Friday, September 29, 2006

Test #2

I like this skin. But the sidebar needs work--like moving the RGBP box into view. NOt sure how to do that.

Coming Soon...

This is something imagined by Andrea and described in this post. NO, I haven't decided on my post yet but am thinking about something around respect and diversity and politics as it is a municipal election year here (nominations close in 30 minutes)

(Hat Tip to Sue from whom I learned about this little project)

THis is a Test

Of a new template. I am not sure about it yet. I need to resolve a column width issue but have yet to find the proper line of code to alter.

Opinions? FIrefox users, does this one come out better?

ADD (11:25):
AS you can see, I decided against the new template--too blah. But in the comments for that template I found a possible solution for Firefox users who have trouble (apparently with many of the skins on that site). It reads:
It works in firefox with this extension "IE Tab" -an extension embedding Internet Explorer in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox- You can download from "https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1419/"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How Green are our churches?

And no, I am not channeling an interior designer and asking about paint colours.

Last weekend at presbytery the committee I chair led a presentation/discussion on Greening Sacred Spaces. WE asked people to consider what was one thing they could do to make the life of their church more environmentally friendly.

One of the things that came up in the discussion was church lighting. How many times have we been in a meeting in one part of a hall and the whole place is bright as day? Or how many times do we go somewhere with lots of natural light, enough to read comfortably, and all the lights are on? We also discussed issues around church groundskeeping (lawns are environmental nightmares) and (in the committee meeting, not in the whole court) the church's love affair with paper. The discussion could have gone on much longer and we may well have Greenifying the church as a Presbytery theme someday.

Also in our presentation we mentioned the Green Rule:
Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you.

Follow the links to more on the background info we had. It comes from an inter-faith group called Faith and the Common Good.

And really, how green is your church?

This Is Sad, Really

MADRID, Spain (AP) - A Spanish university professor with a long beard and dark complexion said Thursday he was briefly forced off an airliner during a layover on the Spanish island of Mallorca by passengers who feared he was an Islamic terrorist.

ANd what is even sadder is I doubt it is a first or a last time such a thing will happen. THere is a terrible climate of fear out there these days. ANd fear makes us do things we once would have described as unthinkable.

Maybe that is why Scripture continually tells us "Fear NOT!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

E-Mail Wisdom

This is an oldie but a goodie...

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. "Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing." Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred and nurture love.
2. Free your mind from worries--let God deal with them.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

CHeck This OUt!

One of the blogs I read is Occasional Sightings of the Gospel. THe writer posts little devotionals he has written. WEll worth reading. Especially check out the one he has posted today on being a servant.

ADD:
THe same writer has 2 other blogs that are worth a look:
Prayers4Today
Lectionary Liturgies

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LEVEL OF INSANITY

20 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity
1. At Lunch Time, Sit in Your Parked Car with Sunglasses on and point a hair Dryer at Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.
3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.
4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."
5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once everyone has gotten over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds".
7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With the Prophecy."
8. Don't use any punctuation.
9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.
10. Order diet water whenever you go out to eat with a serious face.
11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."
12. Sing Along At The Opera.
13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme.
14. Put Mosquito Netting around Your Work Area and Play tropical Sounds All Day.
15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party because you’re not in the Mood.
16. Have Your Co-workers Address You by Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.
17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won! I Won!"
18. When Leaving the Zoo, Start running Towards the Parking lot, Yelling "Run for Your Lives, They're Loose!!"
19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To the Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."
20. And the Final Way to Keep a Healthy Level of Insanity... Pass this on To Someone To Make Them Smile. It’s Called Therapy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It must be the time of year or something...

You can tell that people are planning for Worldwide Communion Sunday.
A glance through site meter shows that many people are coming to this post recently. Usually through a search engine.

If you want to use the prayer feel free. Let me know how it goes for you. We are using it here, I have broken it into a responsive format.

The THings Kids Can SAy...

LAst night in the motel room. I am lying on one bed with daughter #2, trying to lull her to sleep. Daughter #1 is on other bed with mom, who is just starting to feed the baby (and asking to help--it is better than lying down to sleep after all).

All of a sudden I hear "I want her to drink from ME!". Yep, mom is nursing and Daughter#1 wants to take over.

It took all we could do not to burst out laughing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Has God Gone Silent?

It is that time of year again -- the season of newspaper columns. Here is my submission for next week (and basically my meditation for morning prayer at Presbytery on Saturday).
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread (1 Samuel 3:1)

Can you hear the fear and anxiety in those words? “The word of the Lord was rare in those days.” For a society that lived by seeking God’s word and God’s protection to have that word become rare was terrible. Think back to that first teenage romance and the anxiety when the other doesn’t call for a couple of days. Did I do/say something wrong? Doesn’t he (or she) like me anymore?

But however real the pain of the first ended romance might be, it is far worse for people of faith to feel cut off from God. That disconnection throws everything else into question. To not be able to hear God’s word means that a vital source of guidance is missing.

