Archive for February, 2014

The Big Chill

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Our weekend has been forecasted for some time.  A chilling -41 was originally forecasted.  We have moved up a few degrees, but still looks cold!

The interesting thing is that people now plan ahead – we have seen one meeting cancelled already because the drive for the major participant would be difficult.

In Saskatchewan we have hardy people.  We tend to go no matter what.  But I have noticed these past few years that we are a little more cautious. 

I believe part of that comes from a more precise definition of what cold is.  Used to be we would merely look at the temperature.  Cold was cold.  When you hit -40 you expect things to shut down.

Then we move to wind chill.  We now knew how it felt, not just how cold it was.

And now we are defining that even further.  Other factors will become a part of the feeling of the day.  Perhaps humidity, sunshine and other things.

By the end of the day – as we begin to see how bad things are – we may never go outside.

Of course, I’m saying that as I prepare to leave for work with a wind chill warning in place.   And here is my saying, based on getting older:  “I remember when we ate icicles before we went to school, and spat in the wind and our breath froze!!!”

Christian Bookstore and the new look

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

I ventured into the local (meaning two hours away) Christian bookstore the other day. 

Things have changed.  Amazon has become only one of a number of on-line retailers who carry Christian product.  Yesterday I noted that they want me to buy groceries and will pay for the shipping.

Scott’s Parables have changed their store display.  The music area is close to the front now – although most people have moved from buying CD’s to downloads, there are still a number of titles.  The area that seems to grow is the “product” area – pictures, trinkets, etc.

To my mind the tangible bookstore will continue to change.  The allure of cheaper product delivered on-line is a reality.

How does that affect me?  I’m still trying to figure that out.  I have bought books on-line.  The wait time has not been too bad.  And you can also download ebooks.  Living two hours from a store means this is definitely cheaper and perhaps a better use of my time. 

Perhaps I will contribute to the demise of the tangible store.  I’m not sure – but the possibility is there.  The past century has seen much change in retailing – this is the current one!


Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I am awake this morning – a few too many times.

In this last while I have been twisting with various situations that are not necessarily of my own making.  I suppose those types of circumstances leave me shaking my head – and imagining.  With lack of a solid sleep those imaginings are not always the most positive. 

So today will be a balance of tasks and recalling.  Tasks that are a part of the regular flow of the day.  And prayerful recalling of  details and decisions for the sake of understanding and wisdom of some of these most recent circumstances.

This spiritual exercise is well worth the effort.  But I realize it will require effort.  So, off for a bit of breakfast – a meal that will provide nutrition for the body.  And off to a time of prayer – nutrition for the soul!

Long term

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

When someone hits a terminal disease, they often turn to those who have been a part of their lives over the years.  Sometimes the previous contact has been days, some months, some years, some decades.

Yesterday a person from at least three decades ago contacted me.  They have cancer.  And the treatments sounds rather aggressive. 

They asked for prayer.  And a visit. 

Now, we live just down the block from our local hospital.  This request for a visit was from a hospital two hours away. 

This person has continued roots in our town – a usual hospital visit would be minutes away.  But  the nearest cancer treatment center is hours away. 

Decades ago we attended a mentoring small group.  We talked of God, and Christ and life with God and others.  Over the years they have waivered in their commitment and this call for a visit and prayer is perhaps a return to a previous day and age.  I trusts  this is a time for a reassessment of their life. 

And so, today I will use those two hours of driving time for prayer and preparation – not only for them, but also for myself.

On collecting coins

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Percolating in the back of our minds!  Shortly after we were married, my wife mentioned that she would like to collect coins.  This had been a long time desire.

So, as we gathered coins around the house and rolled them into batches, we held them.  Not for a rainy day (no such thing in February!).  But rather for a time to decide what we wanted to do with our coins.

The idea was quite simple – as we started to consider what to do. 

Collect Canadian coins – two for each year.  We soon found that some year’s denomination of coins had more than one type of engraving (Google searches are amazing!).  If possible, collect these as well.

In the end, the end really is to have a set that will journal the years that Canadian coins have been made.

Of course, the majority of coins that we will collect will have been in the last 30 years.  Interestingly, we have run across three 1940 pennies. 

So, around our games table last night, we organized and sorted.  Extra coins went back in our pockets, or change baskets in the car, or into rolls. 

The time was fun – working together as a couple. 

Great marriage therapy – better than expensive counseling sessions.  Just seated around a table with a common (and not so hard to do) goal – and a good bit of talk as we went!

Exercise in the snow

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

I must admit, one of the things that I enjoy is shoveling snow.

I’m not sure everyone understands that.  My next door neighbour has a number of choice words as she shovels her snow.  Spring will not be here soon enough for her.

