Tuesday, December 26, 2006

One Piece

Holy Crap!!!
What is it about cold weather that acts as an irresistable lure to lunatics and sociopathic road warriors? I cannot help but wonder as I kiss the warm floor of home after returning from the Coast for Christmas. Apparently a herd of these nomadic morons got wind of our travel arrangements and decided to join us on our homeward migration. Fortunately my wife is a fiercesome prayer warrior and she and the Holy Ghost fended of their determined onslaught and delivered us with much peace and in one piece. WHEW!!!!
Merry Christmas........and safe travels to all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Come Up Here

I have been pondering through a somewhat ponderous book lately and loving what I am finding. The book of Hebrews used to be my least favourite book of the bible due to some of the harsh things I thought it was saying. These days it is a book of splendour. It is one of my favourites now. The reason being that I finally got over what I used to think the author was saying and got to the heart of what he was getting at. The whole thing is about Christ. Front to back it is some of the clearest revelation of who He is than is found anywhere else. This with apologies to those who love Isaiah and Revelations, but here in Hebrews it is a sustained view, a long wondorous look.
What has been piqueing my interest most is the portions regarding the priesthood of Christ. This is absolutely thrilling stuff. There is one part in particular where the prophecy regarding the work of Christ is reiterated. It is the one in 8:12 where He says He will remember their sins no more. Wow...no more... that is cool. The thing is that I always tend look at this as being from the time I first believed and everything previous to that, but afterwards it is back to the blackboard with all the current stuff. Not really what He said though, is it??? I have found in my biblical travels a wonderful truth. The only sin left, the BIG ONE, is to not believe what Christ has done for us. Check out what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict people on in regards to sin in John 16:9. It is about believing in Christ. All the other stuff we do that is contrary to God's will comes from this. The temptations Christ faced all had to do with questioning God's love for Him, which He had just declared at His baptism. All the temptations we face are contained within the question of whether or not God loves us as completely as He says He does.
This has left me with the picture of Christ as the door to heaven (or gate as He put it). In Ezekiel the prophet saw a vision from the perspective of earth looking up to God's eternal throne. In it you will see that there is a sea of crystal above him. In the book of John's Revelation of Christ there is a door open in heaven and He is beckoned through it. From the perspective of the throne room he looks down and sees the same crystal sea, only FROM ABOVE!!! We have been invited through Christ to "come up here".

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why Is It??

Why is it that I am being slapped silliy with requests for change orders. Not renovation type of changes either, which would be quite easily handled. These are the kind where people are asking me to change where I am standing so they can see their world better. Sometimes they even want me to change my shape or color. The worst of all is when they simply request that I remove my presence altogether. After awhile it starts to feel like I am in Circque de Soliel. The contortions become quite painful for someone who is not so flexible and I then stop and reevaluate why I am going through this torture. Sometimes it is justifiable, but most times it is just plain silly.
The frustrating thing is that for most of us life can seem intolerable when people are being themselves instead of who we think they should be. The things they do complicate our lives endlessly and they show no remorse or even awareness of the consequences their actions bear upon us. If this is the way things are supposed to be I gotta admit that checking out would seem like a viable option. The weight of it all is just too oppressive. Of course being a bit of a chicken shit when it comes to personal impalement I would find some other form of self destruction and just draw it all out for much longer.
To avoid all this I have to remind myself that I can actually ignore these change orders ( for the most part). The reason being that most of the things people would want me to change are simply for their own comfort and so that they don't have to change themselves. The same goes for me. When I think that rewriting someones program would enhance my life then I am heading for trouble. For one thing, no one is running around out there with a keyboard strapped to their noodle and if they did it would probably be bearing a sticker saying 'Protected by Smith & Wesson'. The other thing is that I would never understand the language they are wired with. That whole option is hopeless. If I go the other way though, I find that I know the language and I can access the mainframe quite easily, cuz its my own noodle. This is where I should concentrate on making changes.
The only thing remaining then is what should be programmed in there when the system starts smoking and the gears are grinding? This is simple. Just refer to the Owner's manual.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Mighty Ones and The Blanket

Its been awhile since I posted last and for this I apologize. Perhaps it was my recent foray into learning Chinese that finally forced me into doing some typing in English. I mean 一个男人 can get a little flustered trying to communicate with his own brain after awhile. It is cool though to start to recognize some basic characters.
In the meantime I have also had some time to ponder things and one of them was the word God spoke to me a few years back regarding the prayers of the saints. It was during one of those open prayer times that Wes Campbell loved so much (Korean style, he and Gord called it) when some people were given the mic to pray outlouder. As I listened to the prayers there was a noticeable bent to them all and as I wondered on this and struggles to enter in I heard the Spirit say," What is this fear that fills the hearts of the mighty??" Suddenly it became obvious. What I was hearing was the same sound that I had heard coming from my lips so many times. It was desperation. It was a faithless begging. I believe that in the heavenly tongue they refer to it as whining. At least the Buddhists have the good sense to mask over this ritual with a lot of clapping and clanging of gongs etc to awaken the desired ancestors before they get to the heart of the issue. We on the other hand raise this baleful moaning that reminds me a lot of what I hear from the back of the minivan when we say that we are not stopping at Burger King this time. Its pathetic. Especially when I remember all the times I have done this.
It is really quite easy to slip into this mode, frighteningly easy actually. All it takes is a steady diet of worldly opinions to slap some mud on the internal gyroscope. Then to attempt to bring some balance back we glop some human reasoning (my personal fave) on the other side. Since this must be done in equal proportion to the mud on the opposing pole we have to measure it out with some judgments and squint through vague perceptions to get it all right. When the whole mess begins to wobble like a cheap tire our only recourse seems to be the aforementioned whine. I don't know about you, but personally I have never found this approach to right the gyro.
What does work, on the other hand is to pull the wobbly tire over to the side of the road and proceed to a full stop. This may be difficult since braking with said tire is somewhat tenuous. Once stopped though, the rebalancing can begin. Firstly we have to look in the mirror (rearview mostly) of the Word so as to pick out the beam that has caused the vague perceptions and judgments. This will allow a sudden, sometimes overwhelmingly, new view of things. Then we grab the hose of God's word, crank up the pressure and let the ol' gyro have a good blast. I've found that if I set the nozzle to praise it gets those first layers off with wonderful ease. The clingy bits will usually succumb to a scrub brush with some soapy promises on it, and voila, you have a shiny clean gyro.
The cool thing about the gyro is that it can only get spinning with some help from Dad and after cleaning it off it becomes surprisingly easy to see that Dad really loves to give it a mighty rip (c'mon dads, you all like too showboat for the kiddies, dontcha??) The other thing is that you realize that you are a son/daughter that is dearly loved. You realize that you too are mighty, simply because you are mightily loved by Dad. It changes our prayers, our perceptions and our personality dramatically. It will even change me to the point where other people will want to be around me, now that's dramatic!
When you pray from this place the first thing you will notice is that the piercing whine no longer fits, and instead of sounding like pious zeal it will simply sound like what the angels have been hearing.....whining.
Children of God let's never forget who we are and Whom we serve. It's great to be a kid!!!

