Sunday, 18 July 2021

Times of Joy



Summer,

and my favourite

outdoor space.

My home.

My deck.

My dog.

My peace.

😊

🐾🐾

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Is Today the Best Day in the Year?

 


Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us - He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.
1 John 3:1

While reading a new book, I came across this quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  I like that. It is so easy to bemoan certain days more than others, such as the proverbial Monday morning blues, that we completely miss all the beautiful things that our loving God has for us. I know, I have been guilty of that myself a time or a thousand. Why do we do that?

So rather than wait for January 1st to make yet another New Year’s resolution, I thought I’d beat the rush. Today is the best day in the year. When today is over, and Lord willing that I wake up tomorrow, it too will be the best day in the year. Then by God’s continued grace, the day after tomorrow, will again be the best day in the year. Wow; I feel better all ready!

So how about you? Ready for a July New Year’s resolution? Ready to have your best day in the year? May it be so. Peace and Blessings, friends. God is good. 😊

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

_______________

Photo Source and Dedication:

The above photo was taken from the balcony of my parents home overlooking the beautiful Ottawa River. I am looking forward to spending time with them there again real soon. I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for also striving to make every day the best day in the year. ❤

Sunday, 4 July 2021

A Cure for the Cranky?

One of the great things that I enjoy about a new month is flipping over the kitchen calendar page. For several years now we have enjoyed the free calendars provided by our local vet hospital. Each month features a beautiful picture of a different breed of dog and a cute quote about man’s best friend. So, yes, the first day of a new month is always fun.

Though comical, this month’s quote really resonated with me. In the hustle and bustle and stressors of this often crazy world, there is the unconditional love of a dog. If the truth be known, sometimes I’m a lot less cranky when it’s just me and my dog.

So this post is dedicated to my dog, to this man’s best friend. As much as we rescued her from the animal shelter six years ago, so she has rescued me; day after day, month after month, and year after year. 😊❤

Friday, 25 June 2021

The Quotable Joan Chittister

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” 
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (Another great read)

📖 📖 📖

A dear friend of ours recommended another book. While we ordered it, all I’ve seen thus far are little snippets that my better half shares with me. I will get my turn with it when she finishes reading it.

In the mean time, I will catalogue these little nuggets she shares here so as not to lose track of them. This will be an ongoing blog post, a work in progress, that I expect to come back to time and again. Stay tuned.

Meet the quotable Joan Chittister.

đŸ’Ŧ

We can’t bear mystery, we can’t abide the beneficence of the unknown. We “define” the nature of God, the substance of the Holy Spirit, the persons of Jesus. We dogmatize the unknown and we excommunicate people who dare to wonder. I find it very hard anymore to abide the dogmatizers though I sometimes admire the sincerity of their “faith.” Or is “faith” simply another term for the compulsion to know, and the willingness not to think.” (p.37)

đŸ’Ŧ

“I don’t pray,” people say to me. And I say back, “Neither do I. I just breathe God in and hope somehow to learn how to breathe God out as well.” (p.46)

đŸ’Ŧ


In A Perfect World

 



In a perfect world

every home

would have a dog,

and every dog

would have a home.

Friday, 18 June 2021

The Other Side of Aging

hu-mor-ist n. 1 a person with a strong sense of humour. 2 a humorous talker or writer; a person who tells or writes jokes and funny stories.

👀

Anyone who has known me for a while would probably tell you that, in may ways, the word humorist describes me rather well. You don’t have to look far in this blog to see evidence of that fact. I’m OK with that as there are plenty of worse things that I could be called (and sometimes have been called).

Someone shared this cartoon with me the other day and I am still chuckling at it. Poor old guy; it was an honest mistake, I’m sure. At least he made her some tea.

Now that my better half and I are somewhere north of 60 years of age, we see the humour in jokes like this more and more often. We can laugh at them, because we have started to be able to relate, and in doing so, have learned to laugh at ourselves. Fact is, we’re not getting any younger, so we might as well enjoy life the best that we are able and laugh at aging’s little peculiarities.

Though my eyes are no longer what they once were, thanks to a decent pair of tri-focal lenses I can still  see reasonably well. Having said that, I have discovered that reading small font books is getting a little more cumbersome, and I have even found myself sometimes reaching for a magnifying glass. Likewise, reading on a computer screen often necessitates zooming up to 125% to take the strain off the old eyes. However, I am not complaining. I am confident that I can still tell the difference between my wife and a pumpkin in the vegetable patch. That’s a good thing, right?!

