Sunday, April 27, 2008

not today

no pictures today. didn't take one. that's quite odd for me on a saturday.
no one is more bummed about that than i.
hope you have a wonderful sunday.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It's late.
There's a lot going on in my head, but nothing seems to be able to stay in "view" for more than a few moments. Today was a good day. Some time with family. Some time by myself. Some time with God. Some time with people. Some conversation, some silence, some fun, some frustration, and a whole lot of gratitude.

I'm incredibly thankful for so much. For friends. For health. For a God that keeps me going. For my wife who loves me.

Some photos I took;
I see you, don't pretend to hide.

at rest, temporarily

edit: special thanks to Angelle M. who helped me identify this bird - it is a yellow rumped warbler

spring will come... even here

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An article I found.

There are a few blogs that I follow that are pretty heady stuff. Stuff that I don't always understand, but find interesting. His post from Tuesday is good. It's an article that someone else wrote.

It's a description of a church service in which every element of the service is deliberately done in a way that reflects that church's thoughts and vision.

Part of me really resonates with this kind of thought and expression. I had played around with an idea to do a youth service at one point (like 6 years ago) with some (only some - I hadn't thought it all through like this guy has) of the same characteristics as is described. I got hung up on the practical side of things and couldn't resolve some issues of space and how to get people to understand what we were doing. We never ended up trying it, but that idea has been there like a burr in my brain.

For many people, the change in format is too much. It would be hard even for me to wrap my head around this thing. But what I appreciate the most is how deliberate they are in presenting what they believe and what they want people to learn about following God in the very structure of their service.

Anyways, all that to say, you might want to give this one a read.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

If you preach and use the internet... read this

Found an article off Preaching Today from PastorHacks today. Good food for thought.

For the record I do look at sermons for ideas but only after I have made my own notes about the passage/topic I'm preaching on. I have at times also looked at the titles of someone else's sermons to see how they broke the book/chapter/passage up to preach week to week.

Anyways, good article,.

Photo learning

I have been trying to learn a little bit about processing and enhancing the pictures I take. Even though I try very hard to get things right in the camera, I've been wanting to expand my skills to include some photoshoppery. I promise to do my best not to end up on this website (so funny!). So after some reading on the web and some discussion in a Flickr forum, I spent some time on a picture today.

As background to this image, today was a gross day. Blustery doesn't begin to describe it. While we didn't get the quantity of snow we had heard about the wind was crazy. I have been wanting to shoot something (ANYTHING) outside so I went for a walk regardless at a little conservation area just outside of town and while I wasn't cold, I cut my walk short on account of the trees falling due to the wind (saw one topple and heard about 5 or 6 more) and I had to pick up my son from school.

Click on any of the pictures to be taken directly to my Flickr site with larger (and even full size) versions. These are best viewed larger in my opinion (but I may just be trying to get more hits on my Flickr site, how are you to know?)

The first picture is straight out of the camera.
Decay SOOC (1 of 3)
This second one is what I normally would do to the picture.
Decay My "normal" post (2 of 3)
And this third one is kind of over the top. Complete with border and my silly little watermark that I'm not sure I even like, but there it is.
Decay "over the top" (3 of 3)
For those who want to know, for this last one I started with picture 2 as background, did a "burn overlay layer" "gaussian blur overlay layer" and a selective burn layer finished up with the fuzzy border bit in the GIMP and added a 2 layer version of my silly little watermark (gaussian blurred black version as shadow under the slightly transparent white version)
All done in the GIMP 'cuz I have no money for Photoshop CS3 or even Lightroom (although I'm trying the beta, it's cool but my laptop doesn't quite meet the specs to run it well, but if you have a second monitor and Lightroom 2 beta - wow that's cool!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

from today's reading

I've been reading Dark Night of the Soul today,

came across this:

For contemplation is naught else than a
secret, peaceful and loving infusion from God, which, if it be permitted, enkindles
the soul with the spirit of love,


Randall wrote a little about silence this week. It always seems that whenever you attempt to carve out some time for silence or something like that, life conspires against you to see that it doesn't happen.

I know I need silence. I know I need space. Yet often I fear silence. I remember telling someone when I was in high school when they commented on the loud volume of my headphones while I was listening to my Walkman (remember those!), I said: All music sounds better if it's really loud.

