08 December 2006


Hey everyone, I'm sorry that things have been very quiet around here lately. Things have been very busy as of late, but fear not, things are going well.

Family life is good. Laura is in Jr Kindergarten, and Erik has started preschool. Both of them love it. Laura is turning into a little academic already, she has received one of two academic awards in her class. So if you're like me, you're thinking "What the heck? Academic awards in JK? What's up with that?" But yeah, she got one not only because she is learning really fast (four years old and she is becoming a voracious reader, she has learned how to sound out words, and is figuring out how to read new words on her own) but after she finishes her work in class, she'll slide over to sit beside another classmate to help them do their work if they are having trouble!


Erik is showing that despite being a typical boy, he also has a huge heart and cares a lot about many things and people. Just two days ago, he walked up to me out of the blue and asked what I wanted for Christmas. Totally on his own initiative, he really wanted to know.

Alla has been very busy lately, she has been knitting and sewing up a storm. Nice stuff as well. If you're interested, she has a blog as part of a handcrafts forum. It is in Estonian, but if you're interested you can a least browse the photos of what she has made. Here's the link: Rändlind. As well, Alla has become very involved in the Sunday School program at church which has been great as well. Not without frustration and stress at times, but it has been good and stretching as well.

As for me, work has been learning a lot, and still am learning. This is one change that I am very glad that I made. Leading the youth group at church has turned out to be more challenging than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. The heathy dose of humility was long overdue. But it is still going well. Part of the challenge lies in that the church is on the verge of some major changes, and I can see where it could be headed if things go well. And being very pedantic, I'd like to prepare the youth for these changes and help them to be at the forefront of the transformation. But at the same time I tend to be overly pedantic and forget that youth like to have fun as well. One final new experience at church for me is that I was requested to try leading worship for a Sunday service. I've never done anything like that before. I have been playing guitar for services for many years already, but I've never tried leading. It has been a stetch, but it seems that it works. It stresses me out, it is uncomfortable, I've never really sung before, and now I'm doing it for everyone to follow. But at the same time, it has become very rewarding. But it still freaks me out.

But in all, things are good. It's hard to believe that this will be our second Christmas here. But it's exciting as well. It has been a year of changes, growth and learning to trust God in new ways.

Our church has been on the verge of a transformation for a while. It is getting very close, we can all taste it. To be honest, most of our church is almost oblivious to what this is going to mean. They have been praying for change for many years. They adopted a motto of the church outside the box. This fall has marked some staff changes. The head pastor feels the weight of the situation and timing. He realizes that this is a very pivotal time for the church, and that God is leading the church to do things it has never done before. The pastor is from a very traditional background, and this is undiscovered country for him. This is a totally new experience for him to try to think of the church ourside of what the church has always done. I am relishing the view. But I am afraid of what this may mean for all of us. Complete and utter faith (almost blind), complete obedience to God and the authority He has placed over us, and the resolve to act on what we have been told to do. There is going to be a lot of very uncomfortable people. There are some who are going to be very unwilling to be uncomfortable, and I hope they find a place that will keep them comfortable and still growing in faith (incompatible states of being by definition, but then again our God is a God of paradoxes isn't He?). In the meantime, those of us who commit ourselves to this may be in for the ride of our lives.

Anyhow, take care all, and if I don't get around to posting something before then, please have a great Christmas!

05 November 2006

Entering a brand new world

So, I've made an important trasistion in my life. I've taken a step forward (ok, some may argue that one), I have regained some control (again, an arguable fact), but one thing remains, there is no returning. I completely wipped any trace of Microsoft from my laptop. No programs, no operating system, nothing made by Microsloth. After doing some research, I have taken the step of installing Linux on our laptop, and not only does it boot faster, but it runs faster, is easier to work with, and easier to live with. So far, I'm enjoying it very much.

For those that have any interest at all, it's a copy of SUSE running SLED 10.1, with a number of additional packages that I have found while browsing repositories here and there. If fact, as I type this I am downloading the souce code in order to compile a simulator for RC gliders.

Anyhow, just thought I'd let you know. If I hade the cash to spare, I'd try a Mac, but I'm poor. So that'll have to wait until I have cash to burn.

Yeah, just thought I'd announce that to the world.

09 October 2006

It's not about facilities, or is it?

Last weekend, I went with my family to another church with a friend of ours. The main reason was so that Alla and our friend could spy out the Sunday School program to get some ideas for out church. While they were with the kids, I went and did some recognisance at the main service. This is a larger church than we go to, with bigger facilities. Their old church building was now the main meeting room where all the kids meet for some singing before they split into their groups. This room is the same size as our present church sanctuary. Their new facilities are much larger. The sound system was not bad at all. If it was up to me, I may have set it up a little differently, but it wasn't mine to choose. They had a great set-up with three video projectors and running a program that was new to me. It's like running a PowerPoint™, but instead of static backgrounds, you can run video or animations. Very nice eye candy.

After the service, I was walking out to meet the others to go home, and got to thinking. There's this saying that's been going around evangelical circles, and I had bought into it for quite a while already. But my faith in the idea just got shaken to the core. The saying is that it's never about the facilities. It's about ministry, about what God want's to do? Right?

But what I realized that day is that facilities facilitate. Ironic ain't it? We want to do our part, but in the name of some "higher principle" (which isn't even Biblical, although we try to treat it that way) we then refuse to facilitate. We settle for mediocrity, instead of taking the resources we have been trusted with and facilitating all that we can.

Think about it, what are the most effective facilitators that we know of? Stadiums facilitate pro sports. Without a stadium, it's not the same thing. What is going out to the pub without the pub? Just some guys sitting on a curb getting drunk. But add the facilities, and it's something totally different. Want to go the church? Why go to something that isn't a church, like a school gym or a community centre? Why is the Catholic church so good at filling the pews? Is it maybe that they have the pews, the cathedrals, the altars, the prayer candles? All of these things facilitate something. Evangelicals have left most of those things up to the individual believer to flesh out. Most of them are not fleshed out at all.

What do we do to facilitate prayer? Most evangelical churches are closed for prayer, the offices are open, but to go in and pray... most places are too afraid of someone stealing something. So we can't pray in church because someone might steal something. Yeah...

What do we do to facilitate worship? Most churches shy away from the arts and expressing our worship of our God. Where are the paintings, the stained glass windows, the statues, the poetry? We only facilitate a very narrow understanding of worship, mostly limited to a specific style of music.

