26 December 2008

The Meatrix

I found this today, thought it would be good to share it with all of you.


06 December 2008

The deed is done

Ok, I know, it's been a very long time without a post. But I finally have something to share.

Alana has been doing very well. We love having her around, what a blessing. Laura and Erik love having Alana around as well, and are learning to be responsible older siblings. But that's not the news.

Ok, here's the news. I am no longer a productive member of society. Yup, this here guy is only for entertainment purposes. I should clarify a bit, add a "re" in front of the "pro" part. Now you might get the joke. Yes, I was the man, took it like a man, and now I'm just an "it", a plaything, a toy. Ahhhhh, the things we do.....

It's going well, the procedure was quick and painless. The recovery has gone surpisingly well. Only one bad stretch that has caused some pain (I was getting out of the minivan... just stepped out and everything got tight... yeah) but other than that it's just been discomfort. But hey, without discomfort, how would we know that we're alive right?

26 August 2008

Some More Pics

Here are some more pics of our precious little girl. Here she is right after getting weighed and half way through putting on clothes for the first time. She got the arms on right, but was having trouble with the legs so the nurse helped out a bit.

Here she is cuddling with Mommy.

Another pic with Mommy.

She seemed to like sticking out her tongue.

Check out the lovely locks! Very blong hair, and very long.

I hope you have enjoyed these pics!

24 August 2008

Some News!

Please meet our newest family member. Alana Luise was born on Aug. 24th, 2008, at 5:59am. Alla and Alana are doing very well, and they should be arriving home tomorrow. Alana was 3.6kg and 54cm tall. We are all very excited. Here's a couple of pics:

17 June 2008

Things kids say... one more time...

Ok, so today was Alla's birthday and we went out for supper. The kids wanted to go for Chinese Buffet, so off we went. After the kids got their fill on fries and noodles while we tried a little of everything (well ok, more than a little), we started in on desert. Of the many things you could choose from, one of the things I got (notice the words "one of") was a Nanaimo Bar. Erik looks at it while eating his piece of tiramisu cake, then states "I used to like those." We look at him and ask what he means by "used to" because he normally never says no to anything sweet. He looks at us and says: "I used to like them but not anymore, the sweet smell of milk and cookies came to my nose."

I just about fell off my chair laughing.

11 June 2008

How to ride a bike

OK, lets get the ball rolling, or wheel as the case may be. As I try to rely my bike more than on our car, I was trying to find some more info on commuting by bike, and found a blog that has some great information. The main thrust of the blog is to change the perspective that bicycles are for recreation, and that we should start thinking of bicycles of transportation. There are a lot of issues that are discussed, and many others also send in articles sharing their experiences and their rides (OK, that's slang for the bike that you ride, just in case you didn't catch that).

You can find the blog at www.ecovelo.info if you are interested in reading for yourself. Another plus with this blog, is that the owner of the blog is a good photographer, and his pictures of his bicycles are downright beautiful.

There are a few things that are discussed there that I have considered myself. Some of them not wholly consciously, but after reading the article, it was one of those "oh, yeah, that's the idea my brain was trying to get a grasp of, now I understand!" One of the most recent posts compared how much he rides his bike now. He used to use his bike for exercise and recreation, and would go out for a ride quite often. He would ride fast and hard, to get a good workout. Now, he commutes by bike to work and uses his bike for errands. When training, he had kept detailed records of millage and time data to chart his performance. This past May, he logged his total millage. He thought that with training, he would log more miles, but found that with commuting and errands, he was logging 50% more miles!

Another post discussed your riding style. Having spent a lot of time riding for exercise, you get into the go go mindset pretty fast. But if you're commuting to work, showing up all sweaty and stinky isn't good. So he made a decision and gave something a try. Ride so that you don't break a sweat. Don't pedal too hard, arrive smelling reasonably good, take your time. That mindset has also moved over to his recreational rides, and he is finding he enjoys riding much more.

Imagine that, enjoying a bike ride. Strange notion I know.

