Monday, July 31, 2006

Browser Issues

It appears that there is something about the template code that Firefox doesn't like or doesn't read well. A friend said that he put an IE tab in so that he could read the blog. Anyone else finding a problem? (Firefox puts up a white screen -- not header picture and no background--and so the white text doesn't really show up).

From the comments on the Blogger Template site it appears that the .png files are the issue.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Friday Five on Sunday?

Well I was out of town on Friday. But it is still HOT HOT HOT here so:

Many areas of the United States are having a heat wave. Global warming, anyone? Look on the bright side of melting glaciers and enviro-destruction by taking a crack at the Friday Five:
1. What's the high temperature today where you are? It was supposed to reach 31 C with a humdex of 43 but I think it is only getting to 27 or so
2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat. Can we say shade? Or a dip in the lake always helps too.
3. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Evaluate this statement. true but irrelevant. Bloody hot is still bloody hot. Mind you the humidity just makes one feel like curling up into a ball...
4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage. Hot tub out side in winter is very pleasant. Just jump out once in a while to roll in the snow then hop back in the water. Not much for a sauna and have never tried the other two.
5. Hottest you've ever been in your life Hmmm, not sure, but standing in the full sun doing yesterday's wedding has to be close. Or canoeing across the lake at camp a few years back -- with the double whammy of sunlight reflecting off the lake up at you as well as beating down on your head/back.

And WE're Back

WAter-Balloon Volleyball on Carnival Night
And another week of camp has now come to a close.
IT was a good week. Good weather (well about 5 degrees cooler would have been nice). NO flu out break. ANd everyone had a good time.
Our theme this year was The Rainbow Connection, a look at covenant. We used the stories of Noah and the Rainbow(promise), Abraham and Sarah (trust), and the prophets (responsibility). For promise we did a MADD activity (music art drama and dance) and the music group actually wrote a chorus. For trust we did a game that led the groups through the story of Abraham and Sarah's journey -- and when you look at it, Abraham wasn't always too terribly trusting. THen for the prophets we made pencil cases for school children in Ecuador.
One of the great parts about our theme times this year was that we had a truly talented musician/teacher/pastor come to provide music leadership. She taught 4 songs to the group of campers in half-an-hour (I suspect it would have taken a similarly sized group of adults twice that long to start singing them as comfortably). Our eldest truly loved the music -- I had to sing her the songs each night as she was going to sleep.
A good week. A really good (and tiring -- 17 hour days) week. The funny thing is, I was so tired going into the week, but once things started my body went into camp mode and I wasn't nearly as draggy as I expected I would be (and had the weather been just that bit cooler I would have been even less) ther is just something about camp that refreshes me in body and spirit and the tiredness at the end is somehow a healthier tiredness than before I started.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Soon to be gone. GOne to Camp that is.

THe plan is to be on the highway shortly after the end of worship tomorrow. THen back for wedding rehearsal and wedding next Friday/Saturday.

Camp starting and I am already tired.... See you in a week!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Five -- Anniversary Edition

The RevGalBlogPals are 1 year old! In honour of that we have the following:

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals? I first got to know the ring by reading Sue's blog. Through her I found links to other members and started reading them. Then out of the blue (or so it seemed to me) was a comment on my blog inviting me to join...
2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life? I have sat on a committee with Sue and Poor Mad Peter (who really is relatively sane). ANd if memory serves I met Richard at a UCCan event some years back.
3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person. Oh that is not a fair question. Will Smama for sure (our kidlets could compare notes on being PKs), and Songbird (so I can see if she is really purple like the picture on her sidebar). And so many others...
4) What has Ring Membership added to your life? Where else would have learned about "blogthings" and Quizilla? Or found such wonderful stories? Or got to take part in the book?
5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing. Meet-ups sound great (although hard to work out given where I am located). And imagine the possibility of 160+ people of faith sharing their hopes and visions of what the world could be, then carrying those shared visions to their congregations and contexts, then the word spreads from there...WOW! RevGalBlogPals -- changing the world one blog at a time

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

But This is much better! (and hopefully more accurate)

Arty Kid

Whether you were a drama freak or an emo poet, you definitely were expressive and unique.

You're probably a little less weird these days - but even more talented!

Ooooh this is not good...