What do we do to facilitate spiritual discipline? Most of the time, we wait until something goes wrong and then offer the answer of "this is something we need to pray through".

What about justice? We focus in on forgiveness so much, we forget about restitution (4 fold wasn't it?). How much effort do we put into doing what is right, and fixing what is wrong?

Ok, too many questions. But this has certainly got me thinking.

25 September 2006

Getting off, spiritually speaking

I've had this idea floating around my head for a while, and it's time to let it out. I had the chance yesterday to share the idea for the first time. It's now time to let it out for the world to see.

Its two words, somewhat crass, but they describe it so very well: spiritual masturbation.

If you're sexually active, you know that the best sex you've ever had is when your biggest concern is the best experience for your partner. Not what you'll get out of it, not your experience, but what they get out of it. If they capitulate, the sex is great. Otherwise, you might as well be masturbating, cause you're only doing it for yourself, for your experience.

I've seen something happening in churches all over, that I will call spiritual masturbation. People who go to church and have no concern for what is happening to others, but are there for the experience, the high, the "feeling" they get. Church should be about God, not us. But far too often it's about what we get out of it.

How do I know this? Listen to people, what they are saying, what is most important to them: Those kids should be in the nursery. The worship just didn't feel right today. The music during the offering distracted me too much. They didn't chose the right hymns today. I didn't get the "up" I needed to get through my week. I need to get more intimate with God, I need to get that "experience", otherwise I'm outside of His will. I've got to feel that this is real.

It's time to get over ourselves, and get back to thinking about others. What about the mother of that kid? Shouldn't she be ministered to as well? (I am against having a nursery in a church, I am against children's church where the kids are seperate from the main congregation for the whole service) Isn't worship about God and telling Him how great he is, not getting intimate with God? Isn't our agenda in church a secondary thing? Isn't God the same whether or not our emotions confirm his presence? Isn't God always there anyway?

It's time to grow up, stop this "I've got to feel it" thing, and stop this spiritual masturbation and get back to being primarily concerned with the other people involved. Scripture is very clear that all the spiritual gifts are given for the benifit of others, not ourselves. We cannot minister to ourselves (it's as ugly as masturbation is). It's time to start minsitering in church, and making sure that everyone else is getting what they need. It's time to get back to the sex.

18 September 2006


So, for the freshest news: I have decided to accept the position. I will soon be the new youth leader at our church. This is an appointment that I accept with much trepidation. I've got to get a bunch of things organized, and get back into the swing of being in ministry. This is a volunteer position, so my free time will start getting chewed up and I'm going to have to start scheduling. But I am looking forward to getting back into teaching and discipling. I've been mulling over ideas on structure and how to develop the group, but most of that still needs to discussed with the head pastor. We're getting together later this week to hammer a lot of these details out.

Just thought I'd let everyone know. Life is going to get interesting. Maybe this blog will as well?

07 September 2006

May the Liver Quiver

So, I'm kinda in a pickle, or cunundrum, or hard place, or sitting by a rock in the afore mentioned location. I'm having a hard time deciding something. I've been given an opportunity, an offer to get involved in something. I've been asked to consider leading the youth group at church for a while. The present youth pastor has resigned, and they need someone to step in for a bit until they can decide what to do next. It's a smaller sized group, in a small church. There is a very diverse history ofin terms of what has been going on with the group over the past few years. In all, most of the kids are actually pretty cool. But I've got one big problem with the situation.


If I'm going to do this, I'm going to need to be far more disciplined, organized, and focused. I've spent the past year and a bit just kinda hanging around and enjoying it very much. Spending more time with family, and not having much to worry about or think about has been good. If I take this position, then I'm definitely going to have to leave that nice warm comfortable place that I've been basking in. Putting it like this sure makes it seem like the choice should be simple to make. But we are people after all, and it's very easy for us to talk ourselves into believing anything.

I know I need more discipline, and being more organized is always good. Being more focused is something I have very keenly desired for many years, but have not yet managed to find the secrets to (perhaps getting the first two into line will help? Just a guess).

I need to make a decision on this sometime soon. I'm currently considering the pros and cons of this decision. I've explored possible outcomes, possible opportunities, possible pitfalls, possible traps. All of those are just part of the adventure. And this could be a very big adventure. Should we ever shy a way from adventure?

The main thing is this: most, if not all, of my major decisions have "felt" right. My gut reaction has usually if not always been the best choice. But there are times when the almighty "gut" gives not even a quiver. Nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

So, on goes to analyzing and contemplating... either until one option appears to be the absolute right option, or until the gut quivers.

Any thoughts?

22 August 2006

Soaring up above (somewhat vicariously... but not really)

Here's a link to a short video of me flying.

My plane that is.

Ok, it's radio control, but I'm still flying.

Here it is: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showatt.php?attachmentid=948616

It's just over 7mb, captured with a digital still camera in video mode, so the quality is crap. But you get the idea. I really love this new hobby. Maybe someday I'll find the right words to explain why I love it so much.

09 August 2006

Metaphorical Bonsai





Somewhere in my mind there is a thought that has been there for a while. I'm not sure how long, but it has been a long time. It's one of those thoughts that gets planted, and grows in very short spurts, and only a little at a time. This one has been growing for quite a few years. It still isn't fully grown, nor will it be for quite some time. But none the less there it is, in a corner of my mind. Not one of those dark back corners, not right at the front either. Just off to the side, enough to be out of the way, but visible none the less. Every once in a while, I take notice, and ponder for a bit. Sometimes I notice that the thougth has grown just a bit. Sometimes it hasn't changed at all. But it's there. I suppose it's some kind of cactus or maybe one of those pine trees or cedar trees you see growing out on a mountain top all by itself. Only this one is still a bonsai, if you need a picture/metaphore.

Anyhow, what thought is that? What would it mean to be a priest of the order of Melchizedek? He was "a priest of the Most High God," and the writer of Hebrews said that Jesus Christ is of his order, not by ancestral right to the priesthood, but by the power of an indestructable life. Now I know that the most often theological explanation of this is that Jesus, through the resurrection has become our new hight priest... but.

