Sunday, December 31, 2006

Are we there yet?

It is a rainy December 31. The big storm that dropped a lot of snow further west has reached Chicago as wind & rain. As they say at least you don’t have to shovel it.

We made good progress on the studding for the basement walls and finished one entire wall along the back of the basement. I am more or less done what I will be able to do this visit.

Things went smoother with practice (and prayer) My son was off yesterday so we enjoyed some time working together. Even got my 8 year old grandson involved for a while. It was a little tense trying to work out the details of the floor plan with my daughter-in-law but we figured out something that seemed to match her vision of things with the practical realities of space and budget.

They are now ready to have some electrical and plumbing work done before finishing off those walls (This is Phase 1 of 4 or 5 phases before it is completely done. As I said to Chris yesterday if he depends on me to be here to do the framing and help with the plumbing & electrical it will likely take 10 years and I’ll be so old & decrepit I won’t be able to swing a hammer!!). But it is a good start and I feel good that we have accomplished something.

Our daughter Melissa and her husband Alexander are traveling here today from Kingston Ontario (over 1100 km – 700 miles) From what I can tell they will be driving into the storm. I hope they left fairly early—although it appears that if they are later getting across into Michigan and Illinois the worst of the weather may have blown by.

I would like to spend some time reflecting on 2006 and thinking forward to 2007 but I don’t have time for that this morning. But I need to wrap this up I need to get ready to go to services. Last week we went to the Community Christian Church with Chris and his family for their Christmas Eve Candle light service. This week we will attend at Naperville Church of Christ.

Anyhow, Chris just got called out on an SRT (swat team) call and I need to wrap this up. For now.

So the end of the year is coming - people are travelling - we are working on projects that we wanted to complete this year -- It is like the kids asking "Are we tthere yet?" -- Well no -- we will always have further to go in this journey until we leave this life or Jesus comes. Life is in the journey - not in the getting things done.

A couple of items from the blogs that I cam across

Bobby Valentine presents some scholarly research from Ephesians on the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians (December 27-28)

Bobby Cohoon “eulogizes” President Ford and James Brown (December 27)

Tonight as we say goodbye to 2006 and Hello to2007 may God’s richest blessing fill your lives

God Bless

Friday, December 29, 2006

Post-Christmas - Let down or looking up?

December 29 dawns gray & bleak in Aurora as I sit here with my morning coffee. It is a curious thing to be spending this much time away from home.

It is great to be able to see our “kids” and grandkids but they have their own lives and once the excitement of first seeing them is past and the Christmas presents are unwrapped and either put aside or in use there seems to be a let down.

I guess this is a milder form of the “post-whatever” syndrome – you know “post-traumtic”, “post-partum” -- etc. Of course people who experience these things are undergoing serious emotional trauma and what I’m experiencing is at worst mild depression or maybe the just the blahs. . (This isn’t a new theme -- I wrote some about this back in November – click HERE)

Mostly though I think it is just reality – life is what we make it (or perhaps better life is how we choose to let God shape it. One of the things that this time gives me is time to meditate and reflect on who I am and where I am going. Maybe that sounds a little “heavy” but what I mean is that my imperfections and limitations come to surface and stand in sharp contrast to what I might want God to make of me – I see the gaps between the perfect fruits of a spirit transformed life and crabby old me and I don’t like them – but it is what it is. I am whom I am – Roger was fond of the old saying “God loves me as I am but thankfully he loves me too much to let me stay as I am.” –

So what brings on this “whining” about being imperfect. Pretty arrogant to have the idea that I should be perfect isn’t it? Maybe it is the difference between what I would want in my relationships and communications and the realities of how I am interacting. that most frustrate me but it is my interaction with Linda as we worktogether on aproject that mostmakes me wantlike Charlie Brown to say "Arrghh!!!"

Because we were going to be here for an extended period, Linda & I decided that we would start finishing their basement. Tammye and Chris have been talking about this for over a year and last Christmas I did a preliminary floor plan showing how it could be laid out. So now was time to turn the plans into reality.

Now my father and grandfather were both pretty good carpenters but I have never developed that part of my genetic heritage that much. I certainly helped a lot with building projects as I was growing up and have done some small projects (mostly with experienced advise from either my Dad or my friends Len & Russ who are both good at building). But looking at the bare walssof that basement and having to figure out how to do it was intimidating. The INTERNET is a great thing and I was able to find a site that gave a number of hints and ideas on framing in basement rooms. It is a real challenge with all the piping, electrical and heating stuff cluttering up the ceiling.

Ultimately, you just have to dive in and start, which we have and so far I have about 20 feet of stud wall constructed including a corner and framing around a window. Linda has been helping and she is very helpful.

But the thing is that I hate making mistakes and when I’m doing something like this there are 2 things guaranteed –one I will make mistakes and two even the best work will have imperfections. – Things aren’t perfectly plumb or square and there are warps and twist in the studs which don’t look right. I have a bad habit of wanting to blame others for my mistakes and so it seems everyday I “yell” at Linda because she points out something that doesn’t look right. and we both end up feeling upset.

My question to myself is – why?? – when I know that this is likely to happenwhy I can’t “cut it off at the pass”? I know that the answer is to be sure we have thought it all the way through and understood what could go wrong – measure several times before cutting, check fit, square and plumb before nailing – etc. but it just doesn’t happen and so it I “shoot the messenger” when the mistakes become obvious or complain that she should have noticed that it wasn’t going to work that way. ANd so I look up toGod and ask that he might remove this thorn frommy character.

The other thing I get down about is my inability to have the conversations I would like to have with my son and grandchildren. I sit alone and think of sommany things I want to say but when they are there we talk about the mundaneand watch TV or play somegames. Again I look up -- perhaps as I understand (and I do) the love of my Father despite my poorlistening skills I can communicate my love to them in spite of these imperfections.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that this is a persistent theme in my behavior. In July I wrote about how my cousin Wilma said that I was melancholy perfectionist. (and I as amateur psychologist looked at this and more or less had to agree with her (click HERE).

Well enough of this –

Today is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

My INTERNET connection is a little flaky as a “piggy back” a wireless connection from somewhere in the neighborhood so my ability to “blog browse” and spend time catching up on the discussion entries from my Berean friends is frustratingly slow.

I did a cursory review of some of my favorite blogs over the past couple of day trying to catch up on several weeks of missed postings.

There is a lot of stuff about Christmas and the post-Christmas – year-end ennui that so often besets us (so I guess I’m not alone in this although it seems it isn’t just the time of year that gets to me)
Bobby Valentine shares some thoughts on the meaning of Christmas (December 25th post) and the work of God’s Spirit in our lives (December 27th post)

I made a visit to my friend Dee Andrews – I hadn’t been by for almost a month and a lot has happened in her life. She is a fascinating story teller and I like “visiting” with her. You’ll get a flavor for some of what she has been writing about from the comment I posted to her site (December 27)

Dee- I loved your $10 gift story. -- except it hit too close to home!!!

Wow! -- I haven't been by for a long time (too long) -- no excuses --life has kept me away and I have missed my friends. I pray that your family situation is working itself out--so often we have to struggle to "let go & let God"-- even when we can't see any way that God can fix it because human choices cast aside his precious gifts and precious love.

I too struggle with the "privacy" issue in blogging. I started this adventure by keeping a private journal and then copying parts to the blog. I found it was difficult to put that extra editting in and so I have avoided writing anything that Iwouldn't want my dearest friend (my wife)or my worst enemy (Satan I guess) to see and repeat. I have actually found that there wasn't too much that I was willing to write down that I couldn't share but certainly there is a "closet in my heart" that I can't open for anyone --or at least that's what I think.

The news about yours eyes is wonderful --

Well a few more days and 2006 is history.
May God grant you the richest blessings in 2007

God Bless

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Family, Friends & Feasts (November 29 – December 27)

I started this posting in late November. Life intervened and I didn’t finish it and I haven’t posted for several weeks.

This idea started at the time of Thanksgiving (in the US). I was thinking about the differences and similarities of the Thanksgiving in the US and in Canada. Wikipedia (Click HERE) has a summary of the history of the 2 holidays. Over the past 10 years we have had occasion to celebrate both holidays because our son & his family live in Illinois. They have other “ex-patriate” Canadians as friends and they often celebrate both holidays.

I am writing this the day after Christmas. There is so much written and talked about regarding the true meaning of Christmas. Of all the holidays in modern North America, it is likely the most debated and exploited holiday of all. It is at Christmas that Christians are most caught between the exclusive nature of the one God who sent his only Son to redeem a lost world and the univeralism and pluralism of modern society. The Son who gave up a heavenly kingdom to become human – who came to offer peace has been misappropriated and misunderstood. Some have taken up the sword in his name (despite his aversion to the sword --) and some have taken up the sword to disprove his power and to show the supremacy of their gods and prophets. Many have subverted the message of the Messiah and the message of other prophets and teachers into a message of Mammon – man and money is supreme – might is right – the only God is ME.

How do we cast off the trappings of our culture and the influences of its master Satan
and get back to the joy & peace and promise of a god who became flesh - a lowly birth for a heavenly king -- ?

God grant us the humility to understand that it is only in surrender that these blessings come—it is not in our striving and in our giving of gifts and feasting on food fit for a king.

