Thursday, April 30, 2009

frivolous friday

(Ahh, but He does leave messages on twitter: @prayingpsalms for example...)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

this blogger is out

but in here...
(click on arrow)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

new throne

"In the end, what affects your life most deeply are things too simple to talk about." Nell Blaine

I have new office chair today - a Pure Comfort bought at Staples last night ("Soft bonded leather on all seating surfaces" - yeah, limited luxury for sure, but nice nonetheless.)

I'm not convinced my writing is worth it - but then if you'd seen my old one... It was born well back in the last century, and looked it. The fabric upholstery had worn off the seat, over which I had stretched a homemade slipcover secured with elastic to keep the foam flakes from escaping. (I see where E. hauled it down the stairs last night, a Hansel and Gretel trail of crumbs!) Other upholstery gouges were taped with black book tape that kept turning edges and going sticky. As well, the casters had serious rheumatism. But when we priced out new ones some years ago and found that they would coast $75 for the set - well, scratch that! That's half the price of a new chair!

Anyway, if I'm sounding more long-winded, blame my new Pure Comfort.

Monday, April 27, 2009

book review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Title: The Noticer
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, hardcover, 176 pages
ISBN-10: 0785229213
ISBN-13: 978-0785229216

“I had been crying, and he heard me, I guess. My cries were not the muffled sobs of loneliness or the whimpering of discomfort – though certainly I was lonely and uncomfortable – but the anguished wail that a guy will let loose only when he is sure there is no one around to hear him. And I was sure. Wrong, obviously, but sure. At least as sure as one spending another night under a pier can be ….

Honestly I didn’t think anyone knew I slept there – which is why I was so surprised when I looked up and saw Jones.

“Come here, son,” he said, with his hand outstretched. “Move into the light” (p. 2-3).

Jones (or Garcia or Chen, depending on your nationality) is an ageless old man who shows up for 23-year-old Andy under the pier. But instead of allowing Andy to grovel in the self-pity his situation warrants, Jones challenges him to “get started…start noticing a few things. We need to check your heart. We need to gather a little perspective” (p. 5). Then he gives Andy a few biographies to read and leaves but keeps reappearing until Andy is on his feet.

This first incident in The Noticer by Andy Andrews is typical of what happens in this parable-type story of meaningful encounters that Jones engineers with people who are at crisis crossroads. To each, from the man intent on committing suicide to the unscrupulous land developer, Jones appears at just the right moment and with the right combination of honesty, wisdom and hope to change the course of a life.

Jones’ main message to each desperate soul is to seek perspective:
“In desperate times, much more than anything else, folks need perspective. For perspective brings calm, calm leads to clear thinking. Clear thinking yields new ideas. And ideas produce the bloom…of an answer” (p. 154).

The book is a quick and easy read, peopled as it is with troubled characters mired in relatable situations. Jones-to-the-rescue conversations are full of proverbial wisdom dispensed in pithy aphorisms. I was glad it wasn’t a library copy but my own I was reading as I found myself reaching for my pen again and again to highlight Jonesisms like:

“…life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk, or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue. But in the end, it all goes back in the box” (p. 102).


“I believe you should ask yourself every day, ‘What is it about me that other people would change if they could?’” (p. 135).

The Jones character is interesting to contemplate. At times he seemed like one of the humanoid angels in Touched by an Angel. At others, I wondered if he wasn’t meant to symbolize Jesus himself.

I have two small quibbles with the book. The first is with its shifting point of view. The story began with Andy telling the story in first person. Thus I thought the story would be about Jones as seen through Andy’s eyes. But in the next section Andrews shifted to third person point of view with Andy completely out of the picture. After that he went back and forth with Andy telling some parts and not others. I found it a little disorienting.

(As a side note, it’s interesting that Andrews uses his own name, “Andy,” in the first-person sections. It left me with the question – did this or some facsimile of it really happen? Or did he use his name as a literary device to make the story feel believable?)

The second quibble is with the book’s message. Though it’s excellent and provides lots of food for thought and discussion, I felt it left out one of the main aspects of perspective. There is little mention of the possibility of a relationship with God and how that impacts one’s perspective. Perhaps the omission was intentional in hopes that a book which didn’t take a theological position would appeal to a wider range of readers. However, that oversight made the book seem incomplete to me.

