Archive for June, 2009

The verandah syndrome

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

A few years ago I heard a city planner talk about the need for community.  Too much urban planning was sterile and uninviting.  The planner suggested that homes need to be close to each other and should include a verandah. 

The idea?  People will stop and talk, come and visit, drink juice and chat.  Sit on your verandah and see who arrives!

So tonight, instead of sitting in a church building and holding a meeting, we sat on our front porch.  At the end of the evening the comment was:  this is better than being around a table in a church office!

But, during the evening we waved to neighbours, watched people walking and had one of our neighbours come and chat for a few minutes.   Thankfully the meeting could be interrupted.

And perhaps that is a parable of how relational business should be done.  Do the business but don’t overlook the people around you.  They are probably as much a part of your business as the management side of charts, and minutes and motions!!

The day of the picnic

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Church picnic day is becoming notorious!

For the past four years we have had rain.  As we did on Sunday, our church picnic day!

The rain started in the morning prior to our church service.  There was a howling wind and slashes of water falling from the sky.

Then the weather calmed.  The mud dried and the wind subsided.  We had set up the picnic “tables” inside the auditorium.  Our two main outdoor activities were to be a wagon ride and kite flying.  Earlier in the morning we were envisioning mud and mayhem.

As we finished our lunch I ventured out with some of the kids who wanted to fly kites.  We let out the string and they ran like crazy.  The kites flew until the kids stopped.  Then they lazily drifted to the ground – not enough wind power.

So the wagon ride was quickly organized.  After a round of our local church dam, the kids came back reddened and a bit dehydrated.

Now, we might say this was a bust, but it wasn’t.  I’m becoming more convinced that friends and fun are more important than some of the agenda we put forward.  The adults sat and talked, the kids ran and played with each other.  Not a bad thing!

Below are some of those kites that remained more on the ground than in the air!!

church picnic kites, June 14, 2009

Blindsided – the sequel

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

When a tire goes flat, you fix it.

The tire repairs were figured out and the resources gotten as soon as they were available (I had to wait a few hours, but eventually I got what was needed).

The disassembling of the back wheel took a few minutes more than I had expected.  I haven’t done this for a while – so even though there were no rusted parts, I was rusty and just figuring things out took time.

Finally, the tire was back in place and a breath of fresh air was pumped into the tire.  A slight flaw almost immediately popped the inner tube. 

So, I started all over again.  I got another inner tube and reset it on the rim.  This time it worked and I was out riding once again.

Sometimes the first try at fixing a problem may have a problem.  If at first you don’t succeed, find another inner tube!!


Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Last night was a bike scavenger hunt with our youth.  Great time!

Before leaving and joining  in on the hunt, I pumped up the front tire of my bicycle.  A month or so ago I noted that it had a slow leak.  The pressure was down somewhat, but an influx of new air pumped it right back up.

As we went throughout the hunt I watched the tire carefully.  No problem!

Approaching the final stretch something felt out of sorts.  The front tire continued in good shape.  Things were right there.

But not so on the strong back tire!  The tire I had chosen not to watch.  Perhaps we hit some shards of glass, or maybe something punctured through the outer tire and got to the inner tube.

I suppose the actual cause didn’t really matter.  I know enough of the caused for flat tires and I thought I had avoided them.  And next time out I will carry the same list in my head and try to miss the hazards. 

But last night I was left carrying my bicycle back.  Instead of carrying me into a journey of enjoyment, I was left thinking about what I needed to do to fix this tire.  I’m looking forward to fixing the back tire and getting back on the road.

This is a story of both a bicycle and a church.  In watching over a front tire, it seems a back tire has been flattened.  Where we go next is the next thing! 

May God give direction and wisdom!

Birthday party!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The day ended with an ice cream birthday cake, 5 people, good humor and laughter.  Oh, and one of them was the birthday girl!  The picture we took will be available only to those present!!  Sorry – OK, not that sorry!

End of the day!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Some days come to an end when the end comes.  Peacefully and quietly you crawl into bed for a rest.  Other days run like crazy.  Exhausted and with a full breath you finish the day.  Other days chaos reigns.  Those days finish.