Holidays are so much today about family and feasting. It is useful to remember that the root of the word is “Holy Day” and true celebration needs to involve worship and honor to God who made us and gave us all things. However, for me, one of the best ways to celebrate our love for God is to live it in our families and as with many family gatherings involve feasting!!

This fall has been a series of family events. October 1 we were in Beamsville to celebrate my brother-in-law Art Ford’s retirement from Great Lakes Christian College. See my October 6 post on Pictures for more details on this event. We had (at least) 2 big “feasts” while there – one a dinner at the school and the other a family dinner at my sister’s.

Thanksgiving weekend was at big family gathering & reunion (approx 75 people) as an early celebration of my father’s 90th birthday. Of course this involved several meals including a lunch and supper organized by 2 of my sisters. A great time visiting with my brothers & sisters and their off-spring.

The rest of October I was at home. (and Linda was visiting Kevin & Sarah.)

November 8-13 I traveled to Aurora Ill. Linda & I looked after Hunter & Camdyn while Chris & Tammye were on a cruise for their 15th anniversary. Probably the only trip this fall that didn’t involve much more than regular meals although Linda & I enjoyed a wonderful takeout fish dinner from Wayne's restaurant in Oconto WI when we stopped overnight on the trip home.

November 24-26 we were on the road again this time to Meaford to help my cousin Wilma and her husband Clyde celebrate their 50th anniversary. Not only did we feast at the “official” celebration at the Meaford church but Wilma had a big dinner at her house for the out-of-town guests. (I have mentioned Clyde & Wilma several times before --see my June blogs). The picture shows themwith their Sons Reyburn (on left) and Roger (on right). Roger was the preacher at Pinehill until he moved to Troy Michigan in September. Sandra was not able to be there since she had travelled to Oklahoma for her grandmother's funeral).

Two weeks later we were on the road again. This time because of the death of Linda’sgrand-nephew. (see my last entry on December 6). On the trip to Guelph, we had Linda’s sister Carol in our car and we traveled along with four of her brothers in a separate vehicle. The funeral was difficult - attended by many of Stephen’s school friends. It turned out that, despite the initial reports that it is likely that it was suicide rather than accidental. Our prayers remain with Pam & Mike, & Terry & June as they have had to live with this tragedy through a time when others are celebrating with family.

After the funeral we went to McMaster Children’s hospital to see Kayla – she is the granddaughter of our friends the Roetman’s. It was a better (although still stressful) experience to see that she was recovering. She has infection in the bone and is now at home receiving treatment. We spent Saturday night& Sunday in Beamsville at my sister’s.

Even in the circumstances food is a part of life. We had one very bad experience. Friday night we went out to eat before the visitation. One of Linda’s brother made a joke just as she was sipping some tea and she choked on it and triggered an asthma attack. It was rather scary as she struggled for breath until we got her outside and into the cold air. Fortunately, she came around OK without needing medical treatment. Saturday after the funeral the family gathered for a lunch at my niece’s house. Her neighbor’s had supplied a lot of food and there does seem to be some healing in sharing memories and tears over food.

Sunday dinner at my sister Ruby’s place is always pleasant and refreshing to the soul. She had invited my niece Trish and we had a chance to visit with her as well.

This trip had other minor misfortunes. I left a Mount Rushmore t-shirt at the motel in Guelph and lost a library book during our visit to the hospital. On the positive side, my brother-in-law Morris had hip replacement surgery December 4 and is doing well. He was out to a family gathering at our house on the 16th.
Jack King who had been seriously ill with a C-difficile infection is recovering and was out to services on the 17th.

Just over 2 weeks after returning home we were on the road again – coming here to Chris’ for Christmas.

In between in late November and during this 2 weeks I was busy with giving and marking exams and submitting grades. We bother were busy with Christmas shopping and Linda was busy baking, decorating, cleaning and all those things.

In addition, we had 2 more familyevents.

Saturday (Dec. 16th) we had 21 of my family for our "family Christmas" sharing a meal (pizza) and giving gifts to my Dad- before he headed off to my sister Ruby's for Christmas. Picture shows 2 of my brother-in-laws- Jason & Morris

Sunday the 17th we were at Little Rapids (near Thessalon) for Christmas with the Armstrong's -- actually we thought was the Goodmurphy's (our annual gathering with Linda's family organized by Linda's mother, Martha). Martha had told us she was inviting her brother's and sisters(the Armstrong's) but what we didn't know until we got there was that the invitation included their offspring as well. There were well over 100 people for the potluck meal and an afternoon ofvisiting and singing Christmas carols.

We got to see and visit with many of Linda's cousisn's that we hadn'tseen for some time and, we got to play "who's kid are you" with the children and grand-children (and even the occasional great-grandchild) of those cousins.

So family, friends & feasts -- this is what makes life meaningful - even when the gathering is tragic there is strength in family. My prayer is that as we find strength in our earthly family ties we will seek even more the riches of having a heavenly family and for those who may not have been blessed with a family here --may yhey find God's family -- it is the best!!!

Our Christmas was wonderful.

We attended a Christmas eve”candle light” service. There is something very moving about singing Silent night with several hundred people in an auditorium lit by the flickering light of candles.

It was great watching the kids open their gifts and, of course we feasted.

We are staying through New Year’s because our Melissa & Alexander are coming New Year’s day.

Well, I need to get this posted. My this review of family events and ”feasts” will help explain why I haven’t posted anything for awhile. In any case “it is what it is”

A few things from my limited blog browsing in November & December.

There was a report (initially written by his wife Theressa "Tess") about “Preacherman” Kinney Mabry and his battle with Guillaime-Barr syndrome. At last report he was home recovering and blogging again. Praise God for this.

John Dobbs had his 43rd birthday November 30 (Click HERE)
Bobby Valentine is abandoning us Northerners and heading to Arizona—I think he will miss the snow (if we ever have any) (Click HERE to find out more)

I guess my New Year’s resolution will needto be to spend more time in reflection --- by which I mean “blogging” (both browsing others and posting my own). Time will tell and God is in control.

God Bless

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Double Jeopardy

This is special posting to report a tragic death. A lot of this posting is pasted in from emails that I have sent over the past 24 hours.

It seems it never rains it pours. Linda is the oldest of 10 children and has a large number of nieces & nephews and they in turn have kids so it is a large family.

Until September of this year all of this family (except for her Dad) was living. In September her niece's 6 month old daughter died of SIDS. (See my September 10 post called "A roller coaster week" (Click HERE) for details of that tragedy.)

They say lightening doesn't strike twice in the same place but we are feeling like it is close to that -- and close to home. -- like double jepoardy--

Tonight (Tuesday December 6) we got word that another nieces's 13 year old son Stephen had died. It was one of those stupid things that never should have happened but did --he was playing this "choking" game and it went too far.

(See if you are not familiar with thisdanger. We had one of these deaths at alocal high school last spring)

If you have children, grandchildren, friend's children who might be at risk -- be sure they are informed about how deadly this so-called game is)

I can't comprehend what moves a child to take such a foolish risk but it is what it is. Linda's brother Terry (Stephen's grandfather) and his wife June are devastated - Stephen lived in the Guelph area and this makes it more difficult to support Terry, June & Pam (Stephen's mother) during this period.

Linda is in near shock having this added to her ongoing concerns about Kayla -- Please keep Stephen's family in your prayers that they might seek God's comfort

I copied the death notice from the funeral home website.

URRY, Steven, of Guelph, passed away suddenly, Tuesday, December 5, 2006, age 13 years. Beloved son of Mike and Pam Urry. Loved brother of Tasha. Loving grandson of Helen and Donald Urry and Terry and June Goodmurphy and great grandson of Martha Goodmurphy and Willis Beilhartz. Dear nephew of Travis and Tracy Reid. Friends will be received at the WALL-CUSTANCE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 206 Norfolk St., Guelph, Friday (2-4 & 7-9 p.m.). Funeral service will be held, in the funeral home chapel, Saturday, December 9, 2006, at 11 a.m. Memorial contributions to the Martin Kruze Memorial Fund, Unit 9, 1151 Gorham St., Newmarket, ON L3Y 8Y1 would be appreciated.

A tree will be planted in memory of Steven Urry in the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest, University of Guelph, Arboretum. Dedication service Sunday, September 23, 2007, at 2:30 p.m..

Condolences for the family may be left at ( - - see the Death notices section and clickon Stephen's name.

I want to thank the many friends and family who have already sent emails or made phone calls of condolences to Linda and to her family. Knowing people are praying always helps in times when there doesn't seem to be anything we can do but go on in faith trusting in God to carry us through.

Our friend Roger sent this devotional as something to think about in these situations

Date: December 6, 2006 8:39:08 AM EST (CA)
Subject: December 6, 2006 - God's-eye view - Daily Devotional

December 6, 2006

God's-eye view by John Fischer

“For now we see through a glass, darkly …” (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)

I had a mentor once who loved to teach about faith from a 20-foot long timeline of Bible history that he used as a powerful visual effect. He would roll out this room-sized diagram with a long line from Adam and Eve to the present day. On it, at appropriate spots, he would place little figures representing some of the well-known characters of the Bible such as Abraham, Moses, David, Ezekiel, and Paul. Then, he would walk over to where, say, Moses was, turn him toward the future, and place a dark pane of glass right in front of his nose.
“This is how much Moses could see when he looked this way,” he would say, and because we had the perspective of the rest of the timeline, we could understand Moses’ dilemma, but also gain strength from what we knew lay ahead of him that he couldn’t see. In other words, in relation to Moses, we had more of a God’s-eye view of things.