The sturdy hardcover edition comes complete with a Reader’s Guide at the back, making The Noticer an excellent book club choice.

All in all, this little volume packs a big punch. Its wisdom-filled pages will ensure that you’ll not only read it but find yourself referring to and quoting it from it later. Hopefully it will make a permanent impact on your perspective – as I believe it has mine.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

new msa hospital - beautiful place to be sick

We visited an uncle in the new MSA Hospital yesterday. What a gorgeous building! It has been in use less than a year and even smells new - when the luscious aroma from The Starbucks kiosk in the lobby doesn't take over.

The atrium - several stories high.

The view of one of the gardens from a lobby window.

Friday, April 24, 2009

frivolous friday

When I was little, I thought the people who sang on the radio lived inside it. Turns out I was right!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

HRC plot about to thicken?

Some news raises my BP. Such was the case when I read the post "The Scary Liberal agenda to expand CHRC" on Deborah Gyapong's blog last night. These are the HRCs I wrote about here.

But the Federal Liberals are obviously planning to expand HRC powers if they get in power. Here's the skinny straight from their 2009 policy book (page 26):

(click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

baby steps - what I've learned in my first two weeks on twitter

1. So this is where everyone's hanging out. I was beginning to wonder where all the people that used to poke me, throw things at me and ask me to forward stuff for them on Facebook had gone. They're all tweeting.

2. Mr. Hyatt is a very persuasive man. It was several of his blog posts that finally convinced me that joining Twitter might be a worthwhile thing to do.

3. People join Twitter for lots of reasons. This post even advises having Twitter goals. I've given some thought to mine - and realized they aren't as cut and dried as I originally thought.

4. The difference between a Retweet and a Reply and a Direct Message and where all these things live on my Twitter page. To worldly wise Twitter users I'm sure this all sounds painfully basic but in the early days I retweeted something but erased the URL I was forwarding, treated a Retweet like a reply, and tried to send a Direct message to someone I was following when he/she wasn't following me (it isn't possible). And of course there are all the mistweets - where the tweet goes and a split second later you realize, there's a typo or the link doesn't work. I usually delete and start again.

(Does anyone know, what happens to these mistweets? Do they hang around somewhere in the vapors - or what?)

5. Followers, following, do I reciprocal follow or not, block apparently smarmy types who follow me or not? I'm learning as I go. I've made a sort of rule of thumb: If someone I don't know starts following me, I look at the ratio of following to followers. If it's way out of proportion (following way more than followers), and especially if the web site doesn't work, I block.

6. I bless the day I found and installed Tweetdeck. Suddenly it all made sense and felt doable, mainly because in Tweetdeck you can make groups. I put all my writing friends in one group, friends and family in another, big names that I follow for all their good information (poobahs) in a third, news sites in a fourth. Facebook status updates appear in still another. It's all organized neatly in columns (never mind that the 'deck' takes up my whole desktop!)

(Perhaps you my FB friends and family are wondering why I've suddenly become responsive. It's because everything is there in one place with status updates chirping as they come in and your profiles just a click away.)

7. There's a blog devoted solely to Twitter (probably more than one), but I follow this one . There's lots to learn, but there's more than a little help online.

8. Twitter is fun, and addictive, and interesting... Wanna follow me?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

happy - sad

Baby's first bath at home

Monday, April 20, 2009

kicking down walls

This is an old post, redacted from August 2005. I'm reposting it today because:

1. It fits in with Sheila Gregoire's wonderful weekly theme theme of a complaint-free week. Though this post doesn't speak directly about complaining, it does talk about where all kinds of negative speech and action spring from - our thoughts.

2. I need to read it again!


One thing I like about going on holidays is being able to browse other people’s book shelves. Matt and Sonia have some real treasures on theirs. In fact, they being family and all, I felt free to borrow one of their books, Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I also borrowed the Study Guide. I knew, after browsing a few pages, I would benefit from them.

I’ve always liked watching Joyce’s TV program. I like her practical examples and her no-nonsense attitude. The book, which I read while we were on the road, is the same. It is built on the premise that who we are and how we live are determined first by our thoughts. She says in the introduction:

The mind is the leader or forerunner of all actions....Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. If on the other hand, we renew our mind according to God’s Word we will, as Romans 12:2 promises, prove out in our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives.

