Friday, November 13, 2015

Are You Living In Fear?

It's a question that you have probably heard before but have never really applied to your own life. Mostly because the phrase, "living in fear," likely makes you think of being scared to leave your house, fly on an airplane, or swim with the sharks.

But what if the situation was more like this?  Let's say you walk into the garage and notice a crack in the wall.  Instead of making a plan to fix it, you think of everything that could go wrong because of it.  You know like, water will leak into the house and cause damage or the foundation is weak and the garage could cave in at any given moment.  Maybe you think it is going to cost a fortune to fix and all you can do is think about the money you don't have.

Instead of coming up with a plan to fix it and trust that God is in control, you worry and think about all of the worst case scenarios.  You're basically living in fear.  

That is just one example but I think many of us struggle with situations like this in our families, our jobs, and possibly all areas of life.  2 Corinthians 10:5 challenges us to, "take every thought captive" and put it to the test.   We need to ask, would God want me to worry about everything and live in constant fear?  Or would he want us to grab that thought, and throw it back to where it came from.  

We were never promised that the problems in life would disappear, but He did promise to walk with us each step of the way.

Philippians 4:5,6 -  6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Max Lucado

I probably have a unique perspective when it comes to Max Lucado because I think of hearing him on LIFE.  He always has a gentle delivery.  But apparently he is an author too :)

I came across a list from Max with a title that caught my attention, "Time Tested Truths To Guide And Navigate Your Life."  Hopefully these will challenge you as much as they challenged me.

  • When no one is watching, live as if someone is
  • Pray twice as much as you fret
  • Listen twice as much as you speak
  • God has forgiven you, you'd be wise to do the same.
  • Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
  • Only harbour a grudge when God does.
  • Never let the important be the victim of the truth

Friday, September 4, 2015

Retro Holiday Monday

We are gearing up for another Retro Holiday Monday.  Hopefully it will stir up some good memories of songs that inspired you in your youth, and perhaps still do.  Here are a few songs that were big in my High Power Youth Group back in the day (stop haven't even watched the videos yet).

Whiteheart - Freedom

Steven Curtis Chapman - The Great Adventure

DC Talk - Nu Thang

Petra - Beyond Belief

Michael W Smith - Picture Perfect

Hope you can listen all on on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's a familiar verse that most of us know and might have even memorized.  For some reason when I read it today I thought of the Toronto Blue Jays.  After some trades a couple of weeks ago the Jays are one of the best teams in baseball and might even make the playoffs this year.

I was also thinking of what goes into being a great hitter in baseball.  It takes a great swing, hand/eye coordination, accurate footwork, hand position on the bat, etc.  I'm guessing there is more but in a simple way, it shows much much detail goes into hitting in baseball.

What if the batter only worked on his footwork and hand position?  He might get a few hits, but would likely not reach his potential.  You don't even have to be a baseball fan to appreciate that.  But then I applied the same principal to our relationship with God.  I think most of us want God to intervene in our lives, but only if it works for us.

Just like the hitter in baseball needs to pay attention to, and work on every part of process, we need to submit every part of our lives to Him.  We can't give our spouse to Him but not our job.  We can't give our finances to Him but not our kids.  He says, "Submit all your ways..."  If we don't, just like the baseball player who only works on half of his game,  we won't live up to our full potential.

Friday, July 17, 2015

You Never Know

At LIFE we have the luxury of hearing new songs all of the time.  We consider it a given that every song has an encouraging message.  Unfortunately, it's probably something that we as listeners take for granted. 

But every once in awhile a song comes along that you know is special.  Not everyone is going to be a fan, but some people will "need" to hear it, if you know what I mean.

Colton Dixon's new song, "Through All Of It," is one of those special songs.  In fact, the video shares the real stories of people with unbelievable challenges in their lives.  I could try and explain the video to you but I think it's better if you just watch.  If you are going through the most challenging time in your life or you know someone who is, pass this video along.