Though Moses could not see into the future, there were two directions he could look, both of which were useful to his faith and in turn are useful to ours. He could look back and see how God had been faithful in his own life up until then, and, most importantly, he could look up to God and put his trust in the one who sees all.

The obvious lesson here is that we are in a similar place. We can only look back to the past and up to God, and remember there is a God’s-eye view of this; we just can’t see it right now. He knows what he’s doing and how the events of our lives fit into his overall purposes for us and those around us. He sees reasons we have no access to. He sees a plan that looks at best murky from our point of view. But the future, and God’s purposes for us, and the reliability of his promises are no less reliable than they were to Moses. In fact, we have the huge benefit of much more history than Moses ever had – the fulfillment of things he could only dream about.
So just remember, whatever you are going through today or wondering about in relation to tomorrow, there is a God’s-eye view of this. Look up.

While I am posting here are updates on the other situations that I had asked readers to pray about.

Jack King -seems to be starting to recover. They upped his anitbiotic Monday . He is now starting to eat a little. Hopefully he has "turned the corner". I talked to him on the phone this afternoon and he is at least able to be out of bed andisfeeling alittle stronger each day.Heexpects alongrecovery timebefore he is back tofull strength.

Kayla - remains in hospital. (Tracy called a couple of times in the past 2 days. They did more surgery on the knee to "flush out" the infected area and put inantibitics. According to Tracy the Dr. said the knee was worse than before and he thought they would likely need to do the procedure again. Kayla was having a bonescan today see if it has spread. Definitely going to be a long haul -- very tough for a 5 year old.

Morris Whitehead had his hip replacement and is recovering. Everything seems to have gone well and if recovery continues as expected he will be out on Friday.

We are planning to leave Friday for the funeral. I have made arrangements for someone else to proctor my exams Friday a.m. and Lloyd will fill in for my class and sermon that was scheduled for Sunday.

Keep us in mind as we travel. We hope to go to see Len & Tracy while we are in the area.

God Bless

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


In my last post I mentioned 3 people close to us –Jack, Kayla and Morris who needed prayer. I am grateful for those who have added these names to their prayer lists. I believe prayer has a tremendous power—even when the outcome isn’t the one we would like.

I thought I would provide a quick update (including some emails "pasted in" from updates I have sent to friends and family.

Jack (King) seems to be on the mend. The Dr. put him on a stronger antibiotic on Monday. I understand he was out of bed and resting on the couch this morning and is eating some light foods. We hope and pray that this means he has turned the corner and will soon be back on his feet.

Morris (Whitehead) had his hip replacement surgery yesterday and all seems to have gone well. I visited him at noon today and he was able to eat soup (liquid only diet). He was up once this morning and seems to be on track. The Dr. said he expects him to be released on Friday. Goldie was there with him and as I was leaving Guy & Margaret Stoppard came in. Guy is the preacher for the Thessalon congregation that Goldie & Morris are a part of.

This leaves Kayla –We are still very concerned about her. From the 2 updates below there are mixed results. Apparently the blood test results show some progress in fighting the infection (from). However, we just heard from Tracy around noon today that the surgeon wants to do the surgery to "flush out" the knee again because it is still badly swollen. However, it has to be “fit in” to his schedule so there is no specific time yet. Nothing else has changed from what Rachel told us last night. On top of that Mac (Rachel’s partner) had a tire blow out on his way to the hospital this morning resulting in minor damage to his vehicle—fortunately he wasn’t on the main highway and wasn’t traveling at a high speed. Please prayers for this family.

Prior email updates

Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2006 09:56:
Subject: Kayla Update
Rachel called us about 1:30 a.m.--They had a surgeon come in from Toronto to look at Kayla and he decided further surgery was NOT necessary last night. The good news was that the blood tests are showing improvement (reduced infection) . However, at best, it is still going to be a long haul before she is completely recovered. They are planning a bone scan today to determine if the infection has gotten into the bone. If it has the treatment could take up to 6 months. Drs. have said will be putting in a "pic"line (permanent IV adaptor) sometime in the next day or so.

Len & Tracy are "camping out" at the hospital because the weather has been bad and making travelling from Rachel's to hospital difficult.

Weyford Smith has been in touch with them and is providing some local support for the family.

Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 18:45
Tracy just called and Kayla is scheduled for more surgery at 10p.m. this evening -- no info on the reason for the surgery or what type of surgery but clearly isn't what they were hoping for.

Other than the time keeping up with these situations, I have been busy wrapping up my courses, grading papers and continuing to work on preparing exams. My last class sessions are this evening. I’ve been developing a ”study guide” which I will go over to-night to highlight the main points the students should know. The exams are Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.. It will be nice to be finished!!

I was out with Linda yesterday for a couple of hours and I finished my Christmas shopping (I just have Linda) and helped her some with the family shopping.

This morning we made a trip to visit the “BBB” in storage. Linda went through and collected some things I hadn’t taken out before I put the “beast” into storage (She was away when I did that). I started the engine and moved it forward and back just to keep things lubricated. It was sad to have to walk away again because we do enjoy being on the road.

After that we went to Sears and did som emore shopping. Bumped into some folks we knew so some of that time was more pleasurable visiting rather than shopping.

BTW – we have winter here. It started snowing last Friday and has continued off & on all weekend. We now have about 4 inches(10 cm) on the ground and it is cold ( 5-10F or -15 to -10C)

God Bless

Monday, December 04, 2006

Or 2 …

Incredibly it has been over 2 weeks since I last did an entry. I thought I’d better put something here just to let anyone who hasn’t given up on me know that I’m still alive.This will be short because I have a full day scheduled.

I won’t bother making any excuses for not blogging. Bobby Cohoon in his comment (November 23rd) on my last post said I had no excuse and I believe him. The truth is that I have been focused on a number of other things and I have just ran out of day before I had the chance to do a journal entry.

Looking back though I can’t remember too many “big” things – just life – that has kept me busy.

It has taking a fair bit of time keeping up with my courses, with end of term approaching that has required additional effort and I’m still behind on grading as a result of being away. I also was working on a proposal through the university to do some training for a local company. And of course there were the usual family & church things to keep up with.

We made a trip last week end to Meaford (24th – 26th)for Clyde & Wilma Lansdell’s 50th. I hope to have some pictures and more detail from that in my next post.

I haven’t even been able to make my blogging rounds and I’ve not been doing anything with the Berean list – other than reading and making the occasional comment and I haven’t even looked at it for several days. On the up side I haven’t been experiencing “withdrawal” so I guess my “addicition” isn’t too severe.

Dee Andrews gave me an “honorable” mention in her “judges” report on her contest. (Maybe it would be better tosay “dishonorable” since I got hung upon the acronym DOA (based on her initials).Anyhow you can find the results by clicking on the link in her email below.

Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 11:32:57 -0600From: Dee Ann Andrews
Subject: Finding Direction Contest Winners Announced!!

Hi!Y'all drop by Finding Direction to see all of the winning names and the big winners announced today from the Finding Direction Name the Fan Club Contest that just ended. It's a fun day!
Cheers, y'all!
Have a fun day yourselves!Dee

There are several situations that have occupied some of our time and a lot of our prayers.

We have friends – Harold & Marion Long who are part of our church family at Pinehill. Marion’s younger brother Danny (Hilderly) had been ill a few weeks ago and I visited him in hospital. He had gone home and was doing reasonably well but and last weekend he had a stroke and passed away suddenly. We attended the funeral last Tuesday.

Linda’s sister-in-law Sally (Goodmurphy) was there because of a church connection to Danny’s nephew who was ”officiating” at the funeral so we invited them over and had a good visit over coffee. Unfortunately with large families we don’t get to visit them that often. (Which reminds me that Linda also spent a half day looking after her niece Tracy’s twins last week)

My brother-in-law Morris is undergoing hip replacement surgery this morning.

We have been concerned with our granddaughter Camdyn as she fights off an ear/throat infection that has persisted since we were there a couple of weeks ago. She seems to be over it now but it has been a special concern to us because of the situation with our friend’s granddaughter as described in email I sent to some friends of ours last evening.

Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 19:56:26
Subject: Kayla (Roetman) & Jack King

**Update - Sunday evening **
Kayla - remains in hospital. (We talked to Christie (Rachel's sister) tonight. Christie spent the weekend at the hospital -- Kayla is in a lot of pain but is stable - with no fever. They did a minimally invasive surgery (elbow & arm) on Friday evening putting in "holes" so they could flush out the infected areas and put in antibiotics.

Best case she will be in hospital for week to 10 days while the remaining infection is completely cleared out of her system. Worst case - the infection is spread into her bones in which case they will put a direct IV in for antibiotic treatment --At this point they are NOT talking of anything more radical to stop the infection. (By the way - we had her age mixed up she is 5 - closer to our granddaughter not our grandson's age).

Len & Tracy left SSM this morning to travel to be with them.

