Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh No... Hubble is Sick!!!!

I had heard rumours that something was wrong but I didn’t know how bad it was. It is like hearing about a close and old friend that is now ailing. They live far away and have worked hard all their life but now the body is failing.

What am I referring to? Well it is someone – actually something – that has given us all new perspective of life and living, the past and the future. It is the Hubble Space Craft.

From the photos that have been taken of the galaxies throughout the universe we have witnessed some of the greatest wonders the mind can possibly take in. Personally I have so enjoyed the images that show me the hand print of God himself.

For others that may not be so caught up in God Stuff – it has opened new doors to their thinking. “Hubble” has touched us all in some way.

Even as I type that out I realize that it as a machine has actually taken on the status of a person. Hubble is the like a well liked, old family car with a name, that has carried everyone for a long time to many places across the map. The thought of trading it in is too hard to fathom.

I have known a farmer or two that have had tractors that meant that much and had a special shed was built just to house it.

On board the Hubble there are three gyroscopes that have failed. There are only two left functioning. These gyroscopes are the special pieces of equipment that steer/orient the Hubble craft. Without them it simply lays still in one spot and cannot function.

On board the Hubble the batteries are also ailing. After 18 years they are operating at half capacity. They need changing.

But the most difficult part was its loss of communication ability with the people back home. A glitch occurred in Hubble's 135-pound data-handling unit, which gathers and packages information from five main instruments for delivery to the ground.

Think of it as a kind of “machine stroke” where a small section vital to communication has broken and it cannot tell anyone down below what is going on, or what the Hubble is looking at.

Apparently it happened in the “Side A” instrument where the malfunction took place.
The engineers worked on the Hubble by sending signals and whatever else they can do from earth to activate “Side B” on the Hubble… and it worked. The 18 year old machine responded and Side B has taken over the work that Side A was doing for 18 years. The photo below shows the newest shot taken… a “Perfect 10”… with two galaxies lining up to form the number. Cool eh?

I can’t imagine the excitement of the crew down below when their old friend sparked back to life again.

According to what I read they had planned another launch of a Shuttle to take new parts/replacement parts up to the ailing Machine – on October 14. But when someone checked out the parts that had been set aside they weren’t working either. It seems that someone a few years ago had taken the replacement apart and didn’t finish the job. Then when they did get it together it didn’t handle signals properly. Now they have put that flight off until February 2009.

As the story unravels it is more and more like real life here on earth. It is like taking more really old car to the modern garage and they have no idea how to take it apart let alone have any parts for it.

It is even more like the old body that God gave us… failing… flailing… falling… and malfunctioning and the young doctor has no idea how to get it going again.

Hubble’s 18 year body is much like my body at 64 years old that has some of the parts failing also. Sometimes I wonder why they are still there in that they stopped working properly long ago… sheesh! (And there is no team of engineers working feverishly to kick start my stuff.)

I envy the Hubble in some ways.

But the story of the Hubble has another spin for me. It is all about relationships. Stuff happens and stuff breaks. And if there is a willingness to work hard and work together – it is possible to fix the broken pieces… and go on living.

A young couple that were married not long had a “Side A” failure. Communication within the marriage was clogged. As I analyzed what happened with them we found the source of the problem. We discovered the part that was broken… and then activated “Side B” to begin the communication again. I saw them not long ago – and they are doing very well.

When I go back to Hubble again… a team of engineers that are perhaps the best in the world helped, worked together, and together they saw the answer come.

Can you imagine what might happen if we did the same in all our relationships here on earth? WOW – what a difference it would make.

Unlike the Hubble with its team of engineers, we have God and his host of Angels looking after our well being.

You know… after all the “CRAP” is over and done… the sun is still shinning above the clouds.

I make an official proclamation today… for me…. “Today is the start of the rest of my life! – and it will be GOOD!”

The ideas are coming so fast and the information from outer space is so clear that my old computer can hardly handle it all. Wooooieee!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources:
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-sci-hubble31-2008oct31,0,4831438.story

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Soccer Team

By Bruce Lindsay

Recently, I coached my daughter's school in their county wide soccer tournament. We came 3rd and it was so exciting, I just had to tell everyone about it. The way every player was an important piece of the puzzle, reminded me of the analogy that we are the body of Christ. Let me explain what happened.

The Edmison Heights Soccer team has a long history of going to the All County Tournament and getting beaten like a rented mule. The teacher/coach in charge of the soccer team is Mr. Benn. He admitted to me that he doesn't really know much about soccer, but somebody needs to coach the team. I saw that the number of kids was unmanageable. Over 70 kids tried out for a team that was supposed to only have about 15 players. The tournament was in 2 weeks. Because of other commitments, Mr. Benn had exactly 5 more days he'd be available to teach these kids to play. Some have never played soccer before.

Since my daughter Emma was going to be on the team, I volunteered to help him coach. I've been coaching soccer for 9 years now and I know a lot about how kids play and what they need to do to succeed. After I offered to help, I was faced with these weird parameters.

Mr. Benn didn't want to cut any grade 6 kids. Even if the grade 4 kid could do a backward summersault and score from 50 meters out, and the grade 6 kid has 3 left feet and is so overweight he can't jog the 50 meters, the grade 6 kid stays. The small kids will get a chance next year…

Also, the rule is that on the field there must be 5 boys and 5 girls at the same time. In my experience, that means the girls are going to get killed. The pool of girls trying out was roughly the same as the boys, but more grade 6 boys tried than grade 6 girls. That meant there was some room for the best girls from grade 5 and 4 to make it, but no room for grade 4 boys. The smaller the girl, the more likely she was to get beaten up and bloodied. I wanted to send a note home with all the small girls, making sure they had accident and life insurance.

The school had exactly 2 soccer balls, no goal-posts or soccer field for that matter. And after the first set of cuts, 55 kids waiting in line (of whom I knew about 6 names).

Lucky for me I had some soccer balls of my own!

I focused on soccer drills. I showed them how to do a proper throw-in, where to throw it, and took notes on who did it best. I showed how to do a corner kick and noted who kicked it furthest. (Bragging here: Of the 50; Guess who was the only kid that scored on a corner kick?) I showed them a set play, to take the ball from midfield and pass it backward then boot it up to the forwards to start the game. I showed them how to take a pass over our players head, how to take a pass coming over your head and keep possession of it, how to stay in their lanes so each player knows where they are going to be without looking. I showed them how to strip the ball from an attacking player.

As the week went on, some kids quit. It made things easier for me. I had notes about who I wanted to cut, but surprisingly, some of those kids learned so quickly that by the end I had changed my mind. I wanted them on the team.

Mr. Benn made the final cuts on my recommendations, but instead of a team of 15, he made 2 teams of 22. That's 44 soccer players! I was to coach one of the teams of 22, while Mr. Benn coached the other 22 kids. That meant that each player had a substitute (there are 11 players on at a time, including the goalie).
I assigned each player a position based on what skills they had. Fastest players are attackers, the toughest were defence, the hardest kickers and skilled passers were mid-fielders. I had enough time to divide the 22 into 2 groups of 11 so they each knew where they were playing. The whistle blew, and we were on!

It took about 5 minutes for everyone to get their bearings; they had never played together on a real soccer field before. We were quickly down a goal. But then something changed. They remembered the drills they learned, and went to work. The throw-ins caught the other team off guard and led to fantastic pressure. The forwards were playing their positions and were right where they needed to be for the midfielders to pass to them. Our defensemen were attacking anyone who came near them. On corner-kicks we quickly got to the spots we needed to be, and the proper person kicked it in – well. We lost the game 1-0, but you would never know it from the excitement of our team. We controlled the game and only their great goalie stopped us from scoring at least 3 goals.

We won the next 2. The last game in particular was our best. We were playing a team that was undefeated. There was no score about half way through the game. We had a free kick from about 40 yards out. I yelled to the boy, "Kick it just like we practiced". The forwards now knew the ball was going to come over their heads and if they couldn't kick it they were to go to the net, in their lanes. The other team, all 10 players were covering the forwards as if the ball was going to be passed on the ground - it went over all their heads. Our girl kicked the ball to the net. Another boy kicked it past the diving goalie. We won 1-0!

We had such confidence we knew we could beat anybody!

The other group of 22, wearing the Blue & Green shirts in the pictures did almost as well, winning 1, and losing 2, but one of the losses was a 1-0 game. Overall, the 2 teams had 3 wins and 3 losses, the school's best performance ever.
The analogy with the Body of Christ works for me because, despite my positioning each player where he or she will most likely succeed, they often wanted to play somewhere else. Our best goalie, kept bugging me that he wanted to play forward for a game or 2. The best defence player wanted to play attacker, the fastest girl who was a natural attacker, wanted to play mid-field with her best friend. I had to keep refusing these requests by telling them that I'm putting them in a place that is best for the team. "We could let everyone do their own thing, and get beaten badly, or we could all do what we do best and have a great game!" By focusing on the goal, the complaining stopped.