Friday, June 5, 2015


We received a very unwelcome visitor earlier this week.  Whenever a child is napping, parents can relate, doorbell rings and knocks are unwelcome...especially if it is someone trying to sell you something.  This is what happened to me.  Not only did he want to aerate my lawn, but he insulted it too by saying, "obviously you have a huge weed problem here."

Of course he was right, There are a lot of weeds in my lawn, but it isn't easy to hear the truth. The bottom line is if the lawn continues to be taken over by weeds, the grass doesn't have a chance of being the talk of the neighborhood (I wonder if he even knocks on the doors of the people with a luscious lawn?).

For some reason, God was teaching me something at that moment.  I was thinking about Psalm 26:2

Our lives are a lot like grass.  Yep, I said it...and this will sound cheesy...but it's true.  Jesus is the living water (John 4:13-14) and the Bible is our fertilizer,  But like like the grass, something can take over and mess up our lawn if we let it...weeds.  I guess you could say that sin are our spiritual weeds.  Sin is what gets in the way of God's true purpose in our lives.    Be careful, it often starts with one weed, then two, and so on.  Don't let the weeds (sin) get a foothold in your life.  Keep your eyes and focus on Him.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Book Of James

I have always been a fan of the book of James in the Bible.  Maybe its because it's short...ha ha. Perhaps it's because it is like a motivational book for life.  It provides us with encouragement but reminds us that life will never be easy...and that's a promise.

As I was reading through it again early in the week it jumped off the page as a manual with specific instructions for day to day living.  Seriously.  Look at chapter 1:

Consider it joy when you face trials

  • They will produce perseverance
  • They will help to finish the work He started in us
  • They will help us mature
If you lack wisdom:

  • Ask God.  He gives generously and finds no fault.
  • You must believe.  There can be no doubt.  Doubt will make you feel like a wave tossed in the sea
  • Those who doubt should not think they'll receive anything from God

Wow...just a few verses in and you've got an agenda for the day.  Just like a regular day at work, you likely won't get to and perfect everything, but the plan is in place.  Go!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Greatest Hits

On Monday we tried to make Victoria Day extra special on LIFE by presenting a Greatest Hits Holiday Monday.  I know the history of Contemporary Christian Music isn't the same as mainstream music but there is a lot of history.  If you're like me and grew up going to churcha and attending a youth group, chances are you got to know some of the big hits.  

I know this will age me, but here are some of the "Hits" from the early 90's when I attended High Power Youth at Elim Tabernacle in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Friday, May 1, 2015

The Simple Things

Every night before my son goes to bed, we read together.  He is 4 so we haven't gotten into any philosophy books just yet.  Instead we read about Lego, Thomas, Peppa Pig, Mater, and Lightning McQueen.   You might not recognize those names if you don't have young children, but they are a big deal in our house.

After we read, we pray.  Sometimes Aiden prays, and sometimes he asks me too.  Two nights ago it was my turn.  I started to pray, but unfortunately I have been battling a tickle in my throat for weeks so I coughed extensively just a few sentences into my prayer.  Thankfully I made it through and prayed for the usual (safety, good sleep, health, fun days, etc).  When I finished and said good night, Aiden said, dad, let me pray for your cough.

It's funny how it took a child to remind his dad of the obvious.  It was one of those situations where I couldn't see the forest through the trees.  As you spend time with God, don't look past the simple things in your life.  He cares about the big and little things.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Behind The Scenes with Anthem For Today

I have always been a fan of live music.  A small venue, big venue, small crowd, or big crowd can all make the experience extra special.  As a fan, you excitedly scramble to the show to find the  best seat and get ready to see your favourite songs come to life on stage.

Over the years I have probably seen hundreds of concerts, but on Friday April 17, I was able to experience a different side of the live show at Circle Theatre in Alliston, Ontario.

I was able to go behind the scenes and spend the day with Anthem For Today.    I traveled with the band, helped set up the gear, ate, did devotions, watched the show, and then tore everything down at the end of the night.  

As a fan, my concert experience lasts a couple of hours.  For the band, it started at 1:30 and wrapped up after midnight when they got home.

