Sunday, December 31, 2006

More of the Cutie


Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Bro's New Woman

He's got a new little friend. Aren't they cute?


Friday, December 29, 2006

Proof That Canadians Can Be Rednecks

After all the ribbing from my brother about rednecks down here I have to post this picture from a Nova Scotian truck stop. Proof Canadians can be rednecks too!



Got home last night feeling pretty bad. Thought if I got a good night's sleep I'd be set to take off this morning. The fact that I had trouble getting up the stairs to bed probably wasn't a good sign. Got up at 5:30 this morning and realized that this just wasn't going to happen. Coughing, nausea, fatigue and a sharp pain in my side.

So, no trip to OneThing. I'm pretty upset about that. I've been looking forward to this for weeks, but there was no way I could get on a plane this morning. Bleh!

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Feeling Weird

I leave tomorrow morning to head back to the US. Part 1 of the Christmas travel should be over by this time tomorrow night. It feels weird to be leaving. Even though I've been gone 10 years, when I come back it still sort of feels like I live here. I just start getting the lay of the land again and I'm off. Got some good landscape pictures and some good baby pictures.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Over Christmas

Taking lots of great pictures, but don't have any means of getting them to the computer right now. So, there will be a pile of pictures in January.

In the meantime I'm doing some interesting reading. Bonhoeffer is one of my favorites and Mom and Dad have a copy of his letters from prison, so I've been working my way through that for the last few days. The book starts with a section of theological writing which is just amazing. Here's a section on folly:

"Folly is a more dangerous enemy to the good than evil. One can protest against evil; it can be unmasked and, if need be, prevented by force. Evil always carries the seeds of its own destruction, as it makes people, at the least, uncomfortable. Against folly we have no defence. Neither protests nor force can touch it; reasoning is no use; facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieve - indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied; in fact, he can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make him aggressive. A fool must therefore be treated more cautiously than a scoundrel; we shall never again try to convince a fool by reason, for it both useless and dangerous."
One more day before I begin leg 2 of the journey and then off to OneThing.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Divine Simplicity

For my "Christmas" post I'm borrowing a quote from Bono that my brother posted last year. My personal theme for this year has been divine simplicity and it really was started by reading this quote last year:

I remember coming back from a very long tour. I hadn't been at home. Got home
for Christmas, very excited of being in Dublin. Dublin at Christmas is cold, but
it's lit up, it's like Carnival in the cold. On Christmas Eve, I went to St.
Patrick's Cathedral. I went to this place, sat. I was given a really bad seat,
behind one of the huge pillars. I couldn't see anything. I was sitting there,
having come back from Tokyo, or something like that. I went for the singing,
because I love choral singing. Community arts, a specialty! But I was falling
asleep, being up for a few days, traveling, because it was a bit boring, the
service, and I just started nodding off, I couldn't see a thing. Then I started
to try and keep myself awake studying what was on the page. It dawned on me for
the first time, really. It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the
Christmas story. The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Logic in the
universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would
seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw
poverty, in shit and straw ... a child ... I just thought "Wow!" Just the poetry
... Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable.
There it was. I was sitting there, and it's not that it hadn't struck me before,
but tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of
picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this: love needs to
find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It's pure
logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It's inevitable. Love has to become an
action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an
incarnation. Love must be made flesh.

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Live To Tell

I took my mother our for a driving lesson this morning. Quite a switch of roles. I'm still in one piece. She seems fine. No cars have scratches. Another Christmas miracle!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Uh oh

Well, what I was afraid of happened tonight. Nice big fat allergy attack with all the trimmings. One person who didn't think perfume included..... perfume..... and I'm down for the count. Spent a chunk of tonight wheezing, crying and trying to remember what day it was. Oh, and trying to figure out if I could get a plane ticket for tomorrow morning and fly home pronto.

The problem is that now I'm much more sensitive for the next couple of days. So, no Christmas Eve church for me. I don't remember the last time I was able to make it through a whole Christmas Eve service without getting sick. Merry Christmas to me.

So, please pray. The next week and a half are jam packed with travel, conference, etc and another incident like tonight will be pretty serious.