How often as Christians do we feel that if God would only put us somewhere else, we could do great things? How often do we complain about where God has placed us and the situation that we're in? Maybe you even take it upon yourself and change positions – leave your church or something, without asking the Coach. Maybe you just quit.

I prefer to think that God has placed us right where he needs us. We need to trust our Coach, knowing that He has a game-plan and that we need to do our best in the position He's put us, to help our team win. He's shared a play-book with us. Let's stick to the game-plan and work together.

I know that it's not a game we're playing. The everyday pressure can be much worse than a soccer tournament. But it's very important to 'Bloom where we are planted' and do your best in whatever position God placed you.

Side note: Emma came home after the first week of tryouts thinking that she would quit. She's only in grade 4 and, despite being a great soccer player felt that she couldn't compete with kids a year or two older than her. There were so many kids trying out for the team!

I told her, "There's nothing wrong with a coach telling you that you're too small. There is no shame in being cut. He will probably tell you that you should try again next year. But there is something wrong with quitting. Once you decide to quit, you quickly become a quitter and make it a life habit. Quitters never succeed. They don't even get into the game. Whatever happens, don't quit! Promise me you won't quit."

She didn't quit. She made the team, one of only three grade-4 kids who made it. She played on defence and played as well as the two grade-6 boys who played defence with her.

Trying to sneak a soccer ball past Emma is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster!

When we finished the tournament, the coach took all 44 kids to Dairy Queen for an ice cream. Emma said thank you, to Mr. Benn. He said, "I'm proud of you, Emma."

Emma answered, "I'm proud of myself!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Desperate People and The World

It seems that the horrible stuff never stops. People are dieing again. People are running again – fleeing the possible fighting that is threatening their home area. Now as they flee they die of starvation and disease that easily takes over their safe route out.

I am contrasting this article’s Title with that of yesterday on purpose by changing two words – “People” for “Housewife” and removing the word “Series”. With that very small change it carries you from the complicated over blown actions of people watching and playing baseball in Philadelphia to the Border town of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Instead of some famous baseball player getting a super homerun in a World Series game, you have General Laurent Nkunda leading his people. He is tall and lean, wears glasses and is University educated in Psychology. He is also leading a band of believers in what he is claiming to be a cause. He has been declared a rebel and against the peace of his government. He is a bad man in the controlling party’s eyes. In his followers eyes he is a hero.

Sitting in your small area of the world, where you travel perhaps a few kilometres or miles to work and play, what does it have to do with you?

Well where it is happening is right across the border from the country of Uganda and Rwanda. It is situated right at the cross over of the three country’s borders.

Uganda and Rwanda are only associated with movies that we have watched. For the people that live there it is associated with horrors of over 800,000 people having died not far from where they live. The wars in these other countries have subsided from world view. There may be no one else to kill there – or the world opinion is just too much against the unpopular leaders.

When you “Google Earth” The Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda – you will see the close proximity of the three countries and the man made boundaries that come on to the screen. From the start of time these boundaries and borders didn’t exist. They are lines on maps where political powers and strong men say, “This is mine and that is yours – don’t you dare cross over!”

The inter tribal and people group conflicts are much older than Google Maps… and even the UN Peacekeepers – 17,000 strong in that area fighting the General Laurent Nkunda’s rebel army.
The short video clip included in the BBC report today shows a small segment of the 20,000 refugees walking away from the area. Not driving – WALKING. Young and old people flooding the roadway to get away from the area before the Rebel’s arrive and bullets from the UN Troops and Rebels fly over head.

The one thing that catches my attention, General Laurent Nkunda’s men are well dressed as soldiers and have some very big guns, they drive large tanks and are well armed. Where do they get their ARMY STUFF from? Who pays for it? Is General Laurent Nkunda really rich? Or is there more to the story – a larger interest involved here – maybe more politics, oil reserves, or religion?

If you have read this far you are likely scratching your head and I have lost you. The feeling that comes from thinking people are dieing is not nice. The sense that another major world tragedy is about to be revealed is more than we want. The thoughts that are uncomfortable are not what I need today… give me something happy, uplifting, sunny, bright… a YIPPEE feeling would be nice Murray – come on!

Why bother with this issue?

For me it is really important. This is November and on the 11th we will remember the people that we have sent to a war far, far away. We do this so we won’t forget the death of people that we did not know.

I have six grandkids now that are well on their way to walking into a world – to do something with their lives. In reality I have 6 potential people that are very important to me – that could go into a war zone somewhere in about 8 to 15 years from now. They could be soldiers, peacekeepers, or medical personnel in a war zone.

That brings it very close to home for me. These kids care. They were trained that way.

Murray, Murray, Murray – get a life. Stop thinking about grey things… okay?

"Okay, Okay… Perhaps if it doesn’t rain tonight in Philadelphia we can get back to baseball and finish that really important game of all games… and if that game isn’t on – is it Dancing with the Stars or CSI?"

God help us all.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
Source
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7696958.stm#infographic
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3786883.stm
http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-1.2304478,29.414828&z=8&t=h&hl=en

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Desperate Housewives" and "The World Series"

What a flap! Can you believe it? The World Series Games for 2008 have missed the target audience for the last two days. Go figure.

Now I know that part of my reading audience could care less. But others find it interesting to the ninth degree. I am in the category I am afraid.

So what’s the flap?

Well on Sunday night, Oct 26, 2008 – ABC TV’s “Desperate Housewives” beat out the Fox TV’s “World Series Game between the Phillies and the Rays – in ratings! No kidding! People watching one really strange TV program out numbered another fairly strange phenomena – the World Series.

The World Series is a Western World tradition of men hitting little balls and running around in circles.

My mom has in her possession a small brown “scribbler” that was a prized item in my Grandpa Kirk’s life. During the World Series Season on the farm in southern Saskatchewan, the work would slow and during the day, and he would sit beside a radio and listen intently to every word the announcer spoke. There in this small brown “scribbler” in my Grandpa Kirk’s handwriting is every play of every World Series Game for a number of years.

No one was a greater fan than Grandpa Charles Kirkpatrick. “Charlie” or "Kirk" knew every player and could tell you details of almost every game.

Something to remember here – World Series Games were played in the daytime. Baseball was so important that it was played during working hours and the whole world was expected to stop. NO ONE MISSED THE GAMES.

When TV was finally able to broadcast the World Series live – many people were sick that day.

Now we have evolved – other things are more important than the silly game of heavy set men hitting little balls way far a way… and getting paid to do it. “Desperate Housewives” all these years of waiting for their place in the sun… have taken the lead.

Almost too funny actually… During the years that my Grandpa Kirk sat and wrote out the details of the game for his radio listening pleasure, the kids in his home made noise, ran around and did kid like things. There likely was a “desperate housewife” in that home – trying to keep her kids occupied, fed, clean, and out of mischief…while Pa listened to the games intently.

I don’t believe in people “rolling over in their graves” but wherever Grandpa is in Paradise now… he is likely discussing the turn of events of this season and the World Series and shaking his head.

You will have to do a little searching and reading to see the latest flap.

The first and greatest concern about the game is that it is late at night. I believe it was set this way to accommodate the Western TV audience that is 3 hours later. Starting a game at 8:30 PM in the east allows the westerners to see it at 5:30 PM and Advertisers will pay huge amounts of money to get the message in front of a larger audience.

On Sunday it had to be postponed further because the FOX TV people that were to cover the games were also broadcasting the NFL’s games that were not yet over. So you have to wait. Imagine Football beating out time slots over Baseball – who would have ever thunk it could have happened in our time!!!?

Now add to that – Last Night – the game was rained out… actually stopped after the teams tied 2-2. It will continue when the weather improves. It should begin again at the same baseball field when the rain stops – but that is a problem when the next game is to be in Florida and this one in Philadelphia was to be done. It is even more of a problem in that the Tampa Bay Team had checked out of their hotel that was then fully booked for the next day – there was NO ROOM IN THE INN!

Now add to the Flap… Bud Selig, who is the Baseball Commissioner, made poor calls and waited too long to call the game – according to some. Players were slopping around in potentially dangerous field conditions – and they might hurt their expensive big, old bodies.

