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Journal Entries for May 2004
May 11, 2004 - 1:17 am
Only in Calgary...

I was leaving work tonight about 12:15 am and saw something that was a first for me, but didn't really surprise me none the less... It was snowing outside, nothing short of a blizzard -- and the underground sprinklers were on. Like I said, only in Calgary.

I've finally had a chance to add a few more pictures to the photo album. I got my half of the pictures from the camping trip Bo and I went on last weekend that didn't really go quite the way we had planned it... I also opened a new album devoted to pictures from Bo's house and there are some great ones of Bo and Madisson on there already. I also got another chapted in the section of BJ too. He's such a cute puppy. I was over at Lucy's house last night wishing her a happy mothers' day and she informed me that Duke, BJ's brother, died of old age a few weeks ago (April 8 or 9th I believe was the date her and Dave said.) So that was kind of sad. Duke and BJ were always getting mixed up by the SPCA when he still lived next door to us... Duke was often getting out of the yard and patroling the neighbourhood, whereas BJ didn't get out nearly as often. But the animal control officers had to run his (BJ's) tags several times before he was convinced that he wasn't Duke because they looked so much alike. Hard to believe it's been 12 years since we got him. I remember him being small enough to fit in both your hands when you cupped them together, and the first night we had him he cried all night. Lucy couldn't believe when I told her how active BJ still is, running around, playing and dancing just like always. You'd never know he was as old as he is by the way he prances about. Just last night I was over there and he and I ran around the kitchen through the bedrooms and all over the living room. But he still sat perfectly still with a Milkbone balanced across his snoot until I gave the word that he could eat it. He's such a good puppy. But there are some signs of his age if you look for them... When he's not all hyper and just sauntering around the house you can tell he's got arthritis in his joints. And sometimes when you look at his eyes you can tell he's getting old. It saddens me to think that his days might be short. I love my puppy. Little snootsie.

On a brighter and cheerier note, Becka called me on Friday from Ontario and we talked for about half an hour. I miss her a lot. It's kind of strange how we'e never been so far apart and yet so close. 98 Days till she gets back! That's a day that can't come too soon.

I had another breakthrough today... This day marks the very first, real time live credit card transaction to take place on! Needless to say it's quite a milestone... It's been quite a long time coming and now that we've reached this stage I am realizing there is SO much else to do... It's crazy how much work there is involved in a site like that and sadly, the average visitor will never see all that work because it's all in the back end. But if that web site will do the kind of business we are predicting it will do, it will be quite an achievement! So far I have coded probably close to 512k of PHP script / HTML / JavaScript. I don't know how many thousands of lines that is but it's quite a lot. Once I get all the basic modules and components of the site done I am going to print out all the code for it and see how many pages it comes out to. I am sure it will fill a 2" binder, if not more! It's exciting to be a part of something of this magnitude, and everyone we've pitched the idea to is very excited about it as well. It won't be too long before you start to see signs up for and hear about it on the radio and maybe even see TV commercials for it! Did I mention I love my job? But now I must get to bed. No doubt I will be tired in the morning! Have a good day!

May 15, 2004 - 9:59 pm
What a day this has been. Today was our 'training day' at Grace for the mission trip I will be going on in July. This will be the second mission trip I'll have gone on in my life. We spent the first half of the day studying the Bible and searching (our) hearts to find out what things are influencing our lives the most right now, what our motives are for doing the things we do, what things we need to give up in order to make this trip successful and what areas of our lives need to changed now, during, and especially after the trip. The first couple of items on my list of influences probably would not surprise anyone, I put work as my main influence. Lately I've been spending the biggest part of most of my days at work. The second item on my list was friends. The next biggest part of my days is spent with friends in one way or another, from eating out at Boston Pizza with Jessica to camping with Bo or even just talking in the evenings with Luke at home, friends have a major influence in my life. I put my family next, I think about them often and have been stopping by to visit as frequently as I can spare the time. The fourth item might actually fall higher in the list depending on the circumstance, but fourth on my list I put ego / pride. As much as I try to be humble, there are some things in which my pride flares up and it is very hard to put others before me. And yes, I have an ego. While I can say with all honesty that it does not make the majority of my decisions, I can't say that it has no influence either. Learning to reduce the influence pride plays in my decisions is something I have been working on lately. Some times I succeed, other times I fail. It was a good time of introspection. Usually the first step in correcting problems is identifying them. You have to know where the problem lies before you can begin to address it. I have identified a number of problems today that I need to begin addressing.