** Original - on Saturday **
Some of you know that Len & Tracy's daughter Heather has a suspicious lump and is scheduled to see a surgeon for a biopsy on December 12.

In addition to that stress in their family, last evening their granddaughter Kayla (their oldest daughter Rachel's oldest child -- approx 8 years old) was admitted to McMaster Hospital in Hamilton and underwent surgery to her knee and elbow to remove flesh damaged by a virulent infection and to pack in antibiotics to try to stop the spread.

While we are uncertain of the details it appears that this is the result of a "superbug" that sometimes attacks people who have been using antibiotics to address another form of infection. In Kayla's case she has just finished treatment for pneumonia, The doctors said they might have to do additional surgery dependent on whether this was sufficient to stop the spread of the infection.

A very serious and worrisome situation.Len & Tracy are making preparations to travel to Hamilton to be there to support Rachel as they work through this.
Please be praying for Kayla, Heather and the Roetman family as they deal with these situations.

Jack King ** Update **
Jack continues to be in serious distress at home. The antibiotics may have reduced the severity of the infection but have yet not made any significant improvement in the symptoms. They will be reviewing the situation with Dr. tomorrow to determine next steps.

** Original (Friday –Dec. 1)**
Barb King just called and they have confirmed that Jack has contracted the C-Difficile infection -- which is causing very severe gastrointestinal distress, He is at home, on a clear fluids diet and is struggling to stay hydrated. Now that they have confirmed the source they are putting him on medication to treat it.
(Some may know that Jack was ill a couple of weeks ago with similar symptoms but the original testing was negative. He recovered for about a week and then had this relapse.)
In any case please be praying for Jack & for Barb.

Well folks that’s it for now – hopefully I will be able to get back to doing this a little more frequently. Classes end this week – I give my exams Thursday & Friday so it will be a full week.

God Bless

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another week

Well it’s a dreary Saturday outside here in the “Great White North” (well it’s not white yet but we will see more white than green over the next 6 months!!)

Chris & Tammye got back from their cruise on Saturday (11th) after dinner and we had a nice evening visiting and looking at their pictures. In the picture , Linda is with Hunter & Camdyn. Camdyn is wearing an oversized top that her mom brought her from Jamacia. Either it will need adjustments or it will have to wait for her to grow into it. If she keeps sprouting like she has been that won't be long.

Camdyn came down with a sore throat and cough that had kept her out of school Thursday & Friday. Her mother took her to the doctor on Monday and found she had sinus/ear infection and she is now on antibiotics. Aside from that we had a great time with the kids sharing in their stories – I suffered my usual “whupping” at the video games administered by my 8 year old grandson – How on earth can you figure out which of those 10 buttons to push at the right time to keep from getting blown up or falling in a hole??

Sunday we decided to head out mid-afternoon and drove as far as Oconto, WI before stopping for the night. Monday,we drove through rain, sleet and some snow before the precipitation stopped about 30 minutes from home.

The rest of the week whizzed by as I was catching up on my projects, class work and the occasional foray to find what was going on out in “blogland”. Linda was busy getting the house back into order to her satisfaction – although I will say she was pleased that I had managed to keep it from looking like a disaster.

We spent a few hour cleaning out the garage and packing summer stuff away into the shed so we can get the car in before the snow flies and that's pretty much it for this week.

A few things happened while we were away that I hadn’t mentioned.

On the way to Aurora I stopped for lunch in Merrellville Indiana to meet Glenn Ziegler – a “blogging buddy” that I met on the Berean Spirit list. He is a “tad” taller than I am. He is 2 metres (6’ 7”) -- "towering" 28 cm (11 inches higher than I -- and out weighs me by a few kilos (lbs) as well. We had a short visit over lunch. Good to put a face and a “real” person to add to the “virtual” conversations that we have had.

I received an email from my sister Goldie that Morris was finally scheduled for hip replacement surgery on December 4th, earlier than expected. He has been in a lot of pain and we pray that the surgery will allow him to get around without having to endure that.

On the 7th I got an email from my sister Ruby announcing that my Dad now has 71 direct descendents with the 35th great-grandchild (Art & Ruby’s their 3rd grandchild ) being born to James & January Ford. To learn more about Kiera Lynn Ford click HERE

I also got an email from my youngest sister Diamond (that’s all of the family “jewels” heard from!!) reporting on her ongoing medical issues with loss of balance and inability to concentrate which means that for now she is unable to drive. That is a challenge for her and we pray that the Drs. will figure out something to resolve it.

There was a lot of chatter on the NET about the US elections this past week. Monday was the day for municipal elections here in Ontario. Our Mayor John Roswell was re-elected for a 3rd term. Some people may be puzzled by that because he has had a global view and a lot of “wild-eyed” schemes to improve our economy by various international trade initiatives which required him to make several trips to other continents. He was sometimes referred to in the press as “jet setting” Johnny. His opponents mostly ran campaigns of “not doing what he was doing” rather than outlining a positive agenda that would provide benefits to the community and I suspect that people voted for “trying to do something” rather than “complaining about how that something was being done” . I’m basically “apolitical” and, while I exercise my right to vote, I usually give it to those who I feel will be most focused on working for the good of the community rather than pursuing selfish agendas – although sorting that out can make your head hurt.

For the rest of this post I want to point you to some interesting blog traffic that I browsed through this week .

My friend Dee Andrews sent this note “I'm very happy to announce that Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles is starting a new mini-contest today. Rules are simple. There aren't any except that you only have two weeks to enter your submissions. The contest is to officially name the new Finding Direction Fan Club. Read about it here: Finding Direction Fan Club Name Contest

Bobby Cohoon from North Carolina wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article on allergies pondering on how to see this affliction as one of the blessings of God’s creation. Click HERE

Mike Cope talks about a book by Barry Schwarz on our consumer society and why “More is less
John Dobbs tries to relieve his angst about living with a doctor ordered diet by offering a little light hearted chatter about a ”plethora” of things. Click Here

Larry James challenges Christians to think about the justice behind oppressing the poor and alien workers in the US – but I think there are issues here at home that fit in this category Click HERE

Finally, Bobby Valentine gives us something to laugh at in his listing of which Hymn is suitable for various occupations and driving habits Click HERE

I did come across a new blog site on denominations referred to by “Wren” who visited and left a comment here last week. I haven’t had time to explore it yet so I don’t have any comment on what might be found there.

Well that’s my week – Hope you all had a good one – What will next week bring? God knows and God is good. (even though I may not always see the good I know it is there to be found)

God Bless

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mary Seabrook

I had mentioned Mary Seabrook in several of my posts over the past few weeks. Mary was a long-time friend of my parents and had attended at Pine Hill where her daughter Leona attends for many years. She has been unable to get out for the past several years due to her age and ongoing health problems. She fell with a broken hip in early October and was unable to recuperate from that. She left this world for a better home on Thursday November 9 2006.

Our prayers are with her family as they say goodbye.

Obituary for Mrs. Mary Alice (nee Shedden) Seabrook

SEABROOK, Mrs. Mary Alice (nee Shedden) - Peacefully passed away at the F.J. Davey Home with loved ones by her side on Thursday, November 9th, 2006 in her 96th year. Beloved wife of Gordon for 40 years (predeceased in 1971). Daughter of the late John and Louisa Shedden (Ingram). Sister of the late Fred Shedden (Dorothy), Aliza Lewis (Stuart), Annie Mortimore (Bill), Louisa Shedden and John Shedden (Frances). Cherished mother of Donald (Diane), Leona Devin (Lionel) and the late Glen. Grandmother of Vonnie Eveleigh (Arch) of Angus, Kathy Stevenson (Terry) of Burlington, Judy Lang (Andrew) of Oakville and Andrea Dawson (Jarrette) of Sault Ste. Marie. Great grandmother of Tyler and Devin Eveleigh, Dexter and Lindsay Stevenson, Christopher and Alicia Lang. Special “great-gramma“ of Jacob Causley- Wilkins and Elijah Dawson. Resting at the BEGGS FUNERAL HOME Thessalon where friends may call on Monday, November 13, 2006 from 10 a.m. until time of service at 11:30 a.m. Interment in Maple Ridge Cemetery. Donations to the F.J. Davey Home or the charity of your choice gratefully accepted.

Friday, November 10, 2006

C'est la vie

I'm at my Son's place in Aurora helping? Linda look after Hunter & Camdyn while Chris & Tammye are on a cruise celebrating their 15th anniversary.

I arrived here on Wednesday -- very happy to see Linda after almost a month apart due to her grandmothering "excursions" - first to B.C. to watch Will and then here to watch the other 2.

Yesterday I took Sonny (the dog) for a walk and saw a vanity plate that said "Say la vi"
It took a moment but I quicly recognized the French saying "C'est la vie" that is used to express the saying "that's life" or that's the way it is.

As I thought about this saying I wondered about the meaning -- How do we use this expression -- is it a good philosophy to live by or is it a more cynical "what's the use" type of attitude.

I thought about Wednesday evening when Linda had been thinking we would take time for dessert and tea after the kids were in bed -- so we could catch up on each others thoughts -- and not knowing she had this in mind I had my desert before she came down causing her significant distress. C'est la vie but ... Is that life -- to accept disappointment or is it life to accept your "insensitivity" and move on.

