once the running back blows the doors off me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

funniest Satanists EVER

hee hee

via Matt Stone

what's out there?

ok, some of you may think that my what's out there's are a waste of time but i came across a blog post that STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS. you absolutely have to go read this post about the disease of perfection by Single Dad laughing.

oh my ... seriously, go read this ... all of it. LOVE. IT.

i've gotten away from what's out there's for a long time but there are just some occasions that cannot be ignored.

what are you still reading this for? seriously go check out that post.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

what would Jesus do?

this is thoroughly irreverant, borderline heretical and there's some language in here that isn't right for children or anyone who may get offended by it.

Dad, you'll hate this. i doubt you'll want to watch it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Donald Miller blogged this yesterday and since, if you're like me, you're not likely to follow a link so that you can just go about your busy life again, i've fired down his entire post for you below.

"I am not a humble person. I’m proud of my accomplishments. I drop names when I’m feeling insecure. I also talk about the cool projects I’m working on when I want to impress somebody. If you’ve known me for long, you’ve probably heard me do it. Sorry about that.

But the truth is, I don’t really want to be a humble person. It’s not a goal of mine. I don’t think about it, and I have a lot more emotional stability because I don’t think about it. If I get too arrogant somebody will humble me. When you write a blog you get criticism every hour on the hour, and that certainly helps.

Truly humble people don’t get called humble very often. In fact, if you are consistently spoken of as humble, you might want to reflect on whether or not you are trying to project a humble identity, which is just another form of narcissism. People who are humble are too busy thinking about a project they are working on, or their family, or their friends. Their mind isn’t on their humility or their lack of humility; their mind is on something other than themselves. In doing so, they help other people focus on something other than themselves, too. And that’s true freedom. We live in a fallen world, so you and I are only going to accomplish this in shades. I’m not humble, but I don’t sit around and condemn myself for it either, which is yet another form of narcissism. I’m pretty awesome that way. I also once met Harry Connick Jr and his girlfriend thought I had nice hair. Try being humble when that sort of thing has happened to you. It’s freaking impossible."

i was in our annual church covenanting ceremony last night. it was an incredibly important night for our community as each of us decides what level of involvement we will have to the group for the coming year. i will be a covenant member and part of the Decision-making circle ... which probably means little to you ... so uh, it means that i want to be involved.

anywho, it was an important and beautiful night as the place of symbol was front and centre to our individual decisions. after the ceremony we partied. Tall Grass Bakery provided snacks and we had cider and mingled together. periodically i chatted with D. i mentioned him briefly in the past when he got married but i mention him again because we're both Leafs fans and hockey fans. last night was the only night of the year when an NHL game will be played in our fair city and i had mentioned to D over the last several months that it would be great to go to that game. i hadn't realized when i suggested it or even when we discussed it again this past Sunday that it would fall on the same night as our covenanting ceremony.

i mention all this because i made it seem like i'd get in all this "trouble" if i had decided to go to the hockey game instead of going to the covenanting ceremony but the truth is, i didn't have any such money to attend and it was MUCH more important for me to be part of the group last night. you see, i want D to like me. we have a connection that i don't have with many folks and i see a lot of myself when i was newly married as i look at him.

i get kinda full of myself and i say some really obtuse things that sound funny in my head before i say it but come across rather "tool"-ish in the open air.

what does this have to do with humility? well, i'm a lot more proud of me than i think i am and some of the comments i make in real life reflect how much of a tool i actually am. i'm the narcissist that Donald is talking about in the last paragraph and i want to be truly free.

D, forgive me for my comments, even if you were gracious enough not to be offended. i really do want you to appreciate me as much as i appreciate your quiet strength and grace.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

on the bus

got to take the bus to some training this afternoon so i contacted Winnipeg Transit to figure out the best option to get there. it listed 1 option that i liked best, 2 more options that weren't really what i wanted, a fourth option that would get me to my meeting 10 minutes late and then this the final option.