It's all part of a new mindset. The bicycle is now not something to go fast on. It is something to move you around. It is not there to test your abilities or limits. It is there to be used to get you around. I think an early name for the bicycle captures the idea well. The velocipede. A machine that adds speed to your walking. When you think about it, a bicycle is a great machine. It very efficiently helps us get around. But when you look a the last 60 years of bicycle, almost all of the developments in bicycle design and construction are a direct result of advances in racing bicycles. But that makes most bicycles more and more like racing bikes. But does everyone race? Is the average person trying to go as fast a possible? What about building a practical bike to fulfill the needs of the average person?

There have been more companies starting to move into this direction. It's interesting to note that the designs that they have been coming up with are the same designs for utilitarian bikes from the 20's and 30's. Seems that they got it right a long time ago, then for some reason we tossed those good ideas out the window in favour of speed. There are a few places where good practical designs have been preserved: Holland, Asia, India. Usually places where getting around in a car is either prohibitive, too expensive, or where a bike is just easier. More on this later. There are much better ways to design a practical bike.

But anyhow, for a start, I am starting to think differently about my bike. More for transportation than for recreation. A viable and effective replacement for our car. The way that I ride is changing, on purpose.

Buy it, but don't use it!

Hey, it's been a while since I've posted something here. I have been busy, and I've been pondering, planning, and procuring things. There are a number of things in play, all seem to be pushing me in the same direction. As you now know, we are expecting kid number three. As we start getting ready for this, we have realized that we cannot fit three car seats into our car. As much as we don't want to, we need to get a minivan. They use way too much fuel... but we need to get one. But there is a way to balance this necessary evil.

We can buy it, but we can choose not to use it.

OK, I know that sounds insane, but let me explain: I have kept mental track of our use of the car, and how far we drive on average. Over a few months, well over 90% of our use of the vehicle has been for trips less than 5km from home. Most of what we do, we could do without the car if we simply walk or bike. With that realization, we've been talking about using bicycles for much more of our errands. The problem being, what to do about grocery shopping and other such trips? I am getting a rear rack for my bike and have a plan to add some hardware so I can quickly clip on three baskets (two on the sides, one on top) so that I can carry more stuff. Most of our trips for groceries end up with us buying three to five bags of groceries. That would be easy to carry with such a setup. Another option is to get a trailer designed to be towed behind a bike. Most of them can easily carry 150lbs of cargo. Some can handle up to 300lbs of cargo. That's a lot, by the way.

So we will buy the vehicle, but only use it for those few and far between longer trips, or when weather makes bicycle travel more than difficult. By that, I don't mean that winter is a problem. In fact, with properly studded tires, winter riding can be easier than in the summer. It's a matter of will power.

The next few posts will explore some more of my thoughts, and things I have found in researching some of the options. There is a lot of information out there, many good reasons for doing something like this. The ecological reasons. The health reasons (a recent report states that riding a bike to work rather than driving will reduce your risk of heart attack by a factor of 5). The fincancial reasons (just in case you havn't noticed recent prices for fuels). The mental reasons. The social reasons.

Anyhow, enough for now, there will be more to follow.

20 April 2008

Funny Things Kids Say

Ok, so the kids and I went to pick up Mom from work. She had a few things to finish off, so we were sitting in the car waiting for her. Laura is looking out her window, seeing what there is to see, when she asks "Hey Dad, do you see a blue "A" out there?" I look at the building and see the sign for the entrance to the offices above the mall, and in the word "entrance" was the blue "A" so I said "yes." Laura says "Dad, look, a bird went and built a nest right in the "A", isn't that funny? A bird built it's nest right in the a-hole."

It took everything I had to keep from bursting out laughing. I mananged to keep her innocence intact.

And just in case you're wondering about the validity of this story, here's a cellphone pic of the sign in question. The quality isn't great, but you can just make out a fuzzy little nest in the middle of the, well, you know, that empty spot in the letter....

Up and coming

Scheduled arrival is sometime in August. Just thought people might want to know. We're excited.