The second part of the day was spent working in our ministry groups. Essentially we have three groups going to Soledad this year: VBS (Vacation Bible School) for the children, Adult Outreach which visits the nursing home(s?) in Soledad, does various outreach work in the community and will even be going to the prison in Soledad. The last group, the one that I am in, is called Servent Evangelism and we will be performing labor-intensive acts of service for the city of Soledad and for families in the community. After discussing our roll and working through some more preparatory material, we took half a dozen rakes, a box of garbage bags and a lawn mower and started going to houses around the church asking the owners if we could mow and rake their lawns. Not surprisingly, our free service was met with varying degrees of acceptance. The first family we visited gladly welcomed our services and came out and talked with us as we worked. They even brought out juice and cookies when we were done. One guy saw us working at one of the houses, stopped in his car as he drove by and asked us to come help him at his house. We went to the address he gave us but there was no answer so we continued on to other houses. One lady couldn't believe that we wanted to mow her lawn for free. It says a lot about our community where a group of teenagers offering to help out without expecting anything in return is met with great skepticism and even confusion. Helping others seems like a foreign concept to so many. But it was a very rewarding experience. Needless to say, I am quite tired tonight. I'm sitting in the lobby of Grace as I write this, waiting for the guys playing roller-hockey to finish so that we can go to Boston Pizza. After working together with some of the members of our team today, I am beginning to get really excited about this trip and looking forward to seeing what God is going to do with us and through us as we prepare, as we serve in Soledad and after we return home. I have great expectations.

On a lighter, tastier note, have (you) ever tried those Cactus Cuts from Boston Pizza? They are basically thinly sliced potatos fried and served with a delicious dipping sauce. I could definately go for some of those tonight. I might actually order two. I can't believe how sore I am. Last night I went climbing with Bo, and man has it been a long time! I could barely climb a 5-7, nevermind a 5-9 or 5-10... It was brutal. The muscles that you use in your wrists to clasp things get a nasty workout when climbing and I got to the point where I just could not hold myself to the wall anymore. Then Bo and I did some weight lifting and exercised our biceps until they would not lift even the bar anymore. It was quite an effective workout, you start with a decent amount of weight, lift that as many times as you can and then lower the weight, lift that as many times as you can, and repeat. Eventually you get down to the last weight (which I think was about 17 pounds) and my arms were so tired that I could barely lift it 5 times! Of course, that's when all the hot girls walk by... They see you trying to lift 17 pounds like it's 200. A little embarassing but what can you do? Needless to say, today I was quite stiff and sore, and after mowing those lawns today my arms were considerably tired and sore again. Now I can't wait to go to BP's, get some night snack to eat and then go home and go to sleep. Tomorrow is my last small group class at Grace before the summer and I haven't even got a single note written in preparation for it... Hopefully I can use tomorrow morning / afternoon to prepare for it. So far the class has been going good. I've been teaching it on Hebrews and using Grandpa's book, An Old Man Looks at Hebrews for a lot of my ideas, examples and insight. It's quite interesting because as I read the words pain-stakingly typed therein, I can often hear Grandpa's voice in my mind, saying those words. Even some of the stories he uses in there I remember him telling me. I think the class has gone well, it's been my first teaching experience and I know there are some things I need to improve, but I believe my messages are getting across. It's a challenge and a reward to teach. You are challenged to know the material you are presenting in great depth, but rewarded by seeing the material accepted and understood by those you teach. I'm sure it will not be the last class I'll be teaching. I really have to give God the credit though, for me walking into that situation with literally NO experience or even training of any kind, and being able to come away from it and receiving acknowledgements of successful delivery is nothing I can take credit for. He has given me what gifts I have and shown me things in Hebrews to highlight. Even now, as I write this He has told me something interesting about purpose. Often people try to find their purpose in life. Questions like, "Why am I here?" "What is the meaning of life?" etc. all imply seeking one's purpose. But compare the word purpose to the word 'use'. You could say, "This screwdriver has many purposes" or you could say "This screwdriver has many uses" without really changing the meaning of the sentence. And since use implies action -- to be doing something, nothing which has a purpose is self guided. Even an airplane which may have an auto-pilot function still had that function programmed into it, given to it by another -- those who created it. Therefore, it makes sense that in trying to find your purpose in life, the best person to ask is the one who created you, God. He has a purpose for your life, but remember that purpose can also be stated as a use. For every person God created, he also planned a purpose, or use. But that use implies an action. Use is both a noun and a verb. You can have a use, but you can also be used by God. He created you with a specific set of talents, abilities, personality traits, physical attributes, and so on, all with a specific plan or roll for your life. He didn't just create you, He created you for a reason -- to do something specific. And all of those things about you which make you unique, some of which I just mentioned, are what set you apart from everyone else when it comes to fufilling your roll in His plan. You've probably heard the old saying, "The right tool for the job." The same can be said of people. Where a lot of people struggle when it comes to God's plan for their life is in the way God reveals it to us. I've always been the kind of person who likes to plan trips before hand. As much as I went camping sporattically with Bo over the years, given the choice I much rather know where I'm going, how I'm getting there, who I'm going with, what materials, supplies, and tools I will need along the way, and so on. But God very rarely reveals his plan to us, but he will always give us the compass and heading. That's a hard thing for a lot of people to accept, myself included, because all we have to go on is faith in God's direction that he is leading us in the right direction. But without knowing exactly where we are going can be scarry. It requires faith and trust in the one who gives us those directions.

