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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

it's the weirdest thing or maybe its not so weird after all

do you ever get little prompts to pray for particular people? i do. i find it curious the scene that i'm in when those promptings come along.

i've been led to pray for a particular couple in my community a handful of times over the last 24 hours. that's not the weird part. it's more weird because it has happened several times while i stood in front of the kitchen sink. sometimes i was doing the dishes, sometimes i was washing my hands, sometimes i was just getting a drink of water but each time the prompting has come to pray for S and D as i've stood in the same spot on my kitchen floor.

S and D got married this past Saturday, we weren't even invited to the wedding but that's not germaine. they're a beautiful couple and i genuinely like them. D is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan like me and that's always good to have around when you're lost in the tundra of a hockey wasteland like Winnipeg. S bikes to work and she blows past me on a semi-regular basis with a chipper "Hi Ian" and a whoosh ... and who wouldn't respect something like that? it's not like i travel really slowly on my bike but she goes by like i'm standing still so you just know that i respect the skills.

maybe i'm bringing some of my own baggage into the scene. maybe i'm just worried for them. some of the biggest household "fights" that have happened for me and Wendy have happened in the kitchen. they've been about household stuff like who does the dishes and who cooks and who cleans up and why that is important and should be negotiated. an old joke that's told in marriage groups is "don't pick up your husband's socks as they lay on the floor or you'll be picking them up for the rest of his life" and i may've just been projecting some of my own marital fights on a young couple who are just starting out. i hate doing the dishes ... but that's my job ... and i do it because it needs to be done and i love my wife ... so as i stand there washing plates and praying i think of a couple who have yet to negotiate the details of their life together. they'll pray through it, they may yell a little, they may cry a little or they may have no trouble whatsoever with the negotiations and come to an easy agreement that both of them like.

nevertheless, i pray for them. it can't hurt to pray for a young married couple right?

blessings on your life together S and D. may you know grace as you extend it to one another; may you know peace as you learn to rest in God together; and may you know hope as you dream together for a future filled with the love of God and each other.