Monday, April 30, 2007

Visiting the Bison ...

About three seconds after I snapped this,
the Bison in the forefront charged at the fence ...
... even with the fence, it scared the bejesus outta me!!

The furry lump to the right is a baby !!!

The baby is sssssoooo tired !!

Scenes along the way ...

(some pictures from our walk out by the buffalo pen)

What's the REAL State of Emergency Here????

A tanker truck crashes. The ensuing inferno produced flames that melted the two bridge over passes and shut down a major highway ... Thousands upon thousands of commuters are suddenly left with grid lock because the highway is closed until further notice ...

The Governor arrives and declares a state of emergency. He cites the over 80 000 cars that pass by this point everyday as motivation for declaring a state of emergency to speed up the rebuilding process ...

What I don't get is this:

What is the REAL state of emergency here??
A bridge burned beyond recognition??
80 000 commuters inconvenienced by the missing bridge???
A society that doesn't see anything wrong with 80 000 commuters on a highway to begin with??

I guess it's all we can expect from a guy who drives multiple Hummers:

Thanks Arnie ...

(glad to know the truck driver is okay)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tonight at the Lake ...

It was a good night for a bike ride ...
... the ice is off the lake, the sun was shining,
there was even a new baby buffalo in the herd !!!
(thanks to Carole for the picture)

A Home Town Hero !!!

Is this man a hero??
He doesn't think so.
He says all he did was get "blown up."
Well, he IS a hero, and this town is proud of him.
In today's Globe and Mail is a major article about
Cpl Scott Collen a member of the PPCLI who was wounded in Afghanistan.
Scott doesn't think of himself as a hero,
but the rest of us do.
What do you think??
and let me know ...
check out the slide show of
Scott's recovery too !!!
Oh, and to any of my readers who get the print edition of the
Saturday (today) Globe and Mail ... could you possibly
mail me the Focus Section of the paper??
Scott's family are looking for copies of the article,
and the stores in town only get one copy of the Globe and Mail
each Saturday, and I have a standing "hold" on it ...
(I'm going to share it - but we'd like more)
mail it c/o PO Box 692 Minnedosa MB R0J 1E0
(thanks in advance)

How I spent my afternoon ...

This morning the kids and I went to Brandon to run some errands ... we needed a variety of things, but I had one purchase in mind !!

This was the week that WKRP in Cincinatti finally came out on DVD !!!!

It took some doing, but I eventually found a copy, and brought it home and have spent the afternoon getting re-aquainted with Johnny, Venus, Andy, Les, Jennifer, Bailey, Herb, Mr Carlson and the rest of the characters who popped up on this delightfully quirky programme ... It's been a long time, but it's been worth it.

AND, tonight the kids and I will be watching Young Frankenstein !!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Words for a Friend ...

I found this today in my reading, and thought it would be helpful to a friend in a tough spot:

Self-esteem grows when I love and accept myself as I am. I block my own well-being each time I base my self worth on what I do or what others think of me. If I could please all the people on the earth, if I could "straighten everyone out" and remedy all the difficulties they face, if I could make the world a perfect place - even then, I probably would not feel good about myself. Indeed I would have had to give up all of my "self" to accomplish this impossible task.

I cannot be perfect. I can not make other perfect. Yet I am worthy of love, respect and joy. Let me remind myself each day that I am the child of a perfect Higher Power. That, in itself commands respect - my respect - for the miraculous "self" I have been given. When I hold this at the forefront of my mind, I will not give up my "self" in the course of any endeavour.

As I read this I thought of many people, and many friends, myself included who struggle at times to make these words true ...

So to them - all of them: Take it one day at a time, and know that anything is possible !!

If there is a problem in the world ...

Father or Abuna Elias Chacour is the resident priest in the village of Ibillin, in the mountains outside of Nazareth in Galilea. He is a Melikite Catholic Priest, and is a Palestinian.

I first met him when I was on a study tour to Israel with the University of Toronto in 1988, an event he no doubt remembers fondly ... We arrived in Ibillin and spent the morning in the church and village where we heard from Fr. Chacour himself about the challenges of being an Arab citizen in Israel, and the work he and the Peace institute he founded were engaging.

The Mass he presided at was a beautiful mixture of Arabic and English (just enough English peppered in to keep the non-Arabic speakers from getting lost). The village was beautiful. The children, rather than asking for "baqsheesh" asked for paper and pencils, which we gladly gave, though our Profs who were guiding the tours said that giving away our writing utensils wasn't an excuse for not getting the papers and notes we needed done.

