Archive for August, 2012

This is the day

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Reminder alert!

God is in control.  The beginning of the day is the first opportunity to agree!

“This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

A simple start.

Some exercise does pay off

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Yesterday we unloaded furniture and filled an apartment with boxes.

In the midst of all this, I have to think back less than five years.  At that point, my knees were in bad shape.  I was about to have total knee replacement surgery.  I could barely walk around the block.

The surgery was successful.   The legs were no longer bow-legged.  Nor was there the constant pain of arthritis.

The one catch?  Keep on exercising or you will lose the mobility.  So, I have kept on exercising.  I try each day to spend 20 minutes on a stationary bike.  I enjoy fun times with children and youth.  As I come to the end of the day I am thankful for all I have been able to do.

And so, yesterday, I was in and out of the trailer.  I was not winded, nor is my body feeling overly tired today.  Of course, I used a wheeler and made sure I took trips back and forth with a judicious amount of weight – nothing too heavy. 

Some common sense along with continued exercise meant yesterday was enjoyable! 

Does it all fit?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Here we stand, getting ready to pack the trailer!  A quick overview of a one bedroom apartment and we all think we can make it fit.  We have packed other trailers before.  But we have underestimated!  And so the afternoon of packing takes a bit longer that we thought.  In the end we find a way and we are ready to head out the following day.

As much as we try to get rid of stuff, more stuff appears.  That’s what I see in the basement of my house.  I have more boxes to go down.  Boxes of music and other paraphernalia from Jill. 

It all adds up.  Until the adding machine stops.  And I realize that something has to go.  We realize that subtraction is what we need to do.  Things have multiplied way too much and now it’s time to take stock and restock.

I’ve had to do that type of evaluation.  I’m expecting a new boarder in a few weeks.  My basement suite has a few things (toys and winter clothes and baby play pen) that can either stay in the suite, or be moved to make more room.  Saturday is my take stock day.  We’ll see what I come up with.  Hopefully I won’t add anything more before then!

Complex and complicated

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

As an executor of an estate, you get caught in the machinery.  As you  begin to seek out change of status, or even such a simple thing as getting cell phone funds transferred, you encounter the chicken and the egg!

You need a death certificate – a funeral director’s certificate usually works, but not always.  In which case the wait to process the certificate can take 6 weeks.  Then you need verification that you are the executor.  A will can provide that, but do you want to expose a cell phone carrier to all the intricacies of a will which have nothing to do with them.  So you seek out other forms of verification. 

You end up tripping over what was done last and what needs to be done, and which should come first, and what can wait, and . . .

Now, the banks are getting into more complicated processes.   A few years ago I opened an estate account for my father.  All I needed to do to get money out was write a check.  At the end of the year I completed a tax form to verify any income.  And I kept my family/beneficiaries informed.

Just this past week I needed to open an estate account for probably the one check that needed to be processed for Jill’s estate.  As I set up the account I was told the bank had changed policies.  Before I can take money out of the estate account I have to submit bills and have the expenditure approved by the bank.

They are covering themselves – Revenue Canada is being much more diligent in overseeing expenditures in estate accounts.  Having said that, I wondered how it has come about that the work of an executor is now being taken over by a bank!!

Oh the mysteries of being an executor in today’s distrustful society!!


Monday, August 27th, 2012

So, I’m doing some study on the book of Revelation. 

Numbers play a role in that book.  Particularly the number 666.  Some say this related to the evil one – Nero.  At the very least, the number appears to have been understood as dealing with a bad person.

In that day and age, the number was sufficient to lead to a known commodity.  A know person.  A known thing.  Your name could be calculated out as a number.

Recently at lunch, around a table of 14, I asked if we had a favorite number.

As we went around the table, the greatest response is that we had never thought in terms of a number that we liked.  Some came up with numbers attached to sports jerseys, or years of age, or childhood memories.

But overall, our culture has little place for numbers beyond statistics.  There is something mystical about a number being attached to us as a person.  We can’t explain how the number makes us feel, or what it makes us do.  But the number out of Revelation, 666, somehow symbolizes evil.  A number 888 symbolizes completion.  This I do not necessarily understand, but I know history records these uses of numbers.

Interesting that the base of much scientific study, hard numbers, can also be the base of mystery, soft numbers attached to people!

The joy of cooking!

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Well, yesterday was one of those days.  Household tasks needed fulfilled.  Wash and shopping were at the top of the list.

Wash is easy.  Put the clothes in to the washer.  Take them out.  Put them in the drier.  Take them out.  Iron those that are creased.  Put them all away.  Done!

Shopping is easy.  Take a list.  Oops – talk to people and meet families and share encouragement with other Christians.  OK, now you pick up the groceries.  Pay for them.  Come home and put them away.

But that got me thinking.  What about all that taco meat in the fridge?  And the apples on the counter? 

