Wednesday, December 31, 2008

G10 bought

Well the decision is made, and I've decided to go with the Canon G10. What an amazing little hand held with 14.7 megapixels and a 3 inch LCD screen detail is great. But makes this beauty so appealing is the scope of its manual ability...vibe colours, colour swap, the ability to focus down to 1cm ! It will be fun to carry this camera with me.
I did look at the Nikon P6000 which has almost the same features but adds a GPS for geotagging, but in the end this camera has a couple of features that I really like.
So in 2.5 hours when the battery is charged I will give it a try. What's really nice is that I got it in time to take a picture of my mother-in-law waving goodbye as she gets on the plane to fly home!!

Happy New Year

Wendy and I wish you the best for 2009

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A walk at lunch

I needed to get out for a while at lunch time, and thank the LORD the sun was out! Off I went but wow that wind is cold. But of course I took my camera along with me to catch the blue sky and any other interesting things that happened to cross my path.
The walk was uneventful...but I did think, if it was warmer I could walk over to McBains!!

Energy and leadership

Tuesday morning, the sky hides the sun once again and it snowed last night. So while the white covering on most things keeps the ground bright, the sky is dull. I need a sun day! Ever feel like that? Ever feel like the weather can affect your energy level? Some people are effected emotionally too! I can't say that's me, but certainly it affects my energy...and right now I need some energy!

In the midst of looking at 2009 and all that the calendar promises, I found this idea from Michael Hyatt, the thought of a Not-to-do list! I can't say this has ever crossed my mind is such a manner...certainly there have been decisions I've made about what I'm not going to I try not to talk to tele-marketers and I let Susan book most of my travel, but to make a list! Why that's a great idea. So I just might try it, and if I do I'll post it for you to see. Why not read Michael's comments and see what you would list!

I've been caused to think about strong leadership vs. dominant leadership as of late. How is setting strong direction, or getting to the front of the pack to lead people, different than making sure your ideas, your opinions, your "desires" are the dominant ones? The outcomes I think speak for themselves. Dominant leaders tend to "get things done" while they are in the office...but when they leave so does the energy and buy-in from those who work with them. Strong leaders put themselves on the front line when things are tough but are in the backroom when things are going well. Dominant leaders see "getting the credit" as more important than completing the mission.

Finally this morning we've been looking for a family doctor...not very easy in Edmonton! After 18 months we are still on the hunt, but we have a lead which we hope will prove successful!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Can you hear me?

I have may have mentioned in the past that I am enjoying, feeding off of, growing through the coaching skills of Carol. I wish I had met this woman 10 years ago! At one point she had interupted me in a conversation with the question: "Fred, why are you still talking?"

I had asked a question, and then carried on with the rationale behind my question, some explanation as to why I had asked and then my own observations as to the answer... does that sound like me? I was stopped dead in my tracks.

Great question! Why am I still talking?

So I've been working hard at listening...and not just pausing to gather my thoughts until I can talk again. All that to say that self awareness is the greatest key to personal growth. If you have an awareness of "how you show up" you'll be able to address the areas that you need to grow through.

Can you hear me? Really? Not just what I am saying, but what I'm not saying? I came across this quote on Michael Hyatt's blog:

“Fight as if you are right; listen as if you are wrong.” –Karl Weick

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's your normal?

On Christmas Day I peeled the potatoes. Nothing remarkable there, but as I pulled the spuds from the common plastic bag, here's what appeared! Odd isn't it? I haven't seen anything like it in all my potato peeling days. Have you ever seen anything like this?

It got me thinking about what we consider "normal". I suppose those things which we most often see or experience. Remember when gasoline was sold in gallons? Remember when mail was in paper form? Remember when Japanese goods weren't well made?
What will normal be in the future?
This was the last sunday of 2008. Attending church on the last sunday of the year always causes me to think of promises made, prayers offered, blessings enjoyed in the past 12 months. And of course you can't think of 2008, the year past, without thinking of 2009! What will that year bring? We await word of our future in Edmonton. We have been told that there are 4 AC's in Alberta and that come July 2009 there will only be 2. So we await that change.
I did receive a book for Christmas from Amanda that I'm interested in. It is entitled Churched, and as soon as I get into it I'll let you know what I think.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eric Ball Composer

Christmas brought some music to our house, of great delight for me were two CD's Wendy gave me of Eric Ball's music. One featuring the Black Dyke Band, the other the International Staff Band. In a day where most of the music I sing features guitars, pianos and drums, this is a partial step back in history.
Eric Ball's music is noteworthy for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the depth of his music writing. His compositions, both for TSA and for the general brass band world, are numerous and widely held to be of the best quality. He is described on the internet as "the father of brass band music". He had a tremendous hand for creating memorable tunes, but he is probably best loved for giving brass bands the kind of sound thought of as orchestral!

It is the theology of his music that often grabs me - his musical portraits of heaven, of God's Kingdom...which he describes as Triumphant. His signature piece - The Kingdom Triumphant is included on one of the CD's.

Contemporary Worship Music it is not...and that of course is not the point. I find it uplifting and stirring and will be adding both to my iPod!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

There were seven of us around the tree and table yesterday as we celebrated together. What great joy, great fun, we had!

We hope your day was as wonderful as ours! To our friends and family - Thank You!