The implication here is that Mechizedek was a priest, not by right, but by the power of an indestructable life. And that is almost all we know about him. Was he indestructable? Where did he learn about God? How did he become a priest for God, back in the days of Abraham? The only followers of God mentioned in the Bible for this time frame are Abraham and his family. No one else, except this Melchizedek who was a priest for God and indestructable (and the king of Salem, which later became Jerusalem, small detail of course, along with the fact that Salem means "peace", king of peace - has a nice ring to it, don't it?)

Anyhow, that thought sticks in my brain, a slow growing bonsai in a corner. If we are to be like Christ, how are we also to become priests of the order of Melchizedek? Is it simply by the fact that believers will partake in the ressurection and thus are indestructable? Or is there more to it than that?

Ok, enough questions... time to push that bonsai behind that chair for another year... or so...

02 August 2006


I'm so sorry, some settings got changed, and things were not working as they should here on my blog. I have reset the blog settings, and things should be back to normal.

I appologize for any inconveinence this may have caused.

Ermergence, Education, Edification

Ahhh, the sweet smell of employment. Or was that the soft stench of rotting slavery?

Tough sometimes to know for sure. I've been working a new job for the past two months now. Got a job working at a cabinet shop. Custom kitchens, baths, bars, mantles. That kind of stuff. To be honest, I do find it very interesting. I'm learning a lot, and my interest is only growing.

When I started this blog, I mentioned that the name for this blog is appropiate, in that somtimes it feels like I have one square foot. So here I got taking my own steps. I had elluded to trying to make a dream happen. That dream is to someday have my own woodworking shop. So here I go, getting a job in a shop to learn some more skills, and the bits and pieces of business so that I can someday make a go of it.

I'd love to had my own shop, in the backyard, of a house just out of town. Work from home, spend time with my family, and doing something that brings satisfation. I've dreamed of this for so long. It's time to make it happen. I've spent so much time making other people happy. Not that making other people happy is a bad thing. The world needs more happy people. I'm not going to stop doing that. But now, it's time to also start making myself happy (not like that, dirty minded people). It's time to start doing things that I can be proud of, I can look at it and feel satisfied, and get paid for doing that as well.

I'm looking forward to this, but with a bit of trepidation. For the first time in a very long time, I am taking a much firmer grip upon my destiny. I've let things happen for far to long, which has been very fun. Riding the wave, going with the flow, adapting, changing, staying near the edge (so I can be the spectator for those on the edge). But it's time to become the rock, to be the one that the waves break upon. To become what I have been destined to be, to take form, to emerge, to.... ok, enough of dramatic metaphorism.

But in the middle of it all, here I am. The past few weeks have seen some great developments. My relationship with my kids has changed, mainly due to them growing and learning new levels of relating with people. I'm immature, and they just caught up with me. Now that we're on the same level, we get a long a lot better :). Just kidding. But something has changed, and it's a lot more fun now.

The other development? My new hobby: RC gliders. I mentioned earlier, it's something I've wanted to try for a long time. I'm having a lot of fun. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then do some research, keywords: dlg glider. Part of the reason I'm having so much fun with it is that I am learning something new. I realized a long time ago, that one of my strengths is my ability to learn. I makes me who I am, and the more I expand my mind and abilities, the better I feel about myself. I have been a little dormant in this area for a while, and getting back into expanding myself feels good. The other part is the challenge of RC gliders. The style of gliders I have chosen are hand launch gliders (throw it up, fly it for as long as possible with that throw) is a challenge. There is no motor to get you out of trouble, so fly safe. But at the same time, there are things you can do to take advantage of anything that may help extend the flight (thermals, slope lift, good flying technique). Although I havn't been too successful yet, it is possible to get flights well over 30 min. from one throw (if you know what you're doing, which I don't yet). I've gotten to the point that I can consistantly fly the plane without crashing, and I'm getting better at flying it in to land it where I want it to land (within a 10 ft circle at least). But I should be able to get it to the point to land within 12" of any target, including my hand. Hand catches are cool. But as I said, I've got lots to learn.

But yeah, on with life in the meantime...

16 June 2006


One of the best parts of my new job is the time I have to think. Some of the work requires thinking... measure, double check, cut, measure, make sure you didn't just waste a piece of material... and some of the work requires no thought what so ever. Like sanding. That's the part, which may seem tedious, but if you do it right, it is key to make whatever you're making look great. So it pays to take the time needed and do the job right. Actually, I'm getting paid specifically to do the job right, so I have to take the time and do it right. So that leaves me with time to think.

What to think about?

Well, for one: how can the Canadian postal system be so incredibly inefficient. Better not spend too much time on that one, it's never ending and you'll never resolve the issue.

Lets move onto something we can resolve. Church. Nope, non resolvable again... or is it? There has been a lot of discussion lately in a lot of places by people that are in varying degrees discontent with the state of the Christian Church today. Suffice it to say, I agree. There is a lot to criticize about the Church. Without going into too much detail regarding the different reactions to the church, I would like to present my position.


Take something, usually acquired with some cost, and make it your own. For example, that which God did with us. He acquired us, at the cost of his Son, to make us his own. Within the past 50 years, there have been many more Christians exercising this as well. For example we have such a thing as Christian Rock. We take rock music, many have paid the price of ostercization from mainstream churches (in the past, not so much anymore), and have made it their own. Rock music with a Christian message. Beyond that we have even taken this even further. We have Christian Reggae, Christian Punk, Christian Metal, Christian Country, Christian Bluegrass. Beyond this, we have other things that have been redeemed from the world for use within the church. Christian councelling, Christian exercise videos, Christian retirement homes, Christian autodealers. [I never said that this redemption thing was perfect, it can go too far the other way as well. Remember that grand old song by Steve Taylor, Guilty by Association?]

But the point is that we can redeem things from the world. Maybe it's time to redeem the church from where it has gone. Not from the world, but from the realms of "Christian Culture". The church has developed it's own culture, which can have benifits, but has many negatives. Especially when people take what is culture for what is gospel (a big egg to try to crack open, and one I will leave to people with bigger hands).

But I do believe that it is possible to redeem the church and help make it what it needs to be. But in order to do that, we need to start cutting away the "culture" that we don't need and get back to the gospel. Unfortunately, I have lost my scalpel and don't want to hack away at the church, that will get far to painful, for everyone involved. But it is time to start removing what we don't need anymore.

Any ideas? What don't we need? What are the cultural bits we can do without?

