Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the imitation life

Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the one true hero. He alone will never be surpassed, but neither will we surpass what we grow to be if we model ourselves on him.

[...] Modeling – observing and copying – is vital to discipleship because of the biblical view of the way disciples must learn. There is always more to knowing than human knowing will ever know. So the deepest knowledge can never be put into words – or spelled out in sermons, books, lectures, and seminars. It must be learned from the Master, under his authority, in experience. When we read in the Gospels that Jesus chose twelve “to be with him,” their being with him was not some extra privilege they enjoyed. It was the heart and soul of their discipleship and learning.

The above is from Chapter 10 ("My Utmost for His Highest Still") of The Call by Os Guinness. That chapter asserts that a response to God’s call has the potential for unleashing in us a passion for the deepest growth and highest heroism in life. One of the ways that passion becomes reality is through imitation or discipleship.

I am working through the study questions at the back of the book. Several of them gave me pause. For example, how would you have answered: Who are your heroes, and why?

Here is another that deserves some thought: Practically speaking, what does imitating Christ look like for you, the twenty-first-century believer?

Here are some of my imitation methods:

1. I make it a priority to become familiar with Him and His teachings in the Bible. I read through the Gospels often. I study them and try to understand Jesus’ wisdom, His charm, magnetism, and humor. I think about His teachings and try to put them into practice in my life – a life that doesn’t contain yokes or millstones or trying to pick figs for snacks.

2. I imagine myself with Him. I look at my life with Him, review my day or a situation I've just been through with Him. When I know someone well, I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of reactions to expect. Sometimes I even ‘hear’ the words they would say. I try to do that with Jesus.

3. I imagine Him in the situations I face. I try to see Him interacting with my neighbors, the Superstore clerks, the doctor’s office receptionist. What would He say to them? What would He see about them that I have missed?

4. I pick out people who remind me of Jesus and try to figure out where is the similarity. I study those people.

How would you answer that question?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

love that mud soup

Green-winged Teals feeding at Blackie's Spit, Surrey, BC.

book review: How You Leave Them Feeling

Title: How You Leave Them Feeling
Author: Jesse Ferrell
Publisher: JessTalk Speaking Services, LLC, 2006
Genre: Motivational, Self-Help
ISBN: 0977881008

“Simply put, how you leave other people feeling and how people perceive you have a profound effect on the quality of your life,” declares the jacket blurb on Jesse Ferrell’s book How You Leave Them Feeling. In this addition to the Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar motivational book genre, Ferrell encourages readers to adopt his paradigm of being aware of how you leave others feeling when in any interaction. The goal of these interactions is to leave each person feeling good about himself and thus feeling good about you. When you do this, Mr. Ferrell maintains, you will be on the way to living the life you deserve, getting what you want out of life, and “living the good life now.”

Ferrell begins with a rousing Introduction in which he explains the idea behind the book. He describes how he saw that his own success was based on his ability to consistently leave clients and others feeling good about themselves. Then he sets the table for the main course by listing the principles on which he has built his own life (he calls them the “Seven Essential Laws of Life”).

In the thirteen chapters that follow, he delivers the details of his Seven Essential Laws and explains how they relate to leaving others feeling good about themselves and you. He explores subjects of attitude, communication, personal and professional development, building a support network, maintaining a healthy balance in life and more, illustrating liberally with real-life anecdotes and summing up with catchy wisdom.

Some memorable points of the book for me were:
- The idea of the personal signature or unique style by which each of us becomes known.

- An emphasis on kindness and giving to others.

- The importance of attitude – along a piece of good advice:

“When in doubt, leave it out... it is far easier to revisit a situation and provide additional messages than it is to take back a wrongful or inappropriate remark stemming from an attitude glitch.”

- The importance of listening:
“Sharpening your listening skills will bring you more respect and interpersonal growth than just about any other endeavor. People like to feel they are being heard. When you clearly listen to others, you are honoring the power of communication by investing the time to take in their message.”

