A Walk in the Woods

Okay, my wife just pointed out that this blog title is the same as a Bill Bryson book. I wrote the title not even connecting that--it's just hidden in there subliminally, I guess.

Beth picked me up at church with the boys at the end of the afternoon to go for a walk in the woods for a little bit before getting back to church for a new young family's Bible study that's starting up.

Anyway, we headed over to Redwood Park--just a few blocks from church. We hadn't been there before. It was started during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by a couple brothers who collected tree seed from around the world. The first thing we stumbled across after leaving the play area was the most wonderful drinking fountain I've come across. It was carved like a tree stump with all sorts of fauna lurking about it (you may notice a fox peeking out of the lower left corner of the picture. There was a second drinking fountain about 20cm (just a metric guess) off the ground for dogs (and indeed most everybody else there had a dog with them).

It was a fun walk in the woods. Part of it was a redwood forest--not nearly as tall as the ones in California, since these haven't been growing as long. And we discovered that the tree I love (see a couple entries down) is a Monkey Puzzle Tree. It's native to Chile, but apparently fairly common in coastal BC (as well as in England). It seems a lot of people are fond of its imaginative appearance. Another mystery solved. And who would have guessed a monkey puzzle tree (do a little search online for the story behind the nomenclature).


Clicking Trees & Rugby

Before supper, Anders and I went outside to do a little tricycle riding. And we heard some excited yelling while we were out there, so walked over to the playing field at Earl Marriott Secondary School (home of the Mariners) which is at the south end of the park behind the house. It was a rugby game. A new experience for us. I'll have to look up the rules on wikipedia later (I learned the finer points of curling from there recently while watching some of the curling championships).

On our way back home I heard this odd clicking noise. At first I thought it was squirrels nibbling through acorns or something, but there were no squirrels or even birds in the trees. I decided that it must be the pine cones opening up. It was quite serendipitous. If it wasn't supper time and I didn't need to try and push a whining two-year old and his tricycle through the grass up to our house, I could have sat there for a while just listening to the clicking trees.


Discipline & Parenting

Anders has been butting heads with us a lot recently (sometimes literally). Actually, it's somewhat been building for a while. I think it's the combination of all our adjustments of recent and that "terrible twos" phase where he's testing boundaries and asserting his will as much as possible.

Beth's had some rough days with that. He doesn't understand that Nils needs to be taken care of, too. He isn't getting the whole obedience thing yet. He whines a lot (and uses a specific voice when he's whining). Somewhere along the line he's learned to spit and throw things.

And of course, as a parent, it's frustrating to see your child doing that. In fact, it's upsetting at times. And he's fully aware we get frustrated. And as a husband, it hurts me to have Beth getting to the end of her rope at times. And if feels like disciplining doesn't work most of the time--he's not learning. Sometimes I just want to force him to be who he should be. We love him so darn much--which makes the whole thing all the harder.

My mind sometimes takes me to God's viewpoint. How it must make Him feel as our Heavenly Father when we're disobedient or not living up to our potential as who He created us to be. And of course, He disciplines us, but we don't get it most of the time. We prefer to do our own thing instead of realizing that God wants what's best for us. I'm sure we pain Him plenty in our stubborn ways.

But, ahhh, to have His patience as a parent for a day!

(Oh, and you may be able to notice in the pictures the chocolate chip residue on Anders face, the cookie crumbs on his shirt, the open fly . . . it was a fun outing. And the shirt is his Jedi outfit from Halloween. At one point he had me wear his knit hat which probably fit like a wacky yarmukle, so I'm sure people were looking at us thinking we're a mixed-up Jewish/Muslim family)


Favorite Foliage

(Or foilage as Marge Simpson would superciliously declare)

This is one of my favorite trees in the temperate rain forest climate we're in. I'm not sure what kind of evergreen it is, but I find it fascinating. It's just beautiful to look at and seems to be definitive of the Canadian Pacific region.

There's a close-up of it as well, looking head-on at the end of a branch. It's not what you'd expect when you see it from a distance (of course, a lot of things are like that.


The Sun Shines

After I was done at church this afternoon, we hit the beach (as did about half the peninsula), since it was the first time we had seen sun in a while. It was really the first time all of us had been to the ocean here. Anders and I looked through the shells that were on the beach during low tide-- investigating the tiny crabs and snails. And of course there were plenty of rocks and even the occasional crab claw left behind by a bird.