[All the while, I've got Bob Marley's Redemption Song running through my head - "Won't you help to sing, these songs of freedom, 'cause all I've ever had, Redemption Songs..."]

29 May 2006


First of all, I need to appologize, it has been far too long since I have posted anything. Second of all, I'm working again. And thirdly, new things are about to start happening. There are somethings that amaze me, such as the way everything seems connected, or the way that just when things start falling into place, appearant chaos inturrupts. Things start to happen, moving in a direction you want, and excitment grows. Then something unexpected happens making you feel like you're not even a pawn in the game, but the fly that gets swatted so that you stop distracting from the game. You start wishing you were a pawn again (which is funny since you have dreamed of being the king), but you're left outside. Then something else happens (much later of course leaving you time to think far too much), and you realize that you have been given the opportunity to enter another game, a game which is much more interesting than the previous game. Of course, this would not be real life if there were not a couple of offeres to enter mediocre games as well. But if we just wait, the new game that is much more interesting will come. The simple fact is that there are far to many games out there to be played.

Ok, enough of the metaphore, I got laid off a couple of weeks ago. When I found out I was getting laid off, I actually almost started laughing, it was an unusual experience. Then the first day after my last day of work, I get called back in. They make an offer, I decline, they increase the offer by almost 50%, and I still decline, because I had made a decision. I stuck by my decision and felt good about it. Then I get offered another job, but it wasn't what I wanted. In a way it was, but it wasn't. So I declined the offer. Now the whole time, I'm not making money, but I am enjoying my first time off in well over a year. In fact I ended up having a total of three weeks off, which ended up being great. It was nice to be able to spend so much time with my family. We had a great time. And then, after everything was said and done, and after I got a job that I am very happy about, things finally can be seen to be falling into place.

So, what is it that I am doing? I am working for a company that designs, builds, and installs custom cabinets and woodwork. Because it is all custom, each job is unique and different. I've only been there a week, but I am enjoying it and learning a lot. I have always wanted to get into woodworking, and now I have my chance. Getting laid off convinced me to take the chance and make this dream happen. I am feeling great about this. Not that this is easy, but this is what I really want to do. The other bonus, the shop that I am working at is less than a kilometre from home, I'm coming home for lunch. It's great being able to have lunch with my family.

So, all in all, life is good, and as I start something new, so is our church. The pastor kicked off a series of sermons on evangelism by explaining that he wants to nip the rumor mill in the bud. If someone hears something about him being over there, or with those people, or "did you know that the pastor is _____?", well, he is. He has decided that he needs to go where the people are. And so he will be going all sorts of places, to build relationships with people, through which he wants to share the gospel. As far as I'm concerned, that's a great example. It's got me thinking of things I've been putting off. It's encouraging me to start getting out more.

So, here's to new beginnings. I'm very interested in seeing where this all goes.

Another new beginning, and this one is totally frivolous. I've started a new hobby. Mostly, it's part of my need to always be learning something new. Partly, it's something that facinates me. I know that it is generally pointless (as in it has no redeeming value, it is non-productive, and there is not much of a chance that I could use this for gain, in fact it will end up costing me more than anything else) but I am willing to pay the price. So what is this frivolous enterprise you ask? Why, it is remote-control gliders of course! Specifically, the hand launch type. Why that specific type? No motors, no fuels, not nearly the cost of motorized, no noise. The challenge of throwing something high enough into the air to start catching some kind of a thermal, then try to keep it up in the air as long a possible. Or, just for the fun of it. To be able to play in three dimensions, mostly to be able to play.

And so, the beginnings continue...

10 May 2006


Ok, for most of you, this won't mean much, some of you may be able to feel some sort of empathy or sympathy. But for me this is huge. I got my guitar yesterday. It was in Estonia at my mother-in-law's place. I figured I'd use the excuse of leaving it there as a reason for needing to buy myself a new guitar. Well, I havn't had the cash for that, and I found someone coming this way that could bring it with them. And it arrived yesterday. I'm so happy. Not that it's a good guitar, or fancy, or unique. But it's mine, and it was so very good to play it again. I'm happy.

06 May 2006

The Big Day

So, today was the day that my sister finally got married. And today was a great day.

They had forcasted rain all day, the morning was a little wet, but there were only scattered clouds when we arrived at the church, and by the time the ceremony was over, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Our kids were the flower girl and the ring bearer. They did great, walked nice and slow to the front, they sat nice and quiet for the whole ceremony, and they were so very cute as they walked out afterwards, hand in hand.

It was also great to see so many friends and family together again. It was also so very fun to share all the funny stories that have accumulated over the years. You see, my sister and her now husband have been going out for 8 years now, and today was a long time a coming. As my sister said in her speach at the end: "It's great after 8 years to finally introduce you to my husband!" They are very good together, and today really was a celebration of that.

After a very long day, we carried our kids home, got them out of their oh so very cute outfits, into their jammies, and finally into bed. Now we can breathe easier. They didn't cry, they didn't get scared, they didn't run in the church, they were very well behaved, they smiled their cute little smiles for pictures. In all, we had a great time.

For me, it was interesting watching my father, as he gave away his only daughter. This was a very important day for him as well. It's hard to describe, but suffice it to say, that my dad has the ability to be very soft, and very strong at the same time. It's one of the things I admire most in him.

Ok, it's late now, but I will leave you all with this thought...

Ok, it's late now, and I'm tired, and I can't think of anything, so with that, Good Night!

04 May 2006

Practical Theology

So, here we go, an exercise is taking some blisfully wonderful theology, and making it real and practical, that kind of real like the smell of anchovies all over your pillow.

This is what I mean, we can talk about the smell of anchovies, and agree that it is pungent and attention getting and something that definitly leaves a strong imprint on your memory. But until we take the juice from a tin of anchovies and pour it onto our pillow and deal with the smell of it for a large part of our day, we really don't know what we're talking about.

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." Heb. 11:1

I can say that I have the faith that God has a new job lined up for me, or that God will take care of us, or that everything will work out fine. But until the paycheck is gone, our savings are gone, and we have nothing left to pay rent with, we really don't know what we are talking about. But at the same time, that is what we need to do, have faith. We are to be confident. Not wondering if it's going to happen, but faith means that we are confident. Not foolishly wasting what we have, but still confident. This faith is evidence of what we do not see, that which is going on in the background making sure the plan falls into place.

