Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life's Journey(s)
i don't know about you, but;
i have had numerous interruptions, crushed dreams, experiences, changes of course, and many times in mid-stream. i have crossed mountains, deserts, plains, valleys, forded rivers, dams, hiked trails, rode bicycles, rode trains, driven a multitude of trucks, cars, motorcycles, jeeps, heavy equipment, passengered small and large aircraft, ridden on ferries, operated boats, paddled canoes, even tried sailboarding, trekked and rode my way here and there for many years.
i've been neurotic, depressed, oppressed, stoned, drunken, sad, extremely lonely, crazy, angry, introverted, proud, boastful, arrogant, stupid, wise, inventive, destructive; i've cried, screamed, been heartbroken, tired, bored, busy, hated my job, hated myself, hated others for what they had done or said to me, i've been at the bottom, burnt out, forgotten, misunderstood, misdirected, mystified, mismatched, and mismanaged, injured, sick, wounded, hospitalized, and almost died; been a father, husband, lover, friend, and enjoyed a few chosen friends.
i've slung manure, rode horses, chased sheep, cows, owned dogs, cats, had at one time, monkeys, snakes, lizards, toads and other reptiles share my home. Been bit by numerous dogs, clawed and scratched by other things, kicked by, stepped on, and threatened by horses.
i've worked on the railroad, construction, sales, photography, cleaned, operated bulldozers, loaders, excavators, all sort of trucks, worked with dynamite, dug ditches, trenches, lay sod, lay pipes, strung electric wire, plumbing, hammered nails, felled trees, sawn logs, split wood, did carpentry, sold cars, worked retail stores, run forklifts, managed warehouses, installed wood stoves, repaired cars, trucks, equipment, seen livestock slaughtered, cleaned horses hooves, raked and shoveled dirt, directed loaders, excavators, bulldozers, trucks, loaded hay wagons, driven farm machinery, slung milk cans, hoisted hay bales, flown in overloaded aircraft, built and repaired hunting camps.
Gone fishing, in all kinds of weather, boating, trolling, shore casting, stream fishing, cleaning, camping, making fires and cooking the catch. Run rapids, cruised the lakes, portaged the trails and high hills, drank the water, seen crystal clear lakes, swam, skinny-dipped, got dumped, almost drown, fell in a large eddy, got hoisted out by an angel. (not everybody can say that) Chased wild turkeys, caught snapping turtles, handled guns.
i've photographed wildlife, many, many many people all over the country, in churches, homes, restaurants, halls, golf courses, riversides, parks, on horses, wagons, sleighs, with animals, dogs, horses, cars, trucks, buses, hockey, baseball, soccer players, people in markets, foreign places, beautiful children, brides, scenery, sunsets, sunrise, storm clouds, derelict buildings, musicians, artists, artwork, almost anything.
i've written poems, stories, study guides, shared prayers, and helped others learn to pray, and taught deeper intercession, spoken and have seen people healed, set free, encouraged, laugh, find their life, their dreams, and find intimacy with God, as well as experienced his directness, closeness, the heaviness and lightness of his presence, love and best of all his forgiveness.
Of all the other things i've had a part in these last few outweigh anything and everything i could have ever imagined doing in my life.
i only want for more of this type of living, to give away the life that i've been given, with all it's gifts to share, and love from the heart of God flowing out through me!
That will be the absolute best!
(Photo 12th Century ruins, Austria .08)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And now for something completely different!
Every one has a story, or two or three.
Where they've been, what they've seen and so on.
Some are interesting, and then there are the down right lies because the teller always wanted to be someone else.
We all do it one way or another. We get involved in a good book or movie and become transformed into the character.
Remember when you were a kid, you let your imagination whisk you away. You were a cowboy, then an Indian, Robin Hood, a valiant knight riding and dueling with the forces of evil or a dragon slayer. There was no stopping you.
You could jump from one stage to another and never miss a beat. You had great friends with whom you shared a camaraderie and went to war with. Someone was always the bad guy and there might have been a traitor or two in the bunch. You all got to trade parts and have fun. Sometimes but not very often it got a bit too serious, and somebody went home crying.
The backyard, the street, an old building, the barn, or even a railway car could become the stage. Amazingly enough you were having so much fun that rarely did anything bad happen. Oh there was a fall here or there, a scraped knee, a banged up arm, or a bump on the head but it was all laughed at when the day ended and you couldn't wait to start a new adventure tomorrow.
i was the one they called the day-dreamer all through grade school.
A lot of adults, especially boxed up, toe the line teachers who didn't know how to harness and help those with vivid imaginations ended up being the dream crushers. They didn't understand, didn't want to understand and could care less if your heart got wrecked through their use of demeaning words. At the end of their day they wanted results on paper, and it was their way or the highway, to steal a phrase.