You Are Most Like Richard Nixon

Oh sure, you give people plenty of reasons to call you "Tricky Dick."
But you're actually quite diplomatic, even though you secretly hate your enemies.

SOmething Smells...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in Cyprus Wednesday on a government plane he diverted to help remove Canadians fleeing the fighting in Lebanon.

While I think anything that helps get people out of the line of fire is good there is a stench of political opportunism here. HArper has been accused of responding too slowly and now he is diverting a plane to pick up evacuees? MAkes for a good photo-op I guess.

And I have decided that I don't want to read/listen to/watch stories from the Midle East for a while. Certainly Hezbollah gets the blame for the latest debacle, but nobody in that conflict gets to claim any moral high ground. Truly I feel that it is time for the rest of the world to say "a pox on all of you. Come and talk to us when you are ready to act civilly".

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What is FAir and Equitable?

ONe of the issues that will be discussed when General Council meets next month is clergy compensation. There is a proposal being put forward to seek equity in salaries paid to clergy.

BUt what does equity mean? Doe it mean paying everybody the same? Does it mean that we pay clergy differently depending on how many dependents they have? Or that those with children in university get scholarships for those bills? Does it mean that a definition of a "reasonable" standard of living is created and supplied to clergy? WHat does equal mean?

One of the suggestions is to move to an all-inclusive salary number, with minimums raised to reflect the cost of a housing allowance (by Canadian tax law clergy housing is a non-taxable benefit). BUt housing costs vary wildlyy across the country. ANd for some small charges the difference between providing a manse and increasing salary by $13 000 (one of the numbers suggested) could well mean the difference between full-time ministry and closing the doors (although it could be worked out that the clergy rent the manse from the charge and the cost is more of an in-out thing). Is that the cost of equity?

I am not sure what the best solution is. I actually support the idea of one salary number which includes all allowances (study and housing anyway, travel is probably best left as a reimbursement for mileage system). It just makes it easier to talk about what clergy are paid, and to compare that to other professionals in town. BUt what do we mean by equity? Will this proposal actually provide it?

Monday, July 17, 2006

In search of unity

I am working on SUnday, a nice short sermon so we can get on the highway to camp as early as possible (especially as I get to drive an extra hour past camp to the kennel and back).

Working from Ephesians 2:11-22, the working title of the sermon is Walls that Divide -- NO MORE!. One of the things I celebrate about Pauline theology is that it gives us tools to deal with the divisions within the church. Paul reminds us that we don't all have to be the same. In modern terms, we can agree to disagree and then pray or sing together.

The United Church of Canada seems constantly buffeted by threats of splitting. We are so big and cover such a wide spectrum of thought that unity is a challenge. This SUnday I will raise up for prayer the commissioners to General Council 39, which mets a month from now. As I talk abotu Paul's call for unity in Christ I will talk about how we, as a varied denomination, have tried to live out that ideal of unity in diversity. And in the end we always need reminding that it isn't terrifying that we disagree, it isn't a tragedy, it isn't something to avoid talking about. It is who we are but what keeps us together is more important in the end.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh I Wish, I Wish

This looks SSOOOOOOOOO nice right now. Of course I don't reallly fit into those pools these days. BUt the girls sure love it. Often we put the slide in so they can have a waterslide too. Unfortunately we are now on watering restrictions so no pool fun for a while...

Good for a laugh

I am not here. I am thinking about adoption (for sermon purposes!). BUt in the mean time y'all can go here for some amusement. Just remember that students are always told to be descriptive and use figures of speech to make their writing interesting.

HEre is another one. Scary thing is I graduated in 1987 --- and those kids are finishing high schools now? Mind you I never did care who shot JR and at the time didn't know whe he was (we weren't a Dallas watching family).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

If THey Only Knew...

Last night we watched an old video from camp (a compilation of the weekly videos made in 1997). ANd as we watched some of the goings on I couldn;t help but wonder:

If parents really knew what their kids were going to do and se at camp would they keep sending them?

I mean, these were things I participated in wholheartedly but wathching them I have to wonder...

ANd what is it with pre-teen boys doing a fashion show that it almost always degenerates into some sort of an imitaion striptease????

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

COvenant and Kids

Noah and the Rainbow, Abraham and Sarah, the Prophets. What do they have in common? They are the passages being used for theme time at camp this year. Our theme is about covenant.

