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Showing posts from August, 2011

Skipping town

Vacation Monday. Sunshine. Walking. Family dinner. Tired.

Vacation Tuesday. Setting up my office in the sunroom. Playing in the pool. Family dinner. Skipping down the sidewalk with my niece. Tired.

Playing can be more tiring than work. I don't know if this means I am doing it wrong or just need to get in better play-shape. Perhaps it means we really are in need of a rest. Taking a day off is not the same as a sabbath, I am finding out.

Photo: This is a row of scooters I saw on our walk in downtown Winnipeg.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Out, out!

I was attacked by a nasty bout of food poisoning this week. Once your body senses that there are evil toxins in the belly and kicks into eject mode, there is just nothing you can do to stop the process. I won't turn your stomach with the details.... well, maybe just a few of them. I have to admit that some of the them were kind of funny.

The first wave of nausea hit while I was sitting in a meeting on Wednesday evening. After a few trips to the bathroom it became clear that staying in the meeting was not an option. Since I was there with Dean, I couldn't leave, so I dragged myself out to the car and lay down in the back seat. By this time I was throwing up every half hour. When the urge came, I would open the car door and grace the street with my stomach's rejects.

We were parked in a residential neighbourhood which meant that every so often people would pass by walking their dogs. It was uncanny how often my stomach's upheaval coincided with the dog walkers. I tri…

Fast worship

Yesterday Dean and I went to see a film called Senna, a documentary about the legendary race car driver from Brazil. Quite a fascinating and moving story. Of course, filmmakers choose what bits of someone's life to showcase and what parts to leave out, but the overall sense was that we were seeing the man not only as a great racer, but as a man who had one passion and a remarkable instinct for it.

He spoke freely about God, read his bible regularly, was referred to as a humble man by his colleagues, and obviously loved his family and his country. The racing world was not always kind to him, yet he showed great restraint in how he dealt with those in his profession.

After he won one of his first Grand prix races, he recounted that near the finish line, he went into a kind of otherworldly zone. He felt the presence of God, a sense of peace. Dean leaned over to me halfway through the movie and said, "This was worship for him." And yes, in some ways it reminded me of O…

6 words

Today all the students in the course I am helping to teach presented mini-lessons. I got to learn about everything from the definition of 'play' to wireless sensor networks. I even participated in a Portuguese language lesson. But my favourite lesson of the day was the one from an English Literature major. She presented a short lesson on the six-word story.

Ernest Hemingway, who is known for his understatement and economy with words, was once challenged to write a story in six words (perhaps as a bar bet) and came up with this masterpiece. For sale: baby shoes, never worn. He is said to have called it his best work. It is amazing how much can be said in six words. In this morning's class, we had a chance to try our hands at this concise form of writing. I will show you my results at the end, but first, here are a few more examples for your enjoyment. Some are from famous authors and some are not.

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. - Joss Whedon Wasted day.…

Naming

A friend came over last weekend and we started talking about the different types of people in our lives. There are lovers, friends, acquaintances, partners, colleagues, bosses, church people, school friends, and the list goes on and on.

Her question to me was this: why do we need to categorize them? Why must my interactions fall within a previously defined parameter? Why can't I let each relationship grow and flower in an organic way as each person brings something to the mix? Why must I slot each interaction into a formula or category I am familiar with?

Can you be a lover without physical intimacy? The monks would say, yes, definitely. Can you be a friend to someone you don't know? Yes, compassion and kindness don't have a minimum interaction quota. I think we do others and ourselves a disservice by boxing them into certain accepted ways of relating. And probably the person we are most guilty of doing this with is God.

Lord, deliver me from my desire to name, categ…

On the move

I am on the bus. Bus 51 in Montreal to be exact. On the morning commute to a teaching assistant job that I am doing for a week-long intensive course. 7 hours of teaching a day is loooooooong. But also extremely rewarding.

I love eager faces on the first day - the excitement about learning something new shining through the apprehensiveness about what is ahead. And I love the bright moments along the way: missing a bus yesterday and still getting there early! Two cello players in the metro today, playing with so much zest and verve that I had to stop and breathe the life in.

Good, long days. Intense days. Learning days. Precious days. I feel for those people who work long days at jobs they don't love with people that are not encouragers. Lord, grace to those on this bus who are weary and heavy-burdened.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

what I can't write about

Sometimes I think of a cool idea for something to write about here and then realise that it probably isn't such a great idea after all. The two most prominent reasons that happenings in my life, despite being interesting and meaningful, don't appear on my blog is 1. some of them are too personal (I do have some sense of propriety), and 2) they involve other people.

My blog is often read by people that I contact in a professional or scholarly setting. Since this website is easy to find when you google my name (and the link is often at the bottom of my email), these people sometimes read it to find out who they are talking to and get a sense of who I am. For that reason, I try to avoid overly personal details. I won't be writing about how sweaty and tired I am right now after an hour-long walk to the store and back - and they didn't even have my item available! I won't be telling the world that I occasionally suffer from irregularity or that yesterday a waiter f…

why does this keep happening to me?

I try to pay attention to patterns that happen in life. I think there is something to learn from them.

There are positive patterns. When I consistently do well in my courses and hear good comments from professors, I think that perhaps I am not only a good learner, but have the potential to be a good teacher. When I get a spurt of energy and a sense of strength after a workout, I know that this is doing my body good.

There are also negative patterns. When I eat a huge bowl of cherries and my stomach starts to rumble in complaint, I remember that this happens anytime I eat large quantities of fruit and maybe I should learn to pace myself. When I speak bluntly to someone about what they have done wrong and their face falls with dejection, I realize that this is probably not the best way to help someone improve.

And then there are patterns that make me feel like the world is out to get me. Perhaps these are the hardest patterns to deal with because there seems to be no rhyme or reason …

some thoughts on fruit

I love fruit. It is pretty much my favourite food group. Not only does it look great (much more colourful than steak or sausage), it is juicy and sweet and good for you! This spring, I decided to try growing a few plants on my balcony. Not only did I do the usual pot full of annual flowers, I dedicated a few pots of soil to tomatoes and also planted some watermelon seeds.

As I have been somewhat occupied this spring and summer with trying to keep my plants healthy and growing, I have learned a few things about fruit. When I was asked to give a talk at a church meeting last night, I took some of the lessons I am learning about growing fruit and applied them to growing good spiritual fruit in our lives. Here, then, are some thoughts on fruit.

1. Fruit is a plant that contains its seeds. This means that fruit has the ability to reproduce itself. It carries an exponential factor. Not only is it tasty and attractive, but it is meant to produce more and more every year, just like lo…