Now add to this that if there are delays in this kind of scheduling – it all could carry over to the American Thanksgiving weekend – which is down right Holy. Desperate Housewives that go shopping on the days just before that weekend will be loose on their own while their husbands watch the potential last game.

If you were in charge what would you do? If you were a baseball addict like some are… would you change channels and go to “Desperate Housewives”.

It really is too funny to listen to the Flap.

“Grandpa Kirk… if God has allowed you a TV feed where you are today… the world is a little nuts. It has spent millions upon millions all during the games… and even more on a show about some really weird people that live in the same neighbourhood and do some really nasty things to each other….

I know you might not understand either. I don’t.”

This Flap about some really big nothings is rather silly to say the least.

I wonder what would happen if someone suddenly announced that the Game was over… and all money that would have been spent on all of this Flap was going to be donated to a World Wide Orphanage program to help every homeless/parentless kid?

I could suggest at least 100 worthy causes that would make much more sense.

It is an upside down world.

I gotta run now… there is bound to be much on today’s sports news about these TV ratings…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Source
http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/frm/f/63310451
http://tvbythenumbers.com/
http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/10/27/cable-news-ratings-for-october-24/6929
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081028&content_id=3650001&vkey=ps2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Just Doing What I Was Supposed To Do"

How do I describe what happened? It is complicated – but makes perfect sense.

A week ago last Thursday our oldest daughter Dana became very ill. It seems a virus of some sort has attacked her system and the side effects have been nasty. With the extreme nausea she dropped in her fluid intake to the point that one week after she began the gruelling ordeal we took her to the hospital where the Emergency crew administered 3 large units of fluid through an IV – then released her that evening.

Dana and Bruce have two kids. One is Clifford who is a typical 13 year old boy. If he is fed and has a warm place to sleep, gets some exercise physically and mentally he is happy. The other is Clifford’s sister Emma, who is 9 years old – and is a very different person. Her needs are to be the nurse, take care of her dolls and others.

When Dana has been feeling so terrible Emma is the one that has expressed the care openly. Clifford cares, but in a different way I am sure.

Emma came home to her sick mommy and told mom that she had written about her mom in her journal at school for the teacher to read. It was the major thing in her life that day as she walked to school alone. Her world was upside down with mom not functioning well.

At home she came by the couch where mom was laying and checked to see how her patient was doing. Could it be that at 9 years old a nurse or a doctor is starting to appear? She had told Doctor Hurst, the family doctor a few years back, that she intended to be a doctor like him. She was about 5 years old then.

This past Sunday Bruce was working and Dana was resting at home still not 100%. The kids were at church with us.

Pause here to explain something about the church…
Our church believes in asking God for help. We do that by praying for each other. At a certain time in the morning service we slow things down and ask if there is anyone in the congregation that day that might need prayer. The people are asked to come forward to allow the pastor to lay hands on them and ask for prayer for their special burden. We have prayed for financial needs, family crisis and physical problems. In fact we pray for anything that might be pressing that day on the congregation that is attending.
It made sense to me that we pray for Dana, our daughter, who had been so ill for so long. As I moved out of my pew as a Congregant in need, no one would know my problem. I approached Alida and whispered that I would like to go forward for prayer for Dana. Emma was between us. It was natural that we all three go together. There we walked down the long aisle, Grandpa on onside, Grandma on the other and Emma between us holding hands. It was the perfect setting for faith.

Our turn came for prayer and Pastor Herb approached us. I explained about Dana’s illness and need for prayer. Emma listened closely. I explained that Emma had been taking care of her mom at home and was here to ask prayer for her.

Pastor Herb then spoke to Emma and told her what he was going to pray and how he wanted Emma to return home and pray for her mom.

It was a beautiful and simple family moment when we stopped to ask our God to heal our daughter. It is all that I know when I am helpless and don’t know what to do. And last Thursday as I took my daughter and wife to the Emergency department was one of those “not knowing what to do” moments – when things are bleak and there is no where else to turn.

Later…
In the middle of the afternoon I called to see how Dana was doing. Emma answered the phone for her mom who was still lying on the couch resting. I asked Emma if she had told her mom that we had prayed for her at church. Emma’s reply was the most important part of my week… and settled any issues that I had faced in my confusing world…

“Grandpa I told mom what we did in church today. Then I put my hand on her head and prayed for her. I did what I was supposed to do.”

I kind of gulped at that moment. I said, “Emma, you are amazing! You are going to be great Nurse or Doctor or maybe even a Minister someday.”

She flatly replied, “I just did what I was supposed to do.”
Dana came on the telephone next. She described the same account about her 9 year old angel of mercy and faith. And then Dana told me that she started to feel better after that prayer and the room had stopped spinning.

I know that this is a simple family story that I almost spoil by telling it. It is a private moment for a Grandpa and his Granddaughter. But is so much more than that… It is simple faith that can move mountains and build life where death reigns and rules…where problems are so impossible that they burry us… and faith can say “It doesn’t have to be this way – I will pray and God will hear me!”

If I could capture what Emma has and some how offer it to a great big hurting world… I could solve every problem around me and maybe even all the problems of the whole world.

Along time ago Jesus said some words that ring so true this morning. Matthew recorded what happened when Jesus said these words…
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

The admonition is simple for me. “If you don’t catch a hold on the simple faith that young girls like Emma have you are not even going to make it to Heaven – let alone make it in Heaven!”

For some the culture shock will be too great… they won’t fit in Heaven… they had little or no faith on Earth… and Heaven would simply blow their minds!

Today I face a waiting world and a needy one at that. I need a tiny bit of what Emma has learned so well. I am going to take this world on and all its battles with a new perspective – and simply in Emma’s terms of reference, “I just going to do what I am supposed to do.”

May your day be filled with an “Emma like approach” to everything – and then you will be able to say at the end of the day…“I just did what I was supposed to do.”

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Source
Gateway Bible
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=18&verse=2&end_verse=4&version=31&context=context

Sunday, October 26, 2008

J.S.R. and the Broken World

I was deeply moved as I read the account of the trial of J.S.R. The accounts given in our Friday newspaper is difficult to comprehend. As one of the attending officers at the Crime Scene that day shared her story it revealed the sorry state our society is in.

Constable Angel Kahnt described what she saw taking place the day the gun shots – at least 8 of the shots and 41 bullet fragments – splashed all over Yonge Street in downtown Toronto on 2005 Boxing Day.

Young guys like J.S.R. were trying to act out what they have witnessed in movies and games. One person doing the shooting was holding the gun flat wise – “bad boy cool” – which does not aim at any thing but rather splashes shots everywhere and serves only to show how really stupid you are… if you are the shooter.

Some of the account tells how the people all around the dying girl were busy taking her photo with cell phone cameras…and today have some of these shots as cell phone background photos…carried in memory of this young girl – I assume.

The officer told how she came up to the actual gun shooting scene to discover another young black man that had been shot as well. He was busy talking on his cell phone while laying on the street… his two friends with him were also talking on their phones as well.

When the officer arrived at the scene people were fleeing everywhere…while others stood close by to take photos. Some were hiding for their lives and others were standing there taking photos.

J.S.R. was caught later with a gun that had shot bullets at the crime scene – but it was not the murder weapon. It is still out there somewhere along with the actual shooter.

My summary is short and I may only get a small portion of what really happened.

My reflections on what took place are much longer and they won’t leave my head. One young girl, 15 year old Jane Creba, has taken our imaginations and heart with the tragedy of that day. But one “J.S.R.” – an unknown almost 20 year now with his name not given – because he was only 17 when the crime took place has also left his mark.

Who is J.S.R.? One good guess is that he is an insecure, young black man that lives in a confusing place, likely with some good in a family somewhere, but likely also with some really bad friends that he felt he must align himself with…in order to feel good. Transporting a lethal weapon that day was his security…whether he used it or not.

The other day as I headed downtown Peterborough by a back door route, the railway tracks on my bicycle, I met at least two J.S.R.s. Both were dressed to adapt to a “bad boy” world. There was a definite look about them that screamed attitude. The odd thing is that they are “white boys” acting like “black bad boys”. That doesn’t fit in Peterborough’s extremely white community.

No I wasn’t afraid. I greeted them both and they smiled back at me. Not sure they heard me in that one was listening to his ear buds and the other was text messaging on his cell phone looking up once in a while for old guys on bikes and stones to trip on at the side of the railroad tracks. But both were young men heading some where…dressed for attention and acting out whatever.

J.S.R. was a young man heading some where and acting out. But how far he was from whatever his mom had planned and hoped for him?

To state that I am scared silly to have to face a world that is so disjointed and broken is an understatement. I do not want to shop in Toronto let alone live there…and I have in the past. We have walked through the “bad boy areas” and have been right to the very spot, while shopping, where Jane Creba died. It is close to home.

