Saturday, September 23, 2006
It's official. About 10:30 last night (our time) the Sun crossed the equator on its way south. This marks the beginning of Autumn, or Fall, as we North Americans often call it.
What does this mean? Well, for starters, everyone all over the world has roughly the same abount of daylight today. But those of us closer to either one of poles get a longer twilight. So we win! But not for long. At this time of year the days are shortening quite rapidly.
Fall means shorter days are coming.
Fall means time to rake leaves (yes I've been doing my share.)
Fall means harvest, bringing images of ripe pumpkins, squash, and corn on the cob. Across the Canadian Prairies this is usually the time farmers are putting in long hours on their combines, bringing in their crops in a race against time. But not this year! It was an exceptionally warm and dry summer. The crops ripened much earlier than normal. And the farmers had excellent harventing weather. The down side--most crops were light, about half the normal yield.
Fall means preparation time. Get ready for winter, it's coming! In the Yukon, we went out and gathered in wood for our winter heat.
Fall means ministry time. In the churches we've been in, this is the time programs start for the (long) winter: Sunday School, kids clubs, youth groups, Bible studies, etc.
Fall means hunting season. For the outdoorsman, its time to put away the fishing rod and take out the shotgun. Gotta get some geese before they all fly south with the tourists and "snow birds." ("Snow birds" are Canadians who go to Arizona or Florida for the winter. That's why both places have NHL hockey teams!) The rifles will come out soon too, as men go after Deer, Elk, and Moose, maybe even Bear.(But not the Tiger that escaped during a vehicle accident yesterday. Yes that really happened about a hundred miles from here!)
Fall means sports. For Ron it means a whole new venture as Assistant Coach of the Wolves, his collenge Baskeball team. For the amature, it's the beginning of Basketball, Football, and Hockey. For the couch potatoe, it's smorg time! Baseball teams are racing into the finals. Football is in full swing. And Hockey teams have started the pre-season.
Fall means work, and lots of it. Stores are busier, so Colleen is busier. People are wanting to get their homes ready for winter, so I'm busier making doors. Too busy!
Fall means change. We go through Fall every year but its never exactly the same. For one thing Colleen and I have changed churches. Something we've never done, except to take a Pastorate. We are enjoying it and looking forward to getting more involved. In all the changes we go through, our unchanging God is there, to guide, support, encourage, forgive, and carry us as we lean on Him.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Where Were You?
2.Where were you when Paul Henderson scored the goal? (You have to be Canadian to appreciate that one!)
3. Where were you the morning of September 11, 2001?
1. I was in grade seven, eating my lunch with fellow classmates in our grade 7-8 calssroom in Sylvan Heights School. Our teacher, a Mr. Lord, came back from the staff room and said: "President Kennedy has been shot." One student asked: "With a gun?" The teacher made fun of his question when all he was doing was trying to come to the reality of something almost too shoching to understand. In our young lives, we'd never yet heard of anyone being assassinated. We spent most of the afternoon lisening to a radio quickly set up in our classroom. Sketchy details were filled in and the official announcement of JFK's death was made.
2. As a hockey-loving Canadian, I have to pass on this one. (But most Canadians know.) I think I was too busy with Bible College. In 1972, I believe, there was an all important Canada-U.S.S.R. hockey series. For most Canadians this was the height of Canada's invovlement in the "cold war." Near the end of the deciding game, Paul Henderson scored the winning goal which has become known as "the goal of the century." Later on Paul Henderson became a Christian and used his fame as a platform to present the gospel.
3. We were on vacation at Ron's in Chetwynd B.C. Colleen and I were sleeping in (naturally!) when Ron's wife came to the door and said we had to come hear what was happening. As the news events disclosed what had happened, I told myself: "This is the end of life in North America as we know it." A few days later we crossed the reopened border into the United States. It was about 10 p.m. just north of Kalispell, Montana. There were no lineups there. The border officials were more thorough than normal and found a packed of pictures from Taiwan in a suitcase. They asked about them and Colleen said: "Oh, they're from our son in Taiwan." We were through the border in 5 minutes. Wherever we went we saw flags, flags , and more flags. A huge one had been strung across the street in the middle of Whitefish, a small community north of Kalispell. In downtown Kalispell, Missoula, or Stevensville, you could not look down a street without seeing at least ten flags.
