Archive for December, 2009

Visiting

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Well, today was one of those enjoyable days.  Our afternoon saw a visit with friends.  We got into politics, people and church.  All good.

And later more friends.  Ones who are in the transition of age.  We spoke into their lives as well as joined their lives.  My prayer and trust are that God would give them stability and a sense of His continued presence.

And now, as I write, I am mindful of our families.  And I pray:  May God visit them with His presence!

Off to visit

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The next few days my good wife and I will visit a number of our seniors.  As my mom noted tonight – it’s good to visit seniors.

I suppose you could say it is the duty of the office.  But in many ways it is just plain fun. 

For years they have dealt with life.  They are more ready to change than any of us think.

Think what they have been through over the years.  Changes in housing, communication, internet, television, wars, currency fluctuations.  And that’s before we talk about raising their kids and living with grandkids and great grandkids.

That’s enough reason to sit and laugh with them.  Or cry.  Or listen to stories that some think have been told enough times, yet I love to hear with a fresh ear.

So, we’ll take cookies and squares, probably drink too much tea, and have ourselves a very merry Christmas!!

Christmas program

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Great stuff!  Cold weather!  Jill and I counted 24 people that didn’t make it because of the chill of the day.

We had some first times – “de-buts” as one person commented.  There was an excellent band – two trumpets, one clarinet, one trombone, one French horn and one saxophone!  What a rich blend of sound.  And Vanessa Klassen played a clarinet solo that was simple yet rich in blend and timbre (check a music dictionary to see what that’s about!).  Marilyn Stevenson, with her usual pinao expertise filled the room with piano chords and melody only she can coax from the keyboard!

And a male quartet just formed in this past month or so.  After the final piece one person inhaled with that “wow” type of expression!

The children presented two short sketches that were lively and felt like actual acting and not a scripted reading. 

But, for me, the most exciting was the debut of a new playwright just finishing her grade 12 year here in Kindersley- Nyla Ditson.  She wrote and acted in two short dramas performed by our youth and one parent.  The second kept us in stitches – laughter which easily brought out the point.  The first combined humor and her background in the culinery arts.  Both brought out the message of the gift of Jesus at Christmas.  Loved it!!

And so, we it at home refreshed and enjoying all God has provided at this Christmas season.

Clergy no longer on job list

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Yesterday my wife went to the “Ipsos Reid i-Say” site.  Yes, this is the Ipsos Reid that does all sorts of surveys the world over!!

She had received an invitation to part of their research base.  Here’s what the invitation said in part:

Some people believe special offers or participating for chances to win prizes means there has to be a catch.  But at Ipsos i-Say, one of the leading market research companies in the world, we work closely with people like you to make sure we get real opinion.

So, she headed to the designated site to sign up to be part of their on-going surveys, particularly as they look to help companies tailor their products.

The first thing is to complete a personal profile.  Of course, there were many times that she was reminded that this was private information.

So, when she came to the part asking for information on her spouse’s occupation, she looked through the list to find “clergy”. 

Not there!

A few centuries ago clergy were the most educated, highly prized for their wisdom, and a the core of a society.

How we have fallen!!

Plumbing Pleasures

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Twice in the last few weeks I’ve changed out sinks.  The previous CRANE sinks had rusted out their overflow channel.  Rust was actually showing and dripping was evident on one.

Now, I figured 15 minutes per job.  Undo a few nuts and things would just fall into place.  As I’ve learned from other trades – consider that to be one unit of time.  Unfortunately the 15 minute unit ends up being 1 1/2 hours. 

Of course, just one small thing takes the time.

On the first sink the fasteners were just slightly different.  In the end I took over a home made brace to make the sink sit firmly in place.

The second sink was much easier – at least in removing it from the counter.  I’ve learned a bit of patience in waiting for WD40 to do it’s job.  But this time a rubber ring had become quite worn.  After a number of attempts at tightening tighter I found a new part.  A few twists and no water overflowed from the joint.

Now, two more sinks are in need of changeout!  With each attempt I bring more equipment.  If I were to become a plumber I would have a complete inventory and I would need a huge transport truck to carry all I would need to be ready for the most remote possibility.

And some people wonder where the Scout’s got their motto:  “Be Prepared”.  One of them must have had a plumber for a father!!

Pastor’s story

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Our XYZ seniors group met today.  Amidst the roast beef, potatoes, carrots, salad and great dessert, we had two special guests.

Karen Kotanko is new to town (when you consider the average age of our seniors groups is well over 65 years, 4 or 5 years in town is new!).  She is a musician of exceptional quality.  A mini concert highlighted the superb dinner.

Then our speaker, Pastor Jonathan Bloomfield, stood to speak.  Our tradition has been to have various pastors in town give us a Christmas message.  Jonathan is a personal friend of mine.  He is fun, sensitive, and a great addition to our town’s ministerial.

His theme was the matter of peace that the Christ child brings.  His story was an example of that.  He grew up on the “wrong side” of the tracks.  His parents were not the outstanding examples we all would like.  He seldom wore clean clothes and his bathing habits were sporadic at best.  And yet, some Christians showed the persistence to show him Jesus – in the flesh, their own flesh.  So the once incarnate Jesus became obvious to Jonathan through the flesh-and-bone people who surrounded him.

In this type of story is great impact.  I have heard his story before.  I’m sure I’ll hear it repeated again.  May God continue to enliven Jesus through Jonathan’s life to each one of us.

Thoughts on . . .

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

The morning was spent with other pastors.  We talked of church (what is the current definition), of ministry (the ups and downs) and of personal life (we are all human!).  This is the opportunity to join with others who go through the same things.  Together we prayed, ate and dismissed – seeking God’s blessing and direction.

Time well spent!

To Herschel and back

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Our regional Senior Pastor’s Network is together today and tomorrow.  As the season and commitments would have it, I had to exit from the meetings for a few hours to fulfil duties back in Kindersley.

Our meetings are being held in a back road town called Herschel.  Settled in a valley, the setting is beautiful.  The retreat house is “recycled”.  The wood comes from grain elevators.  Beautiful wood grain enhanced by years of grain spilling over the wood.

The road to a main highway is one I had travelled last time we met there.  Only this time I didn’t get detoured.  Previously I had made one wrong turn and ended up on a dirt trail through a pasture.  My sense of direction kept me going until I returned to a gravelled grid road.  Today I headed straight down the road – no detours – and about 20 minutes shaved off travel time.

Tomorrow I return for the close of the meetings.  I look forward to seeing what God has in store for us. 

Preparing

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

This is the Advent season.  Preparing for Jesus’ birth.

This week we explore spending less and giving more.  Spending less money on extraneous gifts and giving more time to the relationships in our lives.  I’ve worked a sermon out – right now I’m also working it out in my life.  That’s a good thing.  The day I can’t learn from what I’m learning is the day I’ve fossilized into a relic.  Something I never want to be!!