So, off to!  The rest of the day, intermittently, took in the making of:

Apple juice

Apple crisp

Soft shelled tacos

Meanwhile,  I also arranged for a dinner party after church tomorrow.  Looks like 14 of us may show up.  More can be invited – there is space.  Although I may have to find more plates and  cutlery (always paper plates and plastic cutlery!!).

May you day today find space for the enjoyment of the table.  And may friends surround you!

I laughed

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

A friend asked me to teach them Robert’s Rules of Order.

Now, for most people that is truly boring!  I even find sleep accompanies some of my reading.  I have persevered, and am finding that the general idea of RONR (as the insiders affectionately refer to the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order) applies across the board.

This morning I was looking at Acts 5 in the Bible.  There a man by the name of Gamaliel steers a contentious issue through an inflamed gathering.  How?  By using “executive session”! 

In RONR, this is a question of privilege.  You can, as a gathering, decide to go ahead with it, or not.  In this case, asking others to leave the room and chatting amongst each other without outside pressure helped quell the riot that could have broken out. 

Interestingly, Gamaliel was a member of the minority party in the gathering.  Because of his reputation and understanding of parliamentary rules, he was able to  get the group to reconsider an action – or more properly, consider a thoughtful action. 

So, I laughed.  Robert’s Rules of Order in action, back in the old days!!  I guess we’d better all pull out that musty book and read it over again 🙂


Friday, August 24th, 2012

Each morning I rise.  I head to the area of the house where my stationary bike is placed.  I mount the bike and begin 20 minutes of exercise. 

Occasionally I glance at the wall.  There is a picture frame containing 5 photos.  Two are of the family.  One when the “four of us” included children, the next at the high school grad of my son.

The three inner pictures are telling.  Telling  the story my mother-in-law explained on Facebook the other day. 

Each picture is of a couple.  One is of my wife and I.  Another is of my parents.  The third is of the Cooper’s, Jill’s parents. 

These pictures are dated.  Dated to a time when we all had a companion we called out spouse.  Now we do not!

As Mom Cooper explained (and, Mom, I’m adding a little bit more here!):  there are still days you come home and want to share the happenings – not the catastrophes or the excitements – just the flower that was beautiful or the funny comment that was overheard, or the smile of recognition from a friend.  And, no one is  there.  But God.

Not a bad “but”. 

But, flesh and blood have a way of filling in what we can’t see of God.  Surely the creation story has that emphasis tucked  inside it. 

My mother, with dementia, will sometimes see me enter the Alzheimer’s wing of the residence where she lives – and she seems to mistake me for my father.  That resemblance strikes a chord even in those whose memory has failed.

And so today, I looked at those pictures.  And I prayed for each of us as surviving spouses.   I prayed that God would comfort us in our day, and that others, in flesh and blood, would come alongside us as companions for this day!

Movie Night

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I’m not one to go to movies.  Last night I was asked by our town youth council coordinator to come to a free movie.  The town youth council, an initiative of our local town council, put these on periodically.  Last year Jill and I went for a short time, then decided mosquitos and bed beckoned us home.

The movie this year was on the Lorax – a Dr. Seuss takeoff!  Lots of fun lines and unique characters.  The idea of following your heart and persevering and the love of a woman, and family tensions, and the old vs. the new, and the villain and the underdog . . . well, all those themes were there.  This could suit many ages!

I decided to attend solo.  I’m getting used to that term.  Some one has asked me what labels I use for myself.  I find there are many.  Some I have had to discard.  I am no longer married.  Some have not changed.  I am still a father.   Some are in flux.  I am a widower, but within that category I can fluctuate on what I emphasize in different areas, such as being single (am I “eligible” or “contented”). 

Last night I was solo.  By myself.  On the grass: chuckling at lines, hoping for the underdog, wanting the family to pull together.   And when the credits arose, I arose and slipped home.  Thankful for a night of entertainment.  Contented with the time off of other pursuits.  And ready for bed!!

That is what I would call a good movie night!


Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

About a month and a half ago I was wandering around my house.  I have chosen to keep things quite bare and sparse for a garden and flower bed.  That is based both on the fact that Jill mostly looked after the choice of flowers, and that I was adjusting to a “new normal.”

In my wandering, I saw a small plant.  New to me – unexpected.  I didn’t know how to tend the plant other than to water the soil.  Most days I would again check to see that the flower was still blooming.  As I became more attached, I contemplated how else I could keep the colors of life in this amazing plant.

I had  a planter filled with the soil that had nurtured other plants from other years.  I brought the pot out, placing it where  the sun would shine.  In the planter was other green growth.  Not too much to smother a new transplant. 

With a mind to bring the newness into my plant world, I carefully brought the flower, for which I really didn’t have a name, over to the planter and placed it there.  For the last while I have watered and tended.  Today, I love what I see!

Wildflower Aug 2012