I don't think that anymore, but I still fear silence, not as much as I did then, but it's intimidating somehow.

How do you find silence (if you can) and what do you do once you get there?

Friday, April 11, 2008


First, the rules:
1. Each blogger answers the questions about themselves.
2. Then tag five people. Make sure to let them know! :)

What I was doing 10 years ago - 1998

Graduating Bible School. Sheesh was it that long ago?

Five things on my to-do list today

1. Fill the van with gas (ouch - 122.9 cents a liter here- my van holds 103 L)
2. Pray through some church stuff
3. take a few pictures of the birds that have come back
4. continue studying for my sermon
5. Youth group tonight

Snacks I enjoy

1. pizza
2. chicken wings
3. nachos
4. chips and dip
5. bruschetta

Things I would do if I were a billionaire

1. pay off all our debt
2. buy a house outright with a yard and a garage
3. help some friends and family as much as possible
4. see stuff I haven't seen in places I haven't seen it in
5. Buy some very cool camera gear

Five of my bad habits

1. staying up too late
2. doing things last minute
3. too much computer
4. being "snarky" when I'm stressed
5. being too reactive to life instead of planning ahead and going out and making things happen

Five places I have lived

1. Ottawa, ON
2. Regina SK
3. Edmonton, AB
4. Stoney Creek, ON
5. Tisdale, SK

Five jobs I’ve had

1. Water truck driver for a landscaping company
2. Prep Cook Montana's Cookhouse Saloon

3. Media Services Coordinator
4. Librarian Assistant
5. Gas Station Store Attendant

What I’d like to be doing in 25 years ...

1. Being the "old" guy in the Pastors group
2. Living in a house with just my wife
3. Watching weddings of my kids
4. Being debt free
5. Flying (yes I'm aware that's a very "pastor" type thing to say - but that's what I am)

And I will NOT be tagging anyone else. Why? Because I don't want to.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Some time ago my wife somehow heard about "Twitter" which essentially tells the world what you're doing. Twitter is much like Facebook status updates and I likely will tie the two together.
She said
"you should add that to your blog"
I replied
"who'd want to read that"
she said
"I would, and who else matters"
"uh.......... should we watch Corner Gas or CSI?"

(I'm pretty sure it went down like that)

Anyways, for all of you (singular) that are interested I've added Twitter to my blog so you can now stalk me from the comfort of your computer chair. If you Twitter add me and then I can stalk you back.

Man, I feel like a twit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chase talks inspiration

Okay, this is kind of neat.

Back in December I wrote a little bit about a "slump" I was in creatively; and in a choppy sort of weird way I expressed that and some other things in that post. When I wrote that post I closed the comments portion. I felt like I might not want to know what people thought about all that. There was some pretty good fear happening at that time. As I think on it now, I should have let people comment (as long as it's not spam, or random links to anti-virus software websites-what's up with that?).
Creative slumps happen on and off for lots of people, not that many people actually talk about it. Anyway, I have been following some photographers blogs (as noted here) and recently one of the guys I follow has started talking about inspiration for his work.

In the first post he says:
The purpose of this post is not about the merits of all the great, traditional photography-related stuff that's available online. It's about the unmistakable absence of an important factor in all those "how to" blogs. That factor is the lack of discussion of artistic inspiration and the challenges faced by such a profession that depends on it. How do we, as artists, harness and hone our creative vision? It is innate? Is it learned? What are our struggles? In what forms do they present themselves to us?

In my opinion this is a gutsy move. I mean here is a guy who has worked for some big name corporations; and here he is baring his soul. The reason I think that a lot of people don't talk about inspiration is that it's just HARD to express that. It's hard to talk about how you can't think of anything new, it's hard to express what you feel about your passion. I find it much easier to talk technique then to talk about what my images are communicating It's easier to talk about how then it is to talk about "why". It's easier to take criticism on the technique of how I did something then it is to take a critique on the emotional impact of something I've created.

I find this to be true in photography but even in my sermons. I mean there is a creative element to preaching, not in how I bring meaning out of the scriptures, I try to remain true to the text but the illustrations and stories, the way I structure my points and words.

