Archive for May, 2015

The yard

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The other day I spent a few hours in the yard. 

The grass was growing, although sparse rain for the last weeks has not helped.  Prayer for rain in currently in the forecast!  The weeds had also made a stand.  We have tried out a friendly weed killer and fertilizer on the front lawn and it seems to be working.

I love to watch as the leaves push their way out into a full stretch, brightening the landscape with green.  Sparrows and other song birds begin to chirp and sing. 

And the temperature?  Well, we are still trying to figure that one out.  A day or so ago we almost hit freezing once again.  But for the most part I don’t need a jacket.

This is the spring time of the year.  A time of promise and expectation.

With this time comes a heart impulse – to see promise in each situation in which I am found. 

May God grant to all of us a sense of his warming work that melts a winter time’s blanket of disappointment and leads to a summer time’s covering of hope.

The things of electronics

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Over the years I have been a collector of electronics.

As a teen, I worked with my father on a Marklin train set.  This was a German originated marvel that had intricacies the North American counterparts did not know. 

Then I graduated to house repairs and all that goes along with that.  The switches and receptacles.  Three wire and junction boxes.

By my 40’s I was into computers.  There were hard drives and other drives.  CAT 5 wiring and firewire.  It seems weird that much of this has been replaced or been made obsolete.

And so, today, I go back through those things that I have collected over the past while.  I’ll recycle some, probably throw some out and even try to barter for new electronics.

In the end, the technological age will have seen its “age”, and we’ll have less around the house than when I started. 

And I guess that’s what culling and weeding (such outdated words that used to deal with culling cattle and weeding plants) is all about! 

Strike one, strike two

Friday, May 29th, 2015

An interesting overnight. 

And by interesting I mean – not one you want to have happen too often.

In the middle of the night, our furnace quit.  Then, the water heater decides not to work!

Not often that happens.  In fact, I’ve never had that happen.

Thankfully I had a hankering of what the furnace was all about.  There is a pre-fan (OK, that’s layman’s terms) that would start up and then quit.  I had seen this when water had backed up.  Just unscrew the fan and empty it of water.  This time around – no water fell out, but a dead bird did.  Put things back together and it worked (OK, I didn’t put the bird back in).

Then, I took a look at the water heater.  No water was gushing out.  For that I was thankful.  I remembered that there was a coupler that would trip when things got too hot (again, layman’s terms).  I checked and it seemed to have tripped.  Couldn’t remember how to fix it.  Called our plumber and he tried to explain a quick fix over the phone.  Couldn’t quite get it, so he popped by.  In less than ten minutes things were fixed and we have hot water.

I think we just hit a home run, so I’m not looking for a third strike!! 

Three Cooper sisters

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

I married into a Cooper family almost 40 years ago. 

Shortly after being married, we met a whole other group of Coopers.  They were three sisters who all attended the church where my first pastoral charge took place.

Each sister had children, most of them around our age.  A few years after arriving in Kindersley in 1976, the middle sister contracted cancer and passed away.  The sons and daughter were friends and we suffered with them through this time of grieving.

The day before yesterday, the second sister passed away.  She was 95.  Winnie (Cooper) Amos’s funeral will be on Thursday, June 4th at 1:00 pm at the Kindersley Alliance Church.  Although she had not lived here for a number of years, her roots here were deep. 

Her surviving sister is the young one of the family.  I was in to chat with here yesterday, and just enjoyed some laughter and good reminiscences. 

Coopers are hardy folk!  Something in their genes (whatever their genealogy may be) makes them strong. 

I am thankful for my mother-in-law who continues to encourage me!  The whole family is a blessing to me.  And the Kindersley Coopers continue to be an enjoyable part of my life!

Thanks for Coopers!!

From the archives!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

I’m working on culling out my “papers” – which currently take up at least two filing cabinets!

That’s when you hit the treasures of life.  Below is a note found in a Christmas card – apparently around 1991.

There is this piece of string, you see.  He drifts into a donut shop and says, “Could I have a Coke, please?” 

“Sorry,” the attendant says, “We don’t serve strings.” 

So he goes to another shop and asks, “Could I have a Coke, please?”

“Sorry, we don’t serve strings.”

Dejected, he sits down on a curb outside the store.  A guy walks up and says, “What’s the matter?” to the string.