In the last couple of days I’ve spent some time reviewing Chapter 1 and doing the questions in the study guide. A section of that chapter deals with ‘strongholds’ based on its use in 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. (For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. - Amplified). Strongholds are also translated “fortresses” in the NASB and “barriers” in the Message Bible.

J.M. defines a stronghold as “an area in which we are held in bondage (in prison) due to a certain way of thinking.”

Here my NKJV Holy Spirit Life Bible turned the light on for me in a little sidebar article called “Pulling Down Strongholds”:

Strongholds are first established in the mind/ that is why we are to take every thought captive. Behind a stronghold is also a lie – a place of personal bondage where God’s Word has been subjugated to any unscriptural idea or personally confusing belief that is held to be true. Behind every lie is a fear and behind every fear is an idol. Idols are established wherever there exists a failure to trust in the provisions of God that are ours through Jesus Christ.

(Oh my - that brings it dangerously close to home!)

Joyce, in Chapter 1, gives a fictitious example of how strongholds look and how they might be established. John and Mary are married. Mary is bossy and controlling. John is passive and avoids taking responsibility. Of course their marriage is in trouble.

She explains how their attitudes and habitual ways of responding are the result of things that happened to them early in life and without their permission – things like (Mary) being verbally and physically abused by a tyrannical father and vowing never to put herself in such a vulnerable position again and (John) not being able to gain his mother’s approval and deciding he isn’t worth much. (Of course this is simplified – there was much more.)

I immediately began casting about for what my strongholds may be. It didn’t take me long to come up with five. There are probably more!

So, how does one demolish these strongholds?

My Bible sidebar article continues:

“Some of the weapons that pull down these strongholds are: God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12,13), the blood of the Cross (Rev. 12:11) and the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).

Joyce says:

These “weapons” are the Word received through preaching, teaching, books, tapes, seminars and private Bible study....Two other spiritual weapons available to use are praise and prayer. Praise defeats the devil quicker than any other battle plan, but it must be genuine heart praise, not just lip service or a method being tried to see if it works. Also, praise and prayer both involve the Word. We praise God according to His Word and His goodness.”

(In the Study Guide, Joyce makes another telling comment about praise: “Praise and worship are really a battle position! They confuse the enemy...”)

So I’ve listed my strongholds, and now I’m searching the Bible for what God says about these issues. I will write down those verses on file cards and start putting them in my head – and hopefully my heart. I want to pull down these forts. I want to be free!

Jesus: If you abide in My word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31,32

(The sand sculptures are from last year's (2004) sand castle competition at Harrison B.C.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

orthodox easter prison epistle

Today is Orthodox Easter. Christos Voskrese! I feel subtly connected to this day because of my husband's Ukrainian and Russian heritage. The prison aspect of Russia also resonates with me because hubby's great-grandfather had experience with the Russian penal system. After he converted to protestantism (ironically from the Orthodox faith) he was exiled to the nether regions of Russia for some years in the late 1890s.

For those reasons when a link to a "Letter from Butyrskaya Prison - Pascha 1928" hove into my part of the twitterverse, it caught my attention.

In this letter Georgy writes to his uncle Grishanchik (who had emigrated to Paris), from Butyrskaya Prison during the Easter season of 1928. In moving and poetic prose he remembers the last Easter spent with Uncle Grishanchik and Aunt Masha in their home town of Sergiyevskoye -- the Easter of 1918:

"... If you have not forgotten, Easter in 1918 was rather late, and spring was early and very warm, so when in the last weeks of Lent I had to take Aunt Masha to Ferzikovo, the roads were impassable. I remember that trip as now; it was a warm, heavy, and humid day, which consumed the last snow in the forests and gullies faster than the hottest sun; wherever you looked, water, water, and more water, and all the sounds seemed to rise from it, from the burbling and rushing of the streams on all sides to the ceaseless ring of countless larks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

book review: The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

Title: The Hole In Our Gospel
Author: Richard Stearns
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, March 10, 2009, Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0785229186

You know how sometimes vanilla people can go all salsa on us? They’re bland and ordinary until they experience a pivotal event like a spouse being killed by a drunk driver or a bullied child committing suicide. Suddenly they turn hot and piquant. They’ve seen life from a different perspective and emerged with a new mission — to stamp out drunk driving or crusade against bullying. That’s the picture I have of Richard Stearns, author of The Hole In Our Gospel.