Oh yeah, p.s. : the blanket is that burden that wants to bury you in comfortable apathy and tell you its alright to let the gyro sit there, unused.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Listen To This

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Heb 4:10

It has been striking me repeatedly over the last months that there is far more to this whole listening thing than I first thought. It shouldn't seem that strange given to Whom I am trying to listen. The abounding thoughts which flow from God are bound to be overwhelming and capable at any moment of sweeping you away from your sensory moorings into a cascade of pure, unadulterated life. Perhaps the repeated striking has been my mind bouncing off of its moorings.
The thing that has captivated me has been the bliss of silence, the confidence in speechless surrender. It seems that the whole of creation does indeed sing out praises when I stop to listen. Not just trees and streams either, the flow of photons streaming from the halogen lights over our kitchen counter exacting the law God prescribed they should follow with not the slightest bend. The unyielding molecular mass of the 2x4 that mashed my bean at work, which thought not once of straying from what God designed it to do. All things which seem to serve and those which seem not, but do. All these things silently confess my Lord. My mouth when it remains still.
One man told me that he would not hear God speak to him in times of silence because God was not passing things through his mind for his approval. He was communing in the Spirit. I chuckled, somewhat nervously until the day came when I would understand. The day when my 5 year old boy came to me with a heart full of hurt feelings induced by some harsh words. I tried to talk to him as he shifted into me on my lap, but he heard nothing. I thought I had some great wisdom that would help heal him, but he instead had wisdom for me. I asked him if he just wanted to sit with me and he gently nodded his head. He was communing in the spirit with his dad and receiving all he needed at that point.
I am beginning to learn the art of sitting with Dad. I am beginning.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Pharisee In Me

I was pondering some things on the way to work today and suddenly stumbled onto this little thought - 'My inner Pharisee'. It seemed to come out of nowhere and so also seemed worthy of some extra musing. I was actually surprised at what came out of it. For a long time I have held the opinion that the modern day Pharisee is one who is zealously legalistic and incessantly judgmental. This also seems to be the view of a lot of other folks I know. Something changed for me today though as I went over it again in my head. The usual demarcation of Pharisee versus guttersnipe (harlot, drunk, tax-collector what have you) suddenly disappeared and when the dust cleared all these people were on the same side of the line. The funny thing was that there were counterparts on the other side of a new line. Not mirrors or muses, but rather former herd-mates of those on the wrong side of the line. Now this all seemed weird because I always saw the guttersnipe crowd as being the ones that Jesus was hangin' with and the Pharisees as the firewood of heaven. It amazes me how shortsighted I can be. I forgot all about Nico. The Pharisee that sat with Jesus one night and got the low down on the kingdom. It seems he was paying attention to what was said because he also was the one who helped take Jesus down from the cross. Hmmm. There were others as well who were not specifically named, but found their way onto the right side of the tracks. Of course there is also the most ferociously right winged Pharisee of them all, Saul/Paul, who also made the leap. Then there were the others on the guttersnipe side like the unrepentant thief on the cross next to Christ. He definitely was heading for a perpetual bad day. Barabbas was another one who probably looked Jesus right in the eye and decided that he preferred the way he was already heading.
All these people have a commonality. It is their ability or inability to listen. Jesus said it to the Pharisees in particular ( probably because they were so close and yet so far which can really piss ya off), that they could not receive the kingdom because they did not think they needed it. More precisely they would not listen to the words of correction Jesus lovingly lofted their way. The thief wouldn't either, and it is safe to say that not every adulterous trollop, philandering barfly or moneygrubbing auditor did.
Jesus hung out with whoever would receive His words and thereby receive Him. His heart went out to all and was received by those who would, no matter their stripe. This should help me on that next walk I take through the pews or the mall.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Time for some family stuff updates.

First up is Sammy's new smile.

He was so happy to finally reach this landmark in his life. We yanked it this morning and put it in a jar so he could add his other teeth as they come out.


The other update is on the current state of the playhouse. Some days I think I bit off more than I could chew in my off hours, but I try to never do things half way. Today we got the window in, started the cedar soffits and sided one wall. These pictures will give you an idea of where we are going with this.



