Monday, October 8, 2012

Goodbye FACEBOOK

MONDAY,  OCTOBER 15,  2012... 

 FACEBOOK D-DAY.  

I BID YOU FAREWELL, MARK ZUCKERBERG...

( AND THE ADDICTION YOU INTRODUCED TO MILLIONS OF EARTHLINGS...

including me. ) 


I have one week left before I terminate my Facebook account.  One month ago, I made the call to end it after my Homecoming weekend.  I wondered if I would change my mind, but some recent events are only a catalyst to my conviction that this is the right thing to do for me.  

I don't know how many people will actually read this blog post... so I figure I can make an effort to leave some personal messages behind with the Facebook Friends that I will miss when I disconnect.  

There will be some faces that will not be effected by this move.  I will pass on my email address if people want to continue a conversation and not loose the connection.  I do have a feeling that pulling the plug will be the end of my contact with over half of my Facebook list.   

I do want to extend a few Thank you's.  

CHERIE: You were the first person that encouraged my involvement with Social Media.  You were the one who "hounded" me the most.  I finally caved... and now I am un-caving.   I want to thank you for the chats we have had on line and for the moments we have shared in person.  I trust that my terminating Facebook will not terminate our friendship.   Thank you.

SEAN:  You were my first Facebook friend.  It has been fun seeing what you have been up to in your own world.  You and your brother were the primary reasons I hooked up on Facebook in the first place.  I wanted to keep up with the latest news.   I know that I still get a fair share of the news via texting or Grandma... and the occasional family get together.  Thank you.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR:  I know that this thank you won't get to you via my blog... but I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to start up a Facebook page for the band and for the fun I had being a part of the action.  Thank you. 

DIVIA:  You are the only Facebook friend that I have never personally met.  You were the exception to my rule for Facebook friends.  I hope one day that I will get to meet you.  I have some great memories of my trip to Trinidad before you were born.  I have so enjoyed your encouragement posts.  I have saved quite a few.   Thank you


LCBI CLASS OF 1987:  It was because of you that I am postponing  D-day until the Monday after Homecoming.  It has been a joy connecting with a few classmates on Facebook prior to Homecoming.  I don't feel like we will be such strangers.  I look forward to this coming weekend and maybe the next one in another twenty five years.  Thank you. 

... AND THE BIGGEST THANK YOU OF THEM ALL...

MANFRED:  My husband... you born the brunt of my Facebook addiction.  It has had it's moments of joy, but I am looking forward to less time on the Ipad and more time hanging out with you face to face.   

Over the next week, I hope to get some personal messages across to my Facebook friends, before I say good bye.  If I miss you, you can always connect via email.  I am not disappearing for good.  

Big Hugs everyone.  Lots of love going your way. 

Ruby Neumann

(soon to be ex-Facebook addict) 





Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Hot Air Dream


I have a dream... It involves hot air... a lot of hot air.

The dream started with my Dad and I.  We both wanted to go for a balloon ride together.  We had it on our to do list.  There are some things in life that don't make it off the to do list.  This was one of them.

The last time Dad and I talked about going for a balloon ride was the month before he passed away.  He was sick, but the dream was still there.  I told him we could get a balloon company to come to the farm and even if I had to wheel him out to the flight pad, I would do it.  I wanted to see the dream come  true.  He said that would cost too much money.  He was right.  I knew it...but the dream of flying with my Dad didn't cost anything.


After Dad passed away I still had the dream.  I had mentioned to my nephews about going for a balloon ride as a memory trip.  That was five years ago and it was still too much money.   But the dream didn't die. 


I mentioned it again to my nephews this week.  The dream is still there and I still want to soar about the earth.  I would be looking at three to four hundred dollars a head.  Dad was right.  It is too much money.  Is it worth it... for a half an hour in a basket... for $1200????  I wish it was.  But it doesn't make it up high on the priority list.


So if I am going to put my hot air dream back on a list, what list does it go on? .. on my bucket list, my wish list on my prayer list?

