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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Colin Jackson (1946-2015)

I just read the sad news today that one of my Rangers heroes growing up, Colin Jackson, passed away yesterday. Growing up in Orkney, I didn’t get to many Rangers games. However, one that I did get to was the Scottish League Cup final on 31 March 1979, when we beat Aberdeen 2-1. The winning goal came in injury time and was headed in by Jackson. We came from behind as well and I still remember the goal well. An added bonus to being at the final was that on the Monday, a couple of days after the final, my parents had organised for us to have a tour of Ibrox, which finished off with us watching the players train across the road from the stadium. I got to meet most of the player and had them sign my programme from the final. It was probably the highlight of our holiday. I think the programme is still in a box at my parents house.

Here’s the highlights of that Cup Final. The quality isn’t the best, but it’s still worth watching:

Moving on…

moving-van2

Today we officially found out that after fourteen years of ministry in Elliot Lake we are moving on to new opportunities in Southern Ontario. On June 26 we will take up our new appointment at St. Mary’s Community Church.

Obviously, after having been here for such a long time, there are some mixed feelings about moving on. Having said that, the timing is right and we are very excited at the prospect of a new challenge in a new community (new to us anyway). We don’t know very much about St. Mary’s, but I’m sure we’ll find out a lot about it in the next few weeks.

There have been a lot of good times here in Elliot Lake, as well as some challenging ones. Our son was born here and we’ve watched our children grow up to be teenagers.There was also the excitement of opening our new building downtown in May 2009 and the fresh opportunities that brought. The biggest challenges for us have come in the past three years, especially with the aftermath of the mall collapse in June 2012. Some of these challenges have been draining and we believe that things will benefit from the fresh perspective that our successors will be able to bring to the community.

Over the past few months there have been some unfounded rumours about us leaving and the Army being closed down here. These have mainly been by people who don’t have a great understanding of how things work in our organization. As a lot of what was being said was second or third-hand gossip it was very difficult to deal with. The truth is that things will continue to operate after we leave here. There are no plans to close anything down and, in fact, the new people may see some different opportunities to expand upon some of the foundations that are already here.

The next few weeks will be busy, as we work through fourteen years of accumulation and pack up our belongings. The worst part may be packing up all the books we have gathered. I did cull a few in the past few months, but I find it really difficult to part with them.

I’ll post some updates as things progress, or if we find out more that we can share about St. Mary’s. Until then, if it is your thing, a few prayers for a smooth transition would be really helpful.

Sunday Round-Up (April 12)

IMG_2458The past week was a fairly decent week The highlight was probably turning 49 on Friday, although I’m not that sure what to think about being one year short of 50! The above picture shows the great gifts I received from my family. They know what I like and always come up with some great stuff. I’m looking forward to reading the book soon. It’s a sequel to one I received for Christmas that I really enjoyed.

This was also the week that the snow finally started to disappear. There are still some patches here and there, and our backyard still has quite the covering, but it is all slowly disappearing. The great thing about the slow thaw is that we haven’t had any flooding issues in our basement yet this year. Some years it just can’t handle the thaw, especially when there is heavy rain on top of the melting, but so far so good this year. Also with the snow disappearing, we’ve been able to get out for a decent walk most days this week.

I managed to get back to more reading this week. I finished a couple of books I started during Lent (The Little Book of Lent: Daily Reflections from the World’s Greatest Spiritual Writers and The Last Eyewitness: The Final Week). I also finished off Orsbornagain by Rob Birks. It was a great little book of daily readings based around the songs of General Albert Orsborn. It’s worth checking out, as is Rob’s latest book Someone Cared, which focuses on the poetry of General John Gowans. Rob is an SA officer in Western USA. A few years ago he introduced me to the music of Over the Rhine, whom we saw in concert in Winnipeg when we were both doing courses at Booth UC.

I spent part of Tuesday sorting through my books to see if there were any that I should get rid of. I surprised myself (and Pamela, too, I think) by coming up with just over 60 books. We’ll take them to Bearly Used Books in Parry Sound next week as we have to go south for a few days. The good thing about taking books there is that they give you store credit for them, so I’ll hopefully be able to get a few different ones to take home.

With the end of Lent last weekend I was able to get back to drinking coffee again. I’m not going to overindulge, though, and am restricting myself to three cups a day at the very most. The only thing I didn’t manage to get done for Lent that I’d hoped to was coming up with a set of meditations for The Stations of the Cross. Hopefully I’ll get that done sometime before next year.

All in all it was a fairly productive week. This coming week will be a shorter week as we head off to London on Friday for a few days. With the nice change in the weather it should be a pleasant journey. I’m looking forward to the time away and also being able to spend time with some friends. It should be a nice change anyway.

Before I close off here I have to share the following picture that Pamela e-mailed to me. I think it probably is quite accurate:

happy hour minions

World Autism Awareness Day

autism awarenessToday is World Autism Awareness Day, in fact the whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month. World Autism Awareness Day is something that has been observed every year on April 2 since 2008. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution “62/139. World Autism Awareness Day”; adopted on 18 December 2007, it was proposed by Qatar, and supported by all member states. The resolution had four main components:

  • the establishment of 2 April as WAAD
  • participation of UN organizations, member states, NGOs and all private & public organizations in WAAD
  • raise awareness of autism on all levels in society
  • to ask the UN Secretary-General to deliver this message to member states and all other UN organs.

We have lived with Autism in our household for a number of years since our son was diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum early on in his life. Initially there were a lot of struggles, as we came to terms with what we had already suspected and as we found ways help him grow up and become the teenager he is today. Nowadays it’s not as bad for us, but there still are some moments, although we have to work out sometimes whether what he’s doing is a teenage thing or his autism. Sometimes the lines become blurred.

Awareness is a big thing with autism, because the spectrum is so wide. Even since the time our son was diagnosed, perceptions have changed for the better, as people have started to understand more about what autism is, and even what it isn’t.

We’ve had lots of fun, as well as a few moments of frustration, with our son on his journey so far. In spite of it all, we wouldn’t change a thing, although perhaps it would be nice if he worked harder at keeping his bedroom a bit tidier. I think that’s probably more of a teenage thing than anything else, though!

If you want to learn more about autism, there are plenty of good resources out there. A few helpful websites are:

These sites all have lots of helpful links as well, if you are interested in exploring further. There are also plenty of great books out there, many of which are listed on this Books About Autism list at GoodReads.

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.

Top Ten Tuesday – Santa List (Dec 23)

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 Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year’. Every year round about October my family always ask me to put together a list of books I wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas that year. This year I put together the following list of twelve books. I’ll be happy with any of these books and I guess I only have a couple of days now to see if I get any of them!

  1. The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An IKEA Wardrobe – Romain Puertolas
  1. Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix
  1. Vanishing Grace – Philip Yancey
  1. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
  1. If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C. S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life – Alister McGrath
  1. Robogenesis – Daniel H. Wilson
  1. Lead With Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons From Pope Francis – Jeffrey A. Krames
  1. The Zimzum of Love: The Secret To Making Marriages Flourish – Rob and Kristen Bell
  1. Soccer Men: Profiles of the Rogues, Geniuses, and Neurotics Who Dominate the World’s Most Popular Sport – Simon Kuper
  1. You Are Here: Around The World In 92 Minutes – Chris Hadfield
  1. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers – Anne Lamott
  1. Return Of The Prodigal Son: A Meditation on Fathers, Brothers, and Sons – Henri Nouwen

EDIT: I received them all, apart from #3, #6, and #10. So I was very happy on Christmas morning 🙂