Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oops did it again-no Colleen images

Grandma doing her favourite thing!

Colleen and me Christmas dinner

Christmas 2009 a 4 Scene play

We have Christmas because God loved us so much He presented Himself as a baby who then as an adult died on a cross for those things we are not able to atone for. This is also a time for great celebrations, joy and family time. I am reminded of people that are in stages of life or that have lost loved ones that make this a painful time. Grief and loss are such personal experiences. My thoughts and prayers are for support, encouragement and good recollections to gradually fill the absence.

Scene 1
Now on the lighter side the extended Meeds family connection in Saskatoon gathered on the 23rd and of course there was food and singing.


Scene 2

Then on the 24th we celebrated Jay, Julie, Alexander and Gabriella. Chinese food, well Vietnamese actually, and some gifts for the kids.


Note the wheels big enough to be outdoors at their acreage. And the doll and carriage that are already making their way around their living room.



Yes we are also assembling the Lego tow truck


Scene 3

Then Colleen's Mom joined us for Christmas morning brunch and an evening turkey feast.

Scene 4

My Facebook friends will know that about 2 hours later I then spent some time ejecting my turkey dinner. IT WAS EXCELLENT ON THE WAY IN but as I kneeled there it was not enjoyable at all! Thankfully it only affected me and was short lived and doesn't seem to be the flu. Lay low today and I'll be ready for an Alex & Gaby sleepover tomorrow afternoon!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Where do I begin.......

Only 5 days to Christmas
Wow 16 days to Kaohsiung
Relishing 1 month rebuilding relationship with Jay and Julie
Enjoyed several visits with Alexander and Gabriella
Celebrated supper with J, J, A & G
Savoured 1 sleepover with Alex and Gaby
Waiting and praying for Melissa's resident visa approval
Dreaming wildly and then using the realism brush
Thankful for a person to live in our house while we are away
Delighted in countless, I love you Grandma, I love you Grandpa
Thinking of friends who have lost loved ones this year
Praying for friends whose loss is refreshed this time of year.
Warmed by friendships new, old and refreshed
Excited by opportunities with Jay
Dreaming wildly and then using the realism brush

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is COOL- no text needed

video

November 24, 2009

Building relationships

I have been giving relationships a LOT of thought this past week. Relationships with other volunteers, other Christians, other family members near and far, past and present and immediate and extended.

The last few years I have finally realized the relationship I have had with my son was substantially flawed. So much so that it has taken virtually 2 years of almost no contact between us for him to feel we can begin to rebuild. What did I do wrong? Did he do anything wrong? Did anybody DO anything WRONG. What I am evaluating as a conclusion is that in most relationships NOBODY intends to do wrong but still does. Since wrong is often in the perception of the offended then in reality it is very easy for each person to wrong the other person and not even know it. And to complicate it the offense is so obvious to the offended that it is almost impossible to think the offender wasn't deliberate. And thus it grows and compounds.

Okay, that is a bit deep, convoluted and perhaps even confusing.

Bottom line....be loving, be careful, be cautious, be caring, make sure you are understood as caring, be understanding, be slow to be offended.

Middle line.....if you are offended, discuss it with the offender, work with the offender, try to understand your reaction.

Top line.....Life is long for most of us, relationships make it worthwhile and enjoyable.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

HALLELUJAH

The last time I started my post this way it was the day after my sister died. Well today is much happier. Jay came by for a couple hours with Alex & Gaby.
My HEART IS FULL. Thanks, Jay! Today is the first of many more joyous and happy times.

Colleen was behind the camera!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ponderings and Expressions

Yesterday we learned of a friend's mother passing away. Colleen noted that this is the second person who has died whose spouse we saw at a funeral 2 weeks ago. [now don't get paranoid] Ron Bader died from injuries in a fall and Delia Rodine-Alexander has passed after a number of years of declining health. Both are now rejoicing in Heaven while those of us here deal with missing them yet comforted by the eternal hope.

Where is your spiritual home? I am not only thinking of Heaven but also where you feel your spiritual roots are set. Mine is the Lakeview congregation. I guess since almost ALL adult life has been here it is no surprise.

This week I was thinking about the various ups, downs, highs, lows, mountains and valleys we have seen at Lakeview over the years. I wondered which of these helped people build a spiritual root and which stunted, ripped out or killed those roots. I believe it is very easy to forget we, the church, have a spiritual responsibility to each other. It is very easy to be self focused. After all, God created us with a self preservation dimension. Now to try to display some of His selfless love..................

Monday, November 02, 2009

November Ponderings

Today I asked myself if I live on the edge just beside depression. I know from some friends and family how much of a challenge and struggle it is and I don't have THAT degree of challenge. I wonder how many people are living close to the edge fearing depression but actually are in a real tough season in life. And sure some are in a very long season................

One year ago we were days away from our Taiwan winter adventure and we have 8 more weeks of Saskatchewan winter before our planned departure. Some Birks work and some Electrical Contacting work will finish our cold days for this year.

Oh, how do I complain about my Mother-in-law's driving without getting in trouble or giving too much detail? Too late probably in trouble. Well not with some people but I am trying to reason if she is a risk to herself and others or just to our sanity!

She did manage to get drive from her apartment in Saskatoon to a friends funeral in PA! The challenge was getting back through Saskatoon to her apartment. I CANNOT figure how she gets to where she does in Saskatoon and am not patient enough to ask enough of the right questions to figure it out. She managed to get on BOTH sides of the river at least TWICE on the way home and ended up at our house! ARGH.

Well at least it takes our minds off the lack of communication with Jay & Julie. I ache for the relationship to return. or even begin to be something............I wish I could get a hint of what to do...........

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a week!!!

Please be praying for God's grace and wisdom for Lakeview Church. We are in a very challenging time. God is supreme. God is soveriegn! All we need to do is to follow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

God is good, life is good COMMENTARY

Today warmed to 16 degrees it was glorious and as much as I talked about it with Zou kids last night I realize I did not have a conscious thought toward how I could see God through the activity of the day.... How is it that some days it is easy to perceive God and others it is easy to avoid those thoughts? I guess I was relaxing more than being deliberate in my day....Except during the Riders game dueling with Lesley!

