Sunday, December 21, 2014

And the GOOD News Is.....

All the disorganization I mentioned in yesterday's post has been taken care of!! Problems solved, plans in place, food and gifts purchased and wrapped. YAHOO!!!

How Can You Tell When a Pastor is Planning on Going Away for a Break at Christmas?

You can tell because all of a sudden people start dying and the pastor's responsibilities take over from the planned holidays, because that is what pastors do.  That is why they became pastors: to be available for families during times of crisis; to provide as much emotional and spiritual support as possible when families are struggling to deal with the sad realities of losing members to inevitable death.  It is particularly hard on them at Christmas time because usually Christmas is a time of rejoicing, of hope for the future.  When someone dies during the Christmas season there is something about it that seems even more difficult than when a death occurs at other times of the year.  As of a few minutes ago there have been 3 deaths brought to my husband's attention since 3 o'clock this afternoon and right now it is 7:30pm.

We have been fortunate, personally, this time around.  Scheduling for funerals and interments is not going to interfere with our least not yet.  It would be difficult to tell our own elderly parents, who are depending heavily on this year's Christmas visit from their only daughter for some badly needed assistance, that we may not make it.  For their sake I pray our plans won't have to change.  

My husband has spent his evening visiting families, making phone calls and being as much help as he can be.  Before all this news came to him he was so tired he was nearly incoherent.  He had 2 naps this afternoon after services.  It always fascinates me how he can pull himself instantly out of that state when he finds out someone has died and their families are in need.  I think the Lord gives him grace to do that. I have seen many pastors undergo a similar transformation when confronted with the needs of other people in the midst of their own need for rest.  It is just another indication of the calling God has put upon their lives.

So, lots of folk to be praying for over the coming week.  Lots of people to pray with, so share tears with, to encourage as much as possible in the midst of their losses.

It feels good to be able to be there when people are hurting and bewildered, to provide at least some measure of comfort.  In times past people have been there for us in the midst of our own grieving over various losses in life.  It is a privilege to be able to pay it forward.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Where Does the Time Go????

I don't care what the laws of science, reality or truth as we know it tell us, time definitely sped up during this year's Advent and Christmas seasons!!!

Only a day or two ago we were watching the first snow and ice storms while contemplating plans for the holiday season, for the special Advent and Christmas services at church, for arranging visits with family between Christmas and New Years Days.  And now, today, there are only 3 or 4 days left before all those plans have to be in place and will be happening!

We haven't moved the pews in one of our churches back where they belong to accommodate Christmas Eve visitors after attempting a new configuation for our regular worshippers.

We haven't set things up properly in the worship space for the lady who wants to get the decorating done before Christmas Eve.

We haven't yet printed off the  Advent 4 liturgy for the lighting of the Advent candles at church tomorrow morning.

We haven't yet arranged the Christmas Communion service at the nursing home in the next town north of here that is supposed to be happening in 3 days time.

We haven't booked our hotel rooms for next week's visits to the family.

I haven't cleaned out the refrigerator yet of perishables that must be used up before we leave.

The laundry is more than a week behind schedule. 

I have no gifts, nibblies, wee gifties nor specialty gourmet products prepared to take to our families next week.

We don't know yet who is taking the services in our absence next Sunday.


I don't remember this season creeping up this quickly on us in times past and us being quite this disorganized.  People in urban parishes would be horrified if everything was left to the last minute the way it has been here this year, but in rural dual parishes that is how it goes sometimes; it is just life.

This year the compaction of time has been just eerie!!

I don't care what anyone says:  there were less days this year between the first of November and the end of December than there were last year.  Absolutely true!! Who's with me??

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mr. Irving, You Are So Right!

"If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to  live it."

--John Irving

Oh my goodness, that is certainly the truth.  It seems every good and wonderful thing in any lifestyle also exacts a cost, a payment, a loss of something else that may be equally good and wonderful, or a committment to ongoing sacrifice.  Life is a funny set of cause and effect events no matter your chosen lifestyle.  Some people find themselves in lifestyles not of their choosing and yet seemingly unable to get out of them and make does that mean they are actually continuing to choose the very  lifestyles they think they want out of?  Human beings are so complex in their thought process, or not complex at all and simply taking the paths of least resistance at times.  All lifestyles we do not live ourselves are somewhat mind boggling, aren't they?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Vague Monday Musings...Coherent and Otherwise

Why do catered turkey dinners with "all the fixings" taste so much better and leave me feeling far more satisfied after the meal, no matter how simple, than the ones I prepare myself?  It isn't just that I don't have to do the work to prepare or the clean up afterward.  I think it is more because if a dinner is catered it naturally implies there are other friends to share the time of feasting with.  Our one church's dinner this past weekend was like that.  I was surrounded by parishioners for more than the opening Eucharist service.  We ate and drank and visited together around a variety of topics.  The turkey was cooked to perfection.  The fellowship was top notch.  It was a grand evening.

Most Frightening T-shirt Slogan Ever:

"Dead rats don't squeal!"  

(Eeewwww...too scary on several levels, particularly after spending so many years doing jail ministries.)

