Archive for August, 2006

Hanging out!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

At dinner tonight we had two single parents and their kids.  I love the invigoration of children. 

They look at things so innocently and yet seem to have a nature that can be devious.  Maybe they learn that from us??

At one point the two “under 4” children were “sharing” together.  They would each take their turn.  Then, prompted by adults, they would hand over the toy.  At one point, one child shared without prompting.  You figure the world has just taken a huge leap forward.  Until you check back in a minute as she yanks the toy from the other’s hand.  This would make true reality TV programming!!

The other side of reality living is dealing with computers.  The last few days we have been trying to make a wireless router work for our internet.  I tried updates and firmware changes.  Finally, in desperation, I returned to an old router that jst chugs along and does the job.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Of course, high speed “light” is not going to win any race!!  But now, at least we will get to the finish line.

Maple Creek and Back!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Lester, who reads this blog faithfully, was in need of a driver today.  His service van was not in good condition and he needed to pick up a substitute van in Maple Creek.

Now, Maple Creek is around 200 or  more kilometeres away.  He could have taken the bus and arrived around 11:50 at night, picked up the van, and driven back by 2:00. 

Or he could call a friend and arrive around 1:30 in the afternoon, drive home and be in his door at the end of a regular work day.

No brainer — as long as you can find a friend!

He caught me in between projects and we headed out around 11:15. 

The road less travelled was Saskatchewan highway 21 south from Kindersley.  All I had to do was follow the signs and we arrived in Maple Creek!

Now, a word about Saskatchewan highways.  Some are good. . .   Some are like the one to Maple Creek.  At points there are unexpected potholes, and gravel patches, and loose ashphalt, and red warning markers, and road crews and all the ingredients for a wide awake — “watch-where-you-are-going” adventure!

Maple Creek is the undisputed hot spot of Saskatchewan.  Weather hot spot, that is!!  And no less today.  The town dips into a valley — we only made it to the outskirts where his replacement van was parked.  We separated to our separate vehicles separately (enough redundancy too often already!!).  The ride home was around 2 hours long.  With missed lunch and coffee breaks, the day was done — at least for my friend.  I still had an evening prayer meeting, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Road trips are great.  Thanks, Lester!

House Churches

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

George Barna, researcher and survey taker in the U.S., says that house churches are the upcoming approach to church in North America.  Today I talked to a friend who is in the midst of starting a house church with around 10 of our friends.

I’ve struggled, as an institutional pastor, to understand this movement.  I don’t dispute that this is happening.  In large part it comes from the push to recognize “the priesthood of all believers.”  Add to that a strong education component in churches that has brought the usual person to a solid understanding of scripture.  Finally, put yourself in a society that is increasingly separating religious folk from secular.

Disgruntled people leave churches.  They start their own.  I wonder what accountability that provides.

Others leave, and will leave, because there are problems with transportation, or child care, or other provisons particular to their situations. They gather with nearby believers.  They may maintain a loose relationship with leadership in a local church.

Others see the need to reach unchurched people.  The “institutional church” is not attractive.  They are amenable to a local church but are “unrelated”.

There is no easy definition of a house church.  I know because I have friends in all of these situations.  For the sake of the universal church, how do we show unity in the midst of diversity?  This is the big quesiton that will arise in this coming decade.  If you have some suggestions, please comment.

Cubase and other fun!

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Recording and editing audio has always been a “fun” time for me. 

In my younger years I was a vocalist on a number of recordings (4 or 5??).  Then in 1999 I had opportunity to produce a CD for a friend.  I have played with Cool Edit for a number of years.  By the time you do that, you’ve got the bug.

So, today I hooked up the computer with the peripherals (love that term — just means more things that help me to record). 

There was some level of frustration, but within 2-3 hours I had a four part harmony – 15 second music clip in front of me.  I sang each part and laid the tracks down in the computer program.

Then I started to play.  I tried such things as reverb and equalization.  But the most fun was the pitch settings.  I jacked the voices up into the female vocal range.  And my voice actually sounded pretty good.  Maybe I’ll market it some day!! 