What is really close to home is 6 grandkids…four that live closer to the GTA and 2 that live near us. They are coming into the possible “bad boy” stage. So far none have shown anything bad out of the normal. For this I am very thankful.

Yesterday I watched a good football game in pouring rain. The cheers of the men and women under umbrellas from the sideline were warming. On the muddy field were two full teams of super muddy and cold kids. This is Kinsmen Football on Saturday morning – which is backed by practice three to four nights a week.

In our community the Kinsmen care. And they work extra hard to put kids into these situations. It is amazing to witness the power of one community group on what is happening here. There are 8 Teams fully uniformed and supported by one group of great community volunteers.
J.S.R. comes from a broken world. Where if you were able to take a close look at the community closely – he may just never have had the opportunity to connect.

I am praying today for men and women of the J.S.R. world – to stand and be counted…make some changes and help… and then I am praying for our leaders that will catch sight of what needs to be done and do it.

I am praying also for the trial of J.S.R. and all that are affected by this. The Creba family are the victims and will live without their daughter – forever. When it is all over they will be only a story that will have to be searched for in Newspaper files.

I am praying for J.S.R. and the other young men that were there that day. If they are not already dead, I pray they will have another chance and that the truth will come out for the Creba family.

“God you know where they are today and I pray that you will continue to do what you do best – bring about justice and mercy.”

As the trial unfolds this week we will hear more. When we do – would you pray with me for these folks. They certainly need it.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Source:
http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Crime/article/523707
http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Crime/article/523706

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wisdom of an Old Farmer

Time has just about buried me with new problems for today. My friend Brenda forwarded a forward… to me. Today it makes sense to receive these words from an old farmer… I have no greater wisdom to offer.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

*Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker, you'll probably ever have to deal with,
watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes
from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence,
try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply.
* Love generously.
* Care deeply.
* Speak kindly.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Internet Addiction

My heart aches this morning as I look at the front page of the Star Newspaper. There is a mom being hugged by a supporter. Her son is gone. He disappeared on Thanksgiving Day in Canada – 13 days ago.

They are now looking in the bush around the area and also offering a huge reward for information of his whereabouts.

Is it a criminal case – maybe someone kidnapped him and has taken him far away? No – it is worse. The Xbox game that his parents gave him and a stupid game – called “Call or Duty 4” has kidnapped their son. He is addicted. When they took the game away from him – again for the 21st time… he reacted and took off…. and hasn’t been seen since.

The potential tragedy is that he has possibly hidden in the bush – maybe even acting out what the game portrays and could be suffering from the cold weather – or even worse.

This is one really bad example of something so much fun – having gone really bad. His is addicted. It isn’t Meth or Crack or something evil like these drugs – it is a stupid game that has taken his mind far, far away. His mom and dad didn’t lose him on Thanksgiving – it happened long before that.

But “Call of Duty 4” is not the only problem. Another very popular game is “World of Warcraft”. It has also grabbed many hundreds of thousands at any one time to suck the Brain JUICE from them.

I have met many locally that have confessed that they play this game for hours upon hours at a time. They buy time to play with real money and then spend REAL TIME – even working hours at a good jobs that they skip to stay home and play. Some have lost their jobs because of it.

Some have lost their marriages as well.

One Bible College student that I spoke with has finally left his studies entirely and taken a simple job to allow him more time to play the game and simply buy the on-line time that he needs to play.

This addiction is real.

Brandon Crisp’s story shows us a really sad tale that has come about because of an addiction.
In my real life I have discovered another group of “addicted beings”. They are people that can never leave the Internet alone… they have email-itis, chat room fever, text message pains and a need to be constantly connected.

The old days of teens being hooked on a telephone and a call from outside not getting in… is gone. They now have moved on to many other kinds of communication tools…gaming…texting…cell phones… you name it.

The really odd thing is the parents have joined them. I know a mother that Text messages her son in the bedroom when supper is ready. I know a married couple that never talk except when they dialogue on the World of Warcraft from two different machines in the same house!!!! Now that is weird. But then I saw a couple Text Message each other across the table when on a DATE with each other. NO KIDDING! It really happened.

When my electronics comes between me and FRESH AIR I have a problem. When my Gaming comes between me and my family there is trouble brewing. When my e-World tries to take over my real world – I have e-PROBLEMS… and need deliverance.

The Christian faith has within it a belief that Jesus, our Savor, will return for us all. It is called the Rapture in the Christian tradition. I am afraid today for most so called Christians – they will miss the rapture call on that last day because of their complete addiction to the e-WORLD they are in.

Recently in a family setting where we were sharing after the funeral … a group of the departed grandmother’s grandchildren were all in the basement of the family home – playing games. It was the first up front exposure with World of Warcraft that I had. About 15 people were in the room watching the action of three of them on three laptops that were set up playing WOW. The young adults told me of days when some will call in sick to their jobs – because they played the game all night. They also told me stories of how they play through the night and on into the day – pausing moments to call in sick… and continuing to play all day. It was all that some could do to attend the FUNERAL of their GRANDMOTHER…because they had to leave the game on pause!!!!

Now that is addictive life styling. But did it ever look like fun!

In a Pastor’s Group I connect with on the Internet I have found great support and great people that pray with me and stay with me through thick and thin. But sadly a number in that group are there all the time… I mean ALL THE TIME!

If I visit their comments in the morning… and read it all… it keeps me up to date and in the conversations all the way… if I wait until the evening to look again there are HUNDREDS of posts that have come in that same day – from the same group. I can count posts from certain people and the number would stagger you… and it might stagger their own congregations…. AND I HAVE TO KEEP MYSELF IN CHECK ON THIS ONE… I read everything… and think about it a lot… and I know where I have to cut back….

Do you have that same urge to be always connected? Could it be that even solitaire has a hold on you?

Read the article that is shown with this “Source:” below. See if you can identify with it.

Have a FRESH AIR DAY… and connect with someone not on the Internet! Real people are good too.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Source:
http://www.thestar.com/article/523702

Thursday, October 23, 2008

POOF....

Poof – I woke up. It was over – or was it starting?

The classes have ended… graduation of sorts took place in a couple of minutes with a Certificate handed out to us. We exchanged emails with the idea that 5 very unlike people might stay in touch. Except for the email address – I was whisked back to my 18th year and the end of high school again. Now what?

Bouncing out of bed this AM meant – “Now what?” You have got a whole week until the next scheduled appointment… is it PJ Day? Yard work day? Or maybe nothing day?

They warned me that it could happen – a down day away from responsibility. A day that you might simply fiddle with emails until lunch time comes. A day when you crash… “That will never happen to me!” – I had thought to myself.

One time I listened to an older man that was self employed. He gave some great advice. He said, “I can’t do anything until I feel inspired. So before 9:00 AM every day I get myself ready and by 9:00 AM I AM INSPIRED whether I like to be or not.”

These were Great Words from a successful person.

Between Oct 22 and Oct 23 – something happened. I moved from one life to the next. I am responsible suddenly to make it happen. Funny thing is before that was true – but today it is more true. The buck suddenly stops here and responsibility floats in to grab the attention of my little mind. Funny enough – people immediately started telling me what I should or shouldn’t do with my time.

If you followed some of my posts to date – I moved from the position of Senior Pastor to the ranks of Unemployed. (To make everyone around me feel better we called it early retirement.) Then with an interesting turn of events I entered the world of possibilities – starting my own small business… “Wood Carving”. Some where before and during that time I am engaged in building a successful ministry to Leaders of our Province – at this point a kind of sideline – moving to the forefront steadily. It is like having two parallel jobs. Instead of being busy – I am now double busy.

My coach had told me about the possibility of waking up to a “day of funky”. She has said that you may wake up to a feeling of being overwhelmed and even crashing when you think of what you will have to do. Her advice is go back to bed… if it is bad… just don’t go back to bed every day. One of the simple solutions is to get up and get dressed…get moving… get your butt in gear.

One man that I spoke with last week shared his secret of working from home. He gets ready to go to work the same as he always has for the past 35 years. Then he heads out of the house to a local coffee shop. After coffee he heads back home and into the New Office – at home. He starts work the same as before. Somewhere between his eyes opening and entering his office that morning purpose sets in…new lists for that day take over.

In the old job and ministry – there were different bosses. There was a schedule to keep and people to meet. There was one clear boss…kind of… In the new one… there are different bosses… schedules to keep… and people to meet. Come to think of it not much has changed – except now I have a few more bosses. At last count I have ten today… and everyone has a new idea of what I should be doing right now. Each of today’s ten bosses have no idea what the other nine bosses are demanding.

