Monday, November 29, 2010

Governor General addresses AB Legislature

Wendy and I had the privilege today of being invited to the Alberta Legislature for the visit of Canada's Governor General His Honour David Johnston.  We were with Mrs. Stelmach and Mrs. Kowoloski as well as a few other distinguished visitors in the Speaker's Gallery.

The Governor General spoke brilliantly and drew a picture of a Canada described in his words as "smart and caring".  He used the imagery of four pillars of such a culture - education, innovation, charity and opportunity.  As he spoke I thought of what a good outline for a sermon he had.  He made reference to The Salvation Army as an example of charity but called on Albertans to exercise personal charity.

We've had some remarkable encounters with social leaders over the past 18 months and once again we left impressed by the candor, humility and intelligence of the man we listened to.

The public perception of the Governor General, and leaders in general is sometimes a harsh thing....we expect so much and forgive so little.  Yet on this day it seemed there was a deep sense of pride for Canada's Governor General and the quality of person that makes this office one of influence and importance.

As the Speaker of the House, Mr. Ken Kowalski pointed out, this is only the second time a Governor General has spoken to the House since 1906.  It was great to witness history in the making.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amanda organizes a party for our new EMT

Every celebration deserves good food - ours was no exception

Every celebration deserves a focus - ours was Phil the newly licensed EMT
And every celebration with Phil deserves a photo of him making a silly face

And of course celebrations require cards and a few gifts

The Stay-cation moves to Canmore

Welcome to my new followers!  I hope you enjoy following the thoughts of this blog.
Hwy 1 near Banff
Our Stay-cation went on the perhaps we broke the real meaning of "stay-cation" ...never mind off we went to Canmore to visit Phil and Amanda.  Arriving on Thursday night we had a great time.

One of the highlights was celebrating Phil's graduation and licensing to be an he's job hunting!  If you know of any openings in the Calgary-Canmore area he would love to know about it.  Of course that's not how the hiring is done.

Carpenter's Assistant

Another highlight was becoming the carpenter's assistant.  I was going to use the term "apprentice" but that might be stretching it!  You get some insight from Phil's blog.  He is very talented and a wonderful finished carpenter.

Of course the setting of Canmore always rejuvenates us and we come home feeling rested and inspired by the handiwork of God.
Phil working in the shop
Note the completed piece of furniture under the window behind Amanda

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gift wrapped

It's all wrapped - yup all of it in gift wrap! I have a hard enough time with boxes - can you imagine chairs?  The photo isn't as good as I would like - I took it with my Blackberry.  That's Amanda Jean looking at the couch and chairs...also wrapped in gift wrap!  This is in the window of the Stonewaters Home Decor which is right on the main street of Canmore.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A stay-cation day

What do you do for vacation?  Go to Mexico, sit on the beach, enjoy the sun, soak up some rays?  Or do you own property in some interesting location - perhaps a time share in the Rockies?  Maybe you have a cabin somewhere with a roaring fireplace to cuddle up near with a good book in hand!

This week we are on vacation - a stay-cation!  No funds available presently for a warm weather get-away.

So for an exciting vacation activity today I went to Indigo...spent 2 hours reading lots of interesting books.  I'm intrigued by George W. Bush's new book - interesting insights in the world of the President of the USA.  I also stumbled across a new book called JFK in His Own Words.  The photos are good, the articles very interesting but it also has reproductions of some his notes, letters from the President of the USSR etc...very very interesting.  I also spent some time looking at a book on the development of the Oil Industry in Alberta.  I'm not sure I would buy that one.

What really caught my attention was a good display of Kobo (an ebook reader).  They have what is called a quilt back - a rubberized textured backing.  It makes it easy to hold.  These ebook readers were selling for $400 not too long ago but prices have been falling.  The Kobo was $ I need to do some more research but I'm now interested.  Those books above are $40 -$50 each....what's the electronic version cost? So that's one of my stay-cation activities!