Favourite T-shirt Slogan of the Moment:

"Is it getting solipsistic in here or is it just me?"

Is professional boxing actually a sport?

Travelling to our other church early on Sunday morning on 60 kilometers of solid ice covered in blowing snow was a terrifying one hour journey. It reminded my husband of the Calgary Olympic Park luge track that he went hurtling down a number of years ago. 90 minutes later we began the return trip, after the county had blown fertilizer based ice melt onto the roads.  There was no more ice, just deep puddles we could fly along through, ending up at home in half the time it took us to get there.  For us that kind of fast melt is a near miracle.  Do I want to take some time today to research how that particular kind of ice melt works?

I am wondering about the validity of the aspect of Newtonian scientific theory that has left us dealing with the idea that molecules (physical mass) are the basic structures that cause movement and change and that energies are the "additives", the smaller content, the less than central cause and effect of life, so to speak.  I am wondering if instead I see more sense in the theory that energies are not the "icing on the cake" but the actual centre of science.  It seems that the energies move the molecules more than the other way around.  The common question is, "when you look in the mirror what do you see?" but should the complemetary question be "who is doing the looking?"  Subsequently I am becoming more interested in the work of Gottfried Leibniz. There is a  vastly simplified explanation of some of his work in a little book titled, "Death of the Soul: from Descartes to the computer" by William Barrett. (Anchor Press, New York, 1987.)  It introduced me to Leibniz' ideas and got me doing a bit of research.  If molecules are the central aspect of life then where do emotions and feelings come from and why do they so often motivate "movement" in directions that "mere" molecules do not lead us?

3 day road trip coming up this week.  Am I ready to travel once again into the maze of terrible diners and cheap motels that flourish on the prairies?  Do I treat us to a proper hotel in the city when we head out for Christmas celebrations with my parents or do I cheap out in protest against the exorbitant rates and to save some money for the new year?  I don't enjoy B&B's.  I don't enjoy short term house sits over holiday times because I live in fear of damaging someone's personal furnishings.  Musing: why am I so picky about accommodation in the first place?  I have a medical reason for concern about meals, but since I am barely in any hotel room long enough to even get a decent night's sleep, why does it matter so much where we stay for a few short days?

Am I mentally, emotionally or physically tired today? Let's see...which one shall it be?

Am I prepared today to be surprised by joy? To rejoice? 

Is it time to go outside and shovel yesterday's snow fall off the ice coated sidewalks and pour out another bag of apparently useless ice melt? Do I just put cat litter once again on the soon to be exposed ice cover and pray no one falls down as they walk past? 

Why am I blessed with such good friends around the world?  How can I be a better friend in return?  

Why am I still sitting here musing and scribbling when there is work to be done???? (see previous "orange" font!) 



Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Newspaper Error Hilarity

Just finished reading our local weekly newspaper and got quite a chuckle out of an error in one of the articles.  Not sure if the writer of the article was directly to blame due to not knowing the correct word to use, or if the error is a result of the writer putting too much trust into the spell checker on a computer, but the result is very funny either way.

How cute is this??

The article talks about a business owner who is retiring and turning the business over to someone else. According to the article, "...the two have worked TEDIOUSLY together...".

hahahaha  Seriously?  Tediously??  hahahaha

Could the correct word have perhaps been "tirelessly"?

When I look at some of the blunders I have made when typing up this blog or sending emails it amazes me there aren't more such errors popping up even among professional journalists.  

This one has to be one of the cutest though.  Lots of chuckles brightened my day when I read it.

Unbelievable Ice

On days like today it is a wonder anyone has the courage to leave the safety of their own houses to venture out into a world of ice, ice and more ice.

In the past 2 days I have used an entire bag of ice melt and another of kitty litter in an attempt to melt the ice outside our house but it has all been for nought.

The ice melt barely worked on the icy sidewalks and what little bit of surface melt was achieved froze again overnight. Today it is like I didn't put anything on it at all. You would never guess anything had been done.  We haven't seen bare sidewalk in several days.  I am so grateful that cat litter at least gives some footing to any pedestrians either foolish enough or unfortunate enough to be out there risking their brittle bones.

There are no bumps, knobs or ruts in any of this ice any more.  It is all one smooth glassy surface covering every street and sidewalk in town.  There is very little snow left anywhere.  Unlike the chinooks in Alberta, melts here are not accompanied by the same strong winds to dry up the puddles as they form.  When I went to the clinic yesterday the parking lot was so dangerous for walking that I actually parked illegally to be close to the door and exited and re-entered my car through the passenger door to be close to the sidewalk that had been cleared by the maintenance fellow.  I decided it was worth getting a hefty fine if it meant less risk for falling down.  (Fortunately I didn't get a ticket after all)

I could rant and rave and rail against the hospital and the clinic and all the home owners here who do nothing to eliminate the ice from their properties, but really they understand this type of ice far better than I do. I too could have saved myself a lot of time, effort and money investing in attempting to melt the ice.  Finally I understand the complete lack of effort put into ice clearing by the rest of the people in this town:  it simply isn't possible to clear it.  Period!  End of discussion!  No way! No How!!

All my neighbours knew that all ready, and now I do too!!