Sunday, July 30, 2006

Growing patience

I've mentioned several times that Linda loves her garden. One of the annuals she plants is called "impatiens"

This picture isn't from her garden but it looks a lot like some of the ones she has grown.

I don't know if the root of the name has anything to do with patience or not but when I hear it always reminds me of "impatience" which I have a lot of.

This summer in our children's Sunday school the theme is "The fruits of the Spirit".

My blogging friend Bobby Valentine recently (a month or so ago) suggested a process of listening to God by praying through Romans. I tried his suggestion and found it to be a useful experience and so I thought I might do something similar with the Galations 3:23 passage . I started by looking at what the Bible had to say about each of those fruits and then spending time in prayer asking for growth of that fruit in my life. I made a good start and got through love, joy, peace in the first week of doing this.

However, when I got to patience - my patience failed me and I got diverted onto other things. This morning sitting here in a campground I have been listening to couple of John Dobb's "podcast" sermons and meditating on the subject of how fruit grows - not of its own effort but through its' connection with the tree. Roger gave a lesson a few weeks ago on that theme --that we are able to love our enemies - not of our own doing - but through our connectedness to the vine

So my thought is that we can grow the flowers of "patience" in our lives through our connection with Jesus.

Here are the results of my search for "patience" - May reading and praying about this be the seeds and fertilizer for a garden of patience that the Spirit grows in your life

Patience – (patient, bear with) – 333 times in NT including

Patient with each other (in context of forgiving and overlooking faults)

1. Matthew 18:26, 29 Parable of the ungrateful servant – Master forgave large debt; fellow servant owed small debt and asked for patience; but he didn’t "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'

2. Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

3. Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

4. Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

6. 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Patience in listening

7. Acts 26:3 (Paul with Felix) and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

God’s patience -

8. Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

9. Romans 9:22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?

10. 1 Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

11. 1 Peter 3:20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

12. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

13. 2 Peter 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

Our Patience (as a "flower" grown by God's spirit)–

14. 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

15. Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

16. 2 Corinthians 6:6 (Paul speaking of himself and how he has lived “in Christ”) in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;

Waiting for God or enduring hardship with patience

17. Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

18. Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

19. 2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

20. Colossians 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, …

21. 2 Timothy 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,

22. Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

23. Hebrews 6:15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

24. J ames 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

25. James 5:8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

26. James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

27. Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus

28. Revelation 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth

29. Revelation 13:10 If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.

30. Revelation 14:12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Feeling like a king?

Proverbs 17:6 says "Children's children are a crown to the aged, …"

We spent the weekend “grandparenting” two of our grandchildren, Hunter & Camdyn, I don’t know if the writer of Proverbs meant that grandchildren would make us feel like king’s and queen’s and I certainly am not yet prepared to classify us as “aged”—however, “children’s children” are a blessing and we felt like royalty having them with us. However, we also re-discovered how much energy it takes to keep up with a 6& 8 year old.

We took them camping in the ”BBB” at Point Des Chenes. This park which is at the “head” of the St. Mary’s River as it enters from Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior takes its name from the fact that the beach has about 20 feet of small rocks before it turns into sand. It is quite shallow and you can go out a long way wading. There is one section of beach that has mostly sand all the way to the shore which is great place for the kids to play.

We went out Friday afternoon and came back in for Sunday services. Tammye picked the kids up after lunch and we went back out for the night and came home yesterday. We found out last night that Tammye had a flat tire in Michigan and had to stay overnight at Marinette WI since she needed to get a new tire and she didn’t want to drive all the way on the “doughnut”. God was gracious to them because the section of M-35 from Escanaba to Menonimee has some fairly long stretches that are sparsely populated. However, there are a lot of summer residents along the lake, In any case, the tire went right at the end of a driveway and they were able to find a man at home who kindly helped change the tire so they could make it to a motel for the night. Thank God for this angel of mercy.

Back to the weekend. After getting setup Friday afternoon, we went to the beach. After supper there is a wagon ride and then ”Hank” blows his bugle to call the kids to an evening soccer game which Hunter played in (both nights).

Hank is Henry “Dutchy” Van Deutzen. He is retired from the Engineering department at Algoma Steel and I knew him from those days. He spends his summers at the campground and “coaches” soccer games for the kids twice a day combining his love for soccer with a desire to provide the kids with some recreation.. He also has set up several protected areas of milkweed along the beach since this is a spot where the monarch butterflies come on their migration. The world is full of “amazing” people with interests and a devotion to service that we often don’t even realize when we only see them in one context.

Linda’s niece (her sister Carol’s oldest daughter) Lee Ann is a “seasonal” camper and has a trailer at the park all summer. After the wagon ride, she came by for a visit with her 2 kids Amanda and Noah.