Nothing says Christmas cheer like being able to hear your lungs rattle like the ghost of Christmas past!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

12 again

I've always wondered why though I was anxious to get away from work, as soon as I got home for the holidays I would log in to work email and check things out. Not in the "oh look at me I have such an important job" kind of a way, but in a keeping an eye on things kind of way.

I'm sure there are lots of deep dark reasons, but a talk on leadership I recently heard from Erwin McManus has hit "home" this holiday season. He talked about how going home is so undermining because people treat you like you were and not as you are. You need to struggle to keep your identity as people are treating you like you still have an old identity.

Tonight I borrowed Dad's car to "go out and hang out with my friends". Never mind that my friend has three kids and we went out on the town in her minivan. My Mom still makes me justify all my decisions to her. Oh, and there was the walking home today the same way I walked home from elementary school every day.

Staying in touch with my friends at my regular home and peaking in on work help me remember that this is not who I really am. There are probably better ways of doing that than checking work email, but it's what I've done for years.

I'm glad I got to hear that McManus talk and realize it's not just me who deals with these things and struggles to stay an adult when thrown back into the world of being a kid (and not in a good way) again.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Apple Sucks!

Yes, it's true. My iPod #3 is now dead. Each one has lasted 6 months. There's something pretty fishy about this. Add to that my MacBook, which is a constant source of stress and still can't do everything it's supposed to, and I'm definitely not a Mac fan. In fact, I was walking around this afternoon speculating on when I should give up and buy a Zune. Seriously! Every 6 months I have to deal with the crap of getting a box from Apple, packaging the dead one up, sending it back and then waiting for a new one to arrive. This time I'm far away, so I won't even be able to start the replacement process until I'm back home to stay, which won't be for a while.

Exactly why are these things the best thing since sliced bread??

So, what should I call the next one?

In other news, I made it North safely. Had my first Tim's (but not coffee yet). Going to Cora's tomorrow, so that will check several things off my list.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

And the Man of the Year Is.....


Well, you to, but this is the closest I'll ever be to being Man of the Year (on many levels), so I'm going to enjoy it for a moment.

Yes, Time magazine named the contributors to Web 2.0 as Man of the Year for the way the web is shaping the world and how we communicate. It's an interesting thought. Blogs, wikis, utube, facebook, etc are all a part of our daily lives and have huge influence on how business works these days.

I really liked this quote from the article:
Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.

The web has it's ups and downs, but I have really enjoyed keeping a blog, staying in touch with friends via facebook and posting my pictures at smugmug.

Turns out people really can change the world, for better or worse.

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Monday, December 18, 2006


Currently in my living room there is:

- a huge bag of Christmas presents to take with me home for Christmas
- a pile of various things I'm also supposed to bring
- a pile of books I want to finish while I'm there
- a pile of clothes
- a suitcase cowering in the corner in fear of what's going to happen to it tonight when I attempt to push everything in it

I'm actually packing two suitcases. One for the trip up North and one for the trip out West. In both cases I have no idea what kind of weather to expect, so I'll have to bring everything I own! This is going to be a fun night!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

First Christmas Present

The season has begun. I opened my first Christmas present this week. There it is.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it truly is a glitter lava lamp nightlight. From my friend Janet who appears to be almost as cracked as me.

Now, it may seem a little odd to get a pink glitter lava lamp nightlight. That is until you see the rest of my disco bathroom. Here's a peak at some of the crazy.

My pink fuzzy glittery shower curtain.

The disco ball.

And, of course, the tiara.

So, as crazy as Janet is, she knows me too well!

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Here's an amazing interview with Louie Giglio about the Passion conference. The quote that just brings it all together:

But when you wed any expressions of worship and the teaching of God’s Word, the truth is what sets you free, not the music. Music makes you feel good, but the truth is what sets you free. When you put those two things together and you add to them a call to action, then I think you’re finding a sweet spot for what worship is.

If the call to action is not there, then we’re just soaking up a great experience, and man, give me more, more, more, more. We are consuming worship. The point of worship, though, as far as I can tell from reading the Bible cover to cover, is not for people to consume the worship, but for people to be consumed in the worship for the glory of God.

The combination of worship in music, strong theological teaching and then the call to action. Sweet! Take out any of those three and what you've got is a hollow reflection.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


A couple of weeks ago I was out sick for a few days. Not deathly ill, but sick enough that I would need a nap after brushing my teeth. So I mostly laid on the couch and thought about what I could be doing if I had the energy.