06 April 2008

Proud Pappa

Ok, I'm a pretty proud pappa now. I took Erik outside today, the weather was really nice. We took his bike out of the garage. Last fall, we took his training wheels off, and he's been trying it once in a while, but not really sticking to it. He could ride, but can't start on his own. He needs a push. He can brake, but most of the time, when he stops he drops the bike and crys for a bit. He so very much wants to ride, that when it doesn't work out he gets mad, upset, and sad. So I figured all he needed was total immersion.

We got suited up with our helmets, and went out for a ride. I have to give him a push to get started, but then he's pretty good after that. I explained that when we get to a road (we were riding on the sidewalks) you have to stop and walk your bike across. Erik wanted to do it right, so he'd stop about 50 feet from the road and walk to it first, then across, then he'd wait for me to get to the other side so I could give him a push start again. Anyhow, I was kinda feeling out how much he could handle, but he got into it really quick. We ended up riding just over 3.5 kms! Erik did a great job. He still can't start on his own, but he loves riding now. It won't be long before he's riding all on his own. I'd love to take him out on some trails once he's ready. That won't be long either. I'll finally have a riding partner. It's so very cool. I'm one very proud pappa.

26 March 2008

News from the world of Classic Rock

I heard some news on the radio today. If you havn't heard, the lead singer for the rock band Boston died last year. Appearantly he had been suffering from severe bouts of depression for most of his life, and it finally got to be too much for him and he committed suicide last year. The band was still very interested in continuing to tour, and so the search for a new lead singer started. Today, they announced who they had hired. They actually hired two people. The first was someone they found on MySpace.Com. Tommy DeCarlo posted a couple of Boston covers that he recorded just for fun. They liked it so much, they gave him a call and started some interviews. I can just imagine, the phone rings and Tommy picks it up: "Hello", and a voice answers "Hi, this is Tom Scholz." "Yeah, right, who is this?" "It's Tom Scholz" "No, for real, who is this." "This is Tom Scholz, and we've heard the covers you did and we'd like you to join the band." "Oh Crap..." (then you hear a thud as he passes out).

Anyhow, the other person they hired? Michael Sweet. If you don't know who that is, he used to be the lead singer for the band Stryper. He's done some solo work on his own for many years now. At a tribute concert for Boston's former singer Brad Delp last summer, Sweet filled in and sand with the band. A clip that I have heard, he actually does Boston justice. I have yet to hear Tommy's version of Boston. I just thought it was interesting that Boston somehow got hooked up with Michael Sweet.

Another interesting tidbit: Can anyone guess where Boston is starting their new tour? New York? Los Angeles? Toronto? Vancouver? London? Nope, they will be kicking off their new tour in Thunder Bay!

16 March 2008

Mental Dents (Impressions of a trip)

OK, so I'm back. I've actually been back for a couple of weeks, it has taken some time to think things through. I was also waiting on a detail or two to work itself out. So now, the answers to the questions I mentioned before are coming. But first, some details of the trip.

My Dad arrived to take me to the airport, and somehow I felt I needed to check on my flights again, so I went online and sure enough, my first flight was cancelled! Four hours before departure, and they cancelled the flight. I quickly called United to find out what is going on, and turns out that Chicago was in the middle of an ice storm. I was supposed to catch my flight to Europe from there. I told the rep at United that I was supposed to catch connecting flights, is there something they could do so I won't miss my flights? After being on hold for 5 min. the rep came back and said that they could offer me the same flight schedule, only one day later. I told them that this option was no good, I had meetings and appointments lined up that I had to be at. I asked if there were any other flights on any other airlines within the Star Alliance (which they are a part of) with which I could get to Estonia on time. The rep said that the supervisor was working on that, and that she would check and see. After another 5 min. on hold, she came back with the words "You must have an angel on your shoulder!" If she only knew! There was one option for me to fly to Washington DC, then to Frankfurt, and then on to Estonia. I would leave at the same time (I now had to hustle to the airport) and I would end up arriving in Estonia an hour ahead of schedule! In the end, everything worked out great. I got a lot of stuff done fast in the first day (having a rental car really helped that out) which left some extra time to catch up with some friends and a lot of family. That was really good. Coming back everything was as per schedule, with no problems. I was able to bring some stuff back that we just couldn't when we moved to Canada, one of the things being my mountain bike (a Kona Blast if anyone cares) which makes me particularly happy.

