Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to leave the House!

There was a time when the communication of the Annual Officer's moves was by phone and grapevine!  Remember how Officers would phone each other trying to come up with the "official list" on move day?  TSA even created a guideline that required Officer's to pay for long distance calls made on that day to alleviate the costs associated with that day.  Today we have email and websites (and Facebook) and the communication is almost instantaneousness. You've probably already found this but here's the list, slightly shorter this year I believe!

Did you get to see the Royal Wedding?  You have to admit that the Brits do now how to celebrate royally! Have you visited their website?  The stirring sermon of the Archbishop can be read here.

My favourite part though was the classy exit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving in an Austin Martin!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Waters return to Ontario

Well for sometime it has been known that we are on the move...again!  While the past appointment, and the one before were only 2 years in length, we've been in Alberta now for 11 years.  Hard to believe we drove all this way with 13 and 16 year old sons and today, they are both grown and married men!

Today was announced that we will be moving to Territorial Headquarters.  Wendy will be in the Corps Ministries Department as the Adult Ministries Secretary.  I will be in the Personnel Department as the Candidates Secretary.

So with those announcements we leave behind a most wonderful province and people.  The citizens of Alberta have supported The Salvation Army strongly giving more than any other province in the nation.  We've loved our days in Calgary as Corps Officers, as Area Commanders serving northern Alberta and the Northern Territories. We have great people - great officers and volunteers - great employees.  It has been a real privilege to share in ministry together.

We still have a few weeks and we'll enjoy every last moment.  If we haven't been your way lately feel free to be in touch with us.  We want to make sure we say goodbye to as many as possible.  Thank you for the privilege of sharing these years with you.

And finally - congratulations to Cadet Kyla who will soon be the Corps Officer in Fernie, BC.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stunt Plane over Yellowknife

Yellowknife airport
The Yellowknife airport...was there ever a place that I've had more adventure in?  When Dale and Jo dropped me off they even asked..."should we wait around unless you can't leave?"

Just after I got there I went to the window to look out onto the tarmac when zoooommmmm.....

A stunt plane went passing over the runway just at 500 feet!  I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

Here's the video I was able to grab!


Argyle Citadel - Black & White photo

There are 3 Waters in this photo
Facebook has taken the world by storm it would seem.  And once in a while it brings a surprise and here's one I found.  This photo is from Hamilton.  What the occassion is I'm unsure, and the date is a bit sketchy...somewhere I think between 1967 and 1969. 

When I saw the photo I recognized my parents, 3&4 from the right, who would have been the CO's at Hamilton Temple, but then I saw the young girl two from the left!

It's my darling wife Wendy!  She attended the neighbouring corps and her Corps Officers are present next to my parents.  There she is smiling for the camera.  Perhaps we can find out what this photo was for?!  Leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yellowknife Reflections

I was at the YK Shelter last night.  Dale and Jo have a regular meeting in the evening with the men staying there called "Tea with the Pastors".  A simple table with chairs around it, a couple of pots of tea, some hot cross buns, butter and jam...and an invitation.  No one has to attend.

The men of all ages with weathered faces and hands sat smiling - big smiles - teeth missing and obvious lack "of means" they re-told with the help of Jo the Easter story.  They talked about themselves, teased each other and expressed concern for a couple of their friends having a bad day.

The staff were gentle yet firm as I watched them encourage a man too intoxicated to come in to "walk it off" and return later.  They did so with care and with the hope he would return in a better state of mind.

That's The Salvation Army, time, concern.

The the Gospel story...God's care, His perfect time, His eternal care.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Anticipation.  That would be a good word to describe the atmosphere among Salvation Army Officers at this time of the year.  It isn't like the days when we sat by the phone wondering if we were moving without any indication from our supervisors. Today, those who are moving are aware of it. 

The anticipation is more for those who aren't moving - wondering where friends and family are going.

Of course for those who are movng, knowledge is one thing - acceptance is another.  I include myself in this group this year.  As one of my friends told me recently, in times of transition God is in the edges, in the daily wating.  God is there.  And where He is there is peace.  If we can accept it.