If you want to see a comparison visit Chad's article in the Vancouver Sun.

I AM by Nichole Nordeman

A favourite song...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twenty years from now

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain 

Three siblings

There are three siblings in my family...myself at top, Cath to the left and below as well as Leanne at the bottom.  I was doing some work last night on old photos and came across these - so I thought I would post them for the sharing.  

Is there anything more important than family?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doing the right thing

"The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity.  
Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity...
these are the choices that measure your life.
Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Full Time RVers

When I dream, and it isn't very often I do, it would be about the kind of experience that is called Full Timing!  That doesn't mean finding a full time job - I have that and more.  It refers to living in an RV full time.  Here's one couple's adventure in an Air Stream Travel Trailer.  They have the Classic Air Stream.

Having an Air Stream would be fine - very nice trailer.  You can see their travels on You Tube and frankly, considering all the junk out there, this is a great series of short videos.

What kind of financial engine they have to do this isn't quite clear but they do so as they say, using their laptops. There are dozens of ways, but of course none of them seem open to us at this point in our lives. But marrying a hobby with lifestyle does seem to be a dream come true!

If you could do anything (within reason) what would you do?  Would you join us on the road?  It's minus 30 tonight so the road would definitely head south!

New Assignments

Some of you will know we've just returned from the first round of Personnel Consultations.  The process runs a bit like this... Personnel forwards a list of officers, those in sequence for a move, in other words those who have been 5, 7, 9 etc... years in their present appointments.  Then in discussion with those officers, and in some cases their leadership group, we determine if we will recommend they move or they remain.  Along with that are the usual issues - retirement, resignations, overseas moves, health or family issues.  The Divisional Leaders with Cabinet Secretaries then discuss Territorial and Divisional needs.  Over two days a plan begins to emerge that makes a frame work for further discussions over the coming weeks.
Eventually reassignments will go to the Executive for signature and then announcement.  That's a simplistic description but fairly accurate.  

The annual moves have become for us a bit of a spectator sport - people love to speculate, love to see the list, see who is moving!  It seems however this isn't unique to our denomination.

One of the blogs I follow is that of Father Powell.  His latest post: A new assignment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Eastland Family

When I was about 7 or 8 years of age I remember seeing the Eastland Brothers Construction Company trucks rumbling around Niagara Falls Ontario.  The Eastland name was, in those days, a familiar sight in that small city.

My maternal side of the family is the Eastland family.  My Grandpa Eastland came from Folkestone England, settling in Niagara Falls he married "the bosses daughter" and had eight children.  This is my two aunts and Mom standing by their grave marker.  You'll see that along with my name sake "Frederick W. Eastland" and my Nanny "Constance I Hilton" two young children are also entombed there.  You'll also note that neither grandparent had a long life.

Since I've been posting photos and facts about our family, it seemed that this would make a great addition.

Speak O Lord

I was really taken by this song this morning in worship: Speak O Lord , the bold I've added as those lines which jumped out at me.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us 
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Three Sisters painting

My Mother is the middle child of five girls from the Eastland family (Niagara Falls).  Freda is the next younger and a remarkable artist.  She's painted a number of pictures for family and I was thrilled when she painted us a picture.  Here's a photo of the painting though it is not yet in my possession I am looking forward to seeing it on the wall.

Welcome to my new followers!  Thanks for following!

Random photos

on the door of a change room

 While we were in Ontario I took quite a few's a few.
Westport, ON

fence & brick wall in Westport

Inside an Antique shop

Perth, Ontario

Friday, November 19, 2010

What do you do with pain?

One of my favourite quotes has, for many years, been "pain is inevitable, misery is optional". It acknowledges that life has pain in it.

Pain that comes from broken relationships, hurtful words, honest mistakes - poor judgement. Sometimes hurt is delivered into our world by people who, for whatever reason, have thrown daggers!