- The challenge to leave everything – and everyone – better than you found them.

The readability of Ferrell’s practical and crisply written material is helped by organization and formatting. The text is laid out with lots of white space between paragraphs and broken up with bold-face headings. The main points of each chapter are listed again at the conclusion as action steps. A list of summary points (one-sentence statements that describe how following the actions steps will impact the reader’s behavior) and affirmations (brief positive statements for the reader to repeat or reflect on) conclude each chapter.

Jesse Ferrell, the man, comes across as enthusiastic, likable, a great friend and team player with lots of drive, integrity and clear goals. As a former executive within the Las Vegas casino marketing industry, he is now president and CEO of a professional speaking company, JessTalk Speaking Services and seems eminently qualified to write a book of this kind. His experience in the corporate world gives added value to the personal and professional development section via the diary system he has developed and illustrates. He now works as a life coach and the “JessTalk Life Quadrant Model” he has developed for clients drives home his point about the need for and means of achieving a balanced lifestyle.

I gained much from the book. However, I would not adopt it carte blanche as my personal road guide. It is written from a humanistic (versus Christian) perspective and is birthed out of a New Age world view (bad energy, good energy, karma, the Cosmos, evolved soul, mantra, Mother Nature, envisioning/visualization are all terms or concepts found within). With that in mind, however, I would say that much of value can be learned from How You Leave Them Feeling. I have encountered many of its principles in my own belief system and I decided, as I read it, to use what I could and simply discard the things with which I didn’t agree. It has certainly made me think twice about how I will treat the next telemarketer, panhandler, supermarket clerk or whomever – and that’s got to be a good thing.

Thank you to Maryglenn McCombs, for providing a copy of the book for review.

Monday, January 29, 2007

pray with your eyes open

Oh my! I’m sure if my primary Sunday School teacher read that, she’d try to bust out of her grave – considering the way she drilled into us: “Close your eyes when you pray!” However, the section of 1 Peter that I’ve picked out as my verse(s) for the year begins, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”

Sounds like open eyes to me.

So lately I’ve been asking myself, exactly how is one 'watchful in prayers.' Here’s an incomplete list of things I’ve thought of:

1. Look at the day ahead of you and your family. Pray for things like protection during travel, help with tests and interviews, guidance during shopping, creativity during housekeeping (and joy during cleaning?) etc.

2. Pray similarly for your church family. If you’ve heard rumblings of discontent, pray for church unity and leadership wisdom.

3. Cover missionary friends and family with prayers for protection from diseases, unsafe political environments, discouragement, marital discord etc.

4. Read reports from organizations that track the persecuted church (like Voice of the Martyrs). You’ll be alerted to incidents the secular press never reports on. I find this also gives me an overview of global trends. For example, whereas the great resistor of the Gospel formerly was Communism, now it is Islam.

5. While watching/listening to/reading the news, notice things to pray about on global and local levels.

6. Also read your local paper with your prayer antennae up. Take note of crime trends, note local issues and specific challenges facing your mayor, council, police etc. and pray about those.

7. Don’t forget to pray for members of the media (or against them?!). Seriously, the belief biases of talk show hosts, news anchors, and reporters (not to speak of sit-com writers) are thinly veiled if at all and have great influence (how do you think same-sex marriage went from being unthinkable to being accepted by a near majority of Canadians?). Pray for the salvation of media personnel and that godly people will find employment in mainstream media.

Like I said, an incomplete list but a start. And come to think of it, if I explained this kind of “eyes open” praying to my former teacher, I’m sure she’d heartily agree.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

happy birthday hubby!

Sorry, no cake. But then, we're slimming, remember?

(I'm serenading him over here. )

good intentions

are not ‘Yes.’

Jesus tells a parable of a father and two sons. To the first son the father says, “Go,” son says “No,” but later, he goes anyway. To the second son the father says, “Go,” son says, “Yes,” but doesn’t go. Then Jesus asks, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer, of course, is obvious - the first son who said ‘no’ but later went and did.