Ben, Sean:

If all three of us dream hard, maybe we can fly one day.  We will take a picture of Grandpa along and remember him as we soar over the city... or the countryside... which ever way the wind takes us. 

 As for now... let's book that trip to the golf course.  




Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Wake me up, Jesus."

I wrote a story a few years back when I still lived in Calgary.  The story was a conversation I had with Jesus.  Heaven was the setting and the conversation took place after I had committed suicide.  The story was entitled "Walking off the field."  (click on the link to be connected to the blog post.)  

I wanted to address the subject of suicide and what would possibly be Jesus' response to his child after such a tragic end to life.  For someone so familiar with depression, I have also been familiar with suicidal thoughts.  I understand what it is like to feel like there is no purpose in life.  I understand the desire to leave everything on earth behind and pursue a life with no pain and no tears.  Thankfully enough for me and for those who love me, I never acted on those thoughts.  I don't think I ever had the courage to see it through.


I was thinking about my conversation with Jesus again.  This time it wasn't after a successful suicide.  It was after a death that I had no control of.  I have often wondered about that moment. Following is the conversation that I wrote called : "Wake me up, Jesus!"  

Please note:  My understanding and imagination of Heaven has changed in the last five years.  You may notice that difference when you read "Walking off the field"                                                

Wake me up, Jesus!

Falling asleep... that is how Jesus called death in this world.  To fall asleep in one world would indicate I can awake in another.  What that world would be is  yet to be known.  Is it a new Heaven or a new Earth?  To awake in the new world, where would I awake?  I would like to imagine myself on a grassy lakeshore surrounded by the sweet smell of wild flowers.  I would hear the movement of the water lapping on the shore from the gentle breeze that caressed its surface. 

J: Ruby.

The sound of His voice drifted in and out of my subconscience mind.  I knew that voice.

J: Ruby.

I had heard the sound of my name on His breath before .  It was more of a whisper then, not as clear as I was hearing Him now.

J: Ruby... you can wake up now.

R: I know you

J: Yes, you do.

R: I am dreaming.  I must be dreaming.  But I don't remember falling asleep.

J: What do you remember?

R: Driving.  I remember driving.

J: You were.

I sat up and glanced at my surroundings.  It was beautiful.  I was lying on a mossy patch  on a hill overlooking a beautiful green coloured lake, reminiscent of the copper tinted waters I had seen before in Banff National Park.  The landscape was speckled with wild flowers... colours of red, blue, yellow and lavender. I saw hills across the lake, in the distance, covered in evergreens. 


R: Where am I?  I have never had such a beautiful dream.

J: If this were a dream, you would be in the middle of your most creative imagination.

R: I have imagined a place much like this, but the beauty is so much more than I could have ever imagined. 

J: Ruby.

R: Yes.

J: You aren't dreaming.  This is very real.

I looked at the lake shore .  All the trees lined the shore were full of life.  There was no dead wood to see. I perused the banks and the grassy hill.  I could see a perfection in the creation before me. I looked back at the One who had awakened me. 

J: What are you seeing, Ruby?

R: Perfection, flawless perfection.

J: That is what We created in the beginning, that is what it is here.

R: If this is real, not a dream... am I...?

J: Yes, child. 

R: Dead?

J: To those who knew you in your life before... Yes.

R: I don't live anymore?

J: You live, but you live here now. 

R: Death, A doorway to life.  I wrote a poem about that once.

J:  "Death is but a doorway that leads the lover home."

R: Yeah, that one.  I wrote so many.  I can't remember them all. 

J:  I liked your poetry.

R:  Thank you.  For someone so challenged in the realm of communication, it was a very helpful way of getting my thoughts out. 

My head hung as I thought in that moment of the one I left behind.  Remembering the feeling of loosing someone, I thought of how he must be feeling at the loss of his wife.  This was not an easy road for anyone.  It would not be easy for him.