As an executive at Gillette, then Parker Brothers Games and finally CEO of the Lenox table and giftware company, Stearns’ life was tasty American vanilla all the way. Then a set of circumstances led him to World Vision. The change in him began when he listened to the story of an orphaned boy in Rakai, Uganda, on his first World Vision assignment. It continued in encounter after encounter with the poor in over a million miles of travel to all the inhabited continents of the globe.

In The Hole In Our Gospel, Stearns presents a compelling challenge to westerners, especially the church, to forsake their myopic pursuit of wealth, comfort, and self-realization and to fulfill the uncomfortable command of Jesus to care for the poor. As Stearns says in the book’s introduction,

“…being a Christian or follower of Jesus Christ requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.”
The book’s 26 chapters are divided into five sections in which Stearns explores a variety of topics. He talks about the gospel and what it is. He describes his own journey of faith and how he came to head World Vision. He names the many challenges that the poor of the world face (disease, poverty, lack of water, hunger, political turmoil) and drills down with details, statistics and stories that bring facts to life. He exposes the self-absorbed tendencies of people in developed societies and challenges especially the church to remember the poor. As he says in the beginning of the section that examines the western church’s response to poverty around the world:
“Where was the church of Jesus Christ? That was the question I cried out that first day in Rakai, Uganda, after seeing the suffering of orphans living in child-headed households. That question has troubled me ever since. Where indeed was the Church? If the world as I have described it truly is wracked with poverty, injustice, and suffering, and God has clearly called us to embrace the whole gospel – characterized by love for our fellow man, a commitment to justice and proclamation of the good news of His salvation to all people – then we must next look at His Church and ask whether it is being faithful in its responsibility to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.”
Stearns is well qualified to meddle in this way. As a former member of the lethargic Christian majority, he understands the mindset. But now, as the face of World Vision, he has seen with his own eyes the grim reality of how the rest of the world lives. And so we can’t shove him aside as someone who doesn’t understand us or doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Stearns’ voice is warm, his writing style interesting and easy to understand. He wields a variety of persuasive tools including statistics, Bible exposition, and stories. Finally, like a good salesman, he goes in for the close, challenging each reader to personal action.

The hardcover edition appears sturdy enough to withstand the hours of handling it will receive if the book is used with the Study Guide section at the back. The end-matter also includes the book’s website URL where visitors can share stories, join a forum, find church resources, view videos and more. The book’s last pages contain a list of notes and references footnoted in the text.

This book reminds me of the Ronald Sider’s classic Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Like that book, you won’t be able to get through The Hole In Our Gospel and remain unchanged. So beware. Reading this book may just tip your dosimeter into the radioactive zone or change your status from sleeper cell to activated. You yourself may turn from vanilla to salsa.

frivolous friday

(ha-ha-ha- as if...)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the eagles have hatched!

Hubby mentioned he'd heard it yesterday and today on googling, sure enough. Three eaglets have hatched under the watchful eye of a Sidney, Vancouver Island live cam.

I just watched the mother doing a little feed.

And here she is, tucking her babies in again.

Here's the Sidney live cam

Here's another cam from Hornby Island. Chicks there haven't hatched yet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Thursday Challenge

Next week: COMMUNICATION (Telephone, Letters, Parcels, Books, Radio, TV, Computers, Sign Language, Headset,...)

River of Words release

Though I was the featured reader at our MSA Poets Potpourri Society Blue Moon Readings series last night, there was a guest that everyone was anticipating far more. It's our society's new collaborative effort, River of Words, hot off the press. We had its soft release (apparently a bigger bash is planned later) last night, complete with a group photo and cake. (Our oldest member is Thurlow Gowan, second from left. He's 95 years old and still writing strong!)

The book is beautiful! Our president Rita, editor Alvin, photographer Brayden and everyone involved did a fabulous job. Here it is - featuring Rita's photo "Sunset on the Fraser" on the front cover...

and opened up, it becomes a panorama shot.

The inside of the front cover (which, as you see, features a bookmark flap) is Brayden's photo of "The Fraser from Mount Cheam."