Today I reaffirmed I am a peace lover! I was part of a Facebook encounter and I wanted to run SCARED!!!!!!!!!!! The written word, emotion, humour, spirit, loyalty can work together in a beautiful way but can also be so easily misinterpreted. I am a pretty passionate person and often wear the safe mask when in public view, don't I. Oh wait, my blog is one place I don't always wear the 'safe mask'. I do try to be aware, smart, considered while being open. I try to show vulnerability without being vulnerable to abuse or attack.

My thoughts are kind of empty or racing or flowing or not connected or wandering so this is it for today.

Oh wait, a cousin's daughter and family are going to serve in Mexico for 6 months leaving winter behind with a trailer and 3 kids sounds FUN! see I am strange. A friend's father passed away, not unexpected but still sooner than expected. Her mother passed away in the last 6 months too. Melissa has a new job that will help with cash and permanent residency processes. Still no word from Jay and Julie, SIGH, silent tear, hmmmmmm. Church was good connection time, 2 missions service teams talked about Mulenga and their experience there this summer. They spoke of a family feeling that we can identify with from our time in Kaohsiung. Now to see who God has for our house this year while we are in Taiwan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No witty retort

it's been 3 weeks since i expounded anywhere but Facebook. I need to spend more pondering time.

I've been trying to rationalize Facebook and blogging. I can pretty easily dismiss twitter and regularly use email for specific person to person communication. I even use the phone occassionally.

A good friend is now out of the hospital after repair of a broken femur. Now the hard part begins for him, PATIENCE. And it will take a while for their famuily routine to return to normal.

Life here is pretty normal...Colleen works 10-4 3 day a week, I'm doing a variety of electrical work: replacing ballasts and fluorscent tubes, wiring some basements and a garage. I think I dislocated my shoulder holding ballasts in place on tuesday! Well OK not dislocated but it sure hurts, whiney, whiney........ My chiropractor treatment tomorrow should help. Then I can do some wiring and see if it is fixed or hurt............

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I grieved for a while today!

Buying a birthday card and children's gift wrap didn't bring the excitement and joy it should.

I'm not sure what I grieved more: expecting to miss another of our grandson's birthdays, missing another day of relationship with our son, missing another day of relationship with Jay's wife Julie, missing another day of relationship with our granddaughter or just being grumpy.

And then the work I was going to do didn't happen so grumble, gripe, feel sad, try to NOT feel mad! Oh well, I am not on the way to the hospital nor do I have anyone in the hospital that I know of. Unfortunately one of my dear friends/relatives' father is in the last stages of cancer that was only recently discovered. Hmmm, we identify a young child without parents as an orphan; when you are in your 30's or 60's it can seem just as real!

Well I don't feel as low as I did the last half of the morning so I can now put the thoughts into words and contemplate for a few days.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I miss my mommy!

this doesn't have the same effect when I have to repost it due to IE issues!

Yep even at 59 I miss my mommy some days. Mom died in 1988 and strangely since Colleen's mom has moved here to Saskatoon I more frequently think of and miss my mother. They are not at all similar but this isn't about similarity. I even find myself wanting to drop in and visit mom after dropping Colleen at work but often she is not up and around by then.......and later she is involved in the many activities organized by the Resident's Association at her apartment. Poor me, right!

It has been a beautiful day here.....mid 20's so I was able to do the small amount of weeding in the front bed area. Now I am giving the birch tree its Fall watering.

Tomorrow is another chapter change. The PA church is having a farewell lunch and presentation for Mom after church. She has been a member there for probably 70 years! well OK maybe not quite that long but close. This is the first time she will be returning to Prince Albert and not be staying at her own home. It sold in 2 days with 2 weeks possession! Whew, 3 months ago she had just barely seen some of the apartments here!

Have a great day and weekend and week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Brief thoughts.......

God sustains me but I still have to put in the effort each day! I have had 32 years of responding to an employer's schedule and now am learning how to develop the responsibility and discipline for my own scheduling. I look forward to following your adventure!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time FLIES, well at least keeps moving along

It seems like lurking on Facebook keeps me from reading blogs and then sharing more of the depth of my life. Hmmm.

There is certainly more opportunity to share in the surface dimensions of people's lives via FB but there is a personal depth that I prefer to share through Blogging. I think it might be because I want to unload and unwind to a smaller audience. Oh and also so it doesn't FORCE someone to join something to be able to access the info.

Having said all that the last few weeks seem to have been fairly full. Colleen's Mom's house was listed Sept 1 and sold Sept 3rd! Fantastic and yet PANIC with a Sept 15th possession date! It feels like I did that 90 mile trip every 3 days since them! Today finished the last things, I thought I had the last trip 3 times!!!) This is the end of an era! Mom has a great 2 bedroom apartment that overlooks the river and the city.

Other aspects of life continue much as they have. No contact with Jay & Julie due to Jay's "Please do not come here uninvited" [sigh] Melissa continues to do well but permanent resident status continues to elude her. It is exciting and a bit frustrating for her to wait to see what God unfolds.

Christmas is in 3 months and 10 days!! We will be heading back to Taiwan before New Years. Melissa might be here for Christmas.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lloyd Colborne thoughts

Some of these thoughts are pondering that have been percolating for a while but brought to the surface with the Memorial Service for Lloyd Colborne. Each of his children and grandchildren had written a note to Pastor Dean so he could incorporate it into the eulogy. Unfortunately I cannot recall them. When asked why he thought God called him so directly Lloyd had said "so my family could know Him" I trust that strikes a chord with many of us!! Lloyd has 1 wife, 2 sons, 2 daughter in laws, 4 grandchildren and one grandchild, oh and a couple grandchildren in law (if there is such a label) I don't know if all have accepted Christ but I know many have! THAT'S QUITE A MARK FOR US TO HOLD BEFORE US

I know there are times I have failed my wife and children. I also know there are times I have succeeded. So how do I go from here? What do I do for Melissa? What do I do for Jay? What do I do for Julie? What do I do for Alex? What do I do for Gaby? What do I do for Colleen? What do I do for YOU? HELP ME, TELL ME. Some days I think I know, some days I find out I didn't! Some days I find out I was wrong! Some days I can't undo the wrong...........

