Friday, December 24, 2010

Day #11 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Random Christmas facts...

I miss snow on the ground at Christmas.

I like having the Christmas lights on all day.

I think I wrecked my first attempt at making Christmas fudge.

The kids are watching Home Alone.

Santa is being tracked.

Oh...Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day #10 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Friday was our annual youth Christmas Bash. We had a really good turn out for our last youth event of the year, and it was a lot of fun eating pizza, watching students build gingerbread houses (and then watching them get demolished by head butts), and then wrapping things up with the used-gift exchange.

My personal highlight though had to be the end of the night when I was presented with this gift from my students. I've promised to wear it the next time I'm on stage at church.

And then last night it was off for our other annual outing. Christmas Lights with the Schutte's. The train rejected us, but Santa did not.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book #36...

Radical (Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream)
David Platt

The American Dream took my faith? But I'm Canadian. Too be honest, I think they could probably reprint the book without the American Dream parts and it would still speak a great deal to Christians around the world.

The basic idea is that we're just not living out our faith as radically as we should be. And you'll find no arguments from me. After spending time with some Christians on "the Island" back in June it is so completely evident in my own life that my faith is lived out in some very different ways. (And that's not necessarily a good thing.)

I just have my doubts that many people inside the traditional Western church have the desire to change. And that's because I sometimes doubt my ability to change.

Do I rely on God enough? Do I trust Him enough? Do I give enough to those in need? Do I pray enough? Do I pray at all? Do I share my faith enough? Am I urgent about it? Do I sacrifice? Do I risk?

I'm scared to answer those questions. Which leads me to believe that I probably need to spend much more time processing them.

And why on earth is Arcade Fire running through my head?

"Working for the church
While your family dies
You take what they give you
And you keep it inside"

Radical a decent read if you can overlook (or maybe just understand) the constant references to the American Dream and to American Christianity. I'm sure it will cause some questions to rattle around in your head.

While the challenge at the end of the book to take up a year long "experiment" seems a little gimmicky, you can't argue the fact that if you committed the next year to praying for the world, reading the Bible, sacrificing your finances, spending time in other parts of the world, and committing yourself to a multiplying church community, your life would likely take some significant directional changes for years to come.

I just wonder how many are actually willing to embark on such a journey.

Oh...and FYI, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day #9 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Go to and download Zack Williams "Storytime" for free. Do it. Then thank me for sharing this gem with you. It's not Christmas music. It's better. (No offense Jesus.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day #8 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Post game press conferences hit an all new level of hilarity with this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So this is Christmas...

I've got one more week of work and then it's a much needed two-week (almost) break. I've saved up some vacation days, and when used in conjunction with the office closure due to the holidays, I'll get to spend a fair bit of time around the house. I'm looking forward to a few things during that time:
  • Sleeping in.
  • Reading. I'm so far behind on my 2010 reading goal that I can't touch it now, but I might be able to make up some ground.
  • Hanging with friends and family. Meals, Christmas lights, and lots of laughter.
  • PS3. I need to redeem some recent losses I've experienced at the hands of my 9 year old son. I also expect to play a little Modern Warfare 2 online with my brother-in-law. Male bonding at it's finest!
  • Christmas shopping. So close to finished...yet so far away.
  • The Knott-Defries Christmas Eve tradition of appetizers and board games until all hours of the night.
  • Boxing Day. We have a gift card that's waiting patiently to be used.
What are you looking forward to this Christmas season?

Friday, December 10, 2010

An early Christmas present...

Thank you Jon Coutts for your incessant raving about CBC Radio 3. I finally succumbed and did some listening and iTunes subscribing, and while I'm also now convinced that almost anyone can get played on Canadian radio, there are some hidden gems that are taking over my iTunes playlist.

My personal favorite right now: Luke Doucet

Great guitar playing. Great storytelling. Great driving music. Great background music. Just great.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Day #6 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

I'd recommend not having a Gross Games Night as one of your final events before leaving your church. you recognize the guy in the background with girl hair?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Day #5 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

I once got hit by a deer. Seriously, the deer ran into the side of my car in the middle of Abbotsford.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Day #4 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

During our annual trip to Saskatoon from Portage we usually stopped here. Have you ever been to Gopherville?

I also regularly wore this shirt in college.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Day #2 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

My wife once convinced me that I should bleach my hair.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Day #1 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Many people have been begging to see this photo of Erin. I don't have the heart to put it on Facebook. Instead it becomes Christmas joy for you.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Litle things...

I'm at one of those points where the clouds are a little darker than usual so I'm doing my best to try and find some solace in the little things. So here's a few things that have picked me up lately:
  • Winning some concert tickets on the radio. (And promptly passing those tickets on!)
  • A free lunch.
  • Spending time with my youth leaders. This is one part of my job that is not "work".
  • Singing Christmas tunes to my kids to try and figure out how much they'll let me sing before asking me to stop.
  • A gift card from some VERY generous people at church.
  • A long distance phone call from a friend.
  • The stuffed Santa Claus sporting Manchester United colors on my living room couch this morning.
  • A text from my wife.
I think we all need a little pick-me-up (and I'm not necessarily talking about the liquid kind) from time to time, so my goal in the countdown to Christmas is to bring you some great joy through this blog.

So, tomorrow will be the beginning of "12 Days of The Not So Normal Christmas". What can you expect? Actually, very little. But I'm sure at least one photo I will share with you in the posts to come will leave you with great inner joy.

Stay tuned...