Monday, December 30, 2013

Belated Merry Christmas 2013

...just taking a few minutes to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and of course, a Happy New Year. Our household has been busier than a pair of booster cables at the close of a redneck funeral, so to speak. It would take too long to elaborate, so just trust me. Ironically, I ended up with two interesting gifts that in a way, I thought I'd never own. As an "experienced" 35mm photo-nut, I always said I'd never bother with a DSLR camera. Simply put, there's no reason this day in age to have a bulky reflex mirror behemoth hanging from your neck. However, I could not help but notice the crisp  and stunning photos that such things render. Canon, one of my most disliked brands has been dumping their older T3 with a non-stabilized lens for the bargain price of $299. By using her "Optimum" points, Debbie was able to shave almost $175 from that, ringing it in at around $125 plus tax...ok SOLD !! So far so good, and yes I'm impressed...

A few sample photos...
Next up, some more irony; Even though I've been using the tried and true Yeast+Sugar method of carbonation for homemade Root Beer, my sons gifted me with a SodaStream Jet. It's a CO2 carbonation Gizmo that I'm kind of taking a liking to...
It comes with enough CO2 to Fizz up about 60 litres of soda. The flavoring is a little expensive, as is the CO2 refill, but there are alternatives. All in all, it's a bit of a fun distraction...so far, I've only made a litre of Root Beer, and while it lacks the yeasty goodness of my normal homemade, it's otherwise quite satisfying. I'll certainly take the time to explore making my own flavouring, and alternate CO2 sources. This should take me well into the New Year  :)


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Always playing Catch-up (Malawi 2013)

It happened again; another calendar month with no post from me. It's not that I couldn't find the time, I just didn't "take" the time. November seemed busier than usual. Back on October 24th, Debbie and I joined a team of 8 and participated in a short-term missions trip to Malawi. The 2-week trip was busy and a little tiring, but I think rolling up your sleeves and helping is always the right thing to do. In my experience, you need not labor or brood over this stuff...let me reiterate: if it involves helping someone, it's ALWAYS the right thing to do. In other words, you need not pray and ask Jesus what he meant by "go ye into all the world"...duh !

A significant part of our trip was undeniably the children we met. Of the 15 million people in Malawi, almost half are children. By most of our measures, they don't seem to have very much, and it was heart-wrenching to hear them in the villages singing "my cup is full and running over". I felt a stark rebuke in my soul as I pondered how unappreciative and cynical I can be, while they sing from the depths of a thankful heart...
video

I was also a little moved, envious even, of the simplicity of the village life. The daily routines of providing for one's family, cooking the evening meal etc had a calmness about it that was strangely attractive...
The two weeks went by quickly. I think I'd rather a longer stay. With our tasks complete, we headed for home...
Homeward Bound
I think it's mostly our age, but we were a little "wiped" by the time we arrived home on November 7th. Debbie was much worse shape than me, with a nasty cough that refused to "get lost". Accordingly, the next couple of weeks were an exercise in recovery. However, things are looking up (just in time to get ready for the Christmas season). The last 3 weeks of November simply vaporized, and here we are. Overall, I'm very thankful. Sometimes you need to be removed from your comfort zone and afforded a little shock therapy in order to be able to refocus, re-zero, and re-calibrate. We met so many people who just "get it". They happily put others first, and it seems to be their "normal" just to give instead of receive. I think I read about that somewhere once...what book was it? oh yeah...The BIBLE !  :)
God help me to give away my life so that I might find it...something to ponder as Christmas approaches...