Well it looks like the hockey guys are finishing up and getting ready to head out of here. So I will do likewise, but consider this: Whether or not you choose to believe it, God created you, He knows you, and he has a plan for your life. Do you want to know what that plan is? Do you want to have the sense of fufilment that comes with knowing your are doing exactly what you were created to do?

May 19, 2004 - 1:09 am
There are a lot of folks who can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in Canada. There's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We simply didn't know we were getting low. The reason for this is purely geographical. All our oil is in Alberta — All our dipsticks are in Ottawa.

What a gorgeous day it was today! I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a fair portion of it outside this afternoon and evening working on my van. No, there's nothing wrong with Rusty, the Red Dragon, I was just doing some upgrades to his electrical system. I'm quite sad to say it doesn't look like our plans for the May Long Weekend are going to fall into place quite the way we've been planning -- but that just means there's a greater chance I'll go to Pine Lake instead for at least part of the May Long weekend. Too bad the forecast for the weekend stinks, but then again when have we ever had a good May Long weekend? Not that I can recall...

I jogged home from my parent's house tonight and it was absolutely gorgeous! I just got home about 20 minutes ago and since they're going to be doing street cleaning in our area the next two days, the city left a nice notice on my bike asking if I would please move it off the street for the next couple of days. Well, I was still in my shorts and t-shirt from the jog home but it was such a nice night I just went in, grabbed my helmet and jumped on the bike, taking it for a quick ride around the block to park it in the back. I don't think there could have been a nicer way to cool off after my little bit of exercise. It was a perfect night. Actually, it reminded me of that night Raedene and I rode to Stony Plain. It was raining lightly but we didn't care. Warm summer rain drops splashed on our sandal-clad feet as the bike sped along a dark country road, the only light around us was from incredible flashes of lightning which lit up the fields and trees around us and cast instantaneous shadows all around, freezing each moment in it's own still image. I don't think I will ever forget that night.

Man my sunburn is itchy! It's been driving me nuts all afternoon! I wish it would hurry up and peel! I guess I'll have to do it myself this year... haha Oh well. Anyhow, I should get some sleep. Have a great day!

May 22, 2004 - 11:58 am
I'm Peeling

I'm Peeling

Which, considering it's only the May Long is probably not a good thing. I need to start using sunscreen. After continued persuasion by friends and family I think that if it's not already too late to prevent my aquisition of skin cancer that it is definately a step in the right direction. A funny thing happened last summer concerning sunscreen... I brought up a brand new bottle of the stuff, and when we were pumping up the RAID tube under the roof beside the store (You know where we all hang out when it's raining) -- Someone grabbed my brand new tube of sunscreen! I never did get it back or find out who but I thought it was rather amusing none the less.

I think I will head up to the lake today to check things out. I've got to finish cleaning out the back of my van and run a few errands in town but I'm planning on heading out there. We have a trailer to haul our raft now, and one of the things I'm meaning to talk to Luke about is whether or not I can float my raft out there. That would be pretty fun, I think everyone would get some good fun out of it. I guess we'll see what happens, but it looks like we now have a way to get it off Bo's front lawn! hahaha. Anyways, enough time sitting here on my laptop, time to go do something! Have a great May Long everyone!