Blessings to you and your family!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Surprise

Think of all the animals found in the stable,
All bedded and warm for the night,
Suddenly stirred by a baby's crying;
What a surprising sight!
There in the manager a new Child sleeping
Under the star-studded night.
Think of the silence that's quite unsuspecting
Of what the next moment would bring,
Suddenly broken by angels singing;
What a surprising thing!
There in the silence a song was saying;
This Child our true peace would bring.
Think of a heart that has heard the same story
So often repeated before,
Suddenly catching a glimpse of its meaning;
What a surprising thing!
Joy that could not until now be imagined,
No one could ask for me!
And here, for a moment, again today,
In the midst of all you must do,
Let the surprise catch your heart once more,
Making the old story new,
Making the old story new.
- Joy Webb

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Jason & Susan, Philip and Amanda, joined Ruth, Wendy and I for supper tonight as we celebrated my birthday. Cabbage rolls, perogies and a wonderful casserole (made by Susan) were the main fare. Then for dessert, my favourite pie - peach! Mmmmmm!

Wendy had made beautiful Christmas stockings for them was a wonderful evening!

Another birthday...another pie!

Every year Wendy gives me a birthday pie - not a birthday cake! I love pies...and my favourite is peach pie!
So on this my day...I will have pie, not cake.
Thanks for the warm wishes!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Birthday Eve

I know it makes no difference to you that I had a productive day...but boy that felt good.

Tonight we had supper, all seven of us, at Red Lobster compliments of Grandma B. Phil and Amanda were back from Calgary, and well, when it comes to Jason just mention three, I'm paying...and he's there!

A photo from our kitchen tonight...I've been thinking about the pictures we put on it. We've had a number of them come in the mail in these days, and as they have we've been putting them on the fridge. They remind us of all the people we care about.
I've also been remembering the phrase: "If God had a fridge, your picture would be on it."

Oh...It's birthday eve! Here's Wendy making my birthday pie! Yup...peach pie!! My favourite.

A late night trip to WalMart - what were we thinking!

I finished TRIBES...last night. Strange that I tend to read 3 or 4 books at once. Do you do that? I would love to hear why. At any rate, I read and finished The Fred Factor while only having a few pages left of they are both finished this week.

Now I would like to get into Philip Yancey's PRAYER, which I have started over the weekend too! The opening pages are great, and I'm expecting to pulled through the book in the coming week. I received it as a Christmas gift two years ago, and its been waiting my attention ever since. I think I'm ready for it.

One of the great books that I read several years ago was Bill Hybel's Too Busy Not To Pray. That book still haunts me, and as I open the pages of Yancey's work it reminds me again that almost all people - even those who do not consider themselves "religious" think prayer is important, and most of us pray when we are in trouble! But we don't link our priorities to our practice. In other words, even though we say prayer is important we don't do it much.

So I look forward to reading about prayer & praying about it.

Last night around 9:30 p.m. Wendy ran out of thread for her Christmas project (gifts for the kids) and so we ran over to 24 hours ya know! The line ups were huge and so we decided to pay for this one spool of thread in the electronics department. The same thought had crossed the minds of at least 20 other people, but this line was still shorter.

As we stood waiting - spool in hand - I noticed that a second worker, blue bib on, was twirling keys talking to one of the security guards next to an unused till. I suppose he could have been occupied with another task, in fact he might have had other duties, but the fact that he...1. wasn't busy, 2. was talking to another employee, 3. was standing next to a till, 4. was smiling and laughing watching us in line, 5. was within 6 feet of the line up, 6. did not appear to be adding any value to our lives...made me say to Wendy "you can tell they don't hire brain surgeons".

So we left the store purchase in hand and bad taste in mouth. If WalMart and other retailers like them continue to offer this kind of experience, they will spell out their own future demise. Don't think it can happen? Ever heard of EATONS?

Hope your shopping is done!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another good read - The Fred Factor

Have you read "The Fred Factor" by Mark Sanborn? Follow the link to the website and you'll have an idea what the book is about...or keep reading.

A couple of weeks ago, Eric dropped his copy on my desk and suggested it was a good read. At only 114 pages it doesn't take long, and so Saturday evening and yesterday afternoon I read through. Entertaining and challenging would be two good words I would use, as Mark talks about Fred the postman who delivered his mail for some time. Fred's impact on Mark's life was so significant he wrote a book about the unusual way that Fred did usual things. Fred added value to his product and his customer.

You can read the book to gain better insight, but here's a couple of quotes:

"It takes about the same amount of time to be a nice guy as it does to be a jerk"

"There are two types of people who never achieve very much in their lifetimes. One is the person won't do what he or she is told to do, and the other is the person who does no more than he or she is told to do." - Andrew Carnegie

"The prerequisite for relationship building is trust. At its most basic level, trust is built on believing that people are who they represent themselves to be."

It is a good but short read - yes I recommend it! But only if you are into life long have to do something with what you learn. At least check out the website.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Good news from the great white north

This is the beginning of winter...surprise! No, that's not the good news, but the fact that this is the shortest day of year means that from here on in the days will be getting longer! This is the beginning of our march to spring! Yahoo!!

Christmas Sunday morning

Here's the Christmas tree sitting resplendent this morning (see Cath Simper's painting on the wall next to the tree?) with a few gifts under one is stirring...the house is relatively quiet this morning...well compared to many houses with little kids it is quiet all the time! But in the quiet this morning I want to prepare my heart for worship on one of the high days on the Christian calendar. I'm not a liturgical person, that's for sure, but I do think of these days, Christmas Sunday being one, as a special day that requires our entering it with some sense of celebration beyond thinking of Santa and his elves. No today is for Jesus, and the angels who announced to the shepherds his birth, and to God whose plan of redemption was incarnated.

