Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Well, winter weather has arrived in Leduc - not a lot of snow so far, just a few centimetres (it's been too cold to snow).  Life just slows down when it gets like this.  People drive slower (most of them); we move slower (all those extra layers make moving a bit tougher).  It's harder to get motivated to leave the warm comfort of the comforter on the bed when the alarm clock goes off.

For Christians in the north of the northern hemisphere, the arrival of this weather often happens concurrently with the beginning of the season of Advent.  Advent is a season of preparation and waiting and anticipation.  Winter beings out many of the same qualities.  When the wind chill is expected to be -35ÂșC, one can't just throw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and be ready to face the day.  It takes some preparation.  Because it is too cold to expect the kids to always walk home from school, I have been picking them up on the really 'cold' days.  But with four kids in three schools, I can't be there exactly when each one gets out; I've got a route to follow.  So, some of them have to wait.  In the cold and snow of winter, waiting is an expected must.  For us northerners, there is also anticipation in winter - for my oldest son, he has been waiting for the ski hills to open and now the winter has arrived, they 'finally have'.  For my other kids, they are seeing the joy of Christmas on the horizon.  I would like to think that this is a theological anticipation, but I believe it has more to do with stocking and trees than churchy-things at their age.

Winter is a blessing and for that reason it is one of my favorite times of the year.  I appreciate the change of colours, the brightness, and the forced waiting and slow down that this time of year demands.  All of this will serve me well as Advent begins this weekend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My family recently got a second vehicle. We had stayed with one vehicle for both financial and philosophical reasons. Financially, car loan and insurance payments need to find a place in the monthly budget, but more significantly, we realized that for 95% of our life, we can adjust quite well to having just the van (with four kids, we were forced to have a van): walking, bike riding, the occasional rental car all suited us well.

The move to a second vehicle was actually motivated by the fact that the van is already eight years old and has a whack of kilometres behind it. We couldn't imagine having to finance another $30K van in the next couple of years. We need room for six people when the whole family travels together, but the reality is that most of the time, we don't need that many seats. So a small car would be more practical as our main vehicle and we would use the van when we needed the space or if we absolutely had to be in two places at once.

The new car is a bottom of the line 1.6L manual transmission import. No bells or whistles. The van on the other hand has power windows and locks and mirrors, air conditioning and cruise control. In the car, if you want to control your speed, you need to use your foot; it you want the windows or mirrors moved, you turn a crank. It it's too hot, roll down the window and suck on an ice cube.

All the 'extras' that the van has are to make life easier and more convenient. Today, the driver's side window went down but didn't want to go back up. There is no manual override, no 'back up' crank. So, it's off to the mechanic because winter weather also arrived today. The cost of convenience - a few hundred dollars for a new tiny motor to save me the trouble us moving my hand in a circle for 20 seconds.

Bring back the horse and buggy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This past weekend, the Very Rev Bill Phipps, former Moderator of the United Church, reminded me (and others at the Northern Region Symposium) that it is important that the decisions we make (as individuals, as the church, as governments, as communities, etc.) cannot be only focused on the short-term, we have to think about what kind of future we want and need.  He invited us to change the focus of we want to impact by our decisions.  So echoing what Bill was talking about ...
  • Think of the youngest child in your life: your child or grandchild, a relative or friend's child, a neighbor.  Think of the youngest child in your life.
  • She is worthy of life, isn't she?  He is worthy of a future, isn't he?  And wouldn't you say that he/she has 'done nothing to make themselves unworthy' of the best that is possible for her/him?
  • What if we made every decision based on what was in her/his best interest?
  • How would that change the way we govern?  How would that impact how we relate to the world in which we live?  Would we be so intent on wars over ideology and wealth?  Would we insist on burning every giga-Joule of fossil fuel in the next 100 years until all that which took millions of years to develop is gone forever?  Would we continue to believe that a growth-at-all-costs based ecomony serves us all?  Serves this child?
  • We can't blame him/her for the problems we have created?  But if we truly cared about her/him and her/his future, what would we do about it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Last night the San Fransico Giants won the world series for the first time since the team moved from New York.  It was like both an historically significantly moment and a completely new thing, at the same time.

This past weekend, all three levels of Camrose Buffalo minor football teams won semi final games and are heading into league championship games in a few days.  Camrose minor football has never won a championship before.  In fact, for most of their 5 or 6 year history, bufallo teams have struggled to get any wins.  It is great to see progress.  Now in sports usually an 'up' is associated with a 'down'.  This year it was my son's team in Leduc's turn to have a winless season.

Life lessons all around!  In our history, in new experiences.  It has always been that way in the realm of faith.  Thank God for the season we are in and that we are not alone.