Amanda is 10 and Noah is 8—he is just 3 months older than Hunter. The kids had a great time getting to know their cousins and playing together. We had a fire and roasted marshmallows (both nights) .

Saturday late morning the kids went to the beach with Noah & Amanda and had a great time together. We were grateful for the other kids since it is difficult to keep them occupied.

After (a late) lunch, they had a “Kid’s fear factor activity.

Hunter dove right into this while Camdyn decided she would just observe. They had things like picking marbles out of ice-filled water with your toes, passing egg yolks, standing in minnow filled water to sing a song, retreiving pennies from wormed filled mud and the finale –which was Hunter’s favorite was eating “gummy-bear” worms covered with whipped cream with no hands.

Proverb’s 13:22 says "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, ..."

If the writer of the Proverb’s was referring to money I don’t think I will qualify - although I guess it doesn’t say how large an inheritance a ”good man” leaves his grandchildren. However, the more important inheritance we would like to give them is a love for God and his people.

Linda had the pleasure of having them in her Sunday class this week. Actually, she was complimented by her “regular’ kids because when Hunter and Camdyn told them Linda was their grandmother – the kids she has been teaching said “No way-she’s not old enough to be a grandmother”.

To-day we head out on the “second leg” of our summer vacation. It seems a little strange to talk about vacation when you are retired but we have been busy – in any case we will be visiting my sister Ruby& her family who have a cottage near Iron Bridge(80 miles east on Highway17). Then we will be going to Kingston ON to visit Melissa. On the way home we hope to visit Linda’s youngest sister Stephanie. We have been playing telephone tag with her and haven’t firmed that up yet. ( Linda is the oldest of 10 and Stephanie is the youngest --and she is younger than her nephew Chris our oldest son. Lee Ann is about six months older than Chris so they both have an aunt who is younger than they are.)

I probably won't have INTERNET except at the KOA in Kingston --so entries may be sporadic over the next week or so.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A gate that doesn’t open

To-day was a great day. It was a beautiful summer day with relatively low humidity and low--80’s (28C) . Linda & I started our day with a walk and ended it with a visit with Roger& Sandra & Kyle. We went there to install a trailer hitch on my truck – Roger had the same F-150 truck a few years ago and had kept the hitch when he traded it in. He gave it to me to see if I could get more on the sale of my truck with the hitch installed.

Afterwards we were looking at pictures of the house that Roger & Sandra have bought in Troy and the semi-detached that Kyle had bought in Thunder Bay last weekend. (Kyle has his own website and the pictures are in Gallery/Our new home at It was sad for us to have the reality of their moves brought home but at the same time we enjoyed sharing in their excitement of facing “new horizons”.

In between the walk and the visit with the Lansdell’s I worked on several documents – some describing the changes in ministry roles related to filling the “gaps” when the Lansdell’s leave and some planning documents for ADnet that were due last Friday.

Then we had Hunter& Camdyn here for a couple of hours. I took Hunter to the playground and wore myself out playing with him on the monkey bars (actually he was swinging along like Tarzan-I on the other hand just pretended since I could reach the ground and walk along from one bar to the next – but even that was tiring when you are trying to keep up with an 8 year old!!

We also attended the Wednesday study “Life Lessons from the Andy Griffith show (click HERE) which we are running again this summer.

So what’s this about a gate? Several times I’ve mentioned Linda’s passion for her garden. One of her creations was a winding path that leads to a gate that doesn’t open. I often refer to it as “ the path to nowhere”.

Sometimes we joke about leading someone down the garden path but it got us nowhere. I’ve tried to think of a useful metaphor about Christian living that would go with this feature but so far all I can come up with is that is represents what it means to try to live without God. I do know that Linda’s concept was simple— it doesn’t mean anything -- it just looks neat.

The path (in the picture you cans ee it in the foreground -it winds around behind the oak tree and ends at the gate) we made by pouring cement into a “stepping stone” mold.

At the end of the path in the corner of our back yard is a trellis that Dad & I built after the usual dialog with Linda about how what she was envisaging wouldn’t work –but as usual her confidence in my ability to give form to her “impractical” ideas proved to be right despite my initial sceptism (“You want me to build what? Are you crazy- that can’t be done" is a typical first reaction when she comes up with these brainstorms)

The gate itself originally was the headboard from our old crib with the legs cut off. We had used the crib for all three of our children and Linda had decorated it with cartoon figures. It wasn’t useable as a crib anymore because it didn’t meet current safety standards so Linda thought it would make a good gate. –permanently mounted on the trellis.

We originally installed this 6 or 7 years ago and by this spring the paint had peeled and the veneer was separating. I brought it in and we were looking at how to repair it. Linda said – “Well we still have the foot board for the crib –would it fit?” . Sure enough it did.