While God is approachable anytime, anywhere, there is something to be said about gathering with other people to worship Him. It is not only reverent in action, but there is a built in accountability to yourself. Being known, and being held to account can be powerful in building character. Thirdly, drawing together is a subtle yet constant witness to the community that this is where the people of God meet. So if you are not thinking of attending church today or Christmas Eve perhaps you can reconsider?!

Having said all that, Seth's blog seemed all the more appropriate in light of those thoughts this morning:

"If you could meet one person...
Think about this for a moment. If a trusted friend could arrange a meeting between you and anyone of your choosing, who would you choose?

Not for entertainment or curiosity or bragging rights, but to help your business. Who could help? Someone who could actually aid your marketing or development...

Years ago, I went to the AOL partner's conference. I'm no runner (unless someone is chasing me) yet I signed up for the early morning run because I knew Steve Case, CEO of AOL, would be running. I ran with him for twenty minutes, almost killed myself. Didn't help. (But I'm glad I met him).

If you're an author, can Jeff Bezos at Amazon help you more than a motivated promotions manager far down the ladder? It's unlikely.

People in charge can rarely help you, because they are rarely (truly) in charge. Billionaires can't help you, either, because they have their defense force fields on full strength during meetings like this. In fact, the person who can help you the most is almost always someone who doesn't appear that powerful on the surface. (Fred's insert: could that be someone at church, or maybe The Church herself?)

Remember, it's not just that they can help you. It's that they want to help you. Famous people qualify in neither category.

So, who is it? Hint, it's not the Wizard of Oz or the Pope or Barack Obama. It's someone not famous, someone who actually makes things happen and someone who actually cares. Think hard... Got it?

Great. Go meet them."

Have a great Christmas Sunday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Steps to making great shortbread cookies

When we awoke this morning I suggested to Wendy this might be a good day to do some baking, and I would like to help make some shortbread cookies! Mmmm...shortbreads!! So this afternoon, we assembled the necessary items and to work I went. You'll see that under Wendy's supervision, and with aid of my mother-in-law putting the toppings on, all went well.

A final note, a photo of the livingroom with our new letters on the wall.

So enough suspense, below is a record of the steps should you wish to make your own cookies!

RV options for those who still have $$ in their investments

When I started this blog two things were in my reasoning. First, it seemed a better way to tell family and friends what we were up to rather than duplicating emails, and it allowed me to display photos etc. of what was happening. Second, at the time Google had a limit of 999 postings to their blogs, so I knew this was only going to be an active blog for 3 years or so. Thirdly, I gave it the address of because we so enjoy RVing, and we lived in Calgary.

Since then, I have discovered that lots of people read this, more of you than will confess on line it would seem, and so I have over time changed the tone and content. Secondly Google have changed the rules and the 999 limit is gone, and I have a limit of allocated memory which seems to go up over time. So I'm thinking this blog may go on for some time yet. Now we live in Edmonton not Calgary, but our interest in RVing remains.

So to that last point, I have two new products in the RVing world to show you. Niether one are in our financial future, but they are interesting products. The first is:

Country Coach Veranda

"When you have earned the right to treat yourself to a major motorcoach, the 2009 Veranda from Country Coach presents a unique and ingenious approach to RV living.

Rather than simply engineering a slide-out section, the Country Coach design engineers have created a self-contained recreation area – a Veranda deck that extends from the side of your vehicle, providing the ultimate addition to a luxury motorcoach, accessible through sliding glass doors that are a window on your world.

The Veranda series of 45’ coaches rides on a DynoMax chassis, and shares the 35-year tradition of quality construction with the full line of Country Coach models. Each of the 2009 Veranda models features quad slide-out sections, producing a luxury home on wheels to suit your distinctive style.

From the opulent interiors to the spacious exterior storage compartments, every aspect of the Veranda embodies the finest in materials and workmanship… but once you open the doors to the Veranda’s deck, all comparisons with conventional motorcoaches become academic – we have seen coaches with full wall slides, and coaches with large picture windows, but this is the first of a new breed that brings the upscale penthouse to the full-time RV environment." - RV Lifestyle

The second featured RV is:

Outback Loft by Keystone

"Imagine what fun it would be if you could climb above the crowd to enjoy all the action at your favourite event, and you will have tuned in to the same wavelength that inspired the engineers at Keystone to create what has to be the most interesting of all the trailers we have reviewed thus far in the 2009 model year.

As you can see from the photograph, the Outback loft features a unique “pop-up” second-storey, fully enclosed with canvas and screening similar to what you would expect to see in a fold-down camping trailer. Install this upper deck above the garage compartment of a toy hauler, and you have the ultimate sport utility RV… not only can you carry your toys to the track, but you can sit back and enjoy the action with a view unparalleled in the RV industry!

We checked out the first of the 2009 Outback Loft models at the fall RV shows, and were immediately impressed with the concept – for less than $30,000 you can put one of these units on the road, and really take your toy hauling RV experience up a notch!