I keep looking for answers or ways to fix my mistakes.............................some days I can't no matter how hard I try.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keep you eyes on your fries!

Today's sermon focused on Psalm 37 concluding with thoughts on living life with expectancy. We all have expectations but that is different than living with an expectancy of what God will do in and through our lives.

Each of us have expectations of ourselves and those in our lives and fortunately for most of us these do not adversely affect relationships. I know I have expectations for my children even now that they are adults in their 30's. I also now suspect those expectations have not always been the supportive undergirding I have hoped for. Am I being hard on myself, no, just pondering.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another week of life

Some working, some playing, some helping others that bordered on play and work.

As with most weeks a mixture !

Lloyd Colborne passing at the age of 88. I have not known him well but the last several years I have known him as a prayer warrior praying consistently for leaders and regular folk daily, weekly or whatever they needed. Some in simple support and others in times of crisis or significant events.

A facebook chat with one of my aunts who is dealing with separation from her son too. We have covenanted to pray for each other's sons understanding. I think she has had more catastrophic events on her trail but that does not make the separation pain any less for either of us. I do know that we each have said we would do anything to renew the connection if we only knew what to do to bring change.

Farmer's Market was a GONG SHOW for us. I'm sure it was a very successful day for most with twice as many people as we have seen! Parking was impossible within 3 blocks or 45 minutes but I enjoyed watching people as I drove around........ Of course that meant Colleen's expectations were DASHED AND SMASHED especially after I called her cellphone 4 times and it was on silent mode, argh. Hear me fume and try to be lovingly calm? I failed! She still loves me but like was not at the top of her list.

Tomorrow is Church BBQ day and in a few weeks we will get the fall season kicked off. WOW FALL STARTUP!?

Now to finish a couple electrical jobs I'm doing and get to some houses in PA that need smoke detectors........

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Does Facebook membership displace blogging?

it sure has for me.......or maybe I am in a place where I am not as filled with words of angst. Maybe Facebook allows the brief spurts of thought and wit a release so the blog urgency takes longer to build. Kind of like being on a liquid diet!!!! HA HA

Melissa has only had moderate impact from the typhoon that has devastated many areas of Taiwan. Although she has had a few days without water due to system shutdowns. I suspect the amount of debris and silt overload filtration systems but we will never get a clear explanation............you can't say systems are inadequate, can you!

I survived the 2 day yard sale at Colleen's Moms' house in PA, Wendell and Odette did a gargantuan job preparing for it. Josh and Cordell and Yvonne have helped tremendously too. We sold EVERYTHING that was ready for the decision. EVEN THE OLD DEEP FREEZE! Only the floor area of the 2 upstairs bedrooms is left. Now for a few kitchen cupboards and the bedrooms........................you can only process so much at a time and keep processing!

Oh, please keep praying for insight and open hearts and minds regarding Jay & Julie. We don't know what to do and Jay has expressly asked me to 'respect his privacy and not come there uninvited' hmmmm, argh, SIGH, whimper..............

Friday, July 24, 2009

Finally third warm day in a row!

I am NOT COMPLAINING. we don't get overheated.........but it does make it a bit tricky to plan outdoor play!

Colleen is working 3 days a week back at Birks so that means we have to get up early once in a while. We had a nice time in Crosby ND last weekend to celebrate my and Louise Aalund's birthdays. And had a MARVELOUS dinner with Susan, Suhky and Nicole in Regina on the way back. We sure enjoy travelling in the PT and it's decent on gas too.

My electrical work is flowing fairly smoothly but I now realize I need to formalize more things like liability and worker's comp insurance! I think I'm going to have to up my rates just to keep even!

Oh and not a lot of angst filled pondering even though we have not seen or heard from Jay & Julie except an occasional FB comment they leave for a mutual friend. Please pray for wisdom and peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yes, still around just not getting to the BLOG

I knew it had been a while but 3 weeks! Life seems ordinary, but let's see.....getting myself going doing some electrical contracting while trying to not get too busy either. Getting Colleen's mom along the path of setting up her apartment at Riverside Terrace will be an ADVENTURE with many dimensions, hopefully I can keep my mouth quiet and face properly tuned!

Still now word on Melissa's permanent residency, just one more place to demonstrate patience. the next 2 weeks she will be very busy with the World Games. I'm sure there will be some good stories from it.

My current electrical job is a basement suite with some existing walls. Working with my hands and arms inside them makes it look like I was attacked by a cat!

Today we were greeted with 8 degrees and promise of rain.........................my feet are cold! I refuse socks!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Tuesday, another emotion

Well my blogging hasn't been very frequent lately.....................Colleen and I went to The Soloist with Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx ( not WITH, you know what I mean). Very Good! The character portrayals were good. But MAN, or as my cousins might say DANG IT, I didn't need the thought processing that the relationships, homelessness and mental health are generating! Whew! It consumes most of my emotional margin!!! I thought I had more margin............. Oh well it tires me enough I will sleep soundly tonight!

I went past the point of The Soloist being based on a book and saw the misguided cleaning up of an area populated by Homeless people, homeless being portrayed as having major mental health issues and the care/attention needed in relationships. Of course I can reign myself in enough to see the dynamics of the primary relationship as the purpose and nature of it evolves, enjoy the music and acting. I particularly liked the scene where Jamie is listening to the Orchestra practise and it switched to a swirling and pulsing of light colours to match the music! Kind of like that thing that happens when I am in the bright sun and kick back, close my eyes relax and let my brain register what happens. COOL

Well this has let my emotional margin refresh a bit.............................only a bit though. I'll need a couple days to get back to my tough exterior. Ok, not so tough but at least stronger.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pondering ...........................