Create a timetable for this plan

12:40 Rorie Street
Walk 20 minutes
13:00 Garry Street

so the final option is ... don't take the bus at all? just walk the 20 minutes to my meeting?
actually there's a decent chance that i do just that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

i remember 18

i remember 18. it had speed, it had power. it was indestructible and beautiful. it's not like the decades since that time has made it less beautiful because i still really like me ... i just remember longingly the beauty of those days.

i used to run. i was lean and there was significant release of all that troubled me when i ran. there was occasion when i'd go go out and be gone for an hour as i ran and ran until i could run no more. i remember running in a light snowfall on the evening my college girlfriend dumped me. i ran full out until i could run no more and then i sucked wind and tried to figure out how i would get back home. i tell that story only for the anecdotal info within it ... i used to run and run and run.

i was into my 30's when i really started to note the aches and pains that age brings your way. mostly it was my knees and sometimes it was my back. my right knee has clicked and snapped at me for millenia now or maybe its less than that. when i complain about such things nowadays Wendy looks at me with a knowing smile and asks, "you ok there Grandpa?". yes she does love me, thank you very much.

my right knee is my worse knee and my left knee is my bad knee. i guess that tells you a bit about the lay of the land as it were. i've been told that i shouldn't worry about all the clicking and cracking in my knees ... so long as there is no pain. well, i reffed 2 football games since Thursday and my knee starting barking at me on Saturday afternoon. Wendy and i went for a nice bike ride together and i actually had to stop pedalling on occasion so that i could give my knee a rest.

i remember 18. i was a gunshot and boom, i was gone.

i eventually realized that none of us are indestructible and there are times when i need to remember to be smart about my path and the speed that i travel on it. i like to think that i realize my limitations now and in so doing i can cover more ground laterally than i used to cover as i blundered full bore in one direction.

i'm smarter than i used to be, i'm just slower. i have a clicking knee to remind me that it's ok that i'm not 18 anymore. i still get plenty done and i don't have to run full out only to end up in the middle of nowhere, completely gassed and wondering how i'm going to get home.

but there's no getting away from the longing beauty of what once was. regret? not really, i'm still smiling.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


today is the last day of Ramadan and i've just learned that tomorrow is pretty much like Christmas to Muslims as they break their fast and celebrate together.

i think it'd be a great idea to eat with a Muslim together. i'm not sure how to accomplish this right at this moment but it's an idea that i'm throwing out here just in case someone reading this can accomplish this sort of thing on their own.

go ahead.

salaam alaikum to you

the gift of my community

i sat down for our "sharing and learning" meeting at our church community last night. we had taken the summer off from most of our meetings but we still hold our sharing and learning meetings once a month over the summer. it had only been a month since i last sat down with these same folks but it felt like a lot longer than that and in truth attendance at these sorts of things can get a little bit sparse over the summer months.

i looked around at the same faces that i had grown to love and enjoy and an overwhelming thought crossed my mind, "this is my tribe". it had been a phrase that i had heard Lydia utter nearly a decade ago as she tried to express what our community meant to her amidst all the transitions that were going on in her life. it was comforting to her to know that she had found a safe place with people she trusted where she could belong.

i hadn't been looking forward to the meeting last night. i never do look forward to meetings but i also find them valuable once i get there. i feel better afterward because they are my tribe. it is their gift to me. it is an overwhelming gift that digs deep within me and builds me up so that i can pray again. as i see them i realize that i love them and i remember all that they have meant to me over the decade and more that we've been together.

it has been a terribly hard summer for me where ... i haven't really been able to pray ... at least not much and not the way that i'm used to being able to pray. i'm a visual pray-er. in the mornings as i meander to work on my bike i ride past the streets of my church community and as i go by the streets i pray for the people in my community that live on those streets. i pray specifically. i start by praying for Wendy and then i move on to Albert and Nettie whose house backs on to the back alley we share. from there i move to anyone i can think of who lives west of us before i begin my journey east to work. i won't bore you with my prayer list because it could get pretty long but trust me, if you're in my church community and you live anywhere east of me on my way to work, you get prayed for. normally. this has not been a normal summer. i can remember only a handful of times where i've gone through my little prayer ritual this entire summer.

i sat down last night and i felt the gift that my church community gives me. this is my tribe and i KNOW that they love and support me. it was pure joy to see them. i couldn't actually concentrate on the devotional prior to the meeting because i was just enthralled to see everyone. i have tried in the past to express this thought in homilies at worship and i don't know that i've truly gotten it across. i'm a visual pray-er so when i SEE them, i PRAY for them. if they're walking down the street then if at all possible i will be stopping my bike alongside them so that i can chat for a few minutes. i have very literally told them that i'll be doing that sort of thing and they should just humour me for a few minutes ... and they do.