Whoever thought working for yourself was easier is nuts! Whoever thought working from home is a breeze – has never done it.

But the freedom is cool. It is nice to not have to do it you don’t want to… It is nice to simply let up a bit and the old pressure has evaporated…no more heavy debt and heavy problems of church… just all the new ones that I didn’t have before.

Sure I will keep up “the romantic /idea feeling” that people have… I am retired early… kind of… it even makes me feel better.

Poof… I just woke up… it is really time to get my butt in gear. I gotta get to the office. People are counting on me. I have to meet with the 10 different bosses before lunch today… and then get some work done this afternoon.

See you tomorrow… gotta run.

Oh – Oh another one of the bosses just called. In fact this one is from Head Office of all Home Office Based Companies. He wants a PART OF MY LIFE BEFORE THE OTHER 10 BOSSES GET TO ME. His name is God. He just asked to me to, “Be still and know that I am God”. Okay… I will.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Misty Hollow

“Where’re you going Grandpa?” My short legs followed his stride through the tall golden grass out past Grandma’s garden. The grass was dry and shimmered in the sun. It led us to the edge of the farm yard that was marked by the fence line. Grandpa bent over and slipped through the fence wire and then held the wire down for me to scamper through. He still hadn’t answered me.
Then he said, “I want to show you a special place no one knows about. Want to come along and see?” My short legs quickened my pace as I followed him over the little rise up ahead. He was taking me somewhere special – his and my secret I was sure. The golden grass rustled as we walked along.

I was maybe eight years old. Mom and Dad had brought us down to the old farm from the city for this weekend – and then the kids stayed with Grandpa and Grandma while they got a way for a few days down to North Dakota and Montana. My brother and sister were back at the farm house with Grandma.

It was just me and Grandpa. I was the oldest grandson out of all the grandkids – and grandsons were really important to Grandpa… better than the girls I was sure.

As we walked over the rise… suddenly down below us was the Hollow. That day there was a kind of haze, a mist that formed when the weather was just right. It hung in the Hollow.

The Hollow was carved out of the countryside by water running down from the Blue Hills in the distance. In the bottom of the Hollow was the “crick”.

It was maybe a quarter mile until we arrived at a special place in the Hollow where Grandpa stopped, sat down and just looked. He was quiet and so was everything around us. Only the never ending sound of the prairie wind was there – the forever wind. When you were down in the Hollow it was quiet with a peace that almost bothered young boys.

Grandpa simply sat there and savored it all. This was his quiet place and he was sharing it with me. He pulled out his pocket knife and began to carve on a stick that he had fetched from the willow tree. A slice here and a cut there, another few cuts over on this side… something was happening. A new “something” was appearing in front of my eyes. It wasn’t long before he handed me the brand new willow flute and said, “Try it.”

Amazing! From that small fresh branch he had quickly carved a willow flute.

Then something else happened that was even more magical. He reached into his pocket and pulled out pocket knife and gave it to me. “This one is yours. Try it and see what you can make.”
As I began whittling on a stick he gave me, he sat quietly looking over the Hollow. It was as if he had been here many times. It was his special place away from the noisy places in his life. This day he was sharing it with me. It was our quiet place together – just me and Grandpa, our pocket knives and the Hollow.

In my mind it was “Misty Hollow” and has remained that way for 56 years. Grandpa is gone now… and I am a Grandpa. And now I return to the Hollow every once in a while – in my mind.


In the past few years I was able to go back and actually see it again personally. The peace is still there and the wind is always blowing. Nothing has changed in the Hollow. The old farm is only a memory now. The row of bushes around Grandma’s garden are still there but there is no evidence of the life that used to live there, of the happy and sad days, of the noise of the house and the need to get out to sit somewhere in the Hollow.

Everyone needs a Misty Hollow. Over the years I have been able to find one wherever I have lived. I walk out to it away from the madness of my life.

About 10 years ago I joined some friends for a very early morning meeting on top of one of our highest hills. It was just before sunrise. Few people below were up yet. From the top of Amour Hill you can watch the beauty of the sunrise.

There to the east was the glowing ball rising again. Down below the mist had gathered in the dozens of Hollows that lay to the east. Each Misty Hollow was a place where some one lived. The smoke hung from some one’s chimney mixed with the mist of the early morning. It was so peaceful in the Hollow.

My Aboriginal friends told me that they believe these Hollows were made by the finger of God as he created the earth – making a special place for people to love – a place of peace.

Back to the Family Farm…
Grandpa went to the Hollow often. I imagine it was to escape the fact that the house was small and with 8 kids at the fullest time, there was always noise in his life.
When his first son was born a paraplegic, I imagine that is when he found the need to go there.
When times were really tough through the “dirty thirties” he likely walked there a lot too.
During the Second World War, when his one son was possibly going to be shipped out overseas – he walked there more often.

In his pocket was the same knife that he cut apples with, whittled his wooden sticks and also dug out the manure/mud from his boot treads. He cleaned the knife on his pant leg between uses…but that is another story about Grandpa…

Back home…
Wherever “Home” has been in my life I have always found and kept a "Misty Hollow" for me. In these past years I have retreated there often when the swirl of the business was nuts. When the human hurt around me is bigger than my soul can bear I retreat to the Misty Hollow again and again.

Today I welcome you to Misty Hollow. I haven’t taken many here – only my friends… and my grandkids.

After you spend some time with me… I hope you will find a Misty Hollow of your own.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS – Misty Hollow is where Misty Hollow Carvings come from – now you know my secret. Please tell some one…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

“Q1 UltraMobile PC” WOW!

Remember the Library – that really old fashioned place with books? Remember the long rows of shelving and the 6 foot high rack of shelves – with rows and rows of books?

Remember the old days of having to go to the Library to get your research done from books?...you would write the information on to sheets of paper…then later re-write again into another homework paper you were writing – which would then be written long hand on to a good copy. And if you needed a copy of that one – you hand wrote again…

Today I read of a new Samsung computer called the “Q1 UltraMobile PC”. I want one and I want it now. It is the size of an actual pocket book with a large screen, keyboard to be used by your thumbs on each side and a big enough hard drive to hold almost half the books in your old library of your high school. No kidding – its small but huge.
I want one.

Not long ago when I lived in Hong Kong, only 25 years ago now, we bought the first few computers. Actually we built the machines from parts we bought in the market. Hong Kong was central place on earth at that time to buy cheap computers. They were the first desk tops and were able to hold a whole bunch of information on 5 ¼ inch floppy disks. What an amazing thing to have almost 1/3 of a million bites on a thin and floppy disk that cost so little. But then the next level came with a 3 ½ inch floppy that was actually stiff plastic but held about four times what the first floppies did. What a rush to witness this change again.

I wanted one then – but couldn’t afford it.

Now speed back through time to Regina, Saskatchewan and 1966. I was a newly minted, apprentice, computer technician. I was given the task to follow a real computer technician. He took me to the Wheat Pool Company in a huge building. We walked into the humming computer room. The room was bigger than a two car garage and had racks upon racks of electronic components stacked on the shelving with thousands of wiring cables strung from unit to unit connecting it all together. Over in the corner was a noisy card sorter that was flying through punch cards and gleaning information to generate a report and prepare mailing lists – that when reported they would be transcribed by secretaries at the old mechanical typewriters.

The one component that we carried out that day to repair was 35 pounds. It had two chrome handles on the front that would allow the extraction and transportation of this unit back to a repair shop.

Man oh man… only very large companies like the Wheat Pool of Saskatchewan could afford that million upon millions of dollars for such a luxurious item.

That massive machine was likely 1/10th of the Samsung “Q1 UltraMobile PC” which I would love to have… for only $1300 dollars.

My how things have changed.

On a warm Saturday afternoon last week I watched a Bumble Bee hover over the last few flowers in the back yard. He was maintaining an altitude just over the flowers, then dropping quickly to the top of the flower and stopping to look inside the petals… then quickly deciding he had enough he was off. I followed his flight to the next yard and then the next… we was busy and heading home…maybe a few blocks away.

How does it know where to go, which flower is the right flower and then get back home with the treasures that he collected?

I also watched the geese doing their practice flights together. The tight V shape is powerful and the honking of each goose is encouragement to the others with the flock. They will cover thousands of miles each year – flying from one area to another – both areas are familiar to the geese. And this will happen for about 20 years of their lifespan.

Buried in the small brain of the goose and the possible control center of a bee(I have no idea if they have a brain..) is that ability to compute their way from one place to another. It is amazing when you think of the relative distance that these creatures cover.