Tell me....why is it so easy to share joyful news but I protect the dissapointing stuff?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Melissa made the Taipei Times!

http://www.taipeitimes.com/images/2009/06/16/TT-980616-P04-IB.pdf

And here's her diplomatic comment at http://accesskaohsiung.blogspot.com/2009/06/taipei-times-article.html:

Taipei Times article
Check out today's (6/16) "Community Compass" in Taipei Times:http://www.taipeitimes.com/images/2009/06/16/TT-980616-P04-IB.pdfI think the article was well written, but maybe lays more blame on Kaohsiung City Government than they are actually responsible for. Unfortunately, a project at the bureau took the i-center building out of their hands and it was the management company that would not get the center re-opened. Different vision led to a lot of confusion and broken relationships. We had a good run of about 2 years initially about 4 years ago but was at a standstill for over a year.I'm excited about the possibilities of developing International Friendship House and the benefit it can be to the foreign community of Kaohsiung City and area.Thanks for all your support!Check out http://internationalfriendshiphouse.blogspot.com for more information about upcoming activities.
Posted by Access Kaohsiung Community Services/ International Friendship House

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday June 9, 2009

Well I think it's been a pretty ordinary week.

I got to help Ryan and Allison with floor tiles again, attend a 90th BD tea, do Zou, church floors and hopefully learn a few things. Colleen and I even got some wall tiles glued on! It only took about 7 years! Now to cut 2 to size and grout them all in a few days.

We are still baffled by what to do regarding contacting Jay and Julie so I guess our DO is waiting for God to direct us, them or others.

Now if we could get more that 1 day out of 10 above 15 degrees.........................................

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's TUESDAY


looks special but it isn't. Well every day should be seen as special. It is so easy to get into the ordinary of each day so I am trying to see the special of each day. Varied success................

We are still managing our attitude with temperatures that struggle to stay above 15 for more than 2 days in a row. Some plants are in the ground and don't seem to have suffered from last nights temperatures near freezing.

We get to chat with Melissa almost every day and usually twice. She got a new 'do'. She is going to get a better background one soon for her World Games volunteer shot and wanted to post a picture............well, this isn't her new do but us in Pinang, Malaysia last Christmas!

This is at the base of the train up the mountain, as usual, we got there late enough in the day the remaining trips were booked so we didn't ride it!
It will be a few more days before we get flowers like this in Saskatoon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ah, Canadian Pizza

Hmmm Kernel corn is a staple on pizza in Taiwan. I DON'T miss it. Online ordering from Pizza 73 rocks. I don't think we will reorder the chicken melt but the Grand Slam was great!

A relaxing day of breakfast, puttering at yardwork, pruning, relocating bricks and ordering pizza. I expect Zou is doing well without me on my week off.

This has been a funeral week. Wednesday was Ken Crocker, an extended family member, Thursday was Ralph Hill, a friend, and tomorrow is David Ochitwa, a slightly more extended family member.


Life is an interesting deal isn't it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

My First Zamboni driving

Well it wasn't REALLY a Zamboni even though many call it one. I spent about 2 hours riding on a floor scrubber at church today. Not the joy riding type some of you have tried, this one has a real seat on it! It's neat how it vacuums the water before it spreads all over the floor. Yep I am easily enthralled some days.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I think I need to blog more....my own health

We've been 'home' for a month and a half now and today is about the 5th day above 15 degrees!! We've had a colder Spring than Winter!

I've found it a particular challenge to have a good attitude. Oh, I can wear the right mask most of the time but am really conflicted with temperature effects on my muscles and the realization that I will need to work part time to afford our lifestyle of travelling. If only I had made a different pension plan choice in 2000 c'est la vie. But then we probably wouldn't have had the 2 major stock market sags since then. You know me 'the loser' HA HA , yeah right.....not really!

There are SO MANY changes.....and realizations.

I have now been away from the University for 1 year! The past year
My motivation for children and youth continues but I think the ministry activity is changing. I am being drawn toward more conversation with adults. Pray for clarity.

How to get myself motivated to do electrical contracting? It's hard to go out and even do yard work when it's mid afternoon before we get double digit temperatures! Pray for my diligence.

The last year has held TEFL correspondence classes WHEW, 5,000 km driving to Kansas and Vancouver Island YEAH, 5 months experimenting in Kaohsiung YIPPEE, NOT going to work everyday HMM, starting to learn what to do DUH, learning about each other in this new schedule HMM. Pray for our insight and wisdom.

This retirement thing is every bit as hard as many say it will be. Just ask Colleen! Pray for patience and caring.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hmmm, what to say and share

Well, I'm not as eloquent as Carla Burlando nor as creative as Heather Lu. Sometimes as inspired as Sherry Brophy but seldom as inspirational as Glenn Teal. Surely not as busy as Chris and Nevada McKenzie or Melissa! And I think I feel as tired as new mothers like Karen Robertson, Andrea Pankhurst, Andrea Hudson, Amanda Sowden and the ones I forgot........

We had another 21 degree day, I think only the 4th one since we got back a month ago. It's too bad Linda and Carrie looked for a wedding dress on that windy and COLD Saturday! I finished cultivating most of the front flower bed and dug a 14 inch deep trench to put coroplast between it and the grass to stop the quack grass invasion. It worked on the first 8 feet the last few years so this is the year to do the remainder. I think the first pieces were 24 inches deep, I'm not that energetic or committed now! 12 inches SHOULD stop the roots! Lest you think Colleen just lounged, she stained more of the fence and then cleaned her arms and feet!

We had our first barbecue this evening. I didn't even singe myself! Baked potato, salad and steak. yum yum!

Saturday I saw a young friend at the Farmer's Market, our conversation lifted my heart yet at the same time created a profound sadness at the lack of relationship with Jay and Julie. My mind is a curious thing! Please keep praying and those of you that Jay accepts as Facebook friends thank you for reaching out to him. He changed his settings so I can no longer see his page and photos, only his profile photo which currently is a REAL CUTE closeup of Alex.