COvenant, a hard concept for adults. So we will talk about promises and responsibility. WE will have a game where the campers have to make the choices faced by Abraham and Sarah. We will have a multi-arts day for Noah (music, art, dance, and drama). For the prophets we have a drama planned.

Covenant, promises, ways of living together. Who knows, maybe something we talk about in 2 weeks will filter back to the adults?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Rules for the journey

Will Smama has posted a sermon excerpt from yesterday. It has some rules for the journey of faith: Travel Together, Trust God, Travel Light. Read more here

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My SUmmer Weather Answers

  1. What is your idea of ideal summer weather? Temperatures of 20-25 Celsius during the day. Nice rains from time to time. Nights that allow the house to cool down.
  2. Thunderstorms: cool to watch or terrifying? Definitely cool to watch, especially at night across the lake.
  3. Does anyone really care about the Humidex reading? Or is it just plain too freakin' hot? Just too plain hot (I feel the same about the wind chill in the winter).
  4. And what is a Humidex after all? Is it like a Rolodex? FOr that matter what is a Rolodex.
  5. What is your favourite hot weather activity? Something involving the shade, a good book, and relaxation.
  6. Dog Days of Summer. What are they? Should our puppies get a parade or something? Don't rightly know. But a parade sounds like fun.
  7. What was the worst Summer Storm you have been in? A tie I think. (1) As a teen ager we were driving from Chicago to Sarnia (Ontario) and passed through a massive rainstorm with purplish clouds and emergency vehicles on every overpass. Eventually we turned to a radio station and heard that the mall we had passed about 5 minutes previously had just been hit by a tornado. (2) The summer after Sarah was born we had a big hailstorm. Stones bigger than golf balls piling up like snowdrifts. I remember standing by the picture window watching the stones bounce off it while Patty was weell away from it holding Sarah and saying something about daddy being silly...
  8. And of course, How's the weather where you are? As I said above, it's been a mix. The last few days have been hot (around 30, Humidex of 33) but today might have made it to 18 if we were lucky. Heavy thunderstorm Friday night woke us up.

Summer Weather Meme

Here it is, my 400th post--and it is a meme. Or at least it is one I am trying to start...

During the last 10 days we have had a whole bunch of weather. Thunderstorms, wind, blazing heat, coolness. Only thing missing is a tornado or so. Anyway, I thought a meme about summer weather felt good (also one of the prayers we are using in our July worship is a reflection on Summer Weather). Leave a note or link in the comments if you play...
  1. What is your idea of ideal summer weather?
  2. Thunderstorms: cool to watch or terrifying?
  3. Does anyone really care about the Humidex reading? Or is it just plain too freakin' hot?
  4. And what is a Humidex after all? Is it like a Rolodex?
  5. What is your favourite hot weather activity?
  6. Dog Days of Summer. What are they? Should our puppies get a parade or something?
  7. What was the worst Summer Storm you have been in?
  8. And of course, How's the weather where you are?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An E-Mail Riddle

You are driving in a car at a constant speed.
On your left side is a valley and on your right side is a fire engine traveling at the same speed as you.
In front of you is a galloping pig which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it.
Behind you is a helicopter flying at ground level.
Both the giant pig and the helicopter are also traveling at the same speed as you.

What must you do to safely get out of this situation?

>>> >> > >>>> >> > >.>>> >> > >(answer is in the comments)

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Short Friday 5

A Short meme for what was for many a shortened week:tell us about five noteworthy Short things in your life.(Be liberally imaginative.)
  1. Short People Oh so many vertically challenged people I have known. I was the shortest or second shortest in my class throughout much of Grades 1-9. ANd if one talks about temper then I still am at times
  2. Short Hops 1...2...3...fall on my face (that is the limit of my athletic prowess)
  3. Short Stories One of my favourites is The Lady or the Tiger although I must admit that I got rather tired of every year being assigned to write an ending to it (as we were in Grades 7-9). Oh and then there is the one that Michael wrote in For Better or For Worse years ago (when he was about 9): "Some kids got lost but wer found. The End"
  4. Short Lists Our shopping list. We always go to buy milk. $75 later... (It was even more noticeable when Patty was pregnant and we had coupons for free milk)
  5. Short Stops Isn't that a position in baseball?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wish I had a Picture For This

LAst night, just before supper, I was feeding the baby. First I got in trouble for doing it wrong--apparently one has to hold baby on a pillow, not just on one's lap (that's how mommy does it)-- so eldest corrects my style.