That thought brought me to our brains and the ability contained therein. Not only does it have information of every book ever read and stored but also it can remember smell, taste, images, feelings and emotions.

The other day my mom was talking about something that happened almost 75 years ago. It was as if it had just happened. Her brain is 87 years old and still clicking along. There is no hard drive, no floppy disk, no electronic storage of bits and bites – only soft tissue bathed in supporting fluid… WOW!

Now I need one of those. Or maybe I just to use the one that I have. The emotions that I felt writing this, the smell of that first compute room in the Wheat Pool, the smell of the markets that we purchased the first computer components in… and so much more came flooding back as I wrote these words.

And the words still flow around ideas that are coming to fast to type out…

I didn’t sleep well last night. The crazy brain wouldn’t quit – too many ideas. So at 4 AM I rose, went out to my workshop and carved 12 new feathers, then I took out the garbage, wrote this simple 963 word article and now am ready for breakfast.

I can’t wait until today gets rolling…more thoughts and more opportunity…

How about you?

Isn’t God amazing?!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Source:
http://www.informationweek.com/video/personaltechnology/1784521741

Monday, October 20, 2008

God’s Home in the Country

The sound of the crunching leaves below our feet was magical. Add to that the long beams of sunlight that pierced the air in front of me spilling across the deep bed of golden leaves, this was a “God moment” that I have needed.

There was no wind on the cool autumn day. The only sound came from the dropping leaves that came from high up in the maple trees and gentling tussling with each other to see who would land first on the soft carpet below. When you stood still the peace enveloped you completely. Then one final sound was added. A wood pecker was at work some where high in the forest canopy. He had found the occasionally feast on the side of a tree and was feasting. The tat, tat, tat in the stillness added another part of the hugely successful puzzle that we were putting together.
I am not alone in my magical stroll. My friend Eldon is beside me. The ladies have left us and we are savoring this together. Eldon and his wife Donna are the creators of this opportunity. A while back as they retired from an active working career they left all that they knew in city life and moved to live full time in “God’s Home in the Country”.

Why call this “God’s Home in the Country”?

Eldon describe for us the story behind it all.

Along time ago another Pastor was at the church that I was leading up to June 2008. The church at that time was in another setting and the congregation was different with different people than I worked with. Some of the folk that I pastored were younger then. The pastor’s name as Stevenson.

The Pastor tried hard to help as many people as possible. He tried to meet every need he could – even buying groceries out of his own family’s income to feed them.

One Sunday the Pastor rose to speak and in a gentle voice he announced that he would be leaving the church. Most of the congregation was in shock – no one knew why the pastor was doing this.

Eldon was a younger adult then and went to express his concern to the pastor. The next Sunday the pastor gently said that he had now decided to stay. More reactions surfaced. The next Sunday he spoke again and it was for sure – he resigned and finally left the church as a broken man.

The pastor went to drive a truck and work at odd jobs. From the rest of the story that I got from his wife and children he died a broken man. His heart gave out. His own children are distant from church of any kind. What they know of church and church people has set them off- shall we say. His wife is a bitter lady that tries to put on a smile through the disillusionment that she still feels. I was her pastor as well.

(Now I know that there will be emails from good and knowledgeable “church-ites” that will set me correct on what actually happened. All have a different feeling. Bring them on and I will add the correct version)

Back to my account…
Eldon listened and watched what happened to that pastor when he was much younger. Today he accredits this story to the basis of “God’s Home in the Country”. His concept that he felt God lay on his heart was to create a place where ministers can get away and be restored after facing hard times in the work that they do. Perhaps if Pastor Stevenson would have had this kind of care long ago a whole family would have been spared and the Pastor would have been able to face the struggles better.

“God’s Home in the Country” is for ministers to get away and be refreshed.

Where we were walking is made possible in that Eldon and Donna spend hours clearing the walk ways that flow through the beautiful trees.

I searched for words yesterday that would describe what I was taking in… I came up with BEAUTIFUL and then PERFECT PEACE… Today I think I have settled on “Garden of Eden” – the place God created for his first friends Adam and Eve.

The odd thing is that this was a place available to me for the last 10 years. I only came a few times in that I was too busy solving people’s problems and being in the middle of the “Pastor’s Stew” caldron. Maybe that is good though… there were times if I had come to walk in this blessed place… I may never have gone back to the caldron again – and nothing good would have ever happened in the ministry.

(Before some of you wondered deeply about my sanity and personal well being… I’m okay… I’m OKAY… it was a reflective moment that Eldon and I shared deep in the forest… I AM OKAY… and I dared to tell you about…).

We are blessed. Thank you, Eldon and Donna (and God), for a wonderful blessing yesterday. I hope these photos will speak more words than I have to speak today.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS – Soon there will be a video or two of a stroll through the bush land of “God’s Home in the Country”. Keep posted!





Sunday, October 19, 2008

Celebrating and Continuing the Journey

Who are your friends? Who do you connect with? Why are they your friends? When are they your friends? How are they your friends? What reasons are they your friends?

As I was walking through the “Journey” over the last few days – and especially with the thoughts of the last post – I thought of one person that contacted me by one the Internet tools that I had looked in on. He is a retired teacher now. Along with the contact came a really old photo of me and some other guys in grade 5 or 6. There we were – old friends. The faces were familiar for sure. Some lived in the same area that we did – in homes that were not the best and a community that was kind run down. We were surrounded by “have nots” like us and never knew it. (you can guess which one I am below)
It was when I was in grade 8 that we moved to the area where doctor’s, lawyers and politicians has their homes in our city. It was an old and well developed area.

I was able to attend the same school with my same friends until the end of grade 8 when I would be done at that school. But my friends began changing quickly. In the new community I met the guys two doors down – Nicki and Andrew, Catholic kids that attended a Catholic School three blocks away. Five doors down was Stuart, a neat guy with similar interests to me. The four of us did stuff together for the rest of the year until the end of summer. In fact it was the summer time that usually connected us. Nicki and Andrew had to attend the one Catholic High School which was a long way south of us. Stuart and I went to the same school.

An interesting concept existed in the school system then. If you came from a certain school you generally went into a similar class that first year. The Classes were labeled 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F. At one point they added a 1G as well. 1A kids were generally from the area that we lived in. But because I had graduated from the other school, where kids came from a little less than perfect – the “have nots” – we all went into the 6th class down the alphabet. Academically, 1F were not as good as 1A. However after the Frosh Year(grade 9ers) there was another adjustment to the class room. Smart guys moved up to higher levels. Well that is not fair to say… it was more likely people that applied themselves to their school work, worked hard, and did their best that moved up into higher levels of classes.

Stuart was in either the A level class or B. He did well in Math and Science. My sights were on fun and the creative. I did okay in the studies generally but they were not my greatest love for sure. So “F” was my stream and we had fun. My brother was a “G” and my sisters were “B”s.

Stuart ended up teaching Math as a full professor at a major University in Ontario. Nicki, who had been a terrible nightmare for the Nuns at his school – hitting one in the back of the head with a raw egg – ended up as a Catholic Priest. Andrew his brother who was the “goodie-goodie” never missing mass or church services – ended up in the Navy and lived a Navy Lifestyle.

Four different friends that are far away from each other – too far to ever make a reunion possible. And if we did, what would we ever talk about? It all ended after High School or in High School… and definitely into University when we all went to four distinctly different area of life.

Sorry about that – a senior’s moment – wondering out into the school yard and forgot what I was saying…

My thoughts are about my friends now. Or in your case – your friends now…Who do we have?

Changing roles in late life can be disconcerting. When your friends move away you are left behind. When they still do the long journeys south and you do not – you are left behind. In the older senior’s life – this is definitely true – most have passed on or now in senior’s residences where contact is more difficult.

In reality at the end you are a little bit like you are at the beginning – you start school new each day wondering if you will make friends.

For those that Divorced or were widowed there is a whole new list of friends (or no friends) after a while.

For those that are married a changing list is available or not… maybe isolation with job changes.

Celebrating a Journey with its many turns and bends in and on it… is good – sometimes. But at times it feels like you are terribly alone. And maybe that is because you really are.

Yesterday…
Back to yesterday’s post and watching my mom sitting alone with her thoughts and her family moving so quickly. At 87 she has few friends around her now. The move to Peterborough was separation from her friends in Regina. Now some of them are gone. Phone calls still come… but not as many. People moved on with their lives. Time kept rolling and so did friends.

Where will I be at 87? That is only 23 years from now. How many friends will still be connecting with me or will the guys my age all be gone?