The return to Saskatoon has renewed thoughts and considerations about part time work and ministry involvement. As we move though the next year our income structure and level will change dramatically so I guess I better get a couple appointments made tomorrow so those things can be settled before we return to Kaohsiung in December. WE ARE SNOWBIRDS! We sure can live less expensively in Kaohsiung than Florida or Arizona! Mind you we have to fly as long as it would take to drive to either of them!

I thank all our friends and family for your support as we have embarked on this life change. The excitement, love and support you have shared with us has been a tremendous affirmation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another week another journey

Well we've been back just over 2 weeks and life seems pretty ordinary again. I'm still waiting for more that one day in a row above 10 degrees! We've finally loosened some of that 20 degree temperature drop muscle lock!

The week didn't bring many surprises...no news from Jay & Julie, regular life stuff, Farmers Market, good message at church about social involvement, Colleen's Mom visiting for a day or so, Dave & Gerrie's 40th Anniversary (YEP 40!), Annual Dr exam (passed again), Tea. Life is good, well ok there are a few exceptions.........

Remember pray for your children.

Pray for you parents.

Pray for your relationships.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PLEASE KEEP PRAYING

Today we got discouraging information from Jay. It stirs such a wide range of emotions and thoughts that I don't know what to write and NOT write. Please pray for our hearts to remain soft and for an abiding peace.

I don't know what to ask for on Jay, Julie, Alex and Gaby's behalf. I guess that love will be expressed to them and opportunity for reconciliation will emerge.

Gabriella will be 1 on April 29th. Praise God for her health as she was a few weeks premature. I have seen her twice and Colleen has once. I know that many grandparents have little contact but their children usually live more than 45 minutes away. [big sigh]

Life is good even though it has pains!

I gave the lawns their spring brush cut today. Strange doing that in temperatures cooler than my winter days were. I know, suck it up. The rest of you are overjoyed it is this warm. This afternoon it was only 5 degrees colder here than Kaohsiung and now that it is their day and our night there is a 24 degree differential. Sure better than the 50 degrees in January! That's the big Celsius degrees not those itty bitty American ones!

Monday, April 20, 2009

one small photo update

Gaby waking up after her nap on Twitpic

Gaby waking from a nap. Click the photo to go to the larger image on Jay's Twitter page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Canada seems to slow my blogging

We have been back almost 3 full days! Yeah I know it's been about 2 weeks since my last post though. Facebook carries some of the blame but I just get busy and forget that there are people I need to keep up to date.

The last week in Kaohsiung had a few hectic days as we packed things for storage at Melissa's but clothes for living and travelling. We left some clothes there for next year! Ok, no fat or thin jokes!! I keep thinking the greatest thing about the trip is that it is repeatable. I was reluctant to say this is our new plan for each year but now IT IS as long as God continues to provide guidance and freedom. If Melissa moves from Kaohsiung (no hint or plans to) then we will test that location. WE ARE BLESSED SUPREMELY to be able to be able to afford such a dramatic life change. I don't only mean afford financially but to also have family and friends that support us in this decision. We will always have a guest room for your visits!

In the midst of the angst and pain of the severed relationship with Jay & Julie God has provided this respite. Please continue to pray for our peace, strength and wisdom. And pray for Jay and Julie also. I don't know how to express it but our God KNOWS! Words cannot comfort we simply endure and ask for God's comforting presence.

I think future years we will stay and endure part of the winter because this coming back and being cold is worthy of several adjectives that are commonly used but I refrain! My body is tense from the cold, where is a good massage when you need it? Even my blood pressure is up! Or maybe it is the adjustment to the travel and time zones, hmmm.

As we have returned we have learned of another marriage that is in separation. PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL MARRIED PEOPLE YOU KNOW! Relationships are just that and MUST be worked at continually. Start right now! It requires a daily investment in each other. Sure there are times when our work, play, children or other things pressure us and make it hard to invest in someone else but we MUST every day or we WILL FAIL! Failure in marriage has so many unseen costs so please take this as encouragement not admonition. Investing in others is easy for me but I know it isn't for everybody. practise, Practise, PRACTISE.

Peace

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wild Youth Goup found in Taiwan


Well it only took 5 months for me to get to the youth program.
In 2 weeks I'll be back at Zou. Here's a few pictures from tonight.

Here the object was to capture the other teams balls while defending your own. See the hula hoops with the balls? The empty ones formed the territory boundary. My game. It didn't work as well as it does at Zou. Not enough space, too many balls, I don't really know.



This one is like password. Each team of 2 tries to guess the word written on the white board in 2 minutes. Interesting since some words given by North American leaders are TOTALLY UNKNOWN by Taiwanese kids!


Oh and they sing and listen to a message too. And you can see there's food. The kid here ate almost the whole time like only a teenager can!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

YEAH GOD!!!!!!

Last evening I was heading to the church for a baptism service and to help reorganize a room. I was bit bothered that I was delayed and missed the baptism. I forgot about Taiwan time! For whatever reason the 2 people being baptised were delayed almost an hour. So we arranged took a baptism break and finished reorganized some more.

Oh right the baptism, the son had signed up for the summer camp because soccer camp was being offered but he ended up the only one registering for soccer but he stayed for the camp anyway. His mother started coming to church in August after reading letters her son's camp counsellor sent him and accepted Christ a couple months ago. It was TERRIFIC to see a mother and son baptised in the same service.

It was my first Baptist baptism. I don't know it this is typical or not, well the foldable baptismal tank is probably not that common, I was surprised to see them immersed face up. But no choking or sputtering so God must have taken care of the water up the nose issue.

Today at church I was one of the greeters, not so easy to talk but I can smile and be friendly. Melissa's friend Andy, one of 3 or 4 Andy's, is doing a 5-10 minute English PowerPoint presentation on Canada next week so we talked a bit more about Canada and how he might get it up from the present 2-3 minutes. We talked about curling last week, try describing curling!

