Archive for May, 2012

The 20 year gap

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I’m a widower.  In a previous generation, when the average age of death was closer to 68, to be a widower at 58 was, perhaps, common.  Now that 80 is the new 60 – not so common.  And particularly a husband outliving a wife.

I’ve also had double knee surgery – not from sports related injuries but from deterioration.  As one x-ray technician described the picture of my knees when I was in my 40’s – “you have the knees of a 60 year old.” 

I had cataract surgery on my eyes in my mid-fifties.  My father had his cataract surgery in his 80’s (to which he proclaimed – “I wish I’d done this decades ago!”). 

I jokingly refer people to the progression of surgeries and say that my brain is next!!

My guess?  This has prepared me to work well with those in their sunset years of life.  In those days many look back at their former days of glory, when the sun was bright and the tan was the thing!  Now . . .

That’s when I can stand beside them – they know what I’ve gone through and I know where they are at.  And I can say – “God is in control – Jesus will walk with you through this – Trust him!”

Often we get disgusted with our lives and begin to swear against God and against our infirmities.  I’m developing a new slogan.

“Forget  four letter words – use five instead.” 

FAITH works, so does TRUST!!


Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

In my day and age – and that dates me – TGIF meant “Thank Goodness It’s Friday.”  This was the day to look forward to a weekend of fun, parties and no work.  You got to connect with others and just hang out.

I keep my feet in this current age – and that keeps me up-to-date.  TGIF is still around – and it’s still about connecting with other people.

But now – TGIF means – Twitter, Google, Internet and Facebook .

You’ll see this slogan starting to circulate more and more as we catch up to the current ways of connecting with other people.  The leisurely weekend is no more – open stores and 24/7 business has killed it!  And for all us busy people out there who know we need to keep touch with our friends – ever try to sync your schedule with your friends? 

What we are left with is TGIF.  Unless there is a seismic shift in our culture (which I would not be adverse to), get used to connecting with other people in this way!!

Can you add any thoughts on other connecting tools / approaches that have come into use in these past few years? 

Oh, and to give credit where credit is due – this thought hit me as I was reading an article in Worship Leader Magazine, May 2012, page 17 – middle column, last sentence!!

Runners and detecting evil

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

My Grade 3-7 Sunday School class is working on the Lord’s Prayer.  The passage these past few weeks has been “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

This morning I found a few blades of grass springing up in my flower beds (OK, there’s no flowers there yet, but maybe soon!).  I tried to grab this intruding evil and pull it straight out.  No go!  The blades broke and the root will inevitably arise again.

Then I looked at the patch of grass that was busily flourishing just a few feet away.  I took the next shoot and pulled towards that patch.  The roots were dislodged and came up quite easily.

Sometimes just knowing where the evil arises from lets us pull out the roots without too much trouble.

Editorial newspaper article on Jill Baker

Monday, May 28th, 2012

I was surprised when a local retailer mentioned that he had read the editorial on Jill in our local paper – the Kindersley Clarion.  In the midst of this past week, I missed it completely.

Thanks to Kevin McBain, a friend of ours, for his kind words.  I usually don’t include longer text, but I’ll make an exception today!!  Below is the text of his editorial, used with his permission:

Making a difference – Kevin McBain (Clarion Editor)

The Kindersley Clarion, May 23, 2012 – page two

We are all put on this earth for a particular amount of time and no knows how long that will be.

We all coexist together in one house, one block, one town, one province, one country.

Forever, people have tried to understand the meaning of life – Why are we here? Nothing makes sense? What is the point to al of this?

With the recent passing of a friend of many people in Kindersley, we pause and reflect on her life.

Jill Baker, wife of Alliance Church pastor, Ron Baker, was a very kind woman and always had a smile and was always willing to help whenever possible.

She had to fight through battles. Starting at a young age, she was found to have heart trouble and despite several attempts to fix things, her physical heart was never quite right.