Can't wait till the kids are moved in. Still have the inside to finish; bare walls ready for markers and paint. Should be great.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Love This Stuff

Hey, if you haven't already seen this, check it out here.
This is an article about a Chinese atheist and a Christian evangelist and the book they co-wrote (Riverside Talks: A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian)documenting their talks about whether there is a God. One of the cool things is that this is the first time a Christian has been allowed to do a book fair and signing in China. It was in Beijing (北京)and very well attended and reported. I feel that even this acceptance is huge. If there is dialogue and openness then there can be change. I am the last person to agree with bashing someone with your faith and this candid approach absolutely tickles me. I love how Mr. Palau's joy in Christ frees him to be totally unabashed about God and yet unapologetic about the need for faith in Him.

Future Date Night Option

I found this site while I was looking through some of the restaurant guides for Shanghai and dreaming of where I will take Cris when we go back. She didn't really get to go to any of these kinds of places and I only went to one. The experience is as important as the cuisine and the cuisine is outstanding. The food there is amazing, and I did not find one restaurant where it was in the least disappointing (except Tony Roma's) (Yes he's there too).
Do yourself a favour and check the site out and look over the menu specialties, see if you wouldn't want to take your sweetie there for a super special night out.

South Beauty

South Beauty 2
This is the entrance to the restuarant on Taojiang Road.

South Beauty 3
A shot of the inside of the Taojiang restuarant.

South Beauty 4
This one is at the Super Brand Mall and has a view out over the Huang River to the lights of the Bund.

It will be so nice to treat Cris out to something like this, but I have to stop now because she said it isn't fair to her tummy to talk like this and not be able to eat like that.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's The Point???

It seems to be so easy to get off center that sometimes I need to ask myself what is the point of it all. All the things I do and all the things I dream, all the stuff in between and all the stuff right in front of me. It is very difficult to be consistently in a space of knowing, and living, out of the knowledge of my purpose for being here. It is unclear where the fog comes from, but it always rolls in and before I can get an industrial strength fan to blow it off, it has enveloped me and all my perceptions.
It really isn't all bad though. Whenever you get into a fog or a deep dark place there is one sure reaction to it. OK, maybe two, the first being panic. After this there is the need to find a central point of familiarity from which to determine the way out of the blindness. When you are walking around the house at night and the power goes out the first thing you do is rub your shin where the coffee table got you and then start finding your bearings according to your knowledge of the layout of the place. This is the time when you discover how well you were paying attention when the lights were on.
The same thing happens in life. All the lights go out and you bleed from the bumps in the night as you seek to find your center to guide you out of it all. Pity us when we are in a place we are not familiar with, which is most often the case. Weep for us if Christ is not the center we reach for to guide us out into the light.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Playhouse Project Update

Well summer is nearing an end and the playhouse that I started mid-summer is about halfway done. There are shingles on it and we will be putting the siding on during the next week after the buzz for Sammy's birthday passes. I think the hardest part will be getting the thing up on some concrete piers since I just went ahaed and framed it all in place before I could buy the supports. Good thing I have a floor jack handy.
Anyway, here are some pics of the progress so far.
The kids like the view from up there.

We will be weather ready soon!

English: A Hindrance To Our Youth

I always knew our tv programming could rot your brain, but now it is our very language itself that is at fault. Foreigners beware.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Views From Far Away

I have found the press in our neck of the world to be intolerably slanted to our own particular cultural bias and have found that reading from off my own continent has made me a little less incontinent (not to mention content. If you want some free samples check out the opinions section of the China Daily english version with Liu Shinan and his compatriots, or for a different view of the middle east try the JP (no, not the justice of the peace). From there it becomes a media free-for-all or censored for all, but at least it gives enough of a slant in the opposite direction so as to restore some semblance of balance.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Little Dipper Trip

We had a great weekend getaway last weekend (nothing like Guam, mind you) We went to a little place on the West Kettle River called the Little Dipper Campground and had a relaxing two nights out in the tent and two days of fun. The kids got to swim in the little swimming hole at the turn of the river which was called the Sandy Beach. They trucked in sand to make it happen, but it was great. Ethan had some problems with the name though, and it became known as Sandy-iego (lol). There was hiking both days and a playground made up of underground tunnels which the kids loved. They pretended to be groundhogs and went through spaces I never would have thought they would even try. It was a hoot.
The owners, George and Frauke Delisle, are excellent hosts and it truly is a family place so leave the loud tunes on the highway and get ready to kick back. I kicked back so hard I fell asleep on the sandy beach for almost an hour while the kids played. Don't worry, Cris was keeping an eye on them.
I have to include one pic for obvious reasons, but for more pics of the trip go here.

Aug 12,06 (9) Good Morning Ethan

Friday, July 28, 2006

Always Thinking Ahead

The other day as my wife was talking to the kids about babies my 5 year old boy pipes up and asks

So, mom, when I get a woman will babies come out of her tummy too?

Yes, son they will


I love the simplicity of their lives.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Been So Long

Man it has been too long since I wrote any poetry. In my backyard of computer files I found a few gems I will share with you. I do this in the hope that I will refresh my memory and intice yours.