Of course, we all handle our failures (intentional or otherwise) in different ways. -- often in sequence.

We can deny -- we can say its not my fault -- you should have told me what you were thinking.

We can try to remove the problem -- we can say I didn't mean it and you shouldn't be upset -- effectively shifting the "reason" for the hurt to other people --

We can dwell on going over it again and explaing how it happened or why it happened trying to see where we went wrong. But explaining why doesn't help and often it shifts the failure to someone else -- Why weren't they more clear? Why didn't they ...

We can get into "begging" saying "I'm sorry -- forgive me" and then get upset because that doesn't make the problem go away -- it isn't just a matter of "I'm sorry" and all the hurt disappears. Again we start shifting it to the other person -- I'm sorry -- so you should get over it ..

Or we can say "C'est la vie" -- "it is what it is" -- I failed, the consequnces are there, I didn't want this to happen but it did and I'm cupable -- it was me who made this what it is -- I can't change that -- I can't re-wind the clock and take away the consequences but I can accept my failure and turn to helping do whatever I can to help the healing -- I can sit down and listen to how you feel and how this has hurt you and I can do so without being defensive or accusing you of failing to forgive -- "it is what it is" and we move on with that reality --

You know we sometimes are so harsh in our judgement of other people's visible failures - I'm thinking of the Ted Haggard situation -- the consequences of his behavior have a tremendous impact. They make it easy for people to say "that's why I don't want to be a Christian because they are all hypocrites" -- and certainly that is why Chritian leaders need to be above reproach.

I am very sad for this hurting and harmful action -- I am angry at the ammunition that Satan has given the world to doubt the power of our Lord because he devoured this man and drew him (by his own choices and through his own lack of faith) into this wickedness.

But it is easy to be suspicious of his sincerity and the genuineness of his penitence -- it is easy to be angry at him and think that's a horrible sin because it is devastating to so many people when a public person breaks faith with their trust.

However, in terms of how he deals with this failing his options are the same as mine and yours -- when we fail in my relationships -- and in the first instance it is between him and God and his wife and his close family & friends. Others who are at more of a distance aren't really part of this healing process (or in assessing that he is not seeking healing) -- It isn't about us and we can't judge what is going on. Time will tell and God knows -- that is enough for me.--

But as described above "it is what it is" -- "C'est la vie" --

The real question is will he do what it takes in surrendering himself -- taking himself out of the issue and move to healing those relationships or will he see it as about "Ted" and focus on "rationalizing" and "suppressing" -- only God and he know his heart and I pray his heart is being "cut" until his focus is not on "fixing" himsel but rather on seeking healing for others -- for I believe healing of self only comes by surrender of self to the altar of "others first"- in particular surrender to Jesus.

So "Say la vi" -- Say there is life -- there is hope for those who surrender self and look to healing and restoration through surrender to God.

I pray for myself, for others I hurt in my day and I pray for Ted Haggard as to-day's "visible" sinner.

Avoid pointing at him - rather think about healing your own broken relationships -- those without sin should cast the first stones.

God Bless

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fighting the Blahs

One of the things I like about blogging is the connections you make with other people. Since starting this blog in March and through my connection with John Dobbs (see links on the sidebar) I have made acquaintances with a number of bloggers (most of whom I’ve never met outside cyberspace butI have come to regard them as friends)

Some I visit regularly and some less frequently – but the great thing is that they will so often say something in their blog that may seem incidental to them but for some reason is just what I needed to hear at that time. I choose to think that God has a hand in that but in any case it happens. This gives me hope that some of my meanderings and musings may be helpful to others. – and once in while I get a comment from someone that suggests this is true.

I say all that because my friend Dee writes in her November 1st posting

“Any of you ever get the blahs?
If so, what do you do about them? What do you advise? I need help.
I've got the blahs. Big time.
Actually, I do have the blahs and nothing seems quite right. I'm not my usual perky self. It started on the weekend, which wasn't up to it's usual two days of riotous laughs, and has now settled in in earnest. Everyone at church noticed it Sunday. They all kept asking me what was wrong and how was I feeling.
I'm feeling okay, I'm just out of sorts a bit and bored. BLAH!! “

Well Dee doesn’t know this (yet) but her honest admission that she was experiencing the BLAHS was sufficient to keep me from falling into that black hole of discouragement this weekend.

If you had the patience to go back through my postings you would find a frequent theme is the battle I have with “slumps’ (see for example my post for Friday May 26 ) most often brought on because I have become overcommitted and have made the matter worse by frittering away my time on things other than the stuff I’ve promised to do.

This past week (see yesterday’s post) was one were I just couldn’t seem to get the things on my list done. Towards the end of the week – it started to snow signaling a long winter ahead and every where I looked there was a bunch of “unfinished clutter” – all this was was starting to depress me. And then I read about Dee’s BLAHS and somehow the candor (and humor) – the humanity -- that showed in that post gave me a jolt – and instead of “slumping” I just buckled down and got to work.

Things aren’t perfect –I have a ”back breaking” list of things to complete Monday & Tuesday so I can leave Wednesday to go to Aurora (Chicago) but the feeling of “what’s the use – I might as well just let it all go because I’ll never get it done” has gone. So- weird as it may seem and with my apologies to Dee for profiting from her “misery” – Thank you Dee for having the BLAHS and sharing it –I hope that writing it and the comments you got helped you because you have helped me.

Linda arrived at Chris & Tammye’s yesterday p.m. She is pretty wiped out from the traveling and the time change. When I talked to her this p.m. she was really looking forward to tomorrow (Monday) when the kids would be in school and she could crash for a day. Only 2 more days and our month-long separation will be over. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I can’t help but thinking how blessed we have been – this is the longest separation we have experienced in 40 years of marriage.

Ted Miller from Thessalon spoke for us at Pinehill this morning. Our friendship with Ted & Laura goes back to high school. (I did a recent post talking about celebrating our 40th anniversaries this year (Click HERE to find out more about them and our longstanding friendship).

Ted’s lesson was on the need to put priority on the Great Commandment (Love God) and the “Golden rule” (love others) and to have our actions as Christians flow from love as opposed to what he called a ”check list system” –we have a list of do’s and don’t’s and we think we are doing OK if we can check these things off the list. This “system” or ”performance” based Christianity is “dead” (useless) in the absence of love and faith in God’s promises.

Normally, we have small group studies Sunday afternoon in place of an evening service. However, the first Sunday of the month we all meet for a common study time followed by a period of social fellowship to celebrate any birthday’s or anniversaries that are coming up.

It was my turn to provide the lesson for that session this week. I borrowed some material from Bobby’s Valentine's study of Deuteronomy showing that God’s covenant with the Israelites was a covenant of ”Love & Grace” –that the commands were given to the Israelites as way for them to show an obedient love response to God’s love and that there were 7 “unchanging” principles in those commands that applied to God’s people today as much as they applied to the Israelites.

Well – time for bed – To-morrow will be a full day. I’ll be traveling Wednesday and we won’t get home until the 13th—so I may not be posting again until after we are back.

God Bless

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tempus fugit

Here it is Saturday again- It hardly seems like yesterday when I was posting and expressing the hope that I might manage to get back to doing more than one postper week. Where has the week gone?

Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (KJV says ‘Redeeming the time’ ), because the days are evil.

As I sat yesterday pondering this question of "Where had the week gone" – I wondered if I had been wise in the use of my time so I started reviewing the week.

Starting with the positive – time flew by because I was busy and getting a number of things done that needed to be done and that’s good(I think). It was also good that time is flying by because it brought me one week closer to seeing my wonderful wife who has been off “grandma-ing” since October 9.

However, there was the long list of things that hadn’t got done including the housework – wonder why that got left behind?

So what did I do?

Sunday – Morning services and afternoon group followed by a pleasant lunch at the Herzog's plus some reading and relaxation doing the puzzles in the last week’s paper took care of Sunday.

Monday – The big job was getting the “beast” serviced and then put into storage for the winter. Took all morning and some of the afternoon. Some email and time on the blog/list circuit and that day was gone.

It was a nostalgic time and sad as well when I walked away after parking the BBB in the storage warehouse. Nostaligic as I bade farewell to our travels for 2006. Lots of good memories –from Pascagoula and Texas –lots of new friends -- inspiration to be a better servant but sadness also because as far as we know we won’t be going south this year.

Tuesday- Pumpkins & ghosts. In the morning I had a meeting with Lloyd to go over a few things related to congregational plans and activities. I had to get a mid-term test ready for one class and prepare for another. I had a meeting at the university to review some planned program changes that affected courses I often teach and then give the exam and conduct a class. Another day gone.

We don’t get many trick or treaters but I was concerned that I wasn’t going to be here so I made up a poster and a basket of candy that I was going to leave on the porch. Turned out I didn’t have to because Alyssa was here to handle it. Anyhow I decided I wanted a picture to put on the poster and I found this one. Coincidentally my blogging friend Dee had it posted on her blog as well (although I see it is gone now) -

Tuesday was also the big day for Kevin. He is working on hisPh.D. in Neuropsychology at SFU . The reason Linda is there doing her grandma thing is that he needed to put a big push on his dissertation proposal and she was there look after Will while Sarah worked so he could spend his time getting this done. Tuesday he successfully defended the proposal – Way to go Kevin!!!