First introduced as a mid-2008 model, the 2009 edition has been refined, with a spacious interior finished in Butter Rum Cream d├ęcor with Aubury Cherry cabinets. There’s a brighter look overall thanks to larger windows, and more storage space in the galley. The second storey provides 6’3” of interior headroom without reducing the ceiling height of the garage below the loft." - RV Lifesytle

So whether you are into hauling trailers or pitching tents this will be of interest to you, except for one person that I know sister Cath!! That's right she thinks the definition of roughing it is having to get your own towel on the way to the pool! Right Sis?

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a dry minus 30

Despite the temperature this morning, near minus 30, with the big blue sky and sunshine pouring down I decided to head out with my camera and gear. Down by the dock for the River Queen, is a set of paths with lots of trees and a great view of the downtown area.
When I arrived in the parking lot, a fox was nearby searching the snow for food. As I grabbed my camera he went off into the woods, and I headed in the same direction, not really expecting to see him again. I took about 5 pictures and my battery died. I had three so I switched to the second one and headed down the path further. I took another 4 photos and the second battery died! I had only been out 20 minutes at the most.

So I headed back to the was it cold out! But then, it is a dry minus 30.

2008 Christmas letter

Merry Christmas family and friends!

2008 began as we travelled to Kananaskis for our annual Officer’s Retreat in Kananaskis. The setting is remarkable, breath-taking at the very least. Mount Kidd towers above us as we relax in the care of the Delta Hotel employees. They are very kind to us. The Salvation Army is able to use the Delta as the manager is a member of our Advisory Board.

February marked our 29th wedding anniversary, and even as we celebrated we talked of all the things that have happened in those years, and yet the time seems to have whizzed by us. We are rich, not in money, but certainly in family and life experiences.

Travel has been a big part of our year...Fred went off to Iqaluit twice but had left before the polar bear showed up! That’s right...they had a polar bear come into town. The “end of school” outing was paused while the bear was shot and removed...and then the outing resumed (it was in the paper). The north is remarkable, though the eastern Arctic is quite different than the western Arctic.

Of greatest note this year was the marriages of our two boys. Philip was the first one, marrying Amanda Mitchell on Saturday July 26th in Calgary. It was a warm, sunny day and their wedding began at 10 a.m. with their ceremony at Glenmore Temple. Steve and Leslie Wiseman did the ceremony and Wendy and I sat in the front pew with Amanda’s beaming parents, Dave and Sue Mitchell. Amanda was resplendant in her wedding gown and as she walked down the aisle on Dave’s arm we were both overwhelmed with the emotion of twenty one years so rapidly displayed before us! The reception was in Bragg Creek and was interupted by a heavy hail storm that made the landscape look like it was January!

A month later we were off to Grand Falls to do it with Jason and Susan. If you got our Christmas letter last year we had indicated that these two were going to spend Christmas in Grand Falls-Winsor with Susan’s family. They arrived to announce they were engaged. Here we were 8 months later gathered on a beautiful hot sunny day. We were grateful for those that helped us – the Wheelers gracioulsy loaned us their home, and the Hynes’ provided us a vehicle! Once again we watched a lovely young lady, on her father’s arm, come down the aisle and into our family. Jason and Susan looked remarkable as they exchanged their promises as my Mom led the ceremony. Another emotional day for us all as we celebrated together.

If that isn’t enough family milestones for one summer, we found ourselves flying to Ontario between the two weddings for the funeral of Wendy’s grandmother. The service was held in Stoney Creek and as we gathered around as a family to say goodbye to Grandma Redbourne, once again we were aware of how our lives are stories of God’s grace that need to be told.
As we come to the end of the year, Jason and Susan are working for The Salvation Army and living a few minutes drive from our home. They are going to be joining us for the traditional turkey dinner on Christmas day.

Phil and Amanda also live close by, though Phil is working in Fort McMurray at the moment. Phil steps back into school in January which will give him his final qualifications as a journeyman carpenter, and Amanda is in her final few months of her psychology degree. They are both anxiously awaiting the completion of their educational requirements.

Wendy and I had a 10 day holiday in the Los Angels area. We saw Mickey and Minnie, Dr. Schuller, a yellow convertible Rolls Royce with the licence plate BP (Brad Pitt?) and of course the California coast before heading inland to Cathedral City for three days in the heat and luxury of a time share! We end the year once again feeling enormously blessed.

From our home to yours we wish you the very best for 2009 and pray that the LORD will bless you.

With love from Wendy & Fred

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – Luke 2:15-17

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speakers should seen as well as heard

For a number of years, I've had a good set of speakers for my computer. I enjoyed them and they had done good service, that is until recently when they began to cut in and out. So with some Christmas money received I set off today to find some new ones. Apparently however I went with a wrong assumption - that speakers need to be heard to be bought.

First stop was The Sony Store. They had a great system with a subwoofer on sale - that sounded really good, "but what about the other system. Not hooked up - so I can't hear that one."

Next stop was The Bay, then Sears, then Future Shop. Then, against my better judgement, I tried The Source. Remember Radio The Source. They had several sets of speakers on the shelf, out of the box, so that you could SEE them.
I inquired..."could I hear these speakers?"
"No, we don't have them hooked up - they would get stolen."
I must have seemed puzzled..."wouldn't it be better if people could hear the speakers?"
"We don't have them hooked up because they would be stolen." she increased her emphasis.
"Well I guess you don't need to worry about them being sold or stolen."
I returned to The Sony Store (another location) and purchased the first set I had seen. Now a large box sits under the tree labelled... To Fred, Love Mom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby it's cold outside

Today's errands:

1. sleep in
2. make bacon and toast with hot coffee/tea for breakfast
3. look outside.