Know Fear

I know no greater fear

A flashlight is all it took
To break the will of my flesh
It spilled the raw truth
In the luminous red glow
Between my fingers

I am a story of blood,
Opaque flesh, obscuring bone
Yet I have met a man
With no hands
And so much to tell

I know no greater fear

My eyes peer from caves,
Tethered lest they fall
Lest they fail
To tell my ears
What they are hearing

I am a story told
Through sights and sounds
Yet I have seen a woman
Deaf and blind
And so much to tell

I know no greater fear

I have seen injustices
And shed no tears
I have felt a hand
Touch my brow
I have felt the cold

Am I a story
Of spirit written on flesh
Yet I see a man
Reflected back to me
With nothing to say

I know no greater fear

My Faith

Faith awoke this morning
Lying languidly in my bed
Stretching up, around and out
Rising fluidly to her day
I followed her with a glance
This my pure bride
Faith, the one flesh so joined
Beyond mere poetic approximations
Pain upon pain in her grief is mine
Joys equally so, rushing
Across both as stones
In the bed of one summer stream
Faith from birth, faith my guide
Faith my mute muse
Faith my coin in these streets
Faith I have sold
Faith my whore
She begs with her eyes
Searching the blindness of mine
While I palm the drug
While I dance in a trance
While I embrace wanton flesh
While I place my mind
Upon throne and dais
While I heap high fortunes
Faith begs no more
Faith yearns upon my eyes
To search the skies
To note their endless prose
Faith yearns upon my skin
To know the earth’s touch
To feel her pains of labour
Faith yearns upon my ears
To hear the applause of leaves
In the passing breeze
Faith yearns upon my heart
In the streets where I sell her
Faith yearns upon my heart
In the halls where her beauty
Buys me praise
Faith yearns upon my heart
In the passing of my life
Faith yearns
To know the touch
Of a little spittle
And some moist clay.


How deep and endless, from my eyes,
Does the gulf of my indigence appear.
And here I find Your great wonder,
The unsearchable fullness of Your giving
Beyond all that my eye can see
Or yet that my want may want;
And when perchance You step within the clouds
Then endless still is the well
Where Your memory dwells
Here I drink of the faith birthed in times of sight
Only to find this faith
Is a harbour in the sea of Your faithfulness
For You gave in time to give against the time
Of all my want.

(March 21,2003)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Is That Coffee I Smell???

This morning my wife pointed out a very lucid letter to the editor (title: Cheaper to buy a house in Penticton than it is to rent one in Kelowna ) which should be a wake up call for the community we live in. The wake up is the alarmingly fast growth of the separation between the rich and poor here in Kelowna. Soaring housing prices and rental costs are driving the work force away from the wealthy they are supposed to be here to serve. Every year we watch as a new housing development goes up on yet another hillside overlooking the town (no I will not call it a city). It is truly becoming an overgrown resort community with an underdeveloped service network. The astounding thing is that people will cock their head and stare in wonder when you mention people moving away because 'How could they not want to live here??' Wrong question really. It should be 'How could they not afford to live here??'
The link in the title of this post will take you to the letter that Dawn Weber wrote to the Capital News in Kelowna and there you will read about the skilled trades in another town like this one who were priced right out of the town they were building. I just happen to be a skilled tradesmen here in Kelowna and I am making pretty decent cash. The fact is though that I am still scraping by. My wife also babysits five days a week to supplement our income and at the end of each month we find that we have lived, but we have yet to save. To put it into perspective I found a site through a friend that puts your income into your place in the world population. I found that I am at #424,629,412 in the whole world for income. With the world population being estimated at 6,525,825,813 some simple math tells me that I am in the top 7% of the world's wealthy. So it begs the question of what percentile you have to be in to make it a sensible option to move here. If you are considering it, please do your math.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Loving Google Earth

Well, it is official now, the world is way too freakin' small. This site proves that point. I mean, I can scroll around the world in seconds and see you sipping your morning coffee in your pj's.....oops.. maybe I'll just zoom back out a bit. By the way, nice hair, bud.
We have really enjoyed checking this program out and finding many cool sights and places. Of course the familiar places draw us the most. For example we actually found the apartment that we lived in when we were in Shanghai.
Google Earth 3
The thing that astounded me about this satellite view is how barren this area was. The photo above must be in the late ninties or 2000 at the latest. The following photos are from a video I took from the roof of the apartment building we were working on at the corner of Guyang Lu and Gubei Nan Lu. You can see there has been a huge change in just a few years.
This would be looking towards the top of the Google Earth pic. It is looking up Gubei Nan Lu.
This is looking to the left of the GE pic. Note the ever present tower cranes, a constant fixture on the Shanghai skyline.
This is looking to the right close to the top of the GE pic.
And this is looking down the street just left of the middle of the GE pic that runs from the top of the pic to the bottom. That is Guyang Lu where I walked to work every day. As you can see it has changed quite a bit.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Mistake

Well once again I did not do quite enough research.
The last post about the size of Shanghai was slightly inaccurate because the figure of 6300 square kilometers covers the whole municipality of Shanghai and not just the mostly urban areas of the city. For instance there is a long drive from the Puxi side of the Huangpu to the international airport at Pudong, but most of it is agricultural once you get out of the industrial area south of Jinqiao. We are not familiar with the northern part of the city but it may be similar. The outskirts are where you are finding more of the single family dwellings rather than the multistory buildings further into the core.
Anyway the long and short of it is that the urban area is roughly 2057 square kms.
So with this in mind we find these results as follows:
Shanghai's urban area is 14.28 times larger than Saskatoon's (for my Sask wife :) )
Shanghai is actually 18.04 times bigger than Vancouver (no this does not include Delta, Richmond, North Van, blah blah blah)
Shanghai's urban area is smaller than Vancouver metropolitan area, but with 3 times denser a population. (It sure did not look this way flying over it. It just went on and on while Vancouver seemed small by comparison. That's web stats for ya)
I could go on, but you get the picture......right??