This afternoon we drove out to our friends Larry and Michelle's to have a picnic but it was raining so we went to their small military housing unit. We had a great visit and then prayed for each other before we left. It's very different from last time now that we expect to be back in 7 or 8 months!

YIKES 2 weeks from right now we will be nearing Vancouver!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reflections......

One year ago March 22, 2008 my sister died from cancer. I talked to her husband this morning for a while. It was a VERY quiet day. He was at church and visited with some of their friends. Life is moving forward gently.

This past Sunday our Pastor here spoke of the pace of the renovations in the new location and how things now seem to move so slowly and how that resembles our Christian life experience. At first the big things are easy to see and easy to change, smoking, drinking, lying and later the things like anger, temper, attitude are not seen by many people and are also take more effort and care to change. But God is faithful in helping and guiding us.

We don't really know what God will bring us this next while. Sure we have tickets back to Saskatoon. Melissa is in the process of becoming a permanent resident. We have new firm friends in Kaohsiung that it will be hard to leave but add to the desire to return. We have dear friends in Saskatoon and family that draw us back, what a celebration it will be to see them again!

Hmm, maybe that is a glimpse of a tiny part of that feeling Heaven will bring!?

Pastor David Barbour mentioned a few weeks ago "Only as you allow loneliness to move you to the heart of God can you be filled." True. There is a place created in our hearts that only God can fill. I'm not sure if that as to be profound or simply me sharing.

Well, I can hardly wait to see what God has for us in the remainder of this week. How about you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Funny thing on the way to the Museum

Beside never actually getting there!

Colleen and I took the bus in front of our apartment to the Fine Arts Museum and as we got off the bus (where we wanted and planned to) a guy pointed to a car and there were 2 women waving and talking to us! They were a couple friends from church. both Taiwanese! but with good English. so we ended up going with them for a hike on a mountain instead. Great surprise and very unlikely in a city this size!!!!

Life has surprises! It was great to get to know them better. Poor Melissa had to work!

I should have taken a few pictures of the pathway! some was smooth and through the Sun Yat Sen University grounds and much was in the paths and trails above the Campus on the mountainside. I'm glad I had my sandals buckled! And this is why I weigh less and have less circumference than I did in November!

We could see the coral rock from the earlier times when the island was underwater. It all had views overlooking the Taiwan Strait towards Hong Kong. It's too far and too cloudy to see HK! Our friend thought it was Monkey Mountain but we only saw 2 unless you count ME. and it may have been the same monkey as it was on the return leg close to the same place. If it was the same mountian Chris McKenzie and I went to 6 1/2 years ago it was on the opposite side. I'm pretty sure it is a different mountain.......

Oh on the way home we took the MRT and actually have been or knew how to get to all the places on the promo video as we waitied for the next train!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tears almost form

Yesterday I had a few of those 'choke back the start of a tear' moments. In some ways not sure why and in others I know exactly why but try to keep the reality of the thoughts under wraps.

Brenda arrived in Taipei and was greeted by her grandaughter with open arms.

Bryer is having her son baptised the week before we get home, another missed event.

We have less than 4 weeks left in Kaohsiung.

I don't think sadness is the feeling, just the reality of life's events. I think this retired thing is letting me be the expressive me.

Oh there were satisfied smile moments too.

Meeting at McDonalds for breakfast.

Working on some projects.

Walking with Melissa and Colleen in the park from her house to the neighborhood we would like to be in next year.

Walking as a couple. Feeling comfortable.

Laying in bed just because I could.

Ponderings

Earlier today I was listening to the variety of construction and traffic sounds and thought of the blessings God bestows on each of us every day. It's so easy to miss the fact that God Blesses Us every moment and we need to savour the fact that every day has a blessing!

Even in the times when we may have poor health, sadness or other stresses God provides blessings. Our mindset often hides the blessing from us! Sure there are everyday things we do and some aren't exactly fun but we need to occasionally remind ourselves that as Christians we hold that God's perspective guides us.

For God, a day, a week, a month, a year are very different than we can comprehend. We need to loosen our grip on time and events in order to see a glimpse of what God has for us! Some times this means ENJOY THE MOMENT with abandon! Yeah Zou! Some times this means endure patiently and watch and listen for what God has for us to learn.

Sometimes this means open up, share our heart.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend thoughts

Well the first Sunday in the new church location went pretty good. We were helping from 4 pm Saturday moving some of the last things from the old location and cleaning , cleaning , cleaning construction dust! And several were still there when we left at 11:15 last night. There were about 200 there and great worship took place! It's in a large basement room that has been modified to suit this use, there was a church there about 2 years ago. It will be interesting to see how God works here.

After lunch there was a World Games community event in the park close to the church. Kids did dancing, Sumo Wresting simulation, the Sumo Mascots came out, some actual sumo wrestlers too. We met the Chairman of the Board for the Community Association and his wife who are Christians! (and good English speakers) Her church is just a block from our new one. Yes OURS. BCC is our Kaohsiung church home even though there is no immediate Free Methodist connection. We will work on that as time permits. Hopefully have another lunch with some Free Methodist missionary/pastors before leaving.

It has been interesting to make friends here and start to think about coming back next year. This apartment has been wonderful for familiarising ourselves with the High Speed Rail, some trains and MRT. We'll see what next year's neighborhood provides and what we can provide to it as well.

Well Dinner calls. More another time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday update

Not much of Friday left here. Tomorrow we pay our last month's rent!

Yesterday we went to B&Q (Taiwan's Home Depot) and bought a few things for a couple projects. We even bought some things from my FRIEND, he speaks pretty good English and I look him up for a short chat whenever I'm there. Today I changed Melissa's bathroom sink faucet, she has most of the tools! We'll change several fluorescent lamps tomorrow.

Ladders are something else here, it takes most of my nerve to get more than 2 rungs off the floor and then most of my foot and leg strength to stand on those 2x3 rungs! And tomorrow's ceiling is almost 12 feet up! At least there is a rope between the 2 sides to keep it from doing the Three Stooges collapse! Today's 4 foot ladder didn't but I've been working on the butt clenches so I can keep it together.