Many people today suggest that God’s word is rare, that visions of God’s way are not widespread. Some suggest that this is because we have stopped listening, others that God’s word was sealed generations ago and all we have to do is interpret it correctly, still others may claim that God has given up on all but a select few who will be taken up to heaven in due time. Whatever reason is given, it still comes down to a belief that God is not speaking to us. And that leads directly to fatalism, despair, and exclusion of those who are different – because different is a threat and in our worrying about the world falling apart we fear those who are different.

But there is another option. There is always the chance that the Word of God continues to be a living, spoken, changing word. The Word of God is a Word that speaks to people in every age in a different way. The Word of God speaks of the challenges and trials that we face here and now, not only through the ancient stories of Scripture but through the living action of the Spirit in day-to-day life.

And what is God talking about? The same things God has always talked about. The Word of God is still about God’s amazingly inclusive and abundant Love. The Word is about God’s hope and plan for a new way of living together. The Word is there to remind us that we are never, not even for a microsecond, alone or forgotten.

Is God still speaking? Most definitely. God never stops speaking. The Word of God lives, pushing us to carefully reconsider how we understand the words, old and new, said to be The Word. If we stop to take time and listen, if we take the chance of putting away our old lenses and blinders, then we will find out that God is still speaking. Have no fear. The Spirit is here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Hug a Baby

Patty Got the following in her e-mail:

ATTENTION ALL DOGS!!! THE FOLLOWING ARE IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR EVERY DOG TO KNOW...
Instructions for properly hugging a baby:
1. First, spy a baby.


2. Second, be sure that the object you spied was indeed a baby, by employing classic sniffing techniques. If you smell baby powder and the wonderful aroma of wet diapers, this is, indeed, a baby.
3. Next you will need to flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process.
**Note: The added slobber should help in future steps by making the "paw slide" easier.
4. The "paw slide" - Simply slide paws around baby and prepare for possible close-up.
5. Finally, if a camera is present, you will need to execute the difficult and patented "hug, smile, and lean" so as to achieve the best photo quality.
Dogs, if this is properly done, it will secure you a warm, dry, climate-controlled environment for the rest of your life.
Good luck to all of you!

MOving Off the Negative

BOard meeting last night. It was our first of four meetings looking at visioning.

Last night's topic: Who are we? Why are we here?. Challenging questions to be sure but important ones to form a base for discussion. BUt as we started talking something all too familiar happened.

THe discussion quickly moved into something of a lament about the generation who are absent, about what isn't there.

I have seen this happen in a variety of places and in a variety of organizations. WHat is it that makes us jump so quickly to lament and problems? Next time we willl talk intentionally about Strengths and Opportunities -- maybe that will counter the lament somewhat.

Monday, September 18, 2006

THis could eat up HOURS

I was just asked to do morning prayer at our Presbytery meeting this weekend ( as a late replacement).

I decided that I would use PowerPoint for one of the hymns (since it is in a yet-to-be released hymn book supplement, luckily the composer will be there to teach it). Then as I was working on that I decided to do the whole service on PowerPoint. Kept it simple since I have never played with the program before. But I can easily see how doing that regularly could eat up loads and loads of time.

FUn, but still...lots of time to play and get it "just right"

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Role Confusion

When is a leader not to lead?

When you are in paid ministry of course. WE have the challenge of being in leadership positions but called to let others chart the course and vision. But we are also called to share a vision, to provide a steering hand on the rudder, to be visionkeepers. We have to lead from the middle, to know when it is time to stand out front yelling "Follow me!" and when to facilitate the work of others who are out in front.

This was a topic of discussion during my retreat last month. IT also comes to mind as I consider the morning's sermon. A sermon where I plan to ask the question How viable and vital are we as a congregation? and the follow-up How do we increase our viability and vitality?. In such questions leadership and vision are crucial. But then there is the balance that it is NOT just me that has to provide the answers. In fact it is not mainly me.

Sometimes I wish that I did run the church, well almost. Then I wake-up and realize that I can daily thank God that I don't.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Harvest




WE also had an equal volume of carrots (unpictured as they were harvested on a different day) as potatoes (a size 4 diaper box full). Enough carrots to last all winter and then some. And as you can see, we had one very large potato in the mix.

It Takes a Village


In this household EVERYONE helps with the baby.

Friday Five on Great Brushes

David Letterman used to have a feature on his show called "Brushes with Greatness." Members of the audience would share stories of encounters with famous people. And so...
1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous. The summer after Grade 12 the theatre group I had been involved with was asked to help with a lunch and show for the Mulroney family (just Mila and the kids, not Brian). At the time Brian Mulroney was the Canadian Prime Minister.
2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet. Actually Pope Benedict. I know we would disagree on many things but the chance to talk about them appeals.
3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet. My girls.
4. Do you have any autographs of famous people? Well I do have a signed copy of a book by Pierre Berton.
5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for? NEver really thought about that before...wisdom shared I would guess. (don't I sound Solomonlike? :-) )
Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago? Oh so many people...PAris Hilton jumps to mind. And then there are those who never should have had those 15 minutes to begin with (anybody on reality TV for instance).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

THere Are No WOrds...