Yes, it's one of those days...not too many of these in my life but isn't it great when it happens!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ford's most advanced assembly plant

Follow the link to the video - sorry I couldn't embed it in here. Now listen to the narration right down to the last few sentences...and then remember that this is one of the big three struggling to stay alive. Why? This might give you some insight.

Ruth is off to visit Jason and Susan tonight while we head out for supper with Eric and Donna. By the way, did anyone else see the fire hydrant sitting on the east side of 75 St north of 90th Avenue? Someone must have driven into it and snapped it off it's base. Rats...once again I didn't have my camera with me.

Tonight I take the camera.

101 Years ago

It was 101 years ago that radio waves were first used to broadcast "entertainment" for the first time. I love to listen to The Vinyl Cafe and you can grab Stuart McLean's podcast.

Stuart is one of my favourite story tellers. I'm sorry we couldn't get to his Christmas program when it came to Edmonton this year. But you can pick it up off the podcast. I subscribe thru iTunes.

Did you hear the notice from Microsoft this morning? They have had some security issues with Internet Explorer, and are suggesting for the time being, that we use either FireFox or Safari. I never thought I would hear Microsoft promote the competition.

Going south this winter with your RV?

This small article arrived in my inbox to remind me that I'm not going camping anytime soon!

I know one or two (right Jean) that are here it is! The rest of us must simply dream.

In Search of the Sun (Snowbirding)
By Alan Lidstone

Note: Don’t forget to travel with cold-weather clothing such as sweaters, jackets, and hats. You’ll need them for the trip south, and may also need them for cold snaps at your snowbird destination.

Getting the RV Ready

Having all your RV service up to date is important because most snowbirds will be driving 1000 miles or more. Depending on where you are coming from, your RV may have to be prepared for cold–weather travel. Starting with empty holding tanks is important because your first one or two nights may be on sites with no sewage hookups or dumping available. Keep fuel tank and propane tank as full as possible in case of delays where you have to provide your own heat and power. Allow extra time in your travel schedule for weather–related travel problems. We recommend that you travel with an emergency radio with NOAA weather channels powered up and a wireless mobile phone that provides local weather. Fortunately, almost all RV resorts and campgrounds will be glad to accommodate weather–related changes in arrival dates.

Note: RVs do not mix well with snow or ice. We strongly advise you to be prepared for a delay and seek a safe location immediately if the weather along your route is deteriorating.

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!!!

fromWoodall's eNewsletter

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do you use Windows Vista?

I'm working with Windows Vista, and while it has been vilified from the media, it has not been entirely great or poor. At any rate here is one part of a larger article from PC magazine about the coming Windows 7:

"Windows 7 will bring tech out of the doldrums. Sales of PCs and other tech will be down in the first half of 2009, but when Microsoft delivers Windows 7 by Q3 (as many expect), it could catalyze the tech economy. This new OS will drive businesses and consumers to new PC and notebook purchases by Q4. Think it's just wishful thinking? In the past when Microsoft delivered a new operating system for mass consumption, sales of PCs and notebooks accelerated dramatically for a period of 24 months. This didn't happen with Vista, but it has happened with many other major releases. Let's hope that history repeats itself.

I'm not alone in this prediction, either; I've talked to several IT directors who confirm this view. Many enterprises balked at buying Vista but are hearing enough good things about Windows 7 to be open to upgrading once it comes out. The big issue will be 2009 budgets, and at the moment, a lot of IT budgets are frozen. Still, IT managers have told me that many of their machines are so old that they have to do some hardware upgrades just to keep their shops competitive. "

So would you switch?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Streaming Faith interviews Seth Godin

By Milan Ford

With the emergence of such social networking websites like MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook, not to mention the 70 million people worldwide who host their own blogs, it is clear that the times have certainly changed.

Yet despite the number of businesses and civic organizations who have embraced this new era of interactive media and marketing methods to reach their respective audiences, there remains one that seems to be lagging way behind: The Local Church.

While more and more churches continue to place their faith (and budgets) in old media outlets like magazine ads, billboards, direct mail and radio and TV campaigns, it is this new era of on-line media that is now impacting the lives of today’s generation.

In order to help more churches engage with these and other new marketing media outlets, Streaming Faith connected with New York Times bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin to help shed some light on this new phenomenon. Author of the best-selling marketing book of the past decade, Purple Cow, Godin was recently named as one of the Top 21 Speakers Of The Next Century named by Successful Meetings Magazine.

His newest book release, Meatball Sundae, unveils how businesses and organizations, who have been quite successful in the past, are now faced with trying to change their existing structures to embrace more new and social marketing tactics and methods.

And as you will see, according to Seth, many are making a big mess along the way.
SF (Streaming Faith): Thanks for sharing this time with us. I can imagine how hectic your schedule is, so let’s just jump in, shall we? Your new book is entitled, Meatball Sundae. We're scared to ask…what is a meatball sundae? Sounds disgusting.

