Friday, 25 July 2014

A Heap of Chemicals

While getting ready for a Haz-Mat drill later this fall I spent a few minutes the other night researching information on the Periodic Table of Elements.  I watched a number of videos.  Some were interesting and others were not so interesting.  One did catch my eye and here is why:  A human being is just a heap of chemicals!  The list was interesting, carbon, phosphorus and, of course, oxygen and hydrogen because we are a lot of water!  So I got to thinking - what would happen if you were able to get together in one place all the chemicals and compounds that make up a human being?  Would a human appear after some time?  Would you need to mix or blend?  Clearly there is something about people that sets them apart from the heap of chemicals of which their body is made.  Isn't this the human conundrum?  Why are we here?  How did we get here?  Why is the universe the way it is?  Chemicals are one thing... people are another.  Just sayin'

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Another milepost

Do you remember as a child going on a trip with your parents that took sooooo long?  You couldn't help yourself but ask "how much further?"  This never seemed to achieve the goal of shortening the trip but it did a lot for the heat under Dad's collar in the drivers seat! (Don't have it Dad!)

When I grew a bit older I was able to read the road signs and see for myself how much further to "Skooks, Halifax and Back" as the saying went in my family.

Today is a bit of a milepost in my life.  I have been married to my wonderful wife, Julie, for 37 years today!  We're going to have a nice time together later this afternoon and then have dinner at one of our favorite locations to celebrate.  The time has alternately crawled, skipped and flown by depending on what we were going through at the time.  I must say that on reflection, our time raising children went by rapidly!  That's probably hard for those of you in the middle of child raising to believe... but I am finding it to be true.  My oldest grandson will be 9 this year for crying out loud!  Seems like just a few months ago I was wondering when we would ever have grandchildren!

I'm not so worried about when we will 'get there' any more.  I want to enjoy the ride a bit longer.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What a week a work!

Someone stop the merry go round!  I wanna get off!

Since last Tuesday I have worked over 100 hrs. 
     24 Tuesday
     12 Overtime Wednesday (then slept at the Station because...)
     24 Thursday
     24 Overtime Saturday
     24 Overtime Monday

Our fire department hadn't hired anyone since 2008 even though we experienced retirements, resignations (to take other FD jobs elsewhere) and even a death from Lukemia.  The result of this has been a steady stream of overtime.  While this has been great for the checkbook it has been playing havoc on everyone in the department.   Finally this past December we hired 5 lateral FF's and today another 5 laterals started their career with us.  Still 10 new employees still don't fit the bill as we estimate we are down over 25 people.  It will slowly get better.  I'll know when I start to hear guys/gals complaining that they haven't worked overtime lately and now have to live on what they make!

On another note...  the rest of the country has been getting slammed with a really tough winter.  Here in the Pacific Northwest we have been largely unscathed... until this week of course.  There has been over 50 inches of snow in the mountains this past weekend!  That makes for avalanche problems, and snow removal problems in the passes.  Down here in the lowlands has just been several inches of rain!  (At least I don't have to shovel rain out of the driveway!)

Well... after that epic week I now have to work my regular cycle of one on one off.  That will be Wednesday and Friday this week.  So today... is a day of rest and relaxation.  Then back at it.

Monday, 27 January 2014

The 2014 Grammys - like being in church!

Hey, I usually don't bother watching the Grammy's.  It is a whole lot of self congratulation, self-promotion and 'buy my incredible record'.  However, last night I was at work and working on stuff on the computer so decided it wouldn't hurt to tune in and see 'what's happening'.  Let me tell you... it was like being in church!

Here were the messages:

All love is the same
Do whatever is your thing (with the same line of 'as long as it doesn't hurt anyone). Someone will not like what you're doing no matter what it is so go ahead - it doesn't matter anyway.
Lots of songs about 'love' (a euphemism for 'sex')
More and more about getting all you can in this life because that is all there is.

I think it is interesting that people who would be offended if they went to church and heard messages about love, forgiveness, repentance and eternity flocked to this event.  They ate up the words, nodded their heads in agreement, clapped loud and long for each performer and their message and made sure to smile big for the camera.

So really, what message brings life, health and wholeness to your existence.  What you listen to and what you tell yourself about life makes a difference.

