Moving on…

I haven’t posted anything here for a few months and, because we moved from Elliot Lake to St Marys over two months ago, I have decided to retire Two weeks from everywhere. The title speaks more of life in Elliot Lake than it does of being in St Marys. We had a (mostly) great fourteen years in Elliot Lake and it will always be special to us in its own way, especially as that was where our son was born. However, in comparison, being in St Marys seems more like being two minutes from everywhere. Even though it is smaller than Elliot Lake it now seems like we are two minutes from everywhere – twenty minutes from Stratford, thirty minutes from London, just over an hour from the US border, and just under two hours from Toronto.

With all of this in mind, I have started another blog, Roads go ever ever on, which will be more of a reflection of life in St Marys. It’s a work in progress and it will probably undergo a few changes in the next little while. Thanks for following this blog and I hope to see you at the new one. I’ll leave this one up, but this will be the last post here.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Resolutions (Dec 30)

TTT3WTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015 — bookish, blogging or otherwise!’ I’m not generally big on resolutions, but I’ll give this one a try anyway. I’m not going to confine the list to bookish things, but books and reading will probably be a big part of it. So here goes:

1. Read for at least 30 minutes each day. Although I often manage this, there are days when I get to bed and regret that I didn’t take the opportunity that day to read very much. I don’t want to rigidly set aside a specific time for reading as I don’t want it to become a chore, but there are times when I waste time during a day where I could be reading instead.

2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. There were times during 2014 when I was up to almost an hour of exercise each day. In fact, during the first six months of the year I lost almost 30 pounds. However, recently I have gotten out of the habit, but with all the Christmas eating I now realize that exercise needs to become part of my daily routine again. If I get back to doing the step on the Wii Fit I can combine the 30 minutes of exercise with the 30 minutes of reading!

3. Pray for at least 30 minutes each day. Again, there were times during 2014 when I was doing well with this, but recently it has become quite sporadic again. If I can get at least 15 minutes in right after I get up, I feel set for the day. I had been exploring some form of praying the daily office, but for now I’m happy to start with morning and evening prayers and take it from there. I have a couple of really good books on prayer that I want to get into in the New Year, which I believe will help me with this.

4. Be more intentional in time set aside for family activities. Although this is not an area that is desperately bad or anything, we need to do better in planning time for doing things together as a family – whether it be fun outings, playing games, watching movies, going for walks, or whatever – making sure we spend regular time together each week.

5. Try to have less books on the go at any one time. Currently (according to GoodReads) I have 26 books on the go. As I look at the list, I have noticed some that I forgot about. I have a really bad habit of starting a book, then finding and starting something else I really want to read, but never getting back to the previous one. Rarely there are books I just can’t finish for some reason or other, but that doesn’t happen too often.

6. Journal more. This is something I enjoy, but just seem to have gotten out of the habit of doing. Generally I find writing very therapeutic. Although my journals will never see the light of day, I find great personal value in writing in them on a regular basis.

7. Be more intentional in my blogging. This is something else that comes and goes. Some weeks all I manage are a few book related memes, so I need to work on expanding things beyond that. It’s another thing that I enjoy and find therapeutic, so I need to make sure that I create time for this as well.

8. Take more photos. I was involved in a Project 52 on Flickr for the first part of the year, but I let it slide for a little while and then just never got back into the discipline of it. I’m hoping to rejoin the group for 2014 (if they’ll have me back!) and this time I need to make more time for getting out and taking pictures.

9. Work towards developing a ‘Rule of Life’. One of the books over the last few years that I’ve found very helpful on my journey has been The Sacred Way by Tony Jones. I’ve tried and adopted a number of the spiritual practices and disciplines that he writes about in this book into my daily life. At the end of the book he writes about the development of a ‘Rule of Life’, saying the following:

However, it’s vitally important that each believer develops a “Rule of Life” – that is, “a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness.”

This is something that I’d really like to explore during the coming months.