J: You are happy to be here, but not happy to be here without him.

R:  I didn't want to be the first one to go.

J:  You would have chosen to spare him the pain of losing you?

R: Yes. I would have chosen to endure the pain of losing him to keep him from feeling the pain of my death.

J: It wasn't your choice.

R: What happened?

J: Is the knowledge of the event important to you now?

R: Yes, I want to know what he is facing now.

J: He is facing a lot of things right now.  He just lost his wife in a car accident.  He is in pain, but he is not alone.

R: I still don't understand.

J:  Do you want to understand?

R: Yes, I want to.  This is the place where I get to see clearly, right?

J: Yes.  Come with me to the lake shore.

He took me by the hand and we walked down the bank.  There was no beach, but a pebbly  bank.  The collection of rocks was so diverse.  I remember as a child, the fascination I had with collecting rocks of different sizes and colours.  Even as an adult, I had mixed rocks with my flowers and an ornamental display.  Rocks were something of a gemstone to me.  And instead of the much publicized streets of gold... I was walking with Jesus on a beautiful rock bed. 

He picked up a small flat stone and gave it to me. 

J:  Here... let's see how far you can skip it.

I must have looked puzzled.  I looked at the stone and looked back at my new companion.  I had been so focused at taking in the surroundings that I didn't notice until that moment the one stood on the river bank with me.  Every picture I had of Jesus in my mind (except for one) had him dressed in a long white robe and sandles.  There he stood in blue jeans and a white t-shirt and bare feet.  I remembered back to that time when that was the exact image I had created for the actor that portrayed Him in a one-act play that I had written and directed. 

J: Well, are you going to skip the stone or just stand there and admire my Levi's? 

He laughed and picked up another rock much like the one he had given me.  1-2-3-4-5-6 times the rock skipped when He threw it on the water. 

J: Your turn. 

I took the stone and threw it as best as I could remember.  1-2-3 times it skipped before sinking in the water. 

J:  It must have been the stone.  Your form is excellent.  

R: Why...

J:  The most asked three letter word. 

R:  Why blue jeans?

J:  I might ask you that?  You were the director.  You did the costume selection. 

R:  It seemed appropriate for the day and age I lived in.  No one complained. 

J:  Artistic interpretation.

R: I guess.  It just seemed to fit the spirit of the play.

Jesus picked up another stone and skipped it a little farther this time.  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.  

J: Do you still want answers?  Sometimes it only takes a game of stone skipping to make someone forget their need for answers.

R: I guess I don't need them.  I trust you even if those questions go unanswered.

J:  Even now?

R: Even now.

It was then I noticed he was carrying a book in his hand.  He showed me the book cover.  I smiled.  It was mine.  It was the book of poetry that I had published in my fortieth year - "Still Broken". 

J:  Tell me about your favourite poem in here.  

He ruffled through the pages.

R:  I have a few.  "Provider of Peace", "Moulder of the Sunset" are very special, because you helped me create them.  Which ones are Your favourite, if you don't mind me asking?

J: Are you looking for approval?

R: I don't think so.  Am I?

J: To answer your question.  I liked them all.  They came from your heart and your life.  You are precious to me and what comes out of your heart is also precious.  Back to you... what other poem is extra special for you.

R: "Crossing Jordon" is one of my favourites. The poem I wrote for my Dad before he passed... ah.... before he came here.

J:  It was extra special that you could read it to him while he was still able to listen.

I thought of my dad.  If I was dead and this was life after death, then I would be able to see him.  I would be able to see a lot of people I had loved and lost.

J: You are thinking of your father.  You would like to see him... And you will.  Time is not a restraint here.  This is Eternity.  You will see the ones who came here before you, but you will be surprised at who you will see next.

R: I am enjoying seeing You.  You are the One I wanted to see the most.

J:  Remember what I just said about time not being a restraint here?

R: I heard that, but all I have known is time.  It is hard for me to understand existence without the restraint of time.