What struck me in Ibillin that day was the peace and serenity that Father Chacour possesses and so ready shares ... he is a man of peace ... he is a prophetic figure in the fullest sense of what a prophet is ... he is one of the Saints of our World ...

From one of his books I often borrow a story he tells about what happens in the world when there is a problem ... a story we would do well to hear and live:

Father Chacour's mentor sat before the class of eager young priests and said – "If there is a problem somewhere this is what happens. Three people will try to do something concrete to settle the issue. Ten people will give a lecture analyzing what the three are doing. One hundred people will commend or condemn the ten for their lecture. One thousand people will argue about he problem. AND one person – only ONE – will involve himself so deeply in the true solution that he is simply too busy to listen to any of it …"

"Now," the kindly mentor looked each of the young priests in the eyes as he asked the question: "which person are YOU??"

I reflect on this story often ... and I repeated ask myself the question: which person am I??

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just that kind of day ...

Even though I took this yesterday, it still fits for today ... (the little lumps in the grass are reclining foals who know what to do on a sunny day !! They were just rolling around in the grass and having a good time !!)

Today was just that kind of a day ... the sun was shining ... the air was warm ... it was in a single word: BEAUTIFUL !!!

I used my bike to get around ... I enjoyed the wind on my face and the sun on my back ... It was LOVELY!!

I hope tomorrow offers more of the same ...

What's Wrong with This Picture ????

This man is the suspect in the disappearance and killing
of dozens of women who vanished from the
mean streets of Vancouver ...

He is currently on trial in BC for 6 of the deaths.
The investigation has cost millions,
the trial will cost millions more ...
... his crimes are indescribably disturbing,
his victims were amongst society's most vulnerable.
Yet, today you are hard pressed to find ANY reference to
him or his trial or his crimes in ongoing news coverage.
Instead we're awash in
Phil Spector's Murder trial,
Conrad Black's Fraud Trial,
and Albert Walker's latest trial.
These are the things that are all over today's headlines,
and s a result
the anonymity that allowed Pickton
to victimize DOZENS OF WOMEN
continues to reign supreme.
Pickton's victims deserve better
than the occasional mention.
I'm not talking about splashing
every sordid detail all over the papers,
I'm talking about remembering
the guy is ON TRIAL in the first place.
These women had names, families, lives and communities.
They deserve more than a by-line buried somewhere
in the back page of a newspaper, or some obscure link on a web page.
I'm tired of Black and Spector and the others,
Pickton's victims deserve to be remembered!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scenes from a Road Less Taken ...

Today I headed west to St. Lazare to offer a graveside service for a friend ... I decided it was such a beautiful, sunny day that I should take my camera with me ... I'm glad I did ... What follows are some of the sights along the way:

Pelicans on the Lake at Shoal Lake.
I stopped to take pictures of the Loons ... but they left.
The Pelicans filled in unbidden ...

The Valley at St Lazare.

In the distance you can see Saskatchewan!!

Percherons at Birtle.

The prone horses are foals ...

there were DOZENS of big, beautiful Percherons !!!

It was incredible - I've never seen that many heavies before !!

A little "fixer up'er"I found along the way.

The sun was shining,

the air was warm,

and the scenery was stunning.

It was a good day, even with the sadness of saying farewell.

Tonight in Minnedosa ...

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
... ... ...
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
- from "The Desiderata"
by Max Ehrmann

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Three words ... one life ...

Today we gathered as a community of family and friends to say our farewells to Maureen ... as people entered the church they were invited to pick up a river stone with the words Live, Laugh and Love written on them.

Each rock had those three simple words ... Words that Maureen lived her life by ... Words Maureen valued and celebrated with every breath ... Words she shared with everyone she met.

As the service ended people left the church with small stones and tiny plastic lady bugs held tightly in their hands ... a token of remembrance for a life that ended too soon ...

What struck me though, was the simple fact that Maureen's life was very much like those stones we held in our hands ...

Maureen's life was like a stone tossed into a pond ... from the place where the stone landed in the water, ripples moved outward, and today we began to realize just where those ripples have gone ... There are countless lives that have been touched by this delightfully outrageous woman ... through her involvement in a variety of groups (not least of which was the Red Hatters), she touched lives all over the community ... through her friendships she has touched lives all over Western Manitoba ... and through her willingness to help just about anyone, she has touched lives in places we can't even begin to imagine ...

