Monday, April 30, 2007
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
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
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 !!
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
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 ...
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
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.
You are a child of the universe,
Therefore be at peace with God,
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
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.
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.
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
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
Friday, April 20, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
"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.