In the midst of this there was some television watching thrown in. This meant that my DVR finally got some space cleared up and also that I did some flipping through the channels. For some reason the "flipping through the channels" part seemed to always fall in the morning and inevitably it was while The View was on. Now, I've watched The View a handful of times in the past and never been that impressed with it. Pretty much the definition of fluff. However, I used to like Rosie O'Donnell when she had her own show and wanted to see what she was like on the new show.

Each and every time I landed on The View they were talking about gay adoptions, gay families, homophobia, gay rights, gay marriage..... you get the picture. I've also seen plenty of stories about Rosie making loud comments on gay issues on the show, so it seems like this is a pretty regular thing. And they weren't talking about it in the "debating the issues" kind of way, but in the "how can anyone be against gay marriage/gay adoptions" kind of way.

So, being sent into homes all across the country on a daily basis is a show who's sole purpose is now to promote the gay agenda.

I suppose I could be angry about this. I could rail about the downfall of television. Mostly I'm sad. I'm sad because no one else seems to have noticed this (though perhaps no one watches The View) and no one's saying anything about it. What other special interest group gets an hour of network airtime a day to promote their agenda? This seems so blatant to me. Is that others don't see it (see the earlier question about whether anyone watches or cares about The View) or whether they care or whether we've given up hope on the airwaves of America.

Rosie, you aren't funny. You aren't cute. And your shows aren't going to be allowed in my home anymore.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today's a big day for birthdays. It's my friend Christina's birthday and my Dad's birthday. Whoo hoo! Of course, I'm not near either of them, but I'll be partying on their behalf.

Christina is one of the key reasons I went to England and I've really enjoyed getting closer over the past year. It's really amazing the way God sends people into our lives in the ways we least expect. The age difference between us is considerable, but in the "math of God" it doesn't matter. I only think about it when I realize she's an undergrad and I'm.... well.... not! I'm very thankful for her and looking forward to more time together in 2007. Cheers!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Race to the Finish

With less than a week to go before I jet out of here for fun up north and then prayer out west, it seems like I'm in a sprint. So much to finish on my desk at work. So much to finish at church. So much to finish at home. Christmas cards to write. House to clean.

And yet.... Instead of being able to focus on completing the tasks at hand, my boss continues to pile things on my desk and I keep being caught in tremendous time wasting episodes. Sigh. It's hard to make people understand that planes will not wait for me and I can't not sleep for a week to finish their project.

At the same time there are things that I want to be a priority, but because they aren't as urgent and inflexible they are getting ignored. I'm glad I'm going to OneThing and will have a chance to do some priority re-aligning before rejoining the world in January.

ETA ~ After posting this I went over to the 268 Blog (home of Louie Giglio and the Passion ministry) and he's posted about racing to the finish. He even quoted Isaiah 40, which seems to be the theme of the week.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Trust and Obey

A couple of months ago I lent my brother my Louie Giglio book "i am not, but i know I AM". I didn't think much of it until he put up a passage on his blog. Reading it brought the whole book back to me. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to that post either to read it again for myself or to copy it and send it to a friend who really needs it.

So, here it is. Something to trust and obey from my good friend Louie:

Furious rest, you see, is not about doing nothing. It's about doing
everything we do with the quiet confidence that our lives, families, businesses,
ministries, relationships, and dreams are in His hands.

Maybe for you the circumstances are different, yet the weight is the
same. You know, the weight of trying to make yourself out to be bigger
than you are - of trying to figure out how to run your life on your own, of
always trying to determine the outcome, control the relationship, close the
deal, run the show, hold it all together, know the future, protect your
interest, build your kingdom - the weight of playing the role of God in your
life and the lives of those around you.

But be encouraged. Today is the Sabbath. Oh, it may not
literally be Sunday, but Sabbath is a state of mind and attitude of the
heart. Sabbath happens anywhere and everywhere we let go of the controls
and lay the cares of our lives at His feet.

So where is your future right now? Where is the outcome of your
pressing dilemma? Is it in your hands? Is it in the hands of the
businessman or woman on the other side of the table? Is it in the hands of
a boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it in the hands of a team of doctors?
Or is your life, and all that concerns you, in the hands of the God who
constructed the universe effortlessly in one week?