i prayed this morning. for the first time in far too long i have prayed through my prayer list this morning. last night Wendy shared some really hard things to share with our community and we both cried as she spoke. it is a safe place and we know that they love us. i proud of her for being how honest that she is and i'm hoping that i can get to a place that i can pray again. it's worth it.

thank you to Grain of Wheat Church Community for the gift that you are to me. for being my tribe. for loving us unconditionally and for spurring me on to pray as you continue to pray for me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a day at the beach

we got a very late start so it's actually more like an afternoon and evening at the beach but nevertheless it was a truly enjoyable day.
we drove from Waterloo down to Long Point across some absolutely beautiful small town scenery in Southern Ontario. it was the first time i had ever been to Scotland(a small hamlet on the way), the town of Simcoe is glorious and Long Point itself is very obviously a tourist town all summer long.
we met Jackie and Barry there where they had been camping for a couple days and we promptly went body surfing on the waves of Lake Erie. the water was surprisingly warm for a body of water that size and well, it was a ton of fun. we then settled down to a vigourous game of Settlers of Catan during which i came in 4th (i can't seem to win that game ever) and then supper and a campfire. the campsite was perfect; right by the beach and it was extremely quiet even though the place was packed with campers. it's well worth your time if you're in the neighbourhood.
i just appreciated the chance to breathe and do nothing for a good long while. it was truly glorious.

Monday, August 30, 2010

things have changed for our vacation plans, i think

i took Wendy to the hospital with a killer migraine last night again. 2am and sitting there praying that the pain becomes controllable soon. she sent me home to sleep and then called at 630am to ask that i come pick her up again.

we had just gotten past the major stressor in this vacation and this may've been her body's way of saying, "ok now wait a second while i catch up here". we also went to a restaurant yesterday and one of her many dietary restrictions and/or food allergies could easily have been the culprit for her migraine later in the day.

at any rate, this is going to affect my availability this week. we had plans to go on a couple days trips and i would've liked to visit with my parents before we leave but things may change now because of this. if Wendy's not feeling well, i'm not leaving her alone in the middle of that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wedding Day - Jackie and Barry

it was beyond a great joy to be able to help Wendy officiate in the wedding of her little sister. the day was beautiful, the couple was beautiful, i got a sunburn and then we had a blast at the reception.
you'll see below a full copy of the ceremony with some pics interspersed.


Friends, on behalf of Barry and Jackie we welcome you. Each of us have played an important role in the journey of one or both of them - some as family, others as friends. Many have come from quite near (even just a few blocks away). Others have come from across the country. We offer a special welcome to Barry’s family.
His mother Carol, (pause) and his father Jim have come all the way from Prince George, BC. We’re also delighted that Jackie’s dear friends: Charity from Medicine Hat and Julie, Uwe, Ben, & Tim from Germany can be here to celebrate with us.

Some may wonder why we gather like this today. Jackie & Barry decided quite a while ago that they wanted to spend their lives together. Their engagement did not come as a surprise. One could easily sense the love they had for one another and the commitment that was growing between them by the way they gazed into one another’s eyes.

So, why are we here? Well, we have certainly come to celebrate with you, but most of that will happen a little later. Right now the plan is to witness the vows you make to one another as you continue on your journey together – we do this, not only as observers, but as individuals who are committed to walking alongside you throughout the coming years. As such, there are some promises that we are going to make to you.

Our Promise to You

We promise to celebrate with you during the good times. To provide a listening ear or whatever other type of support you need when times are tough. On the many ordinary days in between, well, we want to be there too.

We will offer advice when you ask for it (and sometimes when you don’t). When you ask us (kindly) to butt out we will honour your request and respectfully hold our tongues.

As long as we have homes you will never be homeless.
As long as we have food you will never go hungry.
As long as we have life you will never be friendless.
As long as we have arms we’re going to keep hugging you (sorry Barry).
As long as we have breath – you will never be without our love.


It is customary at some point during a wedding ceremony to offer some words of wisdom and encouragement to the bride and groom. When we were trying to think of some guidance to provide for the voyage ahead we settled on an interesting idea. I believe we all know that the two of you love to watch movies. There is one movie genre in particular that tweaked our interest. It seemed fun and relevant for our purpose here today. You may think “ugh” they’re going to talk about Love Stories or “chick flicks.” By no means!!! We’re going to talk about SUPERHEROES!