Hearing is another of those little aging peculiarities. It is one thing when couples call to each other from different rooms or floors in the house. Anyone could miss half of those conversations. It is a little more embarrassing when the same thing happens while sitting at the same table. It is also sometimes quite comical. By way of example, I asked my wife recently what day it was. She replied, “Thursday.” I responded, “Well, what would you like to drink?” In all fairness, Thursday and Thirsty sound a lot alike. It was an honest mistake.

So here’s to getting older. Here’s to the freedom of no longer caring what others think. Here’s to poorer vision and questionable hearing. Here’s to retirement and pensions. Here’s to playing with grandchildren, and to giving them back. Here’s to skinny dipping in the backyard (if we want to), and thereby getting the neighbours to pay for all of the new privacy fence.

And finally, here’s to my dear wife of forty years. I’d marry you all over again, Sweetheart. I’m looking forward to celebrating our 100th birthdays together. However, I may need to ask your help in lighting a Cuban cigar to go with our celebratory glass of scotch whiskey. 😉

Postscript: In sharing some of these musings with my father, he replied: “There is an alternative to aging, but I doubt that we would like that more.” That’s great! Humorist? I guess I come by it quite naturally. 😄

Photo Sources: Unknown

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Tinnitus: Another Joy of Aging?

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. While no doubt true about many things in life, this picture really resonates with me. Tinnitus, the very word even sounds painful. Puns fully intended. 😉

But seriously, it is no fun. The older I get, the more I seem to hear (this time, no pun intended) of others who have also discovered this fairly common side effect of aging. To make things worse, there is apparently no known cure. Through audiologists I have been learning that there are some treatments which may help, but a cure has yet to be discovered. In other words, we simply have to learn to live with it. Lucky us!

To learn more click here:

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Covid Testing: Then and Now?

“The more things change,
the more they stay the same.”
(attributed to Alphonse Karr)

While that quaint saying may be true of many things, who knew that Covid nasal swab testing would turn out to be one of them?! Hilarious!!

😄😄😄

“There is a time for everything … [including] a time to laugh.”
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4)

Photo Source: Unknown

Friday, 11 June 2021

The Other Side of Pet Ownership?

Have you ever heard it said that some people look like their pets? I suppose one would have to be careful with that kind of thinking. Not everyone would take kindly to being told that they look like a dog (ha-ha).

Recently my dear wife suggested that maybe we should consider a Miniature Schnauzer as a potential breed for our next dog. I quickly put two and two together and wondered if she was trying to tell me something. Does she like Miniature Schnauzers because they remind her of me, or because I remind her of them? Hmm.

I guess it makes sense. We’re both pretty grey. We’re both bearded. We’re both often grumpy looking. We’re both miniature. Well, three out of four is not bad.

👀 woof  đŸ˜‰

Monday, 7 June 2021

There Are Worse Addictions



“When I get a little money
I buy books;
and if any is left,
I buy food and clothes.”
attributed to Desiderius Erasmus


Seems logical to me.
😉

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Do You Have A Favourite Book?

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”
Margaret Atwood

I just discovered a new literary genre. Well, it is new to me anyway. What genre is that? I am speaking of biblical fiction. To be honest, I had never even imagined such a thing existed. The words biblical and fiction were never something I considered in the same sentence before, much less as a style of writing. However, as the old mantra says, You can’t knock something until you’ve tried it. While I used to think of that only in terms of food, apparently it applies to reading as well.

Who knew?! 😉

Today I finished reading yet another two of the plethora of Ted Dekker books, and the first two that I would call biblical fiction. What can I say? I am now a believer! (Pun fully intended; ha-ha). I could try to tell you what this amazing story is all about, but I am afraid that I just would not do it justice. Instead, rather than reinvent the proverbial wheel, I would really encourage you to click on these two links to learn more:

A.D.30

A.D.33

If you are already a Ted Dekker fan, then you already know that he will carry you away in a story like few others can. If you are not yet a Ted Dekker fan, then I have only two words of caution: (1) His books are not easily put down. As I alluded to on this blog post, I recently went through two other Dekker books, 800-pages total, in just 7-days. (2) Be prepared to very quickly find yourself needing to create more shelf space in your library to accommodate your new favourite Christian thriller and biblical fiction author. Consider yourself warned. With that said, I will also say goodbye for now, because I suspect you’re anxious to connect with your favourite bookseller. 