So what is going on in the background. Is every step predestined? Are we slaves to our fate? Or is the chaos organized by our free will? Or is it something in between? I've wrestled with this one, because we do have free will, but I find myself constantly bumping into God and finding he's been waiting for me to arrive at that point in my life. And while waiting, he was busy getting that point in my life prepared for me when I arrive. Does that negate my free will, or simply show that God loves me and knows what I'm up to, and shows up to help, discipline, or cheer.

Anyhow, as always, following a rabbit trail goes a lot of places without getting much of anywhere. Where was I...

Ah yes, practical theology, time to start smelling the anchovies. I've made some choices, and is God going to help, discipline, or cheer. Maybe He's going to cry? At any rate, I am confident of this, He is here. He has been waiting here for me to arrive at this point in my life, and of this I am certain. And this is evidence of what we do not see. I am more than willing to testify that God has met me there before, and I am certain that He will again.

Just a thought for you all to chew on.

02 May 2006

The life of the unemployed

So, Friday was my last day at work. Nothing new, I even had to stay for an extra hour and a half, not of my doing, but none the less. I enjoyed the weekend as much as I could enjoy some free time. Sunday afternoon was spent having a picnic at the lake with the kids. It was the nicest day yet this spring, and I got my head rightly sunburnt. But alas, what to do when the uppermost is thinning and leaving me uncovered?

On Monday, the fulltime search for employment began. It started with a visit to the brother of a business aquaintence. He took some time from his day and gave me some wonderful advice and information. I have taken his advice and encouragement to heart, and will use it to season my decision making process.

After that I went home for lunch, and then got to some chores around the apartment. And then the phone rang. It was my previous employer, wanted me to come to the office for a discussion.

Well, I went, they offered me my job back, I refused, and I left with this wonderfully good feeling, that I had made the best decision.

And so with that, I have quite certainly fixed one door shut. I cannot go back. I must move in another direction. And so I will, and am, moving in another direction. I have started the search for employment and we will see to where this search leads.

In everything that is happening, of one thing am I certain, that God is ensuring that everything falls into place as per His plans and direction. And so in that will I trust.

Oh, and if you are wondering why the strange language, my wife is watching Pride and Prejudice and I fear the accent and maner of speach present in the 1800's is ever so slightly contagious.

23 April 2006

The Wisdom of Children

Erik has come up with another gem, the conversation with Mom went something like this:

Erik walks up to Mom with a booger on his finger, Erik says "I've got a booger." Mom asks "Where did it come from?" Erik says "From my nose." Mom asks "What do they do there?" Erik says "They sing!"

20 April 2006

First steps...

So, here's some news for everyone. If you've been following the posts around here, you know that I've been discontented with my current situation. I don't have my dream job. I've been giving serious thought to moving in a direction that I could start doing what I love to do, and earn a living by it. So today, I get my first kick in the pants to help me start moving. I'm being laid off.

I got the news today, I've got my two weeks notice. So I cannot continue with what I have been doing. If you have something that is reasonably comfortable, that makes change harder. It makes stepping out and taking a risk harder. But here I am being forced to make a change.

I've been thinking about this all day. And I'm sure my supervisor thinks I'm crazy. I just got laid off, and the more I think about it, the more excited I get, the more full of hope I get.

I think that God has been stirring something in me for a while, but while I was listening, I wasn't being obedient. So God arranged for me to get a kick in the ass.

So very shortly begins a new adventure...

And for a touch of comedy: Recently, Erik had to go to the bathroom. As he sat there, finding time to think, though about what was going on. He looks up at mom, and asks, "Mom, does poop come from my butt?" Mom responds that yes it does. Erik thinks a bit more, then asks "Does that mean that there is a hole in my butt?"

Two and a half, and there's no way anyone is getting anything past him.

04 April 2006

Get ready, it's a doosie

I'm so sorry for not posting for a while. We had a little bit of adventure (classic definition: someone decides something for you and you have to deal with it). Erik decided to take a look at some just boiled rice, and dumped it and the little bit of water left in the pot over himself. Some screams, a trip to the hospital emergency ward, and a number of days of redressing, and we are starting to get over the accident. Erik has a burn on his elbow that has healed up about 90% already, and two more burns on his hip. Those on his hip will take a little longer to heal.

So, now I'm back, with a lot of ideas to hash out with you all. The first one regards religious identification, the second religious duty, the third dreams, the fourth will be any other thought that may still be wandering around this junkyard of a mind.

So, lets get too it. Point number one: religious identification. What is it that identifies us? What is it about us that people see by which they know what we believe? The way we dress? The house we live in? The smile we wear on our face? How well worn our Bible is? How many meetings we attend at church? How many times we say "God Bless you!"? How many times we share the Gospel each day? How many times we invite people to church? What is it that people see that undeniably identifies us as Christians?

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

Ok, I understand, a gross simplification, but isn't that part of the paradox? So our defining mark is whether or not we love each other, ie. other Christians. So, do we? So, is it? Are we doing our utmost for each other? Are we willing to die for each other (wasn't there a verse about that somewhere?)?

So, our defining mark is not so much our love for "the world" (has this ever been definitivly defined?), or for missions, or for the poor, or for sinners, or for _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite spiritually significant target group). Our defining mark is whether or not we love each other, whether or not we care about each other, whether or not we really want the best for each other.

Again, I know it's a gross simplification, for now, maybe we can develop this thought a little, or we can cut it down to nothing.

Ok, on to thought number two: religious duty. What are we expected to do? Because we are Christians we do this because that is what Christians do. Is it going to church? Is it going on missions? Is it going door to door sharing the gospel? Is it standing on a soapbox on a street corner yelling "The end is near!"? Is it reading your Bible regularly? Is it praying before meals? Is it praying before you go to bed? Is it sending in cheques to TV evangelists?

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matt. 22:36-40

So, again a gross simplification, but I like paradoxes so here we go. Our duty, to love God and to love our neighbour. So are we doing what is best for God, and what is best for our neighbour? If everything hangs on these two, are we doing it? Are these the two most important things for us? Are these the things that drive us. Our purpose for living, our mission, our mantra, our vision, our ______ (fill in the blank with another big word).

If we really desire to strip away everything else that distracts, to simplify things to the essentials, to "get real"; then why not begin with the most important things? Why not put in the 'big rocks' first then see if something else fits? Are we really loving God, or do we just say it? Are we really loving our neighbours, or do we just say we do.

