Saturday, January 31, 2009

What does a dad do...

I've done this "solo" parenting thing before (results are found here, here, and here). And it gives me a whole new understanding and appreciation for those parents that have to go the road alone.

If I had to go longer than a week I think we'd be in rough shape.

So, what did I do all day as a single dad?
  • We bundled up and headed off to Aidan's soccer game. I think they won 13-2 and there is much debate as to whether he scored 5 (dad's guess) or 7 (Aidan's modest guess).
  • We had toast for lunch. I know that's a fairly week meal, but we had a short turn around before heading out for my soccer game.
  • We bundled up and headed off to my aforementioned soccer game. A 4-1 loss. I was useless and I blame yesterday's ski trip.
  • We watched the Manchester United game and most of Habs game off the DVR.
  • We grocery shopped. And we bought more than pizza pops and juice boxes. Really.
So, Jon, if you can pass the news along to Erin. We are fine. So far. But supper tonight will not be healthy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday fumbles...

I'm noticing a trend.

I'm gradually finding it more difficult to blog during the week.

I apologize. I know that you often revolve your own week around what you find here. I'm aware that this will make it more difficult for your regular life to continue. But, until things slow down a little bit you may have to suffice with trivial posts like this.

As for current predicaments, I just arrived home from Whistler where I spent the day skiing with my mother-in-law. I know many men who have "issues" with their mother-in-laws. They may be over-bearing or intrusive. (Is that the same thing?) They may be...(insert your own choice phrase/word). Mine is cool. She takes me skiing.

I haven't been on the slopes since well before my knee injuries and I was unsure how things would play out today. Well, it's kind of like riding a bike and it didn't take long to get back in the groove of things.

But now I'm wiped.

And my body aches.

And did I mention that I am supposed to play a soccer game tomorrow?

And my wife is running off until next Wednesday?

And I'm behind on my reading?

So, you just may be seeing a little more of me here in the days to come.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Some things are always funny...

Brad has a reason why every man should own an iPhone.

Well, here's reason #2 why you should own an iPhone.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

All-Star weekend...

There's a bit of a fiasco over the NHL All-Star teams for this weekend. Most of it is concerning the selection of 4 Habs (Price, Kovlev, Komisarek, and Markov) to the starting line up. But since I'm a Habs fan, I'm thrilled.

The other bit of the fiasco is about players missing out on the game. Players like Lidstrom and Datsyuk from the Red Wings are staying home, which means a one game suspension courtesy of the NHL.

I've got the recorder set and will be watching the skills competition later tonight and the game tomorrow. But I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with my son.

I remember growing up in a house with no cable, so many years I'd run over to my grandparents apartment to watch the events unfold. I have good memories of the game and hope it can be passed on to my own kids.

Which leads me to this weekend's all important question:

Is the All-Star game worth it? Or is it all a bunch of hype?

Friday, January 23, 2009

When you can't sleep...

Ever have one of those nights where you toss and turn and just can't find that elusive thing called sleep?

What do you do?

Me? I watch the Discovery Channel.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life Beneath the Surface...

Book #4
Life Beneath the Surface
Mike Pilavachi (and Craig Borlase)

I like Mike. I've heard him speak at a number of events and I've always enjoyed listening to him. I find him funny, encouraging, insightful and even entertaining. And he is a fan of Manchester United. Seriously, that alone wins me over.

I've been working through this book as a devotional of sorts. I've tried to read a chapter a day (some days I read two) and some of what I was challenged/encouraged with has had ripple effects that have started hitting our students.

You likely won't find anything profound that you have never heard before, but sometimes it's good to be reminded of the simpler parts of our faith.

Another retreat...

Who on earth plans to attend a staff retreat the day after getting back from a weekend youth retreat?

Me. (Yes, I'm an idiot.)

I'm glad to be home. Nothing profound happened this week, and this comment pretty much spells it out:

Lead Pastor type at dinner last night: "So, have you even been out of your room today?"

Slacker me: "Uh...yeah."

Lead Pastor type: "Seriously, did you leave your room at all today?"