Closing Thought:

Someone once said, “Asking a bookworm to name their favourite book is like asking a mother to pick a favourite child.” Peace and Blessings, friend. God is good. 😊 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

My Night Shift’s Silver Lining

“I complained of having no shoes,
until I met a man who had no feet.”
(Anonymous)

You know that it’s going to be a long day when, after going to bed about 9:00pm, you’re lying awake at 12:30am and unable to get back to sleep. *sigh* Oh well, rather than toss and turn and disturb my bride’s sleep, I decided that, as I often do, I might as well get up and make the best of it. Someone once said that, “behind every cloud is a silver lining,” or something like that. It wasn’t long before I started to see that this sleepless cloud too had a silver lining.

It had a silver lining in that I could get a good soaking of water into the front lawn after a couple days of seeing the mercury in the +35C range. Before another hot day, I could almost hear the shrubs and trees sing out their songs of thanksgiving to the artificial rain of the sprinkler.

It had a silver lining in that, sitting on the deck with a coffee, a good book and this man’s best friend was once again bearable in the cooler morning air. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining of the heat. We did, after all see a cold snap not too many months ago that took us down to a chilly -55C. Furthermore, in light of a recent discussion with my Dad, he made mention of remembering a +51C when I was a young pre-teen. No, I am not complaining of our current +30’s temperature.

It had a silver lining in that I’ve long since discovered that the wee hours of the morning are really my favourite time of day. No, not at 12:30am specifically; that was a little earlier than usual. However, in my humble opinion, there is nothing quite as peaceful as a meditative and prayerful 3:00am when the house is quiet as everyone else still sleeps. That sweet time before the phone’s annoying ring announcing another crisis, before the endless notifications of yet another email requiring my attention; simply heavenly! The only sound I heard was a light snoring as my beloved fur baby fell back asleep on the deck. I am sure she appreciates the cooler morning air too.

So here’s to my night shift’s silver lining. Peace.  

Friday, 4 June 2021

Our Great Betrayal?

 

Jesus once asked, “Who is my brother?” (Matthew 12:48). Strange how such a simple question can become so confusing and subjective for so many of us. Equally strange how religious doctrines, even Christian ones, can often seem to justify polar opposite understandings of those four simple words. Who is my brother? Who are our brothers?

My purpose in writing this is not to add yet more to the plethora of writing that already exists on how to LOVE one another and what our responsibilities are (or should be) to our fellow man. I am not here to try and justify my doctrine as opposed to the understanding of others. Obviously the human race has been plagued by sin since the days of Adam and Eve. Sad, how the very next generation already saw one man murder his brother.

When I am tempted to point fingers at what I perceive to be another’s doctrinal error concerning _____ (you fill in the blank), I remind myself that the Bible also says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). That includes you and me. Which brings us back to the need for LOVE.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

(1 Corinthians 13; The Message)

So where do we go from here? I suppose that is something we will each have to decide for ourselves. Personally, I am done with questioning and arguing the doctrines of others. The way I see it, that is a private matter between them and God. I believe that I am simply called to LOVE no matter where they come from doctrinally. The bottom line is, God LOVES me! God LOVES others too! That is the crux of the Gospel message. If we believe that, then that makes others my brothers and my sisters. Something to think about. Peace.

The person who refuses to love,

doesn’t know the first thing about God,

because God is love.

(1 John 4; The Message)

Quote Source: Revise Us Again, by Frank Viola (p.96)

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

To Burger or not to Burger?

Meat Your Heart Out
😋

I have a confession to make. I am a burger snob. I love a good burger. Note the key word: good. Others that don’t rate as high I only eat if I have to, you know, as opposed to starving to death. Then again, based upon my girth, I could probably stand to miss a meal or two … or ten. Oh well, life’s too short to eat rice cakes.

This past weekend my better half suggested that homemade burgers and fries needed to be on the menu again. I didn’t need to be told twice. Hmm, Burgers! Hmm, Meat!