Many a great person, when you look at their stories started off with a learning curve. i don't have to go into names here, anyone in the know has heard the stories shared by those who were dreamers. Many who were told time and time again you will never amount to anything until you grow up and get serious. i had a friend who was a suffering dyslexic who became a psychologist.
Then there were and still are the ones who are so far ahead in their thinking that it will take a few decades to catch up.
There were empires here centuries ago that we are still trying to figure out how they did the feats they accomplished and with such accuracy, both mathematically and scientifically.
Where did these thoughts, ideas, spring out of? Active imaginations, dreams and staring off into the distance and wondering if this would work or this or that?
If it were not for fresh thinking, people living outside of the box, to steal another phrase, dreamers and idea people, we might still be writing on the walls of a cave somewhere.
Today adults, are designing games for the computer, or PlayStation or Gameboy. They design them for others who missed some of their childhood and need this escape to regain what got put aside. Some get too far into it and lose themselves, but for the most part they bring some joy.
My step-daughters husband is an owner in an animation company and gets to play at something he loves all day. They have a top of the charts program running in the US, second year in a row.
Don't we all wish for that dream job, or not to have to work at all. We're dreaming about winning those millions, that our ship would come in, that the government would suddenly realize they owed you some money, you'd get that inheritance, and so on and so on.
So in one form or another we're still dreaming, still imagining, still gazing off into the clouds.
So why is it that we stop when it comes to the things of God? Suddenly there is a road block in the mind. A seriousness takes over and we cringe, like death is around the corner or something.
Come on!!
Take a long hard look around and tell me there wasn't some kinda serious imagination going to work behind the scenes to have a creation like the one we live in? And a great sense of humor too!!
Just look at all the things you personally reflect on, that really grips you, from the vast universe, planets and stars, comets and all the cool stuff going on in space. To the waterfalls, sunsets, beautiful oceans, and whales and colors of fish and on and on and on, to mountains and deserts, awesome rivers and all kinds of birds of the air.
We have all said, "man i'd love to be an eagle, WOW!"
Take a read through the book of Revelation and get a look at some heavenly creatures and the layout of Heaven and tell me God didn't put something into the minds of man, that has a part of him in us.
Man thinks, at least a number of theologians think they have God cornered. They have everything figured out, by rationalized thought. They will have the rest of eternity to see just how far off and wrong they were. i want to see their faces when they meet him, it will be priceless.
Not as far reaching and world changing as men in our past, i have a dream too! And with the help of the one who gave me such a great imagination, i will accomplish it also.
When the dream fits wear the shoes and try to not forget where it came from.

Monday, February 16, 2009

i never met a bear i didn't like.
i had a bear skin once. A friend of mine had to shoot the bear outside of their lodge, because he was becoming a nuisance and he was concerned for his customers. This being a fly-in lodge in Northern Quebec.
He told me the story of sitting on the roof of the lodge waiting for him to come to the trap they had set up with some smelly fish.
He also told me about the moonless night before, when the bear was out behind the lodge.
There is a road between the lodge and a steep hill that runs along the road going east and west for about a 1/4 mile. There are many small trees and rocks and the rest is scrub bush, with the exception of some tall pines on it. Down the road to the left is the old sawmill and some derelict vehicles and a couple of boats. To the right the road curves left and away from the lodge to an opening where the generator is, with one of the few lights that break up the darkness. But the hill obscures any light on the road behind the lodge. About the only sounds you would hear are a couple of loons on the lake, some frogs in the distance, and the quiet drone of the generator.
The bear was being noisy as he climbed up on the back of the old truck where the garbage was.
Upon hearing this my friend grabbed the gun, a flashlight and ran out the door of the lodge, down the steps and around the corner of the building towards the truck.
He heard the bear jump off the truck and go towards the hillside and stop. It was so dark that the flashlight barely lit up the sites on the gun. He could hear the bear breathing, sniffing the air and he could smell him, but he couldn't see him. Waiting for a few moments he thought this was useless. He then realized he was standing there in sock feet and no shirt on. He'd have to come up with another plan.
The next night brought the same occurrence, but he had a little surprise set up. His young assistant and himself sat on the roof with a large landing light from an old airplane. Connected to a truck battery for power they flicked it on as he got a bead on the back of the truck. BANG!!
The loud gun shot echoed across the lake. The bear jumped from the truck and took off up the hill going about 200 ft before dropping. He had made a perfect shot and was surprised at how far the bear had run.
It was a young black bear around 300 lbs, of whom i became the owner of his skin.
