Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Need New Friends

Over the past 20 days I have been meeting many new people. It is amazing the ones that have come into my life. Good people with many stories to share. It has been amazing to say the least. They come from all walks of life and carry many different life experiences.

Yesterday I sat with a local artist and met hundreds of his friends. There isn’t anyone that George Elliott doesn’t know. As the different folk walked by he knew almost all of them. And he loves them all… jokes with them… has a story to tell each one… and ask about how their kids are doing… or where they are living now. Now many of them are my friends too – because George introduced me.

There is something about NEW friends that is so stimulating and so encouraging. They know nothing of what you have gone through. Depending how much they want to tell you – you may not know much. Yet in a very short period of time they may tell you everything.

Verna came into my life yesterday. She was sitting in a wheel chair having just had surgery on her leg to repair great damages that were caused by a automobile accident not long ago. Her car quit on the side of the road in Oakville. When she got out of her own vehicle another vehicle hit her and knocked her through the air for a long, long way. Verna also trained and served as a minister for a number or years. Yesterday I met and came to know Verna well. At the end we agreed to pray for each other.

I met Ross also. Through Ross I met three others so far. Ross attends church regularly and is also a carver. We will be meeting regularly to carve with each other over the next weeks. He is carving something for his daughter that is getting married in New Zealand in February. Ross and I are looking forward to a new and already growing friendship.

Then there was George – a very tall senior that lives at Royal Gardens. He came down to see what was going on. I noticed him walking around looking casually at the other craft sale booths…but when he came to mine he stopped and talked for a long time. He left and came back two more times – each time bringing a carving from his suite to show me. He also is a wood carver and loves talking about it. They sold all his tools as he moved into the Royal Gardens and he is frustrated to say the least.

Then I met Christina and her daughter. They know Ross and his family well. She is VERY Creative. If all goes well we may be able to go over to see her “studio” located at her home. She vibrates with ideas and enthusiasm. I have been stirred by her zeal. On top of that she designed a Tim Horton’s coffee cup warmer – so cool… one for small and then one for each up to the extra large cups. It kind of looks like a sleeve… such a good idea.

Then I met another Murray. He may be reading this now. First we met in a Church service in Windsor. We have now much more in common after we started to talk through the computer. This could be one of my newest and most meaningful friendships in a long time.

Then I met Kamal who lives in Nepal. And his friends are, Bhojraj, Shobha, Chet, Peter, Sandra and Pragyan. I had met Peter first and through Peter I met Pragyan – who is like George Elliott – he knows everybody. All but Peter and Sandra live in Nepal. I talk with them fairly regularly through the computer connection. So cool.

When I read what Dina Mehta wrote yesterday and then followed more and more of her links from her websites… I was blown away as she and others talked about social networking and their worlds.

I came to “know” Dina because of following a story about the 11-26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Now I follow Dina like a friend.

The Problem…
As a pastor of large churches and some smaller churches I knew few new people while planted in that situation. I knew some of the people that I ministered to each week – but for the most part people knew me – or knew all about me with me never knowing them.

After long weeks in the church work as a Pastor I would meet few new people unless there was a crisis of some sort. But then the meeting was always pretty much revolving around the crisis situation.

This past few weeks has been a time of new friendship with no particular ties or problem situations. Even some of the problem situation friends have transitioned for me to true friends that I can count on – deeply.

The problem…? Well as I watch my Senior Friends around me – they want no more friends than they already have – thank you very much. In fact as I form a theory on this one with a huge amount of empirical evidence… they don’t make any new friends at all. The ones they have are enough.

The problem… and solution… I have decided to not become a senior. I don’t want to be stuck in a place where I have no new friends – or meet no new friends.

But then again I may not have to be a senior to have that happen – as a pastor for many years – I saw that happen to my “ministerial friends” – many had no new friends at all… just too tired or too alone to make any I guess.

The story is all about Social Networking – connecting to people way outside my world… and then trying to find how the threads in their lives can fit as part of my life.

Reading Dina Mehta’s blogging(see yesterday’s post for addresses) helped me see something new as well. Immediately after the terrorist attacks and even as some of it was still going down she was calling for the social networking friends to get together at a restaurant in the area. They actually met in person from what I read about these folks.

Now in order to see what value that has you need to think of India and its dense population, add to that a defined caste system and major cultural barriers – it is really something what Dina and her friends are accomplishing.

My hat is off to Dina today.

In starting up my new woodcarving business – I have sold many things to people that I know… and very few to people that I don’t. My social network is a wonderful to say the least.

Should I lose my own world pieces with the loss that comes my way… my present social network will begin to shrink. If I lose my wife through death or the fact that she simply says… “I am outta here!” Then I lose my tools and ability to use them… and lose my workshop… then lose my friends because of death… The social network that I relied on disappears. And it has been so long since I met anyone new… that I forgot how to meet new people… I am done for and may as well die.

That is why I say I really don’t want to be a Senior! But I could be a senior and still be 50+ years old – or even 30 or 40… yikes!

Stupid decisions make that happen as well. I watched a couple the other day in the coffee shop. They have left groups all over the place because they are unhappy with “that group”. I know that they have done this over and over again. Now they sit alone in an alone coffee shop… not even talking to each either. God that is so sad…!

I have come to realize that in a powerful way – I need NEW FRIENDS(and my old ones too). What a liberating thought that has become.

How about you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Please Note
Up Date on Mumbia India – and the Taj Majal Hotel disaster,2933,459245,00.html
Dina Mehta

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Let’s start again!

On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, I reported having been following the case of Lori Drew and the Cyberbulling. Well the results of that trial are in. Lori is not guilty of the major “Felon” Charge which could have placed her in prison for over 20 years. Lori Drew, 49, from Missouri, was instead convicted of only three misdemeanour offences of accessing computer without authorization. Each is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

But in the USA, in my opinion, she will likely become apart of a lengthy appeal process and so on. Time will tell if she ever sees the inside of a jail or pays one nickel of any fine.

I may seem like I am harping on one issue this week… BUT Bullying has affected all of us.

On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, India (and the World) suffered again at the hands of World Stage Bullying. You have been horrified along with me at the images flooding in from India and around the world as reports hit our TV screens hard. On report stated that this was India’s 9-11. In fact it is the World’s 2nd 9-11.

Reports are in today’s newspapers about the Canadians that have been killed. A Doctor by the name of Moss from Montreal is dead as a result of what has happened. The Toronto Star has a short story of how he makes a statement that he will be back in December if he survives this vacation.

On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, Dina Mehta in her Blog “Conversations with Dina” touched thousands upon thousands with her short reports. She was in the heart of the terrorist world as a social blogger.

In her Bio it reads…
“Dina is a founder and Managing Director of “Mosoci India”. With a background in sociology and anthropology she has almost twenty years specializing in qualitative research and ethnography. She is at the forefront of technology trend research in India and works with a global portfolio of companies; including learning journeys, and immersions for innovation teams. Dina brings her unique perspective to understanding the emerging social aspects of new technology and the impact of new media on youth and mobility.”

Dina is based in Mumbai, India and is actively involved in reporting up to date information, getting photos posted and keeping a waiting world informed.

In her posting on her Site – Nov 10, 2008 she is discussing “Measuring the value of conversations in social media engagement”. Then in Nov 15, 2008 there is another post about “Ethnographers and Bricoleurs”. The message of these posts is even more powerful in light of the events of Nov 26 – a mere 11 days following – when she becomes almost the command centre for the events that unfold in front of her!

Now having said all that… so what?

When you expose the Bully and make information about what he or she has done – it takes their power away. It exposes their hidden power over someone.

Maybe if the USA and others would have exposed Osama Bin Laden and his group before they took actions on 9-11 it may have been different? Maybe is India and/or others knew better the threat that they were facing by the Islamic Extremist of 11-26 – it might have been different. Maybe if someone reported what the USA and other major world powers are actually doing to really poor people……. hmmm?

Maybe if Ron and Tina Meier would have known what their neighbour, Lori Drew was planning to do with the fake boyfriend of their daughter – Megan would not be dead?

But hindsight is so much more powerful than foresight.

As a result of 9-11 and 11-26 – the world has now changed big time. Maybe in the case of 11-26 the change will be even more powerful. One of the largest nations is now under siege by the extremists.

I am deeply moved by the horror that I have seen and read about this week. I hope you are uncomfortable now as well. We need to do something about it – NOW!