I may be biased, but my homemade burgers are second to none. They are about a 1/3-pound patties, half beef and half pork, with various other spice secrets that I won’t get into here. They are smoked over applewood on a charcoal grill/smoker. Condiments to taste, but I always prefer a good Mexican Pico de Gallo as opposed to the usual boring ketchup. Like I said, Will’s Burgers are second to none!

Double Tino’s Special
Generally speaking, I don’t much care for most fast-food franchise burger joints. I am sure that I’ve tried most of them at one time or another in my 60-plus years. Granted, some are better than others, but many are just gross. Sorry, there is no nice way to say that.

There is, however, one exception. Sure, I know, everyone has their favourites, but my favourite take-out burger joint is none other than Tino’s in beautiful Medicine Hat, Alberta. Tino’s has been around for over 50-years, established way back in 1967. My own personal go-to favourite is their Double Tino’s Special which includes, beside the two beef patties, a beautiful slice of ham. With the addition of the ham, it almost qualifies as a triple burger in its own right. Amazing!

Oh, and I almost forgot. A trip to Tino’s is not complete without one of their killer milkshakes. Your only problem is going to be choosing your flavour from the plethora of options. I have never seen so many choices!

Though I don’t live in Medicine Hat, I am fortunate that my business regularly takes me to that small city, and when it does, it is hard to not stop by and say hello to the good folks at Tino’s.

To Burger or not to Burger? Silly question.

😉

Visit Tino’s on Facebook.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Bookworm: Who, me?

 

Wow! I think that has got to be some kind of personal record!

These two Ted Dekker books were only just delivered last Friday afternoon. By the following Thursday evening, I had them both read.

2 books

800 pages

7 days

Bookworm: Who, me? Apparently.


The 49th Mystic and Rise of the Mystics were definitely enjoyable reads. Quite possibly, in my opinion, they’re among Dekker’s finest of those I’ve read thus far. I would, however, recommend his Circle Series before delving into these two. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading. 😊

Saturday, 15 May 2021

The New Tenant

After a recent trip out of town, we came home to find a new robin’s nest in the lilac beside our deck. Though we saw momma in the nest a few times, we tried our best to give her lots of space and not to spook her too much. Today while momma left to get groceries, or whatever they leave the nest to do, I carefully snuck up for a little closer look.

How exciting. Our tenant is going to have a new baby.

😊❤

Friday, 14 May 2021

End of An Era, End of An Addiction?


Well I finally did it; I reduced my social media footprint a little further. While there were once three Facebook pages that I managed, as of today there are none. My personal Facebook page remains, but the main reason it does is to be able to continue to communicate with distant family via Messenger. Oh, my Twitter account also remains but only for the purpose of following a few local sites. All other social media platforms that I once maintained have also long since been deactivated, and all this was preceded by my decision to also remove social media apps from my smartphone. 

Why? I’m glad you asked. 😉

Social media had become an addiction. I found myself wasting away valuable time mindlessly scrolling through mostly junk. Sure, there were wholesome posts too, such as photos of family and friends, but it was too easy for me to get caught up in all the unwholesome stuff. Conspiracy theories abound. Political and religious arguments were never in short supply. Combined with a host of other trash, all contributed in robbing me of my personal peace. The more mindless crap I scrolled through, the more time I’d waste doing nothing of value, and the cycle would repeat itself ... again, and again, and again. Yes, social media had become an addiction. Enough was enough!

My two blogs remain, though the Rethinking Faith and Church blog is now mostly dormant. I suppose the time of rethinking since leaving the pastoral ministry twenty years ago is also finally over. Though this wrestling season seems over, I realize that may change one day if the Lord so wills it. Still, its posts remain for those who stumble upon them. The Other Side of Will will continue to be the platform for all random musings, such as this one. I suppose you could say it is my online journal.

So here’s to the end of an era and the end of an addiction. Here’s to having more time to spend in my library enjoying a plethora of good books. Here’s to unplugging from the rat race and finding time for things that really matter. Here’s to reclaiming my personal peace.

A final word about the photo:

This little fellow resides in our sanctuary, our beautiful backyard deck, under a gorgeous huge lilac. I believe that he too has unplugged from social media and seems to have found his personal peace as well. 😊

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Other Side of Essential Travel?