On our way home, about a week later, we were stopped and I.D.'d by the U.S. border officials as we left the country. Never had that been done before, or since! We overnighted in Radium Hot Springs. Everyone I talked to in the pool was there because their flights home had been cancled, so they were enjoying an extended vacation. There were people from the U. S., Australia, and Germany.
Suzanne, Colleen and I had tickets to a Gaither concert in Calgary the next evening, but it had been cancled.
Last night Colleen and I watched "World Trade Centre." I thought is was an excellent portail of what it was like to be involved in 9-11 as a rescuer, or as a loved one.
It makes me thankful to God, and to the people who watch over us, for the freedom and protection we enjoy. May we not take it for granted.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
They Came. They Saw. They Conquered!
Saturday was a beautiful day. While Sue and her mother slept in, Brian and I took the kids for a walk around town, including the PRBI campus and a playground. Ron and Jen came out and joined us for Dinner: Tacos and ice cream and strawberries. Then we played Bocci Ball and Frisbee in the back yard. Until the Frisbee went into the neighbours' yard and Grandpa had to retrieve it. But first chedcking with the owners so Max (he's half blue healer) wouldn't literally tear a strip off me.
Sunday, after an excellent time at church we joined Ron and Jen for lunch at McDonalds. We spent the lovely afternoon at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park. (It has not been an Island for 85 years.) The kids had fun catching fresh water shrimp. On the way home we stopped at the Visitors Center in Grande Prairie. Brian picked up some maps and tour books. He's a collecter of such things. We took the kids down to the the small museum in the basement. There they saw a Dinosaur, Dinosaur bones and a Mammoth with authentic tusks. (Yes, Dinosaur bones are found in this area.) The evening was relaxing with more Bocci Ball. At one point I was winning, 8 to 0 (over everyone else playing), but Brian surged ahead and beat me 10 to 8! So they did conquer, at least at Bocci Ball.
Monday morning the Dumont family left by 9:00 so they could spend some time at Brian's Mom's. She now lives in Mayerthorp, right on the route about half way back to Camrose.
It was short. It was good. We miss them but we are glad for the excellent time we had together, and for the memories we cherish.
P.S. We also had success at trapping the mouse who managed to sneek into the garage.
Friday, September 01, 2006
How Many Planets Are There?
When I was in school, I learned, as we all did, that in about 1930, the ninth know planet of our solar system was discovered: Pluto! Well, this is "the rest of the story," so far! A few years ago a tenth planet was discovered. It has been unofficially named Xena. And its status is still unofficial too. Xena, pictured above, is 96 astronomical units away. (1 AU = the distance between Earth and the Sun) The "star" in the picture is what the sun looks like from Xena. Xena has an elliptical orbit and will eventually come to within 38 AU. But one orbit takes 560 years. Pluto also has an elliptical orbit and can be as much as 50 AU away or somewhat closer, depending where it is in its 249 year orbit. So Xena crosses Pluto's path every now and then. And Pluto crosses the path of Uranus too. Both planets are quite small, about one fifth the size of mother Earth.
So, are Xena and Pluto planets? Thats the big question. The discovers of Xena want to make it the 10th (or 12th) planet. But, as you may have heard, Pluto has just been officilally downgraded from a planet to whatever! Why? Its too small to be considered a planet. So, I assume, there goes Xena's hopes for stardom, or should I say "planetdom!" So, all hopes aside, there are only 8 official planets, not 9 or 10 or more.
To me here's the irony! The word planet means "wanterer." Xena and Pluto are the only planets with wandering (elliptical) orbits. And we can't call them wanderers!
UPDATE: Ron just mentioned to me that there are some 12 planets. How many? A moon and an asteriod have been considered planets by some astronomers. The answer to this question comes down to definitions, and its been a hot debade among astronomers. The biggest issue is size. There are now some fifty known space objects that could possibly be considered planets. But a decision, it seems, has been made. Pluto and all smaller objects have been down-graded! There are eight planets and at least four dwarf planets. More, I assume, may be found in the future.
God has created an amazing Universe with millions of Galaxy clusters (only three discinct sizes, by the way), with millions of stars in each Galaxy, and here we are on a mid-sized planet, just the right distance from a rather small star we call the Sun, in a rather safe place between a couple of the Milky Way Galaxy's arms.(See "Faith and Science" below.) And we are miniscule creatures on this planet. Yet God takes a special interest in us and loves us dearly. May we respond to Him in like manner.