Some of my impressions? In meeting some of the people that I had worked with in the Estonian Pentecostal Church, I was interested in seeing how things had developed over the past three years. Just as we came to Canada, the leadership of the church was handed over fully from being missionary lead to having totally their own leadership. I don't want this to sound negative in any way, but it has taken them the past three years to shake off that previous mantle and get their own. Not that what happened before was bad, but their own identity had to come our from the influence of those missionaries and become it's own. It was a natural and immensely important step. The church is now forming it's own face, and it is doing it quite well. That was very good to see. It was great to get together with friends and see how they are doing. So many people, so many places. Some changes but for the most part things are the same.

It was so very good to be immersed in Estonian as a language again. It just felt natural and good. The country as a whole seems a little more mature. People don't seem to be worried as much about whether or not they are going to make it. Things seem calmer, which is a good thing. Most of the roads still need some fixing, it still rains a lot, and the beer is still very good.

When I left, there were questions about when we should go back to Estonia, how much longer are we going to be in Canada, and most of all, what does God have for us? Every time people in Estonia asked when we are coming back, I went into this little schpiel I had prepared, and each time the schpiel would change a bit, and through that God began to show me something. When we first came to Canada, we were concerned about what kind of church would we find to attend. The first church I visited was the one we now attend. God impressed on us that He was about to start doing something there, and that we needed to be a part of it. As I related this story, I got the distinct feeling that leaving Canada now would be to go before the going got good. The church has gone through three years of growth and development in preparation for whatever is going to happen. If we return to Estonia now, we would be leaving before this thing actually happens. We feel we need to stay to be a part of this thing. So we talked about it the day I got back, and decided to stay until God says we can go. The next day, our pastor calls, and mentioned that while I was away, they had taken nominations for the board of directors for the church. I had been nominated, would I let my name stand. I prayed about it, and decided to let my name stand. It would be a fleece of sorts to see if God really wants me involved in what is going to happen. If I'm involved, it might as well be right up there with the decision makers! Well, today we had our annual meeting, and the final vote was cast for the two vacant positions. Now I need to explain something, the vote wasn't to see who would be on the board, but just an affirmation of position. There were 18 people nominated, the selection committee took that list and chose 6 names that they felt met the requirements of being a board member according the scripture and the laws of the land. Of those 6 people, two of us allowed our names to stand, and the other was a present board member that was up for reelection. So by default, the vote was to affirm that we would be the new board members. It was unanimous. My first thought was that "Hey, I'm only in because no one else wanted the job." But then the words of the Pastor reminded me of the fleece I had thrown out. I am in this position because of the providence and appointment of God. There was no other option because this is the way it has to be. We are here for a reason, and we are meant to be right in the thick of it!

I realize, that this position comes with a lot of weight, responsibility, pain, sorrow, sweat, and heartache. But these are all things I will gladly bear because of the trust that the church and God has in me to be capable and able to fulfill those duties.

And so, the next chapter begins. I am a deacon, and board member, a person of influence and responsibility. I will accept the office I have been given and will discharge the duties implied therein to the utmost of my ability.

To say the least, this scares the shit out of me.

21 February 2008

Next week: travelling once again

I won't be around next week, so if you're hoping for a new post then... well... sorry. I will have some limited access to the Internet, but I will actually be trying to ignore the Internet while I'm gone. I know, some of you are saying "What? Dave ignore the Internet? You have got to be kidding!" But it's true.