After the resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room...a time of transition for sure...and he breathed upon them and gave this blessing: "Peace be upon you."

For those of us in the upper room of transition Jesus still breathes upon us His peace.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend photos

A great weekend with Philip and Amanda in Canmore and Banff... a few extra photos to mark the occassion!


Rock Climber

Driving toward Mount Rundle

Gap Lake

Downtown Canmore - thru the window

Walking thru the neighbourhood 


Juggler in Banff

Soaking up the sun

Canmore - The Big Head

Trying to get on the big head

can't get on the big head

Try again

Whispering in the big head's ear

Big head gets an ear cleaning

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grotto Canyon - Canmore

Phil & myself stopping to enjoy the sun

Wendy and I are spending the Easter weekend with Phil & Amanda in Canmore.  Phil and I went for a walk up Grotto Canyon - the sun was strong and the canyon walls protect from the winds.  It was a spectacular day and I got about 150 photos, so this is but a small sample.

We will miss these times together and seeing the magnificent sites of such an overwhelming topography. The reflecting snow, the blue sky, the glorious rise of the rock from the valley floor never lose their appeal...their WOW power!
Walking up Grotto Canyon

Gap Lake

Amanda whispering into The Big Head

Phil walking up Grotto Canyon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

As the Easter Weekend approaches

Tomorrow is Good Friday.  Tomorrow is the day we pause to remember that Jesus Christ died, in our place, that the penalty for our sin would be paid.  How would you "pay" for your sin if you had to?  Would you have enough money, enough pennance, enough time?  What is the currency for resisting God's will?  How could you satisfy a Holy God?

Tomorrow we remember that you don't need to pay for your sin.  The payment is made in the death of Jesus.  The sin of the world, says the Bible, was laid on Him.

Imagine what the sin of the world looks like? 

Someone once told me that Hell will be Hell simply by who will be there.  The Who's Who of evil residing in one place.  Every sinister character, the most despised people of history, those whose minds conceived the most horrific deeds, living in one place.

And to escape that - simply asking God to accept the sacrafice of Jesus in your place.  Simply asking God to forgive you because of the penalty Jesus paid.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." - John 19:28-30

And then comes Easter Sunday morning - the resurrection - the awakening of The King of Kings!  Hallelujah, what a Saviour!  Jesus has proven His power over sin and death.  Forgiveness comes wrapped in white with a bow of joy around it.  Healing for the heart sweeps over those who will believe, those who will accept the greatest gift of all - the gift of a clean slate and a new beginning.  The Bible calls us "new creations" when we accept Jesus.

 " 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord."  - John 20:19,20

This Easter I am reminded again that the greatest contrast of all was on that weekend so long ago - Friday was filled with darkness, defeat, disappointment...but Sunday began with joy, hope and peace.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So goes the Leader, so goes the Country

I've only been to one National Prayer Breakfast in Ottawa, next month will be my second.  The first one was just prior to the Billy Graham Mission in Ottawa and I invited my MP to join me.  He declined, though a known Christian, as he was hoping to run for the leadership of his party and therefore the Office of Prime Minister.  He felt that it wouldn't be politically expedient to be seen in an overtly Christian event.   I was disappointed in him and wondered if political wisdom has anything to do with personal conviction - at least in his life.

The Prime Minister of the day did attend, along with the leaders of the Opposition Parties and the Speaker of the House, The Speaker of the Senate and the Chief Magistrate of the Supreme Court.  I was at the table with 3 High Commissioners including the High Commissioner for Rwanda.  It was fascinating conversation.  Paul Henderson was the speaker and he shared both his story and gave a great and simple explanation of God's love, offer of forgiveness and restoration.  I was overwhelmed by his personal story.  Forgiveness was certainly something he experienced.

Next month The Salvation Army's Executive Leaders will be attending this year's breakfast on The Hill.  The election will only be a week behind us - so we'll see who is in attendance!