Here is what I learned by attending an Anthem For Today show:

Travelling is sometimes the longest part.  In my case, we only travelled 45 minutes to the show and 45 minutes home.   But next week the drive is over 8 hours each way.  Bring a good book, lots of snacks, and your phone/laptop.
Every show begins with a walk through.  AFT manager, Scott Jackson, meets with the promoter to be sure everything is ready for the big show (dressing rooms, meal times, stage is clear, find washrooms [hugely important], locate the breaker panel if there are power questions, parking, find spot for selling merchandise, etc).
Setting up the stage is truly an art form.  Normally I show up and just enjoy a show and never think about how much work goes into putting it all together.  The band asks for help when they arrive to carry everything inside from the trailer.  Normally the promoter finds some volunteers.  The crew in Alliston was amazing.  But if the promotor has not booked anyone, the band has to do it – alone.  Imagine if you went to work every day and had to unload your office furniture from a trailer by yourself.  And then at the end of the day, pack it up and put it back in a trailer.  That is basically what these guys do every day, except they are setting up a stage full of equipment.  So when they arrive and see a willing group of volunteers, they are extremely grateful.
Everyone in the band has their job.  They do it extremely well and are very efficient.  They have performed over 100 shows so they have it down to a science.  What starts as many cases filled with mic cords, wires, fog machine, speakers, instruments, etc, gets transformed into an amazing concert set in a relatively short period of time.
The sound check is eerily similar to the one at your worship team practice.  Everyone plugs in their gear and starts playing at the same time…ha!  That is until the sound guy (Evan Duran) turns on his own mic (yes, he has the power) and asks them to quiet down.   Of course they quickly get to work and make sure that all of their hard work of setting up has paid off.  In this show, lead singer Pip Lucas was using a brand new microphone and when they first turned it on it sounded terrible.  But some quick changes to some of the settings and Pip was loving it and couldn’t wait to use it in the show.
All of their lights are controlled using software on a laptop.  They are even synchronized with the music.  How cool is that?  But at each venue, Robert van der Grift, makes sure each light is pointed in the right spot on stage.
Jordan Melo, G.I. Holm, and Davey Hooper make sure they their instruments are set up, tuned up, and ready to go.
Mealtime.  This is the great unknown.  Quite often you are at the mercy of the promoter.  The band asks for a healthy meal but sometimes it is less than delicious.  In Alliston, the meal was amazing (Homemade lasagna, three different kinds of bread, Caesar salad, veggie and fruit trays, etc).  Alliston Christian Reformed Church really took care of the guys.
After the meal, the band has a short time to relax before hitting the stage.   As they let their food settle, it was time for the band devotional.  The guys take turns doing devotionals and on Friday it was G.I.’s  turn.  It was so good.  He was well prepared, vulnerable, and challenging.  He read the story of Jonah from the Bible.  He reminded us how God put Jonah in a situation he didn’t want to be in.  Remember?  Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.  G.I. said, “But Jonah took time to evangelize regardless of the situation he was in.  We might have our own Nineveh, somewhere we don’t want to go.  But God can do amazing things through us.  Don’t let your own desires and insecurities get in the way of what God wants you to do.”  Amen.  Thanks G.I.
When the devotional is over, each band member goes into their suitcase (yes, they brought a suitcase for one show) to get their stage clothes on for the show.  I guess if you put the effort into purchasing thousands of dollars of equipment, you should probably look your best on stage too.  
This show was special because All Flaws In Progress (Samuel Campsall  - Lead Vocalist & Pianist, Damon Geelen - Guitarist & Current Studio Bassist, Isaiah…aka Iggy…Campsall - Drummer & Backup Vocalist) , a new band from Lindsay, opened the show.  They are a talented group of guys with a fun, acoustic sound.  They were easy to get along with and have lots of confidence for a band that is just getting started.