I for one pray. I pray for those that lead our countries. I for one believe that there is a God that cares – and though really stupid people try to bully the rest into their way of thinking – God still cares. Sometimes they try to Bully in His name – and He isn’t impressed and made a Hell for that reason (but that is another of my “rants”)

I stand with the little folk in India today with a candle and believe that the world will change if we expose it.

If only I would have done that with the local bullies in our community – maybe it would have been different for many.

But then – I can start again and make a commitment to expose the bullies and let the light shine in.

Let’s start again!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Friday, November 28, 2008

If Only I Could.....

On Wednesday, November 26, 2008, Maria de Jesus of Portugal received a huge promotion. Along with her Gertrude Baines who also received a promotion propelling her to the very top as well.

On Wednesday Maria de Jesus became the oldest person in the World and Gertrude Baines is now the second oldest. This has been verified by Dr. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group.

You see it all happened when Edna Parker stepped aside, so to speak, and gave the others an opportunity to lead for a while. Edna had held the rank of the Oldest Person in the World since August 14, 2007 when Yone Minagawa of Japan passed away. Yone was four months older than Edna. Edna turned 115 last April 20th. So for one year and 8 months she held an impossible record.

The race is on and it is not known if Maria, who turned 115 on Sept 10, and/or Gertrude, who is 114, will hold the title for a long time or not. The educated guess is that they may only hold it for a short while because there are other runner ups coming along a well.

Elaine Woo reports in her article that…
“Parker was born on April 20, 1893, in Morgan County, Ind. She graduated from Franklin College in 1911 and taught in a two-room schoolhouse until she married Earl Parker, her childhood sweetheart and next-door neighbor.As a farmer's wife, she rose at 4 a.m. to fix breakfast for the family and hired hands and do her chores, which included maintaining the barn and butchering chickens for Sunday supper. She outlived her husband, who died in 1938, and their two sons. She never remarried. Her survivors include five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.Parker lived by herself on the family farm until she was 100. At that lofty age, she could still climb a ladder to fix a light, grandson Donald Parker said Thursday. When her family learned she was still climbing ladders, they persuaded her to move in with relatives.”

Did you catch that – at 100 they persuaded her to move because they discovered that she was still climbing ladders to fix light bulbs. They didn’t know about it until she let it slip out.

If only I could see this happen in my life. I feel wonderfully healthy. I rise early each day and I love what I do – including climbing ladders. It is only 73 years from now. If it could happen my grandkids would be old people with me…
Clifford now 13 would be 86…
Jonathan now 12 would be 85…
Thomas now 10 would be 83…
Emma now 9 would be 82…
Michael now 9 would also be 82…
Christopher now 7 would be the youngest at a mere 80…

We could party together….maybe a fishing trip or a walk through the forest…? I would really like to do Paint Ball with Clifford when I am 100 – he would then be 50 and I might have a chance to hit him too…

If only I could live this long I would likely outlive the next years where potentially 9 USA Presidents will have served and maybe 18 to 20 Prime Ministers of Canada will have been in place.

On Edna’s 114 birthday her sense of humor was evident when she remarked that 114 was "several years too long. I probably knew George Washington."

How old will you be when you are promoted finally… when you cross the finish line and let the next person in the race take over the lead?

Most of us hate to think of what will happen down the road. At every funeral we shudder as we look at the guest list and realize that most that have signed the book are our age… and many are much younger. Not long ago I attended a funeral where the person that was in the box had signed the guest book at the previous funeral just ahead of me… yikes! That is too close to home.

I spoke with a man this week that has worked at a job for over 30 years now. We had a lot in common. My June date of leaving Northview placed me at the 34th year of Ministry in the Church. This man shared with me how he feels about getting out of his job as soon as possible – so he will have some life left to enjoy what he can still do.

Did you realize that your job requires you to spend 2000 hours each year doing what you do so well? Add to that the extra hours of some overtime – maybe about 200 extra hours – and then maybe some other tasks that you take on… and how much do you have left for your family?

Sure – sure – you sleep under the same roof for about 2000 hours as well – leaving another possible 2000 hours to talk to each other.

I met a couple not long ago that have chosen to spend their 2000 waking hours fighting with each other. What an existence – WORK – FIGHT – SLEEP!!!! Rather Stupid wouldn’t you say?

I met another couple that were trying to find themselves in every thing. They run here and they run there… and come home dissatisfied every time. The amount of money that they have spent is nuts – yet they are always unhappy. I had a call from one of them not long ago. I listened to the sad tale as I sat in my garage carving… my world is so very far from theirs. They are a “have” kind of people… I am a “have not” kind of people. They can travel anywhere – I can’t get out of the city without careful consideration. But I am happy…

I can list 5 couples that I know that can do anything they want, anytime they want – but they are unhappy – completely and totally unhappy with what they have.

I am not bragging.. only reflecting on what I have. And I really don’t need more.

Today is what the USA has called Black Friday. Today is when more people buy more stuff… that they either don’t need or can’t afford – even at 50% - 75% off the retail price. And when they get home they are still not happy.

I am happy that I have a wife that loves me… not somebody or something else. I am happy that I have two wonderful kids and two great son-in-laws, and with all that six wonderful grandkids. I am happy.

I am happy that I sleep with my wife – and not others. I am happy that we can be intimate sometimes – but don’t always have to. You see I am happy… and don’t half to look for something or someone else to make me happy. I am happy.

Edna Parker, I assume, was happy with a sense of humor being seen up to her 114th! Even though her husband died 70 years ago and she never remarried – she was happy.

If only I could…? You bet I can… and I will show you how happy someone should be… could be… and is in fact – HAPPY!

So if you are unhappy – what are you doing about it? I betcha you may try to buy some at Wal-Mart – right? I am going to make a happy list today and then place it under a very full Christmas Tree…

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lloyd the Gentle Giant

“…and the Award goes to Clifford Lindsay”… WAHOOOO! Yeh Clifford! Wahooo. What else can a Grandpa say?… than… “That is my GRANDSON up there!!! H-E I-S M-Y G-R-A-N-D-S-O-N wahooo.”

It is the Annual Kinsmen Minor Football League Awards night held at one of the Local High Schools. Both of my Lindsay grandkids are dressed in their football jerseys as well and are sitting with their team. This night they are presented with the awards that come after about two months of working hard to help their team. The High School auditorium is packed with team members and admiring parents… and a few proud grandparents.

Well you betcha I am proud of my grandkids. Emma, my only and most beautiful granddaughter, was one of the players as well. She played Defence and Kicker for her team as well as trying out for the Quarterback position… and did better than the boys at that one I might say….!

But placing family aside I need to point to the army of volunteers that show up to help. Of course they need more and they always want to do more… But there is another hidden group of volunteers that are amazing… they are called PARENTS!

I had seen the folk at the games and other events in the community. But when your grandkids are beating their kids in football – you do not always talk to each other. Last night we did.

There was a couple with their son sitting almost at the front of the auditorium – among all the kids. I had met them in Bobcaygeon this past weekend when I spoke at their church. Little did I realize that we would see each other one more time this week.

This amazing couple drives three times a week – one hour each way to get their guy to two practices a week and Saturday to the Game – rain or shine – feel good or not – they did not miss. There were three families actually from that part of our area that car pooled to get their kids to the football stuff.

Then there are those of us as Grandparents that make up the sideline each Saturday to watch the games… again rain or shine, snow or ice cold wind, we sit on thinly supported lawn chairs under big umbrellas to scream out encouragement to grunting and muddy players – our GRANDKIDS! WAHOOOO!

Toward the end of the evening they presented a special trophy from the Kinsmen Minor Football League to a Volunteer of the Year. As the man presenting described the person about to be honoured everyone was still. Then more information was given and heads began to nod in agreement. He came to the end and an eruption of volcano proportions let loose as the kids and parents began to cheer. They rose to their feet and applauded Lloyd Dozois. I tried to get some video of this which will hit the YouTube shortly. Lloyd is a gentle giant. He is an encourager of everybody… everyone matters to Lloyd. He is Emma’s favourite person. When she started playing in the summer he was there to encourage her – the only girl. Last night in the middle of all the kids and everyone wanted a piece of Lloyd he stopped to talk specifically with her… making sure she knew she should come back next year… then gave her a big hug.
Whenever a player was hurt Lloyd was on the field to check out the child… for any team members. He coaches our team, the Steelers, but he is everyone’s friend. And when other coaches scream out their orders – his husky voice just encourages gently above all the others… never upset or throwing stuff… he is just Lloyd.