On the other hand, I stand in fresh snow and see an adventure about to begin.  There is an end in mind.  A clean walk, or a helpful pathway, or an ice rink where you can see the ice.

Not only is there completion in mind – and every scoop of snow removed brings it closer – but there is also the satisfaction of knowing you get to serve others.  A clean walk means less stress and strain on those who are walking, a helpful pathway means someone can find their way to the destination, and of course, a clean ice rink means those Olympians have a place to practice!!

And, finally (but certainly not an exhaustive list), there is the good of exercise.  The older I become the more I realize how much bodily exercise can positiviely affect the rest of your life.  Those who have physical limitations notice this probably the most – and might even wish they were out shoveling snow with me! 

So, I enjoy shoveling snow.  I’m not sure I will be able to do this physically for the rest of my life, but for the moment – bring it on. 

OK, just a few inches at a time would be nice!!

Blessed are those who are flexible

Friday, February 21st, 2014

About a decade ago I came across a poster.  The easy thing was to put it on my wall.  The hard thing was to live with the message:

Blessed are those who are flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.

I began yesterday with a fairly straightforward schedule for the next few days. 

Then . . .

A death meant a funeral that I will attend on the weekend.  Which funeral overlaps a birthday party.  So a few phone calls and apologies later – and my Saturday has a new look.

Another phone call explained that a friend is in hospital.  The intent had been to have a meeting with them at my office.  Instead I visited with them in the hospital.

As the evening was dawning (or should I say waning!), my wife and I looked at the weather forecast.  Friday she was to head to Calgary to pick up her son.  We examined the weather over the route.  Fairly quickly she packed her bags and headed out in order to miss a blizzard that was expected at Hanna. 

Thursday, Friday, Saturday.  None of my schedule is the same.  And here I thought I things were becoming stable.  Maybe that’s only for horses!!

Out of the storm

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Yesterday was one of those days.

Snow fell.  Wind blew.

In Saskatchewan that means that the high velocity stirred up blizzard conditions.  On the road, the conditions were icy as the temperature approached freezing. 

Snow catches on pavement and begins to melt, then to freeze.  Other snow catches on the frozen spots.  Drifts form and soon travel is both restricted in what you can see, and drifts create literal road blocks.

As I drove to work, I wondered about a ladies study that was scheduled.  The ladies come from within town, and outside.  Soon after I arrived, the study had been cancelled.  A smart move.

By noon I headed home.  My wife was back from morning work out in the countryside, and she decided not to venture out again in the afternoon.  My decision was to do some visiting next door to our home, at the local senior’s manor, and work on a sermon.  

Today, the wind is down.  I’m headed off to the church.  We’ll see what a new day holds.  This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!!

Cold or not cold

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

That is the question of the morning.

I headed to bed yesterday with a cold medication.  This morning I’m feeling fairly well.  Unfortunately the symptoms are creeping back.

We’ll see how the day goes.  After a statutory holiday, I am hoping to head back to the office and prepare for the coming weeks.  There are sermons and Sunday School, a farewell and annual meeting, along with the regular tasks of the day.

All in a day’s work, as they say.

Provided the cold doesn’t waylay me!!

Back home

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The weekend was spent in watching a play in which Cynthia’s daughter and her husband were acting.  Bryan was the lead character, Samantha was a part of the chorus.  The production was well done.  I can see why Bryan’s push towards being a professional actor is certainly well directed.

The rest of the weekend was here and there with meals and people.  Friends and family brought forward updates and advice and fun.  The difference in visiting in Calgary vs. Kindersley is that you have to travel.  Most treks were at least 20 – 30 minutes in length.  Timing your travel amidst traffic can be a bit of a trick.

On the other hand, I have been fighting a cold that has begun to blossom.  Right now it is just irritating.  I expect the next few days will see an increase in coughing, tiredness and whatever else goes along with a cold.

One of my takeaways from the weekend relates to playing a role.  In the theatrical production the one character uses the Bible to prove a point, one of the main protagonists is a conservative southern preacher.  In “real life” the  actor who uses the Bible would characterize himself as an atheist and the actor who plays the conservative preacher is a homosexual.  In a very real sense, the actors play the opposite of their daily lives.

How we perceive the purveyor of words may affect whether we will eagerly listen to them, but are the words themselves voided by the character of the one who speaks them?  This question goes back millennia – Paul sits in a prison and others speak about the Good News of Jesus, but do it only for selfish gain. or out of envy.  Seems that Paul still accepts that what is spoken is powerful regardless of who does the speaking (Philippians 1:15-18). 

A bit of an argument to listen to others – even the worst of people may have a nugget of truth tucked away in their arsenal of words!