Unfortunately – it was sort of a good news bad news success. They told him that if he was going to meet his goal of having the research done by September so he could start his internship he would need to be dedicating 60 hours a week to get it done. That above trying to watch Will and work part-time is a big hurdle. As always I pray that they will look to God for help in this situation and that He will show a way that is best for them.

The other thing I came across related to Halloween was a song-video posted by John Dobbs called “The Nightmare before Christmas” – a haunting song with a poignant message for those who try to walk alone in this world. (Click HERE and scroll down – first the words and then the video from YOUTUBE) (BTW - I was honored to see that John mentioned my "Why do I blog" post in one of his postings last week.)

Wednesday – I had a Red Cross run – volunteer driver to take a lady to the Group Health centre for an appointment. Spent sometime reading while waiting. Rest of day was marking the exams and other miscellaneous stuff with some short stints on the list. I let myself get drawn into a non-productive debate about some doctrinal issues – which isn’t really important here—but I try to avoid discussions that just go around in circles with nothing new being said – but it took a couple of days to dig myself out of that “rabbit chasing” exercise.

Thursday - It started snowing . I had a dental checkup in morning and had to have a tire on the car repaired in the p.m. plus class and going to the “Full flame” session after that.

Friday – It was still snowing – I rushed out to put up the “rode-houses” (covers for Linda’s Rhodies – which should have been done earlier but October was a very wet & cold month and I kept thinking there’ll be a better day – (You can see them (the "houses") in the picture I took out the living room window this morning).

Then I had to clean out driveway – broke my rule about “no snow shoveling until after Christmas. Did some housecleaning . Rest of day was spent email and other computer stuff – I found an interesting article on the shift in attitudes towards moral issues in the so-called Buster generation and exchanged a couple of emails with my bro-in-law Art on his thoughts about that.

Went out for supper with my Dad and went in to visit Mary Seabrook. She is resting comfortably medication to deal with the pain. Leona is spending long days sitting with her mother. We visited for a while, prayed together and then Dad and I came home.

And so the week went. I did get to visit a number of blog sites that I haven’t been to for a while.

I had an email conversation with a blogging friend Dee Andrews which led me Mike Cope’s site where I discovered a link to well presented talk (by ScotMcKnight) on the topic of postmodernism and the church. I don’t quite get post-modern thought - I guess I'm too "modern" (or rational) in my thinking but it was good to have it explained in terms I could understand.

My listing activity was “normal” with 37 entries. I did a quite a bit of email catch up and sent out over40 emails (not counting “school” related on the university system). I learned about bananas by visiting my nephew Craig’s blog (Click Here)

Well - time flew - but it is kind of boring to tell about it I guess – Hopefully next time I’ll have something more interesting to think about

God Bless

Friday, November 03, 2006

My "house" of Faith - Summary of Beliefs

I have been posting the contents of a series of lessons that I had started to call "Foundations of Faith but have now changed "metaphors" to call it the "House of Faith" --

The following is the "foundation" and "superstructure" of faith. In subsequent lessons I will deal with each item in more detail to add (changing metaphors again) more "meat" to these "bones"

Purpose: To provide a summary of the things that I believe are sufficient to allow me, through faith*, to come into a kingdom relationship with God through Jesus and to remain in that relationship until He calls us home (to heaven).

In other words, accepting and acting on these beliefs will gives me an assurance of a saving relationship with God through Jesus, provide me with a basis for fellowship with other Christians and generates a Spirit-filled life – experiencing the fruits of joy, peace, love and so on, while doing those works of service I am created in Christ Jesus to do

*Faith means being convicted of the truth of God’s promises and acting on those convictions.

Note: Any summary, by definition, is NOT the complete picture. Agreement on these principles can provide a starting place in our walk with God. The Bible contains much more detailed explanations of these truths. Deeper study and understanding of the details is needed to move us towards a closer walk of love and fuller obedience to God’s commands for citizens of the kingdom.

Guiding Principle: These summary statements are unchanging truths that apply to all people at all times. If, in the details of our studies, we see something that seems to be in conflict with any of these truths, we need to seek an understanding that isn’t in conflict and, until we do, we need to say, “I don’t understand”.

Belief Statements: (Foundations)

1. I believe in the God of the Bible.

2. I believe that the Bible is the authoritative source of all that I need to know to please God.

I need to be diligent in searching the scriptures to discover His will (using and applying “common sense” methods in understanding the nature and purpose of the Bible, what message it was intending to convey, and how it applies to us today)

These first 2 beliefs are the “foundations” – they are based on evidence but accepted by faith.

If I don’t believe in God then it doesn’t matter what the Bible says He wants – and if I don’t believe the Bible is the authority, I should look elsewhere for instruction.

I believe the rest of the things listed below are unchanging Biblical truths, which provide the essential elements of understanding the good news of God’s grace and how we need to respond in love & faith in order to live in hope. They represent the "superstructure" of this house of faith that God provides to keep me "safe" from "all harm".

I believe that

1. God created the universe that includes this world and he created humans in his image as thinking beings with an eternal soul and with the ability to make choices.

2. The humans created by God (Adam & Eve) and all humans born of Adam’s seed are incapable of making choices about how they live and behave that will satisfy God’s standard of righteous. – and that includes me (all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) – as a result I will become separated from God and be in jeopardy of his justice. – Left on my own, I am lost and without hope.

3. God in his love and mercy has worked, since the time of Adam, to restore that broken relationship – through Abraham, through Moses, through the prophets and finally, once for all, He sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross to take away our sins – past present & future – in a single complete loving act of redemption.

4. As a result of God’s work on the cross, we are saved if we have faith in Jesus. We are saved by faith and not by any work of ours. (There are, however responses that faith demands including repentance, confession and our surrender to him by being immersed (baptized). These responses allow God’s work of redemption to take effect in our lives – allow us to arise “to walk in a new life”)

5. God also gives Christians his Holy Spirit to help carry out the ongoing transformation into the likeness of Christ. – in a real and yet mysterious way I will be transformed and sanctified as I live in Christ – over time and limited only by my willingness to make that daily surrender of self -- to be a living sacrifice.

6. All of our actions and deeds must be governed by the 2 great commandments – to love God and to love others. -The primary message of the Gospel is about relationship – obedience must flow from love and the joy of the free gift rather than the fear of punishment. Fear is the reason for seeking God’s love – love is the motivator for obedience.

7. Even in my saved condition, I will fail in many ways to meet the standard of perfection (sanctification) that God ‘s spirit is working to produce in our lives. I can’t use this to justify (accept) my sin but I can use God's grace to remove the feelings of fear and guilt that can so easily overtake me.

8. When my failures cause offense to someone else or when I am offended by someone else’s failure, I need to follow Biblical process to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

9. Because God has added me to his church (those that are being saved) I will seek community with fellow believers – community of praise & worship, community of service and community of friendship, eating, playing, working together to the glory of God. Unity in the community comes through our common bond with Christ - not through our own efforts or compliance to a standard set of “rules”. Each “family” grouping of believers is directly accountable to God in the areas of specific beliefs and practices. They cannot be imposed by other groups of Christians.

10. The community collectively, and Christians individually have, as their primary mission to live as “citizens of the kingdom in a strange and alien land” – to live as “salt, leaven and light” - to fulfill the “great commission of making disciples as we go.” Wherever we are and in whatever we do this mission is “Job 1”. (referring to the Ford slogan - not a reference to the Biblical book)

I offer this as my understanding of God'smessage to the world and his desire for how I should live in response to his love. I offer this with full knowledge that I have difficulty living consistently and completely in accordance with these beliefs.

This "gap" between "what I belief is right and what I do" points me to the fact that of all this the most important thing is God's loving gracious desire for relationship -- He loved enough that he paid the price to allow me to experience his loving presence despite my imperfections. Should I reject such a wonderful offer?

God Bless

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Why do you blog?

Having devoted the last couple to posts giving “excuses” for why I haven’t been blogging it occurs to me that my faithful readers might be asking “Why do you bother?”

(Faithful readers???? OK, OK—stop laughing -- there must be at least 2 people I could consider to be faithful readers –and if there aren’t – don’t tell me --I’d rather live with my illusions)

Anyhow, I thought I might try to remind myself why I do this.

When I first started “Whitfield’s journey” (See Trip to Mississippi) on March 3 2006, it was to keep family and friends informed of our adventures as we traveled to Mississippi with the “BBB” to help with “hurricane relief” work. I continued the entries for that purpose during our follow-on trip through Texas until we arrived home at the end of April.

At that point I was going to quit but as noted in my May 1 entry – “Changing gears” I decided to keep it up. Here’s what I wrote then (with some minor editing to correct some typos)

“ I have had some support for continuing this [blog] – but it will now be for a different purpose. When I started the main purpose was to keep friends and family informed of our whereabouts and activities [while traveling].

While I will continue to record “what’s happening in our lives” –I have found this to be a useful thing for myself – putting my thinking in writing and maybe once in a while getting some push back or affirmation from someone else. If you are reading God bless you and thank you for staying with it.

One other thing – Charlie who is the “I” in this blog. My life partner and wife Linda makes up the “we”. I usually know when I can express something as “we” and when it should be ”I” but occasionally Linda may disagree so to be safe if it is something “weird” that “we” think – it is probably me you should blame for the “weirdness.”.