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Big Enough I Guess

Cris was wondering today exactly how big Shanghai, China is and so I found the Wikipedia site which says that it covers roughly 6300 square kilometers. This did not quite do it though because it gave no real reference. So we did some calculations and compared it to an area in Saskatchewan. First off we found that it actually covers substantially more area than Prince Albert National Park, but this also didn't do it. So think of this the next time you drive from Saskatoon to Duck Lake, when you arrive you will have just traveled across the city of Shanghai. The distance of 88 kilometers would represent the diameter of Shanghai if it were in a perfect circle.
Being from B.C. myself I had to find that it would also be like (well somewhat considering the curviness of the roads compared to the big SK). So from downtown Vancouver start driving and go till you get somewhere around the Vedder Bridge (Wow, eh Ma). Or go as the crow flies from Penticton to Vernon.
Thought y'all might be interested.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Dangers Of Mixed Marriages...:)

My wife showed me this after she had been checking out a Shanghai expat community blog.LOL.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Beat(ting) Goes On

So it continues unabated in China. The PSB (Public Security Bureau) breaks up a meeting of our brothers and sisters and drags them off to detention, prison and torture. We don't hear much about this in the flood of news stories coming from mainland China. The economic boom and rising power of the awakened 'Dragon' makes up the bulk of the front pages, not the daily plight of Christians and others seeking religious freedom under an atheistic government.

The interesting thing this time is that there were Americans detained and interrogated as well. Perhaps this will bring the suffering into sharper focus for us.
The daily challenge to faith in China is markedly different from here and it isn't. In their case they must try to avoid detection by hostile forces and we must try to be detected by largely apathetic forces. In this we differ, but in the sense of conflict we do not. We are all under attack in this world, whether it is the sinister anesthetic gas attacks of the spirit we deal with here or the heavy blows of electrified police batons there.
Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters who suffer abroad in conditions we do not understand. Please join us in praying for the leaders of China that their eyes would be open to the light of Christ. Pray for President Hu Jin Tao as he visits the U.S. on a trade mission that he would be confronted with these injustices by the right voices.
Please pray for China.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Our Little Oasis

So we finally made it for a night out on our own. It has been a while, but well worth the wait. Cris found this great B&B in Peachland called Okanagan Oasis. We would totally recommend this place to anyone, it was so relaxing. Of course we would also recommend getting married in early April because you get better rates and there are fewer people around. We got the whole place to ourselves and it was great.
The view was amazing wherever we looked and the amenities were very tasteful. The first thing we did was just crash on the bed and relax. It was so good to not be wondering when the kids were going to come in and jump on us or when we would have to go and mediate a fight.
The house had been reno'ed for the B&B just 3 years ago and the back yard is still in progress. The deck they have built is multilevel and at night it is set off with rope lights which add a great atmosphere.In this picture you can also see the palm tree by the hottub which was lit up at night too and just added to the ambiance. We sat and talked in the tub for 2 hours. This is another benefit of the April anniversary, the air was cool enough to let us sit in the tub for as long as we liked.
Going into the weekend planning a month previous we both had to let go of any huge expectations. We found that this was just putting too much pressure on us to have the 'perfect' weekend. We have found that when we do this we just find ourselves going from thing to thing trying to find that 'perfection' and it just eludes us and we are totally spent by the end of it. This was the perfect opposite.

So all in all this was a fantastic weekend getaway, and a great 10 year celebration. We can't wait for #20!!
Apr 9,06 (6)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ten Years Ago Today...

Wow, it has been ten years since I wed this gorgeous lass and not a minute of it has been a regret. She has made me a better man in so many ways. This isn't some wined up anniversary toast either. Her perserverance and patience has challenged me to rise up on more occasions than I can count. I shudder to think who I would be without her.
Her beauty is truly radiant. It will always be, because it is the reflection of her heart on her whole being. She is lit by God's love which guides her through our family like a thread. If I am the covering over this family, she is assuredly the walls. She holds me with love and respect and shelters our wee ones with great care. I see in their smiles the comfort they draw from her daily. Their confidence in the face of life's trials is a testament to her nuture.
I love this lady and always will.
If as you read this you have a glass in hand, please raise it and toast this, my great love.
Happy anniversary Sweetness.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Shaking Off The Dust

Today I was talking to a friend who has been feeling a lot of pressure lately. It has been coming from all sides and he is really wanting a respite. He said to me that it seems he is in the middle of that verse in Hebrews, you know the one. It says

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb 12:27 (KJV) Courtesy of www.biblegateway.com

As soon as he said this I got this picture of someone hanging onto something like it was their last breath and being shaken violently all over. It seemed like it wasn't them being shaken, but the object they were clinging to. Then it came to mind that the verse he was referring to came just before the one that says,

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Heb 12:28 (KJV) courtesy of www.biblegateway.com

So then if the kingdom within us cannot be moved then all we have to do to stop the shaking is let go. Let go of all the stuff that is shaking. Let go and grab hold of the kingdom.
Ever notice how a worrisome thought will slide in through the backdoor of a good day and all you have to do to draw in a bank of clouds is to take hold of that thought. Then as you sit down at the table with it, maybe sharing a coffee and a bagel, you notice that the clouds are now raining down. So you ask your thought's friends to come in before they get soaked and the next thing you know a hurricane is filling the horizon of that beautiful day. At this point you have the choice of heading to the storm shelter with your new buds to wait out the 'storm that never ends' or to see the reality of what is happening and kick them out. The amazing thing is that when you kick them out the clouds show themselves for what they are, momentary vapours. Light afflictions I think Paul called them. All we have to do to start the shaking is take hold of them because they are shaking and will never stop. All we have to do to stop it is let go.
AAaaaaaahhhhhhhh, doesn't that feel so much better???