Until then — hopefully a project that has been on the back burner for the last year will come forward pretty quickly!

Filling the day!

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Thursday and Friday passed away, sliding into oblivion while filling every minute.

Thursday afternoon and evening my sister and her family were here.  Their arrival was heralded by a great lunch – pizza buns.  Perfect for the four kids who love good food.  Afternoon entertainment included parking the tent trailer in the back yard, watching “The god’s must be crazy”, and putting out camping gear to dry.

The evening had a full blown Rook game.  Rook is  card game that brings competitiveness to a new height.  Your bid for supremacy must be accompanied by a hand of cards  that trump all others.

Friday the family left for Rosetown at 9:00, as did we — but we went past Rosetown to Saskatoon.  There Jill had an Echo Cardio Gram, part of her regular routine to monitor her heart’s health.  We ate lunch, shopped, and spent an amount of money on some recording gear for my new computer (which amount will remain anonymous for the moment!).  Our arrival home was a half day later than when we left.

What a week for Jill.  Canning, family visitation and medical appointments.  Today was a rest day for her — now that it is evening she’s up and running once again.  Not to say that life stopped!  A friend from Red Deer came all the way over to get a signature from me.  1 1/2 hours of lunch, talk and sharing pictures together. 

God is good — all the time.  And all the time, God is good.

Hail the instant harvest!

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Jill just talked to a farmer friend just west of town.

Hail ran through their fields.  You can’t even tell what the field was, the stalks are only a few inches high, tree leaves are stripped completely.  Plywood bins and siding on the house damaged, broken windows.

All this in just a few minutes. 

The corn will be down, the potatoes are still in the ground but no plants above.

A comment from someone in the family — “I didn’t know God was so strong!”

To can or not to can?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

The fruit of the earth is plentiful this time of year.  Our friends have been very gracious.  Boxes of produce have appeared at our door.  Corn, strawberries, zucchini, beans, cucumbers and much more.

What to do?

Learn to can!

And so Jill has been off to pick up tips on canning (this is not an activity she has participated in previously).  One site she found gave visual directions on the steps of canning.  Now we have jars of pickles and relish.  Yesterday was tomato day.

Experience tells you some things!

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Our internet access has been slow the last few days.

I remember the first time someone moved to high speed.  He was a computer technician.  He knew about clock speeds, modems and ISP’s.

His firsts comment the next day — “I’d never go back to dial up!”

In my stubbornness, I figured I would stick with dial up.  And even if I moved to high speed, I wouldn’t be caught up in trying to keep up!!

Guess again! 

This last week our “express light” high speed has been slower than usual.  You put up with, rationalize around, and generally try to be nice.  Today I phoned the ISP (internet service provider) and mentioned, in  a nice way, that I was getting half the speed of another ISP.

The supervisor was informed.  The reply was that someone in Kindersley was using a lot of the broadband.  The problem should be fixed tomorrow.

High chair highs!

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

So, the high chair had it’s inauguration today.

After struggling with instructions and fabrications that sometimes eluded us, the chair was in place last night.  Today a two year old girl sat in the chair.

As our guest (along with her mother) she ate with fork and spoon.  She then used the God given utensils, her fingers.  A jelloed dessert spread over the tray as she completed her feast.  When they left we cleaned the chair with ease.

The chair was a success.  But the real measure of success is in the visiting and sharing together which such a high chair makes possible.

The instructions, please!

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

10:00 and we want to assemble a high chair for tomorrow’s dinner.  We have invited over a single mom with her 2 year old.

This is a Fisher Price chair – should be a breeze.  30 minutes in and we decide it will never fit together.  In a rather grumpy mood we repackage the whole thing. 

Behold, there is a piece that I hadn’t seen.  Somehow it had been taken out of the box and set aside.  Looks just like a piece that I had inserted and tried to fit other pieces to. 

New hope — or complete frustration.  This is the choice!  We decide to try again.  The first few steps are easy.  Then the misplaced piece is put into place.  The next piece fits — with some persuasion.  Now 35 more minutes later and we are finished.

Remember the good old saying — “It’ll only take a few minutes!” 

Wrong again!