Seth (Godin): It is disgusting. It’s disgusting because it’s the combination of two perfectly good things. Meatballs--standard items, things we’ve always used, things made in quantity and aimed at the masses, together with the Sundae--the social media, Facebook, blogs and all that new on-line marketing stuff that people are so excited about.Meatballs are just fine. An ordinary church service for the neighbourhood is fine. But it won’t lead to growth. And if you add something just fine to the revolutionary new media tools we’ve got, it just doesn’t work. The book is a message to marketers everywhere (including churches, who are marketers too) that if you want to play in this new world, you need to understand the new rules and you need to make a new product.

SF: Wow. It seems like everyone is into this “new marketing” era or as you like to call it, “sundae toppings.” Why do you think that is?

Seth: Well, when it works, it works amazingly well. Presidential candidates get millions of viewers, every day on YouTube, for free. Sites like double in size every few months. It feels like old marketing but for free, and better and faster.So it’s seductive. But it doesn’t work for most organizations. It especially doesn’t work for boring ones.

SF: That’s scary. Your definition of the “old marketing” era sounds a lot like what many businesses and churches are still stuck doing today. Why do you think the “new marketing” is not embraced as much. In your opinion, what are the major obstacles or stumbling blocks that cause churches to run away from it?

Seth: Churches are the oldest businesses around today. And yes, they’re businesses. They don’t necessarily sell a physical product, and they don’t always charge money, but there’s a transaction nonetheless. And that involves the individual paying attention. Attention is precious and it’s rare and it’s non-refundable.Old organizations got that way by not making fatal mistakes. Old organizations relish tradition and often fight change. But new media (and the growth it brings with it) requires change, because no one is going to choose to talk about you merely because you are old and safe and proven. It’s not worth talking about, not as much as something fashionable or new or interesting.

SF: Seth, There are a few churches out there who have begun to embrace this “new marketing” era; flirting around with MySpace, Facebook, and some have even begun posting worship service videos on YouTube. However, many still feel like the new marketing isn’t working for them. Is there a step somewhere they seem to be missing?

Seth: Why would I spend the time to watch something on YouTube if I knew what was going to happen? If I’d seen it before? Why would I friend someone on Facebook if I knew that all they intended to do was hassle me and evangelize to me?Just because it’s important to you (and it could be your Tupperware product line or your sermon) doesn’t mean it’s important to me. The essential idea here is that new media is selfish and you can’t buy or demand attention, no matter how worthy you believe your idea may be.

SF: One big area many churches have yet to embrace is blogging. Foreign and often viewed as tedious to many church leaders, you view it as a major tool to winning and consistently serving a particular audience. Can you explain further?

Seth: Blogging lets you drip ideas, bit by bit, to people who want to hear them. There are two crucial ideas in that sentence, so let’s unpack them. The dripping matters because that’s how people learn. Not in one hour chunks, but one little idea at a time. Do it for five years or more, every single day (as I’ve done on my blog) and you build trust and credibility and a body of work. The permission (“want to hear them”) is important because if no one is reading your blog, you’ll know. And then you can change it. And over time, you can earn the right to talk to a thousand and then ten thousand and then a million people. And isn’t that your mission?

SF: It seems that this “new marketing era” is pushing businesses (and churches) to now concentrate more on what is tangible and accessible, rather than what is big and newsworthy. Why do you think that is important for church leaders to note?

Seth: I don't know if I'll agree with 'big and newsworthy'. I think I'd say you need to concentrate on what's remarkable and interesting and noteworthy and touches my faith, and stop spending time on tasks that don't amplify any of those elements. Doing something because you've always done it isn't an idea worth spreading.

SF: Okay Seth. Last question. Although many within the local church or faith community tend to view marketing as something new or a line item on a budget, your book basically correlates marketing to what the church calls…evangelism. Marketers (in your words) spread ideas. They tell stories people want to hear and believe. Evangelism is really no different. So in your own words, as the world’s leading voice in evangelism (sorry, we mean marketing) today, what do you believe is the number one thing churches should do to successfully engage with today’s “new marketing” era?

Seth: Faith matters. A lot. Religion often gets in the way of faith. Religion, the scolding, rules-based part of religion, the part used as a lever in life or politics to insist that people follow a certain person or a certain idea... that’s not spreading so fast on-line. But faith, faith is the salve we’ve always wanted and still want. Barack Obama offers a lot of people a different kind of faith, and we can see how it resonates. People want to believe, they want to be surrounded by people who believe and they want to feel good about it. What an opportunity.

SF: A great opportunity indeed. Thanks Seth!

Update on Uncle Bob

In the service this morning, at Edmonton Temple, there was a time of prayer for Susan and the Banfield family. Bob's car has been found near Signal Hill but no sign of him. The police conducted an intense search today but to no avail. Thank you for your prayers.

This afternoon we went to E3C where I spoke on Mark 1 and the coming of the Kingdom of God. What a great concept.

Now we have a week's vacation...what shall we do? Let's start by recharging our batteries!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We need your prayers at this time

When Jason and Susan were married in August, Susan's Uncle Bob was the emcee. He has a background in radio and so he was the natural choice. We were shocked this week to hear that he is missing, as listed below, and that the police were looking for him and his vehicle. We are asking you to join us in prayer as the police continue their search.

"RNC seeks help in locating missing person
The Western Star

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is seeking the assistance of the public in locating missing person Robert Banfield.Banfield, 50, has been reported missing since Tuesday morning.He was driving a dark grey-black 2007 Mazda 3, licence plate number HMF 975.