In December 2020 I travelled to visit my parents. Given that we live so far apart, I normally try to do that trip at least twice per year. I remember how the Covid pandemic resulted in all my flights being at least two-thirds empty. It was strangely eerie!

Now, five months later, we just came back from an encore trip. This time, however, the flights all had relatively few empty seats. In fact, they were virtually full. Other than the compulsory masking requirements, you really wouldn’t know there was a pandemic at all. With all the talk of essential travel only, and random check stops at provincial border crossings for road travellers, air travel was pretty much business as usual. Interesting.

This raised a few musings as to the subjectivity of exactly what constitutes essential travel. The term is really in the eyes of the beholder. While many no doubt questioned our decision to travel at this time, in our way of thinking, it was essential that we did so. Having said that, I don’t mention this as a means to justify our decision (it matters not what others think) but rather, as I already said, to show how each family alone decides what is essential to them. Governments cannot possibly say what is or isn’t. It is all subjective. Based upon the full aircrafts, it would seem that my co-travellers would agree. Still, it would have been rather entertaining if that cat, essential travelling with its grumpy owner, had managed to escape. 😉

Finally, on the lighter side, on one flight we were quite amused with the signage we saw on one of the wings: No Step Outside This Area. We laughed as we noticed that no travellers had stepped outside that area, at least none that we observed. Perhaps this calls for kudos to our educational system as apparently everyone could read (Ha-Ha). 😉


Postscript:

In the first two pictures above you can make out Toronto’s CN Tower on the horizon as we descended for a short layover before catching our final flight west (to the Promised Land, as our son had said in jest). 😆

Saturday, 8 May 2021

The Swimsuit and Memories of Yesteryear

“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
Khalil Gibran

While visiting my parents recently, they pointed out that they had cleared out a drawer of old swimsuits and were wondering if we wanted any of them. They were kept around over the years in case visitors to their home wished to go swimming in their beautiful indoor pool and did not happen to have a swimsuit with them. Though the standing joke was that swimsuits were optional, I am not aware of any guests choosing that option. I guess that’s just as well.

We looked through the collection and nothing really jumped out, at least not on first inspection. A little later in the visit we gathered as a family to view some old 8mm family movies that one of my brothers had digitized. There were wonderful childhood memories going back a half-century and more.

Suddenly, while seeing my younger self enjoying various water sports, my mouth fell open and my mind froze. Did I see that right? I was soon back among the pile of old swimsuits. Could it be? Yes, it is! 50-years have come and gone since some of those great memories, and I just found my old swimsuit! Let me say that again; 50-years! Other than being a little faded, it is still in really good shape. I still can’t believe it! Maybe this swimsuit belongs in a museum.

Now if only I could still fit into it, that would truly be a miracle. (Ha-Ha)

😉

Thursday, 6 May 2021

What Is Your Life?



While sitting in my parent’s living room overlooking their balcony and the Ottawa River early one morning, house quiet except for that incessant ringing in my ears, I was struck again with the brevity of life. As the morning mist rose off the river, blocking the view of the Gatineau Hills of Quebec on the opposite shore, I was reminded of how short life really is. Suddenly that question in James came to the forefront, “What is your life?”

No doubt we’ve all heard some variety of that somber saying, “the older we get the faster life goes,” but it has never really struck me as frequently as it has since finding myself north of sixty. If I see my seventies, perhaps it will get worse yet.

While I believe that to be true, and while it is easy to dwell on perceived shortcomings and should-have’s, I am preferring rather to try and come at this thing called life from a different angle. Good or bad, the past is the past. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” (attributed to C.S. Lewis). Maybe that’s the better way to look at these things.

Yes, James was right; life is “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Still, that fact doesn’t have to be a downer; it can also be a celebration. For people of faith there is also a blessed eternal hope that transcends this mist called life. So here’s to today. I hope you can take some time to celebrate your mist. Cheers!

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
T.S. Eliot

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Do You Really Need A New Book?




Remember,
it is never
considered hoarding,
if it involves obtaining
more books.

You’re welcome.
😉


Source: Unknown

Friday, 30 April 2021

The Out of Office Notification

Someone said, “Happiness is an empty inbox.” I can’t relate!

But I can say, Woo-Hoo! Finally time to log off for some much needed R&R! Rest, relaxation, and try to de-stress for a bit. That inbox isn’t going anywhere.