Despite these battles, she persevered and despite her physical heart being damaged, her heart of hearts was that much stronger. He will to fight was great, her ability to persevere was even greater.

She worked alongside of her husband for many years, making meals, visiting, speaking at various events, sharing her love for God and many, many other things to numerous to mention.

As many people can attest, she made the most of her life and set an example that many of us can follow.

What are you doing with your life? Are you a role model to your children, to others or, are you clinging to the words of the song – “I’m here for a good time, not a long time,” and trying to waste away the opportunities that have been set before you.

Everyone has a chance to make their life better and others better. Whether it’s mowing the neighbour’s lawn or even sharing a smile. What a difference that makes to a person.

Make the most of the time you have here on earth. Don’t just exist. Don’t blame the things that went wrong in your life on others.

Do the best you can. Put in that ‘110 percent’ effort as the saying goes.

Not everything is going to be perfect and rosy, not everyone will get along with everyone else. Not everyone will be financially set for life, not everyone will have the perfect job. Not everyone will . . .

But it’s what you make of what you have is the most important thing.

It’s not what you have, it’s what you give. Jill was a great example of this. She gave all she had for others. She was always willing to help out to those in need. She was always willing to share a smile.

Everyone wants to be remembered for something. It’s human nature to want to leave a legacy – what legacy are you leaving? How are people going to remember you?

And don’t forget that as parents, what you do with your life will reflect in your children’s life.

Bringing your children up right, getting them to show respect for others, getting them to smile, enjoy life an not to waste it.

Showing love to your children so that they can show love and not hate when they are older.

Spending time with one another as a family and bringing in those that don’t have family, or as much love, into your family.

When these things happen, life will be much better, your family will be much better and your community will be much better off.

What is your legacy going to be? Or fraught with anger, wrath and hate towards others.

Or is it going to be one of caring and sharing for others, such as what Jill’s legacy will be. She touched a lot of lives during her time here on earth, despite battling her own health issues.

She found the strength when none was there. She gave of her time and her energy to make the lives a little brighter.

Thanks, Jill. You were a true example of how we should spend our time here on this earth.

Death and Transformation

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

How do two seemingly unrelated events change a life?

I’m trying to figure that out, but it is happening.

Jill’s death has given me opportunity this Sunday to speak on how she modelled the Christian life.  My original drafts worked on up to 16 different ways.  As I pared it down, there are a mere handful that I will talk about this Sunday (you can find the sermon later today on our website – under the sermon tab).

This morning I was looking at an event that I had to miss because of the memorial service for Jill.  The agenda of the event (NCD 3 colors of leadership) helped people look at their strengths and weaknesses in leadership.  Prior to the event I asked five people to assess my leadership.

The results were not totally unexpected.  I have a strong tendency to help people realize their strengths and assess their weaknesses.  The weak area initially surprised me.  I need to be not only modeling leadership to others, but also training them for their leadership. 

Jill had a great capacity to train – I was always seeing the potential in others.  She would find advice exploding from her mouth upon the first indication of a problem or an opportunity in a person’s life.  I would encourage them to explore their understanding of who they were. 

Now, I’m pushing to become balanced.  Maybe giving a little advice is not a bad thing.  Maybe taking a person from seeing potential to putting feet to that potential is right where I should be.

I do not ask for anyone to die, but if they are to die, let their death bring life!!

To my wife

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Tucked away in a drawer – you have to think this was a treasure Jill kept!

In 1994, for Christmas I wrote her a poem.  We have, for a number of years, not been in need of anything.  Other than love!  This was my Christmas present to her that year.

I seldom say all I wish I could,

More seldom say all I should!

Endurance in struggles of new directions,

Lasting through our children’s corrections,

Preparation of culinary delights,

Companionship though days and nights

These all are signs of love unbounded,

By that love I am surrounded.

Thank you, my lover, my wife!