I'm going back to Estonia for a week. Got some business to take care of, some people to visit, and some things to do. It'll be a very busy week, but somehow I'll fit all I need to get done in. Other than all the business and visiting, there is one major hidden agenda for the trip. We (my family and I) know that we will be moving back to Estonia at some point. The big question is when. Will it be this year? Next year? In 10 years? We don't know, and one of the reasons for this trip is to try to sort some of that out. There are some decisions that we need to be making very soon, and my hope and prayer is that during this trip it would be clear what we need to do. If not, we will be left with doing what we want to do. But that is a can of worms that I will open at some other time. For now, we would really appreciate your prayers as I take some time to figure some things out.

After moving back to Canada, the one thing that we know for sure is that we are meant to be here for a season (whatever that means). Other than that, we don't know much. We don't know why we're here, what we're supposed to be doing, and for how long. Much the same applies to our going back to Estonia, only it's much more vague (if that's possible). We don't know when, we don't know how, we don't know where, and we don't know what. To explain, we don't know when we are going back. That is a very annoying uncertainty. We don't know how we are going back, as missionaries or simply as people looking for a job and a house and a car, and well just starting all over again. We don't know where we will end up going, although we are very partial to going to the island where Alla's family lives. And finally we don't know what we will be doing. As mentioned will we be missionaries? Or will we be going just a people looking for a job and a house. If as missionaries, what will we be doing and with whom? If just as people, what kind of work will I find, and what kind of a house can we get? Simple questions I know. Far too simple. Ones that should have been answered a long time ago, but ones we don't have any answers for.

Maybe you can understand our annoyance and frustration with our situation. Until those questions are answered, the same questions apply here as well. Which means we are living in a state of annoyance and frustration. Most of the people I know who are my age are settled and starting to look forward to retirement... sort of. At least they have their house, car(s), kids, pets, RRSPs, investments, and a good handle on their mortgage. We don't have our own house, we have one old car, we have kids and a cat, no RRSPs or investments, and no mortgage. We started from scratch when we moved back to Canada three years ago. From scratch.... nada... zilch... zippo... point zero. So yeah....

I'm tired of floating, I need direction and movement.

So yeah, if you don't mind keeping us in your prayers, we would really appreciate it.

29 January 2008

A Mental Splinter

OK, so it's been a while. I know, I know.

So, lets begin this off with some fun. Maybe it won't be fun, maybe it will.

A friend of mine has a blog, one of the better ones I have read. One recurrent theme of his is the need for more love above all else. Somehow, I have also spent a lot of time mulling over this. It has been a mental splinter for me. You know, one of those ideas that get in your brain and no matter what you do, you just keep thinking about it. There has been a lot of rhetoric and discussion, most of it doesn't really result in anything to be honest. Which is why when this past week, this splinter was implanted, it seemed more than just poignant.

Dunno why, but I started thinking about 1 Cor. 13. You know, the famous "love" chapter. But rather than jump past the first three verses... somehow my brain got stuck on the first three. I guess you could call it meditation, except for the fact that I was sanding some maple at the time while the drone of the dust collection system and a table saw made listening to the radio next to impossible. Somehow in the midst of all that, I had one clear and cohesive thought.

I know the main content of the first three verses reasonable well. The apostle Paul lists off a number of gifts, and explains that if we do these things without love, it means nothing, it produces nothing, it accomplishes nothing. But then came the brainfart: compare that to the main point of Matt. 7:22-23. Using your gifts, even performing miracles... but where does it get you? OK, here we are, that big idea I had: without love we are useless.

U s e l e s s.

Not worthless, scripture makes it very clear that we are never in a state of being worthless. That is one of the most effective lies that the enemy has ever told. Even in our sinful state before salvation, we are worth so much that God sent His Son. Sin has never changed our worth in the eyes of God. It never can change that.

But what can change is whether or not we are useful to God. And amazingly, according to 1 Cor 13:1-3, being saved and actively using our gifts does not constitute usefulness. Did you catch that? Performing miracles, knowing and using our gifts, being active in ministry, all of that does not mean that you are useful.

This one thought floored me, and I can't stop thinking about it.

What really makes us useful?

Do we really care?