As I look back – I have had several of my family and friends tell me that they use the blog to keep track of us.

I have also had a several good (mostly email) conversations that started through the blog. I have made friends with several other bloggers that I have met. Mostly due to JD –who is the blogging king as far as I’m concerned.

One other reason is that the time I spend writing helps keep me focussed on what’s important and (despite the fact that it seems I spend too much time thinking (writing) about stuff this focus actually does translate into actions. And so I think writing does keep me on track of doing the things I need to be doing.

I have learned from others and I hope that in some small way sometimes what I’ve written has helped others. So I do it for me – selfishly – but with the hope that my selfishness will flow good to someone else.

Speaking of blogs and blogging

I was humbled (but flattered) to find myself quoted by Bobby Cohoon ( in his October 22nd post.

My friend JD had carpal tunnel surgery and “The Hand” has become his trademark for this week. John has also taken to posting music clips from He devoted a big chunk of one of his recent posts to his favorite singer Chris Tomlin. You can find out more about Chris by clicking HERE.

JD also asks an interesting question about Church Architecture in his October 28th post and gives a partial response the following day. The question was

“If our “church buildings” reflected the heart and mission of Christ, what would they look like? (And we know that the term ‘church building’ is an oxymoron.)”

-- Coincidentally? I came across another blog (via Bobby Valentine) by Wade Tannehill that dealt with a similar idea in “A church without walls

Bobby been posting (click HERE for his blog) a series of articles starting on September 22nd that deal with our views about the meaning of the Old Testament. He presents a view that it is a consistent story of a loving gracious God who looks to his people to build relationship and who expects his people to love other’s – God is the great Redeemer – who provides the great command – to Love and expects his people to form a great society (relationship) of compassion, respect and love.

I limited my “Berean list” to 33 entries this week and with one “minor” exception on Sunday I kept within my self-imposed guidelines of how long I should spend on it (Sunday I used up more than my quota of time for the whole week by spending several hours composing a too lengthy response to a single question) . AH well.. I do talk too much at times.

It was a busy week. I got caught up on all my course work, gave a midterm and marked those tests. I (more or less) kept up with the housework and feeding Alyssa and I. I got some work done raking leaves in between the rain showers and did a number of other small jobs. (I did this self-portrait by putting the camera on a box and setting the timer. It doesn't do justice to showing the amount of leaves we get in our yard).

Anyhow, now my list of things I’m committed to for next week is at least manageable.

Yesterday I met my friend Russ for a coffee at Tim Horton’s – he is a great guy with a heart for service. We talked about a number of things including how different people see God and how that influenced their lives. Russ will be leading singing on Sunday – first time – and he is a little nervous about that. Thursday p.m. and again this morning (today my Dad went with me) I visited with Mary Seabrook. She is 95 and confined to her bed – heavily medicated – due to a hip problem. They had done surgery a couple of weeks ago but it didn’t seem to work out and there’s nothing more tobe done other than managing the pain. Mary is a lifelong friend of my parents and her daughter is a longtime friend who attends Pinehill. We continue to pray for Mary and her family during this difficult time.

This afternoon, I had a web-cam conversation with Kevin, Will and then Linda & I talked for quite a while. We have talked on the phone but it was great to see her smile. Another 10 days and I’m off to Aurora (Chicago) to meet up with Linda and help her finish out her week there looking after Hunter & Camdyn.

Well that’s it for now.

Maybe I’ll get back to more frequent shorter posts – or maybe I won’t – there are no rules about this.

God Bless

Friday, October 27, 2006


A while back I said I would post my weekly Sunday school lesson as a means of sharing with you some of my thoughts on our relationship with God. I haven't done so for a while because I was away and then -- well look at the last 2 posts -- if you don't know my excuses for being delinquent with this.

In my September 28 posting titled “Heritage” (click HERE and scroll down a little bit ) I included the "Introduction" to a series of lessons I’m (currently) calling “Foundations of Faith".

In that class (held September 23) I asked “What questions would you want to ask someone to establish where they were in their relationship with God?” .

To-day I present the answers given by this group of long-time Christians --

1. Who is Jesus? And what do you think about him? (we digressed to remind ourselves that, based on what Jesus said & did in the gospels we must conclude he is either who he says he was (Lord) or he was out of touch with reality (a lunatic) or he was simply trying to deceive (a liar). No other logically consistent possibility exists)
2. Do you believe in God?
3. Do you believe in the Bible?
4. Have you read the Bible and when?
5. Do you believe in an afterlife? (Is this all there is - we die and that’s the end or ??
6. Do you believe in good & evil?
7. Is the Bible important to how you live?
8. Do you believe in prayer?
9. If the answer to 2, 3, 5, 6 or 8 is no – Why don’t you believe?
10. What do you think will be the consequences of the way you live and what you believe? (or are there any consequences?)
11. Do you understand the covenants? (some thought this was too advanced for an initial conversation)

Note: There is no "ordering" of which questions to ask 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on and I'm not sure that any such order exists? - Beliefs are a complex set of interelated thoughts -- not a "recipe" that has "steps 1 through n"

These are good questions -- and I think if we got through a session where we just listened to the answers and understood what was being said -- we would have a good idea of where we would want to start in terms of the “gaps” between their beliefs and yours (or maybe more precisely) what you understand the Bible to be saying about these things.

Next lesson, I will ask a different question --

“What are the things you would say to someone that covers -- as briefly as possible --what you believe is sufficient for you to have confidence that you have and maintain a “saving” relationship with God?

God Bless

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why I haven’t been blogging – Part 2

Another week (and a bit) has flown by since my last posting.

While I gave up long ago keeping up with my prolific blogging Christian brother JD (click HERE) I have intended to do 2 or 3 entries a week. But lately if I’ve managed once a week I’ve been doing well. How come?

Last week I said the number 1 reason was my “addiction” to a discussion list that had siphoned me off and kept me from blogging. I certainly seem to have hit a chord with several other of my blogging friends since I had several empathetic responses and encouraging responses.

Interestingly, I heard on CBC radio this week that this is a real probem especially among children. So I did a search on this topic (using the INTERNET of course). There is a lot out there – my search with the words ‘INTERNET addiction’ had almost a half a million hits. One example is a New York Times article in December 2005.

There are sites dedicated to INTERNET addiction recovery – for example the Centre for Internet Addiction Recovery is devoted to this issue. I also found a test that you can take to check whether you are an addict. (Click HERE) if you want to take it.

While Linda might score me differently my results were well within the category of “normal usage”. It was a little reassuring to know that I wasn’t “clinically” addicted. However, I do think it is something I need to keep an eye on. With God’s help, I can keep from going over the edge on this.

If anyone has a serious concern about their level of INTERNET use I’d encourage them to do an honest assessment and if there is any possibility that this is “spinning out of control” seek help. God put us here to have an abundant life and I don’t think allowing anything other than Jesus to control our lives will give us that “richness”

So what kept me from blogging this week? (I’ll only do the top 5 this week)

Number 5. I swore off the INTERNET for the week to be sure I wasn’t addicted. Well, maybe that would be a good thing – but not true. I actually spent a lot of time working to catch up in my backlog of email (both personal and related to my teaching at Algoma U.) – and made a dent in it but there is still a lot to be done in that area.

My goal is to deal with all email as it arrives – either read and respond, delete as irrelevant or place in the “C-file” to be addressed whenever I have any spare time. I managed to do that with everything new that came in this week. I also made the rounds of several of my favorite bloggers and got caught up with the happening in their lives – JD & Dee in particular had several inspirational and challenging posts . I dropped by a few others using links from the Berean list and other blogs. I haven’t been to my friend Bobby Valentine’s blog for a while – maybe next week. I always enjoy reading his posts. He is very thoughtful and provides a lot of in depth challenging lessons based on his Bible study and research and they make me think and challenge me to grow.

I also “lurked” on the Berean list and made a few comments (39 for week) but mostly “one-liners” . I closed out my participation in a number of ongoing debates that just seemed to be going in circles. One of the principles I try to follow (but often fail in doing) is that in any discussion I seek to understand what the other person is saying before I begin “arguing” and trying to convince them I’m right & they are wrong. When I recognize that I’m just arguing and not listening – or if listening-- I see that we “understand each other” but just don’t agree – I will close off the discussion until such time as there is something new to be heard or said that hasn’t already been heard or said. At the end, however, I think my INTERNET “fixes” were in control and kept in balance – so yes I didn’t blog because I ran out of INTERNET time doing other things.

In the course of executing my email , list “lurking” and” blog browsing” I did come across several ”neat” things and some of those I shared with others.

One example was Chris Bliss juggling

Another was a video for kids making the case for intelligent design in the universe

I also listened to a couple of sermons by JD (click HERE) and Roger (click HERE)

I also got to download some pictures that my brother-in-law Art tookat the family gathering. I haven't gotten to mine yet. I'm including one of Dad with all his "kids" (I'm the good looking one of the guys - back row centre) and one of the group as we gathered to watch the Powerpoint Saturday evening. Dad has 70 direct descendents and 50 of them made an appearance at somepoint in the weekend.

