Wednesday, June 29, 2011

the need for affirmation

i need affirmation. i don't like that i need affirmation and yet, i still need affirmation. like Sally Field i long to say "you like me! you really like me!" and i kinda live for those moments. my relationships are full of many folks who obviously like me and i still reach out and ask people to tell me so on a regular basis. it comes off as very needy and i get pretty appalled with myself about this on a regular basis. it goes to some pretty deep self worth issues in me that i'm exploring my way through.

a dear friend of mine is a woman that i work with named Christine. she's very affirming and patient with me but she's moving on to bigger and better things as she takes on a new job after tomorrow. Christine will be moving to another office and there's a good chance that i won't see her again. i'm mourning that loss of relationship today. i've known this was coming for a long time now but there's really no way to prepare for a friend to leave your little social circle.

the 12 yr old insecure Ian mourns the loss of a friendship and once again questions his need for affirmation.

i try to be as encouraging as i can be. it gets me in trouble sometimes because it can easily be seen as flirty to the opposite sex. it's not about flirtation though, it's about my need for affirmation. in many ways i encourage because i want to be encouraged. i bless because i long to be blessed.

Christine, be blessed. take on those sorts of things that give you life. you will be missed and i thank you for the friend that you are to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

20 years together

on June 22, 1991 i stood at the front of your home church and beamed as you walked down the aisle toward me. we were two 20-something kids who looked like they were teenagers but our families joined together to thank God that we could be together. i still remember vividly your voice beside me as you sang the descant in "Alleluia, He is Coming" and it still gets me weepy whenever it is sung to this day. i still laugh at the thought of you sticking out your tongue in concentration as you put my wedding ring on my finger. i really don't remember any part of the "sermon" given on that day but the joy in the faces of those that we love was evident and i remember that strongly. the best man was decked out in all his nearly Amish glory and the ushers were resplendant in their hockey hair and boyish charm. the maids of course were all beautifully decked out but in truth no one held a candle to the bride on that day. i was nervous. i was also ready. i believed and still do that we were together for a purpose and i was eager to start a life together.

it has been very good, and at times it has been very hard. we have loved, we have fought and we have stuck together through rich and poor, sickness and health. if i could do it over i would say i love you more often, i would be more attentive, i would try not to be as weak as i have been. we have taken some hard knocks but we are still together and we have been faithful to our vows to one another. you can't get rid of me, i'm in it for the long haul.

i have loved your tenacity. your strength amidst pain amazes me no end. your talents are unending and i'm so glad that you are my partner in this journey. your laugh always cheers me whenever i hear it. a kind word of encouragement from you carries me for a month at a time and time spent with you just sitting on the couch is a highlight for my life. my life is secure because you have made it so. we are in good places because you have dreamt well and prodded me to be more adventurous. i know that my fears have frustrated you because i'm hesitant to move but you've always tried to be patient with that part of me.

you are loved my dearest. you will be loved dearly over the next several decades that are ahead. any time my poetic heart lifts his head and speaks to the world it is because i am inspired by you. much of my success is attributable to you and i am trying to extend those influences as i consider the support that you have been to me over 20 years.

i know, i know, "SEEMS LIKE FOREVER" as you've said in the past. 20 years isn't all that long if taken in the light of the impact made on lives around us. you are a bright light among us. you are inspiring. you are loved. you are strong. you are my wife and i thank you for it.

blessings on you for your life, for our life. may you know grace, peace, hope and health. i continue to pray for you and for us everyday. i love you Wendy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

high on his shoulders

i have this memory of being carried on my father's shoulders. he is tall and lean and as a child it was such a scary thing to be so high up. it was a scary thing and yet it wasn't because i knew i was safe and secure as i sat perched above tall skyscrapers and low flying planes, or at least that's how it seemed. i could climb tall trees because i could handle the heights on my father's shoulders.

on occasion he would even run with me on his shoulders.

imagine the thrill.

yesterday was dad's day and we had already spoken on the phone earlier in the week so he had told me i didn't need to call yesterday to express the same sentiments i had already spoken. he knows that i love him, i have told him so and i tell him every time we speak. he was always a man who didn't express those sorts of feelings very readily but he was a product of his generation and he did manage to show his love for me in the safety and concern he provided daily as i grew. i've not always agreed with the way he does things, in fact we've disagreed more often than i've told him about but yet, he's my dad and i've always respected the model that he has been for me. he's carried me high on his shoulders and he has been proud of me .. and i of him.

i love you dad. now turn up your hearing aid old man, i'm bragging on you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the Greening of Eritrea

Eritrea is the birthplace of humanity. It is a land that has been ripped apart by drought, famine, and revolution but it also has found a way to touch my own heart from time to time. I remember as a youth our church sponsored a refugee family from Eritrea and I first heard about the land. Recently a dear friend has come into my life and his family history has come out of that place as well. My friend Aki has blessed me beyond compare in the very short time that I have known him. In a sense the land of Eritrea has blessed me too because he is of that land and we all have our roots in that land.