J:  Let me show you someone who is as anxious to see you as you are to see him.

R:  Dad?  I have missed him so much.

J:  No, not your Dad.  Turn around and look who is coming.

I turned around and looked to see who Jesus was talking about.  I looked and I saw someone I hadn't seen for only a few minutes, not a few years.  It was my husband.  He was coming toward us.  I wanted to run toward him, but I couldn't move from Jesus's side.  I just stood and watched as the other love of my life walked closer to me.  

J:   He lived on for a while after he lost you to death.  It was painful for him, but he had me with him and the help of close friends and family.  He waited until I brought him here.  Life as you once knew on Earth is over.  Those you left behind are here too.  Time as you once knew is no longer.  My Father has set things right.

I sat on this story for a while.  I actually started writing it last year.  But thinking about yesterday's events brought me back to this post.  
(see previous post for that story "If Tomorrow Never Comes")



If Tomorrow Never Comes

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.         James 4:13

 Take a look and listen to this YouTube clip. (Have a tissue handy, just in case.) Vlad Gherman - "If Tomorrow Never Comes" (cover) in "Pariu cu viata"

  Now the story...


 Fatal car/motorcycle accident near Leduc

 Woman driving motorcycle dies at scene Fatal car/motorcycle accident west of Leduc on Saturday afternoon. A woman is dead after a car/motorcycle collision west of Leduc on the afternoon of Saturday, July 7. The crash occurred just before 4 p.m., at the intersection of  Highway 39 and 60. When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they discovered both vehicles in the middle of the intersection. Paramedics tried to save the motorcyclist, but the woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene. The driver of the car sustained minor injuries. 


 “Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this collision” says Corporal Jeffery Fox of the Leduc RCMP. “A traffic analyst has been contacted and the investigation is on-going”. Once the investigation is complete, charges may be laid, he said. 


Constable Drew Burchett of the Leduc RCMP says that at the time of the collision, visibility and road conditions were excellent. The name of the deceased is not being released, pending notification of next of kin.


That was the brief article about the accident that I pulled from on line.  This is what I saw. 


 Manfred had just dropped me off at Crystal Glass in Leduc to pick up my truck.  It was getting a windshield replacement.  Manfred went straight home, but I detoured to Walmart to get some groceries.     I took a little extra time to pick up some summer wear.  We were going to a birthday bash for one of the band members that evening and I wanted something cool to wear. 


I texted Manfred that I was heading home at 3:44.  I was already heading westbound on Highway 39 en route to Calmar when an ambulance came into view in my rear view mirror.  I pulled over to let him pass.  As I approached the intersection of 39 and 60 (the turn off to Devon), I noticed flashing red lights.  As I neared the intersection, I came upon the crash site.  There were no police at the scene yet, just two ambulances.  No one was directing traffic, but the east bound traffic was stopped while the westbound traffic was easing around the crash.  


As I drove past I saw the motorcycle in the centre of the intersection.  The paramedics had the biker on a stretcher.  It didn't look good at that point.  I just continued on to Calmar.  I hadn't notice what the other vehicle looked like then,  I just had the picture of the banged up motorcycle in my head. 


I got home and had a bath.  Manfred and I left the house around 5:15.  The plan was to stop in Devon for a quick bite to eat before heading out to the birthday celebration. 


As we neared the intersection there was a long line of traffic waiting to go through. By this time, the police were there directing traffic around the crash site.  Manfred mentioned that they had to do a scene investigation, that would explain why it wasn't cleaned up yet.  We weren't able to do a left hand turn on to 60, so we had to drive by, turn around and come back.  It was then that we saw the car and what was obviously the reason for the accident.  


The car would have been coming from Calmar going to Devon.  It would have been turning left on to 60 when the motorcyclist came through the intersection westbound from Leduc at highway speed.  The right front side of the car was where the impact was.  So whoever was driving the car was turning into oncoming traffic.  That oncoming traffic was a motorcycle.  