One day I had Lloyd for a moment by myself at the football field. I stuck out my hand and shook his. His(our) team had lost again. I told him how much I appreciated what he did with these kids. He smiled and said, “Thanks. The kids are great. It is all about helping them. We appreciate you folks that come here each week to cheer.” That was Lloyd for you. He never said, “Yep – I have been doing this kind of encouraging for almost 20 years… and I expect our team will kill the other teams next week!” NOPE that wouldn’t be Lloyd.

Some of the other coaches have videos made to show their kids each week… then shout a lot. They expect a lot… I mean they couldn’t make it in the NFL or the lesser CFL so here they are expecting great things out of their guys!!! But that isn’t Lloyd.

Lloyd was there the instant that Clifford killed himself in that play. Actually it could have been a roughing call with the stuff that happened after the play was over. But with Lloyd it was gentle talk, lots of encouragement and an ambulance to take Clifford away. Then Clifford hobbled back out to practice within days not missing once. You see, Lloyd can get kids to do that… that is Lloyd.

Does it have an affect on others around him? Yep! His son is one of the coaches of the junior team. Like his dad he encourages. This son Philip works with three other young fellows to get young team to play hard. All three coaches I believe worked under or with Lloyd.

When Lloyd announced that the trophy went to Clifford Lindsay… well you can see that this trophy is SUPER IMPORTANT. It likely killed Lloyd to have pick just one player above the others. But Lloyd picked the best one… YOU SEE I AM NOT JUST PROUD OF A SUPER GRANDKID… but Clifford has caught what Lloyd gives out best… Clifford is now an encourager too. Little guys, Big guys, all the guys are his buddies and he encourages others too.
There sitting in the rows of team members was Clifford. And his best buddy was with him. His name is “Aaron the Water Boy”. He thinks Clifford is the greatest. This year when Lloyd saw Aaron’s great interest as he hung around the sidelines with his older brother now playing on the Junior Team… Lloyd gave Aaron his very own shirt that hangs down to his knees.
That is enough today. At just over 1100 words – I can’t say enough about “Lloyd the Gentle Giant”.

Thanks Lloyd from all of us that believe in kids. The kids are great… but so are you Bro! So are you!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
I am only guessing at this point… but Clifford and/or Emma many years from now…. may name their first born son “Lloyd”

YouTube of some of the nights here


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lori Drew and "STUPID"

I think that I have it straight now. Lori Drew is on trial for cyberbullying a 13 year old girl Megan Meier – using MySpace – a social networking group on the Internet. As a result the 13 year old committed suicide. Lori Drew was 47 years old.

Last week was anitbullying week in our schools and community(Bruce Lindsay mentioned this two posts ago on this Blog with the “Kick a Ginger Day” posting.) The schools together with the community attempted to help make everyone more aware of the tragedies that are possible when bullying is allowed to take place in our schools of community.

To help you understand the dynamics of the Lori Drew case you need to know the following…
* Lori Drew and her family, 13 year old daughter Sara Drew and husband Curt Drew lived on a quiet, friendly street in O’Fallon, Missouri, US…
* Megan Meier also 13 years old lived with her family, her father Ron Meier, her mom Tina, and her sister Allison.
* Megan Meier reportedly called Sara Drew a “Lesbian” which was a deep blow for the 13 year old… and Sara was very upset.
* Sara talked about it to her mother Lori. Lori talked about it to others including Ashley Grills, an 18 year old that worked for Lori.
* Together Lori, Ashley and Sara plotted to get back at Megan by creating a fake profile for a non existent 16 year old boy by the name of “Josh Evans” that then was in contact with Megan – with the purpose of inflicting psychological harm on 13-year-old Megan Meier.
* Megan Meier, who suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, fell in love with the fake "Josh," prosecutors said. She killed herself only after he turned on her, and told her "the world would be a better place without you."
* The Meier family knew nothing of the fake account of the Josh Evans person. Six weeks after their daughter’s death when they found out.
* On Nov. 25, 2006, the Meiers were informed that their neighbor and friend Lori Drew was involved in a MySpace prank that led to Megan’s suicide.
* The Drews for six weeks after Megan’s death had decided not to tell the Meiers, despite being urged to do so by neighbor Michelle Mulford.
* During this time the Meiers attended a birthday party for Drew’s daughter, although Ron had to leave when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Sarah Drew.
* During this time the Meiers went to Curt Drew’s 50th birthday celebration.
* In addition, the Drews had asked the Meiers to store Christmas presents they had bought for their children in the Meiers’ garage.
* And the Meiers said, sure, why not? We’re friends.
* So when the Meiers found out that the 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans was not a real person but an elaborate hoax involving Drew -- designed to trick Megan to see if she was saying mean things about Sarah Drew -- they destroyed those presents.
* In fact, they vented their rage. They used an axe and a sledgehammer to chop up a foosball table and deposit it on the Drews’ front yard.
* That prompted Drew to call police. Jerry Shreeves(Lori Drew’s father), who was there that day, testified that Lori Drew twice tried to walk down the street to the Meiers’ home to talk to Ron and Tina about the MySpace account.
* Lori Drew is charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of unauthorized computer access for allegedly violating the MySpace terms of service by creating a fake profile for a non-existent 16-year-old boy named "Josh Evans." She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each charge.

Now that you have read this all... what do you think? Can you fathom the extent of the potential bullying that has taken place?

“STUPID” rules in this case and any other Bullying situation that I have encountered.

It happens in church too. Over the years I have met my fair share of Church Bullies too!
“You do it my way pastor – or we are out of here!!!”
“It is my way or the Highway – and I am off this Board.”
“You will not get one cent of money from my family from now on.”
“There is NO WAY we are going to support you.”
“Our family has been in the church for a long time and YOU need to realize that Pastor and WHAT WE SAY IS THE WAY IT IS!”

No kidding – I have actually heard people voice these statements. When you are the pastor and being paid by these “dear folk” – you can’t cay anything. When you leave – you can tell the truth.

Bullying is real and needs to stop – completely – now and forever.

I pray for Ron and Tina Meier today. They are no longer together. The horrific things that happened to their family were just too much.

I pray for Lori and Curt Drew, they will live with this horror created in a very STUPID moment – for the rest of their lives. Can you imagine the guilt? And if Lori is found guilty she could be in prison for quite a while thinking about what happened to her family, her neighbour and one 13 year old that took her own life because of a really STUPID decision!

And I pray for some really SILLY people that have Bullied Pastors and Congregations.

I see them in the community from time to time – and they are not happy. But when you smile at them and tell them that you have prayed for them… it is almost too funny. One thing Bullies do is SQUIRM when you put them out in the open.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adam Guerbuez and Justice and Freedom

‘Kick a Ginger Day’ and ‘Spammers’ for me are in the same category. Both are Stupid. They force themselves into your life and try to make you conform to what they want.

The story came out about a fellow Canadian, Adam Guerbuez, that finally got caught by the American Justice System. It seems that they have found him guilty in California of messing with the Facebook people and Facebook Friends. He was distributing sexually oriented products on Facebook to people that he didn’t know. They were not his friends and he was messing where he shouldn’t be with stuff that he shouldn’t mess with. People were offended and so were the Facebook People.

When the court case went through the judge awarded the Facebook Company statutory damages or more that $436.6 Million – and when they add in the costs of “reasonable attorney’s fees” it jumps to $873 Million against Adam Guerbuez.

I don’t imagine that Adam will be down south soon to take part in the Black Friday shopping that takes place this weekend.

In one quote by Samuel O’Rourke of Facebook, he said, "There's no doubt that this guy isn't worth $873 million or any fraction of that amount," he said. "But we intend to go after him and collect whatever we can, even if it's a hundred dollars. We're committed to protecting our users against this stuff, and we'll target anybody that targets Facebook."

This whole case is a little ironic in that before Facebook existed we had time to be normal. At least there was a different normal than now… and that was only about 18 months ago for many of us. But actually Facebook will be 5 years old this next February 4th.

I am inundated with appeals from my friends and family to join this group or that group, belong to this one or that one. In my Facebook now I have 5 event invitations, 2 bowling buddies(I have no idea what that one is about) and 66 other requests that I should respond to. Sheesh! Add to that 7 people have Poked me… with the suggestion given by the Facebook people that if I don’t poke them back they might be offended.

