A Trip South Would Be Appreciated

I’m pretty much ready to take a trip down south. I don’t really care where down south as long as the only white stuff around is sand.I don’t have a trip planned or anything, but I’m sure thinking about some way I could make that happen.

I know in February we have a weekend at a cottage with my wife Lily’s whole side of the family. The only problem is that cottage is not south; in fact, it is a little north of where we live.

This weekend sort of finished me off. The cold temperatures came back like they never left. Earlier in the week we had temperatures of + 7 C and + 10 C.

But then the mercury started to drop.

And it dropped fast. In matter of 5 or 6 hours, the temperature had dropped to -12 … a 22 degree fall in one afternoon! What could survive a fall like that? Not much.

The next day I had my early morning hockey game. I knew it would be cold but I didn’t think there would be anything else with that cold.

As soon as I hit the garage door button I saw snow, and as the door continued to slowly rise, I kept seeing a wall of snow that had pressed up against the outside of our garage door.

This wall of snow was over the bumper of my SUV.

Did you get that? I’m not talking about a Mini Copper. I mean, I have 17 inch wheels on my SUV and the snow was over the bumper. I really hadn’t accounted for the snow, so I madly tried to shovel it out of the way so I could get my vehicle out of the garage.

It took a while because there wasn’t a lot of places to put the snow. But that wasn’t my only problem getting to hockey.

Once I shovelled out one side of my driveway, I backed the car out and started forward … only to be hung up on snow in the middle of my street.

The plow had come through in the middle of the night but had only made one pass and left a berm in the middle of the road which I tried to go through.

At 6:30 am, there I was by myself, trying to rock my vehicle back and forth to get through the snow mountain. It wasn’t working so I went and got my shovel and started to dig the snow out from under the front of the car.

I was able to dig enough out that I could get free. I threw the shovel in the back seat and took off for hockey. I was late – I knew that – but I thought I would get in a little skate to make the effort worthwhile. No one was there. Apparently only three guys had made it to the rink and they called it off.

What do you do at 7 am on a Saturday morning when hockey gets cancelled? I shovelled the rest of the driveway. That’s why I’m ready to go south. I’ve had enough.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes you need a break or change of pace, but you know it’s not going to happen. You’re stuck where you’re at. That’s the perfect time to thank God for the good things He’s brought into your life. It’s so easy to just focus on the bad, but you can change your mood when you focus on thanksgiving.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What are you thankful for right now? Leave your comments below.

My Family Christmas Is Filled With Anticipation and Expectation

Every trip we take is packed with anticipation and expectation.

It doesn’t matter how long the trip will be or what kind of trip it is, these two elements are stuffed into everywhere we go.

Let me explain …

As I write this piece, it’s 6:30 am – about an hour and a half before we leave for our annual trip to Toronto for my side of the family’s Christmas.

We’ve made this one-day, 3 hours there and 3 hours back trip for the last 21 years in a row.

And I am anticipating the trip. … I think my blood pressure was up a little today just knowing that we will be leaving soon.

I woke up this morning before my alarm – which doesn’t happen too often – which is another indicator of my anticipation.

I’ve been thinking of what I have to do, and the timing for getting everything ready to leave on time.

We have anticipation for every place we go, even if it is going to the corner store for milk.

The other element is the expectation. Here is where the trip gets interesting. This expectation is based on and feeds off of our history, experience and knowledge.

For instance, today when we leave I have 21 years of experience making this trip at this time of year. So when I see or hear of possible road conditions, I immediately think of several trips that had the same conditions.

Last night it was snowing and the roads were pretty greasy. That type of snow on the roads will make for a more stress-filled trip.

It brings to mind our trip in 2004 when there was only one lane of traffic and every car was in single file going 40 km’s per hour.

Well, that was until a bus blew by us going 100 and I realized that was our only chance to make it. I plowed over the ruts, got in the bus’s tracks and left the traffic in the dust … I guess I should technically say we left the traffic in the snow.

Last night the snow stopped at about 1 a.m.; the road crews should have cleared the highway of snow by now.

So my experience tells me today’s trip will be a little less stressful and a little quicker.

When the roads are clear, my expectations change and it impacts my anticipation.

I know when we have to leave, and what I need to gather together to be ready to leave, and at what time I need to do various things to be ready to leave on time.

I have my anticipation and expectation locked for this trip.

Wait! Stop the presses! My son just texted me; I have to pick him up right now.

Wow – everything has suddenly changed and my mind and emotions have to adjust to reset my expectation and my anticipation.

Here’s the thing: Every time we pray to God, it is like a trip we take with Him. We approach God with anticipation and expectation. But God is all-knowing and all-powerful; He may change your expectations and your anticipation in a flash. Don’t try to figure God out or put Him in a box; just go with the conditions and trust Him.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: In what ways have you put God in a box? Leave your comments below.

I’ve Been Waiting For A Long Time

Waiting is something we do all the time, but not that well. I guess I shouldn’t speak for everyone; there must be someone out there who’s good at waiting.

waiting for train

But I would say, on average, not many of us enjoy it. We are programmed to get things fast.

I was recently at a farmers’ market and there were all kinds of people at this one booth, trying to purchase vegetables.

The seller was helping one person at a time, but I noticed a woman getting things herself. Then instead of waiting until the seller had finished with someone else, she handed a five dollar bill over everyone’s heads, showed what she had and left. She didn’t wait at all.

Most of us would do that if we could (if we didn’t think it was impolite to butt in line) because we hate waiting.

I just read the other day that there are three hour wait times at the border to get into Canada from the USA. Our dollar is down, and gas is fairly cheap. Why not take a trip to Canada for vacation?

Well, a three hour wait at the border apparently has everyone up in arms. Travellers are pulling their hair out.

Can you imagine a car with a few kids in the back seat, continuously asking, “When are we going to get there?” … and the car hasn’t moved more that five feet in the last twenty minutes?!

Vacation? Those kids will be lucky if they survive the trip through the Canadian border.

Merchants are all up in arms as well. They say that every minute of delay at the border is more money not spent in Canadian stores. They want the government to either schedule or hire more customs officers, like right now!

Forget all this waiting! It’s tough; it’s not easy; we hate it.

But what about waiting on God?

Recently, I needed to fill a preaching assignment for just after my vacation. Usually I have that all set up before I go away, but this year I had already been turned down once and had to wait into my vacation for an answer from a second person.

One week into my vacation I got an answer that he wasn’t going to be available, so I needed a plan B.

Just as I thought of a plan and was about to act on it, I received an email from someone in my congregation who felt compelled to share with everyone what God has been doing in his life.

By the end of the second week of my vacation I had my speaker. I had to wait two weeks for God to provide, but when it was all said and done, I didn’t have to do anything to arrange it. God took care of it.

All I had to do was wait – not easy to do, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Here’s the thing: We do have to wait for a lot of things in life. We have to wait in lines, at bank machines, restaurants, border crossings, movie theatres, and pretty much anything else you can think of. We also have to wait on God for things. Waiting is not the enemy; waiting is part of life. When it comes to God, waiting on Him will bring the best to whatever we are waiting for. Don’t tear your hair out, or fixate on the waiting. Relax, keep going and see what God will bring about.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What do you need to wait on God for that’s been frustrating you up until now? Leave your comments below.