We had a sack to fill with shells and rocks. Beth won the contest for biggest shell--a cockle larger than my fist--but it had a resident.

The north side of the beach we were on was mud. Anders got a shoe stuck at one point. The southwest side was sandier, but it was also windier, so a little cooler for the wee ones.

You may be able to pick out the mountains north of the GVA (Greater Vancouver Area) in the background. The clouds lifted enough for us to see them again (it's only been the second or third time we've had the sun out since we've been here).


Border Crossing

I had to run across the border this morning just to
mail some letters (we had some checks that needed to
get to the bank in more reliable time that we could
count on with Canadian post).

The US border guard made this little schpiel about how
long the lines going into the US are (which, really,
they're the same length going back into Canada)
because everyone comes down to buy things in the US
since dairy products and mail and so many other things
are so much cheaper. Then he went into the fact that
90% (or whatever the percentage he said) of Canadians
live within 100 miles of the US border and tried to
make a comparison as to what that would look like in
the US if 90% of the population lived in a narrow band
across the US.

I didn't tell him how I seemed to remember a statistic
I heard a few hears ago about how somewhere closes to
90% of Americans live within 100 miles of an ocean.
People do tend to congregate together--and they tend
to do it in convenient areas. You seldom find a large
city 1000 feet up the face of a steep cliff, for

There is something to the fact that prices of many
things in Canada do suck. But that's a whole other rant.


The Urban/Wilderness Clash

Today when I got to church I looked out the window in my office and saw two deer muching on the hillside behind the church. (aside: there's a group of Japanese girls who are in Surrey this month on an exchange and are doing classes at the church almost every day. I told their leaders about the deer and soon I was seeing the flash of cameras. They're normally pretty chatty, but it got quiet as they watched the deer grazing. I guess that's the power of the wilderness) I also watched a hawk sitting in a cedar tree outside the window, peering into the foliage below for a tasty morsel. Despite the rain, nature still goes on.

I mentioned the deer to Bruce. There was a sense of frustration over the fact that they eat all the plantings in the prayer garden. I was just glad to see them--we had a family that would frequent our yard and grove back in Iowa. So for me they were a welcome sight--especially since being in a metropolitan area again. Apparently coyotes make their way around.

For the most part, city and rural get along well in Surrey & Langley next door. It's refreshing to see agriculture as we're driving down the highway in the midst of city. But the local wildlife doesn't always appreciate it the same way. I think they try to do their best, but animals don't seem to understand the etiquette of staying out of gardens. And civilization gets frustrated when we encroach on habitats, but the inhabitants don't know how to respond to civilization.

There may be parallels there to being in the world and not of it. You can explore that for yourself if you desire. Ad for me, I'm going to call it a day.


Where I Work

Quick note: here's a picture of the church. It's fairly new (though there's plenty of wear & tear in it already). I love the creation that surrounds it--the flowers & bushes in the parking lot, but especially the trees behind the building. There's actually a hill that gives rise right behind the church and they put in a short little prayer walk up it.

While I've been involved in many ministries in the church (and helped in worship in many ways), it's still an adjustment being on the other side of the pulpit if you will. It's awkward right now shepherding people that I don't really know yet. Most of the names I have down are the people that we spend time with when we candidated here in January. There's a lot of sheep to get to know yet.

And "Where I Work" is a tongue-in-cheek title for this. Yes, the church is about the people, not the building. And I wouldn't really call it "work"--it's a calling, a vocation, a ministry. But I thought I'd at least give you an idea of where that takes place.


A New Journey

Well, we're now in Canada. I haven't updated this for a while, so this part will totally seem disconnected from the previous stuff. Needless to say, we've had an adventure the past several months. (For more on the story of how we got where we are, see my article in the March issue of The Covenant Companion).

The long and short of it is: I'm a pastor now. I was installed at church this past Sunday. There's a lot of new things in our life going on: raising 2 kids now, living in a new country, being a pastor.

Here are some pictures of the installation service:

I was given objects that represented different roles in the church (eg.: keys for making the church open to all, oil for healing and reconciliation, a Bible for preaching & teaching God's word). Different members of the church council brought them up. It was very nice. Then they gathered around, laid hands on me and prayed.