If you have 15 minutes then go check out this video on The Greening of Eritrea that talks about how they are using sea water to bring rebirth to land and communities where it is drastically needed. It absolutely blew me away.

Well worth your effort.

h/t to Brian McLaren

Monday, June 13, 2011

life lessons that baseball has taught me

you're probably thinking "really? baseball?" and the answer is yes, baseball. baseball is a metaphor for life and some of the things are just annoying little habits that i've taken from the game while other parts actually speak to a life lesson. you can find subtle things if only you look.

- individual accomplishment and team goals
have you ever seen "The Untouchables"? there's a scene where Al Capone (played excellently by DeNiro) is talking about baseball by saying that the team fails if the individual fails in the moment. he then goes on to whack one of his henchmen with a baseball bat. life is like that, you're a part of a team but it's also full of individual accomplishment so that the team's goals are accomplished.

- don't waste a good throw to 1st base
you don't throw it to 1st when you throw it around the horn. the reason is that you don't want to waste a chuck on something that doesn't matter. save the good stuff for when it really matters.

- get a piece of anything close when you have 2 strikes against you
life is full of humanity and you don't want to get caught by a human moment just because some umpire doesn't see things the way that you do. if it's close enough that someone else MIGHT think it's a strike then you better be hacking. be thorough and safe when there's no tomorrow.

- hustle on, hustle off
don't keep someone waiting, particularly if that guy is wearing 15 lbs of extra padding and it's 30 degrees outside.

- thuggery is not intensity
you can be intense and respectful at the same time. yellers get reaction in kind, irrationality gets dismissed.

- don't make an argument based on disagreement
judgment calls can't be argued so if you disagree then swallow your tongue. if there's an infraction of the rules then make a rational argument

- charge the ball
the play won't be coming to you. you have to go to the play. circle around it and come up firing.

- hit the cutoff man
know your job and what must be done. if you make the wrong play then the whole team suffers

- on your toes, glove down
be ready.

- look for the fastball, especially at 2-0
when you have a pitcher down 2-0 then he's not going to want to go 3-0 so he won't fool around. a sure strike is most likely coming your way and that's probably going to be a fastball. if you know what's coming, hammer it.

- wear your sunglasses
failure can easily happen if you're not prepared. don't lose the ball in the sun because you didn't have your gear on

- watch for the signals
if your skip wants you to be doing something then you better be paying attention.

- keep hydrated
uh, its hot outside. drink water.

- wear a helmet
life is dangerous, wear a helmet.

- rub some dirt on it
you're not going to take your bat and go home so suck it up princess.

- don't say "good eye"
everyone will just think you're Australian and say "mate" after you're done.

- wear that
the batter's box belongs to you so if it's going to hit you then turn the other cheek so that you take it on the meat. i'm talking about the "other" cheek but if you're thinking about your head then refer back to "wear a helmet"

- if its not heading for your head then don't duck
if you're ducking then an umpire thinks you're trying to cheat the strike zone against the high strike. a good umpire will give all the high strikes to the pitcher if he thinks you're trying to cheat.

- call him by his title on the field, even if you know his name
respect is never something you should short change.

- at the end of the game, shake the man's hand.
you wouldn't believe the number of times that i've had adults refuse to shake my hand because they didn't agree with something that happened during a game. not cool. bad karma. i've taken up the practice of going to them and offering my hand just so i can redeem their soul and prevent their oncoming ulcer. you don't have to say "Good game" as is the custom but you do have to look the man in the eye and shake his hand.