Doesn’t Jesus so sum up our hearts in this little story? I surely have been both sons - but probably tend more toward the second. It’s easy for me to say, “We’ll get together soon,” or “I’ll pray for you,” or “I’ll put more muscle into memorizing scripture.” But then nothing happens. Who do I think I’m kidding?

Dear Lord, help me to learn that a good intention is not a ‘yes.’ Help me to live ‘yes’ today.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

promptings' potpourri

Eleven miscellaneous blogs I like for one reason or another.

1. My favorite theology blog.

2. A blog that links to something beautiful (almost) every day.

3. A blog about futuristic technologies (like engineered brains) written by a very smart scientist
(hat tip: Julana)

4. A blog from Norway.

5. A blog from Antarctica.

6. A digital photography school blog.

7. Our first baby's MySpace site and blog.

8. Our second baby's MySpace site and blog.

9. A blog to help you make money with your blog.

10. A headache blog.

11. The dullest blog in the world.

Friday, January 26, 2007

more beautiful sun!

We had another beautiful day today (bring them on!!). I spend the morning looking after my nephew’s boy. I took him out for a walk and in typical little boy fashion, he picked up a stick and was soon challenging stuff.

Later E. and I walked on Crescent Beach and the length of Blackie’s Spit. The seagulls love the sun too.

And then the treat of the day. We actually heard him first . (I thought my ears must be playing tricks on me. I’ve never heard or seen my favorite prairie spring bird since moving to the coast.) And then we saw him perched on a fence – a Western Meadowlark!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

yesterday (sigh of contentment)

at Mud Bay Park,

we have sun again and we're soaring with the eagles!

the sent one

It hit me yesterday that when Isaiah answered *"Here am I, send me" to God’s question "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?" he didn’t even know what he was volunteering for. It was only after he’d signed up that he got the job description.

In a way that’s scary and anti-common sense - giving God carte blanche to give us whatever assignment He chooses. Does this mean it’s out the window with yearly goals and five-year plans and adjusting our present course by the life we envision for ourselves life ten years from now? As I remember Oswald Chambers saying, when you’re absolutely His, your life may make no sense to you, let alone to others.

But neither do we need to live tentatively.

God engineers everything; wherever He puts us, our great aim is to pour out a wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. "Whatever thy hand findeth to do , do it with all thy might."

- Oswald Chambers.

* Isaiah 6:8

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

actually you could...

vote for me. Frankly, I feel uncomfortable asking, but just this once... Here’s the deal.

A few months ago a poem I wrote was published by Infuze Magazine. Every year they also put out a book of the best poems and stories published in the previous year. The long list of the best of 2006 is up here and my poem – well it made the list. So now if enough readers vote for it - it makes it into the book. So, as I say, if you like, you could vote.

To view the competition, type the title of the piece and author in the search box on the top right of the voting page.

thinking about riches

And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:24 (NKJV)

I was thinking about this little verse this morning and pondering, why would Jesus say that. It’s as if He’s saying that being rich and entering the Kingdom of Heaven are opposites.

If that’s true, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Jesus said later, “With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible”. But on mulling it over, I wonder if the mindset necessary to focus on getting riches and the mindset of entering, then living in the Kingdom don’t clash in a basic way. A goal to get and keep riches doesn’t exactly jive with some Kingdom must-haves like dependence on God, humility, being carefree, having a relaxed grip on material stuff, a mind set on eternal things.

Even though I’m not rich, at least not by western standards, I’m squirming and thinking, I guess you don’t have to be head-turningly rich to have a rich-man’s camel bulk.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

snow and rain, go away

We’ve had snow for two weeks. It has turned to very sloppy slush in yesterday’s downpour, which was like being in the middle of a cloud – foggy and raining at the same time. It was also depressingly gloomy – enough to give one the SADs.

We don’t walk in our usual spots these days. In fact, we haven’t walked for about a week! So I’m missing my lovely pintails and mallards and the cormorants, hanging out their wings to dry.