Like a tiny rock tossed into the water of a pond ... the ripples of Maureen's life have flowed outward to places that today are grieving her passing, but also giving thanks that she passed this way at all ...

I hope when my time comes, my life will be viewed in such a way ... if it is, it will be a life well lived.

It's a Cats' World ...

Today we say farewell to a friend ...

Today we gather to bid a fond farwell to a friend ... she went too soon ... there was too much left for her to do ... Her LadyBugs and all of us together will miss her and her smile, warmth, enthusiasm, and her bright, flamboyant Red Hat ...

And all the places where she touched the lives of others will be lacking something ...

But we couldn't wish her to linger ... she lived her life - ONE DAY AT A TIME, and gave thanks for each day ... There is no better tribute to her and her life than a quotation she shared with many others:

This is a day which God has given into my hands.
If I could only realize what a tremendous gift this is, I would use every moment of it to make my life more serene, more rewarding.
I would not look back over my shoulder at the disappointments of the past – I would not anxiously contemplate the future. I would live – just for today – as well as I can.
I would put aside critical thoughts of others. I would notice interesting things – the expressions on people’s faces, a plant growing on my windowsill, the grace and charm of a child, an arrangement of clouds.
Today there are wonders all around if I will open my eyes and enjoy them.

And today we pray:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Rest in peace dear friend ... and Thank You.

Good Samaritans in Unlikely Places ...

Every once in awhile, I'm privy to something that gives me faith in the goodness of humankind ... Tonight was one of those moments:

We were standing outside the coffee shop having a last chat before we all headed back to our respective homes for the night ... A truck pulled up and the driver asked where he could get gas.

It was closer to 12 midnight than it was closer to 11, so we all looked at our watches and said - "um, Neepawa may have something open ..."

"I'm on fumes," came the reply from the American couple who were heading home to OHIO !!!

We brainstormed, and then decided to try the local taxi service ... no response beyond the cell call, and a less than helpful: "call back in a couple hours ..."

One of the young women decided to call her dad. After waking him up and explaining the situation he told us to come out to his shop and grab a jerry can of gas for the wayward travellers. So, with a quick explanation to the travellers, we headed out to the shop and got a jerry can of gasoline, and came back to get them on their way ...

The story could have ended there with a few litres of fuel and best wishes to the couple as we sent them on their way. But a cell call to the gas station in Neepawa revealed the awful truth that it had JUST closed for the night ... "could you help these folks out?" came the question. Then with a description of the truck and an explanation of their predicament, the gas jockey agreed to stay till they got there. He would fill up their truck and send them on their way ...

So, we emptied the jerry can into the tank of the pick up truck, wished them well, and sent them off ... As they pulled away, they hung a right where they should have hung a left, so we even offered to guide them back out to the highway ...

It was, to quote Amanda: "Awesome !!!" And that's why we have "Friendly" Manitoba on our license plates ... tonight we showed a couple of travellers that for some of us, "Friendly" is a word that needs to be lived out from time to time !!!! And tonight we did.

So thanks to Jayme for thinking of calling her dad. Thanks to her dad for the gas. And thanks to Jodi and Amanda for helping getting all of this happening, and for making the call to keep the gas station in Neepawa open a few extra minutes ...

It was as Amanda says - "Awesome!!", and it is an example of how we can be friendly neighbours, even to strangers along the way ...

To Amanda, Jodi and Jayme: Thanks for reminding me that humanity is filled with goodness. Tonight, I'm honoured to call you friends.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

54 ...

He didn't die in combat,
he died in an accident.
He died in service to his country.
He died on foreign soil wearing his uniform.
His home town is not far from mine ...
The 54th to fall in Afghanistan
slid from the headlines almost un-noticed,
but his death has not been in vain ...
Today we remember him, and all his comrades:
Lest We Forget !!

Today ...

Today M, Ms H, and Beetle took their bikes up to
Riding Mountain National Park on the first outing of spring.
On the way Ms H spotted not one, not two,
but three moose standing in a swamp along the highway.
Later they saw some deer,
and a HUGE variety of birds and other wildlife
that herald the arrival of spring.
The one regret ... no camera to record the moose or
the other signs of spring. But we heard all about it at the dinner table.


Yesterday, a group of teens at the local High School (MCI) held an evening dessert and information benefit is support of a Junior School project in rural Ethiopia.