Friday, June 10, 2011

thoughts about nothing

the Boston Pizza commercials about the wing expert are purely annoying. as in, kill me now.

there's a truth in advertising radio commercial that has a jingle that still makes me chuckle when i hear it all about a guy's excuses for why he won't be going to the wedding of his sister-in-law that day. i sang it to Wendy last night and she looked at me like i was from Alpha Centauri or something. it still makes me chuckle though.

when you throw it around the horn on the baseball field you NEVER throw it to the 1st baseman. trust me, it's bad luck and you don't want to waste one of those throws that you're going to need during the game. stop doing that sort of thing.

when i'm on my bike i only stop at stop signs if there's something i need to stop for. i ALWAYS stop at red lights and you must get off your bike at a crosswalk but you should probably run if you're holding up traffic like i do on Main St everyday.

i learned to play "Nod over Coffee" by Mark Heard in the last week.

i've had the chord progression for over a year now but i just learned how to put it all together recently and it actually sounds pretty decent if you ask me, which you didn't. if you want to hear a good version then be sure to listen to that youtube up there.

i was asked to be an Umpire in Charge for a Peewee Playoff tourney but it looks like it'll conflict with another tourney so i think i have to pass. it sucks actually because it would enable me to do a little bit of teaching with some young guys about how to do this umpire thing a little better. i like those moments of my life when i can go into mentor mode.

Wendy went for short bike ride only 2 weeks after major abdominal surgery. how freaky is that? she is such a strong woman. gawd do i love her.

Larry from my church community said he was listening to a band called "Over the Rhine" so i went to check it out and i've got to say ... i'm not interested at all. funny because Larry is one of those guys that hits more than he misses when it comes to music but still, definite miss for me.

the fact that the Canucks have home ice advantage and get the last change at home will mean that they'll get the twins away from Chara more often and therefore will win the cup in 7. hear me now and believe me earlier than that.

the captain of the Winnipeg NHL franchise was in town yesterday and chances are very good that he'll sign a contract before he becomes a restricted free agent on July 1/11. that's only if you ask me, it's not like i have a pipeline to any inside info on this one but any Canadian kid would love to be the captain of a Canadian NHL team. your name would go down in history as the returning captain that returned NHL glory to the Peg so that's why i say he won't test the market, he'll just sign on the dotted line for a decent raise.

we don't get the SPACE channel since we've decided that basic cable is enough for us. that means that i don't get to watch Doctor Who though and i have to watch it online. unfortunately the site that loads it up needs to pause every 6 seconds to load. i've tried clearing out my cookies and the temp internet files but still no solution. it's more than a bit frustrating.

Mike Moustakas is the next big thing for what will be a steadily improving Kansas City Royals team. they have some young pitching on the scene, significant power at the corners and all they need to add now is a stud outfielder.

i came out my front door to check the mail one day this week and saw one of the student employees from work sitting on the front steps of the apartment building across the street. small world.

a Jewish acquiantance of mine asked me if he could bring something back from Israel for me and i suggested that if he were at the wailing wall he could say a prayer and leave the prayer note in the wall. how cool is that?

i wonder if i should do some of this stuff on Twitter? it just seems like such a trivial little hobby full of self important and unimportant thought that i don't want to add more to the morass of whatever it already is.

we went to Costco last week and i bought so much creamer for work that i suspect i will NEVER be able to use it all. i'll probably have to give it to someone when i retire in 13 years at the earliest. i wonder if coffee creamer has an expiration date?

someone who i never hear swear (because she really is a bit goody-goody ... and i mean that in a good way) mouthed a very real swear at me the other night. i was just so happy that she was willing to break the mold of perception that i just laughed out loud and gave her a huge hug. is it weird to be joyful after someone has just fired an F sharp your way?

it was wonderful to sit with friends and enjoy some nice conversation on Wednesday night. if you were there, thank you.

it is pure joy to pound the pedals after a long day's work ... many days this time of year i get to go ump a baseball game later in the evening. its a fun time of year for me.

i bought some beer for the Stanley Cup Finals. i don't drink much so when i can chill and celebrate a little its good to enjoy some Sleeman's at the same time.

you are loved. you are loved. you are loved.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

when lightning flashes

we laid in bed last night and i tried to coax myself to sleep when a flash of lightning lit up from the sides of the blinds in our bedroom window. a second later came the familiar rumble of thunder and i sighed.

we had to put our dog down last October and she had always been terrified of thunderstorms. we would keep her bed at the base of the stairs and there was a general rule that she couldn't come upstairs so that Wendy's allergies wouldn't be so out of control that she couldn't sleep. during a thunderstorm our terrified puppy would defy the rule, climb the stairs and try to sneak into our bedroom. it is during these nights that i would take the pup to the basement where she couldn't see the lightning flash in the windows and the thunder was stifled somewhat.

"i miss Maddie", i said.