The back cover is Brayden's "Fraser at Alexandria Bridge."

And that's not all. Every fourth page contains a different river scene background. Here's one of those with my poem "Summer Serenade."

The book features poems of the members of the MSA Poets Potpourri Society as well as adult and junior contest winners.

These books are for sale:

  • pre-official launch $16.00 per copy plus the cost of mailing (about $5.00 I think).
  • Later the price increases to $20.00 (plus mailing).

If you're interested in purchasing one, email me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

wet - dry

Coal Harbor Houseboats

See more Wet-Dry photos at Two4Tuesday

O. Chambers on Submission

"We are not built for ourselves, but for God. Not for service for God, but for God. That explains the submissions of life....

God is not concerned about our aims. He does not say, 'Do you want to go through this bereavement, this upset?' He allows these things for His own purpose. We may say what we like, but god does allow the devil, He does allow sin, He does allow bad men to triumph and tyrants to rule, and these things either make us fiends or they make us saints, it depends entirely on our relationship with God. If we say, 'Thy will be done,' we get the tremendous consolation of knowing that our Father is working everything according to His own wisdom. If we understand what God is after, we shall be saved from being mean and cynical.

The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, nobler men and women, or they are making us more captious, more insistent on our own way. We are either getting more like our Father in heaven, or we are getting more mean and intensely selfish. How are we behaving ourselves in our circumstances?"

Oswald Chambers in If You Will Ask - Reflections on Prayer (pp. 49-50).

I see on Amazon there is a 1521-page book of Oswald Chambers' complete works available. There are also 31 reviews - all five-star. I want that book...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week - Easter Sunday

He is risen

He is risen indeed!

"Mary Magdalene and the Holy Women at the Tomb" by James Tissot, 1836-1902

The story of the resurrection includes a lot of doubting. The women who first discovered Jesus was gone and heard from the angel that Jesus was risen, "trembled and were amazed. And they said, nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."

Mary Magdalene saw Jesus but when she reported to His friends, "...they did not believe."

After He appeared to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus and they later told the disciples, the disciples "...did not believe them either."

People don't like to be thought gullible. Skepticism is way cooler. But when it comes to the things of God, we can believe the promises He has made in the Bible.

The disciples wanted nothing more than to have Jesus back with them again. But when He appeared after His resurrection, they didn't believe it could be Him - even though he had told them plainly this would happen.

Oswald Chambers says, "It is always a wonder when God answers is so wonderful that a great many people believe it impossible. 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do' (John 14:13). Isn't that wonderful? It is so wonderful that I do not suppose more than half of us really believe it. 'Every one that asketh receiveth' (Matthew 7:8). Isn't that wonderful?"

- Oswald Chambers - If You Ask, p. 37

Dear Jesus, nothing is too hard for You. Your resurrection proves it. I want to be a believer. Help my unbelief.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Week - Saturday

"Joseph of Arimathaea" by James Tissot, 1836-1902
To Read: Mark 15:42-47
(Readings suggested by Canadian Bible Society)

In these five verses, nine words popped out at me: "who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God." Ping! That's me. That's you if inside you is that deep yearning for His peace, love and justice to win; for God's order, His kingdom to come on earth.

Joseph of Arimathaea, the man who was waiting, had heard Jesus' teaching and seen his miracles. He just knew Jesus was the fulfillment of God's promise of a king, come to establish a new order. But now his hero was dead.

Still, that kingdom sense in Joseph prompted him to get up the courage to ask Pilate for Jesus' body. Because that's what "waiting for the kingdom" is about too. It's about facing the meaningless, the awful, the sad, the tragic. It's about not slumping into unbelief just because things aren't going the way we thought they would but carrying on, even in the dark.

We too must wait for the kingdom through good and bad. It's easy to anticipate the kingdom when things turn out the way we hope: we get the job, health is restored, the house sells. But in the face of unemployment, sickness, dashed dreams, does our kingdom hope survive?

Dear Lord, please help me wait for Your kingdom with positive action, never losing sight of the fact someday it will come "on earth as it is in heaven."