Of all the times i flew up there and spent time on the trails, fishing, building, hiking and the like. i saw one large moose, but never a bear. This bear skin was as close as i was going to get.
(A card, add words from my heart, a particular bottle of wine, a movie, and a special dinner out)
Valentine's Day
Just another great way to spend some quality time and share your heart once more with the one that is so special.
For me the special one is my best friend and beautiful wife.
Like Christmas, Birthdays and Valentine's, it's never a last minute thing. i like to put some real thought and love into the things i do for her.
In a special relationship, like the one we have, doing something special or engaging is an almost everyday occurrence.
i believe it can be in any relationship, with friends. You simply put others ahead of yourself as much as that is possible and the rewards are enormous.
We've all seen the looks and felt the joy when you touch another heart.
The greatest and best feelings of joy i have encountered have been distinctive or unique because God has set up these moments. And sometimes a moment is all it takes with him. Then there have been those specific intervals that you look back on and know there was no mistake in that, that he put his heart and Spirit into it.
i know he set in motion the road of love for my wife and myself, that there was no coincidence here.
This was our first of many Valentine's Days to come as husband and wife. But with God in the centre almost everyday has that same flavor to it.
i hope you can experience the same.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Doors, Gates, Handles & Latches
It seems that there are always doors, windows, holes, roads, highways, streams, passages, entrances and exits to this life. We are either entering or we're leaving, while passing others along the way.
We enjoy the entrance of new life. We celebrate with friends and family. The demise of older life is expected but still hard to bear.
The extinguishing of life for no reason, unexpected illness, accident, suicide or by murder or ruthless war, resonates and leaves us empty.
At these times choices are made, some by force, a new road to a new life, leaving what you had behind. Travelling to a different place, perhaps across an ocean. None the less, another journey begins. Starting all over perhaps, with only the clothes on your back.
Families divided because parents have died. Loss of one parent places a financial strain on everyone else. Loss of a home and family through a natural disaster. These are all part of reality.
We live in a safe place much of the time. We have escaped the ravages of war, famine, genocide, and Holocaust. Natural disasters seem to happen in other places than right here.
We wake up in a home where three meals, clothing, money, are a second thought. Our children are educated, our churches are safe from storm troopers. Our borders don't have armed guards in military uniforms with machine guns and dogs. There are no check points on every town and city roadway.
We can speak what we want, when we want and to whom we want at anytime night or day. There are no curfews, no one looking over our shoulder. You're not worried about your neighbour or co-worker spying on you. Reporting any suspicious movements to authorities. There are no threats, not on your street, your neighbourhood, your town, as far as you are aware.
But there is a different kind of threat. It is growing and has been growing in N. America for centuries. It grows larger in number with each generation.
Every generation makes a choice of the route it desires to take.
Every new government brings us closer to chaos by the decisions that get accepted. Laws are passed behind closed doors, or with the acceptance of a select few.
Suddenly and out of nowhere your rights dwindle and the people lose control because they chose to let someone else do their thinking for them. Their laziness and apathy sold the farm and they were left with a pile of horse crap.
The nice life gets left behind and you are now out on a slippery road, that soon becomes a huge muddy hole.
We think, come on that's only in the movies, not here, no way!
What would it take to open our eyes to how bad it could change in 24 hours or less? We don't have a clue. Governments have toppled overnight, let alone natural disasters.
When Catrina wiped out most of New Orleans, people had seen storms before.
When the tsunami hit in western Asia, it happened in moments.
What if it rained nonstop from April to December and crops weren't planted. No planting, no growth, no harvest.
You think it's difficult with the economy now?
All the reserves would be eaten up and there would be nothing to sell to other countries.
No way not here, everything always works out.
History sometimes has a way of repeating itself, in one form or another. Before the great depression, some very bad choices were made, by some so called "very smart people."
Tell me where your faith is? Tell me who you're trusting? Tell me who your money is on should the bottom fall out?
I know, let's not open that door.
Let's all make believe that we will live and let die and can't touch me.
There was a prophet that the King of Israel hated, because he would never say anything good about him, while all the others lied to his face, and tickled his ears, giving him what he wanted to hear.
There is a saying, "the more you lie to yourself the more you believe it's really true."
The farm is not sold yet, but we sure are standing in a huge pile of crap.
Enter through the narrow gate. Another choice.
"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to destruction is broad and it's gate is wide and many choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14
If only a few find it, that must mean that there is something to be looking for. We would rather have found that winning loto ticket, because at the heart of it we are all selfish.
Laziness always wants the easy way out, with the least amount of work, and the most amount of reward.
(photo by Heidi H.)