I need to go for a walk. Hopefully today. It’s time to make friends with the outdoors again

calling Christian poets

It’s time to get a move on. Take out and dust off those old unpublished poems or write some new ones and get them into the 2007 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest!

Truly, this contest has one of the richest prizes of poetry contests anywhere (not to speak of contests for Christian poets) and with the number of entries apparently down this year, you have a better chance than ever to walk away with some of that cash.

But there’s no time to dally. Entries must be postmarked February 28, 2007.

Monday, January 22, 2007

monday mural - more Chemainus history

Downtown Chemainus had been rejuvenated in 1982 with five beautiful historic murals. Then in 1983, the town’s biggest employer, the lumber mill, closed after 120 years. Almost 700 people became unemployed in a community of just under 4,000.

But instead of giving up, this Cowichan Valley town surged ahead with a new dream of attracting tourists with murals. The Festival of Murals Society was established that year. That year Chemainus also won the New York Downtown Revitalization Award for redevelopment of the downtown core. Seven more historic-themed murals were added to the town’s collection in 1983. One of my favorites depicts logging with oxen.

“Logging With Oxen”
Around 1898 oxen were the main form of power in logging.
(painted by Harold Lyon, Fountain Hills, Arizona)

The mural tour page (linked above) fills us in about logging with oxen:

Around 1898, oxen were the main form of power in logging, where good timber was available. Large, well-equipped outfits used twenty to twenty-four oxen. These were divided into two teams; one drawing the logs from the bush to the road, while the other and stronger team was employed in skidding the logs to the water. Crude roads were made and small logs embedded skillfully athwart them at 8-foot intervals. These were the skid-roads over which the oxen draw the logs to the sea.: (R. I. Dougan, from Cowichan, My Valley).

Since the ox's hoof has a thin shell, the oxen were carefully shod with thin, half-moon shaped iron shoes. The job of shoeing the oxen was done on Sundays or after hours by the "teamsters", with assistance from a young helper, the "greaser".

I'm thinking - what a different world! And that was just over 100 years ago.

See more 1983 Chemainus murals here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

the Baptist Dog

Along with about half the world, I’m cleaning out cupboards and drawers these days. This afternoon I worked through some file folders where I’d squirreled away all kinds of goodies from lists of sayings to email jokes.

Here’s a cute story I found.

This Baptist couple felt it important to own an equally Baptist pet, so they went shopping

At a kennel specializing in this particular breed, they found a dog they liked quite a lot.

When they asked the dog to fetch the Bible, he did it in a flash. When they instructed him to look up Psalm 23, he complied equally fast, using his paws with dexterity. They were impressed, purchased the animal, and went home.

That night they had friends over. They were so proud of their new Baptist dog and his major skills, they called the dog and showed off a little.

The friends were impressed, and asked whether the dog was able to do any of the usual dog tricks as well. This stopped the couple cold, as they hadn’t thought about “usual” tricks.

“Well,” they said, “let’s try it out.” Once more they called the dog and they clearly pronounced the command, “Heel!”

Quick as a wink, the dog jumped up, put his paw on the man’s forehead, closed his eyes in concentration, and bowed his head.

They had been deceived ... he was a Pentecostal dog!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

book review - A Woman's Place

Title: A Woman’s Place
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House, 2006
Genre: Historical fiction
ISBN: 9780764228902

On the day in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, each of the four main characters in Lynn Austin’s novel A Woman’s Place is in the middle of her own personal crisis. This prologue introduction sets the stage for each of them to come to work in the Stockton (Michigan) Shipyard. The book then takes us into the personal lives of these diverse women, and we follow them through the years of World War II as they do their bit for Uncle Sam while holding life together at home and adjusting to the social and personal changes that war brings.

I felt the book’s strengths were its character studies, setting, and themes.