Now my life on the computer also has another group of people that are part of me… they belong to the different eGroups that I am in. Some of them I actually lead and others I am simply involved in. I have had to click to a different setting in one of the groups because the stuff that was coming at me was filling my email box full with silly stuff that meant nothing.

How did we ever get by in life with no email, no eGroups, no Facebook, and no whatever?

About a month ago I clicked to the “quiet mode” on one group. I can go on to the Web and look at what is being discussed or not. I check it once in a while when I am not busy… I mean really not busy. The last time I checked there was a flood of threads going on. I searched them all and found nothing… just easy banter… with very little content. It took almost an hour for me to read quickly through what was there. If that had been coming at me steadily for one month – it would have sucked my brains out with nothingness and used a huge amount of time that should have been directed somewhere else.

Adam Guerbuez may have angered the Facebook People and they were satisfied in a court setting with the huge judgment. But what about all the rest of the stuff that floats around? It has all filled our lives full of JUNK that we really don’t need… yet we open it and savor it and pass it along.

I have had one month of freedom from nonsense I feel liberation. I am now reading another novel – and it feels so good. As I opened it the other day it felt so good to be “home again”. I have found that my personal devotion to the things that I love the most has been restored when I took control back of my computer viewing in some of the groups.

When someone or something takes over your personal life – that is letting STUPID do his stuff. Whether it is “Kick a Ginger” or a “Spammer” or Facebook or eGroups – they all become Stupid if you let them do so. When I read my grandson’s response to “Stupid” in his school – I was moved. It takes a lot for 13 year old to take action and do something – it takes a lot for a grandpa to do that too.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kick a Ginger Day

Kick a Ginger
by Bruce Lindsay

This past week in our High Schools was anti-bullying week. Ironically, right in the midst of that on Thursday, was ‘Kick a Ginger Day’. I only learned about this after the school day when my son, Clifford, came home and told me about how Stupid people were acting at school.

The general idea was that on Thursday, red-heads (Gingers) were to be targeted and kicked. And they were.

During the morning announcements the principal told the students he ‘has heard about Kick a Ginger Day. That bullying would not be tolerated and that anyone found kicking someone with red hair would receive an automatic 3 day suspension.’
One teacher who is a class favourite threw up her hands in frustration and said “That’s just great! Now everybody knows about it!”
At least a dozen students were given the 3 day suspensions, although from what I’ve heard there were many other incidents of bullying that went unreported.

This day, Kick a Ginger Day, was the inspiration of a Cartoon called South Park. The show is a hit with High School aged kids. It’s about a group of foul mouthed kids growing up in Colorado – actually the producers went to Columbine High. Yes, that same Columbine High school that had the massacre a few years ago. In one episode one of the characters has an issue with another boy and blames it in the boy’s red hair, saying ‘Gingers’ are inherently evil.

A 14 year old Vancouver boy and some of his friends took this message and created a Facebook page called ‘Kick a Ginger.’ The RCMP state that the boy will be investigated for inciting hate-crime. The boy has apologized to the 5000 members, and has taken down the Facebook page. He says it was all a joke. The boy had previously told to “Get them steel toes ready” for Thursday, November 20th.

School boards in Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, to their credit, took the threat seriously and sent home information with students so that all parents would be aware of the threat. The other provinces took a ‘wait and see’ approach. That led to a whole lot of kicking, abuse, fear and crime. Not to mention self-esteem issues for red-heads in the future.
At my son’s school, the Principal made a 2nd announcement at noon. Telling a story about how lemmings will blindly follow other lemmings over a cliff even to their death and how he expected so much better from High School students. He was very disappointed in what he was seeing. He told students that he knew that the majority of kids knew it was stupid to ‘Kick a Ginger’. He asked all students, who don’t want bullies in our school, and who want to apologize for the stupid actions of today, to wear pink on Friday.

Clifford came home and was looking for something pink to wear for the next day. Surprise! No 13-year old boy has anything pink in his wardrobe! In my wife’s drawer, he found a pink long undershirt and a dark pink tee-shirt. He wore them to school the next day. Clifford told me that most of the girls wore pink, but very few of the boys did. He expected that it’s because most boys don’t have pink clothes. He thought it should have been red (Ginger).
There are many things one could say about this incident. Many people are talking about it. Some blame South Park and say it should be off the air or sued or something. Other people blame Facebook or computers in general, and say it should be censored or banned or kicked. As always, many people blame parents for being negligent or soft and permissive. Others blame the school boards and suggest it’s all gone down the toilet since teachers can’t administer the strap anymore. Some suggest that Gingers should go to school armed with knives to stab anyone stupid enough to kick them!

The comments are amusing to read. The knee-jerk reactions are so predictable. But then I read this comment from Joe Blow of BC. “I am a parent who had to pick up his son from school yesterday because he 'kicked a ginger' and was suspended. He did it, not because of some stupid TV show that we won't let him watch anyway. He did it, not because of a rally on Facebook that organized kids to lash out. He did it because of peer pressure. He did it in jest, did it lightly, and patted the kid on the head after the fact for good sportsmanship. He accepts full responsibility.He's a good kid growing up in a good and stable home. It's not his parents fault, because he knows better. Unfortunately, he knows all too well now. It's not the fault of a TV show, which in my opinion, should not even be on the air.I don't know how to correct the problem, other than to continue to teach and encourage my son to make proper choices. For all those that continue to blast parents for the faults of their kids, either you don't have kids or you live in a sheltered world, home-schooling your children. We try our hardest. Sometimes kids will just be kids.”

I think that “Sometimes kids will be kids” is another way to say “Sometimes kids will be Stupid”. The truth is that Stupid has always been with us. There will always be the Stupid among us. We have to deal with our own Stupid, and overcome it. That’s tough enough, but sometimes we have to deal with Stupid in others too. That gets tougher. A whole group full of Stupid is often more than one person can deal with so it’s often best to walk away and let the Stupid run its course. We can legislate against the results of Stupid and the actions of Stupid, but there is no official crime for being Stupid.

Recently we were eating dinner with one of Clifford’s friends. He had never tasted shrimp before, but had heard it was good. He took a shrimp, still in the shell, dipped it in sauce and tossed it back, shell and all. Clifford asked him how it tasted. The boy was trying not to choke, but managed through his coughing and gagging to say “Good”.

We all bust a gut laughing. He was OK, but I used that chance to explain that, although it’s funny, we must remember that children don’t know anything, until they’ve been taught. Parents can’t possibly teach children everything, so it’s important to ask questions about anything you don’t know about or doesn’t make sense. I know that if kids had asked their parents about Kick a Ginger day they would have been told that it’s Stupid and not to participate. Unfortunately, some kids have to learn the hard way.


Note from Murray Lincoln
I was horrified when I learned of the “Kick a Ginger Day” that was reported last week. I couldn’t believe that something like this could happen in our 2008. In 1958 I saw it happen and felt it happen as a “Freshie” in High School. It was vicious and unkind what was done to the Grade 9 students that came into the first year of High School. The bigger and meaner male students relished the idea of picking on the younger and smaller “Freshies”. They would look around the crowd that had assembled or walked by a certain area – spotting some one that is smaller, ask if he was a Freshie and then demand that he do their bidding.

Down on their knees in the new pants, that had cost the parents lots of money, they were forced to do the bidding of the Senior. One ‘down on your knees task’ was to scrub the school tiles with a tooth brush while others jeered from the sideline.

I looked on as my friend had to scrub the dirty tiles, smearing the dirty already there with the water in a cup he was given. It was humiliating. I ducked behind the taller students in front of me avoiding the searching eyes of big mouthed and Stupid older boys that were looking for victims.

I escaped that terrible week long torture at school (that is how long it was allowed and encouraged by teachers) – up to the last day. I was leaving school to walk home the 10 blocks to our place. I had safely completed this walk home each day that week by dodging down the back alley where no one else walked – running across the street to the next alley way and hiding behind the garbage cans.

As I crossed the street in front of the High School to head up an alley, a voice called out “Hey FRESHIE, Hey you… come over here!” I tried to run faster but the voice called with a command that was loud and clear. “Come over here!” Others were moving toward me and I definitely had been singled out – some were blocking my way to the alley way. I turned to face my greatest fear – being taunted and torn because I was little.

