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Friday, August 18, 2017

THE UNRUH FAMILY REUNION 2017

Here is the Unruh Family Reunion crew on Monday August 14th near St. Catharines Ontario, together for the first time in very many years. This group blessed Christine and me with observance of our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and a prayer of thanks for our parents, their sons and daughters in laws and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A once in a lifetime event I think. So grateful for the hospitality shown to the eleven of us from B.C.


My parents’ gravestone tells us that they were sweethearts for 67 years. Importantly, the caption that my brother Murray and I agreed upon to summarize our family heritage is ‘A LEGACY OF FAITH - A FAMILY SERVING GOD’.

This gathering was special to us, an unrepeatable event. Many changes lie ahead during the next five years. I am glad for the legacy.


50th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PICS - MONTEBELLO PARK



August 12
1967-2017

A Legacy Memory to share with the people we love so much.




In Montebello Park, St. Catharines ON, where our wedding photos were taken 50 years earlier, and now the children, spouses and grandchildren that bless our lives.





 Left to Right
Jayden (12), Tim, Cari, Ryan (15), Kailyn (17), Christine, Ron, Kale (12), Jeff, Kady (10), Gina.











clowning, can’t help it ... life is a blast when we have good company, and when it’s not easy, we have people who carry us through.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FAMILY HERITAGE NURTURED BY OUR FAMILY REUNIONS

Christine and I are now the eldest in our respective families. Our parents left this scene some years ago. This Quebec/Ontario trip has been a means by which to reinforce to succeeding generations the value of heritage and much more.
     "We are pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road and those who've gone before us line the way, cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary, their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace. Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us run the race not only for the prize, but as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us the heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives. After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, and our children sift through all we've left behind, may the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
     Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe and the lives we live inspire them to obey. Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Thank you to all of the 38 people who were able to attend the Langlois Family Reunion, and to the 29 who attended the Unruh Family Reunion.
(quotation from lyrics by Jon Mohr)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY



Golden - This was the day, August 12 50 yrs ago, Canada’s Centennial Year, that Christine Langlois and I were married in St. Catharines, where we are right now with our children and grandchildren, and will visit the church building and Montebello Park, where our photos were taken in the rose garden, then on to visit Niagara Falls, and be with our much loved extended family. 50 yrs is a long time & we have lived, loved and served together across the years in many places.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Just call me Marshall Ron. Marshalling is what I do on Monday afternoons @ Pagoda Ridge Golf Course. This canopied cart is my ride. This is new for me this summer thanks to Bob Dobson, who has marshalled for 5 yrs. He recommended me. Now he and I, buds since college days and partners during great work years, do this together on Mondays. And then I play during the week. I am looking forward one day soon to playing a game with Bob. Yesterday I played a round with my dear friend Allan Turner. I am not telling you our score. Jordan Spieth has nothing worry about. You must play this course, fantastic ground crew, immaculate greens, welcoming fairways, delicious food, courteous everybody.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

LIVING IN COMMUNITY MEANS BEING AVAILABLE


If we ever had a notion that retirement from formal pastoral ministry meant separation from the issues that trouble people around us, these past five years have cured us. I am nine years into retirement and five years ago we moved from our detached home on a third of an acre to a unit in a strata complex. At this moment (12:40pm Jul 19), Christine is sitting with a young wife who voluntarily came over in tears to talk about her marriage that has died. Thirty minutes earlier her husband spoke with both of us apologizing for the noise emitted from their unit when they fight, and through tears saying they are trying. On several occasions we have lifted a drunken, weed smoking woman from her toilet and her floor and her bathtub when she could not move but her cell phone was within reach. In the past I have been asked to officiate a funeral for a resident, and Christine has played the piano for that service for which the family requested one hymn of their choice. "Amazing Grace," sung at full volume by an auditorium of unregenerate people, enfolded by the gospel. We have spent time with a dying neighbour in palliative care and been able to ensure that we would know the Father's love for her. We have harvested first name relationships with many people, shared appies and meals. We have experienced our own health concerns and appreciated the interest and concern of our neighbours. We have discovered neighbours who are believers. We have found covert Christians disenchanted by their previous church histories. Church does not guarantee community, but interestingly community can be church.Sunset 

Friday, June 30, 2017

WELL PAST 70, GIRLFRIEND AND BOYFRIEND AGAIN

Christine & I can enjoy anything ... Burnaby appointment with a heart specialist, convertible ride home, stop for a Famosa pizza on the terrace, delish.