So what is it about superhero movies that applies to the two of you and the journey that lies ahead? What wisdom can you gain from their stories? Well, let’s look at the superhero myth.

These stories generally involve an individual whose background has some type of tragic element. Through some twist of fate the character may develop superhuman powers. Although many superheroes work independently, there are also a number of superhero teams.

You have both come from very different backgrounds which have included both wonderful and tragic elements. Through some twist (or more likely many twists) of fate you ended up meeting each other. Not only did you meet, but over time you were drawn closer and closer to one another. Eventually you came to discover that the two of you are stronger together than either one of you is on your own. So, when you’re together, you’re “superhuman.”

Every superhero has a costume or symbol that makes them recognizable to the general public. Superman has the sign of the house of “el” or the “S” crest (if you’re curious what that looks like – ask Jackie to show you her tattoo). The Flash, whose alter ego coincidentally is named Barry Allen, has the lightning bolt.

Since I doubt that you’ll spend much time wearing your bridal gown and suit in the future I would suggest that we set aside the idea of costumes. The rings that you will soon be exchanging, however, can be a powerful symbol of your union and your superhuman identity as a couple. They are strong circles that have no beginning or end. Our desire is that your love for each other will also have no end.

Being a superhero, however, has its downside. Superheroes belong to the world. Their lives are not their own. Personal relationships always suffer horribly in the lives of superheroes. Although they are always there in the nick of time when it comes to death defying opportunities to save others, they inevitably seem to miss the important events in the lives of their loved ones.

So, the call for the two of you is to be more than superheroes. This may sound daunting, but what this really means is that sometimes you will need to leave the world behind and focus on the needs of the one you love no matter what the consequences are in other parts of your lives. This doesn’t mean that you’re always available at the drop of the hat for every little thing. It does however, mean not letting days, weeks, or months go by without spending any serious quality time together. That can mean something as simple as sitting and chatting over a coffee and a room temperature bottle of Dr. Pepper.

Superheroes have a willingness to risk their own safety, in the service of good, without the expectation of receiving a reward. In our lives we seldom have the chance to be superheroes. Very few of us have the opportunity to rescue others from certain death. We may venture out and investigate loud noises with a baseball bat or kill small creatures that invade our homes, but seldom does this require a superhero. We do, however, have occasions daily to be heroes to one another in small ways. We do this by being reliable, by truly listening, and by regularly affirming and encouraging one another.

Reliability means:
when you say you will do something, the other person knows that they no longer have to worry about it because it’s as good as done, or something as simple as
showing up on time when you say that you’ll pick them up.
This builds trust in a relationship.

Listening is not simply hearing. It refers to paying attention to what the other's needs truly are. That may mean:
just hearing what they have to say as they vent about their day and not trying to problem solve,
showing interest in their stories even when you’re not interested at all,
trying not to tell them too forcefully that this is the 12 millionth time that you’ve heard this story,
listening to their body language, seeing that they’re tired and doing something simple like the dishes even when it’s their turn, or
respecting their boundaries – giving them space when they need it and drawing them close when that is what they need.

Affirming or encouraging one another may mean:
saying nice things about them to their friends and yours,
taking interest in their hobbies,
sticking up for them (sometimes even when you may think that they’re wrong),
believing in them - in their dreams, desires, and talents, and
surprising them with small gestures of your love like sticking a little note in their daybook or showing up at work with their favourite lunch.

In being reliable, listening, and encouraging one another you are giving your partner the message that they are important to you & that you love them.

Each of these little things that you do is like a single shot in a game of pool. As you know, each shot is important, but it's just as important and perhaps even more important to have in your mind the bigger picture – how are you going to play out the rest of this game? Each shot you take sets you up for the next shot and the next and the next and so on. In the same way, each of the little things you do for each other serves to build a foundation of trust and affection so that the game, or in this case your life together gets better and better.

There are inevitably times when you will miss your shot; when you'll mess up; when you'll let each other down. You won't necessarily be able to make up for your mistake (I don't think there are any mulligans in pool – sometimes there are in marriage – in some ways, that's what forgiveness is). When you mess up, you will find ways to get back on track; to once again get things more or less lined up so you can take a decent shot and continue to have a good game.

Now, before we move on to the vows, I can't resist, I must say one more thing about superheroes and how I came to know that Barry & Jackie were meant to be together.