In the character department, Austin throws together four very different women and in this way gives us a taste of four segments of the community. Virginia, a timid full-time wife and mother doesn’t even have the nerve to tell her businessman husband she’s taken a job. Helen, a bitter old maid school teacher takes extra pains to keep the walls of her heart up against invasion, even by her workmates. Rosa, a lusty new bride has a terrible time adjusting to living with her straight-laced in-laws. And Jean, a bright and ambitious farm girl can’t wait for the war to be over so she can go to college.

Following four characters simultaneously was no problem. Austin’s way of writing from only one character’s point of view per chapter and titling that chapter with the character’s name made it easy to track the four women and their individual story threads. By book’s end I felt each of the women had noticeably changed – something one expects to find in character-driven fiction. That aspect of the book helped to making the reading journey feel worthwhile to me.

I enjoyed the story’s historical perspective and setting – a wartime shipyard. Bits about life on the home front, like the pressure put on women to help in the war effort, the mixed welcome women receive in an up-till-now male workplace, the rationing of gas, the excitement of mail and lots of other minutiae of the time were brought to life by the story’s events. In addition, Austin moves us along through the war years by prefacing some chapters with dates. She gives us a feel for what’s happening on the war front by including, in the dated chapters, headlines of the time.

The story’s themes flow from its social and historical setting. There is a book-long preoccupation with the question, what is a woman’s place? Arriving at an answer for the women in the story is not straightforward. They must pit government pressure to work in the factory and the satisfaction of meeting personal needs to feel significant and useful, against the disapproval of society in general and the needs of their own husbands/boyfriends, families and friends in particular.

Another issue that gets a lot of attention in the book is racism. Austin focuses on the segregation that was rampant in the workplace in the 1940s by weaving examples of it into the plot

The active and lapsed Christian faith of some of the characters brings to the fore issues of spirituality. More than one character asks questions like, how can a God of love allow war, and how can I be loyal to a God who doesn’t intervene to save the live of my loved one.

The element of the book I felt was weak was its opening. In the prologue I found dialogue that seemed unnatural in places because it was crammed with background information. In addition, the introduction to the four main characters occurs in vignettes where each is drawn with such unappealing lines, I personally wondered if I’d ever get to like any of them. Should you have the same reaction, soldier on. The prologue is short. Once into the story you'll find these women morph from the self-absorbed creatures we first meet, into complex characters which I’m sure will grow on you as they did on me.

All in all, A Woman’s Place is a thought-provoking, eye-opening and worthwhile piece of World War II Americana.

(A Reading Group Guide is available.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lady violet -- if you please!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Noble Lady Violet the Antediluvian of Yockenthwait Walden
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

This lighthearted meme was delivered via the blog of Her Most Serene Highness Lady Matdonna the Apocalyptic of Lesser Cheese Winston.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

book review - Is That Really You, God?

Title: Is that Really You, God?
Author: Loren Cunningham
Publisher: YWAM Publishing, 1984, 2001 - 208 pages
Genre: Autobiography

If you’ve ever heard Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), you’ll know the treat we enjoyed at our church Sunday morning when he gave the Sunday sermon. Mr. Cunningham had with him some of the books he’s written. We bought two and I devoured Is That Really You, God – Hearing the Voice of God Sunday afternoon and evening.

This is the first book Mr. Cunninghamd authored (with his sister Janice Rogers) and it’s been around a while (first published in 1984, republished in 2001). In it he tells his story and the story of how YWAM – now one of the biggest if not the biggest missionary-sending organizations in the world – came to be. But he does more in these stories than just narrate a fascinating chain of events. In each tale he also draws attention to how God guided him, making the book a little manual of guidance principles.

In one of the early stories, for example, his dad got deathly ill with appendicitis while away from home. Three days into his illness, a parishioner came to his mother with the message that God had given him a dream of Rev. Cunningham coming home in a coffin. His mother replied, “Well sir, I do appreciate your coming here to tell me this today. Hard as it is, I promise I will ask God if this dream really is from Him. With something this important, He’ll tell me Himself, won’t He?”