- May 22, 2004 - 11:31 pm
Well, there have been some big changes at Sandy Cove. I'm lying in my tent at the moment which is situated in roughly the same place as I always used to pitch it, but this year you would not recognize the tenting area. They've basically cut into the hill and set up two levels of giant lego-shaped concrete block retaining walls. Then in the flat space between the two walls they've filled with sand. It is on this sand that I am now sitting. Then they've installed two wooden stairs in the wall. Basically the beach now extends right to the trailers and anyone wishing to tent has to do so on the sand. Now I've never been overly fond of change and so far I can't say that I really like this new setup. First of all, from a practical standpoint it's almost useless trying to peg a tent down in sand. Fortunately for me there is barely a breeze right now but if a strong wind were to come up I don't think my tent would stay put. Second, because of the wall behind me, any wind that comes in off the lake, from either side, comes whipping along this corridoor. Combine this with point number one and the problem increases. Third, there are no trees anywhere near the tents now so I've got no shelter from either rain or sun. First thing in the morning, if the sun is out I am going to be baked out of this tent. My fourth point I will put in brackets because I'm not quite sure whether it will be a problem or not. Since this is all sand under me, if it rains hard I might find streams running all around (or worse, under) my tent. On the other hand, it might provide some drainage too so maybe water won't be as big a problem. But whether or not the water running around becomes a problem, point number five is the mess. Wet sand is messy. Even dry sand tends to get into shoe grooves, socks, sandals, etc. and will inevitably get into the tent, maybe even the sleeping bag and there are few things more annoying than a sandy sleeping bag. Sixth, it just feels like you're right out in the open. There is no privacy here whatsoever. I mean, before when my tent was in that little corner there, I had that big tree over top of me, I had the hill behind me, that trailer beside me and that little bush in front provided a bit of privacy from the water. From a technical point of view, it looks good, professionally done, well constructed, etc. But from a tenter's point of view, I have to ask: What were they thinking? Even if you wanted to put in the retaining walls, ok. But put in grass, not sand! As one who has spent several years tenting in this spot, I say give me back the goliath steps and green grass because I don't like this. And I can't say that I will be returning to tent here much, if at all, this summer.

So now that I've got my tenting peeve out of the way, I can't help but marvel at how long the mantle in my lantern has lasted. Several years ago, Telle and I went to Scotty's to buy a new mantle for my lantern, but then we had to walk all the way back to my tent and back to Scotty's again because I forgot my wallet. I was so used to having a tab at Sandy Cove I didn't even think of money. But I was looking at the lantern here dangling from it's string in my tent trying to remember when the last time I changed the mantle was, and realized that I haven't changed it since that time. There aren't even any holes in it! Considering how fragile it is and how far it's travelled, that's pretty amazing. Blink 182 is playing softly through the little laptop speakers under my palms and every letter I type changes the sound coming out of them. This song is actually fairly suiting at the moment. I was sitting on the heater tonight looking out over the lake as tiny reflections of sparkling light danced on the cold water. It's strange how the mind can recall so many details when you bring it back to the places those memories were made. Almost a year and a half. I wish I'd brought my guitar. I was actually thinking of it, now I'm not sure why I didn't. Probably forgot. I can't believe how nice it is tonight. Considering it was pouring rain in Calgary when I left and rained all the way out to the lake it's been really nice out here. It hasn't even rained! I'd almost go out for a seadoo ride! Too bad I left the Seadoo at home too...

Well, my eyes are getting pretty tired so I think I'm going to head'er to bed and listen to the sound of the waves lapping against the new shore. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Goodnight.