The quote points us, me, to consider what we do with our pain. To hold on to it and to dwell on it is dangerous. In fact I would suggest it is self-destructive. Inner pain leads to resentment which leads to anger which leads to bitterness.

Bitterness leads to a hardened heart.

Freedom from misery leads to health.

What do you have?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

35 Guild Hall Drive

Since I was driving in Scarborough, on my way to THQ, last week I decided to visit 35 Guild Hall Drive...what was the quarters for Scarborough Citadel when we were there 1969 to 1974.  It seemed so small...actually tiny is the word that came to mind!

I know new houses are much bigger with greater features but even our home in Edmonton, which seems small, is much bigger than this little house.

So as I looked around the neighbourhood I thought about all the things in my memory that are part of looking at this house.  This is where we lived when I got my driver's licence, where I learned to drive.  This is the house we lived in when I became a Senior Soldier.  This is the house we lived in when I decided to leave home and stay behind in Ontario while my parents headed off to Newfoundland.

So many memories in the neighbourhood too.  I remember riding my bike - walking to school, going to work for the first time.  I was 17 when we left in 1974.  It was time when gas cost 65 cents a gallon (that's 4.5 ltrs) and I was happy to be making $1.80/hour working at the pharmacy.

Where were you in 1974?

A Covenant People

A simple note this morning to report the blessings of God in our meetings yesterday.  A tremendous study of our Covenant God led by Kevin Metcalfe using Hosea (and other portions of the OT).  We were reminded that God is into rescuing us - that we cannot do it ourselves, we have no power to "right ourselves" or to fix our brokenness.  That's the wonder of Jesus, His coming and His death and resurrection.

Here is the essence of the covenant: "I will be your God, and you will be my people".

Does your brokenness need fixing?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grey skies

This morning "the guys" are up early watching the news, reading the paper, sipping coffee.  One of the stories on the national news, and highlighted here in the Toronto area, is that winter has arrived in Calgary.  I suspect it isn't just Calgary!  Here it has been raining all night and the traditional winter sky has settled in.

Winter in southern Ontario is like living under a blanket - dark, grey, damp the sky hides the sun for weeks upon end.  Though it isn't cold here, no matter what Ontarians think, the dampness and darkness is prevailing.  It is cold - very cold in Alberta, but sunshine brightens the day!  Though minus 40 will always be painful the sunshine is my consolation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Westport revisited


Sisters!  Joy comes in lots of ways - but family is perhaps one way that it shows up warmest!  Wendy and Adele are close sisters....and that's the way we always want it to be.

Who are you close to?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A familiar area

Today we went for a drive to Westport and Perth Ontario. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and we took full advantage of it. It has been three years since Wendy has had a visit with Adele so this was a real treat.

Being in Ontario is good too. Now you Albertans need to relax - it isn't that we don't love Alberta or don't want to be there. We have spent so many years, so many formative years in Ontario that we just feel more comfortable.

So driving to these two little tourist towns was a delightful experience. Now having said that, the taxes here do get your attention!

Familiarity is like a mug of hot chocolate - it warms your inside and makes you feel comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

This good family day has come to an end. We are off to meetings tomorrow that begin a week of gatherings.

Good night friends and followers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who wins in war?

Yesterday was Remberance Day - a time set aside to honour fallen heroes, consider the cost of peace and pray for those currently in harm's way.
Someone on the radio had this interesting comment worth considering: "war doesn't prove who is right, just who remains".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank God for great leaders

The end of a long day has caught me in a rather refective mood. After many meetings today, some casual and comfortable, others formal and more difficult, I find myself considering leadership. This is about my leadership and that of others.

The people I met with today were all leaders - all within The Salvation Army, all with varying degrees of skill and a host of personalities! Some who read my blog!

I am also refecting on the recent interview I watched of former President George W. Bush. No matter what your take on the former President I was taken by his frankness and genuine openess. Let's face it, is there a tougher job?

