Archive for August, 2013

Was Friday yesterday?

Friday, August 30th, 2013

I thought it was.

But it hasn’t been.

That’s the power of the end of the summer.

Next week we begin all sorts of programming in our church.  School starts and I have a grade 10 student in the house.  And somehow there is a psychological barrier that needs to be overcome.

Our province mandated the beginning of school after the Labour Day long weekend.  Many of us thought nothing of it.  Until this year. 

Previously parents were scrambling in August to get things ready for school, which began the end of August.  This year some are still thinking that September is a ways away (purely psychological!!).  For that reason their preparations have been minimal.

All that to say, yesterday I thought it was Friday.  Or maybe another day of the week.  A summer day.  With sun and heat.  Some unknown, unshaped and unlisted day of the week.

Today is Friday, right??

Door knobs and latches

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The basement bathroom and bedroom are being painted – and effort mostly by Cynthia, but also by me.

In the midst of this, the idea of changing out the door knobs was explored.  We chose the type that are handles more than rounded knobs.  I’m finding that the small  advantages reap great rewards.  A handle is much easier to manipulate (using the Latin word for hand!!).  A good thing for those whose arthritis makes that necessary.  And, I hear, a good selling feature!

Unexpectedly, I was in the basement.  The bathroom is in the final stages and I slipped inside.  As I came out I looked at the entry and the new color and the refreshed furnishings.

This felt like a new thing.  Which is exactly what we are trying to do. 

As a new couple, old things pass away, but are not forgotten.  New things arise that are a blend of both of us.

Funny how an inexpensive door knob becomes a symbol for a whole new life.  I’ll never look at a bathroom the same again!!

Eight years later

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I was perusing through my blog site and was reminded that I have been writing this blog for eight years.  Much has happened since the beginning blog entry. 

I suppose we all want life to remain in a comfortable setting.  I noted that life has been full of change for me.  My comfort has had to be in God.  Others will come and go, circumstances will alter our lives.  God remains the same.  Yesterday, today and forever.

There are entries that are mundane – Mouse in the house!  And entries that are significant life changers – the death of my first wife.

I am thankful for those who have read this blog over the years.  My father was a regular reader of my blog.  In 2009 he passed away.  I miss his encouragement and comments.  Mom Cooper continues to read the blog faithfully – I enjoy her constant comments.

I suppose what spurs me on to write is three fold!  I enjoy the writing venture.  Words and crafting of them is just plain fun.  I also realize that writing helps me to see the world in a little more realistic perspective.  Some would call this therapeutic.  And, if in the writing, some help can be given to others, I am thankful.

Eight years.  Older than my grandson.  1/3 of the years of the age of my children.  Time given over to reflection on life and the happenings therein. 

For this I am thankful.

Family Day

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Sunday became very much a family day for me.

Our church family met and had a baptism, potluck and worship time together.  As the summer winds down, this ending to the season and looking forward to the next season was a great encouragement.

Then, we ventured into Saskatoon and met my daughter and her family for supper.  Their three children are growing like wildfire.  Thomas was born October 18th last year, and is an active 10 month old – quite eager to be fed and to see all that is happening.  Hannah is four and Christopher is seven.  Both Alli and Scott are blessed with a healthy and enjoyable family.

As we headed home, I had to be thankful.  God is good – although some days are clouded with doubts and misgivings.  Today was more a day for open eyes and smelling the roses!

Making Home

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

We are now home.  For the next while.  Without a lot of travel planned.

As we settled in these last few days, we both recognized that this is not home, yet.  We had both spent time in the last while settling into separate lives.  400 kilometers apart.  Oblivious of each other.

Until courting began less than a year ago.  And now a marriage and a life together.  With the together things that go along with that.

The house where we are living has changed.  This is not the house of Ron, nor the house of Cynthia.  Amalgamation takes time. 

Yes, we moved boxes in, unpacked a number of them, and prepared other items for garage sale.  In that way, we have started to peek into the look of our future.

But we see with a glass dimly (a slight biblical allusion!).  Each day is an opportunity to learn something new.  To create a fresh encounter with who we are and what we are to become.

In that way, we are “making home”.  I know no better way to express the adventure we are on.  Exciting, frustrating, curious, consuming, fun, exhausting . . . all words that only begin to touch this new life together.