Banfield spoke with a relative early Tuesday morning and has not been heard from since.Anyone with any information is asked to notify the RNC at 729-8000. "

Time to get FIT

I can't believe that I did minus 26 this morning I went and stood for 15 minutes in line at Toys R Us and picked up one of only 19 Wii Fits. By the time the store opened there must have been 50 people behind me.

This is the Retired Officers Christmas dinner today (turkey dinner #4 for us). Sandy does a great job looking after our retired officers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shirt pocket projector

By M. David Stone
Some toys...uh...gizmos...uh...products rate so high on the cool gadget scale that it almost doesn't matter how well they work, and the price is a decidedly secondary consideration. The Optoma Pico PK101 ($399 direct) is a case in point. What's so cool about it? Well, how many projectors have you seen that weigh four ounces and can fit in a shirt pocket? If that doesn't grab your attention, you are not now, and never have been, a gadget geek.

Warning - don't read this if you are feeling down

I subscribe to a financial newsletter...maybe you do too. Here's today's notice:

"You’ve seen the news; you know that last night’s Senate rejection of a $14 billion emergency bailout for General Motors and Chrysler has sent shock waves around the world. And you probably also know that, just this morning, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson vowed that he will not allow GM or Chrysler to fail.The truth is, bailout or no bailout, GM and Chrysler are doomed no matter how much money the Bush administration throws at them.

Here’s why:Collapsing consumer confidence: For weeks, the entire world has been treated to the spectacle of Detroit’s CEOs groveling before Congress, hats in hand, admitting their companies have failed, begging for money to avoid bankruptcy.

The damage this has caused to customer loyalty and confidence is irreparable.Collapsing consumer credit: New auto loans and leases are virtually unavailable to purchase General Motors or Chrysler cars. This is already the reality on the ground regardless of the decisions being made in Washington right now.

So ...What consumer in his right mind would want to buy a car from a company in that sorry state? What lender in his right mind would lend money to borrowers planning on buying such a vehicle?No matter what Paulson does, these companies ... their 750,000 employees ... and the three million workers who depend on them for their paychecks ... are playing the end game of an unavoidable collapse.

It is yet another compelling reason why you can expect the deflation that’s taking hold today to accelerate in 2009. Why? Just follow the money:The demise of GM and Chrysler — and ultimately Ford and their suppliers — means today’s 6.7% unemployment rate could easily double next year. Clearly, the unemployed cannot meet mortgage payments, buy new homes, invest in the stock market or buy non-essential items. And that means you can expect

...Huge NEW declines in real estate values ...

Massive declines in stock values ...

Deep discounting by manufacturers and retailers to unload unwanted inventories of every product imaginable. In a word, DEFLATION! Moreover, that deflation is already happening right here, right now, right before our very eyes. So unless you have a solid strategy for surviving this new deflationary environment, it WILL impact you; your income, your savings and nearly every investment you own in 2009."

So what should you do? Well that's where my friend makes his money...he'll tell you (and me) if you pay him. I think I better hang on to my cash. Unless of course I find a Wii Fit.

Still no Fit

So close...but no Wii Fit.

Dave C emailed me at 12:37 pm to let me know that there were 65 on hand on but by the time I found my way there and hit "buy now" they were gone! I'll keep trying but January is coming.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas mail that makes us laugh

When we were at Glenmore I was always calling Michael, "Doctor Decker". I did it partially because he loved education and wanted to go back to school, and partially because his initials are M.D.

We got home from work today and in the mail was an envelope (with a great card and letter) addressed to Evangelists Fred & Wendy Waters ! Okay - that's the funniest mail we've ever recieved. We are still laughing!

Flying to Oprahland

I booked our flights with Air Canada today for travel to Chicago in March. Chicago is the site of the National Social Service Confernce, and Air Canada had a seat sale...$187 each way! I think I just paid $205 to fly to Fort McMurray. So maybe the descending price of oil has a few benefits.

A warm day is upon us but the weatherman is promising us deep cold this weekend...sort of Winnipeg like weather!

Tomorrow is the opening of Bailey House in Yellowknife. For most of you that won't mean a those of us trying to work with the City of Yellowknife to get this open, it will be a welcome step foward. It will still be a bit of work to get it operational but the "official opening" will happen. Originally the Governor General was to be in attendance, but I suspect that that won't happen. But Eric and Ken will be there!!

Today was a day of phone calls it ear is red!

Tonight Ruth arrives for Christmas - I'm not quite ready yet! The tree is up, half our outdoor lights work, but cards still need to get out, and of course gifts wrapped! Ready or not, here comes Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wii fit is hard to find

What would happen if you stopped trying to be perfect, and instead tried to be remarkable? Those are the kind of questions Seth Godin what's you answer?

Tomorrow Wendy's Mom arrives...a sign that Christmas is almost here! Do you know what you are getting for Christmas? Wendy and I have decided to buy ourselves a Wii. This is a real departure for us...and so we are attempting to add a Wii Fit to it! We have the Wii but can't find the Fit?! Do you know where we can get our hands on one?

There is one at the PLAY ME store in West Ed Mall, but they are charging 300% of the MRSP. Are they kidding? No way...we'll wait!

And the winner is...

Mr. Ignatieff is the new liberal leader...and without a leadership convention! Wow, perhaps President-elect Obama should have a talk with him. I mean rather than spend millions, just get the back room boys to make a declaration, throw out the contenders, and place the crown on your head!

