Archive for November, 2012

The habits of life

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I’m finding that maintaining a stable and purposeful life tends to be best accomplished when habits have been formed.

Habits that, over time, bring me closer to God, prepare my mind for daily engagement, and keep my body in good shape.

In some circles, this is called a “rule of life”.  The practice of these habits rule out the direction one takes.  Making the next step somewhat predictable helps when the scenery changes around us.  That’s the way I’m feeling right now.

I regularly arise in the middle of the night to journal, pray and read the Bible.  As well, I may read magazines and books.  Then in the early morning I ride an exercise bike for five miles while stretching.  Some of that stretching is reaching to the sky and asking God to speak to me.  I write out my weekly meal schedule and attempt to stick to it.  I aim for evening rest to begin by around 11:00 pm.  At work I hold weekly staff meetings and try to touch base with certain people throughout the week (lately I have one older lady who also contacts me weekly if I haven’t contacted her!!).

These are a few of my rules of life that keep me sane.  I find that out of these habits tends to arise a freedom to be creative.  What are the things in your life that give you a sense of order and sanity? 

Beef Barley Soup

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

I have a label on my desk from some soup I took out of the freezer lately.  “Beef Barley Soup – May 16/12 – Jill & Ron”.  Delicious soup and great nourishment.

Not only for the body, but for the soul.  The soup was prepared by Marilyn – the label dates the soup to May 16th, the day we headed in to Saskatoon for Jill’s heart test and her eventual cardiac arrest.   The next day she passed away.

In some cases these graces – food delivered and services rendered – just come because of a role a pastor has in the community.  A pastor receives services “just because”.  Out of duty only.  Thankfully, this has seldom been the case for me.

In this case . . . the case is that Marilyn was and is a friend who remains.  Since Jill’s passing I’ve had meals from her, she has played piano for me, I’ve enjoyed talking with her just about life.  And in many ways our friendship has become deeper.

May we all find friends who make beef barley soup!

Four Songs for my latest season

Monday, November 26th, 2012

These YouTube videos are four songs that I have listened to in the last six months.  They have been a comfort to me and a way to look to my future.

Blessings – written by Laura Storey

Broken, Don’t Pass Me By – sung by International Bible College – written by Tauren Wells.  (the YouTube video is an extended video of a charistmatic conference meeting)

Welcome Home – Michael W. Smith

You Deliver Me – Selah

Artifacts and a new world

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Saturday I sat in on our local museum’s Annual General Meeting.  In large part I was there to support Michelle McMillan, who rents from me.  I was also there as an interested citizen.  A few decades ago I was a member of the Saskatchewan Museums Association as I was working on archives and such (a story for another day).  I was interested to see what was happening at our local museum.

The items on the agenda were mostly mundane.  This was the largest attendance at an AGM – over 20, probably closer to 25 present.  Usually it’s a mere handful of directors.

The most interesting part came at the point of discussing the constitution.  Apparently there were misconceptions – some who had worked to create the constitution expected to see a Board of Directors that was two-tiered.  The constitution apparently has only one tier for a Board of Directors. 

Well, discussion was interesting.  I threw in my two cents worth (OK, maybe I added a bit more than two cents worth).  In the end, the meeting adjourned and the discussion continued.  It will take a while to integrate the ideas but I sense that this museum is headed in a solid direction.

May our museum expose our citizenry to the legacy we have created and inspire us to greater good and service here in Kindersley.

Oh, and I love going to meetings – perhaps it is a part of the administration portion of my life, but they just get my crank going (an illusion there to old cars, hand starting, . . . a good museum thing!).


Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Our church has been a part of the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox project for a number of years.  This year we collected boxes from the church and also served as a drop off for some boxes from a local school (Westberry) and a church in Luseland (just north of Kindersley).

We counted the number and it looks like around 100 shoeboxes have come in.  A good number to assist in this worthwhile project to provide joy at Christmas to children around the world.

Shoeboxes - November 2012

Picturing six months

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Only seems like yesterday I held my wife in my arms as she collapsed and within hours passed away.  I checked my calendar this past week and 1/2 a year has gone by. 