The White House has posted this You Tube video of President Obama's address at this year's National Prayer Breakfast in the USA.  As Ed Stetzer points out - it didn't get much media coverage but I'm sure you'll appreciate the tone and content of what The President has to say.  Enjoy.

Oh - and my MP did run to lead the party - he lost and has left public life.  I have wondered down through the years, if he didn't have the courage to stand by his personal convictions on something as benign as this, where else would he be willing to compromise for the sake of appearance or personal gain?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dr.Pepper and Clamato

In case you're wondering, the title is not a new drink combination.  Far from it.  It just so happens that our favourite soft drink is Dr. Pepper ~ not always available at fine restaurants ~ but almost always available at our home!  And please don't suggest that this is a cherry coke substitute, nothing could be further from the truth.  Dr. Pepper is Dr. Pepper and the other Dr. Substitutes are not suitable replacements.  So I think we have that straight.

So what does that have to do with Clamato....well Clamato Juice happens to be my favourite juice.  Did you know it is made from Tomato Juice, Clam Broth and spices?  And did you know that the original Clamato Juice was made by Motts in 1966? And did you know that Motts is owned by Dr. Pepper?

Yes that's right - Motts & Dr. Pepper!  So you know that they have this household market sewn up!

John Piper on Abiding in Christ

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:31,32

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Your Name is...

We sang this in our morning service today.  I find this to be simple yet profound, stirring yet reassuring, truth wrapped in a wonderful tune.  As the day wore on I found myself coming back to this tune and these words.  I also found myself looking at the Scriptures.  Here's one verse that stood out to me.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." - John 20:31

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Awesome Aunt - Awesome Quilt

Is there anything better than a family celebration?  When family can come together, to sit around a table, tell stories of what's going on in our lives and to do so without hesitation, without reservation and with laughter - what is better than that?   Well we had two celebrations tonight!

Awesome Aunt Amanda
First of all, we celebrated Amanda's birthday.  Phil wasn't with her as he had to work, but with Susan and Jason,  Wendy and I we did have some supper together and sang "Happy Birthday" (copyright belongs to Time-Warner...and I'm not kidding) while she blew out the candles on cupcakes!  Amanda got a great card from Jason and Susan to an "Awesome Aunt".

Salsa Nights by Mom
Second celebration?  Well after 250 plus hours by Wendy, Jason got his quilt!  It's called Salsa Nights and represents a heritage piece for their home!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What would you pack last?

Since we know we are moving, and know where we are going, we've ordered our boxes and began the task of wrapping "our stuff" in paper and loading it into boxes.  We have a couple of objectives in this move; to shed some weight - take only what we really want/need  and second, to have an excellent inventory of our things.

Packing does involve deciding what to pack first and what to leave to the last day or two.  It seems the computer will be one of the last things packed, and of course we still need to do some cooking as long as possible.  If you were packing up your home - what would you leave until the last box?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If Moses could have used the internet

Partners in Mission Pot Luck

If there is one thing that our office knows how to do, it is getting together for fun and food!  And when we can add a good cause - well then that's even better.  The staff have been raising funds for Partners in Mission and as part of that a Pot Luck was planned that would celebrate one of our partner countries that we support through PIM funds.

Thus the German theme....Karen and Judy decided to use Sir Ian's image in the poster...nice photo of him really!  The food was great - and confession being good for the soul - I ate too much - especially sauerkraut!

I'm going to miss these people - they are a good group of people with good hearts minds.  You know we aren't the highest paying employer on the block - and so most of our people do what they do because they believe in our mission and want to make a difference.  In a world filled with people working jobs they don't like to buy stuff they don't need to impress people they don't know...our employees are different.

Tomorrow we will have another celebration - another opportunity to eat and laugh and enjoy being together as a team.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Questions for Leaders to ask themselves

In my present role I have a regular question that comes to me from many people: "what do you want to do about this?".  "This" maybe a number of things - personnel issues, questions on policy, strategic thought, simple decisions around events or visits.  It strikes me that leadership is about making decisions, and good leaders set themselves apart by having clear direction when it comes to those questions.