She decided to have Arliss (her sister) paint the one side with a floral decoration (bottom inset) and leave the Snow White picture (top inset) facing the neighbor’s yard since they have a small child. Installing the new gate was one of my projects last week.

We have a chipmunk who likes to sit on the garden bench and he was there several times last week but by the time I got the camera he was gone and wouldn’t come back until I had given so that’s a picture ‘ l hope to get another time.

Perhaps the real message of the “gate that doesn’t open at the end of the path to nowhereis that” Life’s a journey” to be savored at each step and not a destination to be rushing towards –and if you do try to rush to a destination you may find your self nowhere with the road ahead blocked.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

p.s. I have some pictures for this but blogger isn't cooperating to-night so I'll try again in the a.m.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The stormy North

Monday we went to Thessalon to help Linda’s sister Arliss celebrate her birthday. Actually Linda’s job was to ”lure” Arliss away from home so her daughter’s could prepare for a surprise party. So we took her out to their “camp” at Big Basswood Lake. Linda & I both got into the water for a swim – first time in a while that we’ve done that.

It has been quite warm (32C or 90F). When we were leaving the Sault the sky had gotten really dark looking like a thunder storm was blowing in. When we got to Thessalon we had just went into the house when It started to pour rain with hail mixed in – along with Thunder & lightening but it only lasted about 10 minutes and by the time we got to the lake the sun was shining again. . However, when we got home last night we had an email from Karen Morin with pictures showing a tree that had blown down in their yard when the storm had blasted through their area.

Linda’s sister Theresa told us at the party that a couple of barns were blown down in the Desbarats area and there were pictures of one of those in the Sault Star (click HERE)

Roger had made a trip to Sundridge to return some canoes to his uncle Steve May and he told us this morning that he nearly got blown off the road due to severe winds and near tornado like conditions. In fact the storms in the Mattawa area (Click HERE) were so severe that a national emergency was declared in that area.

One of the comments that I often hear (and have even made myself) after we returned from Mississippi has been that we may have snow and cold in the North but we don’t have to worry about floods and hurricanes and tornados. I think this was just a small reminder of the power that exists in Nature and that no one is exempt.

Of course –this damage is small in comparison to the wide spread devastation along the Gulf Coast. You would have to take theseisolated cases and multiply them millions of times over to get anything closetothe damage doneby Katrina. However, it still is no less serious for those affected and certainly devastating to those families where there was loss of life. Our prayers are with the victims ofthese storms.

Well this is a short entry— I have had a fairly busy day. Made trip to Sault Michigan this a.m. to pick up a replacement light for the bathroom in the “BBB” that I had ordered last week. When I got home I iinstalled itand did some other odd jobs. Tammye & the kids are in town but are staying with her sister to-night. Hope to see them tomorrow

God Bless

Monday, July 17, 2006

Getting personal

Another week begins. I am enjoying an early morning watching the sunrise. This week begins a “vacation” period for us. Tammye will be here with Hunter & Camdyn from Tuesday evening until next Sunday. We will take the kids “camping” in the “BBB” this weekend. Next week we will be at Clear Lake Campground (near Iron Bridge which is about 80 miles east of the Soo). My sister Ruby will be there for the week and we look forward to visiting with them. We will then travel to Kingston, Ontario to visit our daughter Melissa and her friend Alexander. We are also hoping tobe able to see Linda’s sister Stephanie on our way back. So we are basically ”off” until around August 6th.

I have previously mentioned my friend John Dobbs in Pascagoula, Mississippi. On Friday He posted a comprehensive review of the ongoing relief efforts on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans -primarily focused on the efforts of the Churches of Christ and Christian churches in the area. It brought back the bitter sweet memories of our time there in March. Tears as I visualized the pain of Marlene & Bill Kelly trying to come to grips with having lost almost all of their household belongings after 50 years together. Tears from seeing people without homes and food because they had lost everything and then had been lost in the system that was supposed to be helping them recover. But joy of making new friends, of getting to know Robbie and John, and John and David (x5) and Elaine and Ann and Harry and …. The joy of giving and making new friends is such a rich blessing. It is a paradox that to experience real joy we have to feel the pain of compassion. His previous post about “never being homeless” is a powerful example of how “God works in mysterious ways”.

Last week I had a good email “conversation" with my cousin Wilma. (I mentioned her in my July 2 posting). She had been going over some of the recent entries and concluded that I was a certain personality type. Her assessment was based on a book for Christians written by Florence Littauer. Being a person that needs to dig a little deeper before accepting someone else’s analysis (which probably says something about my personality) I did a search and cameup with a “self-assessment” for the “four temperaments” which are close to but not identical to the four personality types referred to in the Personality Plus concept provided by the Littauer’s.