Doin' What We Should

This weekend was a one day affair since I had to work Saturday to make up for a sick day so I was pretty fried at the end of it all. The kids were happy to have me home on Sunday afternoon and were rarely more than 10 feet away.
As I finally took an opportunity to sit down on the couch, Ethan and Sammy, my two boys, took the opportunity to join me. Their idea of relaxing was to try and coax me into a wrestle session. When I tried to tell them I was too tired they just kept poking and prodding so my wife came to the rescue.
"Boys, daddy is tired and just wants to sit with you guys."
To which Sammy replied," But mommy, we're boys, and boys play with dads."
The irrefutable logic of a four year old wins out again.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Little Sensitive, Eh?


So I wake up this morning with the usual load of stuff on my mind when this thought comes gently surfing in regarding my identity. Normally this would be the wrecking ball that would send my thoughts crashing down and leave me sifting through the mental debris for the rest off the day. The difference today was the authour of those thoughts. You see if the horned wonder delivers my morning mail it can set a rather dark tone for the day. He never really seems to be in a sunshiny mood. Go figure. If my Father, contrarily, tosses me the morning paper it reads quite differently all day. In fact it is the one newspaper guaranteed to ward off a rainy day.
So this morning Dad asks me why it is that sometimes it can be so easy to be expecting a podium performance for Dad of the Year and the next time to be wondering when social services is going to bash down the door. This is only one context and you can fill in whatever burning contradiction you like, they all fit. Now, before I could leap off on a tangent and start berating and bashing, Dad decided to answer His own question which is the really cool thing about letting Him do the asking.
The gist of what God said is that we as human beings are photosensitive. Not photogenic, photosensitive which means:

pho·to·sen·si·tive adj.

1. Sensitive or responsive to light or other radiant energy.
2. Abnormally sensitive or reactive to light.

Source: The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Both of the definitions are applicable to this blog. I especially like the 'radiant energy' part. You see, plants are photosensitive in a more dramatic fashion than we are due to the fact that they produce food through the radiant energy of the sun. This is purely physical though. Conversely, we humans are dramatically photosensitive in the spirit. This is due to the fact that we produce food through the radiant energy of the Son. The food we produce is called the fruit of the Spirit and in the spirit it is quite edible. If you doubt this just try being loving around a person, particularly a child, who is unloved or feels unlovable. You will most likely feel almost immediately overwhelmed by their appetite. They are feeding in their spirit from the fruit God has produced in you. Your reaction in this situation will of course depend on whether or not you are still planted in a window where the Son is shining. Problem I find is that I can get away from that window and start thinking that that strange glow is actually coming from me. It is truly amazing how quickly that glow gets chewed away as people around me try to take a bite. Then I tend to bite back. As I am chewing on a mouthful of my fellow man (this dish most often consists of my wife and kids due to exposure) I am overcome with the realisation that this does not taste at all like what I was just eating a little while ago. Then I have a choice to make, I can try to take a bite from someone else in hopes that they are more tasty or I can go back to what I know satisfies.
The best thing about going back to the source is that it not only satisfies me, but it also allows people to take a bite of me and get a taste of what I am eating. So when someone comes at me with anger there is a soft response, like Jesus gives me. When they come with hurt there is compassion, like Jesus gives me. When they come with violence there is forgivness, like Jesus gives me. You get the point.
So I have discovered today that I am not really as messed as I thought I was. Just like a plant without sunlight turns rather pathetic looking and over time begins to decay in a most unsightly manner, so to I become quite an eyesore when I am out of the Sonlight for any length of time. So if anyone out there finds in me a lack of yumminess, please be kind enough to point me in the direction of the nearest window. 谢谢你.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Winner By A Landslide!!!

Wow, this has been a long time in coming. It was in the early summer of 1999 in Saskatoon that my wife and I joined a prayer group gathered at the Peace Flame in Rotary Park. This park was part of the Meewasin Park area which takes up the urban stretch of the South Saskatchewan River on both banks. The park and its Sask Energy powered flame were erected as part of a world wide movement for a man made peace.

The picture here is of the rededication in 2002 which begs the question,"Why is it being rededicated?". For that we return to the above mentioned group gathered around this flame's original home.
A lady in our group came to us with the story of this monument to man's efforts to make peace for himself which was perched above the river near Broadway Bridge. The bridge name was apt for it is the broad way of man's efforts which leads to destruction. This lady informed us that this was a pagan altar right in our own city and that we needed to pray against this thing. At first I thought this was pretty flaky, but figured that it couldn't hurt. As the morning wore on I became more convinced of the truth of what my sister was saying. We gathered and prayed that God would remove this thing from our community. At that precise moment.......nothing happened, and we got in our cars and went home.
It was two months later on August 11 that the answer came. There was a subsidence on the riverbank that the geotech engineers missed which caused the flame to slowly begin lurching towards the river along with other sections of the surrounding banks. Crews were dispatched to rescue the fallen symbol and the names of those who donated towards its erection which were inscribed on 400 paving bricks. God answered. The real question is, did we listen?
When I excitedly shared this story with my pastor so that he could relay it to the 'troops' for their encouragement the story came over the mike that this may have been an answer to prayer.....YYYyyyyaaaawwnnn.....now back to our regularly scheduled program. I shared the story with my dad hoping to perhaps blow some faith on his incredulous view of God.

His response was,"Yeah, well, you know son they'll just rebuild it somewhere else..blah blah blah.". The fact of the matter is that they did rebuild it somewhere else, and again it begs the question, WHY?

