Matt W.C. Joy

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

House 4 Sale

In Uncategorized on 10/03/2010 at 7:47 pm

There is so much that a ‘for sale’ sign on a front lawn could say.  One may represent a new job around the corner in a different city, while another may represent the end to a marriage.  One may be the sign of a growing family moving to a larger space, while another may be a retired couple looking to downsize.  Yet another may reflect a newly widowed spouse and another looking to take advantage of a hot housing market.

I may not know the meaning behind the Remax sign staked in the ground approximately 6 houses away from my front door, but I do know the feeling that it sparked in me.  Let me explain by taking you back on a recent history trip…

We have been in our current home now exactly one year and have gotten to know most of the neighbors on our cul de sac over that period of time.  However, it wasn’t until this past Halloween that I had the opportunity to see who was behind the door of the home that is currently graced with a ‘for sale’ sign.  On that October evening, Kayla and I dressed Kendrick up as a lil’ monkey and our friends Nikki and Richard came over with their lil’ lion Nathan to go trick or treating around the block.  In the short trip around a few homes we encountered high winds, high people, and some scary decorations.  But nothing got my attention like what met us at this particular house. With our mini jungle dudes holding their bright orange pumpkins, we rang the doorbell and was greeted with two incredible smiles – smiles that seemed to cap off the distinguished and respectful look of this elderly couple that was so delighted to see us.  After giving the boys what they came looking for, the gentlemen pulled out a disposable camera (first time I saw one of those in action in a long time).  He asked if he could snap a picture of us … we obliged, while laughing a little inside at the classic ‘roll to the end then snap a pic’ camera.

About a week or two later, I was getting ready to make my daily trek out the door at approximately 8 am when the doorbell rang.  Wondering who could possibly be looking for either of us that early, I slowly opened the door.  Now, with our positions of doorbell ringer and door answerer reversed, I was pleasantly surprised to see the disposable camera photographer smiling bright in his toque and winter coat.  As if he knew that he was about to make my day, he looks up and says “thought you may like to have this”, handing me the kodak moment he captured on Halloween.  The pic itself was so off-centred and somewhat blurred, but the act of snapping it and getting it printed and delivering it to my door was priceless.

Since that October night, I have frequently left our street to go to work, to go work out at the gym, to go on a family errand, or a variety of other reasons, and have looked forward to the times when I notice him out washing his car (yes even in winter) or caring for his property.  Without fail, he will greet me with that same smile and a polite wave and somehow I look at the trip ahead of me as being a little brighter.  I don’t even know this gentlemen’s name and he still has the wherewithal to make my day that much more enjoyable, without realizing it.

Do you ever wonder who’s day you are impacting?  The cashier at your grocery store, the neighbor next door, your spouse, your child, a panhandler you pass daily, etc…some more obvious than others, but all in your realm of influence have their day impacted somehow by you.  That is a reality that can seem daunting and scary, but also incredibly rewarding.  The question isn’t whether or not you will leave a legacy, but what kind of legacy will you leave?   I am reminded as I leave my cul de sac by the friendliness of my elderly neighbor, and as I head for home at the end of each day.

As I am saddened by the apparent news that I am losing a great neighbor, let’s step up our intent to leave a positive impact on the lives within our reach!  Put an imaginary ‘FOR SALE’ sign on your yard and ask yourself a revealing question: ‘will I be missed?’



In Uncategorized on 28/12/2009 at 11:01 am

I have recently come to really appreciate my Rogers On Demand service.  We have all but relinquished the process of renting a movie from a local video store because of the inconvenience of having to return the videos and the possibility of  paying late fees.  But, we have also completely given up on watching any movies via pay per view.  Not only do you have to start when they start, but you cannot pause when you want.  I would pay the same price for a ppv movie as an ON Demand movie and yet would have to forfeit key parts of the flick just to take a snack or pee break.  All because there is no PAUSE option on PPV.

Sometimes my life is too much like pay per view .  I need a break to rest, have some quality family time, or enjoy an outlet but feel that it isn’t an option.  As if life will go on without me and I may miss something or drop the ball on a responsibility that I have.  A part of that is my desire to please and my inclination todemonstrate a firm commitment and hard work ethic – even to my own determent.   But, the longer I am around in this life and the greater myresponsibilities are at home, the more I realize that PAUSES are not just needed for my own health and family, but they also add to work productivity.  Again, when I head for home I am getting better and better at taking all of me there.  I am getting better at not mentally beleaguering an issue yet to be resolved in our youth ministry or even planning the next meeting or event while I should be ‘all in’ during my time with Kayla and Kendrick.  This is an ongoing struggle, and not just for people in my line of work.  If you love what you do or perhaps even if you don’t, the pressure to do more and get ahead is a real one.  But I encourage you to take the On Demand route and learn to plan and follow through on taking the PAUSE in your day, week, month, and year.

