Archive by Author


25 Jul

They Made GPS Gadgets To Boss Us Around

When I last talked to my old neighbor Ed, I wasn’t expecting to set him off on one of his pet peeves. I share his complaint; “The GPS system in my new truck almost wrecked my marriage and nearly got me killed.” His wife Ruby has another opinion when it comes to Ed and his GPS system. She claims that for the GPS to be effective, Ed must learn to watch it, or listen to it, and to follow its directions. My old neighbor claimed that he couldn’t look at the fool monitor, and drive at the same time. He hates to have a machine telling him what to do. They used it in Edmonton to search for a church for a family wedding. Ruby had to watch and repeat the instructions for Ed to follow. By the time they reached the church, Ruby had asked the bride if she understood that a husband will even argue with a voice on a screen.

I told Ed that we had used both MapQuest and our son-in-law’s GPS (Global Positioning System). There is a family push to get us using a GPS so that we do not get lost in beautiful Vancouver, BC. The family doesn’t trust that MapQuest will continue to get us in and out of the huge city when we have a specialist appointment. We have had trouble trusting the GPS, but our trust in it is building. Navigating around large cities can be a challenge when you are there as a stranger. The folks who live in big cities are comfortable with the city’s vastness, and all it has to offer, but for those just visiting it can become unnerving. Following directions is necessary when you don’t know the way, but directions must be exactly followed if they are to get you to your destination.

We will follow directions more fully if we trust their source.  My daughter travelled from coast to coast in Canada fully trusting her GPS to get her to countless destinations. For success, there must be trust built through time. Many demand that the Bible be user-friendly giving easy, clear, directions so that they can follow God with comfortableness and ease. The Bible is a large and vast book that you cannot microwave for quickly fixed answers that apply to any and all questions and directions. The success of following directions of a GPS, and the Bible, is a willing, receptive attitude.

The Bible speaks of seeds that fell on a hard path. Birds picked them off the path because the soil was so hard the seeds just sat there on the surface. Other seeds fell on thin rocky soil so that although the seeds sprung up they withered because there was not enough soil to support then long. Other seeds fell among thorns and grew alongside the thorns, but in time the plants were smothered by the thorns. Lastly, seeds fell on good ground, and there they grew and produced large crops.

The GPS and the Bible are not there to boss us around but to direct us to find our way. Neither can direct us if we have minds set against them, or don’t want to hear and follow them.

Smoke in Your Eyes

19 Jul

Wake Up With a Coffee and the Smell of Smoke on the Air

On July 10th, I telephoned my old neighbor, Ed, in Saskatchewan. He was waiting to get our new B.C. telephone number, as he knew our telephone was going into service that day. Skype has served us well, but sometimes Ed wants to be able to pick up his phone and give me an earful about things at Melville. He admits he is a talker and if he can phone his relatives in Alberta, he feels he should also call me in Chilliwack BC. When I lived next door to him, he would quit talking to me over the fence if I said what he didn’t like hearing. At least when I called him in July, he did not hang up on me.

Ed was quick to tell me that the smoke from forest fires was on the air in Melville a long distance from the fires to the north. He said that then even the non-smokers woke up to smoke in the air with their morning coffee. At that time, a hundred forest fires were burning in Saskatchewan.  I told him smoke from forest fires was on the air here, and that we had 200 forest fires at that time in BC.  Ed was sure that they could only be half as serious as the fires in SK.

Fortune Cookies

10 Jul

Even a Fortune Cookie Can Offer Good Advice

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, claimed that he suffered from my good advice for years until I moved away. One piece of advice that sure got him puffing more vigorously was my warning that his cigarette smoking was a danger to his health. My old neighbor snapped that it was his health and that he would smoke five packs of cigarettes a day if he wanted to do so. He also added that I should shut up about his health. He said that my good advice was as valuable as the wisdom you get out of a fortune cookie. I thought about Ed’s rejection of my good advice when I walked down First Avenue in Chilliwack yesterday. There I saw a worker on her work break, outside her store smoking her cigarette. I thought I should mention that it was dangerous to her health, but I didn’t do it.