13,790 items? Ugh! 😕

There was a time when I would faithfully try and clean up and organize my inbox, but the longer I am in this job, the more I am convinced that to do so is a futile waste of time. No sooner would I file away twenty emails, than I would be greeted by fifty new ones. Double Ugh! So here’s to some much needed vacation time. I can only imagine what the inbox will look like in two weeks when I return to the office ... 15,000 maybe?

Maybe if I return to the office. Maybe I’ll opt to retire instead. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. Maybe I’ll just try and forget the inbox. Maybe it’s time to log off this iPad too and turn off all social media. Maybe, no, nothing maybe about; it IS time to just unplug and chill.

Consider this my Out of Office notification. đŸ˜Ž  

Thursday, 29 April 2021

of Old Books and the Evolution of Language - Part 2

Yesterday I introduced one of two very old books I was pleased to acquire. If you missed it, you can find that post here.

Today I introduce the second book, The Afflicted Man’s Companion. It first appeared in print in 1744 and was authored by John Willison (1680-1750) of the Church of Scotland. It has been said of the author that he was a “prolific writer of practical Christian literature.”

From what I’ve been able to discover thus far, the author’s purpose in this book was to provide a bedside devotional for those sick and dying who would otherwise be unable to meet with the church to hear the pastor’s sermon.

Upon initial examination, a couple things stood out as interesting. First, it would appear that somewhere in this book’s history a former owner had tried to sew part of the cover back on. Secondly, it has a homemade brown paper book cover. I was reminded of doing similar things with my school books back in elementary school. Then the idea was not just to protect the school-owned books, but also to be able to personalize it by doodling harmlessly on the book’s cover. 


The introduction dates the book 5th June, 1741. I don’t know who James (can’t make out the last name) is. Probably he is either the author of of the introduction, or perhaps an early owner who simply chose to sign his name on that page.

This too is a fascinating little fragile book that I am also looking forward to spending some time in.

Happy reading.

😃


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

of Old Books and the Evolution of Language

I have a confession to make. I’m a bookworm. I love books. I love bookstores, and I especially love used bookstores. I could easily spend hours in them, and have done just that a time or ten. There is nothing quite as awesome as finding those hidden treasures. Equally interesting is researching those authors of yesteryear. Who were they? What were they known for? Fascinating stuff!  



A friend of mine owns a used bookstore in the community I live in. Today I received a text message from her about two old books she had. I guess she knows me, because I was promptly in the car and headed to her bookstore. I walked out with my two treasures, plus eight others!

Ah, yes; the life of a bookworm!

😃


Not being familiar with the author, I turned to Google to see what I could learn about the Rev. Charles Drelincourt. Amazing what one can find online today! Reverend Drelincourt was a French Reformed Church pastor who lived between 1595 - 1669. The book begins with a 16-page biography of the author.

I did a little more research online and discovered that modern copies of The Christians Consolations Against the Fears of Death can still be had. 

I wish I knew how old this book was. If we are to go by the Roman numerals on the cover page, MDCCLXXI, then it seems to suggest a date of 1771.


I will definitely read this book, gently and carefully, given its rough shape. To do so I am going to have to retrain my mind to some older ways of writing, such as the two forms of our modern letter “s.” The final “s” is written basically the same as we do today. Anywhere else in the word (other than the last letter), the “s” is written differently.

When I first saw this, I was instantly reminded of ancient Koine Greek which also has two forms for their equivalent of the letter “s.”  I found that fascinating to think of how languages evolved, and in some ways, similarly.

Happy reading. 

😃

Click here for Part 2

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Alberta Weather Illustrated


If you don’t like
the weather,
wait an hour.

😉

I don’t know who coined that, but I like it; it describes my home province of Alberta perfectly!

We’re a province of extremes when it comes to weather, and especially here in the southern part of the province where I live. When those wonderful and infamous Chinook winds cascade over the Rockies, you could be shovelling snow off the driveway before work in the morning, and taking in the golf course on the way home afterwards.

I remember a cold snap we had last winter that saw much of the province under a  -55C windchill. Yes, that was a little cold. I almost had to wear a toque and scarf (Ha, Ha). However a week later my wife and I enjoyed an evening cup of coffee on the back deck under a beautiful windless +15C. That’s a 70-degree increase in temperature!