Instead of the big Stupid boys of Grade 12 – it was the prettiest Girl I had ever seen. She was with three other very pretty girls who were giggling as the taller one looked directly at me. I stood still as they walked over to me to dish out my fate. My heart raced inside my chest.

“You are ‘my’ Freshie… and I want you to carry my books home!” She passed me her books which I slipped under my arm. My own carrying case was in my other hand. I walked behind the girls all 8 blocks to their homes. They smelled pretty. They didn’t talk to me but rather once in a while glanced over their shoulders and giggled.

My shame of being caught and made to do something as a Freshie – was transformed into a minor victory. My other Freshie friends at school saw me get caught. I had a walked the prettiest girl in school home. She was the Captain of the Cheer Leader Squad and from that day on I drooled(quietly) from the sidelines. Later she would talk to me from time to time – remembering the day that I walked her home.

“Kick a Ginger”, “Frosh Days” and all the other Stupid things that people do are from Peer Pressure that Bruce wrote about above.

Fast forward to the next three years in High School. Every Freshie week at the beginning of the year I made a commitment to walk a Freshie home and protect him. They all became my friends. Together we walked down the back alleys for one week… and not once did they get caught!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Can’t Believe I Did That

It was 6:41 AM in a Home Depot lot, standing in a line up with about 25 people my age. The cold wind was blowing and the 7 degrees F and Minus 14 degrees C. IT WAS COLD – REAL COLD.

I was in the third set of people from the front. It tried to make it look like a casual stroll to the front doors… like I am not in a hurry… nice day eh?

The loud couple in front of all of us entertained with their stories of the travels to warm places… stories about making stuff for Christmas and making presents with their grandkids. The other 24 people and more people arriving just listened to the bragging and shifted from foot to foot trying to get the circulation back into their feet.

6:52 AM – surely some one inside will have mercy on these poor old people that have lined up outside for this “One Day Only Sale” at Home Depot. I pulled the scarf up around my ears that were now hurting.

6:58 AM – I am sure now that I should just go home. There is no feeling from my knees down. It is too cold to imagine what might be on the inside for me. The thought brushes through my mind – “Where will it be inside? Will I get to the right place? Are these people here for the same thing as I am?” No way I’m giving up… I was out of bed at 6:02 AM with a goal to buy one of these things and by God’s help and all my prairie experience in Cold Saskatchewan… I would see this through!!!!!

7:01 AM there came the gal to unlock the big sliding doors. The crowd now surged forward to push through the very slow opening doors. We flooded through to the next sliding doors that gave way to the pressure of cold humanity pushing inside… Some stopped to get a shopping cart. But others just rushed.

I was at the fourth position now flooding through the second set of doors and rounding the poinsettias. When I just passed the electrical aisle and the plumbing aisle, I caught the site of two men on my left side. They had quickened their pace and were now breaking into an Olympic Walk stride. They were two feet from my left back side and closing. I put my head down and matched their steps one for one. These guys had been at the back of the pack outside – at least 20 people behind me… NOW WE WERE NECK IN NECK!

I had no idea where I was going but figured that some of them did – so I “walk raced” with them past the next two aisles… and there is the opening was a pile of the thing that I wanted…. I could see that they were stacked and ready to go. There were only 15! Go figure ONLY 15 UNITS.

I got my hands on the fifth one off the pile then stepped out of the way of the rush behind me. ZAP, ZAP, ZOOM, Swish – the pile was gone. I stood off to the right side getting my breath and clutching tightly the prize that I had achieved. The “loud couple” that were in the head of the line up outside; had grabbed TWO units and stood watching as well. The signage clearly stated that there was only ONE per customer...

Another loud woman that stood to my left side exclaimed in a loud voice, “I can’t believe that they had so few!” She had got out of bed at 5:00 AM to travel a long way into the city to buy one for her son for Christmas – and she had missed the 15 Units. I looked away and clutched my prize a little tighter. The “loud couple” moved away with their two units before this “dear sister” might explode and tell on them. Their intention was clear – each would go through the separate cashiers at the front.

As I walked away I looked to the entrance of the side aisles. There stood about six Home Depot staff grinning. They had watched the “running of the Senior Bulls” at 7:02 AM and it had been good! They had stood off to the side wisely knowing that these people were coming… and they did not want to be trampled.

No one in the crowd was under 55 years old – most of us were retired.

As I headed back home with my prize beside me in the vehicle, I reached out and touched the heavy box, rubbing its smooth surface. The weight and the beautiful photos on the box made it worth it all… yes it did… and besides today is my next Craft Sale that I will sell hundreds of dollars of product and pay for this “thing”!

I walked into our house and went to the bedroom where Alida was curled up under the blankets. It was 7:22 AM and I needed to tell her of my prize. I dropped it on the bed the way a cat drops a mouse that they have caught. She rolled over and tried to focus… but no words came out. I retreated to the kitchen to open my treasure.

We arrived at the Craft Sale site at 9 AM with all our goods to set up at our table. I had paid the $10 dollar Table Fee. I had agreed to pay them 10% of my sales as well.

It was 10:00 AM and no one came. Just busy Crafters buzzing around their own tables and looking over what other people had brought. 11, 12, 1, and 2 passed. I had talked to quite a few people but sold little. Truthfully – I did sell $6 worth – three things at $2 each. At the end I gave the gals leading the sale $1 for the 10% part. So it cost me… 10 take away 6 is 4… and add 1 is $5 for 5 hours. I paid $1 an hour for the day and the privilege to smile at people that I don’t know.

But at home I had a prize and a memory that I had beat the “running of the Senior Bulls” and it was good. I can’t believe that I did it!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
BTW – If you are interested in some great gift ideas for your Christmas giving – have I got a deal for you! Just call 705-760-9389. If you come over I will let you touch the box… the beautiful box. Oh yes, Oh Yes oh yes!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tooting My Own Horn and Thankful

As I sat in our CAC meeting yesterday the usual interaction took place between the dynamic leaders from our community. These folk assemble about once a month to listen to and encourage the staff at the Parole Office. They are a great mix of leadership that care about our community. They are unknown for what they do. I was happy to be with them again.

The CAC is a government acronym for Citizens Advisory Committee. In each Parole Office and each Federal Prison there is a CAC established to make sure that “the public” (non government) are close by to view what happens, to make sure that staff, victims of crime and ex-offenders are all treated fairly. The Federal Government recognizes the need for monitoring of each of its facilities. Correctional Services Canada is perhaps the most open of all the Federal Government departments.

I serve as the chair of the CAC. That came about 10 years ago when one man had returned from prison and had no place to go in the community. Four of us met to discuss the problem and one half hour later we had formed the first CAC in Peterborough – and I was chairman.

One of the CAC members turned to me and said, “Congratulations Murray on your award.” Then another CAC member responded, “Yah, I read about you, Congratulations!” Others affirmed that and I responded in a rather unusual way… “Sorry… What are you talking about?” They countered, “It was in the Newspaper…” Puzzled… I just moved on, kind of pushing it aside. I am sure that they thought my reaction was a bit weird and I was pushing their congratulations aside.

When I arrived home from the meeting and email was waiting for me from my friend Terry. In it was another “Congratulations”. So I called him as my trusted advisor and asked what in the world he was talking about. His response was the same… “It was in the Newspaper! Didn’t you read it? Marion cut out the article so you would have an extra.”

I had read the newspaper but missed it.

There on Page 13, from top to bottom was the write up. Apparently people had nominated others in our community for the “Philanthropy Awards” highlighting what people have done in the community in their volunteer work.

In a Yellow highlighted section under the title “And the Winners are…” was my name… here is the text…
And the Winners are ...
Group Contributor
Survivors Abreast - On top of organizing yet another phenomenally successful Dragonboat Festival, these ladies had-the hospital's breast-assessment centre-named for them and won the bid to host the 2010 International Participatory Dragon Boat Festival. Way to go, ladies!

Individual Contributor
Rev. Murray Lincoln -
He not. only supports the clients of Peterborough Community Chaplaincy, Rev. Lincoln volunteers in the carpenter's shop at Lang Pioneer Village and gives his time to build community spirit at Northview Pentecostal Church and beyond. He is also the volunteer chaplain at the hospital and sits on the elder abuse prevention committee.

Honorable Mention - Tied
Kim Naish ., This 'church lady' volunteers tirelessly at St. John's Anglican Church and for social justice causes .. Jean Koning deserves recognition for her work with members of the Aboriginal community.