Story time

This "waiting for the kingdom" reminds me of a little story Richard Stearns (head of World Vision USA) tells in his book The Hole in Our Gospel. He was visiting a desperately poor family high in the Andes. Octaviana was a widow trying to support herself and her children as well as pay back a $300 debt her husband had incurred. The whole family was sick with parasites. Her small flock of sheep were sick too. Here is Rich Stearns' description of his visit with her. I think it's a beautiful illustration of both sides of 'waiting for the kingdom.'

"I asked her what she prayed for, because I could tell she was a woman of deep faith. She said she prayed to God that He would not forget her and her three children on that remote mountain -- that He would help her carry this burden and that He would send help. And as I held her hand and prayed for her, God revealed to me a profound truth -- that I was the answer to Octaviana's prayer. Eight thousand miles from my home in Seattle, 14,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains, she had cried out to God for help, and He had sent me. God had sent me to help her, He had sent me to comfort her in her suffering, and He had sent me to be Christ's love to her. She had prayed and I was God's answer, I would be God's miracle in her life.

And then the even bigger truth washed over me. I could see that all across the world people were crying out in desperation to God for help, for comfort; widows, orphans, the sick, the disabled, the poor and the exploited. These millions of prayers were being lifted up to God, and we, each of us who claim to be His followers, were to be His answer. We were the ones who would bring the "good news" of Christ to the poor, the sick, the downtrodden. God had not turned His back on the poor in their suffering. God had sent us. This was the good news of the gospel -- good news indeed for the poor."

(The Hole in Our Gospel, pages 166,167)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Week - Good Friday

"Christ on the Cross" by Eugene Delacroix, 1798-1863

How quickly things got ugly once evil was allowed to run free. The crowd turned nasty. The soldiers were blasphemous and abusive. Even the others condemned to death were full of sarcasm and ridicule.

But on another plane a great victory was being won. Jesus had met God's standard of perfection. He was the Lamb of God, paying the penalty for our sin. Our relationship with God would be restored.

At His death the earth shook. The "veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom"; physically impossible for a person to tear it in that manner. Jesus' death opened the way for us to come into the very presence of God. That is why we can call the day we remember a death - GOOD.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holy Week - Thursday

Jesus and His disciples have eaten the Passover meal. After dinner they walk to Gethsemane Garden. Jesus says to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." Taking Peter, James and John He walks on, then stops. "Stay here and watch," He says, and goes deeper into the garden.

We don't know how long He spends in intense prayer. Perhaps an hour. When He returns, they are all asleep. "Could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation."

What is this watching?

Oswald Chambers says:
"Is our idea of prayer based on the keen watching that Jesus Christ asked of His disciples?.... Probably our biggest difficulty is that our Lord is not really Master... The point is are we prepared for our Lord to say to us, 'Sit ye here while I go yonder'? Are we prepared to give due weight to the fact that we are not our own master? Are we devotees to a cause or disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ? He said to the disciples, 'Sit ye here.' If they had been like some of us they would have said, 'No it it absurd. We must go and do something.'"

- Oswald Chambers from If You Will Ask - Reflections on Prayer

Dear Lord, become just that - Lord, Master, Boss. I would be your servant, slave, steward, go-fer ... to do, or wait and watch.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Aluminum puppet with human elements
(Click on photo to enlarge)

This isn't a great photograph, but it was an amazing puppet - only 180 lbs. in weight, operated by string-pullers at the back. Notice the acrobat girl on the right, manipulating herself using the bright fabric. Photographed on Saturday at the Vancouver Convention Center open house.


Thursday Challenge

Next week: SIGNS (Traffic, Building, Neon, Peace Signs, Graffiti, Religious,...)

Holy Week - Wednesday

How can she show Jesus the extent of her love? She imagines the greatest extravagance. She could pour her most costly treasure over Him - the vial of perfumed oil that cost a year's wages. And then she actually does it. Jesus, moved by her gesture, prophecies the meaning of her act. She is anointing His body for burial but beforehand, when He can still appreciate it.

He is fed up. How can a potential king have so little money sense? Jesus' affirming of the woman's wastefulness is the final straw. He goes to the priests and scribes - who just happen to be on his wavelength. Plus they pay good money. He puts in motion the last events of Jesus' life by agreeing to betray Him.

Two people acting out of the consistency of their hearts with very different outcomes.