10. Get back to The Classics Club. I joined The Classics Club in 2013 with great intentions, but managed only 2 books from my list in 2014, after having read 6 in the previous year. I really want to read all 50 books on my list, so this is something I need to get back to.

There are probably some other things that I’ll think of in the days ahead that I could have included in this Top Ten, but this is a good start at least. Maybe I’ll revisit this list a few times in 2015 to see if I actually even paid any attention to it! In the meantime, I’ll take the time to wish you a Happy New Year in 2015 and may you accomplish any tasks or goals that you have set for yourself.

Back again…

For a number of reasons, it has been almost two months since I posted something here. There has been a combination of things that have kept me from this, including, but not limited to, the fact that we recently spent almost a month out of the country. Also, I just didn’t seem to have the appetite or desire to sit down and put something together.

For part of July and August we were on an extended trip to Scotland and England, visiting family and friends, during which time I had the privilege and joy of performing the wedding ceremony for my niece/God-daughter, Ola (then Smith, now Thompson). The time away was much needed, although it has been hard getting fully back into the swing of things since our return. Most of my regular work was sitting waiting on my desk when I got back just over two weeks ago, but I think that I have taken care of most of it now and am getting slowly back to normal again, whatever that is!

At some point I’d like to share some thoughts and moments from our trip and I also have a ton of pictures to upload to my Flickr account. Although, I didn’t update my one-photo-a-day blog – 365-2014 (wcs53) – regularly whilst I was away, I did update it with a photo from each day of our holiday when I got back. Although I’m managing to keep up with this, I have let my Project 52-2014 at Flickr slide a bit, but am hoping to get this caught up in the not too distant future.

I wasn’t able to read too much whilst on holiday, but have managed to get  few books read in the short time I have been back. I have a few reviews to write and will start working on those very soon. Both our children will be back in school next week, which should help me get back to a more regular blogging schedule, including some of the memes that I normally post.

I hope that everyone has been having a great summer and I look forward to sharing and connecting with many of you soon.

New Month, New Design, New Outlook

For a number of reasons, I haven’t been posting much here over the past few weeks. I was also a bit tired of the way it looked, so I’ve uploaded a different theme to give things a fresher look and to hopefully give me some inspiration to start posting again.

The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. We were away at a Salvation Army Congress last month, which turned out to be much better than I thought it would be. We met a lot of friends we hadn’t seen for a while, the meetings were pretty good overall, and the speakers were all great, giving us plenty to think about as we returned to our regular lives and routines. Following this, however, we had a very challenging week where we had to make a few tough decisions. There were also some negative things going on that we really had no control over. Fortunately we are going on vacation soon, with a family wedding to look forward to, and this will give us a chance to recharge our batteries and be ready to get on with things again in the fall.

We are already halfway through the year. So far 2014 has been a fairly decent year. There are always challenges that come your way, especially in our line of work, but nothing has been insurmountable so far. I’ve made a number of positive lifestyle changes and have tried to approach things with a new outlook to life. One of the most positive things that is part of this is that I have lost almost 30 pounds so far this year and am feeling really good for this. I’d like to lose about another 20 before the end of the year, which will bring me close to what is my ideal weight. I’ve also tried to change some of my habits, especially endeavouring to have a more optimistic outlook on life than I had previously had. This has helped in my approach to some of the previously mentioned challenges we have had to face.

As we enter our fourteenth year of being in Elliot Lake there are a number of things we have to consider. There are still a number of things we have to work on at Hope. There will always be fresh challenges to face there. We also have to think about our family, especially now that we have two teenagers living in our household. This place has been good for us over the past thirteen years. Ultimately the length of time we have here is not up to us and we remain open to whatever comes our way as far as appointments go. Until we are told otherwise, we remain committed to being here and that is fine with us. We knew what to expect when we signed up for this.

Hopefully the new design, along with my new outlook on life, will inspire me to get back to posting here more frequently again. I have number of book reviews and photo assignments to catch up on, so that should get me going again. If you are inclined to pray, then think of us in your prayers as we try to sort through a few issues here. Also a few prayers for us to have a restful and enjoyable vacation would be pretty welcome. If you are not the praying kind, then a few thoughts or words of encouragement would be equally welcome.