Business and Personal Contributors
Betsy Reeburn
- "Betsy has been wonderful support to the community. Her latest efforts with the PHRC Foundation 2nd Annual Golf Tournament; raised over $63,000. Betsy is also involved with the Peterborough Downtown Rotary Club and Camp Kawartha.

I was stunned! I had absolutely no idea that this was coming or that someone(s) had put my name in a file somewhere. A flood of Gratefulness swept over me… but who do you thank for something like this? A great appreciation filled my heart and mind for someone that believed in me… but who was it? Then the thoughts started coming from all the areas that are involved in my life. Some were listed in the award’s statements – some are not.

Any award that I receive is only possible because I work alongside of some amazing people that totally inspire me… and need to inspire me because there have been many times that I would like to quit. Sometimes volunteering is the hardest thing that I have every done.

I know that I may sound like I am tooting my own horn here… but hey it is MY BLOG and I will because … just because I need to thank all the great people that allow unknown people like me to make a little bit of difference in our small world.

So here is my “Thankful List”…
I am Thankful to Dan Haley, the Peterborough Community Chaplain, that walked into my office one day and slumped down on the chair. He was discouraged and had no one to talk to. A local businessman had sexually molested his son destroying Dan and Sharon’s family life, and church life. From that very first meeting grew some unusual things that would happen over 10 years.

The Peterborough Community Chaplaincy and the New Beginnings House would come alive – to become the best example of what a group of community volunteers can do anywhere… in Canada and in North America and maybe even the WORLD. That is where all the requests come from to find out what “we” do! PCC has accomplished the very first compassionate paroles to name one area – where men, with cancer, from inside of the Federal Prisons, are released to die in peace with us.

I am Thankful for Lori and the staff at Lang Pioneer Village. Through a chance meeting a few years ago, mixed with my interest in wood and old things, I volunteer at that wonderful place of 1856 in rural Ontario. I spin story after story with especially the children of about grade three or grade four. Their eyes sparkle as they discover with me what all these old things do. I suspect that I will be back again during the school tours at the Village next May and June 2009.

I am Thankful to Father Joe at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and the various volunteer coordinators that I serve under over these years. The privilege to be called on when needed is not one that I take lightly. More times that I can count I have stood beside beds of very ill and often dieing people to cry with them and simply be there as the “On Call Chaplain” that terrible night. I gulp down a lump in my throat that comes when I think of the families that have lost their child that late night, or just found out their 22 year old son has drowned. I remember the grandpa that was laying there breathing his last few moments and smiling at his grandkids holding their hands as they said their “Goodbyes”… he was my age… I remember all of them…

I am Thankful to Leslie, Helen, Gloria, Wendy and now Lisa that encouraged me on and on to go further with the prevention of abuse of older adults. I started by listening to many committees and ended by choosing custom made volunteer jobs with them doing the Web Page and also speaking regularly for the group. Hey you gals all made it possible for some of us to get involve as APOAN and VON volunteers.

I am Thankful for Sheri at Riverview Manor and Kathy at Fairhaven that allowed a crazy idea to do creative things with the “men only”. Then Sherwood Martin that joined me to work with these men doing wood work projects. Sherwood kept going when I couldn’t go anymore… then he had to pull back a bit too…. But guess what the programs that we did are the best in the country! And the men that we worked with became some of my closest friends. Another gulp here… I attended many of their funerals.

I am Thankful for Pat that just spoke with me last week… I may be doing something with her group… and Thankful for Ian that asked me if I could come and do some carving with some of the adults at his work place… they are somewhat handicapped…

And Thankful for the Aboriginal Leaders in Desronto/Napanee area of Ontario area that need help now… and the Aboriginal Leaders in Saskatchewan that have called for help too…

There are a few more now… but I am Thankful… just plain Thankful for you and what you mean to me…

Finally… I am more than Thankful today for a GREAT CHURCH called Northview… that stood with me through thick and thin. Without your belief in the community and reaching out we, together, could have done nothing.

Hey – sure – I am tooting my own horn – you better believe it and I AM THANKFUL!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS – Why write about it? Well I want my grandkids to remember the old “----“ and I know how hard it is to write a eulogy when the old “----“ dies… too funny!- BUT I am THANKFUL!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Conscience Confusion

My favourite Devotional reads today…
“We all have a conscience, whether we like it or not. It's that little--often irritating--voice inside that tells us we're about to go somewhere or do something we shouldn't. However, our conscience is a gift from God to guide us into the best life we can live and to reassure us of our salvation.”

My heart is also sickened as I read more about Jeremy and J.R. that were involved in killing her parents and brother. She was convicted last year and is in a psychiatric institution before she is released to the community. Jeremy’s trial is on now and the details are being rehearsed again.

The crime happened in Medicine Hat, Alberta – April 23, 2006. Jeremy was 22 years old and J.R. was 12. He was her boyfriend. He was also a self acclaimed 300 year old werewolf. Marc and Debra Richardson, J.R.’s parents had grounded her and flat out prohibited her to see this Jeremy any more…. So with Jeremy’s help J.R. got her final way – by killing her hateful parents and her little brother.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act the name of the daughter could no longer be published in Canada after she became a suspect. Under the same act, twelve is the lowest possible age a person can be charged, persons under fourteen cannot be sentenced as adults, and cannot be given more than a ten year sentence (an adult could face a life sentence).

I think that the entire community of Canada is sickened by the fact that two young people, one 22 and the other 12, have no conscience. How could they do such a thing and then sit in a restaurant an hour later, eating, laughing and having a good time? In the few hours they needed to have a few hours to get washed and cleaned up after the bloody mess they had been in.

More and more my police friends are telling me about the horror that they are facing. This next generation coming along and also the present one that they are coming from “have no conscience”. They do not have an answer as to why from what I have heard… but they see the results of what no conscience produces.

I thank God that my grandson felt as guilty as all get out. When he did something wrong and I asked him what had happened. He dropped his eyes and confessed that he had messed up. He almost choked up as he said he was sorry for his wrong doing.

The tears that he has are pure gold in my thinking. It indicates that he is not one of the statistics that are showing up in the police office files.

Yet as I say that, not many people in our community will murder someone. But they will steal something from a store. “The store owner is rich and I am poor – so I will take it… I have little and he has lots… so I deserve it..”

It disturbs me when I see the stories, here the accounts and know that it is so very true.

Much more than that… it is possible in my own life. I can steal, I can lie and I can commit terrible crimes – potentially. Often it is only one step away. The difference is conscience.

The Bible has some wonderful words that guide us. One set of words reads… in 1 John 3:19-22
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

The fact that it talks about “condemning us” makes most uncomfortable. We don’t like to be condemned for what we do. We do what we do – just because and it is our business no one else’s… and to have someone condemn us is not fair.

Maybe id Jeremy and J.R. had been a place to read the Bible and make it part of their lives…maybe it would have been different. But the Bible is so “old fashioned” – don’t you think?

God help me today to be better with my example. Help me to live 100%. Then maybe someone will want what I have and live according to what they see… or read… or hear about.

Today I must work on my Conscience and support what is right… avoid what is wrong. Today I am an example. What about you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Jeremy Allan Steinke
Jeremy and J.R.
1 John 3:19-22

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bruce Lindsay - 2008 Humour Speech Champion of Ontario

Today I offer this post with a lot of PRIDE. Bruce Lindsay is my son-in-law, Father of Two of My Grandkids... and he is one of the “Two of the Best Son-In-Laws in the business”. For that reason alone I can brag about Bruce!

But there are two more things that you should know about him…
1.) As a Funeral Director – He is the Best Undertaker in the Business
2.) As a Member of Toastmasters International – he is the 2008 Humour Speech Champion of Ontario.

Congratulations Bruce from all your In-Laws and the people that love you… you really are the BEST!
You can contact and congratulate him directly at

~ Murray Lincoln ~ (alias – “Dad”)

November 2008
Hello Readers –
This is just a note of thanks. From the comments that people made at church and elsewhere, I knew that this story touched a nerve and made people laugh. I used this as a speech with just a few changes and just won the Toastmasters Humour Speech Championship of Ontario. A long time dream of mine that has come true because of this blog.
Thank you readers and Murray (“Dad”)

Bruce Lindsay
2008 Humour Speech Champion of Ontario

Bruce Lindsay – The Best Undertaker in the Business

When arranging a funeral, one of the questions I must ask is; “What did the deceased do for a living? What was the occupation of the deceased?” Recently, I was arranging with a man, whose father had died. When I asked that question, his answer surprised me. He said, “Dad was a poultry apprehension technician, same as me, and the best in the business!”