May 24, 2004 - 3:19 am

Have you ever seen Lion King 1 1/2? You know that part where Timone goes back to all the places he hung out with Simba and Pumba and while it's still just as 'nice', each of those places are quiet, lacking, and empty without the friends he first shared them with? That's what it felt like being at Pine Lake this weekend. I mean sure I saw a lot of the seasonals there, and quite a few of the little kids who steal hats were there as well (Ahem Jeffrey, Des...) But it's just not the same without Ed & Barb and their whole crew, or at least having some of my own friends up there. I was even a little surprised at myself for missing Telle out at the lake this weekend. There was a time when I was quite content going to the lake by myself, camping by myself, riding the seadoo by myself and sitting at my fire by myself. But after having had so many great friends out there with me, like that weekend Bo and Mike and his kids all came out, or the time everyone from Grace came up -- Now it just feels so empty without them. It's would be like being in the Saddledome the day after a Flames game, where once the stands were packed with screaming, cheering, ecstatic fans now exist empty seats. And then with all the changes to the tent sites which (in my opinion as one who tented there for four years) ruined their tenting area, my reasons for going back to Pine Lake have frankly all but vanished. How are you supposed to peg a tent down on sand? They really didn't think that one through... As nice as it looks, I came up with five points outlining the issues I have with the changes they made there. See the journal entry for May 22, 2004 (11:31 pm) for those if you're so inclined or haven't read them already. This whole weekend was just a downer for me.

You know I did see some people there my age this weekend. They showed up this afternoon in a motorhome after being kicked out of Leisure, still drunk and/or hung over. After parking their trailer on the site half of them went to sleep while some of the others got into a truck and drove up the hill backwards. I watched the scene intently, hoping and praying that no children would jut out into the roadway because there's almost no way they would have been able to see them, and at the rate they were reversing, I still shudder to think of what might have happened. I am frustrated. I don't seem to 'fit in' anywhere out there. I'm too old to hang out with most of the younger generation up there and I don't feel like getting drunk every weekend and making a fool out of myself either -- Which seems to be the thing to do when you're 23 at Pine Lake... What am I supposed to do?

I may not have that answer, but I can tell you what I'm going to do right now: Go to sleep!

May 27, 2004 - 9:59 pm
Welcome to setup-city! It seems everyone is trying to set me up with someone these days! For the past year, Pam's been telling me about this girl she rides the bus to and from work with almost every day. I hate blind dates so I really haven't been persuing it. Then this week, the lady who was just hired at work to start selling albertarooms has been telling me about her neice and is sure that we will hit it off. She's also been telling her neice about me and apparantly this neice is coming in to work tomorrow for a 'visit'. From what I've been told of her so far, she's adventurous, fun-loving, has a great sense of humor, yet is grounded, level-headed and ambitious. Oh, and in the words of her aunt, she also has a smokin' body! Should be interesting... I suppose all I have to lose is my lonliness...

On that note, have you ever noticed how when you have dreams, your mind often leaves the best ones for the very last, the ones you have just before you wake up are usually the most intense, or at least the most vivid. Maybe it's because you're closer to consciencousness anyway and therefore you remember them more but whatever the case, when I woke up this morning I had a hard time prying reality away from the dream, and even for the first couple of hours today I was still scratching my head trying to figure out if [something] was real or not. I dreamed about Telle actually. And it was strange because when I woke up, the details of the dream seemed so real it was almost more like a memory than a dream. Maybe it was being out at Pine Lake this past weekend that brought some things back, I don't really know. It's funny how the mind works sometime... Have you ever had a dream you remember and you think about it and go, "Where in tarnations did that come from!?" Love Inc. said it best in their song "Broken Bones": A dream is just a wish that the heart makes.

Tomorrow morning Ed and Barb, along with both their mothers and (I think) some other relatives are heading down to Las Vegas, during which time I will be moving into their house and looking after the kids. So if you were a little panic'd by my main page announcement today, as so many things, "It's not what it looks like!" Still, I couldn't resist putting that up there and the reactions have been diverse. Becky nearly hung up on me and was prepared to be very upset that I hadn't told her [ what had been going on the past couple of months ]... She's doing well, getting ready to move to her third and final destination, where she'll stay for another two and a half months before finally returning home. I'm putting together a little package for her (and hopefully she doesn't read this) but it will include some CD's, some VERY cute pictures of her cat, probably another letter from me and some other presents to help her on her adventure. Personally, I can't wait till she gets back. I've promised myself and her that I won't go to (our) pizza hut until she returns and so far I've kept that promise but it will be wonderful to be able to sit down in our booth again, look across the table over some pizza bread (with extra cheese) and see her staring back at me again. 82 days as of this writing...

May 31, 2004 - 11:25 am
Family Guys

Bo, Mike and I brought our kids to the Zoo on Sunday. My eldest daughter stayed home to do homework. I'll get the rest of the pictures into the photo album later.

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