There are of course a “gadzillion” approaches to personality assessment (Meyers-Briggs) is one of the more popular ones that I am familiar with) This is not my field so anyone who really wants to use personality assessment as a tool to improve their lives and relationships should do their own research or consult with a professional. My sister Ruby and my son Kevin both have backgrouns in psychological testing so this will make a good topic of discussion with them.

Anyhow, I found an on-line Personality test that uses the four temperments approach. I am familiar with a variation on this called the Five temperments (FIRO-B by William Shultz) since it was used at one time where I worked to “screen” potential managers.

Linda and I had some fun Friday night doing this test for ourselves and for each other. It was also an opportunity to continue some “tutorial” work on building Linda’s comfort with using the computer. As often seems to happen when showing someone how "easy” it is to do things, we were frustrated by the fact that the results for her tests (done on different computers by both of us failed to arrive by email so we don’t have a record of her results) (My results ,done the same way on the same computers, both arrived by email – go figure!!) . The thing I found most satisfying was that our assessments of ourselves matched our assessments of each other. (Although with different % ages). So I guess after (almost) 40 years of being a “couple”(45 if we count our “courtship”) we do know each other quite well.

Anyhow – bottom line –best I could figure with allowances for the differences in the “classifications” Wilma was probably pretty accurate in her evaluation. Her point in all this was that one of the characteristics exhibited by “my” personality type was a strong desire to please other people and her encouragement to me was to “just be myself” -

All this reminds me of 2 “favorite sayings – “God accepts and loves me as I am but he loves me to much to leave me this way”- and “ I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil 4:12) - These are favorites of mine because I realize that so often they are not true in my life -- so a part of my “new found” passion for “just do it”— is
- to accept “I am who I am” ,
- to know that “I don’t have to give up being me to be accepted by you”
(from the book "Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You? by Jordan & Margaret Paul) "and
- to realize that any change in me will only come through the transforming work of God’s spirit in my life.

Just doing it includes "letting go (of being in control) and letting God (take care of my life)

Thank you Wilma for this conversation.

There were some other things in that conversation about living out our faith in Jesus that are ongoing and I will cover in another post. I also need to cover the “gate at the end of the path to nowhere” and “partying with the neighbors” and “Friday night at the movies” so if circumstances allow I hope to post everyday this week.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

I added Sitemeter ( a few weeks ago to count the “hits” and it seems that there are some people out there reading this. I appreciate it and would like comments (good or bad or indifferent) if you have a moment to do so. Or send an email to

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Living by the Nike creed?

The world is full of slogans – many originated by companies in hopes of “burning their brand onto your brain”. One of these slogans that has stuck with me is the Nike "Just Do It" slogan introduced in 1998 (click Here to see the Wikipedia description of Nike) .

This along with their “swoosh” symbol have come to be synonymous with Nike in my mind. (Mind you I seldom buy their products as a result of this “branding” success)

So why am I plugging Nike? For a long time Linda & I have had a difference in our approach to doing projects. I am analytical by nature. I like to have a “plan” about what we are going to do. I like to have a list of all the projects that we might be doing, agree on which ones are most important and then work on those until they are done. (and unless I have taken the time to make checklists and detail what needs to be done I tend to lose focus and get distracted on other things that come up that need to be taken care of and I may not get back to finish those projects—so there have been situations where there was a (long forgotten) list of incomplete things sitting around the house and yard. (and in the computer).

(As an aside this is made worse by the fact that I have the “buffet” table syndrome when it comes to making promises about what I will get done -my “eyes” (saying Yes I’ll do that) are lot bigger than my stomach (the time it’ll really take to get it done exceeds the time available) . I’ve previously mentioned the advise from my friend Terry Miller about managing commitments and I have been doing a better job of that. However, it has come with the price of seeming to want to avoid Linda’s projects “because they are not in the plan”).
Linda is more “intuitive” – she has a “vision” of some final result and , while she may say that is what she wants us to work on she will often start out by doings something else because it needs to be done first or it needs to be done to prepare for some other project down the road – or whatever. Since these things aren’t” on the list” it tends to frustrate me – and she has never mentioned those things a list of prerequisites that need to be done – e.g. paint the railing first. She “knows” what needs to be done and she just wants to get on with it. On the other hand she sees me as a prime example of “paralysis by analysis” using my need for things to “be in the plan” as an excuse for not doing the things she thinks are most important. Regardless of the “correctness” of these “perceptions” it has been an ongoing source of frustration for both of us.

So where I am going with all this --- Sunday afternoon we were doing our group study on the “Barnabas” factor (See
and at the end of the paragraph is the “Nike statement” -- not quite but close.

The actual quote is “Quit talking about it. Stop replacing action with incessant planning. Just get out there and do it” (End quote). Of course this was talking about “small acts of kindness” that would encourage other people” and I believe it requires more than just our “willpower” to transform our behavior if this is something that isn’t a ”natural” characteristic on our part – but that’s another story.