Chase notes in the second post:

I think that the majority of us--from time to time, in whole or in part--find our potential creative motivators falling into two categories. One pile of us thinks our lives or thoughts or desires or fears are entirely too weird, unusual, or unsafe to be interesting. The other pile of us thinks of our lives or thoughts or desires or fears or motivations as far too normal to be interesting.

If I may attempt my own paraphrase: I'm either too weird or too boring to be creating anything or doing anything of value.
He has some good things to say following that part, but I'm very interested in looking at the discussion that ensues on this one.

As far as I'm concerned he's stepped way out on a limb and made himself vulnerable; likely there is more than one person from the large list of his clients who will read what he is writing.

I have not always considered myself creative, for some of these same reasons.  I realize now, that while not everyone will appreciate the things that come from my creativity, and that's okay.  I am who I am.  My life, while it may be a little crazy to some and a little too boring to others is my life.  I will endeavour to grow in all kinds of ways, but I am coming to realize that I must be true to myself and to my God.  Maybe that makes sense to you maybe it doesn't.

At the end of the day, I guess I'm growing.  It's hard, it means I keep having to ask tough questions.  

Anyways, check out the two posts here and here.
[edited because it made even less sense before]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Big Idea

I have just finished reading one of the saddest stories that I didn't know about. Perhaps some of you knew about this but Big Idea, the company that produces the VeggieTales videos went bankrupt some time ago (2003) and is now run by different people. I've just finished the account of what all happened HERE (be prepared to read for awhile the story takes a full 11 webpages). The account is told by Phil Vischer. While a very sad story it is one worth reading, please click the FAQ after you finish to get the epilogue.

What did I learn from all that?

Simply this, and honestly I think I'll be reflecting on this for the next few weeks/months:

Be who God made you to be and do what God made you to do.

When you get some time, I encourage to read in Phil Vischer's own words what happened with Big Idea.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

tough slugging...

So I've been reading "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross. (written in spanish in the 16th century, translated into English 1930ish). It's been a tough read (for me). There is some good stuff but there's a lot to get through to get at it. I had been resisting this book a little and although I'm enjoying it, it's not easy. I usually read through things rather quickly, not so much this book. If you're interested in it you can find the manuscript on a number of websites (it's public domain now), here's one.

I thought I would post for you the "stanzas" upon which St. John of the Cross talks about through the whole book. The numbers are used like verse numbers through the book to help you keep up. Let me know what you think. If you've read the book tell me what you learned...

I might even have a series of photos in my head with regards to this book, maybe not, but I've a few ideas. Without any more fluff -


1. On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings—oh, happy chance!— I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.

2. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised—oh, happy chance!— In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest.

3. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me, Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

4. This light guided me More surely than the light of noonday To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me— A place where none appeared.

5. Oh, night that guided me, Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!

6. Upon my flowery breast, Kept wholly for himself alone, There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him, And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

7. The breeze blew from the turret As I parted his locks; With his gentle hand he wounded my neck And caused all my senses to be suspended.

8. I remained, lost in oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

here's a tip

So I came into the office this morning planning on doing some reading.
I grabbed the book I'm working through and sat down on the couch in my office; I often read sitting/lying down on the couch, helps me focus on the book and not the clutter on my desk. I had turned on iTunes to play some music, the next thing I knew I was coming too with the book on the floor and Pachelbel's Canon playing on the stereo...

Should have made coffee this morning.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy fun times?

Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain
I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. (960 C.E.)
(quote via)

I've been thinking a little about the fun in life. I've been trying this little experiment over the last few weeks, when talking casually with people I've been asking people what they have been doing for fun. Some people have a hard time thinking about something on the spot.

I understand that life is stressful. I do. I have felt more stress I think in the last 4-5 years than ever before in my life (welcome to parenthood and beyond).

So I thought I would list a few of the things I do for fun.

I play Gamecube with my boys.
I take lots of pictures.
I laugh at Olivia
I torment Tara
I play Runescape (current player stats here, an older shot of my stats here)
I play Tribal Wars (you can see my player stats here)
I have really been enjoying walking over driving (it's easy to walk most everywhere where I life)

And, I'm looking forward to spring arriving in earnest so I can do more outside.
This is what my backyard looks like right now. It's +5C so that's the right side of freezing, but it's not nearly annihilating the snow in my yard fast enough.

So hit the comments and tell me(us) what do you do for fun...