I think most of the answer lies in a testimony I just finished reading in 'Stories from the Front Lines' by Jane Rumph. On pages 210-212 she relates the story of some World Vision workers at the Adama Project in Ethiopia. The people of the village the workers were ministering in had a worship attachment to a certain large riverside tree. The workers recognised that this attachment would make a full turnabout for the people impossible and began to pray against it. Over the course of 6 months the tree withered, died and one morning toppled over completely. The response from the villagers was....this may have been an answer to prayer.....YYYyyyyaaaawwnnn....Yeah, well, you know son they'll just replant it somewhere else..blah blah blah...NO. Their response was emphatically

Your God has done this! Your God has dried up the tree! It's because of the power of your prayers!
(page 212)

Hmmmm, you think this is why this village in Ethiopia experienced a transformation an we are still yawning our way through life wondering why our nation remains unimpacted for Christ. We really don't expect much else, do we??

Monday, February 13, 2006

Because I Can

I just had to blog this. It has been a while since I first saw this on a billboard and now as I drive to the bridge from the westside I am accosted yet again by this flagrant excess. The sign is advertising for Woodland Hills, where the homes start at $1 million.

Of course as I peer past the billboard and across the lake I see the downtown core of Kelowna which is plagued with a homelessness and crime rate which is far in excess of its diminutive size. It also makes sense that no one is advertising low cost housing projects for zealous developers when our horizon is filled with view-guzzling monstrosities. There are no signs stating that there are huge opportunities for humanitarian aid right here where you could take an easy drive to a place where people need help. No need to bother with the pesky details of shipping costs and antagonistic governments. Nobody seems to want to tell the rich who are flocking here that they may also add to this community 'because they can'.
The shame of it all is only really seen when looked at through the inside of the funeral home, or from the beautiful Okanagan sunshine glinting off a highly polished tombstone. Unfortunately for all of us, that is when it is too late.
The best thing though is that there is One who is not afraid to confront this in all of us. It may be a big billboard or a sad stare, but the question is, will we hear? I hope I do.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I was just sitting here listening to Heather Clark's disc Selah: Singing the Psalms and thinking about the rhythm of God in my soul. It is a natural resonance that His presence creates. It is a flow of seasons and movements as mystically predictable as the seasons of the earth. It is a life forming within me as surely as a child in the womb, and I will die in childbirth. He moves when I let Him and stops when I direct Him. He crashes and splashes like a raindrop on a tsunami.
In Him I live and move and have my being.
Wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fish Frenzy

If you want to see the most hilarious fishing footage EVER just click on the link above. Cris and I were crying we laughed so hard.
This comes from a link on Ron's site which also includes a rubberband gattling gun. 144 rubber bands as fast as you can crank 'em out....need I say more.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Winter's Not Even Done And The Leaves Are Back!!

Hey, check out Rik Leaf's latest effort ‘…now is the winter of our discontent’. So cool that you can hear seven full tracks there. Indie artists rock don't they. Let's get out there and support this guy.
PS if you get a chance to take in a livingroom concert....DO IT!!

Revisiting An Old Blog

Well it was Wednesday, May 04, 2005 when I blogged about how much I loved the cover of the new Choir album 'O How the Mighty Have Fallen'.
I realised just today what my faux pas was, I did not credit the photographer who did the cover. His name is Thomas Pettillo and his site includes some of the other folks he has photographed and projects he has worked on. Give credit where it's due, eh?
The other fellow who worked on the design was Brian Hedyn, but I could find nothing on the net regarding him. If you happen to meet him on the street make sure to give him a hearty back patting from me. Kudos.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What We'll Be Watching

This is a link to what we will be watching this Sunday night on CBC. From the previews it looks to be a fascinating look into what is fast becoming a phenomenon.
A Perspective On The New China

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Po' Ol' Buddha

It stopped me dead in my tracks, which was difficult to do because I was enjoying my first ride on my new mountain bike, but stop I did. It couldn't be helped. As I was biking down Abbott Street which runs along the lake I looked over to see a seemingly forlorn middle-aged man standing and staring at something in his garden. Now being middle-aged alone can cause this kind of condition, but not this time. This time it was the something in his garden which was causing the problem. I rode up closer to take a look while trying to keep my distance so as to not disturb the subject. When I saw what it was he was looking at I automatically reached for my camera to snap what was to be a great shot for this blog. As I fumbled with the settings though, I changed my mind. You see, this gentleman was staring at his three foot tall garden Buddha which was lying on his back. I understand that the rotund fellow is usually reclining, but this was a new one on me. It seemed that Buddha was to be finding a new position in the garden and needed a rest while his owner decided where this should be. I could not help but see the comedy in this, and while I laughed inside I thought to myself 'Good thing I don't have a Jesus crucifix/scarecrow in my garden or I'd be laughing at my own self'. It was at this point that I realised that it would be unfair to the bald bud to snap a pic of him while he was down. Of course if he could have sat his own self back up I would have been snapping bursts and video in a jaw dropping flash, but alas it was not to be. So I took pity on him that day, twice actually. The second time was when I thought that if he could have only known Jesus he would never have been in this predicament to begin with. Po' ol' Buddha.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't Lose It Dude!

In my morning readings I have been very interested in the idea of gaining and losing ground in the kingdom. This hasn't been a main theme in anything that I have been reading, but it is sitting there in the text asking me to not gloss by it this time. In Paul's writings it pops up a few times not the least of which would be in 1Cor. 9 where Paul expresses his desire to not lose all that he has built, not in the church but within his own soul. John also talks of loss in 2John. There are also many stories of falls from glory as well as climbs from the depths in the old testament. I find all this interesting because of how it affects my understanding of grace and the gospel. I find that it is pulling up tent pegs and moving them out to encompass more ground. Of course it can be disconcerting to see tent pegs being pulled up, especially because it is usually done during a storm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It Pays To Be A Framer

This is just one of the bonuses of being a framer. Actually I am a carpenter, but right now we are framing a house; and keeping ours warm ;).

