Archive for January, 2007

The first day!

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

We are in Saskatoon.

After having received a gracious “push” to take some days off, we arrived in Saskatoon around noon.  First order of business was to get pictures printed of our daughter’s wedding.  While waiting for the “one hour” photos we sat at MacDonalds.  Both of us had a tea.  I also had another cup, this time of warm milk.

Then off to Princess Auto (after checking in to a motel).  Jill was quite surprised.  This is not just an auto store.  There were computer parts . . . and electric tools . . . and the type of stocking stuffers our son-in-law Scott will just love!  I escaped without spending a cent, but this will be a stopping point in the future!

The next stop was to Michael’s — the craft shop.  We exited off Circle Drive onto Preston Avenue — the street where the store was said to be according to the phonebook.  As we exited we saw a store with a sign proclaiming “Michaels”.  “Must be the clothing store by the same name.”  “Right.”  “Let’s keep going.”

Twenty kilometers, and 3/4 hour later, we arrived back at the sign!

The store is a regular treasure trove of decorations and adornments.  I even enjoyed the tour of the store — which was an hour in length.

Then off to Montana’s.  A great steak house where we ate chicken!  Thanks, B&B, for the Christmas gift certificate.  We were finished before the waitress had time to breathe — a busy night!

The return to the motel saw us take in a movie or two.  We are now listening to some worship music — a fitting way to clear our heads.  Even after fairly innocent movie fare we felt there were better ways to end the day.

On the way to Saskatoon today, we listened to “The Time That Remains” by Mary Funderburk and Twila McBride and sung by Corey Emerson on his CD called “Sanctuary.”  Corey writes of this song:

This song reminds me of a missionary I wish I had known. It was in May of 2001 that I heard the name Roni Bowers. She was the missionary who was killed, along with her baby, Charity, when a Peruvian military jet shot down their airplane. Her husband had called and asked if I would sing at her funeral. He shared how she would listen to my first CD all the time while in the Amazon and that one of the songs, “Make Me In Your Image,” was her favorite. It absolutely humbled me.
We have no idea as to the impact we make in people’s lives. Whether it’s being used as a source of encouragement or a harvester of souls, as we live for Christ we touch people’s lives – oftentimes without our knowing. “What is our life? It is but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away.” May we, like Roni, make the most of every moment in living for our Savior and investing in people’s lives.

For Jill and I, this song has special meaning.  In 2001 Jill was close to death.  So close we were writing her will with renewed understanding of the shortness of life.  We listened to this song.  The song begins:

I know my days were numbered
Before I drew my first breath
But I have no way of knowing
When I’ll close my eyes in death;
I only have this moment, and before it slips away
I want to make a difference while it’s still called today
In the time that remains I will lift high the cross
And in Jesus’ name be a light to the lost
I pray I won’t live one moment in vain,
For all that I have is the time that remains.

Now, five years later — how easily we lose sight of eternity in keeping the moment alive!

Just Thinking

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Free association!

That is merely taking a first thing and letting your mind run.  Interestingly the result often exhibits some type of logic.  Subconsciously you link two or three things and come up with a new way to approach a story line or plot.

Let’s start with “mouse.”

House.  Roof.  Snow.  Slippery.  Ice. Cold. Sheet.  Chimney.

Now that last one seems completely off kilter.  But . . . what if this is a way to return to the beginning of the sentence — to the house.  I hadn’t even put the two together until now.

Which brings me to a question.  “Is there a logic beyond our own?”  If we can come up with linkages and connections that are beyond normal reason — what of a mind that is it’s own logic.  That encompasses logic, and the subconscious, and reason beyond reason.  Believe it or not, I can imagine that!!  And I would have to say the creator of that logic must be beyond me — greater than me — known and yet unknowable.

Enough of the philosophy!  What would you associate with “The End’?

Getting Away!

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Schedules have flux.  Ours more so in this past week.  We cancelled a retreat time scheduled for today – Thursday.  I always figure funerals take precedence.

I’m looking foward to today’s funeral.  Lil was a great lady, a jolly life intertwined with Jesus, her family and friends!

We were asked if we will get some time off. 

We planned on retreating at home Tuesday and Wednesday.  Turn off the phone.  Don’t venture out to work.  Fly a low profile.  They then asked if they could make sure we got out of town — at home home retreats don’t always seem to work.  They volunteered to help us make sure we got away!

We’ll be away.  For a few days.  Starting Tuesday.

Thanks to the ones who have been so gracious.