Mind you, this is not nearly as excited as have 100,000 people screaming as they gather in a park to hear and see history being made...but it is interesting.

The prime dropped yesterday...we are now done to 1.5%, so I'll be interested to see where my line of credit is! I might be making a stop at the bank tomorrow to let them explain the difference.

Final note for this morning - add this to your blog list...I don't mean it's just a good idea. No I mean you NEED to do this! Information, free and insightful...but of course you don't have to. You can ignore insight - it's your life!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tree up - I'm done~!

Jet lag aside, it has been a good day. This afternoon was the first half of our Divisional Executive Board, tomorrow is the other part of it. These days, while demanding...well, for those of us with ADHD who have to sit interesting. It is in these meetings that the workings of the division are really revealed. Here we review proposals from various parts of the division for new programming, funding, personnel. It is here we talk about strategy for the future, and it is here that we laugh alot!

This is a good team - I've said that before, and I thoroughly enjoy the time together - despite what I might post on my Facebook status!

Tonight we finally got the tree up! And decorated! Wendy's creative genius is seen in how all the parts come together to form a beautiful display of Christmas joy!
I should finish Tribes tonight...again, I recommend it! Concise and insightful there are few people who couldn't gain some new learnings.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Speak into your future

It was great to see family over the weekend. I was wonderful to be with Cath, Terry, Noah and Laura today...we went to the Markham Corps then over to the home of Terry's Mom for a delicious lunch. Of course I had to play a game with Noah and Laura before heading to the hotel.

Tonight I had lunch with Floyd - got an update on Chris - he's doing better but still not completely healed. We will keep him in our prayers.

So I've had a few people ask why I'm in Toronto...

In October I happened to be at Jackson's Point for another week of training as a "Leader Coach". The week had come to an end, and with the past experience of four years in the ELDP, and recent readings around learning organizations, not to mention what I see are the challenges around officer personnel placement, I decided to engage the CS in conversation on this subject. For the uninitiated, this is my bosses' boss. I suggested I had some ideas around leadership development for TSA in Canada & Bermuda, and wanted to submit it for consideration. That conversation turned into a 2 page summary worked on with the 5 other officers in the training program, and a request for a meeting.

That meeting happens tomorrow (7:30 to 4:30) at THQ. I say all that, not to sound or be arrogant, rather to encourage you to speak into your enviornment! You are a leader!

A word of caution though - most leaders know the problems - what they are looking for our workable solutions, note workable. One of my central beliefs is that God has given us the resources we need in the people we have. God can use you. He can take your thoughts, intelligence and perspective to add value to where you are.

As I flew to Toronto on Friday, I was reading the last few pages of Tribes (by Seth Godin) and came across this quote on page 101:

"Think for a second about the people you know who are engaged, satisfied, eager to get to work. Most of them, I'll bet, make change. They challenge the staus quo and push something forward - something they believe in. They lead.

'Life's too short' is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but this one is true. You don't have time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It's not just pointless, it's painful. Instead of wondering when you next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life that you don't need to escape from."

You need to read a larger section to get the full impact, but you understand what it is saying. What are you afraid of? What keeps you from living out your mission? Don't make it just about the perceived failures of others - live for mission - pay the price - do something that will create a legacy.

Where will your voice be heard?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Markham Visit

It was great to be able to spend some time with Terry, Cath, Noah and Laura today.  Mom happily picked me up from Brian's this morning and we made our way to Markham.  Everytime I see these kids I see big changes in them.  Another reminder of my aging...perhaps I should be shopping for a home.

Here's a photo of a visit they made to Alberta in 2001.  Neil is kneeling in the photo and I'm wearing Neil's hat!  That's an alpine horn in case you are wondering.

Markham Corps had their "lunch with Santa" today where they served breakfast...okay?!  They had a good turn out, over 80 was one number I heard.  Santa looked more like he had a tumour in his stomach than a pillow!  It was funny, but the kids loved it.

Tonight I'm trying out Terry's Apple...very nice!!  Ahh...Christmas is coming if any has some lots of extra cash floating around and wants to get me something.  NO...not really.  I have a great PC and I'm very happy.

Speaking of Christmas - the days are streaking past us!  It will soon be here.  Do you have all your shopping done?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Lunch in Winnipeg, supper in Mississauga

Tonight I'm in Mississauga with Brian. It's been a while since we have touched base and it was good to have supper together, and spent some time picking up some "gifts". No snow here! When I flew out of Edmonton this morning, it was 3 degrees...landing in Winnipeg where it was minus 25 was a reminder of what is to come in Edmonton. Mississauga has no snow! I always liked winter in southern Ontario.

I had lunch with Les and Tiffany in Winnipeg where they are settling in. They were kind enough to come out to the airport and so we had lunch. Why did I go to Winnipeg? Well direct flights from Edmonton were selling from $350 to $800. A flight through Winnipeg was $214.00 ! It was a great hour together...thanks Les and Tiffany!!
Here are some photos from the Christmas Dinner for those who are less fortunate. This was a bit of a family'll see Susan playing trombone in the band, Amanda brought her Bible group to serve (don't they look good in hair nets?) and Jason was outside in the Canteen serving hot drinks to those who were waiting to get into the building. Of course Wendy and I were inside serving, helping those who needed to use the elevator get upstairs...and watching for problems. Over 1000 were served.