Number 4. It’s Roger’s fault for leaving – Well not really but I just wanted to take a “pot shot” at him. I do have a number of service- ministry commitments.

I dedicated most of last Friday & Saturday to preparing a sermon and Sunday school lesson. I will get back to posting of those lessons - maybe this week.

I visited Mary Seabrook & Marion’s brother Dan in the hospital on Tuesday. Mary has now returned to the Davey Home. Wednesday was weekly Bible study and Thursday night I attended the kickoff of a film series organized by the Seelers called “Full Flame”.

Friday, I made a Red Cross runs to take a lady to the Y and then picked her up to take her home a couple of hours later (with side visits to Pharamacy and Credit union) There are a number of other people I need to be in touch with and visit if possible – but for a variety of reasons that has happened. – at least this neglect hasn’t been caused by too much blogging.

Number 3. I’m still alone – poor me!! I’ve had too many things to do around the house and I just haven’t had much to talk about on the blog. Well actually—Alyssa is here. We have had several good conversations about her school work and other things happening in her life. I haven’t done much extra household stuff other than the normal daily stuff that I would (or at least should) be doing even when Linda was here.

The highlight of my day has been Linda’s calls every evening. Sharing our days over the distance is a poor substitute for being together but it is significantly better than 40 plus years ago when we were separated for months due to school and the communication was by old fashioned letter. That time delay would be unbearable in today’s world. I’m counting the days until I leave to meet her at Chris’ in early November.

Tuesday was Chris’ birthday – and I forgot to call him until Wednesday – I had thought of it but without the “double” memory it didn’t happen.

The good news last night was that Kevin has gotten his proposal submitted and hopes to do the “defense” on October 31. If that is successful the purpose for Linda being there will have been fulfilled and for that we will thank God. It has been a difficult time for Kevin & Sarah – this big push on thesis work is putting a strain on their relationship. Hopefully, Linda being there can help them in that area as well.

Number 2. I had a whole bunch of yard work and other jobs to do. The leaves are falling, the motor home has to be cleaned out in preparation for storage. My friend Russ needs help with his brother’s place on St.Joseph island. All true – but it rained most of the week and I had a conflict on Thursday when Russ wanted me to go so I didn’t do anyof those things – so it hardly explains why I haven’t been blogging.

So the number 1 – UNO – TOP – PREMIER REASON that I haven’t been blogging is SCHOOL – What? School – Yes – I’m teaching one course and providing 2 reading courses at Algoma University and I had gotten seriously behind first with the family related items (trip to Beamsville for Partnership dinner honoring Art & Ruby) and then preps for family weekend on (Canadian) Thanksgiving to honor my Dad), further exacerbated by my week of “Bereanese” (see previous post)

So this week has been devoted to “catching up” on the class stuff. Marking assignments and preparing tests (for mid-terms next week and the week after).
So we’ll see what next week brings – My commitments are to the AUC classes, to “fall jobs” (yardwork, storing the BBB and helpingRuss) and “household routine”(I haven’t done the housecleaning yet but I did rememberto water the plants!!).

So maybe I’ll see you on the lists and blogs or maybe I won’t – It depends on how well I do in meeting those important commitments (and it goes without saying that service and ministry are always at the top – or at least I want them to be)

God Bless

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why I haven’t been blogging?

I looked at the stats for my blog today and was amazed that there had been 40 visits –I know this time none of them were me going back to look at something or to get a reference for a new post so either 1 determined soul came back 40 times (which I doubt) or 40 people came one time (which I equally doubt) so it is likely somewhere in between.

In any case I thought I’d give you my top ten excus …. OOPS I mean reasons for not having been on the blogs this week.

10. Last weekend was the family reunion for the early celebration of my Dad’s 90th Birthday (but that only lasted until Sunday so that’s not really it)

9. Linda is away in Vancouver visiting Kevin & Sarah and helping watch Will while they work (True but anyone who knows even the slightest thing about us would expect that to mean more blogging not less)

8. Monday was my birthday so I decided to take the week off and just “veg out” doing only the bare minimum needed to get my teaching and household commitments. (Oh how I wish that was true!!)

7. I needed to get the “BBB” winterized and that took so much time I didn’t have anytime left for other things. It is true that I spent several hours Tuesday afternoon removing anything that might freeze and blowing out/putting antifreeze in the water lines – but thanks to my friend Russ Ward that really only took about 2 hours. I did spent another hour or so visiting with him and talking about some “church” questions that he had.

6. I had too many people to visit and talk to about things that needed to be addressed in my “elder” role at the church. Well I did spend an hour visiting Mary Seabrook in hospital. She had fallen with a broken hip last week and had surgery. At age 94, she is struggling in the recovery – and needs our prayers. But that’s hardly a reason for not having time on the blog.

5. Our preacher left and I have a whole bunch of things that I need to do because of that (Rog – if you see this – you will be happy to know that everything that goes wrong is still your fault). Well I do have a sermon and a class to prepare for but they are still waiting to be done so hardly can be used as an excuse for not doing something else.

4. Linda is away and I have had to take care of many household things that she normally does. Well –there’s several problems with this excuse – one there’s only me (and Alyssa) so there’s not that much to do. Two, Linda left lots of precooked meals so cooking isn’t an issue, three, I (at least sometimes) do the cleanup part anyhow, and four, it doesn’t take much time to stuff some bedding and towels into the machine and then go back later to move them to the dryer --Oh yeah –I’m supposed to fold them and put them away –maybe I’ll get to that later.

3. I got behind in my class stuff last week when working on PPT for Dad’s party and I have assignments to grade as well as class preps to do. Oh – but Tuesday class was suspended (Founder’s day) and I only had a small amount of prep for Thursday. And the assignments are still waiting …

2. I have some work to do to respond to a request to help develop a ”statistical process control” course for engineers that requires a fair bit of time. But wait – I didn’t do anything on it either.

So the number one top reason (and probably the only valid one) is that I got “addicted” to the Berean Spirit list. I had not been on it for almost a week and a half and I felt compelled to “catch up” – and not only that I kept putting in my “2 cents” on too many topics.

I know I can’t keep it up because there are too many other things that I need to be doing. Isn’t it interesting that the very things that help us be “successful” in life can also be our biggest enemies. In my case it is a combination of when I do something I want to dive in whole heartedly and participate to the max and (as I have mentioned before) my buffet style approach to just heaping it on because I always think I can handle more than is really possible.

This can be good or it can be bad – It really depends on which things I decide to leave on the plate (or discard) or whether I try to handle it all to the point it makes me “ill”.

May God give me the strength and wisdom to say No and keep my plate filled on to the point that I need for nourishment rather than this unhealthy striving to always do more – which often ends up with many things (important things left undone or done poorly)

My friend John Dobbs who is also on the list told me I should “pick my battles” -- and that is good advice. I will heed it … tomorrow!!!

To give you a hint of how badly I lost the battle here are some excerpts from some of my 38 entries to that list between October 10 and noon on October 13.

Friday 1:39 p.m. “I don't have a lot time to pursue this now so I'll try this "small" clarification/question”

Friday 12:16 a.m. “And I've got no spare time -- I guess I'll have to take a sabbatical from the list for a few days - Do you think it will survive without me? :) :)”

Thursday 10:31 p.m. “Well I'm back into this again.”

Thursday 11:22 a.m. “Aaaagh! I know I know I promised -- maybe this time I'll mean it and keep it.”

Thursday 11:14 a.m. “My OCD has me needing to go through the entire list after a week away” ..
Thursday 10:47 a.m “ Now back to my promise not to discuss this anymore unless I see something new that I haven't seen before”

Thursday 10:29 a.m. “I'm ranting -- but I can't help it”

Thursday 10:02 a.m “I'm sorry -I can't help myself -- I think I need some addiction counselling!!!”

Thursday 9:41 a.m “Enough said about … (at least for me)

Thursday 9:02 a.m. “p.p.s This is my absolute last word on this -- I promise (he said with his fingers crossed!!)

Thursday 8:34 a.m. “because I've devoted a lot of time in the past couple of days …reading what you good folk have been discussing on this list --I need to get off this list and move on (the other things in my life)”

Wednesday 9:33 p.m. “I'm a little late with this response -- I've been gradually tracking this thread back to where I last left it and I have been hesitant to comment before I got to the end but …”

To my family & friends - I hope to have "recovered" sufficiently to do a post about the "big party" last weekend sometime next week. Art has already sent me a bunch of pictures.

To Wilma_ I know I still owe you an answer about accessing the list.

To JD, Bobby, Dee and any of my other blogging friend who may have dropped by my biggest failure is not so much that I wasn’t putting anything on my blog but I also wasn’t coming by to “get nourished” by yours.

I think I need to find a chapter of BLA (bloggers and listers anonymous) and beat this thing before it starts to ruin my life. Well I don’t think I’m really that bad –after all I can quit this any time I want to … I just don’t want to yet – :0 :)

All kidding aside I think there is some truth to the possibility of becoming addicted to this form of communication and discussion and while I’m not there – and I don’t think I ever will get there – the “close encounters of the worst kind” have given me at least a sense of the battle faced by those who are addicted to much more damaging and hurtful things.

You’ll know I’ve really lost it when I start my blog with “Hello my name is Charlie and I’m a blogaholic” ….

God Bless