Not only did these teens organize a 30 hour Starve-athon, they also organized the evening of presentations by Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), The Marquis Project of Brandon and the Galbraith family from Minnedosa. The intent was to raise awareness in our community about the issues of poverty, HIV/AIDS and the ways in which we can offer a hand up, rather than a hand out to the people of Ethiopia. The teens also set out to raise 6000 dollars to help support the Hesu Junior School in GOBA Province of Ethiopia.

These teens deserve a hearty round of applause. They had about 50 students participating in the Starve-athon, they also pulled off the dessert laden Benefit AND they surpassed their goal through the sponsorship of the starve-athon, through the sale of tickets for admission and raffles and through the auction of mementos and treasures from Ethiopia.

Anyone who attended last nights event had a fabulous time, and are rightly proud of our teens and what they have been able to accomplish. With teenagers like this maybe it is possible that the world can be changed ...

Let us truly hope so !!!
For now, a hearty round of applause for the teenagers in our community who have taken seriously the responsibility we ALL share to care for our neighbour, even if our neighbour is half a world away !!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

THEY're off ...

May 22nd we in Manitoba head to the polls ...
between now and then, the leaders and the politicians
are on the prowl ...
So to those on the election trail:
Play nice,
be respectful,
and have fun ...
and may the best horse ... err, man win !!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tonite in 'Dosa ...

Signs of Spring ...

Song birds galore ... Robins be bopping around,
bikes repaired,
sun shining,
snow almost gone,
and on a bike ride around the dam
Ms. H found pussy willows !!!
Yeah !!! Spring is here !!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today we Lament ...

Ecole Poly Technique,
Dawson College,
Nickle Mines,
and now
Virginia Tech ...
There have been others ...
There have been too many ...
There are no words to express this anguish ...
... 33 more victims of senseless violence ...
... 33 too many ...
In world bent on violence,
we pray fervently for peace for Shalom in its fullness!!
Oh God, when will this madness stop ??

Monday, April 16, 2007

Three little kittens ...

... have washed their mittens,
and hung them outside to dry ...
actually it was the "kittens" dad who did it ...

Scenes from the "Beach" ...

Spring Thaw in action ...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

42 ... more than just a number ...

Canadian Hymn writer Walter Farquharson penned the words:

"Though ancient walls may still stand proud and racial strife be fact,
though boundaries may be lines of hate, proclaim God's saving act ...
Walls that divide are broken down; Christ is our unity!
Chains that enslave are thrown aside; Christ is our liberty !"

I wonder how many Churches acknowledged today is the 60th Anniversary that one of the walls that divided humanity was finally breached ??

It may not be "Sacred" enough for most people, but there is NO disputing the significance of that moment when history was made ...

It was SIXTY years ago today, that Jackie Robinson, wearing the number 42 on his jersey, stepped out on to Ebbets Field and broke professional baseball's so-called "colour" barrier ... Most people forget that Robinson had begun playing for the Montreal Royals a year earlier in New Jersey when he made his debut for the farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It is, however, the 1947 debut that everyone remembers Jackie Robinson for ...

60 Years later there is still much work to be done ... there are still many walls to fall and chains to be laid aside ... but today we pause to remember how one man showed us all, that too often those who oppose things are simply small minded and utterly riduculous ...

In Baseball today - do we even care about the racial background of the players??

I know I don't ...

There's a lesson here for all of us, particularly those of us in the Church. Too often we fight viciously to hold fast to the walls and boundaries that should have been laid aside long ago ... We pervet the Gospel, but trying to stife the Spirit ...

This Easter Season, let's have the audacity and the courage to remember what people like Jackie Robinson represent, and let us in faith, follow their lead ...

Walls that divide, must be broken down ...

Way to Go Mr. Robinson ... and Thanks.

It's a Cats' Life for me ...

Kind of defies a caption doesn't it ???

Take Out Lunch ... Junco-style

Human Folly ... 95 years on ...

She was the indisputable belle of the ball ...
She was dubbed "unsinkable" ...
She was the best that human effort had put to sea ...
Then in the darkness of the Mid-Atlantic,
she struck an ice berg and within hours she was suddenly a legend.
Today the RMS Titanic is more myth than reality ...
and 95 years after her tragic and fateful maiden voyage
we foolishly think that we will never agains
see a repeat of the Titanic disaster ...
... oh will we never learn??