As the article states, it was a beautiful day.  There were no visibility issue.  


"Some one's daughter... some one's wife... some one's mother... "  My husband said something to that effect.   But due to a spontaneous shopping spree... it wasn't his wife.  


Again I am reminded that I don't have tomorrow.  And I am thankful that God has kept me alive for one more day,,,


One more day for me to tell my husband how much I love him.
One more day for me to wake up beside him. 
One more day.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

God's Fireworks

Last night my husband and I were camping out in our tent that I have erected in the yard.  We set up his Mac and watched the movie 2012.  This is the second time we have seen this movie.  If you haven't seen it, it is about the destruction of the planet on the day that the Mayan calendar ends... December 21, 2012. I like the movie for its action adventure, but wonder if it drives fear into people about the end and what that is going to look like.

There were sounds of fireworks all around us.  It was Canada Day yesterday, people in our town like to celebrate with fireworks.  I peeked through the screen window of the tent and caught a brief glimpse of the colourful explosion.  I couldn't see much of the firework display, but what I saw was more beautiful.  In the distant sky, on a perfectly calm night, I saw lightning.  It was a quiet display at first.  Just bright flashes and no thunder.  The leaves on the trees were barely moving.

 "God's Fireworks." I thought to myself.

  "They are beautiful" I whispered.

 God was the only one to hear my whispers.  My husband was already asleep.

 "Thank you" I said in a hushed voice.

 Not once during the quiet display did I consider waking my husband with the news of an oncoming storm.  It was perfectly dry during the celestial fireworks.  We could have packed up the bedding and moved back into the house.  We would be somewhat sheltered from the elements in the tent, but it is very difficult to sleep in a tent when there is lightning, thunder and pouring rain, which is exactly what followed.

I wanted to run back into the house, but my husband had his own sence of adventure.

 "We're camping. Go to sleep. Pretend are on Mount Everest."

 In other words... "Pretend that our warm, insulated house is not thirty feet away."

 I couldn't sleep.  I just laid awake listening to the rain pound down on the tent roof and the thunder clapping in the not-so-distant darkness.  I was thinking that moment... I had the chance and I didn't heed the warning signs.

 I thought of Jesus warnings to his followers in Matthew 24.  I  read that chapter when I came back into the house this morning.  This passage in Matthew 16 also comes to mind. 


  "He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. "
 Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV)

 I saw the lightning, I knew what could follow.   God's fireworks last night was a picture for me.  I am more of a believer in the words of Jesus about the end of the age that I am about the fear of the end due to the end of the Mayan Calendar and the planets lining on this year's winter solstice.

  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. " 
Matthew 24:36-39 (NIV)

I am not really fearful about the end as we know it or as we imagine it... But I wonder if I am watching a beautiful display of lightning and just staying put in my tent.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finding Community in a world outside the clubhouse

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

 It has been three years since I have been actively attending a formal weekly gathering of my believing brothers and sisters. In more commonly understood terms...

 I DON'T GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE!!!!! 

 I just wanted to define that statement first before I yelled it on the post. I wasn't wanting to yell... Just wanted to emphasize the point.

 This weekend was the first time in three years that the words of Hebrews 10 were used to inform me that I "uh-ohed".

 Uh-oh... It is the response one gets when one mentions to a "faithful church attendee" that one doesn't "go to church" anymore. Out comes Hebrews 10:25. That verse has been used often to encourage believers into or back into the clubhouse.

 Clubhouse: my term for the building and weekly program most believers call church.


 Church: Biblically referring to the body of Christ. The people that Christ has redeemed and loves... Not the clubhouse.

 Thankfully I have been spared this for three years. I don't believe there was a malicious intent. The person that started this brief "Where are you going to church?" conversation, has the greatest of concern for my spiritual well being. Inside, I am still scared to start the ball rolling on the story. I don't want to get into a heated discussion on what the writer of Hebrews was trying to communicate... Especially with my former pastor and ministry supervisor.