Michael W. Smith has a song called “Welcome Home”.  I chanced up it as I was riding in my car over the weekend.  The scenario painted in the lyrics is of a surviving loved one grieving at the funeral of the deceased.  And then the picture changes to that of angels welcoming the loved one home.

I see no better place for Jill than for her to be with Jesus.  Her heart is healed, her hurts are mended and she walks with Jesus and with angels.  A better place could not be found. 

You wonder, as life continues on and new relationships form, will you forget.  Six months later, was I forgetting almost 40 years of wonder?

As I sat listening to the song, I realized that I do not forget.  I relish the past and will always be informed by a loved one I do not forget.  At the same time I move with anticipation and excitement into the future.  Who knows what God has in store for me! 

I’m just glad that Jill has been welcomed home, and that she is enjoying her life with Jesus right now!  Now- that’s a picture I wish our earthly cameras could capture, six months later!

When the work day starts earlier

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

As I was preparing to head off to work yesterday, the phone rang.  Now, that is most often not good news.  I was headed into a busy day with our seniors luncheon and choir practices and other appointments.

The voice on the other end was a little croaky.  Sick would describe the person at the end of the voice.  Up all night.  Not doing well.  And he was our scheduled speaker for our seniors luncheon.

Now, I guess I’m learning to be spontaneous.  Or at least to trust God to make a way!  I certainly could not criticize sickness – but I could graciously offer to pray for a quick healing and for rest.  Which I did.

The schedule for our luncheon did have some wiggle room – sing a song a little longer, eat a little slower, and enjoy each others company.  When the luncheon was done, we walked out having had “fellowship” that was wholesome and helpful.  And trusting our intended speaker would soon be recovered!

Lunch with friends

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Yesterday I sat with friends.  We joked and laughed as a new friend was introduced around the table.  And we talked serious talk.  About our families and life.

There are days where the connection is so welcome.  Not every day can be that way.  Some days are just scribbles of ink in our calendars – things to be done and little personal space.  As the old saying goes, “That’s life.”  Not bad, just life.

And then there are the days when table talk is comfortable and comforting.  I’m beginning to think that I need to book in more of those times.  Be intentional.  What we sow we reap!

The birthday that was(n’t)

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

I find it amusing that sometimes we celebrate because we are together, not necessarily because chronology dictates it.

Yesterday I was at an 80th birthday party.  Art Clarkson came into my life a few years ago when I officiated at his marriage to a lady in our church.  At 80 he is well preserved.  Or should I say – “if he were 80”?

Art Clarkson and grandchildren Nov 17, 2012Art’s birthday is December 19th.  But trying to created celebrations around the celebration of Christmas is always difficult.  And all the family could be present yesterday.  So the party was called and everyone showed up!  And a good time was had by all, including grandchildren pictured with Art.

Art has a regular coffee group he attends regularly.  I sat with some of them yesterday and heard a few stories.  I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall at some of those meetings.  May I enjoy life as much at 80 as Art does!!

1/2 million dollar machinery

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Moody's grand opening - Nov 15, 2012As I stood beside some farmers, I asked what this tractor would cost.  Their estimates were around $500,000.  I’m not sure how close they were – my guess is that they were within the ballpark.  With the tractor is Bob Watson, service manager at Moody’s, giving some perspective on the size!  And he’s over 6′ tall!

I had been invited to attend the grand opening of Moody’s, a farm implement and construction firm in Kindersley.  I appreciated the free steak dinner, and the company of friends, and the opportunity to see what farmers are looking at these days. 

I ventured by the Farm Credit Corporation.  The helpful “sales” people helpfully showed me that my income and even my retirement savings wouldn’t even come close to starting a viable farm here on the prairies.  Disappointed, I picked up one of their very nice pens and walked away.

Thanks to Eric Friesen, manager for the Kindersley branch of Moody’s, for the invitation.  As a part of our congregation, he seeks to live a Christian life in the marketplace.  Anyone who pushes beyond the safety of a private spirituality and is willing to live as an open Christian deserves praise in my books!