 We are at the time of life when we still are surprised but shouldn’t be, that our remarkably designed human bodies that have functioned flawlessly and reliably for 7 decades begin to demonstration the predictable attrition of wear.

There is often a choice to be made. Dr. Tung identified it for us yesterday. Christine had an ablation treatment two months ago to correct a heart flutter. It was successful. What remains are some symptoms of atrial fibrillation, occasional but fleeting rapid heart rate. He could do another ablation treatment, this time more invasive, inside the heart rather than on the outside as before.

He asked Christine whether these occasional episodes impeded her life, that is, stop her from doing the things she desires. She replied, “No.” He said,  “well, then let’s just leave things as they are.” She was content to agree. It’s a matter of coping with what is, until another choice must be made. We drove home in the MX5, top down, hot summer air around us, open sky with high scattered cirrus clouds. Said hello to three grandsons, Ryan, Jayden and Kale. Then the two of us carried on to Famosa on 24th Ave, south Surrey and found the coolest, shadiest corner table on the patio and enjoyed a girlfriend and boyfriend supper date.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

NANA & PAPA & OUR GRANDCHILDREN

Today my 3 grandsons & I had supper together & saw CARS 3 @ Colossus. In 2008 Ryan & Jayden and Kale were small as I told them a story (painting is on my wall), & today 2017 Kale & Jayden (cousins), are 12 and Ryan is 14. Jayden graduated from gr7 last night & Kale graduates next Tues. Both will go to Lord Tuidsmeer HS in Sept with Ryan.  


Yes, I can’t help it ... the summer sun is out in full for the next many days and that means sunsets, so the 3 of us, Christine, Miata and me will be out & about, oh maybe 4 of us, include Siri. “Take me to Steveston,” I say and she replies, “it will be my pleasure. Follow me.





At the Honeybee Centre for High Tea this afternoon. What a lovely treat, Kadence and Nana enjoying after school time together. They drove there in the sportscar convertible.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

SHE MARRIED HIM ANYWAY - MOM’S & DAD’S WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

MOM'S AND DAD'S WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

He was Edward Richard Unruh, living in the small town of Hepburn, Saskatchewan. He came from a respected family. His dad was Reeve, and hail adjuster and treasurer for the Mennonite Central Committee. He was already bald on top but he was handsome, with dark hair on the sides and a pencil-thin mustache. His brown eyes romanced her. He had a pleasant voice, and a constant whistle. The tunes he whistled in downtown Hepburn (Main Street), were secular tunes, dance band tunes. She was Tina Martha Doerksen, with a sincere Christian faith in that Mennonite community.  Edward was four years older than she. He was a good young man but he was not a believer, that is, he had not made a public profession of faith as many in his community had done. She married him anyway. In the town of Hepburn, Saskatchewan in 1941, that decision carried a stigma. It was an unequal yoke in the eyes of her church. In their wedding photos she is wearing a pink dress and a matching pink hat, revealing that it had been considered inappropriate for to wear white, and they were not permitted to be married in the church.  

World War II broke out and Canada became involved as a member nation of the British Commonwealth. Hepburn’s dominant Mennonite community held a pacifist position. Dad, in contrast, felt that his father had emigrated to Canada from a Mennonite settlement in Russian held Crimea, and Canada was now the family home where freedom reigned, so he enlisted. I was born on September 13, 1942, and Dad was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force.  When the war was over, employment was scarce in a prairie town, so dad operated a service station (gas), and mom and dad together began a coffee shop, with a reputation for great pies. That comes as no surprise to anyone who remembers mom’s reputation for baking and cooking.