I know, another gross simplification, but hey, I'm on a roll.

Thirdly, the topic of the day is dreams. I've been wrestling with this one for a while. I've got my dreams, stuff I'd really like to do. Things I love to do, and would love to find a way to be able to do them a lot more. And a number of years ago I would have gladly just up and done them, but now I've got a family. I have kids (amazing I know, not many two year olds are already more mature than their Dad, but mine is!). So I have a responsibility to provide. But shouldn't I be an example to them of dedicating your life to something meaningful? Should I be an example of settling for security, or should I teach them how to risk by example? Won't it be good for them to live through some of my mistakes, only to realize that humans are a very hardy bunch able to withstand copious ammounts of adversity? But wouldn't that be irresponsible? Parents just don't do that kind of thing. They must be good examples (of what, boredom and unfulfilled compromise?).

Not that I will be taking unneccessary risks, but that I still take risks to make my dreams happen. To do the things I need to do, and to pay the price for them. If they are really that important, am I willing to pay for them? Or are our dreams not worth anything at all? Is 'family' really more important (a loaded question I am sure)? Is a career outside of your dreams really all that it is cracked up to be? Why can't dreams come true, and pay the rent, and buy the groceries? Why can't we take our dreams, make an investment in them, and then make them pay out?

Ok, not a simplification. Hopefully just an honest question.

So, now we are left with whatever is left in my brain....

Not much, sorry, give me a couple more days, and feel free to respond and help me find the truth in all of these questions.

I'll finish with this, I've heard it said that there are never any stupid questions. I would be willing to argue that. I've also heard that if you're not getting the right answers, you're not asking the right questions. So I'll just keep asking questions until I finally ask the right one. Bear with my while I sift through all my dumb questions until I find one that really matters.

17 March 2006

On Seeking Adventure

Again, as I was parousing some of the blogs I have begun to read, there seems to be a thread winding through. The need for change, for something new, for adventure. We must be careful what we are asking for.

One of my favorite authors is G.K. Chesterton. Now before we begin a long discussion on the merits and pitfalls of Chestertonisms, one thing is for sure and that is that he was a good writer, an adept thinker, and had a way with finding a clear perspective on things. But again, that's only my opinion. One thing that he wrote about was adventure, and seemed to have an interesting definition for adventure. In his research into the romantic literature and what makes a situation adventuresome, he concluded that what makes something an adventure is having a good deal of things decided for you on your behalf, and you have to get along as best as possible with the consequences. I like that definition. We have sanitized our adventures into safe and controlable outings. We go rock climbing -- in a gym with rubberized floors and belay ropes everywhere (of course we do, otherwise the insurance companies would have a hayday!). We go on mountain bike trips, along trails and roads that see just a little less traffic than the 401 at 4:58pm. We go river rafting, but only with a guide at the helm and warm coffee waiting on shore. But we sanitize it so that the consequences are reduced to almost nothing, and in some cases there are no more consequences. What of hiking up a mountain, with the consequence that you might twist your ankle, so that you must sit down, so that you might find that tiny alpine flower nestled between the rocks that you would have never otherwise seen for the grandeur of the view?

Now I know what you're thinking, we ought not to take irresponsible risks. I'm a dad for two kids, who am I to put my life at risk for the selfish reason of fulfilling some egotistical need for adventure. Don't I know I have to be there for the kids? Provide for them? I'm not talking about that, there are reasonable precautions, but what I am afraid of is that we have so sanitized our lives that we have begun to remove life itself. We get things our way a little too much. We have gotten used to being able to control a lot more things in our environment than has been available for most of human history. Two hundred years ago, if you were born on a farm, you were a farmer. If you were born in a bakery, you were a baker. I know that is over simplified, but life dictated a lot for people. With the industrial revolution came an economic revolution that gave people the freedom to decide what they want to be, and the opportunity to the means to acheive it.

But this wasn't supposed to be about history. We were talking about adventure. So, do we find it by roaming the far corners of the world? Or as Chesterton put it, by climbing the fence into the neighbour's yard and waiting for a reaction? Where do we find that thing which is alive?

I think it's a bit of both. Chesterton said that there is far too much life at home for some people, and that they have to soothe themselves with tigers and crocodiles. I'm not so sure. There is life out there too. But they are two kinds of life.

I've worked a lot with missions teams while I was in Estonia, and the thing that every group leader knows (or should know) is that the biggest effect of a missions trip is not on those that were ministered to, but to those that were the ministers. The team got the most out of the trip. I've seen it, I've been a part of it, and I've experienced it. Going someplace new opens us up to discovery, most of the internal kind. We learn new things about ourselves while we learn about our new environment. In my opinion, adventure without some kind of self discovery is boring. The kind of adventure that really is an adventure, is when we discover something new about ourselves. Someone or something decides something for us, we are stuck in some situation, and we have to try to get along as best as possible with the result. We fall through the ice, to learn that we can be rather adept at clambering out. Or to learn that our bodies really don't like cold water and that being a member of a polar bear club is something you should never consider. We travel somewhere on a bus and it breaks down, and we discover that walking 10 miles to the nearest town isn't that bad, it just takes time, and that we actually enjoy walking that far even though your left shoe rubs your baby toe a bit (when was the last time you walked more than 2km in one go?)

OK, I'm starting to ramble pointlessly, but I believe I've made my point, that they key to adventure, to self discovery, is to try new things. Try travelling to India, try walking to the store, try river running in a kayak, try climbing over the fence into the neighbour's yard (if you can lift your leg that high). The greatest adventure awaits, learn.

16 March 2006

OK, my first long post, here we go!

So, it's been a bit since I've written anything. I've been busy thinking, and working. For those that don't know, I run the warehouse for a small company. I do all the shipping, receiving, inventory control, some manufacturing, and anything else they can think of telling me to do. It's been very busy, we just launched 4 new products, so there's been getting those prepared, special promo packs to ship, and marketing materials to get in the hands of our sales reps. I've been spending a lot of time at work, and there's times where I don't get to spend enough time with my family. So I got to thinking, which is one of the things I can do while I work.

There's been a lot to think about. There's the topics of some of the blogs I read, they get me thinking. I start thinking about the way my life has developed, the things that have shaped who I am. Then I think about who I am, and what needs to change.