Still slacker me: "Yeah."

Really, I spent a lot of time catching up with friends, but I skipped a few of the general sessions. I needed to. I was at risk of losing my mind if I kept on going.

So yesterday I slept in until 10:30, met with a couple people after lunch and then found myself a chair by the window and read and played guitar all afternoon. Then it was off to the banquet before heading out with the rest of the district youth pastors.

I shouldn't be tired right now, but I am.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Every year I go on a retreat with my students I feel older. My body aches. My lack of sleep astounds me . And the recovery time takes twice as long as the year before. I must be getting older. Sigh...

Last night I'm lying in my bunk bed (yes, BUNK bed) and it suddenly dawns on me that I'm 31 years old and I'm awake at 2AM chatting with students and our intern. This is not normal, is it?

But it is what I do. And while I'm worse for wear right now, I'll recover.

Funny comment from a student: "We should do this again in a few months."

Yeah...right. Let's talk about this again sometime in the fall.

Word of the Weekend: "Swarleylicious"

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Book #3
At the City's Edge
Marcus Sakey

I read his first book and found it to be ok, so I thought I'd pick up his other two at the library.

This is his second book and it takes you into the city of Chicago where gangsters, cops, and politicians do whatever they like.

I found this book much better than his first and there were many times when I was itching to find out how things would turn out. But once again the ending strikes me as a little too Hollywoodish.

His third book will be on the reading list for next week's District Staff Retreat in Kelowna.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Retreat weekend...

I head out with our students and leaders this weekend for our annual PROXIMITY Retreat.

What is PROXIMITY? Well, it's not something cool like our student ministry name. It's not even the name of the camp. Rather, it's a concept of growing close that we've been trying to develop with our students. It's been at the heart of what we've done for almost 2 years now. And the basic focus is two fold:
  • Help students grow closer to God
  • Help students (and leaders) grow closer to one another
Simple enough, right? You'd think so. But then when you see our group together you would also see why we need this to be a focus.

We have a pile of students that have little or nothing to do with God. We also have a pile of students from a pile of different schools that don't know one another. And some weeks they act accordingly. PROXIMITY doesn't fix it entirely, but it is a tool we use that helps.

We also used grilled cheese once upon a time. And that worked too.

Anyways, I'm going through all the pre-retreat jitters. Did I pack everything? What am I forgetting? What problems are we going to face? Who isn't going to show up on time? What if the rental vans aren't ready? What if the students hate this? What if I hate it? Will I survive?

As for right now, I am aware of the following:
  • the 4 vans are booked
  • the camp is expecting us (or at least most of us)
  • pop, water and munchies have been purchased
  • the teaching times have been planned
  • some prizes have been set aside
  • games have been prepared
  • registration forms are all in one place
  • worship leader is prepped and ready to go
  • Tim Horton's French Vanilla mix is set aside (yikes, I almost forgot my mug!)
Now if I could only figure out what am I forgetting!?!?


If you could only attend one conference or retreat this year, what would it be and why?

These are the ones that have ended up on my radar:

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Book #2
The Zombie Survival Guide
Max Brooks

A long time ago I was shocked to discover that my wife (apparently along with most of the world's female population) had no idea how to fend off a Zombie in a potential attack. So I did the proper thing as a concerned husband and put this book in her Christmas stocking.

I was concerned for her safety should I succumb to the living dead.

But she refused to read the book because it scares her (by the way, she is also afraid of X-Files and feet). So she told me to read it and let her know in brief detail what she may need to do if Zombies attack.

Funny book. Unless you consider the fact that there are likely people in the world who take this stuff seriously.

Newest family member...

Actually there are two new members worth noting. Obviously the real live one is WAY more important (and way cuter). But I'm struggling with what to post today, so you can hear about both.

Graeme (my sister and brother-in-law's first baby) arrived in December, but was officially let out of the hospital today. He was actually due at the end of this month so it's been a long hospital stay.

Cute kid, eh?

I'm so happy for my sister and her husband!