Would you accept or reject the advice given to you by a stranger on the street? The next time I talk to Ed my old neighbor by Skype, I will tell him about some folks who took some good advice, and it turned to be a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. Dan Rothman and his nine-year-old son came to Chilliwack from New Jersey being advised that giant monster fish still swim in the Fraser River. They went out fishing with a company called Great River Fishing Adventures, and the nine year-old-son, Kegan, caught a 600 pound Great White Sturgeon on the Fraser River. I have the article cut out of the Chilliwack paper as proof for Ed.

Developing Character

28 Jun

Hiccups, Headaches, and Hot Weather Can Be Controlled

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was always certain anything can be controlled. He claimed that even hiccups, headaches, and hot weather need not be a problem. I thought of Ed when we faced moving into our condo in Chilliwack at the end of June. The day we got keys to our new home, Chilliwack was facing a heat wave. The thermometer was hitting higher than 34 C or 93 F. Our condo did not have central air so we could not control the heat with air conditioning. Ed even has air conditioning for his tractor, as that is the way he beats the hot weather.

It is easier to beat the heat with air conditioning, but when Ed heard we had no air conditioner his bright idea was for us to go naked and get a fan. Talking to Ed by Skype is not always productive. Nothing should be a problem, for me, my old neighbor claimed if I would have a little self-discipline in my life. According to Ed, “All the hiccups and headaches of moving and relocating to a new province should make the wife and me, masters of self-discipline.”

All The Time

27 Jun

You Did Not Have Time, or You Forgot To Do It.

Ed, my cousin from Saskatchewan, told me last week, why he thought that I do not always signal when changing lanes or turning right or left. My old friend feels that signaling needs to be done, only if there is traffic behind your car to see your signals. When I talked to Ed by Skype last week, I said that my son-in-law, Eric, told me, that I needed always to signal when changing lanes, and I sure didn’t appreciate his observation. Usually, I like my daughter’s husband well enough, but hearing the truth did not sit well with me. The truth was that when I changed lanes there was no traffic immediately near me on the interstate. Yes, the law always says signal your lane changes and turns.

Apparently, about a quarter of drivers do not signal turns and lane changes faithfully. Such drivers have claimed that signaling is optional, or they forgot or did not have time. Some also explain that they may not signal because if they signal, they forget to shut it off, and so they just don’t signal at all. Studies of causes of automobile accidents have suggested that nearly one-half of car accidents reflect a failure of one of the drivers to make a needful signal. Failure to signal, consistently, may reflect a lazy, bad habit that needs to be corrected. No one likes to hear they have a lazy, bad habit that needs to be corrected. At least I didn’t. Ed told me that since we have moved closer to family, I will suffer from more complaints from others because even grandkids will tell me what I do wrong. My old neighbor claimed it was like having more than one wife.  

Plant Food

27 Jun

Lukewarm Growth is a Problem in a Short Growing Season

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, told me last week that he went to a farm auction north of Lipton, SK. When he mentioned the farm and the name of the people who had the sale, I told him that I had been at that farm. Ed didn’t like hearing that I had visited farm families that were members of our parish when I was a pastor at Lipton. My old neighbor shuddered at the idea that clergy types could show up at a person’s farm. He complained that surely a person should be safe from religious fanatics at his barn or Quonset. When I suggested that members welcomed a visit from their pastor, and he was skeptical. Ed scoffed at my comment. He said that I should hear what people say about their clergy at coffee chats. I asked Ed if most people spoke only the truth and nothing but the whole truth at a coffee time. “Mostly, they do,” he assured me, “unless they have an ax to grind.”

It seems we all have an ax to grind about one thing or another. My daughter told me that she was very disappointed with her hanging flower baskets on her porch. They were sickly and bedraggled looking. I asked her if she had picked off the dead blooms, and if she had given them any plant food or fertilizer. She pleaded guilty to not doing either measure of plant care. After removing the dead flowers and watering with liquid plant food, the hanging flower baskets became impressive in growth and new flowers. They needed applications of plant food and personal care to perk them up.