My little sister, Jackie, has gotten into the habit of watching all of the superman movies every year around Christmas time. Occasionally I've had the privilege of watching them with her. My absolute favourite thing about doing this happens right at the end of each movie. When we come to this point in the storyline I choose to watch Jackie instead of the movie. You see, at the end of these movies, superman comes flying around, looks directly into the camera, and smiles. You'd swear he was smiling right at my sister because Jackie's eyes will start to glisten as she gets this self-conscious little smile with an underlying giggle that she can barely contain.

I had never seen her look at any person that way until she met Barry. When I first saw that same look pass between the two of them I knew that they were meant to be together. I have seen that same look pass between the two of them many times since. There is a good chance that you'll see it now as they come to express their vows to one another.


Barry & Jackie, we have all come together today so that you may publicly declare your love for one another. Do you pledge to treat each other with kindness, respect, and compassion; to listen to each other, and to speak to each other with honesty always?


Barry, will you love, care for, encourage, and respect Jackie? Will you cherish her in honesty, tenderness, and faithfulness as long as you both shall live?


Jackie, will you love, care for, encourage, and respect Barry? Will you cherish him in honesty, tenderness, and faithfulness as long as you both shall live?


Please come forward, join hands, and look into each others eyes.


Barry, please repeat after me.

Jackie, I take you as my wife. *** I promise to love, cherish, and respect you; *** I promise to share my life openly with you; *** I promise to tenderly care for you. *** I promise to encourage you *** in the fulfilment of your dreams and your individuality, *** throughout the changes in our lives.

Jackie, please repeat after me.

Barry, I take you as my husband. *** I promise to love, cherish, and respect you; *** I promise to share my life openly with you; *** I promise to tenderly care for you. *** I promise to encourage you *** in the fulfilment of your dreams and your individuality, *** throughout the changes in our lives.


Griff brings the rings forward. (Wendy invites him).

Jackie, please repeat after me.

Barry, I give you this ring as a token of my love. *** It is an everlasting symbol *** of the vows we have made to each other.

Barry, please repeat after me.

Jackie, I give you this ring as a token of my love. *** It is an everlasting symbol *** of the vows we have made to each other.

Barry, you may kiss your bride!

Blessing (Ian places hand on Barry's shoulder & Wendy on Jackie's)

Barry & Jackie,
Through each of the coming years
On every hill, meadow, and stream,
Under cloud, under stars,
Through roaring, flashing thunder storms
and on bright sun-shiny days.
Through moments of sadness and pain,
Through times of laughter and joy,
Through challenges and frustration,
May you have the gentleness to work together.
May you have the eyes to see beauty in each other
and in all that is around you.
As your journey unfolds
and you come to places you may not yet have been:
May you have hope, courage, and kindness,
May you have patience, peace, and much, much joy.


Friends & family, we are thrilled to present to you the Dynamic Duo of Barry & Jackie Allen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jays Game Part 2

Mom and Dad showed up at Mark's and we went out for lunch before heading out for the game. the background is beautiful Lake Simcoe where my brother lives (outside Orillia Ontario).

so we did the Subway to the ballpark thing again, very convenient. here's Dad and i waiting for my bro-in-law and his boys to arrive.

wow, an unposed picture. how'd that happen? so this is Dad and i along with my brother-in-law and his 3 sons; Alex, Jackson and McKenzie.

i don't actually have any pics from the game but we were all up in the nosebleeds and the game itself was boring and cold. the Jays got smoked 7-1 and there was little to cheer for. still it was great to hang out with the boys. too bad my other brother Dale couldn't be there.
i hadn't been sleeping great and i have to head for Jackie's wedding today so i decided to sleep at Dale's in Brampton then head for Waterloo for the festivities. i've borrowed Mark's guitar and if i get up the nerve i might like to play a tune and sing at the reception. shhh though, very few people know that i'm thinking of doing that.

i'm heading for Waterloo as soon as i finish my coffee this morning.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blue Jays game Part 1

first we had the subway ride to the park. this is my eldest brother Mark.

my nephew Ryan came along for the ride although we didn't have enough seats to accommodate. he met up with some other friends and still got to see a great game.

we got there in time for batting practice although i didn't get anywhere close to getting a home run ball.