And this was the new arrival in our house at Christmas. It was the one I alluded to in this post when I mentioned that I need to learn how to play it. I love it. And it has encouraged me to play more guitar than I have in a long while.

Monday, January 12, 2009

For 2009...

Here's a few things I'm shooting for in 2009:
  • With the kids - More reading with them (we're working our way through Narnia), more games, more Lego and more playing.
  • With my wife - Go on more dates.
  • With books - Reading 52 books. (Details can be found here.) But I'm going to try and read a wider variety this year.
  • With TV - Once again I want to try and watch less.
  • With music - Practice my guitar. (There's been a new addition to the household and I need to figure out how to make music with it.) Write some music. Yeah, my own stuff. And maybe if I'm daring enough I may even post it.
  • With ministry - Take "silent" retreats a handful of times during the year. My friend Andrew has been long encouraging me to do this and I was finally able to include it in some written ministry goals after my job evaluation in the late fall.
  • With life - I'd like to try something new.

Reviewing 2008...

Last year I set myself a few goals, so it's probably time I graded myself. Here goes:
  • Books - I smashed my goal, so I'm my own personal hero. (A++)
  • Blogs - My Google Reader still has under 50 subscriptions although I know a few times in the year I drifted into the mid 50's. (B)
  • Music - I learned a few scales and then promptly forgot them. I didn't take any lessons. I didn't even write a song. (F)
  • TV - I stopped watching Lost and Prison Break. I was able to find more time to read, and I know most of that is due to turning off the TV. (B+)
  • Movies - I think I wrote about 19 movies that I watched. I know I watched more but I got lazier with my reviews as the year went on. (C-)
  • Friends - I carved out a little more time with people, but not nearly enough. (D)
  • Finances - This is still a work in progress, but I've been doing ok with the "cash only" approach. (C+)
One other thing I'd like to mention that I didn't write down but it's always a goal, and that's my family. I'd like to think that I spent more time with my family this last year. I'd probably need to ask them to grade me, but I'll give myself a B. I still need to, as Nathan so wisely puts it here, spend more time on the floor.

Stay tuned for some goals for 2009.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Old couch (take 2)...

Today I was cleaning.

(We're having people over to watch 24 tonight so we elected to actually vacuum. I drew the short straw.)

Anyways, I discovered a few treasures in the furthest most recesses of the couch. A Crayon, some Lite-Brite and a Tootsie Roll wrapper.

I know what you're asking now. So what?

Well, it got me thinking about this post where I agreed with an Andy Stanley quote that basically challenges us that it might be time to get rid of (or think of getting rid of) some older traditions in the church.

As I made my discovery today I was reminded that we may need to look inside the couch before we throw it out. We may find a few gems like these:
  • A crayon that my daughter has been missing for some time. She can't seem to color certain things if she's missing the red crayon.
  • Two pieces of Lite-Brite that, while not missed, are still practical and will have multiple artistic uses for years to come.
  • A rolled up Tootsie Roll wrapper that is a remnant of a youth event where our grade 12's spent the evening throwing wrappers at each other. That was months ago and it still makes me laugh.
I guess we should probably look in the cushions before we throw the couch out.

What was the last thing you found in the couch cushions? (Proverbial or otherwise.)

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I just watched Death Race. Don't ask why. The obvious answer is because it only set me back $0.88. That, and Erin headed out for coffee tonight so I had the TV to myself.

Then I realized I hadn't posted since Sunday. And that seemed to be too long. The countless emails that poured in from around the world were concerned that I had given up blogging.

Not so.

I'm here.

Just not much to blog about.

But I'll be back...someday.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Changing the furniture...

Sorry for the layout change, but I was frustrated by the last blog template that wouldn't how the date, let me access older posts or add the time that I posted. So I've settled on this new one...for now.

The Truth About You...

My first "official" book review. Sure, I'm offering this one in order to get free books, but I'm cheap.

Book #1
The Truth About You
Marcus Buckingham

It will likely take you longer to watch the DVD that comes with this book than it will take you to read the five chapters. Either way, you can probably pound it out in one sitting (two if you're slower like me).