I have a new YEAR’S resolution now…not waiting for the NEW YEAR. I resolve to meet two new people each day. I figure that I will have 60 new friends by the end of November. At least I plan to. By the end of 23 years from now – there may be 16,790 new friends that look forward to seeing me… and when they have my Memorial Service what a party that will be – with the better part of 16,790 people coming together – woooiiiee…Holy Mackerel, Holy Cow, Hokey Mokey – what a party that will be. NO I WON’T BE THERE – but I will be with the Hundreds of Thousands that I have already me…shaking hands and hugging and doing all the stuff old friends will do…. Holy Mackerel, Holy Cow, Hokey Mokey what a party that will be!

I have been practicing that over this past week. It is amazing the reaction that is coming.

Today I will celebrate and continue the journey with a while new group of friends – that is my resolution.

How about you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Celebrating the Journey

As I sat beside the Football field my grandkids were playing hard. I was loving what I was watching. Just over from me was my mom – 87 years old and wrapped warmly in her green blanket on the cold fall day. In front of us was my 9 year old granddaughter running hard with all her padding on and the shinny white helmet bobbing.

Three worlds apart, three different journeys to say the least… My age is 64 and the years have been crammed full of many things – good experiences and not so good. My mom is the same. This past week was her wedding anniversary – the 65th I think. For 21 years now she has been alone. Many good memories and many not so good.

Emma bolts down the field chasing one of the boys on the other team. She has 9 years of memories – most are nothing but good. Three worlds apart. But before she is 87, she will see her great grandmother die, along with the rest of her grandparents, mom and dad. There will be hundreds upon hundreds of wonderful blessings coming her way. She may well sit wrapped in a blanket and remember the very old people in her life so long ago.

Today I dreamed of my own days of running and chasing another boy down the field as he carried the ball too. Great Grandma was smiling as she watched the fire of her great granddaughter.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said…
It seems as if the Deity dressed each soul which he sends into nature in certain virtues and powers not communicable to other men, and sending it to perform one more turn through the circle of beings, wrote “Not Transferable” and “Good for this trip only” on these garments.

William Bridges (in The Way of Transitions) quoted Emerson and then added…
FIRST,
every journey is a round trip that does not end when you reach your imagined destination, but only after a return trip where you bring back whatever you gained and with its help transform here into what you have been seeking.

SECOND, the journey experience exists at every level – from that of the whole lifetime to that within every transition we make. It may even be that this “whole lifetime” is simply one of those little transitions within some larger cycle of existence.

THIRD, it is the being on the path – this way – that has the effect upon us, not the steps we take on getting to the path’s destination.
Wow! How true these words are as they sink in slowly.

My path that led me to the side of the Football field today to watch 9 year olds run like crazy… has been an interesting journey to say the least. I am on a path…not the one that I thought I would be on 55 years ago…but it is my path with all the hooks and crooks and smooth sailing stretches… it is my transitions…

For you…
Have you ever thought about the time you were 9 years old and what you dreamed about doing someday? Now look at what happened along the way. Would you change anyone area? Not likely – or if you did you would never have had one little bit of what you have now… it would have never happened.

Today with God’s help I am going to celebrate the journey one more time. Oh what a day it has been… and tomorrow will be even greater.

How about you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, October 17, 2008

Twittering Two

Watching the MPPs of our Ontario Government had new meaning for me. These are folks that I have prayed for… and because of that they are people that I feel I seem to know.

There they were in the middle of some very important debates, each rising to the issue of the day. Or in many cases they were bringing forward issues from the ridings that they represent. I never realized how important the things are that they deal with. It is amazing what happens when you engage in prayer on behalf of someone.

I was impressed to say the least.

It was at that high moment while I was engrossed in what was being said that a funny noise seemed to come from my TV speakers. It was odd. It didn’t fit in what was happening. Like… it was an electronic failure of some sort – like maybe feedback? The person speaking stopped what he were saying and looked sharply to his left…then grinned… then tried to go on. But couldn’t because the Speaker of the House had stood and looked to his right. All of the pages were on their feet with the Speaker.

What happened? What could stop the Ontario Legislature and the speaking men about really important issues quit?

A “Blackberry failure” is the answer… a plain old Blackberry! Go figure… an MPP in the Ontario Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park was caught Red Faced as he “Twittered”.

I shouldn’t blame Twittering on this noise…but maybe another Twitter kind of call or notification…or even a telephone call arriving.

Being caught in the Legislative Assembly while someone is scoring points with some of his constituents back home in front of their TVs… made the Speaker grin and offer words of correction. Fortunate for the OFFENDER the dude that was Twittering never was caught on Camera.

The Speaker’s words told the story. With a grin on his face and laughter in his voice he said, “I want to remind Members that their Blackberry needs to be turned off…”

Now an entire population that was watching this from all across Ontario, witnessing this lively series of events are people that think a Blackberry is something you can put on your cereal in the morning. In fact they might even think there is something wrong with my TV. Not so. A Blackberry is a Cell Phone that is REALLY FANCY!

The Twitter world has invaded the top law makers.

This past week I was riding with a Twitter. That is right with him the vehicle. He is driving and we are on a very busy street. The light changed and we didn’t move. I waited and the guy behind us waited. I looked at my friend to see if he had experienced a stroke or had died of a heart attack.

Nope! He was grinning from ear to ear – about to laugh out loud at a private joke. He was also looking down in his lap at his right hand where his Blackberry was looking up at him. His right thumb was typing quickly a message into the small keyboard on his unit.

“Hey dude… the light changed!” He looked at me embarrassed. I had caught him “red handed” Twittering to some body.

Now to make it even more weird, he and I had taken some time to be together. You know like have some quality time with each other and “speak into each other’s lives”. You know…like share the deep things of what God was doing for each of us…like ministers do together… like some of the pain and some of joys… blah, blah…BLAH!

He asked me some great questions which caused me to really think. I carefully began to open to him in this quality moment together sharing some deep stuff that I had been thinking of…

In the middle of my sharing my true feelings… the traffic light had changed… and he never moved ahead… he was Twittering as I was sharing my deepest feelings – AND NOT EVEN LISTENING TO ONE DING DONG WORD I SAID!

The TWIT has been Twittering and not listening.

After my friend was caught not listening to what I said he tried to show how concerned he was about me. That was funny. I could tell this dude anything – even the most outlandish thing and he would never hear anyway – nor did he care. So I basically shut down and waited until the quality time together was over…getting back to my garage was more important than sharing with someone that can’t hear. The piece of wood I carve listens to me better than a Twitter.

Yesterday…
As part of my classes and studies I attended a S.E.B. Trade show at our Evinrude Center – a community center/Hockey rink complex.

The dude at the table I stopped in front of was warm and engaging. He was entertaining to say the least. He shared with me all the advantages of his business. Great stuff – really cool to listen to him. Then he asked me a question about me and my plans. I started to tell him my story… then there was a weird sound from his pocket… he jerked a little… eyes fluttered slightly… shifted his weight to the left. I was losing him for sure… MAYBE A STROKE right there in front of me…God what should I do for the poor man?

He slowly reached in his pocket as he listened closely to what I was saying and pulled out his Blackberry that was making a weird noise… then said, “Sorry…” and began to talk to whomever…

I excused myself with a “Seeya”. Aint worth the effort to share anything important… most of the world is Twittering.

I left the place and went out to my bicycle to ride home. I looked up and smiled – there was a blue sky and God was smiling too. No… not really but I felt it. I talked to him on the way home. He listened.

I used to be bothered when God became so quiet when I prayed. Not anymore. I am delighted with his silence… it proves he isn’t Twittering but rather really listening.

A THOUGHT…
I had a really funny thought… at the next funeral I do I would like to slip a cell phone into the casket when I walk by to pay my respects at the front, at the time just before the Funeral Directors do their closing and the little bow. Then as the service progresses… at the right moment… just after the prayer…I will call the phone in the casket and listen to it ring and Ring and RING. It would be at that moment that everyone in the room would be grabbing their own phone frantically to turn it off. Their wives would be glaring at them… TOO FUNNY…just TOO FUNNY. FUNERAL DIRECTORS would be in a panic because someone had done something as stupid as forget to take the guys cell phone out of his pocket….!!!!! OOOOieee too funny!

In a really weird way – I could show the living that some day the Twittering will be over. But a Pastor would never do that – would he…? ;-0

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are You A Twitter?

The title states it all… or rather asks it all. Are you a “Twitter”?

No No – I didn’t ask you if you are a Twit! - but rather a “Twitter”

This like everything else in my life is very new. Some records/information that I have read shows that it goes way back to last year… however it is more up to date than last year – it is not even last month… it is two days or even last week. It is growing by the millions in seconds. Hang on you have not seen anything yet.