In vowing to commit our lives to each other, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Thinking patterns

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I must admit, in an older age, I tend to think as fast or faster than when I was younger. 

I’m not sure if that is because I have more experience and observations, or if I’m just aware of more that needs to be done that I can’t get done in one day!

A few years ago I noted that a number of Alzheimer patients I met had been extensive readers and thinkers in their younger years.  I remember one particular example where this person awoke in the evening and had a pad of paper beside her bed.  Any time another thought appeared, she would jot it down.

Perhaps, and I say this without any great research or proven theories, old age needs to learn to think less.  In order to preserve our mental capabilities, the less responsibility we assume, the better. 

Of course, we recognize this as a society.  We have succession plans for businesses, and we have thing called “retirement” that is designed to slow us down.

The real question, though, is how do we make this a part of our lives?  Other research tells us that we should be exercising our minds more as we get older.  Where and what is the happy medium?

One of those extra thoughts that popped into my head this morning.  Is that a good or a bad thing??

Enlarged family

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

I now have six children.  Yes, some are step-children, but there is still a tie that comes with that! 

Yesterday I was aware of two of the daughters.  One is getting married this weekend and I will attend the wedding.  My wife, Cynthia, is currently in Calgary assisting her daughter (my step-daughter) as she prepares for the wedding.  I am alone, an unusual feeling after a month of time being together and married (happy one month anniversary!).   Yesterday, though apart we were together, as the conversations continued with Cynthia via phone and I heard about the preparations being completed.

On the other hand, Allison, my daughter, phoned to talk about her kids.  She had some pictures and video to show of their excursion on Sunday.  A day at the pool with the giant bubble that is making quite a showing as an entertainment for children and adults!  We chatted a bit and I was reminded of how good it is to have children and grandchildren.

I am glad to be one of those whose family is now coming close to the size of the family I grew up in.   That family holds great memories for me, and I look forward to the memories that will come in the future with my enlarged family!

Seek God, not Happiness

Monday, August 12th, 2013

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“Seek God, not happiness,” this is the fundamental rule of all meditation.  If you seek God alone, you will gain happiness:  that is its promise.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p. 84

The inside and outside

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

I am just working on completing my sermon for this week.  I’ve chosen to do a few sermons on the Psalms over the summer.

Choosing passages to preach on is always fun.  This time around I chose to find Psalms that weren’t the usual ones we read – like Psalm 23 (Good Shepherd), Psalm 51 (Create in me a clean heart), etc.  Last week was Psalm 16, this week is Psalm 102. 

As I have been preparing, I am struck with the context of the Psalms.  I’ve always read each Psalm as a separate thing – sort of just dropped in.  There was no rhyme or reason to their placement!

WRONG!

As I read Psalm 102 I am reminded that the Psalms (150 0f them) are made up of five books.  You don’t form books unless there is a theme for the book.  Psalm 102 is part of the fourth book.  The first Psalm in each book tends to lay out a bit of the theme for the book.  I preached on Psalm 90 a few years ago (the first Psalm in this “Book”) – one of those fascinating Psalms!  From it I found the following thoughts:

  • Surprise me with your love
  • Give me as many good days as bad days
  • Show me what you are doing
  • Captivate me with your majesty
  • Make my work meaningful

Now as I come to Psalm 102, I took a look at 101 and 103.  101 talks of personal piety and purity.  103 talks of healing of diseases and forgiveness of sin. 

So, take a look at Psalm 102 and guess what is found there.  The title for the Psalm will give you some idea!

On the life of one gone

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Dallas Willard wrote and impacted many lives, mine own included.  He died May 8, 2013.

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, July/August 2013, John Ortberg gives his own sense of Willard’s impact. 

Perhaps it is the way that Dallas would just turn a phrase or use a short sentence to pull meaning out of the “air”, so to speak.  Or the way he simply made Christianity make sense, more than any of the alternatives that you might run across.

His first book that seemed to strike the church community, The Divine Conspiracy (he also wrote many other books!), was on the Sermon on the Mount.  Simple and profound words, but both Jesus and Willard!!

And so, I loved reading some of the definitions that Ortberg attributes to Dallas Willard.  Here are a few of those:

  • Beauty:  Goodness made manifest to the senses.
  • Disciple:  Anyone whose ultimate goal is to live as Jesus would live if he were in their place.
  • Reality:  What  you can count on
  • Pain:  What you experience when you bump into reality.