If you want more rest and less "stressed," declare this very moment to be
your Sabbath - the place where you pry your fingers off the circumstance and
people you are trying so desperately to control, the place you discover that
life really does work better in His hands instead of yours.

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The Lighter Side - Television Edition

This morning I was reading a column that was talking about the best 10 shows on television. The columnist limited her list to network, but I got thinking about what's scheduled in my DVR and what I make time for on a regular basis. I used to be a real tv junky, so I was surprised to see how small my list was and how much of it is on the Food Network.

Network Shows:

House - Love this drama. Always keeps me thinking and has good characters.
Without A Trace - I used to love this show, but it's been kind of hit or miss this season.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - I started watching this because it's Aaron Sorkin. It's been controversial and has taken lots of shots at Christians. I've kept watching because those shots have consistently made me think about things in a different way. This may be scrapped in the new year, we'll see.
Grey's Anatomy - Light and fluffy. Don't know why I keep watching it, but I'm drawn in to the characters.

Food TV:

Good Eats - Best show on television. I've learned so much about cooking and science from Alton Brown.
Iron Chef America - Nothing gets my blood pumping like watching this competition every week. This week I learned how to cook ostrich.
Healthy Appetite - Good food cooked in a healthy way.
Good Deal - Dave Libberman is fun to watch cook. I often get good and cheap recipes.

Honorable Mentions:

What Not to Wear - Fun. Often watch it, but it's not a must see.
30 Minute Meals - I always learn a lot, but sometimes Rachel Ray sends me into a sugar coma.
Dancing With the Stars - When it's on, it's always a lot of fun.
American Idol - Every year I pretend I'm not going to watch. Every year I always end up watching a few episodes.
Amazing Race - I managed to miss this whole season, but I'm looking forward to the All Star edition after Christmas.

No, I don't watch 24. Why? I hear it's addictive. I figure if I start watching I'll have to go back and watch the previous 6 seasons. Like I have time for that.

Is anyone else watching Studio 60? What do you think?

I'm guessing this list will be shrinking again after Christmas (lately it's been shrinking ever 6 months) as I have some new activities coming online.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006


Earlier this year my pal Janet blogged about some interesting sites from a Time article. One of the sites was It was back in the summer and I didn't think much about it. But going to England gave me the idea to make a book of my pictures for those people in my life who are a little harder to buy for. Of course, I made one for myself as well.

The books arrived this week and it's been so much fun to have a professional looking book to drag it around to show everyone. It's been a big hit. Much easier than a bulky photo album. Much more streamlined than the 400 pictures I have up online.

It was a fun project to to do and it's a great keepsake from the trip.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Ramping up the Crazy

So, I thought yesterday was the end of the crazy. A couple of new things within the last 24 hours.

I'm definitely going to OneThing. Changed my Christmas plane ticket last night. No going back now. I'm excited about this as a step of faith.

I'm going to be photographing OneThing. I'm pretty excited about this too.

I signed up to be a correspondent for the 24/7 prayer team. Don't know what all this will entail, but it looks like getting assignments, talking with people and writing up stories and testimonies of what God's doing around the world through 24/7 prayer. How hard can that be??

I talked with my church leadership about my plan for an AIDS in Africa project after Christmas, so the wheels are turning there.

2006 has been a year of so much growth and change. Looks like things aren't going to slow down for the holiday season.

Please pray for me. All this is exciting and overwhelming. I need to stop trying to understand how I will get all this done or if I've got the skills to do all of this and just rest on the fact that I'm not doing any of it - God is. I'm just the messenger.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Special Whiplash Edition

Things I've learned in the last 48 hours:

- Never assume you know what's going to happen
- Never cancel a free registration just because you think you aren't going
- Never assume you know what the heck's going on in your life
- Always check your credit card statements carefully, even when there's no activity on them
- Always fasten your seatbelt BEFORE saying that you're excited to see the next adventure God's going to take you on

SERIOUSLY. I feel like my life's been turned upside down in the last week. No, I'm not suddenly married with kids. No, I haven't quit my job (yet). No, I don't have a tattoo (yet). But still, lots of change.