What is my heart? Do my actions build up God's kingdom, like the woman's did, or work against it, like Judas's? I need to remember, their actions didn't come out of a vacuum but were logical next steps of consistent lives that were already pointing in a direction. In what direction is my life pointing?

Lord, show me the attitude of my heart. May it be toward You.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Calgary at night

Two 4 Tuesday photo meme

Holy Week - Tuesday

"Jesus upon the Mount of Olives" - Illustrations by Alexandre Bida, from Christ in Art; or, The Gospel Life of Jesus: With the Bida Illustrations. by Edward Eggleston. New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1874.

Tuesday reading: Mark 11:20-13:37

Watch. "Watch and pray. Watch therefore for you do not know when the master of the house is coming...Watch." These are the instructions Jesus gives after making a string of chilling predictions about end times: wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against nation, earthquakes, famine and troubles (Mark 13).

I'm sure the three disciples Jesus took with him deep into Gethsemane wished they'd paid more attention to this lesson after Jesus' arrest. Similarly, if I knew what was ahead for me, would I be a better watcher?

Lord, please give me a watchful spirit; and Your wise perspective on the world around me.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Holy Week - Monday

"The accursed fig tree" by James Tissot, 1836-1902

Monday reading: Mark 11:12-19

Jesus is in no mood for lightness. He curses a barren fig tree. Then He cleans the money changers and dove sellers out of the temple. His explanation, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a den of thieves."

What does the serious, down-to-business, days-from-the-cross Jesus curse in our lives, my life? My fruitlessness? My affair with the things of this world?

God help me, this Holy Week, to get honest with You and let You get ruthless with me.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

vancouver convention centre - your very own tour

On Saturday we joined thousands of other Vancouverites at the open house of the new Vancouver Convention Center. It will be the media hub of the 2010 Olympics less than a year from now.

It is a large spectacular building in a spectacular setting on the waterfront right next to Canada Place.

An escalator takes you from the bottom to the second level and this globe display, from which you can look down on the lower level.

The ballrooms (this day one huge room; I assume they have movable dividers that make them into A,B,C and D), are five and one half stories and Ballroom D has a bank of windows looking over the water.

When we toured, around 11:30 Sat. a.m. a puppet/cirque performance was going on (complete with this huge aluminum puppet and about eight puppeteers behind the scenes pulling the strings).

Many of the walls are made of wood ends. These lumber-stacked walls are built from B.C. Hemlock and were assembled by a robot named Victoria in Saanich on Vancouver Island.

The building has six acres of rooftop gardens. These have been planted with wildflowers, grass, and will hopefully be the nesting ground for birds. The gardens recreate a Gulf Island beach habitat. The rooftop also has four beehives.

Outside the building there are wide walkways - most with designated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. For those of us who have helped pay the $800+ million tab for this building (essentially everyone who pays taxes in this province), this access is a nice feature. Though we might never attend a conference inside, at least we can enjoy the public space around it.

My boys and I on the upper deck.

"Forty percent of the building is suspended over the water. The foundation has been designed to recreate a natural shoreline and will act as marine habitat for sea urchins, starfish and sea lettuce" (as per the visitor's program we were given).

Altogether a gorgeous building with many green features: the rooftop gardens, the fish-friendly foundation, a seawater heating and cooling system and a from-scratch kitchen philosophy.

Speaking of eating - the tour made us hungry. So on Benjie's recommendation, we walked a few blocks to the Steamworks Pub and had a very delicious lunch before strolling around Coal Harbor, then catching the Skytrain for home.


Watch more of the cool weekend proceedings here:

Holy Week - Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday which is the beginning of Holy Week - the week that precedes Easter.

Palm Sunday is the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the crowds thronged around, throwing their clothes and branches in his donkey's path while shouting "Hosanna." The joyous celebration is made all the more poignant by our knowledge of how soon those cheers will change to jeers. One of the reasons this story hits me hard is how it reminds me of my own fickleness.

Reading for Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-11

"The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem" by James Tissot 1836-1902

Friday, April 03, 2009

frivolous friday - the Ikea car?

Apparently our local Costco outlet had boats - yacht-type boats - on the lot last week. If Costco is selling boats, maybe the news I heard that Ikea has designs on GM is not so far-fetched.

Oh my!

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