Christmas 1994

Apologies and context

Friday, May 25th, 2012

My grandson wanted some snack.  I wanted him to wait.

So I told him, “Wait til the hand on the clock says ten.”

Christopher intently stared at the clock and came to me just a few minutes later.

“The hand went past ten – I want my snack.”

I took a look.   The minute hand had only crept forward a few beats.  There were at least ten more minutes before the goal would be reached.

He insisted and we had a little war of the wills on our hands.

Then his mother intervened.  He explained the situation to her.  And she pointed out to me that the sweep hand that tells seconds had gone past the ten a number of times.

Apologies offered and my intent clarified – and Christopher was off to play and back when the minute hand hit ten.

I’m a widower

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

“I’m a widower.  I don’t know what that means.”

This phrase has been on my lips the last few days.  As I rode back from my wife’s death bed, my son heard this repeated.  I’ve mentioned it more than once to friends.

Bruce Gibson, our piano tuner, talked about his mother of 91.  She had lost her first husband at 75 years of age.  She remarried and a short time ago, her current husband, who as97, passed away. 

The other day she was to head out with her children.  They looked at her and said, “You’re not wearing any makeup!”  They didn’t know their mother without makeup.  In some ways, she didn’t know herself at this point.

But her mind was sharp and her spirit undaunted.  She turned and headed back to apply makeup, saying, “You’re right.  I’m single again!”

Life can pull us down or remind us that makeup isn’t a bad thing!

My final remarks at Jill’s funeral – May 22, 2012

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Remarks at end of Jill Baker’s funeral service – May 22, 2012

Thanks to each of you here today – some traveled for miles, some took time off work, some just had to walk a few blocks! Over the years, I have known this day was coming – you have made it special! All of you are treasured.

Thanks to the team who worked to put this service together. Actually, in keeping with Jill this was more a time to “talk fast” and “sing lots”! The participants did not come as ministers, although they are. They did not come as professionals, although this is as close as you get! They came in tribute to Jill – but even more so, to shine light on Jill’s God. Thank you, all!!

Jill was always one to serve others. In keeping with her desires and in light of her unique medical history, her body has been donated to Science through the University of Saskatchewan.

We soon learned that many could not be here today. Prince Albert residents had planned on renting a bus and joining us today. But some could not come. We have planned a memorial service in P.A. on Monday, June 4th, at 7:00 at the Prince Albert Alliance Church. My mother-in-law could also not be here, so another memorial service is being planned in Belleville on the Father’s Day weekend.

For those in Jesus, death is the easy part. There is no sting in death. Life is the challenge!!

I pondered over what I would say was Jill’s life motto. Here is a feeble attempt to reflect that:

· May I know and walk with God as my primary appetite in life.

· May I smother those around me with the gravy of love.

· May I live like I could die tomorrow – and so, share my heart with others until I have no heart left to share.

· And when I am done, may my life be merely a reflection of Jesus love through me!

When God plans

Monday, May 21st, 2012

God orchestrates when we least expect.

One of the musicians for tomorrow’s memorial service (Tuesday at 2:00 at the Alliance church) was about to text me, I phoned him.  At exactly the same time!

We had been deciding on a final piece.  “You are my everything” by Steve Bell was a possibility.

Randy was going to text that he and Connie (his wife) would sing this song.  At exactly the same time, my sister-in-law was reading from Jill’s journal the following:

February 12, 2012   . . . I was getting tired again. Just sat and watched TV all the rest of the day. Trying to breath deeper.

Each day at a time, Lord.

Give me daily strength

In the morning, Lord, we do come to you

For the strength we need just to make it through

Have Mercy,

In the evening Lord we look back and say

It was in your strength that we made our way

Have Mercy,

You are our everything we need

Help us, Lord

You are our everything we need

Help us, Lord

– Steve Bell

Jill was quoting the song that Randy and Connie will sing tomorrow. 

God is in control!!