Dinner with Melissa today was Bic (Okay, Big) Macs and iced tea! Right, very Asian! That fried meat was GOOD!

I learned yesterday that a dear friend is dealing with organ transplant rejection. Please pray for continued healing and successful medication treatment.

On the subject of prayer please be praying for our relationship with Jay and Julie. We will be back in Saskatoon in a month and hope to begin to restore regular friendly contact. I know it is a foreign notion for many but I have also had many share of similar anguish over broken contact. God will prevail!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another exploring day.....

While Colleen and Melissa were at the Business Women's Coffee today I explored the road to the Martyr's Shrine and then meandered back to pick them up. I really am enjoying exploring and familiarizing with the city. I even got a parking spot right next to the Howard Plaza Hotel to pick them up! I FREQUENTLY get a very close parking stall in Kaohsiung when it is typical to park 1-3 blocks from your destination.

I walked around the grounds of the Shrine, read many of the captions talking of the various uprisings in China during the early 1900's. I had expected it to be more recent but most of this is prior to the Communist rule. There is a memorial to the 228 massacre but I didn't find it in my wanderings. I only know a bit but here is a summary from wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/228_Incident. In some ways it bears a resemblance to the Estevan Riot of 1931 where a number of demonstrating miners were killed by police. People believing in righting a wrong can often pay a high personal price.

My mind wanders a bit to the people each reading this may think of.......Jesus paid a price for each of us! The difference is He is divine but none the less the willingness to suffer for someone else creates some pensive moments.

Oh, IKEA had a great roast beef and mashed potatoes lunch today. We were looking for some big pillows for Melissa to use in her common area. We're still looking for just the right thing to go on the raised platform.

Monday, March 09, 2009

CATCHING UP slowly

We took Colleen's sister and husband to the high speed rail station this morning at 6 am! It's been fantastic to have them and others visiting the last 5 weeks but the socializing means you don't get much information about our life. It will take a few more days.....

Melissa is in the process of fulfilling the requirements for Permanent Residence in Taiwan.

We are in the process of getting over colds, coughs and the realization that we return to Saskatoon in just a month. I'm hoping for lots of Saskatoon warming in late March and early April. I'm sure those living there this last winter are too!

I'll let you in on events and thought processing as they clarify over the next few days.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Phuket days..........

Thai massage techniques have wonderful results it doesn't hurt like my typical massage in Saskatoon. Maybe it is the warm ocean breeze.

And we bought custom tailored shirts, slacks, blouses and jackets. NO I don't have a new blouse! Then as we were packing suitcases 4 days later (at a different resort) I noticed one pair of slacks had the wrong customer number!! I called the tailor and he gladly met us at the airport. There were some anxious moments when in the rush to meet him I left my laptop at the security check at least it was only a few feet away.

Oh before that here we are headed to a wedding with a beach reception dinner.

It was probably the hottest day we had in Phuket and we had HOT days. Now we are back in Kaohsiung touring, relaxing and enjoying the cooler 28 degrees.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Bloggin approach

Sorry it has been so long updating people. We’ve been on the road or in the air since Feb 13th. Wow, the more expensive the hotel the more likely they charge for internet usage. Free internet access does NOT mean usage, hmmm. We landed in Bangkok and rode an HOUR through bad pollution to get to our hotel it was fantastic. The hotel, not the ride! The next morning we met at the breakfast buffet and have had marvelous breakfasts everywhere since then. It will be a challenge to go back to self prepared food. Kel & Karen are friends of Judy and Doug’s from BC, now our friends too. Nobody had fought or called each other names yet. We hired a van and driver one day visiting a flower market, China town, lunching, a jewelry factory and having a great time.




rode the river shuttle and tuk tuks the next day.


Kel bought 2 elephants from the ‘floating market’. She was floating but the market is 80 km outside Bangkok so we didn’t get that in this trip.

At the Temple of the Emerald Buddha a young man from Chiang Mai mentioned he had bought wedding rings the day before at The Oscar and our drivers ‘happened’ to know where it was. Colleen has that Anniversary ring now! And according to this gentleman I am an excellent husband……………….! THAT AND OTHER PICTURES WHEN WE GET BACK TO KAOHSIUNG

We spent the 16th leaving Bangkok and arriving in Phuket. Of course our hotel is on the opposite end of the island from the airport! Very Nice, watch for the next post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wow Feb. 10th

The last week has had wings, no jet engines!

After teaching last Monday and Tuesday we spent the rest of the week fighting colds, seeing the doctor, taking medicine, being careful and BEATING THE COLDS.

Saturday we packed for a 2 day trip to Taipei to meet Judy and Doug. We stayed in the Charming City Hotel as their guests. Nice rooms and a nice breakfast buffet included. Sunday we went though the Taipei 101 but not a clear day so didn't want to spend money to look at cloud covered buildings. We probably raced through the National Place Museum compared to most people! And we even went to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and Garden before taxiing to the HSR and back to Kaohsiung on Monday. Melissa had to bungee the trunk lid down for the last suitcase! Good thing it is only 3 blocks and smooth!

Today we took it easy but still covered a lot of miles on foot and by taxi but those are tales for another time.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Last Teaching day

Well, for now. Maybe for this year, I have implied consent to accept some between March 18 and April 3rd. I will not, should not work our last week in Taiwan!

A mixture of thoughts. I'm not sure it is a mixture of feelings though. I've enjoyed the teaching, it was a bit more like work than I dreamed it would be. It meant Colleen had more alone time and I got waited on more. Both kinda good, but close to the limit of what is best.

So one more scooter ride out to Gangshan and then ride the train home.

Oh we are both getting the medical treatment for our colds. This morning Melissa took Colleen to the doctor and as he was exploring the fibromyalgia pain points Colleen let out a whoop that scared the entire office. Melissa is still smiling. Colleen has almost stopped aching.