[side note - isn't funny how there's always something that needs to change? It doesn't matter who you talk to, they always say that there's stuff that needs to change]

I think about my dreams, what would be great to be able to do. The pipe dreams, the fun stuff, the things that have meaning, the things that are meaningless.

There's too much to think about. But then, on top of it all, I start analyzing it all, trying to see where different choices will end up. Trying to find out which dreams are wise, and which are not. Trying to see which of these is easy to realize, which are hard, and which are impossible. I've never been much of one to take the easiest route, but I'd much rather do that which is right.

I also find it interesting that I'm not alone in this, it seems that there are many people examining their lives, searching for something more. Trying to find that place or thing that defines them best. We all have this need to feel like we are where we are supposed to be, that sense of belonging. Of being in a place of our own. Be it a home, a job, a vocation, a hobby, a mission, a confession. We all want something of our own, something that is special and unique, at least to us. A way to express ourselves, to take all that we are and put it to use. Each of us is unique, and there is this one place/situation/context to which we are best suited.

For myself, I've found that I can be useful almost anywhere. I've learned a little about alot, I can contribute anywhere. I learn fast. Usually, I can get along with almost anyone. So what does that mean about where I belong? Just about anywhere. There goes the idea that there is a place for me, other than one that I create for myself. So what defines me? Is is my abilities, do I have a special skill? Nope, I'm an average player at every game. No brilliant scientist here, no amazing musician, no gifted artist. Although I enjoy a lot of things, I'll never be the best at anything.

So what is it that defines me? What I look like? I've had facial hair for over 15 years already, I suppose that defines me. But usually I'll shave that off a couple of times a year to remind me why I have one (nasty baby face, I need something to hide behind). So sure, that's who I am, but it's a pretty shallow way of looking at things.

Is who I am defined by my confession? Sure, I'm a Christian. That can be narrowed down to me being an evangelical protestant. But after that, I am hard to peg down in a sense. I know what I believe, but that changes and develops as my understanding fo Scripture changes and develops. There isn't a single denomination that I could say "there's something that I agree with 100%". Not to say that I think they are all wrong, I'm not going to start judging that, it's not my place. But what I see in all the denominations are the many different colours that are expressed in one family. Each provides a place for members of the family to feel comfortable (side note - the topic of whether or not we should feel comfortable is one that could take forever to discuss, but maybe we will start that one soon).

So where does that leave me? There seems to be no cut and clear place for me, other than if I make a place for myself. So that is where I am right now. As far as I can understand, I need to make a place for myself. If there is a place for me to belong, it will be a place of my own making. So that's where I am right now, but the hard part is deciding what it will be.

If anyone has any suggestions, words of wisdom, or just something to say, feel free to leave a comment.

08 March 2006

Fearfully Human: The Thing About Hope

Here's a comment of mine from a friend's blog:

Fearfully Human: The Thing About Hope: "I find it very interesting, that scripture says: 'These three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.' This precedes a homily about love. Faith is spoken of over and over (in my opinion, the best and most succinct being heb.11:1). But what about hope? How much is hope espounded? I feel that hope is a very misunderstood aspect of faith.
There was one of those old WWII war movies, can't remember which one, but the situation was this: american officer in German POW camp, walks up to German officer and askes 'When can we hope to be released?' to which the German officer responds 'Why, you can hope any time you wish!'
Now here's the dilema, do I really agree with that or not. Hope should never die. But is it that simple that hope is up to us?"

This has been a thought of mine for quite some time. Is hope up to us? Is it really something we decide to? Or is Hope something that springs eternal from within by the power of the Most High?

06 March 2006


Ok, I know, two posts in one day, nay two posts in the same hour. It's getting extravagent isn't it. But I couldn't add this to the last post. I did my taxes yesterday. A couple of very interesting things to note from the process. In the past year, I just over three times what I have earned in any given year previously. That makes me feel pretty good. Way to go Dave.

But then I take a look at what I earned, and I still have to realize that I continue to live below the poverty line. That does have me concerned, I've got a family to support. And yet I work hard, put in more than required hours, but still...

I start thinking that is this all that I am worth? My work, my abilities, my efforts, is this really all that I am worth? Now I know that's not true, but those questions come day after day. I wonder when I will be able to find the place where I can earn my keep, fairly.

At the same time, I realize that things and money will never make you happy. That fulfillment does not depend on my financial situation. That I am not useless when I don't have cash. In fact I may be most useful in this state. And so comes the conflict. Do I embrace poverty, or do I take every opportunity to scratch and claw my way out of it? For the sake of my children, I am drawn one way. For the sake of my soul I'm drawn another.

And once more, the term moderation comes to mind. Anyone have any words of wisdom?

ps - I need to qualify this, I have lived in poverty since I moved out of my parent's house. For as long as I have been on my own I have not been good at making money. Not at any fault of my family. The fault is all mine.

Dis- vs. Satisfaction

There's a very interesting discussion going on at fearfullyhuman.com right now. In fact, it started me thinking about quite a few things. I'm scared of getting too involved in it, because I might end up capitalizing David's blog. I got my blog so I could share this kind of stuff without taking over someone elses blog. So here we go, time for the ranting to begin.

There are a lot of issues being discussed, many of which can lead into endless discussions. Some of which are nobel. Some may change a person. Much may not.

Part of the discussion has revolved around being where we are called to be. And if you feel dissatisfied with your current situation that may be a sign that you are not where you need to be. Now if there is one thing that I am for, it is balance and moderation. And so it is with this. I understand the need for satisfaction and fulfillment in what we do. But, if we need to be very careful that we are not basing our need for change on simple frustration or dissatisfaction. Those may be the very sign that we are where we need to be, that we are there to have an effect.

Now here comes the fun part. There are times that we are called to leave. And there are times we are called to stay. But what if you don't know which is being offered to you? I have wrestled with both, I am wrestling with both. I know that I am where I need to be, but I also know that I where I am is not where I am meant to be. It gets confusing. There's the dissatisfaction with status quo, and the satisfaction of knowing I am in my place. There's the frustration of the fascade that permeates our culture, and the joy of Tim Horton's.

What's going through your mind as you read this?

