Number 54

Number 54 on Vimeo.

A short video of our modest home and yard. It’s hard to believe that twenty-two years have gone by since we first purchased the home. Out initial intent was to buy a modest house (instead of renting) while I was in graduate school. The plan was to flip the house after three years and, hopefully, make a significant profit.

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Advice is a Form of Nostalgia

Baz Luhrmann said it best when he wrote the Sunscreen song:

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

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Reflection: Dr. Leaf Smith

I am not even certain how I got on this guy’s email list, but I really do like what he has to say, especially for coaches and athletes involved in sport. Very useful and down-to-earth advice from Dr. Leaf Smith at Personal Best Consulting.

May 2017 Edition ISSUE #161

Reflection

Three habits you need to STOP (because they increase your anxiety levels)
1. Disengaging.
Disengaging from your life-via shutting down, ignoring work to be done or conversations to be had, or running away from your stress-only makes things worse. Procrastination is another form of disengagement. Even if your current stress levels are overwhelming, stay in the fight! Sometimes the best move is to simply stand your ground. The next step will come to you. Stay engaged with your social network, your partner or spouse, and your supportive family members.

2. Negative self-talk.
We all have that negative inner voice-the one that tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough. In fact, our brains are hard-wired to be negative, since predicting pain is a way we try and protect ourselves. However, we have to be discerning homo sapiens. We have to understand the difference between helpful self-talk (“I need to stop being late all the time, and plan my time better”) and negative, unhelpful self-talk (“I’m such a screw up, I always do this”). Stop beating yourself to a pulp with your negativity. Quiet that voice via positive, rational thinking. Ignore the negativity. Just don’t give it free space in your head any longer.

3. Failing to prioritize.
Being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive. Most people fool themselves in this way, feeling proud of their busy days, when in reality, they did very little with regards to tackling their most important life priorities. Everyday, as soon as possible, do one thing to improve your health, your finances, your relationships, or your spirituality. Choose one category, and get something done! Nothing will improve unless you prioritize like this. Your future self will thank you!

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Deep calls to deep…

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There is one thing that I have learned in life that applies to everything we do and say. That one thing is personal integrity. Integrity can be defined as follows:

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    “he is known to be a man of integrity”
    synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness

    “I never doubted his integrity”

As the reader can see, personal integrity, by definition, is one tall order that few, if any of us can claim to possess with any degree of consistency. It goes without saying that the very basis of personal integrity is predicated upon ethics and morality and is demonstrated through our own willingness to be honest, sincere, and truthful, not only with others, but with the person we look at every morning in the mirror.

I do not think it is possible for any one individual to demonstrate true integrity apart from God in our lives. We may hold to some external form of religious piety or offer lip service to integrity based on secular humanistic principles, but inwardly we are a wayward people.

The words that we speak reveal what is in our heart, and ultimately reveal our character.

In a previous post, I presented numerous examples of how people use certain words, but often mean something completely different. To recognize deceit and a lack of integrity in another individual or group is not as difficult as it may seem. One needs to simply start listening, not just with the mind, and the various auditory and visual clues of understanding communication, but with our hearts. The scripture tells us that what comes out of a person’s mouth is that which fills his or her heart.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 NLT

As a child, I was a very trusting person. Somehow, I had a natural tendency to trust others and to give them the benefit of the doubt. By the time I was a young teenager, I had learned the hard way that what people say and what they mean, and do, are often very different things. At first, I was confused, and did not trust that “gut instinct” that the words of someone else, sometimes an authority figure in my life, were actually lies. That particular person(s) lacked personal integrity, and their hollow words were revealing what was really in their heart.

In my early adulthood, when I became a committed follower of Christ, I finally came to recognize that the ability to discern what was in the heart of another was much more than just differentiating between words and visual clues. By the Spirit of God, I was “looking” into the heart of another human being, created in the moral image of God. What I saw there sometimes was deeply disturbing, and yet, at the same time, caused me to feel compassion for that particular individual(s). Perhaps, the compassion I felt was the result of recognizing my own fallenness and tendency to wander from the very God I love. Perhaps it was a gift or a tool that God intended me to use to discern between good and evil, to truly understand the struggles of the human soul in that ongoing war between darkness and light.