Finally, it was time for Anthem For Today to hit the stage.  This is it!  The travel started more than six hours ago and now the moment had arrived.  But before they hit the stage, I had the honour of praying for the night.   It was so good to be a part of something that had been booked, planned, promoted, set up, and now the band was saying, we have done our thing, God, over to you.
As I slumped down in one of the seats as the guys were about to hit the stage, I realized that I was already tired, and these guys were about to put everything they had into a show.  I was so impressed and proud of them at the same time.
If you didn’t make it to the show, here’s what you missed:
They sang their hits including Earthquake, Falling Asleep At The Wheel, Walk Away, Louder, Inside Out, Way Too Young, and soon to be hit, Raise It Up.
G.I. took over lead vocals and did an amazing cover of U2’s Beautiful Day.  As I looked around the theatre, lots of people were singing along.
They also did a couple of worship tunes.  Everyone was standing and worshipping while they sang One Way and Happy Day.
The guys also covered Hawk Nelson’s number one song,” Words,” and Anberlin’s, “A Day Late.”
Lead singer Pip Lucas got deeply personal by sharing his own history of self-harm.   I don’t have the statistics to back this up but am guessing there is at least one person at every show that needs to hear what Pip shares.  Pip is fun and makes us laugh from the stage but also knows how to speak right to the heart.  He is not shy about helping us understand that it is God’s strength that has brought him this far and will do the same for us if we ask.
Pip and guitarist Davey Hooper followed up Pip’s talk with acoustic versions of Walk Away and Classic Crime’s Coldest Heart.  The stripped down versions of songs is often when you get to hear Pip’s true talent and vocal range.
One of the highlights of any show for me is when the musicians do solos.  Davey, Robert, G.I., and Jordan did not disappoint.   It is such an entertaining part of the show.  Here's a shot of Davey's solo.

From the, “The Show Must Go On,” department, the drum riser broke halfway through the show.  But as per usual, Jordan  had a big smile on his face and finished the show by playing the drums on a bit of a slant.  Very impressive!
Oh, and Samuel Campsall, of All Flaws In Progress jumped up on stage with Pip to sing Way Too Young together.

The band does their curtain call, they bow, and the night is over right?  Nope.  Next up is a quick breather back stage before rushing out to meet as many members of the audience as possible.  They sell merchandise, sign anything and everything, and take lots of pictures.
I was also impressed to hear the guys reflect on the show.  Each of them came off the stage and talked about how they could make the next show even better.  I guess we know why they have done over 100 shows.  Each time you see them, it will be better than before.

Ok, now, they get to go home…Right?  Nope.  Now it’s time to tear everything down and pack it back in the trailer.  This usually takes just over an hour.  You can probably understand that this is the toughest job of the night because there is nothing to look forward to other than getting back home as quickly as possible.  But guess what?  No one complained.  Not one person.  Instead, they got right to their job and packed as carefully and efficiently as they set up.

I can’t believe that Anthem For Today works that hard so the rest of us can enjoy an amazing show.  I want to thank AFT Manager Scott Jackson for allowing me to travel and hang out with the guys for the day.   Thanks to Pip, G.I., Davey, Robert, and Jordan for letting me ask lots of questions and be in your face all day.    I know Friday was a great day, but not every show is like that.  Thank you for following the call that God has placed on your life.  I pray that He continues to use you, protect you, and give you creativity.     Bless you guys!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weeds Vs Man

There is one battle that has plagued mankind for generation after generation; man vs weeds. Springtime often brings new opportunities and new growth.  But no matter how hard we try, the weeds seem to get the better of us.  Lawns, gardens, and even cracks in the sidewalk lose the battle year after year.   So what's next?   What can be done?  I have an idea.  Let's put off weed pulling until later and laugh at some of these.


Friday, April 10, 2015

How Great Is Our God (World Edition)

I am the first to admit it's easy to have blinders on.  Even though we know there are billions of us living in the world, we don't see much outside of our circle.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I live in a community that needs Jesus as much as anywhere.

But there is something about the realization that there are indeed billions of people in the world.  I know we wish it would be more, but there are millions of Christians in the world.  We are not any better than anyone else but are just thankful for God's grace and forgiveness in our lives.

Admittedly, sometimes it's easy to let life get in the way of our relationship with God.  But that's why songs like this help us put everything into perspective.  What makes this version special is that it involves a perspective from all different walks of life from around the world.  Even though we speak different languages, play different instruments, and live in different conditions, we can still celebrate the greatness of our God together!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


I don't know much about construction and architecture.  Everything I know I learned from Psalty The Song Book...