02 March 2006

First steps on a square foot

So I have decided something. I won't be using this for personal entertainment. I won't be experimenting, much. Other than that, I suppose there is a lot of other stuff to explore. One thing is for sure, there isn't much that I consider too sacred for discussion. There isn't much I consider too risque for modest discussion. I like some form of resolution, even if it means that we agree to disagree.

If there is one thing I need more of in my life, it's reality. Not that I have been avoiding reality, but I want to me more real. Less pretense. Less putting on some act to make others feel good. More saying what I think, how I feel. Taking what I know to be true, and acting on it more often.

I mentioned in my opening post that I have felt like I have been wondering through life with one square foot. It's time to learn how to walk, even if it's with one square foot. I've been a lot of places in my time. I've had the opportunity to do a lot of things. I have had the opportunity to learn from many people. I have had the opportunity to teach many people. I have followed the lead of others, and I have myself been a leader. I have very few regrets. If I had it all to do over again, I would make the same choices over again, except for a few things.

I need to learn how to increase my ability to earn. I have gone most of my life taking whatever has been offered. I need to take steps to change that. Especially now that I have a family of my own. We get by, but that's not enough. I'm not being materialistic or selfish. Our needs are growing and so my ability to earn must increase. I need to increase my ability to assert. I am far to passive. I have never played the victim, but I need to be more of a hero. I need to be more confrontational. I'm not looking for a fight, but I need to stand up for what's right more. I need to be the voice of righteousness, or maybe it would be better to say that people ought not to have to search out what is righteousness, for they will hear it from me. I will continue to dream, but my dreams will expand. One thing I firmly believe is that you can never dream too much.

So, maybe that's enough to start with. What do we have so far? Productiveness, assertiveness, righteousness, dreams. Maybe that's too much already, but maybe it's a good start.

28 February 2006

Upon joining a community...

And so, I've started a blog.

Since I started this on Friday, I've been spending some time thinking about what I've done. There are a couple of blogs that I've been following, the Two Cent Bin provides various ammounts of amusement, exploreplay and musings of a wandering mind provide the point of view of a college professor with a wandering mind (I wonder if it would help to keep it one a leash?), and lastly Fearfully Human which shares the life and times of a very unique person. I am just beginning the process of blogging, and I have yet much to learn from other bloggers. There are many blogs that I have yet to discover, but I'm sure that there is time for that.

But once more, I find myself thinking, what kind of a blog should I have. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to... cry if I want to... cry if I want to...

OK, I'll admit, I'm losing it. But isn't it my choice if I want my blog to be about my losing it?

The fact is that there are too many choices. I could be real, and expose all the dark corners of my psyche. I could spend all my time discussing current issues. I could make it a sports blog. I could call it my personal experiment and post only hypothetical posts to study how people respond. I could also just summerize my daily existence and see if anyone cares.

Then there's the question of what do I want to get out of having a blog. Now that's the real question. People rarely start something like this for others, they're trying to get something out of it themselves. So what do I need? Encouragement? Knowing that someone is listening (ok I know I don't have any audio files so you can't listen, but you know what I mean)? Do I need an outlet for my emotions, thoughts, energy?

Again, too many questions.

So while I decide what to do, maybe I'll take the bold step and actually ask what you would like to interact with? Is there something that you prefer to avoid?

But then again, I suppose I should still be my own person and make this blog about whatever I want. I've got to be a man, and make my own choices. And so, please stay tuned and watch how this thing develops. And don't worry, the hypothetical use of you all as my personal bunch of lab rats was simply conjecture. Really. It was simply conjecture. Really.

[Subject walks to stage left with a very devious look in his eyes, a slight smirk, and a light step, appearing to hum to himself very contentedly. Stage lights fade to black. The single laptop on the table remains glowing in the silence.]

25 February 2006

Sprotid on Head! (Sprats are Good!)

Yesterday we went out to the store and we happened to find some sprats. Upon closer inspection, they were being sold under the local importer's label, yet they are from Viru Kalatööstus OÜ. We found the very same sprats we used to buy when we were living in Estonia! We bought some, brought them home, then realized we didn't have any rye bread to have them with. Oh well, good old regular white bread and some sprats. Yum Yum.

Now, most of you will be wondering one of two things, and there's also a good chance that you're thinking both. First, what in the world are sprats? Secondly, why in the world would you want to eat them? To answer the first question, they are small fish, similar to anchovies, but different. Secondly, because they are the taste of home. I grew up with them. My wife grew up with them. They don't taste bad, a little off maybe, but not bad. They are good for you, lots of protein and good healthy fish oils rich in nutrients. But most of all they remind us of home, we grew up with them, and we still enjoy them.

I just realized how ironic this really is, here I sit and I look up from the computer across the room and my gaze falls onto our aquarium. Inside are 6 fish, slightly smaller than the sprats we have enjoyed. Here we are, with our own local supply, and we are overjoyed by having minnows from across the world, shipped to us in a tin, soaking in rapeseed oil and salt.

Now, because our aquarium fish are still smaller than most sprats, we won't be farming the tank. But somehow it struck me as ironic. And yet it is prove positive of the global economy. Then as I sit here I have another thought. Why in the world does our local grocery store stock sprats? Is there actually a large enough market for them here in suburbia? Or did we just enjoy a tin of 6 year old fish that has been dusted off who knows how many times before we happened to spy them sitting there on the top shelf above the chunk light tuna?

Ok, the gears are starting to grind... gotta slow down a bit, the noggin isn't handling such deep thoughts that well yet. Got to get back to shallower waters... ahhhhhhhhh the wading pool.... think happy thoughts..... hmmmmm.... sprats..... oh crap, here we go again.

I have got to get more sleep.

By the way

While you are introduced to my blog, feel free to let me know how you like it. I took one of the templates available and did some customizing, getting rid of aspects I don't need and reformatting the appearance.

24 February 2006

And so it begins...

Welcome to my blog. I'm not sure why I'm starting a blog. Possibly as an experiment, possibly to try to express something, possibly out of curiosity. But here we are and here we go.

Why Square Foot for the name of the blog? I suppose it's because I feel like I've stumbled through life with one square foot. Or maybe due to my love of building things, or because ... well I'm still not sure. But it's worth a try.

Feel free to rave, rant, rip apart my opinions, and interact. But please try to be nice. Attack ideas, not people. Argue, don't fight. But if we can avoid all that and just be a blessing, all the better.

Anyhow, just wanted to say hi.