To be a Twitter it helps that you would have a Cell Phone with Text Messaging…but you can work from a Lap Top or Desk Top as well.

Think of real life right now and what you are doing. I know – I know – you are reading this Blog…or doing your FaceBook or email replies that take a little time to construct ideas….or receive ideas. But what about that “feeling” you are having as you do what you are doing right now? That infinite moment that you can pause and sip the hot chocolate. That is a “Twit”… it is a “moment of feeling”… and now you can share that with people that know you – or don’t know you…

If you have used FaceBook…you will notice a line at the top, left side of the screen that is beside your photo… a square cartoon balloon with the words asking “What are you doing right now?” If you write something in there…for all your friends to read… you have Twitted and your are a Twitter.

Now you know that FaceBook is available when you have moment to open your Browser… then click on to FaceBook icon or goes slowly to the URL and click there to open it and then check out the latest info and Slide shows that someone forwarded to you…

WOW – How slow can you go? FaceBook is quickly losing its ZING. The new program called “twitter.com” could not be more simple… and super fast. I can let my “friends” know immediately what I am feeling at that exact moment…right down to 5 seconds ago. And they will look at the cell phone immediately because it just bleeped that they have a new message.

Now the really cool part is that you are standing at a Bus Stop in your weird world, suffering from Home Work overload, boyfriend/girldfriend problems and feel like $%#@@... you can Twitter a note… and every friend on your Twitter connection will know what you are feeling like at that EXACT MOMENT – even if one is in England and another is Japan – they will know that you feel yucky…or ecstatic…or hungry… or whatever.

For older folks that simply remember walking home from school and bragging about whatever you were doing at that moment – or where you were going to be this coming weekend – at a cottage – or a the farm… Your friend listened and then asked questions. Or maybe your friend would brag about what he is going to do. That is what happened to me as a guy.

My “sisters” were different. They walked with other “sisters” and would have melt downs…breaking into tearful and deeply emotional moments. Their friend would stop and look at them…touch their hand…hug them… ALL THAT WEIRD STUFF THAT GUYS DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT…and we walked on.

Now if you have that THOUGHT of the OLD DAYS… fast forward that 50 years to now…. the bragging, the melt down, the whatever is now broadcast in seconds to wherever your friends are right now…and if they are in England or Japan or Korea or ???? they can feel for you.

NEVER AGAIN will some one be able to say, “ I am sorry, I didn’t know,” If they are any kind of friend they would have had their cell phone on and immediately Twittered me back again.

AWAY Back in 1981 we lived in Hong Kong and needed to send a letter back home. We always chose to send it AIR MAIL because it took less than two weeks – and if you were lucky maybe even one week to get there. Oddly enough in those OLD DAYS a letter across Canada would take almost three weeks. That was 1981.

When I wrote the letter then… I had time to blow my nose and wipe my eyes many times before I finished writing the letter… and would have a whole new set of problems before the letter arrived at its destination… let alone when the answer to my letter would come back to me.

Do you realize how many Twittered Messages that I could send and receive in one week. “Doh123” is my Twitter name and it best describes my “Homer Simpson” feeling to the world around me.

I am a bit of a TWIT so I don’t really know all the ways you can use Twitter yet. And I don’t have a cell phone yet… so I Twitter with older slower folks using FaceBook or even Twitter once a day… the way we did back in the old days of a year ago.

Holy Mackerel, Holy Cow, Hokey Mokey…I can hardly keep up. What about you?

You will particularly need to watch the small video below…

But hold on… there is MORE! Some one has developed “12 Second TV”(see below) No kidding – you can video tape yourself for 12 seconds and then everyone of your friends can see what you are doing right now… then fire it up to the 12 second TV site… your friends can then see what you are doing RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT and for days to come.

If you check this one out… go to the link shown below… scroll down a little to the video area and there are thousands of mini 12 second clips to watch… about generally nothing… but WOW what can be done with this one…

Now I have Blogged on long enough with just over 1000 words today. A Twitter allows just 140 characters. I am a dinosaur.

But as to the “God Stuff” I try to refer to here… it is so cool. God has one step on this Twitter idea or even the 12 Second TV – it is prayer. The smallest one that I use is “HELP” and He always responds… in fact the Instruction Manual says, “Before they call I will answer” – no that is fast. Added to that is the fact that He promised that he will never leave me or forsake me.

God was the ORIGINAL TWITTER! Too cool.

Catch me on Twitter – I am “Doh123” or murray.lincoln@gmail.com

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources:
Twitter
A Twitter in Plain English
http://dotsub.com/api/smallplayer.php?filmid=3066&filminstance=3068&language=none
Uses
http://www.insidecrm.com/features/101-twitter-uses-052008/
Many Uses
http://www.techipedia.com/2007/the-many-uses-of-twitter/
What’s Twitter
http://www.cbc.ca/news/blogwatch/2008/05/whats_twitter_for.html
Related to Journalism
http://www.journalism.co.uk/7/articles/531439.php

12 Second TV
http://12seconds.tv/

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Big Races Over

In three days time I have completed two things that I have never tried before. Wow – two new experiences that have left me a little numb.

Both of these are the same in many ways. Both took a lot of time to take part in and both appeared on TV for more than three hours. Both cost millions and many people were involved. In both cases there was a great rush to begin with and in the end there was a winner – kind of… but we are all sorting through what we watched.

Tada…
I watched my first ever NASCAR Race on TV last Sunday evening – all 334 laps of cars racing almost 200 mph around a small, half mile or so track.

Then last night I sat and watched the whole election results for Canada from the first announcements in our area to the completion when the victory/conciliatory speeches were given.

No wonder I feel a little run over today – pun intended.

Comparisons…
  • NASCAR races are fast and always changing. Leaders are given points for every time they hold the first position in the race around the track. Elections are that way in the end.
  • Elections are fast as well in telling you what people thought… so is NASCAR.
  • NASCAR has winners sometimes that you think are going to win – but don’t in the end – the high level of expectancy is there and will be to the end results – so does the Election.
  • Elections have a tremendous ‘what if’, ‘maybe it will’, ‘no it can’t be so’ – elements in them from front to back – plain old excitement charged with possibility – so much like NASCAR
  • NASCAR covers almost 200 miles going absolutely no where and makes a tremendous amount of noise with crashes and spin outs and flashes of color everywhere… Elections are almost the same if you are a politician.
  • For someone that dislikes cars going in circles and going no where…. He or She can identify with those that think politicians do the same.
The one difference for me is the feeling that I have after it is all over. I am drawn to pray for the Politician after the race is over – where the NASCAR racer does not invoke that same need. They race again next Sunday – the politicians – both winners and losers must go on and do as best that they can.

Family dynamics were changed last night as result of the elections. Many will need help to get through their next weeks and months with the changes that they underwent after Oct 14 was over. Truly they will never be the same again.

On the Side…
As I watched the NASCAR race it began with the pre-race stuff. It was then that something interesting happened. The spectator stands were jammed full of thousands upon thousands of people. It may have been an audience as big as any Super Bowl Football Game and a TV Audience to match.

There was an announcement asking everyone to remove their hats, and stand as Pastor ***** leads us in prayer. Then a Pentecostal Pastor – someone like me – stood there in his sport jacket and blue jeans and prayed one powerful prayer in the “Name of Jesus”. As he prayed the camera swept over the crowd and there was not one head raised or eye open – the whole audience was praying. Hokey Mokey! Holy Mackerel! Holy Cow! I couldn’t believe it.

Can you imagine that happening in Canada? No way! Not at our football or hockey games. Not even at our high speed road races!

They prayed to God for guidance and protection. It was a God moment that everyone there needed.

What would happen if we did the same thing at our major events…prayed…?

What would happen if we prayed before an election?

What would happen if we prayed for our politicians before the race, during the race, and after the race?

What if we prayed for the whole time a government is sitting – two to four years of prayer?

Can you imagine what would happen to our country?

Today I begin to pray for our new government. I pray for the individuals that won and will leave their families for weeks on end. I also am praying for our Canadians that ran but didn’t win… and their families.

WOW Murray… that is a lot of praying isn’t it? Yes – it can be. But God kind of directs as to who should be prayed for today – the “now” of today is His.

But there is an emotional toll in this work. Today I am tired but I need to begin praying… for men and women that are even more tired than me.

God bless Canada’s leaders and our Government beginning Oct 15, 2008.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider:
http://www.nascar.com/races/cup/2008/31/data/results_official.html
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/v5/content/election2008/provincial-results.html