The song says, "Don't build your house on the sandy land.  Don't build it too near the shore.  It might be kind of nice but you'll have to build it twice.  You'll have to build your house once more."

Bottom line, you need a strong foundation.

Have you ever thought about your own foundation?  I think we spend lots of time asking God for the big stuff (solid family with well rounded kids, good health, good paying job, big house, nice car, etc).  But I'm not sure any of those requests will work out if we don't have a firm foundation.  In the Bible, God makes our plan for life pretty clear.  Seek him first, trust beyond our own understanding, persevere through trials, etc.

I think, if we don't have that firm foundation in Him, he can't add anything because He knows the extras will just get washed away.  Once we build a firm foundation in Him, our perspective on the things we think we want might change.

How is your foundation?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beyond Me

All of our lives we are challenged to dream.  To shoot for the stars.  You might have even felt a bit of excitement after reading those two sentences.  The challenge is that we often need to get out of our comfort zone to achieve those dreams.  That's the hard part.

In tobyMac's song, Beyond Me, he reminds us that the desires of our heart are so close.  When was the last time you asked God for fresh vision, new perspective, or for something you know you can't do on your own.

Hopefully when you hear this song you will be challenged to ask for the impossible.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Table

On Monday, my wife sent me a text that I will never forget.  The text said, "Aiden just asked Jesus to live in his heart and to forgive him for the bad things he has done."  I was blown away.  Aiden is 4. He has always asked very good questions about Jesus, heaven, creation, church, etc.  But you never know how much they really understand until they explain it to you in their own words.  That's what Aiden did after watching a Chris Tomlin video for the song, The Table.  The message of the song is incredible, but it is extra special because it makes me think of Aiden's eternity.  I understand he has lots of life to live and many tough decision ahead of him,  But it's comforting to know that at the age of 4, he understands the sacrifice Jesus made for him.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Impossible

On Thursday night the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to pull off the, "impossible."  Most Leafs fans don't care what goes on behind the scenes, they just want to see their team win.  But sports is big business.  NHL teams have what's called a salary cap.  To make it fair for everyone, all teams can only spend a certain amount of money on player contracts each year.  It keeps the teams with all the money from signing contracts with all of the best players thereby leaving nothing for teams with less money.   The problem comes when you sign a player to big money and they don't don't produce what you had hoped they would.  David Clarkson of the Leafs was one of those players.  He was paid a lot of money but just couldn't seem to find his way as a Toronto Maple Leaf.  The issue was with his contract. Not only did he make lots of money this year, but was supposed to make lots of money until the 2020 season.  So...most people thought that it be impossible to trade him.   But the Leafs did it.  David Clarkson is now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Hopefully it works out for him and the Leafs.

I know it is a strange connection, but as I was reading my Bible I started to think about how God tends to make the impossible possible...often.  If you are facing the impossible right now, hopefully this encourages you.

~ Abraham was too old
~ Isaac was a daydreamer
~ Jacob was a liar
~ Joseph was abused
~ Moses had a stuttering problem
~ Gideon was afraid
~ Rahab was a prostitute
~ Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
~ David was an adulterer and a murderer
~ Elijah was suicidal
~ Jonah ran from God
~ Naomi was a widow
~ Job went bankrupt
~ John the Baptist ate bugs
~ Peter denied Christ
~ Martha worried about everything
~ Zacchaeus was too small
~ Lazarus was dead!

Friday, February 20, 2015


I have met lots of people who are fans of winter.  They love the snow, skiing, snowmobiling, skating, and hockey.  But you don't find too many people who love the cold (I mean the minus 25 and colder find of cold).  In fact, we could probably come up with our own list of, "It's so cold that..."  No joke.  Let's do it.  It's so cold that:

A bottle of Coke will go from warm to cold in 10 minutes outside.
Your car makes strange rattling sounds you never hear in the summer
Your nostrils stick when you try and breathe in the cold air
Dogs and cats only go outside for 60 seconds or less...because they have to (our cat used to groan before running outside to take care of business)
When you try to start your car, instead of the engine turning over it says, "Really???"
You buy a coffee or tea more to warm your hands on the cup rather than drink it.