Anyhow, the whole group heard Linda say – “Charlie – that’s talking about you” and so I thought maybe I should try to adopt a little of that “Just do it” approach in our daily lives.

Monday a.m. I made up my usual list of projects that I thought were the most important to do and the things I was committed to doing this week. Instead of asking Linda for what else she wanted to add to the list, I simply made the commitment that I would ask here what she was going to do Monday and how I could help. And then I committed to Linda that whatever (one thing) she wanted us to be doing I would “just do it”(and as best I could work on that until it was done. (subject to meeting other commitments that I had which I would inform her about”up front”.

So far this week it has been working fairly well, although we have been doing ”independent” projects. (not working to-gether on the same thing), so it has been easier to fit the “just do it”concept inwhile still takingtime to meet my commitments There haven’t been asmany times that we seemed to be “fussing” about “never starting or never finishing things”. Or “always wanting to change the plan 5 minutes after we have agreed to it) I guess time will tell if I can really adapt the “just do it” approach into my need for a ”plan” to manage my commitments. I certainly accept thev validity of the fact that it is easy to “overplan” to the point where you really don’t have a ”focus” on getting things done –

I have so far Cleaned the carpet in the "BBB", cleaned the roofon the "BBB", started to repair a bathroomlightin the BBB andordered the replacement part. Run several errands and generally have "just done" everything that hascome up.The pricehas been less time to do thingslike this blog and readingotherblogs which I like to do but are on the "just do it" agenda' I did exchange several emailsabout my blog with a couple of people who sent me comments and I had an unexpected need tomeet an inspector fromthe insurance company towalkthrough the church building (because Rob who normally handles these things is on vacation). And with allofthat I have still had a fair bit of" downtime -- so maybe there is something to this "just doing it" idea.

As for the “Barnabas factor” quote-- I do think that the “just do it” concept is a sound one when it comes to “Godly living” - if we accept that the Spirit will “move us” to do good – then we need to respond with action rather than vague plans that “I should do this or that”. So often delaying those impulses means that we end up with the regret of “wishing we had done it” rather than experiencing the joy of doing.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A "Berry" good day

One of the things I like most about being retired is having the time to strengthen and build relationships. One of the most frustrating things to me about being retired has been having the time to build relationships. Ponder that contradiction for a while and it may drive you crazy.

“Curbside stop”( = an aside to talk about something else that is not directly related to the topic at hand) - I am by nature a very analytical person. Linda is more of an intuitive “just do it” kind of person so when I get into one of my long involved dialogs – pushing & prodding to look at something every which way it drives her crazy and she sometimes has to say “Will you just stop and get on with it?”. I say all this to tell you that I’m not going to subject you to a “blow-by-blow” of how I arrive at the contradiction above)

Just let me say that I have experienced many positive things in my personal relationships over the past 2 years. In particular, my relationship with Linda has grown to a much deeper level of communication and partnership. This has not come without some “pain" but, in balance, I feel very good about the “Whitfield’s journey” together. I look forward with anticipation to a continuing growth. I can say the same about improvements in my personal walk with God and a number of personal friendships.

However, the “most frustrating” thing is in the area of developing closer relationships with others as a couple. For many years we have been busy with a wide circle of relationships at church, within our family, and through work , –but had no “close circle of friends” that we “did things with” as a couple. This “gap” in our lives was previously masked by the “no time” excuse but now I see “that the problem with us is me (not time)” With my analytical nature, I could write a “book” analyzing this reality but I won’t burden you with that.

Suffice it to say that the “most frustrating thing “ is understanding that I need to change but not knowing how to do it. I am doing my best to put that in God’s hands. While he does his work , I’m trying to be more relaxed, to just be myself and to let the relationships build (or not) as the opportunity arises.

I say all of this to say that the past couple of week has given me a glimmer of hope that we are making some “breakthrough’s” in that area.

So Wednesday & Thursday were full of “taking care of business”. Linda worked on several of her “house & garden” projects. One of those was removing the old paint and re-painting the wrought iron railing on our patio. I helped some with cleaning of the old paint. Shelly Slawson, Laura & Jessica dropped by on their way back from a bike ride to the park. During their short visit , Linda enjoyed “showing off” her garden to the girls.

Wednesday, I met with Lloyd H. to discuss something’s related to the church, took my Dad to a doctor’s appointment, took care of some banking and other business and went to Algoma U to place orders for the textbooks for the courses I am teaching this fall.

I am teaching an adult Sunday school class this summer and I spent several hours consolidating my thoughts on the series of lessons that I plan to present. One requirement is for each lesson to be “self-contained” since there is alack of continuity of participants during the summer due to vacations. I also spent awhile writing up the results of the congregational meeting from the prior Wednesday.