Buckingham gives what appears to be some great advice for how we should each try to play to our strengths in life (particularly on the job front). He also gives some fairly simple application steps for how you can figure out what your own strengths (and even weaknesses) are.

What’s the goal? To get yourself into a situation (ie - job) where you find yourself working on your strengths a majority of your time while you attempt to pass on your weaknesses to others who are strong in those areas.

Buckingham is a very engaging author who obviously knows how to inspire people. He offers you hope while almost pushing you to believe in yourself. I know it sounds a little simplistic but I’m sure you’ll find the infamous words of Rob Schneider racing through your head, “You can do it!”

As for me, the jury will likely be out until I can work through the ReMemo pad, which is basically the project of figuring out my own strengths and weaknesses.

In short, it’s worth a read if you would like to do some self-reflecting while doing a little “on the job” homework.

Students in church,,,

Not many of our Wednesday night students attend our service on Sunday mornings.

But in the last 3-4 months we've seen a few more popping up from time to time.

The other thing you need to know is that I usually sit with the students (or is it that they sit with me?) during the service. The last couple of weeks we decided to sit somewhere else to change things up.

Well, it just so happened that a group of 4 students were sitting in the same general area as us. It's 4 students that are normally loud and not all of them were "born and bred in church", which means that they don't always behave the way typical "church kids" behave.

You're tracking with me, right?

Well, this crew was a little on the loud side today. Nothing life shattering by my account. Just kids being kids.

Well, after the service someone had a go at them. I didn't hear the conversation, but I knew they were getting an earful. And would you believe it, that I was next in line?

Here's the transcript as I remember it:
Person (obviously steamed): "Who do those kids think they are?"

Me (obviously blindsided): "What do you mean? They're kids."

Person: "They were talking all service. They were showing no respect for anyone. They showed no respect for the Lord's Supper."

Me: "Uh...well...they probably don't know better. They aren't in church much."

Person: "Does nobody teach them any respect?"

Me: "I don't know. They probably don't get told much. Did you try talking to them."

Person: "Yeah. You mean, this doesn't bother you?"

Me: ""

Person "storms" off.

What do I do? I immediately head over to my students, shake hands and tell them that I think they're great and I look forward to seeing them on Wednesday.

And just for the record, I do not accept responsibility for the way any of my students acts while in church. I am their youth pastor, not their parent. If they are loud, try talking to their parents or to the students themselves (and do it in love). If it continues, then please find somewhere else to sit. It's a big room.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Are you watching...

Seriously, just when you think that Junior hockey can't get more exciting than Canada/USA, you get this. Canada. Russia. 5-5. Tied with 5 seconds left in the game.

If you're not watching, please quit what you're doing and go watch the overtime.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A new year, a new contest...

It only seems fitting that 2009 should usher in a brand new reading contest.

So, after much deliberation (and by that, I mean the 30 seconds that it's taken to post this) I'm going to make a goal of reading 52 books this year.

Anyone else want to play?

(Erin already started and she's on book 2 & 3. Show off!)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Oh Canada...

It was just over 12 minutes into last night's World Junior game between Canada and the USA.

The score was 3-0 in favor of the US.

I was tempted to throw in the towel. But I didn't. And I'm glad I didn't. What transpired will likely go down as one of the greatest World Junior games ever.

Canada fights back for a final 7-4 win. But let's be fair. 2 of those goals were into an empty net, so it was much closer than it looks on paper.

And the drama. A USA player taunts the Canadian bench after goal #2 by skating by cupping his glove to his ear in a mock "We can't hear you". Canada's John Tavares returns the favor. A USA player on the bench sticks his stick in the face of a Canadian player skating by the bench after a goal. A Canadian goal is scored by a player who was let out of the penalty box early by an official. And let's not forget about some of the saves made in the last half of the game. Sure, neither goalie could save a beach ball early on, but by mid-way through they had found their form and were making the game interesting.


If you missed it, do yourself a favor and find a copy of that game to watch.

Next up: Semi-final on Saturday vs the winner of the Russia-Czech game.