The President spoke of the decisons he made, good and bad. He talked about getting good and "not so good" advice. He talked about his inner thoughts when faced with some tough decisions.

Here's what impressed me: 1. He did not, would not criticize President Obama - out of respect for the man and the office. He said "it weakens the country that I love".

2. He admitted that some decisions were not right, but bore full reponsibility for them. He did not blame hsi advisors.

3. He demonstrated a wisdom that was surprising to me. He did not seem so wise in office. Then I wondered - how much did I see of him - just those little news clips. Maybe we judge too quickly.

The man has been the brunt of many jokes - but in the lengthy interview he demonstrated real character. At the end of the day that's what really matters.

It is easy to be an arm chair critic of leaders - but being one has taught me that decision making is not an easy thing but a skill that reveals both character and experience.
Jesus is the greatest example of a leader - focused, insightful, understanding and willing to sacrifice.

Thank God for great leaders.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hope keeps us going

I've been mulling over the role HOPE plays in our lives.  Hope is named by Paul as one of three aspects of life that lasts.  Our position in life, our treasured possessions, even our health and strength may fade away - but hope remains.  Of course Paul's declaration is that love is the greatest however with hope I might suggest WE fade away.

Hope is what gives us strength whatever our circumstances and it is hope that lets us see another day...when we lose hope we lose the ability to move forward.  Talk to anyone who has battled depression.  They will tell you that without hope life is filled with darkness.

Hope gives us light, life, the ability to love.

As a pastor - the leader of a congregation - I was always amazed at how many people suffer with depression, and how many of those people suffered in lonliness.  It became a conviction of mine that if only those lonely men and women would willingly share their journey they could give HOPE to each other.

My faith in God, my relationship with Jesus and the love of Wendy give me HOPE.

"23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."  - Hebrews 10:23

Monday, November 08, 2010

Supper photos!

Movember moustache

Smiles all around

"I use to have hair like that!"
June Cleaver
 I don't get to Ontario often, but when I do it is always great to connect with my sister and family!
Never trust a woman who smiles like this!

Last night I had the thrill of being with them for supper....we took some photos as above.  Photographers were Laura and Terry (aka, Tony, June, Harv)!  It is both fun and refreshing to be with Noah and Laura - they have so much energy and love!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

George R Allan School - Grade 5

I'm on the left front, seated on the floor - tie, glasses and a good head of hair
In 1967 we lived in Hamilton, Ontario and I attended George R Allan public school.  It was a different time.  Our teacher was Mrs. MacDonald, and she was wonderful.  She worked with me tirelessly to improve my penmanship - it was the mark of a gentleman, in her opinion.

We began each day with the singing of O Canada, God Save the Queen and reciting The Lord's Prayer.  Because it was Canada's 100th birthday, the Gideon Society gave to each grade 5 student a gold covered New Testament.  I still have it.

Somewhere in this picture is a dark haired girl by the name of Maria.  I don't remember which one she is, but I wished she would be my Mom's advice: "Fred, they're a Roman Catholic family, it won't work."   So I moved on in life...

The big boy, 4th from the left in the back row is, I think, Brian.  He always wanted to teach me to "box"...which meant I would get beat up by him.  One day when he stopped me I punched him in the stomach as hard as I could...he never bothered me again.  Boys and girls the lesson here is..."violence is not the answer...well most often it isn't".

This was one of my favourite school years and though it was my first year in a new school in a new city (my third school by that date) I found many good experiences in friendship and learning in this old school.  By the time I graduated high school I attended 10 schools.  How many did you attend?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Character is...


"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.:
"I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me."

Friday, November 05, 2010

Time Change 2010

Did you remember that this IS the weekend to set our clocks back?  If you want to stay up and do it on the official hour it is 2 a.m. Sunday  I won't even be home to change the clocks!

According to daylight savings time was first proposed by William Willet in 1906 though the idea was rejected until it became a war measures act in the UK in 1916.