 It is Monday morning and I am thinking of what I would have loved to share with that person. I would love to share my story. I have made an attempt to do that in this blog. Maybe the people who are concerned for my spiritual well being and direction can read some of the postings on the Bearz blog. I have tried to explain my journey to help others understand what has been going on in the last three years.

 This morning I went into John and read some of the red letters to see what Jesus was communicating about life in Him. I didn't come up with anything to really combat Hebrews 10:25. But I found that life in Christ is all about Christ living in me and His life in me compels me to love people around me. I have added the selections that I read this morning to this blog post. For more understanding of my journey outside of the clubhouse... Read some postings entitled "The Transition and the Journey". These are conversations I have had with myself on numerous topics.

 My Red Letter Findings This Morning 

 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” -John 4:13-14 (NIV)

 “Woman, ” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” -John 4:21-24 (NIV)

 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true. “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God ? “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” -John 5:24-47 (NIV)

 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” -John 10:1-18 (NIV)

 Jesus answered,I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -John 10:25-30 (NIV)

 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” -John 14:15-21 (NIV)

 "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
 -John 15:4-5 (NIV)

 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." -John 15:26-27 (NIV)

 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." -John 16:1-3 (NIV)

 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” -John 17:20-26 (NIV)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Treasure Hunt



On Easter Sunday, I had some fun with my nephews.  I got to send them on a treasure hunt for their Easter goodies.

    They are not that small anymore.  Ben is twenty-one and Sean is ninteen.  They both have their birthdays in the summer, so that means our family losing it's last teenager this year.  When I shared the idea that I was going to send them on a treasure hunt, the primary comment was:

"Aren't they too old for Easter hunts?" 

  I texted them to make sure.  Both responded with enthusiasm.  Ben's comment was "... never too old for candy...".
 Sean piped up with "Awesome!"  I guess I was safe to proceed with the hunt preparations.

    I printed off twenty photographs that were taken around the farm.  I placed them in envelopes and hid them in the various locations around the yard.


The instructions at the beginning led them to find their first photo on a steering wheel.  Both boys started their hunts in the garage. Ben found his first clue on the tractor and Sean's first clue was on the golf cart.  The first photo would lead the boys to the location where the next envelope was. And that envelope contained the next photo of the location where they had to look next.  With a total of ten photos, they made tracks all over the farm looking for their clues and finally their treasure.



Some were easy and some were more challenging.  I gave them a head start on their own, but found myself wandering around and giving them some help.  I wondered if some of the hiding places were to tough, so it wasn't too hard for me to provide a little encouragement and direction.


  The last photos were the tricky ones.  Ben's last picture was of Grandpa (Dad) on the tractor blowing snow by the barn.



  Sean's final picture was a picture of Grandma (Mom) sitting on the golf cart in front of the house.





 Both vehicles were still parked in the garage where they found their first clues.  I had told them in the beginning that when they got to their final pictures...

  "It's not about the location where the picture was taken, it is about what is in the picture." 

 It took both boys a while to get back to place they started, but they did and both found their Easter treasures.    So they ran around the whole yard, and the treasure was not even 5 feet from where they began.  Isn't this the perfect picture?

 I found it interesting that:
 - the boys found their first clues and went outside after clue number two. They didn't look for the treasure right away. They just assumed that they had to work for their prize.
 - They didn't ask me for the treasure up front. Like I already pointed out, they just assumed they had to work for their treasure.
-  One ran on his chase and one just walked.... Different paces.
-  They were on totally different journeys, but there were times when they crossed paths.
- Sometimes they found the clues very obvious, and some they couldn't find without a little guidance from the one who hid them.

I had fun that day.  The pictures I posted were among the clues I gave my nephews.

When I started writing this post, I wanted to conclude with a spiritual analogy.  I don't think I want to do that now.  I will leave you with the story of the hunt and leave the rest to your imagination.



Photographers for this post are Tim Moores, Grethe Voigt and Ruby Neumann

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter morning: I still here the music.