When I talk about clear direction I don't mean always having the answer, but knowing how to get to the right answer is imperative.  We sometimes get criticized for not having the answer quickly...well, quick enough for those that are asking.  The truth of the matter is that moving quickly, while a strength, can also be regrettable.  Balance is, in my thinking, the key to decision making.

But there are questions that every leader need to ask themselves.  Donna had some good insights on Sunday around some of those questions - questions on relationships.  So let me reflect on some of those and add others:

1.  How is my relationship at home - with my spouse, children?
2.  How is my heart?  Am I bearing any resentment?  Any bitterness?
3.  Am I fearful?  What keeps me back?
4.  Am I helpful to others?
5.  Do I exhibit an attitude of gratitude? 
6.  Would my friends describe me as a talker or a listener?
7.  Am I a generous person?  Am I willing to share myself, my time, my resources?
8.  Where have I settled for mediocrity?
9.  What's the best book I've learned from and who have I passed it on to?
10. Who do I need to forgive?  When, how will I tell them?
11. Have I told the good people around me how I feel about them?
12. What failure/success has been my greatest and what have I learned from it?

Would you add any other questions?

Monday, April 11, 2011

History steps from the kitchen

I was received at the Lieutenant Governor's office today.  His Honour, Colonel (Rt'd) Honourable Donald Ethel spent 30 minutes together taking about The Salvation Army's long history with the Canadian Military, our need for support from Government to continue our good work, and the recent Dignity Project featuring three stories from Alberta.

His Honour's reference got me thinking about the role my Paternal Grandfather had during WW2.  Too young for WW1, and too old for WW2, he committed himself to working with the troops - first of all at the Armories in Hamilton, Ontario then in Petawa, Ontario and finally in Kingston, Ontario.  Down through the years I've seen many photos, most in the possession of my Nanny Waters (my Grandmother).

The photo from the War Museum - in the door (right)
When we were in Ottawa (1995-2000) the War Museum featured a display on The Salvation Army's role with the Canadian Military.  The museum featured some life size photographs and though they were in black & white, they were stunning in their size and detail.  I was stunned when suddenly I saw my grandfather, large as life, in one of the photographs.

As I get older I see myself in some of his smiles, in some of his poses, and certainly in the line of his heritage.  I'm certain my photo won't end up life size in any Canadian museum, and I'm certain that I won't be listed in the Who's Who of Canadian life.

My goal - the Lamb's Book of Life.

"Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life." Revelation 21:27

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The RV is finally open and oh, oh!

It's been a long winter here, with an unusual amount of snow.  As a result I've not been able to make it to the trailer to check it out since sometime in December.  So yesterday I thought I would finally get my way to the door...did some shovelling so I could make sure the trailer was okay.

Last spring I found a small puddle of water on the floor and I could not figure out where it came from.  There were no water marks anywhere.  So as I put the RV away for winter I have to admit to some nervousness about what I might find this spring.

As I opened the trailer I went first to the floor where I found water last spring and it was dry.  Then I noticed on the table a mark - a rusty looking stain like water had been sitting there but had evaporated.  Above the mark I noticed some similar staining on the speaker in the ceiling!  For those of you with RV's you will know the panic that suddenly ran through my veins.  Water damage can be very expensive and require extensive rebuilding.

I decided to pull off the speaker...then the light (nearby) and the second speaker.  Though I still have found no other water damage there were a few remnant drops of water in the light and one of the wires had eroded (sign of previous water presence).  The other speaker showed no sign of water.

The other strange thing is that the openings where the speakers and light goes seems to show no sign of water!  Here's what I found:

Speakers & light removed from their placement

The light wiring

Speaker B opening

Speaker A opening

Back of Speaker B

Water stains on the light

Small water stain on the Speaker A

Speaker A

Inside of light with corroded connection
So I'll need to do some repair and check the roof.  If you've seen this before - or have an idea where the moisture is coming from I would love to hear your comment.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Big Melt is On

The big melt is on...the snow is rapidly disappearing.  The sun was high and warm today and with 11 degrees reached mid afternoon all that snow turns into a fairly fast flow of water that then runs into our garage!  Yeah - into the garage.
The North Saskatchewan thaws

When they built the new garage a few years ago the pad was poured a bit low and sloping to one side rather than the front.  As well, a new sidewalk ended in front of the garage a little lower than the pad and so the water flows into that area before draining off under the garage door.