Nothing that major. Just a new project for after Christmas that dropped in my lap pretty much fully formed and ready to go. And a conference that I really wanted to go to, then decided not to go to, and now I might be going to. And a small group that appears to have thrown human logic out the window to follow God.

Have I mentioned that I don't like change? And how much I like routine? And that I like things to be planned well in advance?? Have I mentioned how much more my Mother likes all these things and that all of this will require me uttering the words "there's been a change of plans"?? 'Cuz we all know Santa doesn't come to girls who change the plan.

I'm being sarcastic (hopefully that was obvious). I'm just feeling a little whiplashed as things in my small group change quickly (for the better), friendships change quickly (for the better) and suddenly I'm getting messages from God that have exclamation points at the end of them.

It's certainly a wild and unpredictable ride. Good thing I've recently been reading about Abraham. Makes my ride look a little crazy.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Join Red

When I first saw the announcement of RED I was a little skeptical. The message that just going shopping was enough to change the world seemed a little weak. I went through the website and wondered at how Armani, Converse, Gap, Apple and American Express were going to save the world with some t-shirts. I also wondered whether I should buy a pair of Converse just to be supportive of the project. And I thought, and I read more, and I thought some more.

Here's why I'm supportive of the RED project.

1. It's Bono. Don't laugh. Bono is really visionary and has an ability to think out of the box that I don't have. He's able to see a level of connection that I don't see and I trust that even if this doesn't look that substantial to me, there's something deeper going on that I'm not aware of yet. I've gone through the process before of being sceptical of his ideas (like ONE) when they first came out and later realized how brilliant they are.

2. This project is much bigger in England and has raised a high level of public awareness. I'm not a fan of tokenism or slacktivism, but if it helps people be drawn into the movement, then I'm willing to give it some leeway. Also, England tends to be ahead of the US on social justice issues, so watching what works there can be a good barometer of what can work here.

3. (and related to two) One of the kick off events in the US was a televised shopping trip by Bono and Oprah. Initially this turned me off the project until I realized how many people who had no previous exposure and would never look at ONE mentioned this event to me. They would never have listened to the more political message of ONE, but they were willing to listen to RED.

4. When I talked to a friend who has a strong background in social justice and social activism about it, he raised the point that this is providing a new model of corporate engagement in social activitivism. I wouldn't underestimate the importance of this point. If this is successful it will just be the start. Years ago people were laughing at the concept of "Fair Trade" goods.

I firmly believe that RED is just a small step in a bigger plan on this issue. If this step is successful, I think more companies will become involved and more layers of it will be revealed.

I don't think RED is the be all and end all. I think it's one small piece of a much larger puzzle of solving the problem of AIDS in Africa. It's not the most substantial piece and it's not the most aggressive piece, but I think it's the most populist piece. Solving the problem is going to take a multi-layered approach. I think this is just one of those layers. Seeing this roll out at the same time as Bono has been working with American churches on more faith-based initiatives to address the same issue tells me that Bono only sees this as one piece as well.

I totally respect the decision to support ONE and not RED, but I think it deserves more consideration than just as a shopping trip. Sometimes it takes a little while to understand and catch the vision. I'm willing to make the jump now.

Take a watch of the (RED) Manifesto below. I've got RED on my links so you can take a closer look.

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(RED) Manifesto

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Monday, December 04, 2006


Despite feeling horrible with a cold, I finally caved and put up my Christmas tree. I think that's all the decorations that will get up this year. Here's some pictures of the tree and some of the ornaments. Note the Mountie Snowman.

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The Nativity Story

On Saturday night I went to see The Nativity Story. I came out glad I had gone, but not overwhelmed by the movie itself. The movie seemed tame. Nothing controversial. Nothing too radical. Just a straightforward telling of the story. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it did seem tame.

The questions that it raised were more interesting than the movie itself.

Issue 1

Seeing the story "come to life" I was struck by the way God chose to use Mary and Joseph. In using a virgin pledged to be married He made them outcasts in their society. People assumed Mary had sinned and when Joseph chose not to divorce her, they assumed he had sinned too. They were confident of their own standing, but it was a hard road for Mary and Joseph. In choosing to be used they put themselves out there for public ridicule, false assumptions and possible death. Their lives would never be the same, for both better and worse.