Wednesday night was the first in our summer series “Life Lessons from the Andy Griffith show” led by Roger. We had a good turnout including a number of folks from the community who don’t normally attend our services – many of them had been there last year and found it of sufficient value that they have returned again.

Thursday morning I went golfing with my Dad and his friend Don Holmberg. In the p.m., I finished washing the exterior of my truck and placed an ad in the paper. I had to send in a picture so I took it to the little park near our house to get a better background. One of our neighbors came by walking her dog and said “I’m sure there a reason for that ….” which I took to mean “I wonder what on earth is that crazy fool up to ..”

Friday, we left early to drive to Thessalon (our hometown – actually we were raised in the country near there) to meet up with Linda’s sister Arliss. Linda is the oldest in a family of 10. Arliss is the 3rd youngest and 20 years younger than Linda. Arliss was born after Linda left home but they seem to have a special bond as sisters. (Picture shows Linda & Arliss at their nephew Max's wedding in July 2004)

Arliss is married to ”Coe” Bizier and they have 3 kids – the twins Michael and Alyssa - and Hillary. (the picture below shows them 2 years ago at a family wedding - left to right is Rebecca (one of their cousins), Michael, Alyssa and Hillary) Alyssa will be staying with us next fall while she attends Algoma U.
Anyhow, we went to Flood’s strawberry farm and between us we picked 50 lbs of strawberries in about an hour. (You bring your own containers and they weight them before & after to figure out how much you picked. They were very delicious and we did sample a few while picking. . Later in the day we were talking to an acquaintance from our high school days about the strawberries and she asked “So did they weigh you before and after?” I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes but I had a good laugh when I figured out that she was suggesting that hthet needed to do that to get paid for the “samples”. (I forgot my camera so I don’t have any pictures of this event - but the berries are awesome.

Afterwards, we returned to Arliss’ to clean the berries and put them in the freezer (aside from a healthy amount to we kept to eat fresh). Around 3 we went to their camp (Northern Ontario term for cottage) at the lake (Big Basswood) . The kids had a great time in the lake. I enjoyed just sitting quietly enjoying nature and listening to Linda & Arliss visit.

Coe came after work and we had supper there at the lake. It was one of the few times we have had a chance to have a meal just with them—mostly we see them at larger family gatherings. It was a great time and we got to know Coe a lot better. He talked a bit about his upbringing and family background – things I hadn’t heard before even though we have had many conversations during the 20 plus years they have been together.

After supper Coe & I took the canoe for a short paddle along the shore to see some of the other camps (and a few “mansions”) in the area. I hadn’t been in a canoe for several years and somy paddling wasn’t so great —but we did OK -- I enjoyed it and Coe seemed to as well. On our way home we dropped by to see Linda’s Mom. While we were there one of Linda’s nephew’s Jamie (her sister Theresa’s son) came by with his partner Renita and their kids Hayden (2) & Chastity (aprox. 6 mos). Cute kids. We seldom see them and it was the first time we had seen the baby.

When we got home we had a nice big dish of fresh strawberries with milk – A “berry” good ending to a “berry “ good day.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

God Lives

How did you read this title of this posting – God is alive OR Lives filled with God?

Well I’ll leave you to ponder that for awhile and come back to what I used this title later on.

Monday, we slept late—refused to answer the phone and had a great day doing whatever came to mind as the most important thing to be doing at that moment. Linda did a lot of clean-up, fix-up, paint-up work around the yard. I did a little of that but mostly I spent my time cleaning the interior of my truck. July 1 was the 2nd anniversary of my retirement so I was a little chagrined to discover that I hadn’t cleaned out the truck since then. Perhaps spending 6 months of thattime (that's equivalent to 1 day in 4) traveling in the BBB helps explain it but it still seems unbelievable. Anyhow, my hardhat and boots have now been stored away in the garage , all the accumulated “junk” has been removed and disposed of , the carpets vacuumed, armor-all on the vinyl, windows washed and the insides of the doors and doors post all washed. When I went to get in this morning I had to look twice to be sure I was getting in the right vehicle!! (JD – it reminded me of the van except I didn’t find a camera)

Karen & Rene Morin dropped by Monday while on a bike ride. They had been talking to Linda about the fact that they hadn’t ever seen the “BBB” so she had offered an open invitation to come by for a look – They were both off work since many businesses were closed yesterday as an alternate holiday because July 1 (Canada Day) was on Saturday. We sat and visited for a whilebefore they headed off. I have mentioned then before and there is a picture in my May 1 entry. See

Today (Tuesday - July 4 - big day in the US) we continued working on our projects, talked to Melissa about her weekend camping trip and had a nice walk this evening.