"even though a night like this would've meant you slept in the basement?", Wendy asked. "i'm sorry Ian, I realize you love her and miss her."

i touched Wendy's hand and said "i'm sorry too honey, i realize you love and miss her too".

even after nearly 8 months that she's been gone i still pause when i get to the base of the stairs where her bed was or when i hear a dog barking as i get to my own door, or when lightning flashes outside my window.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some Folks World

this is an old Mark Heard tune that i found on Youtube that someone had edited their own film to. i've always loved the tune and the pics are a little dated but still poignant. i think i'll try to find a chord progression for this tune ... if someone has figured it out and put it online. i've recently begun playing a handful of Mark Heard tunes and having a good time with it. anyway, enjoy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

i've never lived in an NHL city before

i'm the biggest hockey fan you know ... probably. i mean i know a lot of hardcore hockey fans and i don't think i'm the biggest hockey fan that I know but i'm kind of assuming that you don't know the same guys that i know.

i don't remember a time when i was not a hockey fan. like every other kid i played my share of street hockey with the boys where you had to learn the nuances of the self pass off the curb and the triple deke backhand top shelf jaw dropping showoff that becomes your centerpiece move. i grew in a small city halfway between Toronto and Montreal. it was a little burgh at the bottom of the Ottawa Valley that was very Loyalist politically and more loyalist to their hockey team. in my town everyone was either a Leafs fan or a Habs fan, until the time eventually came that the Senators joined the NHL and then loyalties shifted in town somewhat. when i was growing up though the Sens were not in existence so you loved your team and you hated the other one that was close by. my best friend was a Habs fan and i was a Leafs fan so we had our own little wars whenever the two clubs met for battle. i call them "Raspberry Wars" because whenever your team scored you'd give the other guy a very significant and saliva filled raspberry so that if your team got blown out then you'd need a shower after the game because you were covered in the other guy's spit. yeah, i know that's gross but i was 14 or so and you'd put up with a lot to support your team. unfortunately those were years that the Leafs were awful and the Habs were really good so i definitely put up with a LOT.

it used to be that folks from our church would go to Montreal once a year to watch the Oilers play the Habs. i wasn't terribly interested in the matchup but it was my first real NHL game so i wasn't going to miss out even if it meant that i could see this Gretzky guy play and cheer against the Habs for a couple hours. nobody seemed to be interested in going to Toronto for a game or getting tickets when the Leafs came to Montreal for a visit so i was actually an adult before i ever got tickets to attend a Leafs game and actually i had to win those since i was WAY too poor to afford tickets myself.

after high school i moved to Kitchener Ontario for Bible College and then i stayed there to work, get married and eventually attend the University of Waterloo. K-W was an excellent place to live but the only hockey fix i could get would be to go watch the Junior team play on Friday nights or to catch my Leafs on the tube on Saturday night. good luck trying to get tickets or afford tickets in the Toronto area. when i was dating and engaged to Wendy she was in college in Winnipeg and i actually came out to visit her on one occasion so she took me to the only Jets game i ever got to see. they played the Sabres and it was joy to see Hawerchuk play ... although they had just traded him to Buffalo to get Phil Housley so actually i never got to see the best Jet ever to play for the team while he was actually a Jet.

Wendy and i lived in Waterloo for 4 years before we began the trek west to find better work for us both. we lived for a miserable year in northwest Ontario and we finally moved to Winnipeg as the flood of '96 abated. that was also the very time that the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix. i moved to town and the hockey team moves out, our moving van passed theirs on the way out of town (figuratively). not cool. i was pleased to be in Winnipeg, we became homeowners for the first time of our lives and we joined a marvelous church community that has been the best church experience of our adult lives but still, i had no hockey team i could watch except for continued Saturday nights on tv.

Winnipeg was all abuzz yesterday as it was announced that the NHL was returning to this city. today is the first day of my life in which i reside in the same place as an NHL team. it still isn't determined what the name of our NHL entry will be but i would say that 90% of Peggers are demanding that the team be named the Jets. there is some talk that the owners want to move in a new direction and avoid the stigma of failure that was associated with the Jets but in truth there is such abounding love for that team name that i don't see how they could possibly call the team anything but the Jets. the ticket prices are reasonable but at the same time it seems unlikely that we'll be spending more than enough for me to see a couple games per season. there's always a tv package of some kind though, maybe we could swing that more easily.

anyway, i'm a happy boy today. i wore my Jets jersey to work and it is definitely getting me noticed whenever i walk into a room. seriously, i'm the hit of the party just by showing up.