Lent 2014 – Day 1

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Today is the first day of Lent for 2014. It didn’t really get off to as good a start as I had hoped it would. We were up to almost 2am this morning with a very sick son, so we are all pretty tired this morning. That’s life and we just have to deal with it. Hopefully a couple of days rest will get him back to his normal self, just in time for March break.

People approach Lent in a variety of ways. Traditionally it is a time of giving up or fasting, denying yourself of something in order to focus more on God, but added to that more and more these days is the taking on of something new to help a person grow spiritually. I like to approach Lent with a combination of the two – giving up something and taking up something new or different.

A definition of Lent that resonates most with me comes from the introduction to Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, which I have used in previous year for my daily readings during Lent. The editor shares the following definition:

First popularized in the fourth century, Lent is traditionally associated with penitence, fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. It is a time for “giving things up” balanced by “giving to” those in need. Yet whatever else it may be, Lent should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges. No wonder one liturgy refers to it as “this joyful season.” (page xvi)

For my journey through Lent this year I have chosen to do the following:

  • Fast for 12 hours each day following my evening meal;
  • Be more deliberate in my food intake – although I am a vegetarian, I still eat too much junk-type food;
  • Regularly pray the daily office;
  • Share a daily thought on this blog – some days it may be brief, but I will at least endeavour to post something from my journey;
  • Read two Christian ‘classics’ from my bookshelf – I’m thinking that the two I will try to read are Life Together (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton), although this my change later.

My companion books for my journey this year are Engage: A Lenten Guide for Spiritual Growth (Kai Nilsen) and Sacred Space for Lent 2014 (Irish Jesuits). I also plan to read N.T. Wright’s The Challenge of Easter during the week leading up to Easter.

I’m hoping that all of this will help bring some more focus to my life. What, if anything, do you do during the time of Lent? What are your thoughts on this time of year? Please feel free to share any thoughts or ideas in the comments section.

The End of Summer

It’s hard to believe that today is the first day of September and that summer is almost over. The kids are back at school on Tuesday and all the fall activities will be starting up again soon. It has been a fairly relaxing summer. I managed a couple of short trips away and the kids both went to camp. My parents came for their annual visit earlier this year to coincide with our daughter’s graduation, so it will be strange not having them here for Thanksgiving this year. We might take a family trip away at Thanksgiving this year, but we’ll wait and see what happens.

I haven’t done too much blogging here lately. For a while there I hardly missed a day, but I guess I needed a break. Now with summer over I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things again. I’m hoping to resurrect some of my favourite memes and am looking for some different ones as well. I’m also behind on some of my reviews and have about 4 or 5 to post in the next week or so. Something that I’m really looking forward to is Sci-Fi Month, which is taking place in November. I’m hoping to contribute at least 10 posts to this and am looking to host one or two giveaways as well.

I hope everyone reading this had a great summer as well and that you’re looking forward to the changing seasons. Don’t forget it’s less than four months to Christmas 🙂

Sci-Fi Month

scifimonthI just signed up for an online event, Sci-Fi Month, that will be taking place in November. It is being hosted by Rinn at Rinn Reads. If you are interested head over there to see how you can be a part of this. A large number of bloggers and authors will be participating and it promises to be an exciting month. Each participant can decide how much or little they want to do to be a part of it.

I am hoping to contribute about ten posts to the month and have a few ideas in mind. I’d like to do at least one giveaway, hopefully in connection with the 50th anniversary of Doctor, which is scheduled to happen in November as well. Other than that, other post ideas have include Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis’s Cosmic Trilogy, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It should b a fun month, so if sci-fi is your thing then maybe you should consider being part of it too.

Hopefully by the time October comes around I’ll have more of handle on what I’m going to do. I’ll try to post a schedule of my events here, but there will also be a schedule up at Rinn Reads before the event kicks off.