According to the idea was Benjamin Franklin who wrote about the idea of "free light" (ie. sunlight) vs the cost of lighting a house with candles or lamps in 1784.

Of course the truth is that it was an idea considered by many but implemented fully by 1918.  We've had it ever since...except in Saskatchewan...but that's another story!

Speaking of stories - have I told you of the time that Wendy and I were in Ottawa for the dedication of our niece Meghan?  The night before the family was all together when someone said "isn't this the night we put our clocks back?" ...there seemed to be consent and so that night before we went to sleep in our hotel room we put our watches back and agreed that we would grab breakfast at McD's.  The next morning we noticed that McD's hadn't reset their clocks.  We began to wonder ...but of course put it down to the number of teens working..."they just haven't done it yet".

Then a sense of doubt crept into our minds...and a mad dash was made to the church where we discovered the service was underway and we had made it just in time! of those "I can't believe that happened" stories.

November 7 is the date we put our clocks back for 2010!

The Essence of Character

Your true character is revealed by the clarity of your convictions, the choices you make, and the promises you keep.  Hold strongly to your principles and refuse to follow the currents of convenience.  What you say and do defines who you are, and who you are forever.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Can you tow with a car?

There is a belief in the RV world, it would seem mostly amongest pickup truck owners, that there vehicle of choice is the only sensible choice.   Wendy and I, following the model of Trailer Les, decided to hitch up the minivan and pull our trailer.

The first van we had was underpowered, but sufficient if we took it easy.  It had the 3.5L engine with a struggling 200 hp.  The second van has a well matched engine at 3.9L and 240 hp.  When we are towing with this van  we don't seem to struggle uphill at all.  In fact we've passed our fair share of those muscular pickups struggling to keep going up a steep slope.
I've been reading RV lifestyles and they have a strong connection to Can-Am Centre (London, Ontario) where the photo above was taken.  If you go to their website you can watch a video of a PT Cruiser towing a small Airstream.

Some day I hope to be able to drop in on these folks and see their setup...oh, and by the way I love the 300C with the 28 foot Airstream!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fulton Burgers

Wendy and I tried a new eating place tonight...not in the best of locations but a great menu with good service and fresh hot food.  We ordered the 1/3 burger on the All Dressed Market Bun.  I added Dijon mustard, goat cheese and horseradish.  Wendy had red onions, honey mustard and cucumber.  Add some tomato and sweet potato fries and you've got a delicious meal!

If you want to learn more go to Fulton Burger - if you want to taste good food you have our recommendation!

And what a cool way to see your order is ready!

The Salvation Army comes to the Yukon

There are two rather remarkable photographs, or prints of them more accurately, that hang inside our building in Whitehorse.  One is a record of The Salvation Army in Dawson City during the days of the gold rush.  The other is of a group of Salvationists, men and women, who came to the Yukon through Skagway, Alaska.  Having driven from Skagway to Whitehorse in a warm, modern van I can't imagine doing it as a group the hard way!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Leanne

I was 10 years of age when my parents sat me down to have a "talk" wasn't that was to tell me that I was to have a baby sister.  They were adopting and a lady was going to come to the house to talk to us (insert Social Worker making a home visit).  I remember she talked to my parents and to me - she asked how I felt about having a sister.  My response: "do you have puppies?"...just kidding Leanne!

At any rate it wasn't long before Leanne joined the family.  Mom use to curl her hair on top and tape or pin a bow into her hair.

It was February when Leanne eventually joined us and I remember those exciting days when all I wanted was for someone to ask me: "do you have any brothers or sisters?"  That's a long time ago now (not that Leanne is old....) but I thought it would be good to revisit what I remember as being the first holiday with all five us... here's Dad with Leanne, Cath in the stroller and me in my Sunday best!  Mom was taking the photo so in fairness here's the second photo with Mom in it and Leanne's famous smile!