Wedding tours

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Scott and Alli took some other pictures when they were off to get married.  This is a sense of what is to come.  And I’m all for it. 

’60’s and 70’s cars.  Cars in good shape.  And junkyard cars.  Their type of honeymoon!!

My daughter's wedding picture!!

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Here it is.  Allison and Scott Opseth — married January 18, 2007.

How Cold Is It?

Friday, January 26th, 2007

The funeral was today. The interment outside.  In the winter.

Yesterday was above zero.  Nice weather.

This morning we awoke to howling winds.  As people arrived at the funeral the story of encroaching snow became apparent.  Those from North Battleford encountered snow around Wilkie.  As the funeral was about to begin, Beadle was encountering snow.  Beadle is about 5 kilometers from town.

We processed into the sanctuary.  No snow. 

The recessional brought us into the foyer.  Snow was swirling.  A blizzard brewing.

We processed to the cemetery.  There the snow abated.  The wind did not.  I stood facing the wind as the family stood with their backs to the wind. 

The interment ceremony was less than three minutes — I was speaking as quickly as possible.  The icicles of words reached to the mourners.  We honored our loved one, but did not linger in the cold.

My face, in just minutes, was stretched taut.  My balding head took the brunt of the weather.

On the other hand — although the remains were cold, Irene was in a much better place — with Jesus.  And I have this funny feeling the temperature there is just right!!

They come in threes?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

You begin to feel that a trinity of events is sufficient cause to wonder!

On Saturday we attended the funeral of one of my aunts — the first one of my father’s siblings to pass away.  Clara May always had a twinkle in her eye and provided fun with responsibility. 

On Sunday we learned that a cousin of mine, Harvey Somerville had died in a diving accident.  The funeral will be this Saturday morning in Eatonia.

Then tonight I found out that another friend of ours, Lillian Szmutko, had passed away today.  Almost thirty years ago we had been a part of a small group that met together.  An old church building provided the setting, and we even tried out a pump organ for singing.  Mike and Lil were very gracious people who lived generous lives with few resources!  What a gracious example of Christian charity and character.

So, we are now considering a four day event — our Pastor’s prayer retreat — that was to happen next week.  The event will happen, our question is whether we will be able to go.  God knows the plans that we lay — but our times are in His hands.

Weekend Passages —

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Busyness!  That’s been the order of the day, or should I say days.

As we descended on Delisle on Saturday we met . . . a charter member of our church (which celebrates 70 years in 2008) . . . cousins and nephews and neices (one of whom Jill had never met in over 30 years!) . . . my father’s siblings who combine brains, laughs and deep relationships.

Today we were at a church service with new and newer faces.  I preached on Acts 12 — God is in it all . . . including miracles and the ordinary.   After a soup lunch with friends we headed to Rosetown.  My parents are staying at my sisters.  We chatted about the past, ate another soup meal and headed back by 9:00 in the evening.

If time is relative to activity we squeezed a lot into a few hours.  God is good and has granted us this time with others.  Some we may see again, others not.  In God’s timing the moments are indelibly now a part of our history and our lives.

Out the door!

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

It’s around 8:00 and we are headed to Delisle.

Hairblowers have fashioned our hair, our shoes are polished and the shower has us perfumed for the day.  We’ll meet lots of relatives, enjoy the fellowship and celebrate a life well lived.

Jill, my wife, mentioned this morning that Clara May died well.  When she heard she had cancer she accepted this as God’s plan for the time.  She headed to Ontario to visit her siblings.  Others came to her and she greeted them with that well known twinkle in her eye.  Her passing was merely to another place with richer colors and greater singing.

I celebrate a life well lived and a death claimed in Jesus name!!

A night at home!

Friday, January 19th, 2007

We try to visit as much as possible.

Years back I struggled with just being with people without a “productive angle”.  You know —  trying to get people to take on a job, provide some money, help make things happen.  Don’t get me wrong, that is still part of life and ministry — when done with love and compassion there is no reason to denigrate that type of visit.

Lately, I just like to head out to be with people because I like to be with people.  We talk, drink coffee (oops, hot chocolate!), and pass the hours in each other’s company.

Nevertheless, I still have a need to take a little time away.  That means I’ll stretch out on the couch tonight.  We’ll eat some hotdogs in wraps with beans, and watch a video.  We’ll head to bed early since we are off to a funeral and to visit someone in hospital in Saskatoon tomorrow.

But for tonight — alone again, naturally!!