Welcome to Alberta, where the phrase dressing for the weather doesn’t mean anything!

Photo Source: Unknown

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The Selfie

 

Photographers
have to deal
with 
lot of crop.
😏

Got to love these new smartphone cameras and photo apps! It's really quite amazing what you can do with them! I thought this selfie turned out rather well.

Remember the old days?

We would take what we hoped were good pictures, but then have to wait until we used up the whole roll of film before knowing for sure. Next someone had to venture out to a camera shop or some other specialized photo development store to drop the film off. Sigh!

Unfortunately that wasn't the end of it. Then you had to go back again a few days later, waste more time and burn more gas, just to pick up your pictures. But the good news was, it was like Christmas when you did finally get them back because by then you'd completely forgotten what was on the film in the first place. Surprise!

If you were fortunate, there were more good pictures than bad, and it was worth spending the money to get them developed. Finally when one hour phone service became an option, well, that was just utopic! Ah, those were the days!

😏

Postscript: Yes, the beard is real.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

What Has Four Letters

 


What has four letters,

occasionally has twelve letters,

always has six letters,

but never has five letters.

Source: Unknown

Saturday, 27 March 2021

The Music of Personal Peace

“Where words
leave off,
music begins.”
-Heinrich Heine

There is a strange and lovely thing that has happened to me of late; my musical taste appears to have made a 180-degree turn. Where I was once enamoured with Rock ‘n Roll and many of the popular musical groups of the 60’s and 70’s, the music of my peers through my high school years and beyond, I have lately embraced a more classical genre of music. Strange; even ten short years ago I never would have imagined that possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love to listen to the likes of the Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Pink Floyd and a host of others. However now I am as likely to listen to James Last, Gheorghe Zamfir, Henry Mancini, Nana Mouskouri, Al Martino, Tchaikovsky and a plethora of similar artists. Does that surprise you?

Sometimes it still surprises me.

What changed? That’s the million dollar question. I hate to say that it was age, as if to suggest that only older people can enjoy the classics. Still, the circumstances around now finding myself north of sixty years of age, I think have played a part. With this new decade I find myself caring less and less about what others think and the stressors that seem to plague them. I find myself chasing less and less of the things the world seems to chase. I find myself less and less impressed by society’s offerings as a whole.

Stress in the workplace is at an all-time high. A global pandemic has touched everyone one way or another. The question of retirement is being considered more and more often lately, and I seem to have become more and more introverted over the past couple years. Outside of family, one of the few things that seems to matter today is maintaining a healthy level of personal peace.

Peace. What a beautiful word!

Religiously guarding and protecting my personal peace is now high on my priority list. As such, anything that could rob me of that peace is anathema. High on the list is striving to avoid political discussions and their associated venues. Likewise conspiracy theories, of which there seems to be an abundance lately, just create more internal turmoil for me, and as such I choose to avoid people and media that promote them. Music helps. It was Ludwig van Beethoven who once said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” The older I get, the more I am starting to believe that.

Peace, personal peace!

Maybe it is an age thing. Maybe I no longer have patience for anything less than that which promotes personal peace. I remember sharing a meme on Facebook a while back that said, “Once you hit a certain age you become permanently unimpressed by a lot of shit.” Maybe that’s it; maybe that says it all. Music has the ability to relax and calm and foster peace; at least, the right kind of music does. What exactly constitutes “the right kind of music” is obviously subjective; yet for me, now here in my early sixties, that definition was apparently subject to change. So as I type these words, I do so while wearing bluetooth headphones playing a wonderful Spotify playlist of assorted great classics. Ah, here is Zamfir again and his version of Annie’s Song. Beautiful!

Peace and Blessings. 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

It’s All Greek To Me

There is a Turkish proverb that says, “One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.” Likewise a Czech proverb say, “Learn a new language and get a new soul.”

I consider myself fortunate for my upbringing that resulted in an interest in linguistics. By the time I was seven years old I was well on my way to learning my third language. By fourteen a fourth language was introduced. While half a century has come and gone since those formative years, I find that I can still understand a significant amount of those childhood tongues. Even some reading and speaking skills remain for which I am grateful.