The next day Loren’s mother greeted the kids at the breakfast table with good news. “I had a dream last night. In my dream Dad came home, but it was on a train and he was wearing his pajamas.” And that’s exactly what happened.

Later Mrs. Cunningham explained to the children, “Getting God’s leading for someone else is tricky. We can hear a confirming voice through another person. But if God has something important to tell you, He will speak to you directly.”

From beginning to end the book is filled with such inspiring and informative anecdotes. The writing is smooth and non-intrusive with, at the end of each chapter, a little hook that keeps one reading just one more chapter, and one more. I’d suggest reading it with a highlighter in hand, though, so that later you’ll easily be able to find the wisdom about God’s guidance that is sprinkled throughout.

I can see this book being especially attractive to the young person who wants to be challenged to live a radical, sold-out-to-God life. But I would also recommend it as a powerful little hearing aid for the Christian of any age.


Winter is sprucing things up again today with lovely large flakes which have been coming down since about 5:00 a.m. It’s looking a lot like Narnia out there! At least the snow didn’t start last night, as was predicted, and mess with the YVR departures. By checking on the British Airways web site, I see that the flight carrying our little family arrived safely at Heathrow airport 13 minutes late, at 1348 London time. The airport is where they will celebrate Kenny’s fourth birthday before departing for Entebbe.

Talking about flights – in times like this I wonder whether the widgeons, pintails, mallards etc. that overwinter here wish they could revisit their decision to stay. The ponds and rivers are covered with ice so flocks of ducks and geese are congregating on the ocean beaches and foraging for food under the tablecloth. This widgeon posed for me, between mouthfuls, on White Rock beach.

Monday, January 15, 2007

monday mural - Chemainus, BC

I managed to find and photograph twenty-eight of the thirty-eight murals but only two of Chemainus's ten sculptures during the two hours we tramped around this little Vancouver Island town on January 2nd. That means I need to go back!

Chemainus’s mural project began in 1982 when the town council decided to put some muscle into beautifying the downtown. Five murals were painted that summer, among them this “Thirty-three Meter Collage.” It shows three scenes - Stevedores at the Chemainus wharf, a boom man sorting logs and another load of logs into the Chemainus log dump. The artists for this mural were Frank Lewis and Nancy Lagana of Victoria B.C. and Paul Marcano of Saltspring Island, B.C. (Click on photo to enlarge)

More 1982 Chemainus murals here.

my blog-break week

Hi! I’m back from my little blog hiatus. It was a good week. I spent time reading in the Gospels pondering the words of Jesus, especially what He said about the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ve determined to live by the laws of that kingdom more and more – and have been thinking what changes that might mean in various departments of my life.

On Wednesday winter scored again. After a big dump of snow, the weather turned cold. Thursday was gorgeous and sunny. But instead of our routine of snow-and-melt, this time the white stuff is hanging around as we sit under an Arctic air mass (where is global warming when you need it?).

Thursday we went to the memorial service of an old friend. Actually he was the dad of some dear friends of my youth. What an amazing man! He was among the core of Wycliffe translators that came to Lima, Peru with Dr. William Cameron Townsend in 1945. I remember him telling stories at missionary conferences when I was a kid. Even then I loved to listen to him.

His passion for souls lasted into his old age. At the memorial reception someone told the story of what happened when he went for a walk around Mill Lake in Abbotsford not long ago (at 88-89 years). He noticed some teens skateboarding and wondered how he could engage them in conversation. So he called them over to where he was sitting, showed them pictures of his grandkids, talked to them about their interests etc. then gently steered the conversation toward spiritual things.

Today we go to YVR to say goodbye to my nephew Chris, his beautiful wife Jane and their kids Kenny, Albert, Isaiah, and Andrew. They are going to Jinja, Uganda under Equip (some more spiritual giants in the making?). They will work with several organizations who look after orphans. Their job is to help in the practical end of things with agriculture, water purification etc. God bless you guys!

