Monday, October 27, 2008


Grandpa's Little Helper

Roger is definitely "Grandpa's Boy!" Whenever he comes over he comes straight to me and wants to be picked up. Then he goes looking for my tools and is not content till he has one in his hand. Usually a screw-driver is all he needs.
When he's in the back yard, he knocks on the garage door. He expects Grandpa to be inside with more tools for him to play/work with.
The other day Roger and Brian helped me install a bathroom fan. Brian was in the attic fishing wires etc. where they needed to go. I was on a step stool in the bathroom. And Roger? He was handing me tools. I would trade with him. He was very good at reaching the tool up to me. That's the first time he's done that.
Maybe some day he will be "The Tool Man."
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New Life, New Lifestyle

Having started a new job that is quite different from what I have been doing feels like I've entered a new life. I'm doing basically the same thing as Brian has been doing. I am a "Life Skills Worker" in a group home for people with developmental disabilities. My home has three clients. Two of them require 24 hour supervision. Most days they go to a special training program or a workshop. Thus most of my daytime hours are off. But I work evenings, some overnights, and mornings. I'm just starting and have almost finished my training.

This morning I went to the doctor, Tim Horton's for coffee and muffins, the gas station (surprise, gasoline is under a dollar per liter), the bank and the park. Below are some pictures I took there.

These swans are here year-around The ducks will fly south.

The view of Camrose across the lake. I helped build the white seniors' condo in 1992.
A view of the St. Mary's Hospital. Both Thomas and Roger were born here.
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This is "Rose Haven." It is a long term care facility for seniors now. Originally it was "the Normal School," a school for teachers back when all they needed was a one year course after high school to become teachers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Over and Done With!

Yes, its over and done with! Well, here in Canada anyway. While you, my American friends, have gone through months of primary elections, choosing running mates and public debates, we also had an election. And it didn't start until early September.

Our Canadian system is much different. The Prime Minister can call an election whenever he wants. But at least once every five years. Then the candidates have only about a month of campaigning before the vote.We had one about three years ago. Now one was called in September. Election day was Tuesday.

Our elections are different too. We only vote for our local representative, or Member of Parliament (MP). The party with the most MPs forms the government. Also, we have four parties so it is possible for no one party to get a majority. This has been the case for some time now. The four parties are: Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic Party (NDP -a more right wing party) and Block Quebecois which is only in Quebec.

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an election with the hope of getting a larger number of seats, maybe even the majority of them.

Canadian politics is also very regional. Quebec has a large population and a unique party called the Block Quebecois Their main platform is separation form Canada. Most of western Canada is strongly Conservative. But then there's the New Democratic Party which has strong roots in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Atlantic Canada and Ontario have stuck pretty much with the two main parties. Whether we get a Conservative or Liberal government almost always depends on what Ontario does because it is such a big province.

So what happened on Tuesday? Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives gained 19 seats to have 144, about 11 less than he needed for a clear majority. So he will have to work with the other parties a little bit to pass bills.

The Liberals are still the official opposition but have lost 27 seats, dropping to about 75.

The NDP gained 8 seats and now have 36.

The Block Quebecois lost one but still have 50, all in Quebec of course.

This political diversity makes for some interesting and unexpected alliances.

Now its time to get back to work.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


One Busy Week!

Uncle Doug when he was young.

Before last week began I had already volunteered to preach in my old home church, Church of the Open Bible, in Ponoka. It's just an hour's drive away now. And I was looking forward to doing some preaching since it has been about six months since my last speaking engagement.

Monday. 6:40 a.m. What's the alarm? Oh, just another work week!

Monday, 10:00 a.m. E.T. phone home. My cousin wants to know if I will do his father's funeral. He is in long term care in Wetaskawin, but he is now in a coma.

Monday, Noon. E.T. phone home again. I have the opportunity to do another "working interview" for a potential job I would like to get.

Monday, 5:30 p.m. I call my cousin but he has a bad cell connection.

Monday, 7:00 p.m. My cousin finally calls back.

Monday, 8:00 p.m. I am now in Wetaskawin. I spend about half an hour visiting and praying with my uncle Doug. I have no idea how much, if anything, he can comprehend. But after I pray with him, he is definitely more peaceful. Did my spirit connect with his spirit? I don't know.

Monday, 10:00 p.m. My cousin calls to tell me that Uncle Doug is gone. I learn later that he died within five minutes after I visited him.

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. I call and make arrangements to have my "working interview" Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. My cousin and his wife come and we make funeral arrangements for Uncle Doug. I agree to lead the funeral and also do the Eulogy.

Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. After a very hurried shower and supper I'm at my working interview. It lasts until about 9:30. I feel very much at home there.

Thursday, 5:30 p.m. I get a call asking me if I will take the job I interviewed for. Now, in the midst of everything else I have a "final decision" to make.

Thursday, 7:00 p.m. I'm at the computer putting together a funeral service, a message, and the eulogy for Uncle Doug.

Friday, 3:15 p.m. I give my current boss my two week notice.

Friday, 4:00 p.m. I call my new boss and accept the job.

Friday, 6:30 p.m. Suzanne and Roger join Colleen and me for Pizza supper. Roger sleeps over at our place.

Friday, 8:00 p.m. My twin brother Ted and his wife Jeanne arrive from Kallispel Montana, a 12 hour drive. We visit and I try to get some work done on my messages for the next day and Sunday.

Saturday 4:00 a.m. I wake up and decide to work on my Sunday message. I make some changes and now I finally feel like its coming together properly

Saturday, 7:00 a.m. Roger wakes up early. He lays in Grandpa's lap in the recliner chair for a while.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. Suzanne joins the rest of us for brunch.

Saturday, Noon. I head out to the funeral. Colleen, Ted and Jeanne come a bit later. The funeral goes well. We see a number of cousins we have not seen for a while.

Saturday, 5:00 p.m. We have supper with my sister, my three brothers, and their wives.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. We are back home and I have some time to visit with Ted before finalizing my preparations for the next day's message.

Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Ted and Jeanne leave to go back to Montana.

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. Colleen and I leave for Ponoka. It is foggy but not too bad.

Sunday, 11:00 a.m. The service goes well. The lapel mic does not work. The power point does not work. But the Holy Spirit is working through me just fine. That's what counts!

Sunday, 12:30 p.m. We go out for smorg with my brother Jim, my brother Bill and his wife Lynda, and Cliff and Eretta Reimer. They are semi-retired missionaries we have known for years. He was the one who asked me to come and speak through October.

Sunday, 3:00 p.m. We are home and we both decide we need a long Sunday afternoon snooze!

The new job? It begins on the 20th of this month. I will be taking training and then working in a group home that has three mentally challenged adults. I will be working more evenings and overnights than days. (Brian works at another similar home.) Its kind of like having a family of kids that never grow up! I'm actually looking forward to it.

My cousin Jeff who lost his father, my twin brother Ted, another cousin James.

The four brothers: Jim, Me, Bill, Ted.

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