We also had a pleasant surprise this week when Dave McMillan called from Thunder Bay Sunday night and asked if he& Heather could stay here last night enroute to St. Catherines. We have known them since the mid-80’s. Although we hadn’t seen them for over10 years , We have followed some of the major events in their lives via email and through contact with mutual acquaintances.. They are from Saskatchewan. When we first met Dave was moving to Ontario to teach at the Bible College at Great Lakes Christian College. He and his family stayed at our place a couple of times in the mid 80’s as they traveled to/from Saskatchewan to visit family. I also got to know David during that period because I was on the Board of GLCC and was on campus several time a year. I was deeply engaged in conversation with Dave this a.m.and had to rush out ot meet Roger for breakfast so I forgot to take apicture. Hope they comeback soon so I can rectify this (Maybe we'll haveto go toMexico to do it - only problem is getting the "BBB" into thevillage where they workmight be a bit tricky)

In the 90’s David’s journey of faith led him to become involved in a house church and faith community that was quite different in many ways from the practices prevalent in the “Churches of Christ” where we both had our roots and had begun our walk of faith. For the past several years David has been teaching in public schools on short term contracts. During the summer he & Heather have been using their savings from their teaching jobs to go to Mexico and help meet the basic living needs of poverty stricken people. As they go about meeting the physical needs they are also showing the love of Jesus and proclaiming his word. We enjoyed their visit and we had a very interesting and challenging dialog about the different “directions” we taken in our mutual commitment to following and serving Jesus.

In particular he was able to give me some insights into the (so-called) post-modern philosophy that describes the “way of thinking” that many people under 50 use to ”make sense” of life. I still don’t get it I value knowledge, logic & reasoning as the way of understanding the world – which I’m told means I think like a modernist. And isn’t valued by “post-modernists” – They value experience and relationships as the basis for making sense of things.

I do know that the church needs to be able to communicate with people who think this way and that in the absence of a relationship that has meaning to them, many words we say to them are just like that TV commercial where the guy is eating cereal and people are talking to him telling him he is fired or other things and he just keeps on eating and nodding because all he hears is “a roaring noise”. –
(Hey guys I’m trying but you are going to have to have a little ( a lot!!) of patience with me if we are going to learn to ”hear” each other.

It was a “spiritually uplifting” dialog as we shared some of our questions about our faith and had an honest conversation about what we thought was missing in various lines of reasoning related to topics that are “hot” with the mainstream Churches of Christ today. At the end I felt that God was working -- in sending them here and in the conversation we were having. I was glad to find “my brother” and to be in strong fellowship with him despite large differences in our understanding of what it means to “be the church that God has called us to be” God has called us by His grace to love & to faith in Jesus. We are united in those areas of central importance --- and that is enough – for now - but who knows what discoveries lay ahead in either of our journeys.

So God lives – God is living and active in the world- I thank him for sending me people who are very different in some of their thinking and yet the work of God in their lives is so evident. I’ve been thinking of GOD LIVES as a “vanity” plate for the “BBB” . both as a declaration of the belief that God is alive & well and that the owners on board are committed to God(ly) lives. Might be a good conversation starter?

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Canada Day (+1) - A busy week

My last posting was on Tuesday June 27 – featuring the Lansdell’s and the impact that their moving away would have on our church family.

It seems like a long time since last Sunday afternoon when our longtime friends Len & Tracy Roetman were over for visit. We have been involved in each others lives for almost 30 years ever since they moved here to Sault Ste.Marie. We are older than them but they started their family at a young age where we delayed a little so (some of) our kids grew up together. Tracy was one of several younger women that Linda grew close to as a “mother/nurse/friend”. Their daughter Christie was especially close to Linda. Our daughter Melissa was recruited at the last minute as a bridesmaid at Christie’s wedding last August. (Len & Tracy are at the back of the picture. Len Jr. is at the left, Heather & Christie (bride) in front center and Rachel on the right with Rachel's 2 girls are to her left)

Tracy is confined to a wheelchair due to spinal injuries suffered as a result of a serious automobile accident more than 15 years ago. Len is on disability due to injuries suffered in an industrial accident several years ago. Tracy has a passion for helping people with disability get fair treatment from insurance companies, government agencies and the like. She has recently become an expert on accessibility issues and is a spokesperson for that issue within the community and is advocating in the political arena for better legislation to level the playing field for those with physical disabilities. Len is an excellent carpenter an, while he has to work at his own pace and can’t take on “paid projects” that required a sustained effort- he continues to enjoy working in his shop and fixing up their home. Len also has a real heart for people and is a good listener when you need someone to bounce things off of .

Anyhow, since Tracy’s accident it hasn’t been easy for her to participate in church assemblies. We have attempted to provide a telephone connection but that has had sporadic success. For a variety of reasons, we had hardly ever seen or talked to them during the past 6 months. SO it was great to visit and catch upon each others lives.