I was speaking to our neighbour Cathy today - she told me we are the 14th neighbour they have had.  Apparently a bank manager with the Royal Bank first owned the house and he was transfered to Calgary....a few years later TSA bought the house and well, the occupants have been transfered all over the country since then.  I told her there's a fifteenth neighbour on their way!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Google makes this the number one return

For about five years I've averaged 30 ...sometimes 40 visitors to my blog.  They were friends, a few folk that I had met along the way and knew I liked to blog.  But in the past year I've found that the numbers were climbing and it wasn't uncommon for 6o or even 70 people to visit ...then since January the numbers got higher.  In the past month it has hit about 400 people a day....and when you see that on feedjit it looks like a pretty steady stream.

So I've been noticing that visitors come mostly to this one post.  Here's what has happened...if you type Despicable Me into the google search engine and ask it to find images - this post is the number one post.  How did that happen?

So yesterday this week we hit a high of 415 views on one day.  I'm sure there's a lesson here!  I'll wait until their lawyer calls...

Friday at 4 pm

At the end of a challenging, if not productive work week, it is easy to feel good as the office closes for the weekend.  Employees are filing out, wishing each other a good weekend and heading out to what they have planned.  Last weekend Wendy and I were out on the road so it will be nice to be home this weekend.

There is a definite tide working in an office setting that is different to being "out on the front lines".  Those of us at DHQ dwell in two worlds - during the week we have administrative duties that support the people we visit on weekends.  There is a great joy in rubbing shoulders with those whose responsibilities are more directly linked to hands on ministry.

In the April 2011 edition of Christianity Today, they ask the question "What's a congregation worth?"  The Answer comes from a study by University of Pennsylvania's Ram Cnann:
  • Church budget: $520,000 with 80% providing stimulus to the local economy.
  • Suicide prevention $58,800 with $19,600 per person directly saved through clergy intervention
  • Divorces prevented $22,500
  • Crime prevention and re-entry $84,000
  • Reduced crime rate $64,416
  • Volunteer hours worked $94,770
  • People getting off drugs/alcohol $78,750
  • Helping people gain employement $725,000
Now multiply that by the number of churches in your neighbourhood...the number of Salvation Army Centres that do even more...supporting that kind of work is deeply satisfying.  I thank God every day for His calling on my life.

"And Jesus went about doing good."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Visiting our EMT

Yesterday we took a drive to where Phil is serving as an EMT - we got to visit the Fire Hall (which is on one side of the street) and then to see the EMS station and the ambulance Phil works on.  And yes - that's me with the jaws of life!!

It was thrilling to see the location, his ambulance, to hear him tell about the equipment, drugs and procedure.  He's worked very hard to get this far and we're very proud of him!

Seeing Phil in this setting is reminder of how indebted we all are to those who serve to keep us safe...and when we aren't to come to our aid.  Phil and Amanda have made many sacrifices to get to this point.  By the way...if you're in trouble it won't be me coming with to the rescue - so relax!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wind Mill on the Prairie

Alberta may be known for the Oil Sands and natural gas wells, but it also is a place where the wind blows and the sun shines!  So wind and solar power are quite common.  While driving south on Hwy 21 on Friday we came across a long line of tall white wind mills.  So we took a few minutes to take a closer look.

A night next to the museum

Last evening we were in Drumheller for their Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  Well done Matt and Rachel !  A good turn out and a fine representation of what TSA does in this small town.  Located in a very deep and long coulee.  Coming along the highway you are rolling along the very flat prairie when you suddenly descend down into the valley.  It is a very different landscape - an area known as the Badlands and noted for the significant number of paleontology finds.  The area is especially noted for the Royal Tyrell Museum
It was a good evening and a reminder of the early days of our officership when we worked in a similarly small town community.