Monday, January 08, 2007

switching roles

The Martha in Me

She (Martha) had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10:39,40

Too often Martha takes charge –
I schedule service with conditions
workboots clomp on everything
threatening my control
I curse the one who’s late
ignore the longing in my daughter’s eyes to chat
dismiss the women with Watchtower at my door–
not aware I’ve stamped out
embers of His presence

– while Mary sits confined to a corner of my heart
shaking her head in sadness and disbelief:
Girl, when will you learn
to serve Him you must first
let Him serve you.
You will not hear His zephyr voice
above the drumbeat of agenda,
motion’s clatter or ambition’s roar.
Open yourself to interruption, serendipity
stillness. Be flexible, available
to sit down or jump up
at His impractical bidding.

© 2003 – V. Nesdoly


January is a month of prayer emphasis in our church. This week has been set apart as a week of consecration. Pastor has challenged each of us to spend it “looking under every stone of your life.” In his excellent Sunday sermon he talked about following Ezra's example in praying for personal and national revival. He suggested that for this week we change our routine in some way – eliminate some things from our lives and add in others.

I’ve decided to take the week off from this blog to spend some Mary-moments with Jesus. I’ll be back (I think) a week from today.

(Picture is from Jesus Life in Pictures - Cath Art Creations by Marianne.)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

winter getaway

(A little travel music to go with your read...)

We’re just back from a four day mini-vacation on Vancouver Island. What fun!

Tuesday, the day of our departure saw a continuation of the weird weather we’ve been enjoying on the ‘wet coast.’ We left home to wind and pouring rain. However when we arrived on the Island, we noted that the skies seemed a little less generous. We decided to take a chance on a tour of Chemainus (a mural mecca) before checking into our hotel.

Our gamble paid off. We had only sprinkles of rain interspersed with pale sunshine the two hours we tramped around the yellow footprints of the self-guided mural tour. Now I have lots of great fodder for my mural blog!

The hotel we stayed in was across the street from Victoria's inner harbor. The lit-up B.C. Legislature buildings were just a short walk away.

Wednesday morning after breakfast we map-read our way to Craigdarroch Castle. This is a must-see if you ever visit Victoria. I took photos and a tour of the castle will be coming to the blog soon.

In the evening we map-read our way in the opposite direction to the Colwood Pentecostal Church and the wedding of my friend’s daughter. What a great party. Congratulations Katie and Cesar!

We took advantage of the clear but nippy weather Thursday morning to explore one of Victoria’s walks on the hills behind Uplands and then along a beach promenade (Oak Bay).

The afternoon visit with our friends included a walk along another beach (don’t know the name). The ducks and swans were friendly - no doubt because people come with bags of food.

Yesterday another storm rolled in. Though we’d played with the idea of doing more exploring in Victoria we decided, in the face of rising winds, to head for the mainland.

On our drive home from the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen we heard that the roof of B.C. Place had caved in. (B.C. Place is a covered stadium used for football and trade shows. It has a fabric – Teflon – dome covering which is kept aloft with air pressure inside the building a bit higher than the outside pressure. It had developed a tear.) Later in a news conference the manager said it is repairable. Let’s hope so, as it’s the location for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics!

Talking about Olympics, I need to concentrate that kind of effort on my house today. All our holidaying means that Christmas decorations are still up. Hopefully by this evening the house will look like it’s ready to enter the new year although, as hubby reminds me, today is Ukrainian Christmas Eve and I should really put it off till Monday.

Monday, January 01, 2007

blogging lite

This blog is doing what everyone does in the new year and going on a diet. (In other words, for the next couple of weeks, blogging will be light.)

happy new year!

What better way to bring in the new year than with a mural? This boat painting is found on the waterfront in Prince Rupert B.C., or was in the summer of 2005 when I photographed it.

This boat could be a symbol of setting out on the waters of 2007. Let's be sure our Captain is at the helm at all times -- and Bon Voyage to each of us!

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