“Well,” the string says, “could you tie me into knots?”

“Sure,” the guy says and proceeds to tie him into knots.

“Could you also fray my ends?”, he asks.  The man nods and frays his ends.

String gets up and goes into the store and asks for a Coke.

“You are a string, aren’t you?” the attendant asks.

“Uh, no,” the string relies, “I’m a frayed knot.”

Thanks, Phil and Laurie!


Sunday, May 24th, 2015

I have been accused of writing checklists in my dreams.

May be true.  I certainly write them throughout a day.  Probably one of the signs of strong mental health for me over the years has been how many checklists I can generate.

Sounds weird.

There is both good and bad to lists.

You can become a slave to the lists and miss great opportunities.  On the other hand, you are current enough to be able to step away from the normal of life and enter into those great opportunities.

Yesterday was checklist time for preparations to move to a new house.  We had begun the list a few days ago.  Formalizing it on the computer makes the move very real in my eyes. 

Everything from carpet to electrical to windows to walls.  They all got on the list.  We have a month to complete the basic preparation – then we will actually take possession of the house.  Or as our son says – when do we actually sleep over night?

Now, where is my pen?  I’ve got another item to put on the list!!

Wallpapering together

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

We laugh at the impossible.

Yesterday we had belly laughs.  We, as a couple, were wallpapering together.

We don’t rush as we wallpaper.  We don’t yell at each other.  We even admit when something didn’t quite work right – and then try to remedy it.

The residence where we were working has a child who is around six.  She has a friend of the same age who accompanied her home after school yesterday.

They snuck into the room to explore for something missing or exciting – not sure which.

I had a small brush in hand, making sure all edges were glued down properly.  As the two children entered the room, they marvelled at how amazing I was at painting.  The wallpaper pattern had intrigued them and they thought I had been the master painter.  I tried to take credit but that was dashed quickly by my wife who pointed out that it was merely wallpaper and not an artistic endevour!

Then, one of them turned to us and commented on our working together, merely saying the following:  “You make a good team.”

Out of the mouths of babes!

History and your church

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

We often call the place we worship, “our church”.

Shared experiences have made it so.  The life of a church is embodied in life within the church.  We call this history.

Yesterday, as we examined rural churches, there was quite a discussion about how history affects effectiveness in a church.  Knowing the past can help us connect with those who have poured their lives into a church.  Knowing the past can help us sidestep hornet’s nests that have been stirred once too often.  History can even give us clues as to new ways of ministry.

I have a unique history with the church I currently attend.  I was “born into” this church.  I was carried to services shortly after my birth.  Although our family moved away at a young age, I returned in my early twenties for four years.  Twenty five years later, I returned once again.  My current stint here has been for 10 years.

I am both a recent citizen, while also being born here – with roots going back to my grandfather, who homesteaded here.

I have history and yet I am new.  A peculiar situation which lets me speak to different generations of inhabitants of this church.

What an awesome privilege.  And responsibility.

Rural Church pastoring

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

A reemphasized and reenergized movement is happening.

Those in rural churches are seeking to have their approach to pastoring heard. 

At first you may think that all churches are alike.  They should all have people, they should all get along, and they should all want to talk about Jesus wherever they are. 

But each context has a different perspective.  For many rural church pastors, the advice we have received comes from larger churches or from urban churches. 

We do not have a large population draw – we have to work with a community that is right on our doorstep.  We do not have a lot of other pastors who can coffee with us at the drop of a hat – we have to set plans in motion to see someone.

We do have longevity of members and a community that remembers.  When a rural church obtains a favourable reputation, that abides for a while. 

There are many things a vital rural church has going for it. 

Today, I’ll meet with some other rural church pastors and we will compare notes – I expect I’ll add a few more notes!!

Pushing past comfortable

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

I should know by now.

Life is never a stand still and wait type of situation.  We can adopt that stance, and find that the stream of life (that carries nurture and nutrition) passes us by.

We have bought a house.  We could just leave it stand as is.  But both of us are inclined to push past the current state into a “together” state. 

Together we are building a new home for ourselves.  Together we are working on new approaches to problem solving.  Together we are finding a path that we can travel over these next few years.

Past comfortable!  Not a bad path to take.