That's my 'two cents' and a little bit of message.  Kind of like being in church...

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Some books just break your heart.

This past Christmas I received a Kindle Fire as a gift from my wife.  While looking through it and getting familiar with it I saw the books I have downloaded in the past.  The Kindle Fire has the advantage of graphics that show the book cover.  There I saw the book "Broken for You" by Stephanie Kallos.  It had been at least a couple of years since I had read it so I embarked on the read once again.

Oh my.  I had forgotten the depth of emotions this book engendered in me.  It is quite an examination of life and love, pain and loss, hope and sorrow.  I am 'enjoying' it but, Oh! does it hurt!  This morning I was eating breakfast at my favorite local eatery, The Duck In, and to my surprise came upon a passage that brought me to instant tears.  I covered my face with the Kindle certain that no one in the place could understand why a 60 year old man, reading a book on a Kindle, would suddenly be fighting back tears.  Of course this caused the Kindle to do some interesting things that I had to learn how to undo, but it was a handy 'port in a storm'.  Funny thing is that the line that got me was this, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair."  Lest you think I am losing it, this line was metaphor for a woman locked in her tower of isolation and self-imposed loneliness being beckoned forth from one who understood and wanted to set her free.  It was a powerful moment.  I am still feeling it's strength and touch.  It is one reason I so love books.

Thank you for reading.  It is my chance to try and use the medium of the written word to communicate something real.  It is such a fascinating world and to be alive in such is not to be wasted or squandered.  In "Broken for You" the main character is finally spurred to action by impending death.  I want to take action (within my Scandinavian roots of course - so it may actually not look like action) motivated not so much by death but by love.

Guess I'm still thinking through the appeal to "Rapunzel".

Monday, 6 January 2014

Learning to Love what cannot be seen

These past few weeks I have been mulling over a statement made by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4.  He says in verse 16ff:
     "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner
       man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for
       us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the
       things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are
       seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

The modern world, the world of science, demands that only palpable, measureable, physical 'stuff' is real.  God cannot be measured, felt, seen or heard.  The spiritual world is the same. So the modern world is in love with 'stuff'.  We are spending billions on proving that life came from other planets, that there are millions of earth-like planets out there and that on a statistical basis alone life should exist elsewhere in this vast universe.

As I live my life it is quite easy to love that which is beautiful in this world.  The scenes flash across my screen saver every day showing breath-taking scenes of beauty, tranquility and peace.

But Paul is tugging at my heart.  If I love these things I am learning to love something that will someday no longer exist.  It is temporal (even though uncountable years are involved and it will long outlast me) and not permanent.  Paul urges me to look for the things that are not seen because they are truly eternal.  This 'bakes my noodle' because how do I love something I cannot see?

Then I remember that Jesus made a simple statement: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also".

So I am learning how to love what cannot be seen.  I want to put my treasure someplace that won't be subject to fading away.  It isn't easy to do because my eyes work so well! 

So until next time... 'looking for invisible stuff'!

Friday, 15 November 2013

The wonder of it all

Every few weeks we take the opportunity to Skype with our oldest daughter who lives in Minnesota.  What a wonder this technology is!  Here is how it goes...

There is my daughter sitting in front of the screen with our newest grandson on her lap.  Then there are three blurs flitting about, screeching occasionally, that will resolve (briefly) into one of our other three grandsons.  We try and make comments about each one IF they stay still long enough for us to see any details, what they're wearing, how they look, what they are trying to get us to see in a modern version of 'show-and-tell'.  Soon the nearly three year old is so wound up that he is literally falling all over himself and piles of brothers and the screech level approaches ear-splitting decibels.  After 15 minutes of this we are out of things to say and simply watch the mania for another 10 minutes or so and then we have to sign off!

But I love it.

I love the fact that when these boys see us on Skype it is instant pandemonium!
I love the fact that when these boys come to see us in person it only takes a brief while before they feel right at home!
I love the fact that, though it is a poor substitute for real, face-to-face communication it is almost like being right there.  We can have a conversation! (albeit punctuated by shrieks, yells, protests and proclamations - wookie dis!)

Yes.  It beats writing a letter and enclosing a picture.

The wonder of it all!