Archive for December, 2005

Christmas program dress rehearsal – we're ready!

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

  

The hall is set!

The lights are right!

On with the show, this is it!

Sunday at 11:00 – and right into a banquet following.  The gift of Christmas sung and acted, along with a piano duet of the “Hallelujah Chorus”, an advent wreath and a carol or two sung by an open choir (the congregation!).

Reminiscences on a youth banquet!

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Last night I spoke at our youth Christmas banquet.

They are a great bunch.  17 attended.  Dressed semi-formally.  OK, one or two were a little on the side of less formal.

The program was fairly informal.  As some of the youth realized that the microphone was on, they began to sing – one of those favourites like “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.”  Amazing how songs of decades ago remain ni use, yet new approaches are added.  Like actions and end of the line phrases (“like a light bulb”).  The usual piano doodles were attempted during an intermission.

While we were singing some carols, the youth wanted to be sure to sing all the verses.  I tend to underestimate them!  A short story of the reason for the season was listened to without interruption.  And the gift exchange was loud and noisy. 

When we were done the “formal” part, the parents and teens helped to reset the auditorium.  

If you are worried about the youth of today, let me tell you – they’re not all bad!!

A rest home?

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Do seniors really want a rest home?

As a youngster I remember senior citizen homes being called “rest homes”.  I guess the idea was to move the retired people into places where they had no responsibility.  Into a caring environment with all the amenities necessary to live out the final years of life.  Into a place where the former leaders of a society would be given the honour due them.

Our town is looking at a seniors facility – a bridge between regular housing and the highest level care facility we have in town.  One of those who had been researching this found that words count!  We could not call this “assisted living.”  Even though the idea was to have meals and some home care available.  This must still be “independent living.”  Seniors do not want to “rest.”

So, I”ve coined a new name — “Assisted Independent Living.”  Don’t take the acronym seriously (AIL) — this has nothing to do with what the seniors would be doing in this home!!!

Through the Looking Glass

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

         

Tuesday we’ll be looking through these windows and up the stairs as my parents arrive.

They will come to Saskatoon on a WestJet flight (should be a merry flight!).  We’ll pick them up and bring them back to Kindersley for 10 days.

We’ll tour around town, visit with friends and see the sights. 

There is one building they will not “see.”  This morning, at 8:00, I attended a meeting of those interested in getting an independent assisted living facility in the town.  Maybe we’ll see some former residents  return.  The building is not yet a “sight” to be seen, but one to be “hoped” for — and for many citizens the sooner the better.

Oh brother, how old art thou?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Each time one of us slips into the 50th year, I’m reminded that we’re only half way there!  My brother hits 50 this coming Monday.  He’s doing well for his age.  A wife, a son, aches and pains – normal things for normal people.

My grandfather used to say that he would “live to be a hundred or die in the attempt!” 

So, my brother, I wish for you the same.

Living with loss

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Last night was a journey for me.

I spoke at a session given by our ministerial.  The two month, once a week group was dealing with “living with loss.”   Each person (regularly three attended) had a death in their immediate circle in this last year.

I figured I could just walk in – easily provide the information for my session called “God/Faith and our loss, ” and walk out!

As I began to prepare, I wondered if I coudl feel for this group.  Little did I know! 

My wife almost died five years ago.  My father-in-law died three years ago while we were swimming a river together.  This summer my younger brother died of cancer.  Right now I am walking through cancer with two of our congregation.

My thoughts were not in a “three point aermon” outline.  They were in a story form based on my experiences and upon what I know of God.   I know that God is in charge – that is a faith statement which has observations of his workings mixed in.  I know that God strengthens those who call on him – faith and fact mix once again.  I know that where I have suffered I can comfort others, just as God has comforted me.

Nothing profound.  Just God, me and the others sitting around a table.  Talking.  Laughing.  Crying.  Hearing each others’ stories and trusting God to speak.

Hospitality just grows on you!

Monday, December 12th, 2005

We are approaching Christmas day.

A few weeks ago, it looked like our list of company would be our daughter, along with our new grandson.  Negotiations (sort of like the UN does) were underway for others, but nothing was finalized.

In the last few days we have finalized my parents visiting, a day with my extended family, a session with my parents friends, and my father’s sisters will storm into town.

Just as these plans were coming to fruition, we had two couples ask for a place to stay as they pass through this week.

Understand, I’m becoming my mother’s son.  I have positive memories of my mother 30 years ago inviting over friends and acquaintances.  We would sit around a table with up to 12 -15 people.  And an evening with a group of youth was not unusual.  In those days, mom would make sure we were all happy and well fed – she was a gracious host.  My father was always quiet and steady – the perfect complement for a gracious evening of enjoyment.

In many ways, my wife and I have now taken on that same approach.  Jill is probably the best cook around, and her ability to fit in any conversation is amazing.  I’m loving being inserted into people’s lives – talking to old acquaintances, meeting new ones and being enveloped by inspiring and nurturing relationships.

Are we overbooked?  I suppose if you look at the calendar, there are a good number of scribbles!   If you look at our hearts, full is good!!

On our way

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

We’re headed out the door.  It’s 7:00 in the morning.  Off to pick up our daughter and grandson in Prince Albert.  They’re the first to get here for the Christmas holidays.  More to come!

Be back tonight!

They're coming!

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Mom and Dad Baker are here for the holidays!

So, yesterday we started arranging for people they will want to see.  Dad was born here in Kindersley back on December 29th, 1918.  So we have a family birthday celebration planned for the 28th (they fly back home on the 29th).  Two sisters, our daughter, grandson (this will be the first time mom and dad see him in the flesh!), and families will all gather here.  And the party will be fun.

Before that my dad’s sisters are planning to get together.  Now, you have to understand, none of them are young — at least in body.  But otherwise you can’t keep them down.  I’m afraid to try to keep up with them when they get going.  So, I’ll sit back and laugh and serve coffee, and learn something new.

As well, there are the old friends who have been with them (some of them from the time my dad was born).  The best man, the couple who got married around the same time as them, the girlfriend from the days my mom worked at the local hospital, the friend from down the road (and don’t forget this was a country road) who used to walk over to hang out with my dad’s family.  We’re trying to contact them all and see if they can come over.

This is the first time in decades that my mom and dad will be with us for Christmas.  The memories will be great!  I’ll keep you posted!

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

I’ve just finished Paul Chamberlain’s book “Talking about Good and Bad without getting Ugly.”

In our current society we are discouraged from embarking on moral persuasion.  Everyone is said to have their own morals and none is better than the other. 

Chamberlain disputes that approach and with the use of dialogue, examples and logic puts together a good case for seeing a culture change morally and socially.  He uses William Wilberforce as an example of a man of humour, of influence and of conviction who made a difference in his world.

“Incremental strategy” is the approach Chamberlain takes for changing society’s views.  While you can’t change the slow moving ship of culture overnight, at least get on board where some positive movement can be capitalized upon.  Sounds like a strategy politicians need to consider.

I kind of wonder if Steven Harper hasn’t read this book!