I think this is a never ending list.  But the best part of it all, is how we brag about how tough we are when we speak with people from warmer clients.  Ha ha. Yep, I do it all the time.  Wind Chill Factor Survivors Unite!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day One

On tv and in the movies they make starting over look so easy.  Criminal activities, difficult relationships, and just bad choices are often fixed in the witness protection program, by starting a new relationship or leaving the past behind.   But life isn't like that.  Is it?

On the surface, starting over can seem impossible.  Especially if someone hurt you or you did the unthinkable.  That is something that needs to be worked out through therapy and other healing processes.  That's what makes God's grace so difficult to understand.   Forgiving the unforgivable and forgetting the unforgettable just isn't a logical or fair solution.  But with God, He wipes away your past as soon as you ask.  It's gone.  Yes, we still have to deal with the consequences of our actions but usually the most difficult part of God's grace is accepting it.  Because by accepting God's grace we are forced to admit that we can no longer use it as a crutch in our lives.  We keep grace at a distance because it scares us.  But God knows that while vulnerability is uncomfortable for a season, the reward of freedom is exhilarating.  

Sometimes we need to wrestle with these ideas and let them roll around in our minds for awhile before we truly understand.  That's why I like music so much.  You can listen to a song thirty times before the message finally sinks in.  Other times, the message jumps up and hits you right away.  If you are having trouble accepting that free gift of grace from God, listen to this song...thirty times if you have to until you truly experience freedom.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Life Of Purpose

I think it's safe to say that most of us us at some point in our life, if not all of us, are unsure of our purpose in life.  Sure, we can have a job, a family, good church, and still be restless.  So we search and explore, and sometimes agonize over life's possibilities and still come up empty.  I think that's why Rick Warren decided to write The Purpose Driven Life.  He knew that we all have a longing for something.  Unfortunately, so many of us never find it.

There is something called TED Talks.  They bring in special guests to give talks about creativity, productivity, leadership, motivation, etc.  I am always intrigued when someone I know is a guest, like Rick Warren.  In 2006 he was invited to speak.  This was the high point of The Purpose Driven Life book.  It had sold millions of copies all over the world and everyone wanted to know why Rick wrote the book.  His message is just over 20 minutes long, but hopefully it will inspire you for the first time and/or again to find your purpose.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Thanks to reality tv shows, we are constantly reminded that what you see isn't necessarily what you get. And yet, we tend to judge just by looking.  Of course when I say we I mean "I."   Someone posted this he other day on Facebook. It is a few years old but a good reminder that appearances can be deceiving...

Thursday, January 22, 2015


One of the greatest frustrations in life has to be when you act on something and it fails.  It is even more frustrating when it feels like God opened the door, only to have it slam in your face before you get to walk through.  How does that make sense?  If the opportunity is there, why doesn't God let you follow through.

I have been reading through the book of Exodus lately and have been reading about Moses.  In Chapter 4:21, God instructs Moses to visit Pharoah and perform some wonders that God has given him the power to do. Then God says that He will harden Pharoah's heart.   The ultimate purpose of the visit is for Pharoah to let the Israelites go right?  Or is it?    Since I was a child I saw this passage as just a neat part of the story.  But recently, I am reading in a different way.  There is a chance that God will send us into a situation knowing that it will be a dead end.  In this case, he sent Moses to Egypt to demand that he let the Israelites go.  But he still sent Moses even though he knew that Pharoah would harden his heart.

I'm wondering if Moses' visit to Pharoah had less to do with Pharoah and more to do with Moses.  If you go back a few chapters, Moses did not believe he could do anything God was asking him to do.  Moses knew God could do anything, but had trouble believing that God could use him to make it happen.  God basically had to take Moses hand walk him through the trip, the wonders, the hardening of Pharoah's heart, just to convince Moses that He would  be true to his word.