Years later, when already in my early thirties, a career change led to some more education which included some Koine Greek. “Koine” simply means common, and was the common everyday marketplace dialect of Greek spoken two thousand years ago during the time of Jesus. The New Testament itself was penned in Koine Greek. The text above, however, is not from the New Testament. It comes from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh (also commonly called the Old Testament). It is the well-known 23rd Psalm.

Fast-forward another thirty years and the linguistic bug seems to have been stimulated again with the dusting off of old Greek textbooks and vocabulary cards, as well as the purchase of a couple newer Greek language aids. This time, however, I have the joy of working through refreshing these Greek skills with my son; a third generation Greek student. How cool is that?! While we study independently, we also try to meet weekly via Zoom with the intent of making Greek the primary focus.

Have I perfected my Greek skills? No, not even close! While I can read and understand some, I would still have to consider myself a beginner. But that is OK; I’m enjoying the challenge and just maybe even keeping a few cobwebs from getting too comfortable in this old man’s brain. Are there still other languages that I’d like to learn? Most definitely, Yes! Perhaps one day I’ll tackle one that has been on my bucket list for a very long time ... Arabic.

ÎĩΚĪÎŽÎŊΡ (peace).

“It is astonishing how much enjoyment one can get
out of a language that one understands imperfectly.”

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Why Is the Rum Gone?

You’re not drinking alone 
if the dog is home.

I love the line in the film series Pirates of the Caribbean where Captain Jack Sparrow says, “Why is the rum gone?” I’ve used that line myself a time or ten over the past year. Why is the rum gone? Well, unlike Captain Jack Sparrow, for me the rum was gone because I quit drinking ... one year ago today.

Why? Good question.

I did so mostly because for me it was simply time. Yes, I enjoyed my rum and scotch whiskey (no, not in the same glass). A good Cuban cigar also often complimented the libation. The cigars have long since been dropped from the menu, but the rum, well, I was starting to enjoy it a little too much; it was starting to become a problem. I did not wish to be an alcoholic, even a functional one. Solution? Drastic as it may seem, quit and quit cold turkey! Gradually cutting back may work for some, but not for me. In my vocabulary there is no such thing as “moderation.” It’s all or it’s nothing. Period!

First you consume the bottle,
then the bottle consumes you.
Source: Unknown
I found an app called Sober Time. It helped to monitor my progress through a series of goals. You can even see how much money you’re saving along the way. It has a stats feature that works based on what you enter as an average daily alcohol expense, and then multiplies it based upon the number of sober days achieved. It’s quite the eye opener! I guess you could even say that it is “sobering” (Ha, pun fully intended). There is even little motivational blurbs to help encourage you along the way.

I do recommend the Sober Time app.

Great as all that is, I do not believe I would have been successful without the power of prayer. Yes, it was interesting to watch the days and months of sobriety count off on the app, but I realize that the real victory came about by the hand of God. He heard my prayer and gave me the strength I needed to achieve the victory. Why is the rum gone? It is gone because of answered prayer, plain and simple, and for that I praise God.

Peace and blessings, friend. God is good. 😊

Habit overcomes habit.”

Friday, 5 February 2021

Positively Puzzling, Vol. 4

This next edition of Positively Puzzling begins with the largest puzzle we’ve attempted thus far; 2000 pieces. Needless to say, we were at this one for a while. Unlike previous featured puzzles, we decided to preserve and mount this one. It is currently proudly featured in our games room.


Cartoon puzzles remain some of my favourites. Perhaps another reason that we enjoyed this puzzle so much was that some of the antics took us back to a time in yesteryear when my wife and I held memberships in a local gym. If we didn’t know better, I’m sure we’ve seen some of those people before. LOL.
Our magnificent solar system and man’s primitive (?) attempt to infiltrate it. When I think on scenes like this, I am reminded of what the psalmist said: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8: 3-4; ESV)

Puppies, puppies, and more puppies. This beautiful puzzle was a surprise gift from a dear friend. As dog lovers, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Orhan Pamuk, author of My Name is Red, said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” I like that! An additional surprise was discovering a couple cats posing with the dogs. Can you find them?

This last puzzle we discovered at a games store. Being bookworms ourselves, with a substantial home library, we loved the image immediately. To this day, one of my favourite kinds of stores are used bookstores. I have spent countless hours browsing their plethora of offerings and discovering all sorts of treasures. This puzzle has also been preserved and mounted in our home library.