Oh and we have a new to us queen bed for our guests! Life here we come! Melissa gets the bed when we go home in April. Now where is home? Here or there? There or here?

Yep that is how varied my last teaching day has been and I don't teach for another 2 hours!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vacation week excitement

One of us was either getting, being or getting over being sick!

Melissa was sick last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We went to Yes Man on Tuesday. I was sick Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Friday we rode the bus from outside our apartment to the Gushan Ferry and went to the Bride Wars movie. We were planning to go to Cijin Island but the line to get on the ferry was a block long. The crowds would have been amazing on the island! Colleen is sick today and hopefully will fight it of faster than we did! Oh on Tuesday 300,000 people rode the MRT. Read it for yourself. http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=851215&lang=eng_news&cate_img=logo_taiwan&cate_rss=TAIWAN_eng

One week from right now we are packing for 2 days in Taipei with Doug and Judy before bringing them to Kaohsiung, And on the 13th we head out for our second trip that just happens to revalidate our 60 day visa. We will manage 10 days in Thailand dividing our time between Bangkok and 2 resorts in Phuket.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One week later

There just hasn't seemed to be the urge to blog lately..............prepare yourself ...........

It's Sunday afternoon and we've just listened to the December 28th and January 4th Lakeview sermons. Technology extends God's family. Life is good. It has it's moments here and over there. We've had a couple emails from home people that renew that feeling of absence, God is SO GOOD to give us family and friends that warm our hearts.

Those that follow Facebook will know Melissa has been sick this week and may now be on the mend. Medical care here is easily accessed and inexpensive but you still have to go see the doctor!

This has been weighing on my mind. We have a couple friends whose mothers are not well, please remember and treasure those around you at every opportunity. We know of at least one young couple who have lost their child in early pregnancy, pray for God's abiding presence for the parents, siblings and grandparents. I know of some and am sure there are many others that are dealing with various relationship issues and dimensions that are part of the reality of life, please pray for God's strength, patience and wisdom.

I have been a bit reflective as a CLOSE friend's mother is in hospital and declining. We are exactly half way through our time away! Maybe that is part of the heaviness in my heart, glad but sad. Some of our conversations have started to shift from this time to next year when we are here. Okay, I'll stop living on what I don't have and get back to savouring what I do have.

The time here has been everything I had hoped it would be and more but dared not expect. Sure I've taught more than I was expecting but it helps the financial balancing act. I wanted it to feel like home rather than a vacation, it does. Oh we have had the relaxing times and in 2 weeks we will get serious about that as Colleen's sister Judy and her husband Doug will be here for 5 weeks. We will spend some time in Bangkok and Phuket while they are here!

This week we will relax, wander, explore and ____________ as Melissa is off this week due to Chinese New Year break. Next week Colleen will sub 2 hours for 1 Kindergarten class and I will sub for 2 days. That should wrap up the teaching, we need to practice retirement before getting back to Saskatoon in mid April!

Oh Sorry to see Saskatoon is -30. It helps our 20 feel not quite so chilly! Now where are my socks?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US

Yep January 16, 1971 was 38 years ago! God continues to bless us with optimism and hope.

AND GOOD TIMES TOGETHER.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Taiwan learnings

YOU KNOW IT IS COLD WHEN
Steve does up his coat,
all the girls on scooters wear long pants,
Steve wears long pants,
your face guard fogs over at red lights (scooter riding),
Steve wears gloves while riding,
the Bettlenut girls actually wear a skirt,
Steve thinks about wearing socks,

YOU KNOW YOU'VE BEEN RIDING SCOOTERS FOR A WHILE WHEN
you look 2 lights ahead to see if you can slow down enough to not stop,
you park the scooter where there is just enough room instead of room for 2,
you carry groceries between your feet with your toes sticking out over the edge,
it isn't a struggle to get around a corner.

But I still can't drive through the width that I wouldn't walk through in Canada!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Scooter Riding

Never drive faster than the cars unless they are stopped!

Wear gloves at 11 degrees.

Don't rush, all you'll do is wait at the next stop light for those people puttering along.

Be content with following the crowd, the bumps are softer.

Keep the visor down, fewer bugs and less popping and whistling in the ears.

Don't look at the Beetle Nut girls, WATCH THE ROAD. I've never seen anybody wear things that small in public.

Watch out for the people that stop or turn or move over when they want without any regard for if it is safe to do so!

Always put up the kickstand unless you are intending to create a spark display.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ordinary life

This week we are back from vacation and starting to plan details around Doug and Judy's visit which includes a vacation to Phuket. It's like being a kid in a candy store without a bag and only able to use my mouth and 2 hands! So much too little time!

Teaching is back into full swing; I have one week left and then I am back into retirement. There is some subbing available around Chinese New Year so Colleen will have my undivided attention for 2 1/2 weeks. You can rejoice or pray for her!

My mind wanders or blanks about anything else to share. We marvel each day at God's goodness and provision of this dream for us. Now to see if it works in future years.

I am meeting with Tim Kinkaid, a Free Methodist pastor, in a couple weeks maybe I will become a FM advocate in Taiwan. There are several FM churches but I don't think any are using English. It is of interest but doesn't look like it will pay as well as teaching, maybe there is a travel funding opportunity though. God holds many surprises.

Oh I listened to last weekend's message at Lakeview. Even in an introduction talk DB manages to lay a CHALLENGE. God has big things converging!

Cards and letters surprises

The arrival of a card or letter is a wonderful surprise. The email and Facebook comments are very supporting and uplifting too. Every note and card has been incredibly heartwarming. Thank you all.

I was surprised by the welling tears yesterday as I read Christa's Christmas letter and then Sylvia's letter and note. I must miss them.......... Christa's wit was in fine form!

Results of teaching

My handwriting has improved so much that Melissa did not recognize who wrote her name on her Christmas card envelope!

I can do almost any amount of stairs without pain and grumbling! Okay maybe some wishing for an escalator or elevator.

The extra income is great. Now to see if it is a repeatable activity each year.