Issue 2

I had never really thought much about Joseph and this movie really fleshed out his character. Watching the story unfold I was struck by his sacrifice in doing this and the steadfastness of his character. A pregnant fiance followed up by a visit from an angel. Suddenly he's an outcast in his town. Yet he managed to show such leadership and sacrifice.

Issue 3

Journey and preparation. By preparation I mean wearing the right shoes. When they left for Bethlehem, they thought that was the full journey. Then Joseph hears from God that they need to go to Egypt and off they go. Clearly we always need to be prepared with the right shoes so that we're prepared to go when we get the call.

Issue 4

Simplicity. Everything about the way Jesus came into the world was humble and simple. How do we celebrate it? With stress and chaos. Seems wrong.

Just a few of the questions and thoughts going through my mind after the movie. Did anyone else see it?

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


Over the last month I've been feeling like I'm stuck under a big rock. Bad things happening. Lots of conflict. Lots of things happening that I didn't understand. On November 16th, I blogged about holding on to promises.

I had a bunch of opportunities this weekend to talk with people and tonight I was walking back to my car from another meeting I realized that the rock is gone. On Friday night a friend who's very sensitive to these thing said that she thought I was "glowing" for the first time since I got back from England.

The interesting thing about this is that during the time when I was "stuck under a rock" I felt like I wasn't learning and I wasn't growing. I didn't understand what was happening or how this could be part of anything good.

The great thing about this weekend was that all of a sudden a whole bunch of things kept coming to me. Plans for things fully formed, like I had pondering them all month. New ideas springing up all over the place.

Turns out that while I was feeling that nothing was happening, a lot was happening. It's been good this weekend to see the results of that. Tonight when I got home I thought of that earlier blog that called upon the promise of Isaiah 40: 31 -
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
All of a sudden I could feel the soaring. I'm excited about these new ideas and new directions that are coming in the new year. It's going to be another big adventure and I have a feeling this last month has been preparing me for that.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

All Is Well

I've liked Clay Aiken for a very long time. I've loved him live and supported his albums, even though I've never really thought they lived up to his live performances.

Finally this week he came out with an EP that captures his beautiful voice. On top of that, my favorite song of his (O Come O Come Emmanuel) is on there. It's all that I hoped it would be if he ever recorded it and it gives me shivers every time I listen to it. He has an amazing voice and this song (and recording) finally does it justice.

I'm not very into Christmas this year, but this is one way that Christmas 2006 will be outstanding.

Run to Walmart (did I just say that??) to get it. They have the exclusive on it.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

Last year on World AIDS Day I took a few minutes to look around the DATA site ( and saw some statistics that blew me out of the water.

In Botswana, 38.8% of the population is HIV infected or has AIDS (here's an interactive map at DATA that lets you look at the percentages in the various countries) . Think about that for a minute. What if 40% of the people around you had AIDS. If you were in an elevator with 2 other people, at least one of them has AIDS. In your family, chances are at least one person has AIDS. And these numbers aren't the result of the success of anti-viral drugs in keeping people alive. The death tolls are outrageous. In Zimbabwe many of the cities have declared their cemetaries full. Not surprising, since they have 3,500 HIV related deaths a week!

It's estimated that there are currently 39.5 million people living with HIV in the world (63% of them in Africa). That number sounded familiar, so I looked some stuff up. Sure enough - that's more than the number of people in Canada.

Obviously, it's a multilayered problem. There are the health issues of treating the patients and providing medication. There are the moral issues of prevention. There are the compassion issues of dealing with the dying. There are the social issues of whole generations of Africans dying.

I'm still struggling with what to do to help. World Vision has a great list of suggestions on their site. I particularly like their project for caregiver kits and am going to try to do something about that in the new year. The One campaign has lots of suggestions as well, including resources for getting churches involved. If you're more shopping minded, check out the RED campaign (and for an added bonus, there's a message from Bono up on their site today).

But the first thing I'm going to do is to pray. Tonight there is a regular prayer gathering in my area and part of the night is set aside for the AIDS crisis in Africa. I think it's where we need to start. To intercede for the people there and for the organizations trying to make a difference. More than that though, to ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His heart. I can't help but think that what's happening in Africa is one of those things.

p.s. Thanks to Bono for bringing this to my attention and to Roy for reminding me that small groups of people can make a difference, especially if what you do is grounded in prayer.

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