When I was four years old and with mom pregnant again, it became apparent that opportunity for the family did not exist in Hepburn an longer. Non-farming prairie families were moving either west to the B.C. coast or to Ontario. Dad and mom decided to go east. Mom’s parents had already made the move to St. Catharines, Ontario, and that is where our home was made. Job opportunity for an unskilled worker like dad and the urgent need for an income to support his family meant taking a factory job, first at Ontario Paper Mills, then Thompson Products pumping out GM parts, and then for over 40 years at Anthes Imperial that produced furnaces. He had a few different tasks in that company but most of his years until he was 65 he was on an assembly line, up and down, from his knees to a standing position, screwing in metal parts. He was a hard worker and his sons, all three of us respected him.  Three sons, with Murray born in 1947, the year of the move from the West to St. Catharines, and the year that I turned five years of age. Neale, the youngest came later, when I was eleven and Murray was six. I mentioned that we respected our father, each of us for our own personal reasons and also for shared reasons. When the three of us were grown men, we asked him why he had stuck with that same hard physical job all those years, and his response humbles me still. “I did it for my boys.”  Such was the loving motivation of a family man. Nothing else needs to be said to explain him. 

My parents made incremental changes in our standard of living as they were able. From the downtown St. Paul St. third-floor apartment, up three flights of stairs with baby carriage and groceries, to suburban Rosedale Gardens and a rental home owned by Ken Grimwood. Three years later we were back in the city, settled at 10 Clark Street in a rental home next to the old St. Catharines Bus yards that contained old maintenance and storage barns and train tracks and trains and streetcars. That two-story brick house was the home to which Neale came after his birth in St. Catharines General Hospital.  Years later other family members whispered the story to us that Mom lost a pregnancy several years after Neale's birth, and that time it had been twin girls.

When I was ten years old, my father went alone to an evening church meeting and it was on that occasion that he did make a conclusive choice to believe in Jesus as his Saviour and LORD. Dad was not a theologian but he tried to understand scripture and he sought to live by its principles. My mom and dad loved each other for all of their 67 years together. There were occasional differences of opinion between them, but I cannot remember a time that my father raised his voice in anger at my mom. Instead, because mom was entrepreneurial with her cooking and baking abilities, he became wholly supportive of her catering business, launched from her home, serving meals to hundreds of guests for various functions. She even operated a coffee and pastry bar at Ontario Paper's home office for many years. She managed a kitchen staff cooking at Fair Havens Conference facilities and Dad helped as he could. He loved her so much. He was never a wealthy person, but he impressed us all with his generosity to her, purchasing a special piece of jewellery to mark various occasions. Mom’s and Dad's dependability and authenticity most certainly affected us, their three sons, each of whom became involved in Christian service. Those who survive still cherish this legacy.

And note this. After purchasing their first home for $10,000 in 1954, when dad was 39 and mom was 35, and living in it for 30 years, they sold it in 1985 for $65,000 when dad was 70.  They then lived off of that money and modest government pension, and government pensions for another 23 years, enjoying annual month-long winter stays in Florida and trips to the West Coast to which I moved in 1991. Still, when the estate was settled, dad left $39,000 to his sons – incredible frugality.

She died six months before he did. At her passing he told her, and all of our family heard him say, “ goodnight Sweetheart, I’ll see you soon.” He still romanced her. So while they have been gone from us here for nine and ten years, I honour their memories today on what was their wedding anniversary date.  


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IN MY BOOK, 'THE ELEVEN'

When I wrote this book, The Eleven, I placed these names on the Acknowledgements page. You may know some of them. 
Thanks to Koos Fietje, Bob Dobson, Ross Rains, Marguerite Davies, John Baptist, Jack and Sharon Ninaber, Don Symons, Ann Griffiths, David Fisher, Rod Heppell, Lorin Bergen, Wes Bowers, Alec Niemi, Don McMullin, each of whom I have been privileged to know and in whose lives I have observed the transformations produced by fidelity to Christ and the enthusiasm for teaching other people to live as disciples of Christ. The book contains my interview conversations with 11 of the original 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Find the Book at Amazon, either eBook $4.99 & paperback $10.68