Good Morning Everyone!!!

My Youtubing adventure didn't end with Good Friday's collection of memories.
 I also found a few nuggets for today.

 The Gaither classic:
Because He Lives. 

 Ron Kenoly
"Jesus is Alive"

(My favorite Easter song) Dolly Parton 
"He's Alive
(another favourite... From the eyes of Simon Peter)

  Keith Green and clips from my favourite Jesus movie
"The Gospel according to Matthew
"The Easter Song" 

 And the cutest selection...
Two boys singing a childhood Easter hymn favourite
"He Arose"
(keep an eye on the Mom in this video clip.) 

 Have a good day today... 
Whoever you may be hanging out with. 
 And go easy on the chocolate!!! 

 Ruby Neumann

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday: I still remember


"But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!""


 It's Good Friday today. 

 Jesus Followers all across the planet are remembering today.

 Some are going to memorial services, some visit graveyards, and some have chosen to remember in their own special way.

 This morning, I laid on my bed with my iPad and found some real gems on YouTube that I wanted to share with you.





  Above All (Kaitlyn Maher - 5 yrs old) 

Point to Ponder:

Good Friday is a good day to remember God's biggest gift to us, his much loved children.
.. but there is no reason for mourning or sadness.  


"... For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reunion

Ruby Voigt (1987)

"I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion." 
2 Timothy 1:4 (MSG)

This fall, I will return again. 

 Twenty five years ago, I left with much hope for a brilliant but unknown future ahead.  I said good-bye to people I had lived with, played with, fought with and studied with.  

 Fifteen years ago, I returned.  I saw those same people again.  Ten years had past and the faces had matured.  Some had gained families.  Some had experienced life in a way they never would have dreamed of when they were students.  

This fall I will return to the Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute in Outlook, Saskatchewan for a reunion with my graduating classmates from 1987.  Twenty-five years has passed since we sat in the classrooms of Old Main, ate our meals in the school cafeteria and wandered the hills beside the South Saskatchewan River. Twenty-five years seems like a lifetime and a half.  And I ask myself the age old question.  "Where did the time go?"

Before returning for the ten year homecoming in 1997, I published a top ten list in L.C.B.I.'s newsletter (The Beacon).  There were ten reasons why I wanted to come back for Homecoming in 1997.  I don't have such a list this time, but I have been contemplating the reason or reasons for making the pilgrimage back to Outlook.  There isn't a list of reasons this time, but there is a list of questions. 

1. What do I expect to see when I return?
2. What do I want to know when I get there? 
3. Who do I want to meet with?
4. Who do I want to bring with me? 
5. How am I going to spend my time once I am there? 
6. What is Sunday morning going to look like?
7. How are my attitudes going to affect my experience and the experience of others?
8.  How do I deal with disappointment if it comes?
9.  How truthful do I get with people who haven't seen me in years? 
10.  What is my purpose for going or do I even need a purpose?  

Some of my classmates upon reading this list may conclude that I am overanalyzing the whole trip.  

"Just come and have a good weekend! "
"Let's get together and laugh about old times."
"Don't worry!" 

This year, I have been challenged with the purpose of going back.  When I was nineteen and saying good-bye to my home of three years, I didn't ponder purpose.  Now I am forty-three and pondering purpose.  

I have connected with a few of my classmates via Facebook in the last year.  Other than that, I haven't had much contact with the other forty some people in my grad class in the last few years.  Maybe I am worried.  In some ways, I am the same girl I was in 1987, in some ways, I am very different.  I have different ideals now than the ones I was raised with.   


This last fall I went to another reunion.  My family gathered together to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary.  I was excited to be there.  I was thrilled to gather with aunts and uncles and cousins and exchange thoughts and laughs.  I don't have much contact with my extended family except the odd visit and Facebook.  But for a weekend, we all gathered together and for no other purpose than being together as a family and celebrating the years together.  