Monday, January 09, 2006

Some Guys To Pray For

I found this list on the net and am using it for my prayer time. These are the men who run China and determine the policies which the people live under. I am living and praying in the truth that these men are just like the men in Isaiah's day. The rulers in Isaiah's time seemed just as large in the scope of their influence and even intimidating in their ability to stand inestimably out of the common man's reach. These men in China are the same. Yet God says of the leaders in Isaiah's world
7 thus says the Lord GOD: "It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass.

8 "For the head of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin (now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people),

9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, you surely shall not last."'"

He is saying that the head of this empire is just a man. So today we say that the head of China (中国) is Beijing (北京) and the head of Beijing is Hu Jintao(胡锦涛). He is just a man.
This is to say that their hearts are just as open to the power of God as any other man's. Their eyes can be opened to see the Son of God (耶稣基督). This is our prayer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Eternal Quest

Contentment is such a key to making it through life. In fact godliness with contentment is great gain, Paul said. Great gain is out there just waiting to be scooped up by those who hold these attributes. The godliness portion I will leave out at this point, mostly because that is for us to figure out as individuals as we follow after God. The contentment portion though, is a hot topic for me right now. Right now as things are falling apart around me. Temporal things will always fall apart eventually,(yes, even iMacs ;) ), this is the only promise they hold. It does not matter what the ad campaign says, what the dude with all the best gear says and especially not what your esthetician says, it will all fall apart.
The thing of it is that we all have this stuff to varying degrees and it is all decaying at various degrees. So what will happen if our contentment is hinged upon these things? The obvious post-Christmas answer is that we will bloat up with despair and die miserable. The degree to which we can financially afford to hold off this inevitable decree is the degree to which we will remain blinded and to some extent the lifespan this cycle will live in within us. Basically the more money you or I have the more toys we can buy to keep the 'thing' from dying. The underlying question here is 'What is the "thing" and what will keep it alive?'
The thing is the immortal which dwells within. It is the part of our makeup which is eternal. I could say soul or spirit, but those words are so over used that a lot of their meaning has been wrung out over a myriad religious arguments. I prefer to call it the eternal component of our being because this helps me to keep in mind the shelf life of this thing. This also helps to make it clear why temporal things will never fill this thing and help it achieve the contentment it desires. I feed my organic person with (mostly) organic food because those systems integrate. If I feed my organic person inorganic food (or McDonald's) I will die because the two systems are not integrated. Square peg round hole, right? So the eternal part of me must need something eternal to feed on to satisfy it. It must find a system which will integrate with its own. I may attempt to feed it with relationships with other beings containing an eternal component, but this will be largely doomed to failure. Not to say that there is not a contentment and feeding which is derived from relationships, but to feed solely from a diminishing source is futile as an end in itself.
So then I am left with one alternative. I must find a self sustaining eternal source from which to derive the nourishment I need to have this peculiar contentment which does not need stuff. This source then can only be God. He alone is the self-sustaining, eternal fountain of life. It is He alone who can fill the insatiable hunger of my spirit. Insatiable because it only follows that if a body has an appetite roughly proportional to its size (except at Christmas) then an eternal body must have a very large appetite indeed.
So let us belly up to the Lord and partake freely of the life that only He can give and thereby sustain the only life we will keep.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Body of Thoughts

How many times has this happened to me now? I will do something which is actually commendable after a season of being down in the dumps or a time of really struggling to find God in it all. It will be a simple thing like picking up my eyes and praising God when things have been tough for a long while or being gentle with my kids when I come home from a crappy day. Nothing major really, but a good change of direction.
Then it happens. I will get a replay of something someone prayed for me in exactly that vein. It may also be that I saw someone walking out the same thing with faith and aplomb. This time it was someone else retelling how their faithwalk was going in the face of difficulty and a storm of God questions. After regarding this memory I am sent reeling back by an onslaught from the enemy of our souls. He comes in telling me how this would have never happened if I hadn't seen that other guy do it, heard someone tell a faith story or pray it. He says I am just copying someone else who has the 'real' goods. He says I am an outsider trying to look in and look like. Just a 'hanger on'. He takes what God meant for good and twists it for all he is worth to make it look bad. Of course in these days of fierce independence and self-made men his job is that much easier. God laughs at this whole idea of independence and I'm sure from His viewpoint that the term 'self-made man' would be cause for a gutwrenching belly laugh. It is something like the guy who thought his family car could carry the lift of plywood home from the lumber yard.

This guy was fighting some very basic design and structural principles as well when he overrode common sense to retain his independence, but then again so do I when I take on this walk alone. The enemy wants to yank on this desire from any angle he can, but the truth is that without the rest of you and your gifts and experiences and prayers I am screwed. What may be frightening is that without me, you are too. From this place there really is no place for pride, only humility and service.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Well here it is again, the year of the new; at least for this week. All the shine seems to wear off when he afterglow of the festive season wears away and the lights which dazzled our eyes are surreptitiously removed or just blatantly shut off. Now the dazzle that came from without is being called from within once again. All the holiday goodness that was out on display must now be displayed and the armchair saints have to pull the lever on the easy chair and hit the road again. I really feel this challenge personally. There were no New Year's resolutions this year and I quit smoking 7 years ago anyway. This year I am feeling that it is time to get back on the field. Whether it is the playfield or the harvest field or field of battle, I know there is a field out there calling me.
There was a time when I received a word about being like a warhorse which had come out of the stables but then went back in for some unknown reason. Guess I need to apologise to the rest of ya for staying in the barn while you've been hard at it. I hope my contribution will alleviate some of the burden for you.