THen eldest picks up her baby, gets one of the throw pillows from the couch and sits in her chair to feed. As soon as I start to burp, she burps her baby. I kiss the baby-she kisses the baby. I say something to baby-she says the same thing.

It truly was adorable to watch. Adorable and a little sobering to realize how well she apes us...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

COlumn Based on Easter Sunday Sermon

It is never easy to turn a 15 minute sermon into a 500 word column. Even less so to do it 2.5 months after the fact when you don't have a manuscript to look back at. But the thoughts I shared on Easter Sunday are ones I think the town needs to hear (and so I was told back in April). I think they are worth a wider sharing too.
Living from Saturday Into Sunday

The earliest ending of our earliest gospel (Mark 16:1-8) is striking. The women go to the garden, see the empty tomb, talk to the angel, and flee home in utter fear. There is no vision of the Risen Christ, there is no joy. The women have not yet lived into Sunday.

That is the secret of being Resurrection people. We have to be willing to take the next step, to live into Sunday. Friday is a day of sadness, as we remember execution and pain. Sunday is a day of joy, as we remember empty tomb and new life. But most of us live much of our lives on Saturday, somewhere between sadness and joy, between death and new life. Living on Saturday puts us in a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and worry. Living on Saturday is a place of fear, not knowing how, or if, we can move forward. Atikokan has been living on Saturday for 25 years, ever since the mines closed. Maybe we should look for evening to fall and the sunrise of Sunday.

Our challenge then, is how do we live into Sunday? How do put the fear and anxiety behind and get to the new life? Well, in some ways we don’t. Part of making that journey lies in our openness to not control where it goes. We don’t get to shape what resurrected life looks like. And often, if not always, it will not be going back to where we once were. Resurrection is not resuscitation. It is new life, not a return to the old. Only when we let go of our hope that one last shock will get the old life beating again are we ready to find the new life waiting.

But there is something else we need to do. Saturday time is there so that we can mourn. We can’t jump straight from cross to empty tomb. We need to name and deal with the feelings of fear, anxiety and loss. Yes that is hard and uncomfortable work. But when we try to avoid it we never find ourselves facing Sunday’s dawn. We have to name that Atikokan of 2006 is not the Atikokan of 1966. That town is gone. Only when we accept that reality (which is also part of not looking for resuscitation) can our eyes be opened for a new vision. In looking back over the last year I am sure that this town, as a whole, has not done any of the grief work over the mines closing. We haven’t used our Saturday time well. It is time to let go.

And when we let go, then what? I don’t know. It would be foolish to predict. You see one of the glorious things about resurrection is that it usually surprises us. It doesn’t happen according to our plan. But if we are open and watchful and welcoming it will come. This is our hope, this is our promise. Are we ready to live into Sunday?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A New Look!

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of this blog. One Year and this is the 395th post (thought I might make the 400 mark but not quite). In honour of the blogiversary I thought it was time for a new look. When I saw this one I thought the top picture had a Middle-Earthy, elvish type of look to it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Observations at a funeral....

So I am doing this funeral on Saturday and two things occur to me. One profound, one not so much. (I'll let you decide which is the more profound one)

1) Why are they letting such young people take Grade 11 nowadays? (OK, so I graduated Grade 12 so long ago -1987 - that some of this year's grads weren't even born yet but still, alll of a sudden there are this fresh-faced children in Grade 11)

2) I am always awestruck by what some people can do at a family member's funeral. 3 teenaged (or maybe 20 year-old) grandchildren spoke at Saturdays funeral. I have also been to one where the deceased's two 19-21 year old sons spoke. I never could have done that. Yes I preached for my grandmother but I was 34 by then --- and used to public speaking. But as a teen? no freakin' way.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

ANd Geography too!

You Passed 8th Grade Geography

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!
I think I should go do 8th Grade again--I never would have got all of these then.

First Math, NOw History

You Passed 8th Grade US History

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!
WOrking my way through the subjects. ANd seeing as it is a quiz on US history I think 7/8 is worth a brag.


WE figured taking a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a 6 week old in the canoe parade was a little undoable. So mom built a canoe for the land parade instead.

(Yes I am aware that Canada Day is practically over but work stuff filled the afternoon)