I wonder how many doors have been closed in our lives because we don't think God can use us.  He keeps throwing opportunities our way to encourage us to take steps of faith.  Until we do, He can't let us walk through the door until we are ready for what's on the other side.  God had to use baby steps with Moses before parting the Red Sea.  What baby steps are you taking right now with God?  Are you ready to take some bigger steps?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Letter

My family just wrapped up a crazy Christmas season.  I know it's crazy for everyone, but in my family we have birthday after birthday after birthday.  Toss in Christmas and New Years and we go non-stop for just over a month.

Now that the cakes have been eaten and the party hats have been put away, I can reflect on the season that was.  My daughter Leah turned 1, I turned 40, my wife Shauna turned %* and my son Aiden is now 4.

As a teenager, adults tell you to enjoy your life because time flies.  It turns out the adults were right. That's a tough thing for any teenager, current or former, to admit.  Now I get the privilege of reliving my childhood through my kids.  Seriously.  Think about it.  If you saw me playing with toys in the front yard, you'd think I was crazy.  But if I am playing with toys in the the front yard with my son, I'm a great dad.  It's funny how that works.

My favourite part of spending time with my four-year-old son Aiden is the conversation.  His perspective on life is funny, intriguing, innocent, intelligent, and humbling.  I guess that's why I found this story so great.  Not only did this four-year-old remind me of my own son with her child like innocence, but also how rewarding life can be when we look at it through the eyes of a child.

Taken from

a 4-year-old's letter to god

A True Story -- Author unknown
There is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the U.S. Postal Service somewhere...
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God, so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:
Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith.
(written by the mother of Mer Claire)
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to: God in Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, titled, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am wherever there is love.
"Love, God"
Inspiring Story

Friday, January 9, 2015

Real Life

Earlier this week, Randy Carlyle was fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Frustration had been building among fans as the team continued to struggle and often it is the coach that loses his job.

It's times like this when I need to remember that sports is a fantasy life for so many of us.  We want the team to do anything to win (trade the players, pay them more money/less money, fire the coach or general manager).  But the fact is they are real people with real lives and real families.  They often purchased houses, have kids in school, and have established friendships.  All of a sudden it is taken away.

I know I know, they make lots of money so that should ease the pain.  However, it is never fun to lose your job.  Think about how you would feel.  Will you be able to find another job?  Will it pay the same or more than the job you just had?  Will you need to move away?  Will your kids have to leave their friends and move to another school halfway through the year?  These issues are very real.

So, for all Leafs fans.  I know ultimately you want the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup.  But if you could, for a moment, pray for Randy Carlyle and his family.  I don't know where he stands with his relationship with God, but hopefully Randy will reach out to Him in this very difficult time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Different Kind Of Fun

They say that age is only a number.  That might be true, but it was probably also said by someone who doesn't have kids under the age of 5.  While many spend New Year's Eve partying until the wee hours of the morning.  My wife and I simply looked at each other after an exhausting day and said a quiet, "Happy New Year."

Don't get me wrong, I know we move through life in stages.  Right now we are in the lack of sleep stage.  A few years down the road we will be picking up our kids from the ,"New Year's Eve Youth Group All Nighter," at church.  But it is kind of fun to look at how the way you live your life changes after kids,  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Dinnertime - A mad dash to feed your kids and try to sit down and eat some of your own food before their food starts to fly because they're finished
  • Sleep - Grab some when you can.  There is no guarantee you will be able to "catch up" tonight or tomorrow morning
  • Pride - Is lost on a continuous basis.  My favourite is showing up to visit someone with food on your shirt that you didn't see before you left thanks to "someone's" hands.

Those are some of the crazy times.  But none of us would trade the best times

  • First smile
  • First roll over
  • First crawl
  • First step
  • First word
  • Conversations.  Nothing beats a conversation with a child.  You never know what they will say and most of the time what they do say it priceless.  

Before my oldest was born, a radio friend in Winnipeg said, "You're gonna love it.  Kids are so much fun."  It's was hard to imagine in the first few weeks with no sleep, but it's true.  You are also reminded, especially going into a new year, that they grow up so fast.

So...enjoy every minute of it.