I say that to say this…these past few days have been incredible.  I feel rested.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas weekend at home.  From hearing Kendrick’s first Christmas morning “ooooohhhhh” to taking him for his first wagon ride today, to watching the World Juniors with my Brother and Father in-law, to chilling with Kayla and friends, to watching vintage Survivor episodes with Kayla, to playing Settlers of Catan with Kyle and Robyn, to sharing incredible meals thanks to Kayla and Shirl (my mudds in law), to talking with my family on the phone, and more.  I rejoice in the value of and need for PAUSE in my life.

Find your PAUSE.  Hit it.  Enjoy!

Taming The TIGER

In Uncategorized on 10/12/2009 at 11:21 pm

I am beginning to feel as though it isn’t even safe to google ‘Tiger Woods’ anymore in fear of what articles, images, or accusations may haunt my laptop screen.  Okay, even that lead in was a little exaggerated but the way this story has dominated all facets of media is mind-boggling.  The sports networks are filling me in on the fact that another porn star is claiming to have had an affair with Tiger, the local Newfoundland news are letting me know the details of his accident and the ensuing 911 call a neighbor made, the gossip headlines are rampant with dollar amounts this, the world’s richest athlete, is offering his wife to stay with him an extra 2 years at least, and on it goes.  As much as I am tired of being confronted with the story and as much as I hate that I initially wanted the info, I can only imagine how much Mr. Eldrick Tont Woods is agonizing over the ‘bed he has made’ (pardon the pun).  With SO much coverage internationally (some true and some false – most of the public not knowing how to distinguish the two) and with an understanding of the dynamics of having to work through issues as a family,  even my wife is starting to feel for Tiger – and more so for the Woods’ clan.  Here is a guy who literally attained and was granted access to everything this world could possibly offer in ‘stuff’ and is/was, I would argue, the most known and most popular athlete of all-time around the globe.  Yet, I would be willing to bet that he’d love to trade it all in to dial the clock back to the point of making the decision to break his covenant with his wife/fam.

You see, it is easy to scorn those who fall from their lofty pedestal.  Not to mention that fact that we are often the reason they are placed on such a lofty pitch.  But what about the ‘Tiger’ in me? Or in you?  On Tiger’s issue I cannot relate…perhaps you may not either.  But, what about the things in your life that you know are wrong – no matter what code you live by.  Someone once told me that it was in the quiet times and lonely places that we prove ourselves capable of greater responsibility.  Who are you when no one is looking?  The greater the similarity between the public you and the private you the greater the grasp you have on living a life of integrity.

How about this for an applicable anecdote?  The dialogue below is following King David (another guy with incredible popularity in his day and all the stuff anyone could want) having an affair with the wife of a dude named Uriah.  Following which, he had Uriah killed in battle.  Below is an actual account from 2 Samuel Chapter 12:

1 and God sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town.
2 The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.

4 One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man’s little lamb and served it instead.

5 David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die! 6 And because he didn’t have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.”

7 Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man!

OUCH! David must have felt a gaping hole in his  invincibility.  The injustice within Nathan’s parable struck a chord with him to the point where he demanded that the character be punished.  I thought back to this encounter when the Tiger story broke.  How quick I am to point the finger and deem Tiger to be yet another failure at morality, only to hear a voice urging me to look in the mirror.  Then and now I am quickly reminded of the areas of my life that needs ‘fixing’.  You see, no matter how you view others and yourself, there is ONE who sees us on the same ‘playing field’.  That’s who David chose to run to…here is the actual prayer he prayed to God upon realizing how bankrupt he was spiritually (Coldplay rocking ‘Fix You’ is a nice touch to the prayer):

Challenge: Tame the TIGER within you instead of relishing in the one who has fallen around you.

G n’ R

In Uncategorized on 02/12/2009 at 11:50 pm

Warning: if any of you got to this point thinking I was gonna blog about Guns N’ Roses…I apologize and laugh inside.

Now that I got that off my chest, off to a lesson I received in giving n’ receiving:

Originator of much commentary that was counter to his (and our) culture,  Jesus once said something profound that we tend to toss around so much the meaning may get a little lost.  The statement is that, “it is better to give than to receive” Acts 20:35.    We especially get to encounter this truth in this season of ‘materialism on steroids’…be it at Mass, Christmas productions, one on one coffee chatter, or internal analysis of our own greed/crave for more, we hear the message of these words repeatedly or at least I’d like to think we do.

My parents were great at not just giving good advice, but demonstrating it with their lives.  They once taught me the give/receive lesson in a way that I won’t soon forget.   It was in my last full year of living under their roof as a dependent that they chose to put Jesus’ counterculture philosophy to action and, intentionally or unintentionally, leave a indelible mark on their son’s life!  It was Christmas week and I had finished up my official internship at Cornerstone Ministry Centre (Cornerstone on FB) in the downtown of St. John’s.  Knowing that this internship had an incredible life-changing impact on me, my parents felt to give to me in a different way that Christmas.

That week, leading up to our own lavish gift giving and receiving,  they presented me with a wad of cash.  Cash that I knew was a sacrifice!  I counted it quickly and my memory tells me it was either $240 or $260.  Now no young adult is going to reluctantly embrace a wad of ‘queens’, so I didn’t buck any trend and I held it in my hands with my mind racing.  As mom was giving it though, she offered a dream of theirs.  They wanted me to take this money and find practical ways to bless people that I had encountered in my time working downtown.   Just recounting this story as i type is awesome…that I would be the recipient of such teaching.  While, I didn’t grasp the learning process and the lasting impact of that initiative in that moment, I was so excited that they resourced me and commissioned me to that kind of action!

I took the money and my 1992 Mazda Protege (subject of another blog potentially called, ‘When Dad buys you a lemon’), and began to drive to the heart of the city.  After much thought and some prayer,  I bought some food and gift certificates  and delivered them to a variety of people/situations, including a single man with drug addictions and a family of Russians new to our city.  With the rest of the money, I envisioned a plan and went to the John Howard Society House that was home to male offenders transitioning back into the community.  The plan was to throw a Christmas pizza party for all of the guys staying there (along with the staff) in hopes of it providing an escape from the sense of sadness that the holidays away from family must bring.  Thankfully the staff thought it was a great idea, and I filled the order and made the delivery!

Mom and Dad may never grasp what they taught me or gave to me that day, but it was one of the greatest teaching tools from the ‘classroom of life’ that I have encountered.  It’s amazing how much this ‘giving and receiving’ truth is now played out practically as a dad. I really couldn’t care less about what may or may not have my name on it under the tree this year (although my bro-in-law’s hints have peaked my interest:)).  But, as a dad, I was so stoked to drop into toys r us on Tuesday and pick up the HOME DEPOT deluxe workshop for Kendrick from Santa (p.s. Santa owes me some money).  Putting a smile on my son’s face and seeing the joy he will have playing with this toy will again make Jesus’ truth re: giving come to life in a different way.

It is December 3…take the next 3 weeks and test this truth.  Creatively and intentionally impact the life of another  and encounter the heart of Christmas again – or perhaps for the first time.

Dear Mayor…

In Uncategorized on 26/11/2009 at 8:09 am

I decided to use this medium to raise an issue that I was perturbed with this past summer and one that has not really been resolved…at least to my personal liking.   It is a civic issue within our Metro area but I believe it points to a much deeper issue regarding our society.  To fill you in, here is a letter I sent to the Mayor of St. John’s (Dennis O’Keefe) back in July:

July 14, 2009

Mayor O’Keefe,

First, I would like to express my gratitude for you being willing to serve in such a public office of leadership.  I can imagine the demands on your family and schedule and would like you to know that your efforts and service is much appreciated.

Second, while I live in Mount Pearl, I work and spend much of my time in St. John’s and see the region more as a metropolis than several individual municipalities.  You will not find a citizen more passionate about this area and I love that I have been given the privilege of working and raising my family here.

Yesterday, July 13, I went to city hall to take in the Canadian Citizenship ceremony and was thrilled to witness such a momentous occasion in 38 lives.  However, as I walked from my parking place (just down from the Courthouse) I found myself absolutely shocked and appalled as a citizen, as someone who works with students full time, and even more, as a father.  All along the streets of our beautiful downtown plastered all on almost every light pole, were advertisements for 2 local strip clubs.  One of which was provocative in nature with women posing in bikinis.  This caption read, “Our Girls Party Naked”.  I thought this was too much even for such a public place and reflection of our city.  But then, to see the other advertisement for a separate establishment I was even more disappointed and irate that this was deemed ok by someone in leadership.  The posters in reference contained pictures of 4-5 women completely naked, with only a slight covering of the nipples and vagina.  I am baffled to think that this could possibly be legal and not in violation of any advertising by-laws.  When I think that the public reacted to the ‘Strictly Adult Video’ sign on Topsail road and yet I have not heard any outcry on this makes me think that it is not a publicly known thing.

We, as citizens, leaders of students, and parents, are fighting hard to raise up the children of this city to protect them from things that rob their innocence.  Their sexual purity is one of the areas that is being challenged severely.  As a dad, I will be diligent in monitoring my son’s internet use and tv watching because of the filth of what is available to him.  To know that I need to fight this battle on a public street in our city is sad…very sad.

Can you please clear up for me a couple of things?  First, is this ok legally for establishments/businesses to advertise in such an explicit manner?  If so, why?


Matthew Joy

Now…here is the response I received from the Mayor himself:

Hi Matt

I understand your position and agree with it and I have contacted our Bldg.Dept about it. However I know from other experiences on poles that it is all connected to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and freedom of expression. We will do what we can under the law. Thanks
Dennis O’Keefe
City of St. John’s
City Hall, P.O. Box 908
10 New Gower Street
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5M2
Tel:   709-576-8477
Fax:   709-576-8250

During the days between sending my letter and getting this glib response, I called emailed and called our most popular radio talk show, ‘Open Line‘, to rouse public discussion on this.  The host, Randy Simms, was all over it and thought it would grab people’s attention and draw their opinion.  We were both wrong unfortunately.  At the same time in July, we had a ‘catastrophic’ (note the quotations for sarcasm) water ban in the Metro region…who could pause to consider the attack of innocence upon our children when we are in the midst of trying to conserve our water supply (again, please note the sarcasm)?

There was a grandma that called Open Line to back me up and commit to writing City Hall as well.  Of which, I was proud.  But, you know…at the end of the day we are here in November and I am pretty sure this is still far off of the radar of our public and public officials.

Randy Simms said something during our radio chat in July that rocked me a little.  It was to the effect that this display of advertising must be considered acceptable by our society based on the little feedback the issue was generating.  I’d rather believe that the silence on the matter was either drowned out by the water ban concern (baffling in itself) or due to the fact that not many parents knew enough about the advertising to speak up on it.

Somehow, I’d like to think that Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the governing Liberals never foresaw this type of expression and deemed it ok for public streets.  The Charter is such a beautiful thing, but situations like this make me wonder if we aren’t proverbially shooting ourselves in the foot as a nation by making it ‘absolute’ truth no matter the consequence.

I’ll clue up this entry/rant by giving you the opportunity to have a little say on this issue with one click of your mouse:

Boston Pizza Grace

In Uncategorized on 23/11/2009 at 7:32 pm

There are few places that I enjoy spending time with my family like Boston Pizza.  The food is reliable, the service is great, and the ambiance is above average.  Before having kids, it provided a great spot for Kayla and I to have quality dates and now that our little bambino is old enough to order off of the kids menu, we love going as a family.

A couple of weeks ago, we made plans for  Kayla to pick me up for my lunch break to head out for a quick bite together in the midst of a busy day.  So, as we headed east on Kenmount from my office trying to decide what would be quick but not too unhealthy, we remembered that BP had a express lunch menu.  We quickly decided that we could swoop in, grab a quick lunch, and still be back to the office in an hour.

Well…not so much.  Maybe it was because many other people had the same plan or that they were short-staffed, but  either way, the jaunt turned into 1.5 hours which included a 45 min wait for the meals.  Being one who gets anxious over being either bit late for anything (just ask Kayla), I must say that I wasn’t enjoying this visit as much as I normally did.  However, we kept quiet and tried to make the most of the time together and the fact that Kendrick was having his very first pizza was cool.  Then, totally unexpected, the manager (John) came out and apologized for the delay and told us the meal was on them.  Really?  Well, thank you BP…all of a sudden any disappointment seemed trumped by the kind gesture.

It wasn’t the first time that I received something I didn’t quite deserve.   I mean I still got to enjoy the food and the atmosphere.  We still had a great waitress tend on us.  And still we owed nothing!?  Funny, yet powerful,  how an act of grace silences opposition.

All through history victories have been won and injustice has been fought by those who have been champions of grace in the face of opposition.  One of the greatest examples was the focus of a hit movie in 07 called ‘Amazing Grace’ (Amazing Grace – The Movie).  His name is William Wilberforce and he headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 (Slave Trade Act).    For 26 years he raised the issue in the British Parliament to what seemed to be unbeatable opposition.  But Wilberforce was determined to extend the same grace he had received from God to the African slaves and be a voice for the voiceless.  He persevered though it seemed impossible for their plight to be truly heard…let alone resolved.

Looking for a great movie to rent…check out this trailer:

As I am compelled to inspiration by the story of Wilberforce and appreciate random acts of grace in everyday life, I realize it all pales in comparison to the grace God offers.  Even after separation from God came to all of us through the wrong of the very first man, God remedies it with one life – one that provides exactly what I need but don’t deserve Romans 15:5.  Pretty awesome…that kind of grace inspires what this world lacks – hope.

I think I’ll leave you with a lyric from one of my fav bands as a teenager.  The Newsboys wrote and performed this epic line:

“When we don’t get what we deserve, that’s a real good thing, a real good thing.  When we get what we don’t deserve, that’s a real good thing, a real good thing…check your balance through the years, all accounts are in arrears.  Guilt is bitter, grace is sweet. Park it here on the mercy seat.”

What ARE You Saying?

In Uncategorized on 19/11/2009 at 3:35 pm

Perhaps you are underestimating the power of your communication.  Courtesy of President Obama, be reminded…

So, here is a glimpse of the scene last Saturday (the 14th) in Japan.  While the man on the left may need no introduction, the couple of the right are Emperor Akihito and his wife.   At first glance and initial thought, this photo-op is one of a million for Obama and is of no more significance than most.  However, I first came across this photo from a major news agency in the States who was reporting on the backlash that the American President was facing because of this.

Like any story, this one has at least 2 varying perspectives.  First, let’s step into the diplomatic shoes of Obama.  This recently elected leader campaigned on CHANGE and was/is determined to bring about a news type of diplomacy and foreign affairs that would be founded on discussion and openness.  Each time you hear him sell vision it is as inclusive as possible and it seems he is desperately bringing a message of peace and unity to the global community.  In doing so, he appears to be bringing America alongside of nations, as opposed to shadowing nations with his America’s ‘greatness’.

** warning: this is pure Matt Joy speculation**

So, with this approach in mind…I can envision Obama wanting to make an over-the-top impression on an important ally like Japan by, 1. learning that the act of bowing would demonstrate an overwhelming respect to Akihito and, in turn, the world and 2. having the courage, as one of the most powerful people in the world, to do it!  But surely someone on his staff would let him know the risk involved here…considering not even the Prime Minister of Canada (pretty sure no one does diplomacy like us in our Mosaic of a country) never even took a bow to Akihito.

Which leads to the 2nd perspective…

The amount of flack that Obama received (yes, mostly from Conservative America) was fast and furious.  Thinking that the bow was a symbol of a weakened America and that it was a sign of inferiority, mortal men (quoting Bill Rowe here – what have I come to?), political pundits, and politicians alike, began to express dissent towards the actions of their Pres! Here is one of many articles written on the ‘outrage’: Outrage @ Obama Bow

This whole news piece got me to thinking about the way we communicate messages all throughout our days non-verbally.  Regardless of what Obama was hoping to communicate, there are going to be some who will misconstrue or misinterpret his message.  Why not take this example of one of the most influential people in our world today and remind yourself to think before you speak communicate?

You are not just talking with your words…your gestures, your smile or lack thereof, your body movements, your email, your tweets (thats a story for another day…apparently Conservative MP Jon Baird got called fat this week in a Liberal MP’s tweet on twitter), and other forms of message sending.  Be responsible for what you are saying regardless of how you are saying it!  Own up to your communication and if something needs to change go ahead and change it.  If something you have communicated needs to be retracted – well, sorry but we all lack that superpower.  However, an apology combined with a change in behavior will most often do the trick.

I learned a critical piece of advice in Industrial Arts class in Junior High:  ‘Measure twice, cut once.’

Perhaps I can liken that wisdom to this blog entry: Think twice, ‘speak’ once…or if need be, not at all.

Aborting Abortion

In Uncategorized on 15/11/2009 at 3:31 pm

hope and a futureI love that my son was given a hope and a future by His Creator as he was knit together in his mother’s womb(by design).  I hate that my government gives us as parents the freedom to take that hope and future away!

In January of 1988, while I was still 7 years old, the Supreme Court of my nation decided in a 5-2 vote that the existing laws limiting abortion to scenarios that protected the life of the mother needed to be done away with.  Their foundation to this momentous shift in our legal system and protection of the unborn was that any law restricting abortion was in contradiction to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter).   Check out this coverage by the CBC when this news first broke in ’88 (if you watch, you will also get a nice vintage look at Ian Hanomansing with some amazing spectacles):

Click here for CBC coverage

2, 725, 269.  I mostly associate numbers of this value to the salaries of high-paid athletes, but I am sobered to learn that from 1970-2004 this number represents actual lives in Canada that were brought to a premature conclusion via induced abortions.  Here is a chart that breaks this number down by province: 2, 725, 269.

So, bear with me as I process this…

I live in a province that is now awarding my wife and I with an extra $1000 baby bonus for bringing Kendrick into the world (and yes we were thankful to receive that).  The premise of this bonus was to encourage numerical growth of our population through birth (Tories offer baby bonus to turn around NL population). As this is unfolding and thousands of families are being rewarded, this same government is paying all of the necessary funds to see that babies are aborted upon request.  With one side of our mouths we say, ‘lets provide a stimulus for population growth’, and on the other side we authorize the destruction of the same life we are hoping to produce.

This frustrates me and I feel as we are living in a day that a future generation will look upon and mourn.  As I think of the destruction of the World Wars and the Nazi regime, or of the genocide in Rwanda, my heart aches.  But, I am quickly reminded that although my day looks different, there is still mass destruction of life that happens annually in my nation and around the world on the defenseless…and I am rocked internally with how quietly this happens.  Will I have the courage to be a voice on behalf of the voiceless?  Will I be known as one amongst the masses who stood by while the Charter was defended against the very breath of life God instituted?

I am not convinced the answer is holding a placard and marching outside of the abortion clinic, but I am convinced that the answer is not found in silence…

I leave you with the voice of a 12 year old.  While her speech, that she crafted for a public speaking competition in her school is phenomenal, I leave you with the reality of her voice…at least she is saying something:

Life & Liberty

In Uncategorized on 10/11/2009 at 10:16 pm

never forgetToday I awoke with liberty to look brightly upon the next 24 hours before me.  I began by rolling out of my comfortable queen sized bed and getting myself ready for the day.  The routine of putting in my contacts, showering, shaving, brushing my teeth, choosing clothing from a full wardrobe, and all of the other small things to get myself ready, unfolded like most days – without trouble.  By the time I am geared to go, I hear a stirring in the room adjacent to the bathroom.  It is the sound of a 13 month old wanting to be up and wanting to be in bed at the same time.  As the groaning becomes more and more clear, I am drawn closer to the door that separates me from my pal.  Then, as if he knows I am close and wants to invite me in, Kendrick releases a high-pitched ‘oohhhh’.  With the same zeal I had on Christmas morning as a child, I burst into his room to have his 2 little arms squeeze me with my first hug of the day.  I proceed to install a clean diaper (and at times a fresh set of pajamas:) on him and remind him/excite him that, just like every other morning, there is some milk and breakfast awaiting him.  Not to mention he gets to watch a little ‘In the Night Garden’ or ‘The Big Comfy Couch’  – 2 shows I hope he learns to dislike for selfish reasons.  We get to have some one on one time over breakfast (minus the tv) and then his excitement escalates again when it is time to bring mommy in on the morning.  As Kayla takes over, it is now time for me to head off to another day of work at a job/calling that I love.

I cherish this start to most days and take for granted much of what has allowed me to enjoy life as I know it.  Regardless of the trials we face and the real struggles that are a result of living in this world, I am so blessed to know freedom as I do.  I wake to it…I live with it…I rest each night with it at my side.  Yet, this time every year reality of what could have been and what could be calls my remembrance into the light.  I am conscious of the fact that the ebb and flow of life doesn’t make a moment of silence possible or realistic for each day.  I am aware that the purpose of the poppy may get lost if we wore them throughout the entire calendar year.  However, I long to embrace the liberty and blessing of my Canadian life  with a consistent gratefulness.  I want to not be ambivalent to the past sacrifices and battles fought or ignorant to the current situation that our Canadian Forces personnel face abroad.

While it isn’t something I tend to do often, I want to give major props to the shy, soft-spoken CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry.  Yes, I lied about the shy and soft-spoken part, but there is a rallying point that we all need to get behind Mr. Cherry on.   It is the unrelenting support he lends to our military!  I want to use his most recent ‘Coaches Corner’ segment to remind us of the modern-day face of remembrance day (if you want to skip the hockey chit chat, forward the video to 4:37).  

We can debate the current battle that rages on Afghani soil.  We can analyze the history of the Great Wars until we are an expert in the facts of those conflicts.  But, please, let us not overlook the sacrifice of the thousands of yesteryear and the hundreds of today who have laid their lives down for our life and liberty.  Let us truly thank God for them.  Tomorrow morning I am joining a friend or two and we are heading to the Memorial service on Park Avenue in Mount Pearl.  I personally feel that this homage is the least I can offer.  Each year, I attend to give something.   I go to offer respect and thanks.  Each year, I leave feeling like the one who has received something.  A refined perspective – a renewed gratitude.

Like Don says, “this is Canada’s Hall of Famers, and don’t you ever forget”.  Remembrance Day in Afghanistan

Heroes Amongst Us

In Uncategorized on 06/11/2009 at 10:36 am

hero amongst usNow that the Major League Baseball season is over (and we endured another year of not seeing the championship come back to Canada! Just needed to get that off of my chest), I can look back and think of different highlights that I enjoyed as a fan.  I always love opening day as it is packed with optimism.  I think even Kansas City Royal fans have hope on opening day.  I think of the tremendous start the Jays had and how the hope that ‘this was the year’ spread coast to coast.   I warmly embrace the memory of the hot Southern California day that Kayla, Kendrick, and I went to see the Angels and Mariners (Angels win and Howie KENDRICK got player of the game).  I enjoyed watching when Derek Jeter took over as the all-time Yankees hits leader (incredible feat when you think of who is in that category).  BUT, I think the greatest highlight was when MLB took a few moments to shed some light on something greater than the game.

This past July at the All Star festivities in St. Louis, MLB launched a campaign called GO BEYOND and took time and intentionality to highlight “All Stars amongst us”.  Kayla and I sat on the couch stirred to the core as this video played .  As it concluded, all of these ‘All Stars amongst us’ paraded out in jerseys to the deafening sound of an incredible ovation and then surrounded by the leagues best players, who offered hugs, tipped hats, and handshakes.  In the midst of a professional sport that often makes me wonder/upset about the amount of money these players ‘earn’, I looked at Kayla and said, “Major League Baseball got it right this time”.   Take for example, one of those All Stars: Gary Lynn.  He is the child in the wheelchair that has Cerebral Palsy but refuses to be limited and defined by his disability.  Gary has started his own organization to provide hope and support for others who have Cerebral Palsy (All Star Gary). What an incredible inspiration!

I have been blessed to meet many with this same drive and determination and have leave no doubt that they are real life all stars.  Some have even entered ‘hero’ status in my view and I don’t want to be guilty of taking their contribution to my life for granted or of not celebrating it!  Thomas J. Peters, an american business leadership guru, encourages us, “to celebrate what we want to see more of”.

Today, I choose to celebrate a life that has demonstrated grace under fire and shouted integrity from the valley.  One who knows difficulty and has met pain, yet one who lives triumphantly and chooses joy.  His name is Len – known to some as Pastor, but to me as Uncle Len.   As a Pastor, Uncle Len represented God faithfully and impacted communities and individuals with unwavering hope.  Then one day many years ago, this tremendous man was diagnosed with ALS  or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (What is ALS?) .  It has taken a tremendous toll on his physical body,  but because of the fact that the hope he preached resides within him, I have received so much inspiration and true joy by being in his presence and thinking of his smile.  Even today I heard of how my hero is reaching out to touch lives in real ways! The picture featured here in this segment of heading4home is of Uncle Len, Kendrick, and I.  There is so much that I have learned from this hero amongst us that I long to pass on to my son, and this pic captures it.

Like Paul’s expression of thanks to the church in Colosse , I thank God that in Uncle Len, “the lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope”[Colossians 1:3-8].

Celebrate a Hero.  Be a Hero.