Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Friends!

Here's to 2011 bringing you much love and happiness!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Over the Christmas break I had the chance to play for Estonia in the Canadian Multi-Cultural Hockey Championships in Toronto. Going into the tournament we knew we weren't going to win.

Kind of like Norway at the World Juniors.

We lost all 3 of our round robin games and, while I hate losing, I still enjoyed it immensely. I don't know what it is about hockey, but I love it. Watching Pens-Caps on HBO 24/7 is addicting! Just being out on the ice and shooting a puck is such a release for me. No need to go away for Christmas, just give me some time on the ice and it's like a vacation.

Maybe next winter I'll build a rink in the backyard.

What's your escape from reality?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It Wouldn't Be Christmas...

...without some drama.

People who don't want to spend time with certain other people.

Wondering how a certain person will react to the planned Christmas festivities.

Hoping for good weather (and no motion sickness) as we spend lots of time in the car.

I used to think I was the only one who had to deal with these odd dynamics, but apparently I'm not alone. And despite the drama, barfing dog, "crawly feet", and quarantine, this Christmas was a good one. I got to spend time with family, shared some laughs, played some games and had a solid Christmas.

After 4 days off from work, it was tough to get up and come in to work today. Good thing it's a short week.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Claymation Christmas

It seems like every family has their own Christmas traditions. Crystal's family has home-made "houses" that are stuffed full of candy and sweets.

My family has the Claymation Christmas Special. Each year we'd break out the betamax and watch the half-hour special before December 25th.

I managed to find it on YouTube (is there anything you can't find online?). My favourite was always the Carol Of The Bells

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas - More Than A Baby

The Christmas story is more than just a baby in a manger.

More than a virgin giving birth in a stable.

It's more than angels, shepherds, wisemen and a jealous king.

The Christmas story is the story of a God who wants to restore that which was broken.

A God that came to live among us.

A God who sent his son to die at the hands of those he came to save.

I think this video from a church near Atlanta tells it well.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Top 5's For 2010

Scott Jackson posted his Top 10 list for 2010 today, so I thought I'd post my own.

Except I'm doing a Top 5 to cut out the more mediocre stuff.

1 - Ben Rector - Moving Backwards
2 - Brooke Fraser - Coachella
3 - Needtobreathe - Something Beautiful
4 - Switchfoot - Free
5 - Anberlin - The Art Of War

1 - Inception
2 - Exit Through The Gift Shop
3 - To Save A Life
4 - Shutter Island
5 - Law Abiding Citizen

1 - The Social Network
2 - The Tillman Story
3 - Countdown To Zero
4 - Despicable Me
5 - Toy Story 3

1 - Moving into our new house
2 - Whitewater Rafting the Ottawa river
3 - Quebec City with Crystal for our Anniversary
4 - City Chase Toronto
5 - Volunteering at the Barrie Film Festival

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teddy Bear Toss

The Teddy Bear Toss is a tradition in the CHL. During the Christmas season, fans bring stuffed toys to the game, and when the first goal is scored they throw them on to the ice. The players then take the stuffed animals to children's charities in the area.

It has been moderately successful in Central Ontario, but nothing compared to the success in Calgary.

Here's a clip of what it's like to have 23,000 stuffed animals pelting you, your neighbour and (eventually) the players on the ice.

I'm buying my tickets for next year's Teddy Bear Toss now!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Never Shovel Alone

The past week and a half we have been HAMMERED with snow in Pine River. Last Monday the snow was nearly waist deep on the street, so we were snowed in.

It was that fateful Monday that would be a tipping point on our street. All the guys were out shoveling our driveways, when it occurred to us that it would be more fun to shovel with each other. So we gathered on Earnest's driveway and started to make our way around the court.

We made a deal with each other, "No one shovels alone." Even though it has been snowing (seemingly) non-stop for the past 10 days, the promise still holds.

Sunday night Crystal and I were eating dinner when I heard the familiar sound of Claudio's snowblower. Turns out he was out clearing our driveway so I could enjoy dinner with Crystal.