One person has died after a shooting rampage at a Montreal college Wednesday,
which also left the gunman dead and 19 injured.

MAy God be with those who weep and those who mourn and those who ask WHY?

SOmetimes the only thing to say is GOd help us...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tourists Need Information??? Really??

SO we are travelling and two of the days we planned to stop for lunch at provincial borders (not because they were borders but because that would be about the right time to stop. Yes it is after Labour Day but who thinks about that -- we are travelling on a route of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Day 1: Arrive in Lloydminster on the ALberta/Saskatchewan border. Lots of picnic tables available but the building is closed (therefore no washrooms). BOx of brochures in front of the door for visitors to the wealthiest province in the country which can't afford to staff the information bureau between September and May. Said bureau is at the border on the highway to the provincial capital . So we have lunch and use the "hide in the bushes" approach to urination. OTOH, at least this is right beside a municipal area so people have other places to go for facilities and actual personal information.

Day 3: Come to the Manitoba/Ontario border. THere is ONE major Canadian highway linking the two provinces. Tourist Information Center is closed. Not only that but there are locked gates to the parking lot so people can't even use the picnic areas. Next closest possibility is 50 kms down the road. We pull off the road and use the grassed area beside the "Welcome To Ontario" and "Forest Fire Hazard" signs for our lunch break (the girls were all overdue for lunch, we weren't about to wait longer). While we are eating, at least 10 vehicles with license plates from many different places pull into the turn lane to use the Info Center (within a 30-45 minute span).

Maybe people who make these decisions need to think about the message of welcome they are actually sending? At least keep the places open until Thanksgiving, 12 months a year would be better. (Currently these booths open the Victoria Day Weekend in May).

Friday (SUnday) Five

From the RGBP site:
This Friday Five is Fairly Simple. Name five things you have enjoyed this week.

1. Camp reunion (see below) and visiting with old friends
2. A meal at the one of the restaurants where I used to work (paid for by someone else too!)
3. A Truly good night's sleep last night (first in a while)
4. HArvesting the Garden (pictures to follow)
5. Being invited to supper by a colleague while travelling home.

Welcome HOme

GOt back yesterday suppertime (4700 km and $1400 after we left here). Originally the plan was to be back today but, given that that would mean 2 4-hour drives and given that there were frost warnings out (not good weather for a tent) we decided to push it and make an 8-hour day of the final push.

Best thing about coming home after a vacation---gettting to sleep in your own bed again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On the ROad Again...Homeward Bound

Tomorrow we leave for the return trip. SUnday (according to the plan anyway) we arrive at home. Thursday I officially return to work {any guesses as to the chances of my starting to work before then???}.

4 weeks is a long time to be away. IT has been good and fun and relaxing but it is still a long time. You just need to listen to the girls to know it.

It will be good to get home...

See y'all on the flip side.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Going Home

YOu really can go home again, depending on what home you are talking about.

We spent the long weekend out at Camp MAskepetoon, the place I worked at during my University years (and got hooked). And I was at home. In moving away I left many things behind but Maskepetoon is what I miss the most. There is such a feeling of belonging there.

If we were back in this area I know I would be involved still. I know I could do no other. But now I carry with me my memories and my prayers.

Some day we may plan a holiday trip back here so that the girls can go there as campers. Some day...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday 5 on Driving

Big gentle hugs, soft pillows and heating pads to Will Smama, our resident matriarch and preacher/blogger/procrastinator who was involved in a bit of a fender-bender this week. We're very grateful she's OK, just a little shaken up...In lieu of flowers, I send this Friday Five out to her. Let's all be careful on those roadways.
1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear the mind? a means to an end? a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil? the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss. No, yes, sort of, yes, partly. I find driving tiring, not relaxing so really it is a means to an ends for me.
2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster? Slower? Have you ever gotten a ticket? Generally a little above, but not usually as fast as the rest of the traffic on the highway. In town, at or slightly below the limit as a rule. 2 tickets: one photo radar, one in person--both before I moved East.
3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of the experience? Living in an area with NO (in town) public transport the annswer would be no. When doing my undergrad I relied exclusively on the bus and that was good.
4. Complete this sentence: _____________ has the worst drivers I've ever experienced. My home province, both in the city and on the highway. Not so much bad as aggressive and always in a rush (what do yellow lights mean again?)
5. According to the Census Bureau, reverendmother's fair city has the 6th longest average commute in the United States at 29 minutes each way. How does your personal commute rate? What commute? THe manse is across the parking lot from the church.
Bonus for the brutally honest: It has been said, and the MythBusters have confirmed, that cell phones can impede driving ability almost as much as drinking. Do you talk on a cell phone while driving? Nope. We have only had a cell for a month mind you...