Jays win

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Canada's Wonderland

spent the day at Wonderland went on the roller coasters. i'm not as young as i used to be and my stomach finally said "that's enough" by the end of the day. it was all well worth it because i was there with those that i love.

i'm there in the middle, my dear one is next to me on the left, on the far left is our sis-in-law Jenn, on the far right is Jackie and Barry (Wendy's sis and bro-in-law) and then there's Katie and Emmy (our neices). not pictured is Wendy's brother Terry because somebody had to take the pic.

so little Emmy (she's 9) absolutely schooled me on staying power for the roller coasters. she went on 12 trips or so while i stopped after 6. i really hope that i'm not a stick in the mud when Wendy and i return there next week. my breaking point was after The Behemoth where they start you off with a drop that i thought was supposed to stop 10 seconds before it finally did stop (ok, that's an exaggeration). still it scares the snot out of you ... and little Emmy's response? "that was AMAZING, let's go do that again!" wow, uh no, i think i'm done.

lots o' fun.

i don't think my goatee looks as scraggly as theses pics seem to make it look, but there ya go.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

i'm almost on vacation

only a day and a half before i get some significant time off. i'll be visiting and going to a couple ballgames and we have Jackie's wedding to go do ... so i'm pretty stoked about it.

before i leave i have a LOT of stuff to do though.

don't know how much i'll be hanging out in shallowfrozenwater over the next while.

Friday, August 13, 2010

what i did for fun as a kid

milk carton crate forts and tennis ball wars - so it was my elder brother and i against my eldest brother and little sister in a game of war. we set milk crates up as forts about 5 feet apart and then try to pelt each other with tennis balls. the danger came when a ball got caught in no-man's land and someone had to go get it. the rule was that there was a truce until the person had 1 foot on the ground on their side of their fort, then it was open season. we developed a tactic of diving back behind our fort ... that's how we broke the dog's leg, my brother landed on him. great memory of a lot of fun and the occasional welt.

neighbourhood baseball - we had loads of guys in our neighbourhood and we had this big open field behind my house. i was always a small kid so i got used to the fastballs of all the bigger guys just by getting out there and taking some cuts. baseball is now my favourite game.

Home Run Derby - the public school where my dad taught had these grates over boarded up windows on their basement floors in one section of the school. those grates were PERFECT for a strike zone when you're less than 5 feet tall. that way 2 guys could play baseball and there'd be no need for an umpire and no arguments, if you hit metal that was a strike. you could even add an outfielder and play a full game. if your hit landed on the pavement it was a single, if you reached the dirt or the grass you get a double and if you can hit the tree in center field you'd have yourself a homer. i'd still be willing to play this game as an adult if anyone's interested.

neighbourhood street hockey - what Canadian doesn't play street hockey. you don't know anything until you learn how to play a bounce off a curb and break to the inside for your well deserved rebound.

X games bicycle behaviour - this was well before there was such a thing as the X games ... and there was no way that i'd be able to anything close to the insanely stupid things i see them doing nowadays. we'd build little ramps and go over them on our bikes. we really weren't more than a few inches off the ground so aren't i just the little daredevil eh?

watch tv - when there are 4 kids in a house sometimes you had to fight for control of the tube. i was into Hogan's Heroes, Gilligan's Island, Gunsmoke and MASH at various times over the years.

wrestle - my younger sister, my older brother and i would all try to take on our eldest brother. we'd lose. he'd pin the 2 small ones under a leg each and then he'd have both arms to deal with my older brother. after we were defeated he'd force us to make him peanut butter and jam sandwiches. good times.

Trivial Pursuit - my wife now thinks its the height of geekdom but i used to play Trivial Pursuit by myself. i'd play all 6 pieces and i'd look to see what colour would come out on top over the course of a couple hours. yeah, i guess i was a bit of a lonely kid sometimes.

odds and evens - we used to flip hockey cards as the form of grade 4 gambling. never risk your best cards though, only ones you already had a double of. i suppose it was just as easy to trade cards but this was a lot more fun. a few years later i developed a game for when i had nothing to do where i would flip a coin to play out an entire 7 game series for 16 teams for the hockey playoffs. of course i was trying my best to get my Toronto Maple Leafs a Stanley Cup.

flipping quarters off your elbow - i remember stacking 40 quarters on an extended elbow and then snapping your arm down so that you caught all the quarters in your hand. i DEFY you to do better than 40, if you can then you must have catcher mitt hands.

if i think of more maybe i'll throw down a Part II