Last night Crystal and I were out until about 9:30, and we came home to a cleared driveway.

Tonight Marty and Claudio teamed up and had our driveway done in about 10 minutes. I went out to help, but ended up watching as they laughed their way up and down my driveway. Once they finished our driveway they headed next door and cleared Noel's drive.

I feel so lucky to have such great neighbours. They lend me their tools, clear my snow, water my lawn and play with my dog. A 180-degree difference from living in the condo where people are posting notices about noisy pets and signing petitions to remove board members.

Best of all, there are still 5 more lots for sale on Lions court.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Tree

This is our first Christmas in our new home, it's also the first Christmas that we can have a real tree! (The condo's fire code forbid any real trees.)

Last week we went down to the SPCA and bought ourselves a tree. With it being dark, and all the wrapping on it, it was difficult to tell what the tree actually looked like, but we thought we made a good choice.

Saturday we brought the tree in and started to decorate. I had to make a run out to the store (a couple stores actually) to pick up some more lights, but other than that slight hiccup, I think it went pretty well.

The tree is up and we're ready for Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Future Of Worship?

The future of worship?

No instruments.

No set-up.

NO. I don't think so. It's still pretty fun though.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

T'is Better To Give

It's Christmas time.

A time of giving.

A time when people look to give some of their hard-earned money to a worthy cause.

I was in Mississauga at the One Hope Benefit Concert at my parents' church on the weekend. It was a production put on by the church, with 3 charities as the highlited causes to give to. All 3 causes are totally valid and deserving. (The production was phenomenal by the way)

For each of those causes, there are dozens of other charities doing something similar. Clean Water, Human Trafficking, Education for African Orphans... the list goes on. There are so many worthy causes you can give to at Christmas. There are so many options if you want to give this season. No matter what your passion, you can find a charity to give to.

But why does it have to stop after Christmas? Why not look for ways to give year-round? Yes, it's top of mind around Christmas time, but if you have a passion for the abolishing human trafficking why not support one of the many non-profits year-round?

It's great to give, and you should give to something this Christmas season. Salvation Army Kettles, the local Pregnancy Centre, or even LIFE 100.3. But why does the giving have to stop once January hits?

Maybe it's why I'm the fundraiser, but I love to give. Maybe God has blessed us, so that we can bless others? Just imagine what God could do (in and through us) if we adopted a generous attitude year-round?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Family Ties

This year Crystal and I are working through Rediscovering Christmas together.

Yesterday our assigned reading was Matthew 1. Normally I'd skip over the genealogy, because (to be honest) it's boring, and I can't pronounce half the names. This time I was doing it with someone else, so the pressure was on, I HAD to read it.

AND an amazing thing happened...

It spoke to me.

As I was reading through the list of names in Jesus' family tree, it struck me... His family was screwed up!

Not only did the verses tie Jesus back to David (fulfilling OT prophecy), it also listed some questionable characters along the way. Most of the names mean nothing to us in 2010, but when Matthew was writing this to the Jews these names carried a lot of meaning.

There are some spiritual superheros in there, David, Jacob, Ruth (a WOMAN!) and Solomon. There are also some sketchy characters listed. Liars, adulterers, murderers and back-stabbers. Tamar (not a Jew) was seduced by, and bore illegitimate twins with her father in-law. Rahab (not a Jew) was a prostitute.

Normally women aren't mentioned in these sorts of genealogies, so why did Matthew include them? Wouldn't it introduce doubt into the whole "messiah" debate? Why wouldn't God place his son into a more respectable family?

Maybe for the same reasons Jesus wasn't born in a palace. If you look at the big picture, it fits. Jesus came into the world to save those very people. He spent time with the "un-clean" people of society. All through the Bible, God uses the broken, the hopeless and the losers to accomplish his goals. Jesus came from the screwed up, to save the screwed up.

THAT is the good news of Christmas.

(At least for screw-ups like me)