So, why am I telling you all this? After all, for some, this seems just too incredible to believe or even understand. I would like to suggest that the ability to discern in the spiritual realm is a lot more common amongst followers of Christ than the world could possibly understand. Yet, even for those who profess to be Christians, I often come across individuals who still depend on their natural mind to understand or grasp something that can only be comprehended spiritually. I have even witnessed that in the prayer lineups of Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. People praying for others with lofty prayers using majestic words, but completely missing the point, and not rightly discerning what is happening in that particular person’s life who has come for prayer. Often, the person in need walks away with an even greater burden upon their shoulders, their spirit broken and slowly drying up. The sick remain sick, the downhearted remain hopeless, the disappointed become disillusioned…

I was troubled to learn that people are being taught in the Church to pray for others with their eyes open looking for visual clues to assist them to know how to pray. So much for discernment, even the proponents of modern psychology know how to use auditory and visual clues to guide them in counselling others. That is not spiritual discernment, that is observation based on the principles of basic science utilizing two of our five senses to understand and verify our environment.

Have we forgotten that the Spirit of God dwells within each and every follower of Christ? Do we understand that only spirit can understand spirit? Deep understands deep?

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7 NIV

For those who have understood and comprehended all of the aforementioned, I want to encourage you to pursue the Giver and not just the gifts. At the same time, allow the Spirit of God to work in and through you for the benefit of others. He will indeed lead you and guide you through this life. Deep calls out to deep.

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Meaningless words…

People speak about love,

what they mean is lust.

People speak about commitment,

what they mean is convenience. 

People speak about cooperation,

what they mean is personal agenda.

People speak about humility,

what they mean is hidden pride.

People speak about judging,

what they mean is hypocrisy.

People speak about truth,

what they mean is falsehood.

People speak about wealth,

what they mean is poverty.

People speak about change,

what they mean is maintaining the status quo.

People speak about integrity,

what they mean is corruption.

People speak about peace,

what they mean is war.

People speak about freedom,

what they mean is slavery.

People speak about rules,

what they mean is control.

People speak about leadership,

what they mean is subjugation.

People speak about unity,

what they mean is conformity.

People speak about volunteering,

what they mean is unpaid labour.

People speak about facts,

what they mean is opinions.

People speak about beauty,

what they mean is perception.

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Shhh…I’m Sleeping

One of the most peaceful places to walk, run or ride is in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery in the SouthEast corner of our Queen city. Although the predominantly paved roads throughout the park may seem like a good place for a road race criterium, please consider slowing down and being quiet and respectful around those who have come to mourn their loved ones who have passed away.

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SouthEast Regina

Video shot with a Garmin Virb Elite and edited in Final Cut Pro X. Original music composition created in Logic Pro X.

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Always a Victim, Never Victorious?

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Custom Combining in Saskatchewan

This morning, as I was reading various American and Canadian news online, I could not help but notice the victim mentality of so many “news” articles. It would seem that a significant number of people in North America view themselves as helpless and weak, subject to being downtrodden by the rich and powerful, the elite of our respective societies.

To the perpetual victim, there is always an enemy, whether it be the wealthy, or corporations, or government. Always someone to blame for their lot in life, never once considering that they themselves are their own worst enemy. Often the victim is being victimized by their own thinking, interpreting life through the rose coloured lenses of their own worldview.

My grandfather once said,

If you can accept that life is unfair, then you have ALREADY won half the battle.

As an innovative and industrious farmer and businessman, he started his life in Canada with nothing and died in his late 90’s a wealthy man. There were no real breaks in his life, no significant government subsidies, no free rides. Make it or break it was a way of life for him. He fathered four sons, who in turn fathered their own children, and they, their children, and so forth. A family legacy was started by one man and one woman who were determined NOT to be victims, and to build a personal wealth that would be a blessing, not only to the generations of family yet to come, but to greater society as well.

The obvious question today is,

How much of our own victimization is the result of our own thoughts and choices in this life?

Even for those that have been truly victimized through violent crime, war, generational poverty, and failing health. There is a way out, and it starts by the way we view ourselves and life in general. It is going to take an enormous amount of courage and perseverance to climb out of the victim mentality so prevalent in today’s society. But it has to start somewhere, with one person willing to change the status quo of victimization and work towards a better future for their children’s children.

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow

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