Not sure how to judge this day.  I’ve had hints of all three.

Maybe I’ll just finish up out of breath, peacefully just finishing the day!

Final XYZ

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Our seniors group is called XYZ.  There have been varied explanations of the acronym, but probably the best is “eXtra Youthful Zest”.  At least I like that one the best!!

For the last four years we have tried to hold our final year end BBQ outside.  This year looked the most promising.  We had not had rain for some time, and the drought appeared to be entrenched.  Not that we wanted the drought!  We were more than willing to have rain.

And rain it did.  The day before our BBQ.  Then the meeting morning appeared with sunshine.  The temperature was cool.  A decision had to be made.

First, most of those who are part of this group do not “do mud”, although most of them have been through the mud over the years.  Second, sitting out in the cold is not the most pleasant activity we anticipate.  Third . . . OK, two reasons was probably enough.

30 of us gathered in our auditorium and we enjoyed hot dogs and salads and doughnuts and ice cream cones.  We didn’t put tablecloths on the tables.  We used paper plates.  We sang a few favourite songs.  We lived the indoor-outdoor experience with friends.

What an enjoyable finish to a good year!


Monday, June 8th, 2009

Memorization comes with different content.  Some of them just plain weird!

In grade 8, I was living in Toronto, Ontario.  We had moved part way through Grade 7, and fitting in to school was a bit of a struggle.  I did have some new friends who quickly acquainted me with the “system.”  Steve Shields and Tom Meisner were just good people to hang around over lunch.

When grade 8 began we decided to take typing class together.  For those who are more oriented to the new millennium, that is what would now be called “keyboarding.”  There were a few guys in the class, but most were girls.  The pianists were quick to discover the finger patterns of the keyboard.

I, on the other hand, have always been a bit of a klutz when trying to make my fingers obey.  I was one of those who achieved 1o words per minute and thought I had been transported to heaven!

So, what could make me go faster?  Well, I love to sing.  Rhythm and lyrics move my body (although my wife says I look disjointed!).  I decided to learn the “home row” drill — the home row is where you place your fingers when you begin to type.  If I could sing it faster than I could type, maybe my typing would catch up.

I tried it.  Sort of worked.  But now, 40 years later, I can still sing for you the home row drill.  “a;sldkfjghfjdksla;”

Oh, and another thing that has stuck in my mind.  Our Moose Jaw (where I lived from 6-12 years of age) phone number from 45 years ago — 692-6833.  You may want to try it some day and see who you get!  Of course, I will disavow any knowledge of this number if the adventure blows up in your face!!

Living in the cold

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I was struck with summer cold yesterday. 

As I stood prepared to give a graveside committal service for a 93 year old, we all shivered together.  This was the 3rd of June.  Not the 3rd of December!

Some years weather provides the greatest areas of disgust as well as the greatest times of elation.  A few days ago we were in short sleeves.   Now, my feet receive the chill from the ground.

This morning we had rain on the ground.  Not a lot.  As one person was said to have quipped:  The ladybug upside down in my rain gauge didn’t even have wet feet!

Tomorrow is Sunday.  We’ll see the sun, I expect.  And tomorrow the sun will set.  This we can trust in, for God brings the sun to the horizon in the morning, and relieves the sun of it’s duty in the evening.

And so, I head to the end of this day believing God will be there for another day.

Our main speaker – George Bullard

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

George Bullard is a church consultant and speaker.  His main idea is to get churches functioning to their potential.  And even when you seem to  have achieved that, you are just headed into the next potential area.

What a great reminder.  You can check out his website at

The first night he talked about churches being either tourists or travellers.  This related to the way in which we reach out to others around us.  We can merely show up off and on, enjoy the short term project and retreat back to our own turf.  Or we can pack as though we are not coming back. 

What would that look like?  Are we ready to reset our programs so that they look nothing like what we have done before — but they will be accessible to those we want to reach?  Are we ready to accept a different group of friends realizing we may not be coming back to see our old friends?

Tough questions, but worth the consideration.