I like that kind of talk. I thought, “I don’t know what a poultry apprehension technician is, but I know who I’m going to call if I ever need one!”

I AM THE BEST UNDERTAKER IN THE BUSINESS! And in this speech, I’m going to prove it to you.

You will need to call an Undertaker when a loved one has passed away. That Undertaker will lead you through one of the most painful, difficult times of your life. When it’s all said and done, you will probably feel grateful for that undertaker and even send a ‘Thank You’ card. That is, other Undertakers receive ‘Thank You’ cards. My families give me other stuff…

“What size are your feet Bruce? I’m guessing size 12? How’d you like old Dan’s rubber boots? He won’t be-needing them anymore.”

I say, “No, that’s really not necessary…”

“No, no! We want you to have them because, BRUCE LINDSAY, YOU ARE THE BEST UNDERTAKER IN THE BUSINESS!”

I say, “Sure. I wear rubber boots… and I wear a size 44 suit…”

How do you like my new suit? Doesn’t it look marvellous?

Another benefit is flowers, free flowers, anytime I want. Families always give me their flowers to take home to my wife, and they always say: BRUCE LINDSAY, YOU’RE THE BEST UNDERTAKER IN THE BUSINESS!

Now my wife doesn’t appreciate flowers the way she did before I became an undertaker.
My secret is that I promise BIG! And then I deliver on every promise. Take the body. Many people don’t believe an Undertaker can make a body look good. I can and I do! I make sure I know exactly how the person should look and then I deliver beyond anyone’s expectations. This leads to some interesting questions.

“Dad’s lost a lot of weight. Can you make him look heavier?” – “How’s 20 pounds?”

“Can you go 30?” – “30 it is!”

“Can you give mom a perm? – And make her look younger?” – Yes – and how’s 10 years?

“Dad looks kind of scruffy, can you shave his beard? – Of Course!
“Can you shave Mom’s moustache” – Yes!

“Can you make dad smile? – Yes, although I must tell you; it looks more- weird than you might think.

“Can you make Mom sit up and play the piano?” – Whoa! Hold on now! Just a minute, let’s not get crazy… What song?

When they see their loved one, they always say the same thing: BRUCE LINDSAY, YOU ARE THE BEST UNDERTAKER IN THE BUSINESS.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. ‘You know other Undertakers who can make bodies look good and get free stuff. You’re wondering, what really sets me apart?’

I’ll tell you. It’s my compassion and my creativity.

I arranged a funeral for a woman, whose husband had died. She was filled with grief, of course. But even worse, she was worried that she couldn’t afford to have the kind of funeral that she wanted for her husband.

I helped her cut some corners, but still it seemed she was going to have to borrow money from her family to pay for the funeral, which she didn’t want to do. I walked her to her car, and there, she gave me her husband’s pillow.

“He always wanted this pillow to be buried with him.” She told me.

Now I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff. So this didn’t even register on my weird-o-meter. I took the pillow and said good bye.

The pillow itself was nothing special. It was old & flat & worn-out. Flat & worn-out like Paris Hilton’s Credit Card. One of my tricks, with an old pillow, is to unzip it and add some extra stuffing to make it look fluffy and comfortable. When I opened this pillow, I found money - CASH MONEY! Over $7000!

When the woman came back in, I sat her down and explained what I’d found. She was overcome with emotion.

“How could he do this to me? Why would he keep that money from me?”

I tried to calm her down. I said, “It’s your money. You can use it for a deposit on the funeral. It will practically pay the whole bill.”

She said, “That’s ridiculous! I can’t take that money. That’s HIS money! He must have felt that wherever he’s going - he’ll need that money.”

I thought about it for a moment. Then I said, “Why don’t you deposit the money in the bank and just write him a cheque?”

She stopped crying! She gave me a hug, and I bet you know what she said: -


You’d better believe it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Doug Lindsay, Bruce's Dad, was able to attend the Toastmaster Ontarion 2008 Humour Speech Competition of Ontario

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Justin Morton and “S.M.”

This is Justin Morton - then and now....
Last week was a time when we stopped to consider the possibility of “Restorative Justice” – a time when we consider some different ways to do justice in our community. It is a time when the church and church people might consider getting involved to do more… Perhaps people might even begin helping to facilitate justice issues.

I wrote about this issue of Restorative Justice on November 12, 2008. I spoke about it on the weekend as well.

The angry humanity in me rose up over the weekend as I read more of the present situations with two Offenders in Canada. One is Justin Mortin and the other is some one identified as “S.M.”.

Justin Morton is from Brampton. In 2003 he led Eric Levack into a wooded area near Brampton and strangled him with his belt.

“S.M.” stabbed Michael Oatway on a bus in Ottawa – after Michael wouldn’t give him his Ipod.

Justin Morton, 14 years old at the time of the murder, reportedly killed Eric Levack, also 14 years old, because Justin wasn’t getting along at home… and if he killed someone he would get free room and board in a Juvenile Youth facility… and because he disliked Eric who tagged behind him all the time. He had selected three other students to possibly kill but chose Eric out of the bunch.

“S.M.” was 17 when he and his friends surrounded Michael on the bus. Michael was 22. “S.M.” already had an Ipod but also wanted the one that Michael was using. The two had never met before. It could have been that “S.M.” had a sale for the stolen Ipod – which could go for $20. Imagine he was stabbed and died because of a possible $20.

Justin Morton was transferred to a Federal Prison and will be eligible for release in about two years... because he received a 7 year life sentence as a young offender.

“S.M.”’s case is not over yet. But you can almost be sure that he will receive a fairly light sentence when it is all over. From what one of his “friends” stated he counted on it when he committed the crime.

I believe in Restorative Justice. Yet as I state that I am also struggling with the rawness of these two crimes and the horror of what it means to the community and the families of the murder victims.

Restorative Justice screams to the society that something different should take place in the way that we deal with these criminals and victims of crime. We NEED to be involved as community to protect the victims and also assist the offender.

But how do you do that when you read about the blatant Justin Morton that has been diagnosed with homicidal fantasies?

What frame of reference do you use to deal with a 17 year kid that kills for $20… or the simple fact that he wanted the other persons Ipod when he already had one of his own. After he made it known that he wanted the Ipod he couldn’t back down in front of his friends.

How do you possibly offer help to these kinds of people? How can you help their families? Could something have been done to identify the problem and offer assistance? Maybe a teacher could have talked with the Morton Family when he or she saw the problem rising in class?

So many questions and so little answers are there.

One fact that is real… Morton and “S.M.” will be out of prison soon. The system is set up that way. The Levack family is demanding that Morton be in prison for a long, long time… and have swore that they will do all to make sure that happens.

But he will get out soon. He is actually eligible for Day Parole this next month… and could be out again in less than two years.

What can we do as a community?

One hope is that with the necessary programming in prison it may be discovered what his real problems are and if he fails to comply he will remain inside for longer than two years. He is headed for some real help – theoretically. But then if they are too busy and the case load is too heavy for the Program Officers – he may not get help… and he may be out soon. All of us are watching this one with great interest.

Restorative Justice week has left me with some turmoil that needs to be resolved… and I am not sure how it will happen.

Awareness seems to be the answer to the Restorative Justice issues. If parents of the victims were aware they might have monitored the situation better – like – who is this Justin Morton that Eric talks about?

Secondly – maybe the students that buy the stolen Ipods from fellow classmates need to be aware that someone was hurt deeply when they lost their Christmas gift to a small band of youthful thugs.

People that buy cheap stuff are likely getting stolen property. When did it happen that because something is cheap and stolen – that it is okay to take advantage of it… just because we do not know where it came from????

Restorative Justice starts long before the Crime Scene… or the criminal act. If it was in place way back at the start it would not be a shock at a later date… when some one like me states the theory and then wonders how I will every deal with Justin Morton or “S.M.” when they live next door to me later on.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
Michael Oatway Murder
Ipod Loyalist

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Being Aware

At times I am absolutely stunned with the happenings around me. This weekend was one of those times. The swirl of humanity and the needs that I encountered left me quiet and almost over whelmed. The long drive back from Windsor left me much time to think of what had happened.

In the four settings that we found ourselves in I met hundreds upon hundreds of people. The vast array of people and the many different needs almost staggers my mind. Some were very well off and some had nothing. Some gave me their money and orders freely – others asked for a hand out, “Murray could you give me $5.00 until the end of the month.” The couple that asked that question had nothing… and I didn’t know what to say I won’t be there at the end of the month.

There was Natalie – in the telephone kiosk – that “sold” us our new “free” cell phone. With crystal clear eyes and a voice that could go 100 miles be hour when describing the features – she was a neat kid! She is a University Student and told is a little about her own dreams. A whole life before her and from all that you could see she will do very well. She wants to go into marketing and sales – go FIGURE – she was good. We don’t buy Cell Phone plans easily – but that was the day.

There was Eddie and his fiancĂ©e that had just become his wife. His teeth were missing and so were hers. They live on ODSP (a disability pension in Ontario). They are so happy. Their pastor has believed in them and their relationship – so he married them.

There was “John” and his beautiful wife. They had money and were able to meet any economic down turn. They parked next to us at that one place we pulled into – and in the short conversation we had, the warmth and openness was given freely. When we were parting she said, “John I want to go over to that store…” – that was when I caught his name.

Then there was the man that acted as a security guard at the Huge “Caesars Casino” just down from our Hotel. He smiled and greeted us as we walked in to the absolutely, amazing building. Friendly but watching us carefully. For some reason I felt like a crook…

Then there was the lady that continually pushed the large button on the right side of the Slot… then kissed her hand and rubbed the screen where the electronic pictures of numbers and symbols run by in a spinning action. I will call her “Kate”.

The screen had been kissed many, many times… and she pushed the button about every 6 seconds – 12 times every minute. Each “spin” produced a reaction on the large digital screen letting her know that she had won a few dollars or lost a few – or more! I think my standing there watching her from a distance perhaps made her uncomfortable. She stretched in her chair, looking back at me. She saw me. There was a very faint smile. The stretching elastic around her neck with a credit card on the other end allowed her some movements and kept the credit card in the machine. She rubbed the screen with her right hand and pushed the large button again. Each time the machine gave a soft bing bong… signaling that it was time for her to kiss, rub and push – over and over again. With a “Hope” the next push would produce a BONG BONG BONG…WINNER WINNER.

My heart went out to her as she sat all alone. Only a silly machine and a credit card kind of link…
The men and women sitting at another table with a dealer giving out the cards, waiting for their response, then reaching out to give another card… waiting, then a soft groan came from one man as she laid her own next card down and flipped the hidden one over. This absolutely quiet game required no one to say anything… One man did say “YES!” and the dealer pushed a pile of colored disks toward him. Then as I stood nearby watching he gave all the colored disks back to her plus another pile that he placed in front of him… then he groaned again.

Jennie, the Asian dealer, took four $50 bills from that man and with a kind of cake slicer shoved them into a slot on the table. She did that six times from the same man as he pushed the crisp bills her way. Mind you… she gave him many more colored disks and he kept quiet.

Jennie had watched them lose over and over and over and over again. I wonder what Jennie thinks at night when she goes to bed… when that same man slowly pushes away from the table and tells her that he is going to kill himself – because he has lost everything… (I didn’t hear that…but stats tell me that 300 people a day take their life because of gambling and losing it all…

Then there was the prim grandmotherly type with the name plate, Sara, on her chest. She was dressed in the sharp Black and White uniform. She pushed a cart filled with cookies and juice of all kinds. She stopped like a stewardess on a long flight to pour orange juice for each “patron”. It was kind of the same thing they do for the seniors in the mid afternoon snack time… this keeps you going until you are able to roll in for super.

Within 5 minutes of Caesars a man with a bright colored sombrero on walked up to me indicating that it would be a good idea for me to give him a hand out. Across the street another man sat still against the cold cement wall. The rain swirled around in the cold wind and he never moved.

Back at the church on Sunday morning we worshiped God with some wonderful songs. As I watched the screen for new words to describe my feelings to God… my mind kept going back to the swirl of people that we had met on this weekend…

Then I looked over and saw Christopher dancing again… I had just spoken with his dad. He had shared the whole story how Christopher’s mommy had died. I gulped again.

As I drove in the van with Alida, the six hours back to Peterborough, I couldn’t help but wonder what God sees. He knows their names and where each one comes from. Man oh man he must be busy.

I glanced over at the shinning SUV in the next lane on the Highway 401, there was a middle aged grandma talking on her cell phone. She glanced our way and smiled… probably at what her grandkids were saying on the phone…

My quiet garage today with my wood carving is looking very good. But I am taking Christopher into the garage with me as I think and pray for him some more… and John as you read this… I am praying for you Buddy… I really am.

Just being aware is what really matters… just being aware.

Oh boy…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

CAESARS Windsor…Take a look… it is amazing!
Lure Brochure

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Dancing Boy

The music was amazing! There is no place like this in Canada! It is a Saturday Night Live at New Song Church in Windsor where men, women and children gather for great music, a message(story or maybe a sermon) and then eat together. It is a coffee house setting but then something like a night club… but then something like a big youth group with adults being the youth that never left their youth. It is hard to describe. People have joined from all over the area for this happening.

I am committed to take ALL my friends to this church some weekend. I would love for them to be moved as deeply as I am every time I attend.

The focus I draw you to on this Saturday Night Live event is a young boy about 5 years old. Then… you need to look toward the front stage area and the large open carpeted section under the spot lights.

The music began and the rhythm penetrated all that we were. The sound was amazing from the live band performing with Pastor Kevin Rogers. Mixed in with the band members are Kevin’s two sons who are amazing musicians – just like their dad.

The five year old boy was the first uninhibited participant. He could not sit still. He came to the carpeted area and began to dance for all that he was worth. With foot steps and body motions he was interpreting what he felt… complete and utter abandonment. His arm punched the air to tell everyone that this was real. It was amazing to see this little gaffer work out his feelings. After he was in full motion some other kids joined in and they were off. You could see the older ones had done this before. A young lady about 10 years old swayed to the beat and expressed what she felt. It was pure love expressed by people that knew real joy.

The young 5 year old was in the middle beaming from ear to ear. What a kid!!!

Later…in the story time…
I had been sharing about my art work and wood carving. I had also been sharing how some people in the community were all messed up because of what has happened to them. I had told a composite story about a couple that had been in trouble. In the story an actual young couple had joined me at the front and allowed me to tie them up with masking tape as I told their story.

In the middle of the story I told how the young dad was so angry because of the life that he had lived… and what had happened to him. I explained that the young dad was sexually assaulted by his uncle when he was young. The room was very quiet as I came to that part of the story… and paused. Then a child’s voice asked loudly, “Why did his uncle to do that to him?”

I kept taping the young man tightly… and said loudly for all to hear… “Because the uncle had been sexually molested when he was a boy.”

There was stillness in the room. I looked up and there was the 5 year old boy looking closely at my every move. He has asked the question for all to hear.

As we came to the end of the meeting and I wrapped up my story and time of sharing with this audience, the young boy popped up near my table and grinned at me. He said, “I like you…” with a twinkle in his eyes.

I pause here… and gulp a little with a tear in my eye. I have a feeling that I will cry if I sit and think about this too long. I have preached in front of thousands of people, in wonderful and beautiful churches all over Canada and the world. I have received comments and been applauded for what I have said… but never have I received so much as I did from that beautiful 5 year old.

The rest of the story…
As I was speaking with the many people at the end of that part of Saturday Night Live at New Song Church, my wife listened to the father of the 5 year old. His wife, the 5 year old’s mommy, had died 6 months ago.

As I close my eyes right now… then listen to the song that was playing last evening… throbbing, pulsating, and with rhythm that blows you away…. There is the 5 year old dancing for all he was worth with joy that was best describe as complete, and absolute abandonment.

And the song… well it simply states that Jesus is the Life of the Party…

Today we head back to the biggest party in Canada… at New Song Church – where Jesus is the Life of the Party… Hallelujah… and I will likely meet my new 5 year old friend again.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS: A new video of the dancing boy will be on YouTube soon… I will let you know...
OH and BY The WAY... The boy's name is Christopher and his Daddy is John. Thanks for praying for them...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Freedom and Jeff

I am re-posting this wonderful story. Our "Aunt Bobbie" sent this our way.
~ Murray Lincoln ~

Freedom and Jeff
Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places . She's my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vets office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington . We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV . Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair - the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long. That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedoms.

Hope you enjoy this.