I guess I can return to Outlook without the "over-analysis".  I can go back and just enjoy seeing people and share thoughts and laughter.  I will bring my camera and see what gemstones I can take home with me, both in photography and in memories.  

"When you see them coming, you'll smile - big smiles!  Your heart will swell and , yes, burst! All those people returning by sea for the reunion..."  
Isaiah 60:5 (MSG)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Religion: hate it or love it?

Drew Marshall posted a couple of videos on Facebook this week. Take a look at both creative expressions and let me know what you think. The first one.


WHY I HATE RELIGION BUT LOVE JESUS


  The second one:

WHY I LOVE RELIGION AND LOVE JESUS


I listened to both poetic expressions and I am wondering...

Are we the OPPOSITION or are we on the same TEAM.

 There are so many different expressions of faith in this world and in the body of Christ.  Some would look in from the outside and see it as competition within the ranks.  I don't know.  I have been to a few team events in my life.  Following are a couple of analogies to explain where I am going with this one.


BASEBALL

Rogers Center, Toronto, Ontario

I used to like baseball.  I would watch it over the season and I had my favourite team to cheer for: the Toronto Bluejays.  I have been to Toronto and seen them in action four times against the New York Yankees.  My second favourite team was The New York Yankees.   So I sit up in the stands and I have to cheer for someone... right?  I cheered for Toronto, because they were number one.  But if I was at home watching New York playing someone else,  I would cheer for them. When those two teams were together in the field.  I noticed how nasty the fans got.  There was no singing "Take me out to the ball game".  They were loud in their rebukes for the opposite team.  I came away from that game wondering if it is okay to like both sides.





My favourite game of the year was the Allstars.  Toronto and New York,  along with American League team members from across the country gathered to play off the National League.  When the Allstars hit the field, there they were.  Bluejays and Yankees, each sporting their own jersey, but playing on the same team. 


Here's another analogy. 

BASKETBALL.

Sean (#14)  airborne to block a shot from Ben. 

The game was at Hay Lakes High School, in January 2010.  The teams:  The Hay Lakes Tigers vs. The Hay Lakes Alumni.  I had my new Rebel Camera busy that game.  It was a good thing,  I didn't know who to cheer for.  My nephews (pictured above) were playing on opposite teams.  It was the first sporting event I had been to where the boys were up against each other.  I can't remember who won.  That is a good thing too.  But I caught a couple of good shots of the two brothers going head to head.








Those are my analogies.  So my question is... are we on the same team with different jerseys or are we brothers battling it out on the court just waiting for the other one to mess up so we can get in our shot?

 What team are you on?   How do you define religion?  Do you empathize with the poet who sees a difference between the institutional systems of this world and his love for his Saviour or do you empathize with the priest who sees those systems as an avenue for the love to be spread? 

I would like to hear some thoughts on this one.  



Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Story

I am sitting at my husband's computer wondering what I should write about.  Some days the words flow out of my fingertips, some days and even some months, the words don't come.  I open up my archives at times and read what I wrote at different intervals in my life.   I was never one to maintain a consistent diary, but the stories and the poems that I have written over time have painted the picture of my life.

Writing was a lot easier when I was single.  I only had my own story to tell.  I could write anything whether good or painful and it was a testimony to my own life.  Now that I am married, the stories don't come as easy.  I now share life with someone else and I don't always know what to share.  Privacy takes president .  I am not the open book that I used to be.  I value my husband more than my freedom to express myself.

I guess because I used to be such an open book, maybe I fear that my writing may betray those things that are more important to me now.  Even if I were to dive into fiction and write about nothingness, that nothingness would become something.  A writer's best can only come from the heart.

So what do I write about today?

I still don't know.

But tomorrow is always another day.  Maybe tomorrow I will have words to share.  After all Life is a story.  Each minute is a sentence; each day is a paragraph; each year is a chapter.  If my story is not written down on paper, then I shall see to it that it is lived, even if it is not read.