Monday morning I went golfing with my Dad. Monday afternoon was filled with telephone calls to/from people who were concerned about “what would happen when Roger left?”. That plus normal household chores and starting to put together an “agenda” for the congregational meeting planned for Wednesday was more than enough to fill up my Monday. Monday evening we had Lloyd & Barb Hotchkiss over for coffee and some conversation about how our lives might be affected when Roger left.

Tuesday was devoted to planning an agenda and preparing some “discussion papers” about how to fill the gaps in our ministry efforts that are currently being filled by one of the Lansdell’s.

The day included at breakfast meeting with Lloyd & Roger to be sure we had a current understanding of where he had been spending his time. Tuesday afternoon Linda met with Marilyn (our sister-in-law) and Sharon Seeler to discuss teaching materials for Sunday school over the summer.

Wednesday, I worked on the plans for the congregational meeting, reviewed them with Lloyd and finalized them. The meeting itself was well attended (31 people) with a good cross section of the various “demographic” factors . We got lots of valuable feedback and a number of people volunteering to take on various “projects” and “ongoing tasks” that need to be done to ”fill the gaps.

I also made my second run as a Red Cross volunteer driver. Linda spent much of the day painting some things that we had brought in to the garage from the “garden” and doing other work with her flowers. ”. I will need to re-install these next week.

Thursday we had dental appointments in the morning (cleanings) and then in the afternoon we had the privilege of attending Jessica’s graduation (from White Pines CVS). Jessica has received a $3000 scholarship at Lakehead and, in addition, she received several awards for her academic efforts and school participation. We went back to the Lansdell’s for a BBQ supper and had a good visit with Roger’s parents (Clyde & Wilma) (1st picture) and Sandra’s parents (Weyford & Wilma Smith)

Afterwards Linda went to help Travis with the twins so Tracy (her niece) who is a high school teacher could attend the graduation dance at her school (Sir James Dunn).

I’ll confess I crashed and didn’t do much that evening (although I had been stymied by FreeCell game 1941 for a couple of weeks so I looked on the INTERNET so I could at least find out what the first few moves were. With that help I finally cracked that one – one less frustration in my day. (I know- I know, -- What should I be frustrated? After all what’s the difference if I’m spending (wasting?) time on one miindless attempt after another on a single game or the “same mindless routine” on several games that just happen to be easier to complete.

Friday was devoted mostly to yard work and other house work to get ready for dinner with Steve & Shelly Slawson. As I mentioned in my posting about Vicki & Kirk’s wedding, we first met Steve & Shelly last July. .We had gotten to know them a little bit through contact at various church activities but this was the first time we had had a chance to have them over. We really enjoyed visiting with them and finding out more about their “life journey”. We discovered that we knew some of the same people and it was encouraging to hear about their commitment to following Jesus no matter what life has thrown at them. This short visit deepened our emerging friendship and we look forward to future visits.
(Picture shows Shelly & Steve with Sandra at Vicki & Kirk's wedding a week ago)

Friday was also the 2nd anniversary of my last day at work as I entered retirement. Time has really flown and I realized Friday that for the first time in a long time I really wasn't missing it. We havespent over 6monthstravellingin the BBBover the2 years so we certainly have taken advantage of the new-found freedom.

At the same time I was appalled at how little progress I had made on these big projects that I was dreamingabout accomplishing when I retired. But in balance I am very happy that I left when I did. This was especailly hammered home afew weeks ago when I learned that Michel who had followed me in the IT Director's job had had a heart attack and was off work for a few months.

Saturday was July 1 (Canada Day). Linda was out to a shower for Anna in the morning and I spent the morning “browsing” the INTERNET looking at some “discussion groups” on religious topics that are of interest to me. I saw some very open and loving discussion of issues where there were strong difference of understanding about what God I wants of us in certain areas of becoming and being a Christian. I also stumbled into some debates were some people were a lot more focused on “being right” than on “being loving”. Since exhibiting loving attitudes (patience, kindness, etc. – I Cor. 13:4-7) is at the top of God’s hit parade (I Cor. 13:13) I sometimes wonder how people with such a passion for truth in some areas can fail so badly in this most important area. Truth is important but efforts to show truth to others must be done in love or we condemn ourselves by the very truth we are trying to promote.

Marilyn had asked us over for a BBQ Saturday evening. Linda had suggested we could do it here (but to bring their hamburgers) so we had Marilyn, Rob, Ken & my Dad here last night..
I sometimes “complain” to Linda that we spend too much time “doing stuff” and not enough time ”visiting”. This week that wasn’t a problem .In fact by Thursday we had decided to reserve Monday “for us” to do whatever came to mind—likely finishing up some projects in the yard and maybe getting my truck cleaned up for sale. We did find time to talk to Meliss and Chris during the week. We’ll be calling Kevin to-night.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda