Monday, February 28, 2011

it's official: summer studies in vancouver!

When I got home from work today I found a letter sitting on the table with a sticky-note from Sarah: it was my confirmation of registration for Regent this summer!

Pursuing graduate studies has been a dream of mine for a few years now.  I was very encouraged to continue on by my profs while taking my undergrad degree.  Regent offers some of the most prestige programs in Canada for Christian studies, with a lot of their grads going on to do doctoral work at Oxford, St. Andrews, Durham and more.  More than that, though, I really identify with its values and philosophy of education: fostering thoughtful engagement of the world, culture, faith and life as a whole person.

After much prayer and planning we've decided to go to Regent College this summer to take a one-week summer class and scope out the city.  I'm taking  The Fiction of C.S. Lewis, taught by David Downing.  We'll be looking at four of Lewis' books, Pilgrim's Regress, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, and The Silver Chair.  

We are currently looking into securing housing for that week.  Regent has an excellent housing database which we were able to access.  We emailed a few potential locations last night--most are rooms or suites put up by alumni or current students or faculty--and we already got a response from one couple.  It turns out they're on faculty at the College.  So we could be staying with some future professors this summer.

Atrium at Regent
Needless to say, we're pretty excited!

Sarah just came home.  There was dancing.

Head here to check out Regent's official site!
You can also check out Regent on facebook and twitter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

author spotlight: stephen r. lawhead + the skin map

skin mapBritish ley lines, the first German kaffeehause, and an Egyptian sarcophagus are just some of the points of interest which make up the plot and pacing of Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest fiction novel, The Skin Map, “Quest the First” of his new Bright Empires Series.

If you’ve ever read Lawhead before you should come expecting good storytelling, for that is what Lawhead truly is: a story-teller.  His latest endeavour in mythic historical fiction, The Raven King Trilogy, retold the legends of Robin Hood in a bold and daring new way.  Likewise his Pendragon Cycle brought fresh light and language to the Arthurian legends.  As a fan of historical fiction and fantasy genres, I have grown to appreciate Lawhead’s work as an author and writer since being first introduced to him in The Iron Lance, a historical work which depicts the journeys of Murdo, the son of a Scottish nobleman destined to sail to Jerusalem during the violence of the 1st crusade.

In this new novel, Lawhead tackles not history or legend as he so often has, but instead lends his hand to a story of inter-dimensional space and time travel.  The story begins with young, boring, modern day, Kit Livingstone, who is getting lost in his attempt to take a subway train to meet his girlfriend Wilhelmina.  He gets lost, it begins to rain, and as he makes his way Stephen R. Lawheaddown a long straight alley, trying to catch his bearings, he runs into an old man.  But this is no ordinary man: this is Kit’s great-grandfather, Cosimo, and he’s supposed to be dead.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

moll-sacs, phiz-gigs, and a parson's nose!

So on Sunday we were asked to help out with the youth group's progressive supper on Friday.  Basically what happens is the youth split into teams of 5-6 and go to different houses where they'll have one course of a four to five course meal.  We chose to make homemade tortilla chips and sweet and spicy chicken wings for an appetizer--and it turned out pretty good!

What is it with teenagers and them stepping off of the front mat to take off their shoes on the kitchen floor?  I don't get it.

Anyway, I had started reading The Hobbit out loud to Sarah while she was sick at home a few weeks ago, but we hadn't gotten to it in a few days.  So in between groups we'd sit down in the living room by the electric stove and follow poor ol' Bilbo Baggins down to Gollum's lake for the riddle game!

Half way through we got a call from Scott and Beckie who were making pasta as the main course at their place.  Scott and I determined--as two very hungry men--that it was in everyone's best interest to join forces with our food for a second supper later that night.  We ended with a formidable little feast by about 9:00: pasta, wings, chips, pumpkin pie and cool whip, vanilla ice cream and sundae toppings--awesome!  

Then we played this hilarious game called Slang Teasers, where you are given a real slang word and have to try and come up with meaning for it while guessing the real definition.  Sorta like Balderdash.  Did you know that a "parson's nose" (which is not "the ability to sniff out trouble") is the the rump of a chicken?  Who knew!

This morning we slept in, it's finally sunny out here after our treacherous, frozen and blizzard-like yesterday.  Sarah is attending a watercolour class this morning at the art gallery.  I'm really glad that she has the chance to paint again.

Have a great weekend!

PS: How cool is this guy?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

truth and stories

“What a good movie!  If only it had been a true story…”

Have you ever had this thought?  You’ve just invested two hours in a gripping tale.  It’s got you.  You’re fully engaged in the characters’ struggles and decisions.  You can sense the rising tension.  You know something is about to happen—some unexpected turn or revelation.  The music begins to raise to its crescendo.  And then… then…  the moment is revealed.  Everything falls into proper order.  Resolution arrives.  All is as it should be.  It was so good!  …If only it had been true.

carl and ellie
Up. Disney/Pixar 2009
Sarah and I were asked last summer to give leadership to our church’s young adults group—something that we had wanted to be involved in since leaving Eston last April.  Every second week a group of about three to twelve nestles into our living room and we spend the evening sharing our lives, exploring God’s Word, and praying together.   We’ve been discussing prayer, and how biblically we see individuals praying through their situations: be it anger and sin, doubt or sadness, fear and death.  Though our tendency is bury our experiences within, we have been intentionally attempting to bring what we are going through to God in prayer—allowing him to orient us to perceive our lives anew.  Last week the topic was Praying our Tears, and the first question of the study was “What was the last movie that made you cry?  Why?”  Among the movies mentioned were August Rush, Big Fish, Secretariat, Lion King and Finding Neverland.

There is a certain magic to stories, especially the good ones.  They are meant for far more than distraction.  Yes, they are entertainment.  Yet the best stories do more than just entertain—they touch the core of who we are.  They have an ability to teach us and delight us: to tell us something about life.  If we’re willing to listen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

winter star-gazing: orion as a signpost

One of my favorite hobbies is star-gazing.  I've always loved stars and the night sky, but it wasn't until sometime during high school that I actually developed the interest and set about to learn the constellations so that I might be able to "find my way around" so to speak.  I can remember heading out to Flat rock with Dad, equipped with a pair of binoculars and an astronomy book.  It was summertime so we stayed out for nearly an hour I imagine: hunting the cosmos and catching a glimpse of the occasional "shooting star".  Later Matt, Brian and I would venture back to the lakeshore (to try and get away from the lights of town) to watch the constellations above Wabigoon Lake.  There's a peaceful solace in watching the heavens.

So if you find yourself with a clear night and want to see a few winter constellations here's a few tips!


Click the following pictures and they'll open up larger in a new tab!  (All pictures taken from Stellarium, which is awesome:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

daring to rejuvenate

Sarah enjoys going out.  Not anything extravagant--simple things like visiting friends or going to get ice cream or trying some new social activity.  While I'm perfectly comfortable to stay home, doing the same things I usually do nearly every night, she'll be the one to suggest some new outing or adventure.  At first I resist, then, often after being reminded that last time I felt the same way but in the end really enjoyed myself, we'll decide to go.  And it is good.  In fact so often it's exactly what I need right then.  Whether it's visiting with friends when I'd rather sit at home alone, or simply getting out of the house in order to spend some time just the two of us doing something different I come home feeling better, even rejuvenated.  In hindsight I find myself blessed by those moments: opportunities that need to be intentionally taken and lived in to be enjoyed.

The tree nursery often lays off their crew for a month or so in early October, and again just before Christmas until the "big sow" starts up in February.  When I mention to people that I've been off work they'll often say how they wish they had that same free time to "get things done."

I felt that way too.  At first.

I enjoyed sleeping in, showering late, cooking for my wife, reading and watching movies, getting the groceries, practicing drum patterns, all of that.  Yet now that I look back on the time it's easy to see how I could have made more out of it.  Don't get me wrong: I did a lot!  I finished editing my undergrad thesis--something I'd been meaning to do for months!  But do I feel rested now that I'm at the other end of the time?  In some ways, yes.  In others, not really.

Simply having 'no-work' space doesn't automatically make it a space of rest.  We have to choose to holiday.  So often that time of vacation isn't so much about doing nothing as it is about taking the time to rejuvenate.  Rejuvenation comes not from the absence of activity, but from choosing to engage in activities that will restore us.

What are those restorative activities and how can we carve out time to make them a regular part of our lives?

o o o

Thinking about that question triggered another thought.  How can we keep ourselves from thinking only about our rejuvenation?  I mean, we need to take care of ourselves and make healthy choices.  But we also need to help each other.  I was reminded of this in a video clip of Rod Wilson, president of Regent College and professor of psychology and counselling.  He's discussing how we tend to gravitate toward one of those two extremes--thinking only of self and only of others--and how we need a healthy balance.

Given the danger of those two sides: the danger of falling off the side of self-preoccupied, and the danger of falling off the other side--of not even engaging oneself at all--how then spiritually do I function?  Now this is where humility comes in. . . . Humility is not just about Rod's view of Rod, but about Rod's view of Ross and how I conceptualize serving Ross in what I'm doing. . .  Humility is not about my view of myself, it's a way of understanding myself with reference to service.

It's not about me.

So how can we, first, understand this need we have to rejuvenate and take the time to do so regularly for our own health and development; and secondly, how can we seek to foster restorative moments for those around us?

Dare to rejuvenate.  Find that space in your day where you could be doing something that will bring you rest.  Go for a walk, phone an old friend, paint, sing, write, make something, do that thing which you know can restore you--that which makes life's troubles grows smaller (not forgotten, but put in perspective).  Then, having done that, turn around and help someone else to do the same.  We're all in this together!

Be well this weekend,



Friday, February 11, 2011

lessons from the orchestral hall

My first time at a symphony was to hear the music of The Lord of the Rings films by Howard Shore.  Needless to say, it was a truly epic experience.  I had never been to anything of that sort before: the size of the concert hall, the enormity of the orchestra and choirs, that caliber of raw talent and professionalism and passion for music, all the guests dressed in their best (and not a few dressed as Hobbits and Black Riders!)  made for a truly memorable experience.

So when we saw that the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra was coming to Dryden we jumped at the opportunity.  Knowingly it would not be the same experience as the LOTR, but we were excited to hear the music and for the opportunity to see some quality entertainment of that variety in our town.  We made it an early Valentine's Day date.

As we entered the auditorium and began making our way to our seats the musicians had already taken the stage.  One could hear short snippets of sound, quiet tuning, the testing of bow on string.  A gentle air of anticipation was about them.  And it was contagious.  After a brief introduction the lights were dimmed and a hush fell upon us.  An air of ceremony.  The concertmaster, Thomas Cosbey, emerged, violin in hand, and took his place at the head of orchestra.  With a simple gesture of his hand he signaled the cue to tune.  There came a rush of slowly building sound. It felt surreal and strange: that those sounds were actually coming from those instruments.  We're so used to hearing music that is removed from actual musicians, especially orchestral music which is so often now only in our lives as the background ambiance in our films.

After the tuning the concertmaster takes his seat as first chair and the hush descends again.  Then the Maestro enters.  We applaud and the orchestra stands to honour him.  He moves to the stand and shakes hands with the concertmaster.  He greets the audience with a smile and a bow.  Then he turns and faces the orchestra.

And the music begins.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

author spotlight: john eldredge + way of the wild heart

Way of the Wild Heart is being
is bring re-released this spring as
Fathered by God.
To all the men out there,

Got a book recommendation for you.  I'm just finishing Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge. He's tackling a vital question: "How do we become men?"  It's not a book on pop psychology or child development.  It's a map.  A map of the masculine journey, its initiations, its struggles, the core questions we have as men, and the assurance that God wants to and is fathering us.

Here's a brief excerpt:
A boy has a lot to learn in his journey to become a man, and he becomes a man only through the active intervention of his father and the fellowship of men.  It cannot happen any other way.  To become a man--and to know that he has become a man--a boy must have a guide, a father . . . You see, what we have now is a world of uninitiated men.  Partial men. . . .  The passing on of masculinity was never completed, if it was begun at all. . . .That's why most of us are Unfinished Men. . . .
Masculine initiation is a journey, a process, a quest really, a story that unfolds over time.   

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

songs of 2010

Do you ever find that you might  listen to an certain album or artist regularly (almost daily!) for a certain period of time?  That's how it is for me.  Slowly that music starts to fit that time: I'll listen to the song later and I'm sometimes reminded of where I was for those months and what I was doing, etc.  Last year was a year of transition: we were living in Saskatchewan until the end of April before moving to Ontario in early May.  Summertime brought travelling, autumn was a time of grieving deaths in our family, I was off work for October and back again in November until Christmas.  Different times of life, different songs that spoke to those times.

Here's my favorites from over the past year (not all are new).  Some of them were full albums, some were just one song here or there.  Enjoy!

(Right click link and choose Open in New Tab if you want to play the song and keep surfing the blog).
Late Winter/Springtime:
  • Jack Johnson, Ocean, "You and Your Heart" - Acoustic/Reggae
  • 30 Seconds to Mars, "Kings and Queens" - Alternative/Rock/Pop
  • Eminem, "Not Afraid [Clean Version]" - Hip Hop/Rap | This song surprised me when I first heard it.  It depicts his road to recovery and his change of mindset after having gone through rehab.  Admittedly, it's not perfect, but there aren't a lot of songs in this genre that relay something hopeful, let alone handling family responsibilities.
  • Gavin DeGraw, "In Love With a Girl"- Rock/Country
  • Brett Dennen, "Ain't No Reason" - Folkrock/Indie/Pop

What about you?  Do you have certain songs that remind you of certain times or seasons?

Be well,

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

why the wandering? what's this blog about?

Wandering is about journeying in unknown land.

Life is the most unknown land of all.  We might have  signposts to tell us what might be waiting over the next rise, but we know not for certain.  We might meet friends along the road, or run into bandits.  We might get lost in forests or stay awhile at a cozy inn.  Each journey is unique.  Yet our journeys also intersect.  We find travelling companions who join us for a day or a year (or several!).  I want to introduce you to some travelling companions of mine.  I want to share with you some of the things that they've taught me, and some of the things that I've been working through as I continue to walk out my journey.  In this way, the blog is really a work in reflection.  This blog is about exploring faith and life: its nuances, it beauties, its tragedies, and its Hope.

It'll be a strange mixture of songs and stories as we tread the path together!  A discovery here, an honest question there, a memory come to mind, that sort of thing.  I welcome your thoughts, fellow pilgrim, as we journey together.  

Be well,


fresh start

Yesterday I decided to revamp my blog.  I had originally made it for a class assignment on the book of Romans while studying at Eston College.  Then it had sat for some time with a few tidbits of information here and there, but was more or less neglected for a few years.  The time has come!  I feel like it'll be a good outlet for writing and putting some ground beneath the feet of meandering thoughts.  And I hope that someone somewhere might find what I say interesting... though I can't say I'd know why!

Upon cursory glance one might wonder themselves what all this is about:  Svet?  Scarlet Monks?  Mythopoeia?
My mother taught me the importance of clear communication, so I feel that some explanation is in order.