Saturday, December 31, 2011


It was Grandchildren’s SleepOver Night. On Friday night, four of our five grandchildren were with us. It was designed with bonding in mind for Christine and me and the children, as well as night off for their parents. We went for a rather cold walk at White Rock Beach waterfront. We found that Andy’s Ice Cream Emporium was closed but the children saw him inside, so we turned around and stopped in front. He knows our grandchildren very well and he opened for us, so they all got a pre-supper double cone with sprinkles on top. Then we drove home for pizza.
Following that we had a painting session and each child painted an acrylic painting of a theme of his or her choice, Rainbow, Apples, Rocket, and Truck. And then sleep - wait, not so fast. First there is PJ changes, and then teeth brushing, oh forgot toothbrush so use of fingers, then the read a story, say a prayer, and then lights out, and so begins the talking and laughing, and talking and then finally, silence. And then Kailyn the oldest (11) joins the tribe. She was out with her school class for a party. And 4 year old Kadence stayed awake until Kailyn arrived. Then the two of them chatted in the dark for an hour. And in the morning, Grandma (Nana) made pancakes but not before we did a group shot, well, not including me, the shooter. Grandma and the children, first sad, then elated, and then a great happy memory photo.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


THEN: We are moments away from the entire clan gathering in our home for a Christmas lunch and then an afternoon of fun, gift giving and going outside for a long walk to tire the kids out, and then a dinner around 5 or 6 pm and then games and conversation etc.

The house is ready to receive our children and grandchildren, and there is something nostalgic happening here, because we are convinced this is our last Christmas here.
We will list the property in January and look for something smaller. After 20 years, there is some attachment to this beautiful place.Who am I kidding? A Lot of emotional attachment!
So Christine is typical fashion has set the tables for all of us, six adults and five children. It is beautiful.
We will have lunch at noon in the kitchen and then a leisurely transition to the tree in the living room and to gift exchanges. 

AND NOW: Well, actually, now I can speak in the past tense, because it has come and gone. We sat together and I read from Luke 2 and Simeon's remarks upon seeing the newborn Christ. Then we opened presents. We drag this out and watch each child and adult open a gift rather than do a mad wrapping tear. Children grow antsy of course when it's the adult's turns to open presents.

Finally Christine and I came to the BIG secret, the gifts we had saved until the last. Each of the five grandchildren received identical boxes in which was a several page graphic invitation and disclosure of Grandma's and Grandpa's plan to take everyone to Disneyland during the March school break. As they opened in unison, we asked Kailyn to read the document and each child rapidly turned pages to keep up. It was sinking in that this was real. Then each of them found a green T-shirt  with the words, "I'm Going to Disneyland.' We gave each adult a bottle of Bacchus and a 5-day entrance pass to Disneyland as well. We are excited.

Front L-R: Jeff, Kale, Gina, Tim, Kadence, Cari, Kailyn, Rear L-R: Ron, Ryan, Jayden, Christine
Then an afternoon walk outside, and a fantastic turkey dinner which Christine prepared so well. And later, table puzzles done, and games played, and songs sung at the piano, and nibbling and the traditional family portrait. At a mid-night conclusion. A great day of family fun.

Today is boxing day and some necessary cleanup.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Today, my oldest grandson Ryan (9) and I saw the opening showing of The Adventures of Tin Tin, in 3D. We were at the Colossus Theatre. One week ago I invited him via an email sent to his mother which she shared with him. His happy reaction was “He’s taking only me?” So we both waited with anticipation. I booked tickets for us through my SCENE points card, so we gained admission at no cost at the gate, FREE. An inexpensive afternoon. My intention was to go early enough to get the best spots in the room. It was a 12:40 pm start so I picked him up at 11:30 am. That meant that we had a little more than one hour. We shared some French fries, $5.00. Then we ordered our bags of popcorn and containers of coke, $23.00.

Ryan Sept 2010
With provisions in hand we received our 3D glasses and entered showing room #11. We were the first ones inside and that was exhilarating. We had already scored, and we climbed to the second row from the projectionist wall. Sat in the middlemost two sets, and waited for 35 minutes. But that meant we saw all of the previews and ads and could get a jump on that popcorn and pop. Ryan excused himself within ten minutes to visit the washroom. Then they did some 3D test previews and were instructed to put on our 3D glasses. Ohhhh! A jet aircraft came flying at us and stopped inside the theatre and hovered over our heads. And then Tin Tin began. What an experience. At first I thought I might get a bit queasy but soon found my 3D legs. Ryan on the other hand found the movement gave him a slight headache so he watched the movie minus the specks. It was a great flick. Half way through Ryan again took a leave to relieve himself. A full litre of theatre pop is a challenge to contain. The movie was a hit with me, good, good, fun. And then when I took Ryan home, he gave me a hug of thanks, and later when I was leaving he was suddenly there beside me hugging me again. Dollars well spent. Which way to the washroom?

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Rose House - Our Beloved Home 
It's our last Christmas season in this house. We have spent twenty Christmases here, parties of people, family, Christmas Eve sleepovers, Christmas  morning gift opening, Christmas day dinners. We will sell our home soon. That's the plan. At our most objective, Christine and I know this is the right thing for us to do. Emotionally, like tonight, we don't feel like proceeding.

The fireplace flames leap with their warmth to reach us where we sit. Christine and I are alone tonight, two weeks before Christmas. The stereo is cranked and playing Handel's Messiah. Our Christmas festivities truly commence with this audit of the scriptural account of God's promised comfort, the revelation of the Comforter and the passion of the Christ who himself could find no one to comfort him on that night of his betrayal and crucifixion.

Today was an event-filled Sunday. A youth pastor was inducted into service at our church. In the afternoon Christine and I toured an open house in a complex of new townhomes. Then for supper we joined our family of children and grandchildren and a number of other children - friends of our grandson Kale who today celebrated his 7th birthday at the Spaghetti Factory.

Two grandsons Jayden and Kale born in the same year with birthdays one month apart, belong to my daughter Cari (and Tim) and my son Jeff (and Gina).

Rose House, we enjoy roses
This has been a good day and yet filled with pockets of varied emotion. And tonight at the fireside I note to myself that we will not be here next year. Rose House will not be ours. We will have sold it and relocated somewhere - a location unknown to us now. But we have always been people who trusted the Messiah, so we will trust Him about this as well.

Christine and I have lived in BC for 21 years. We came from Toronto where we lived for nine years when I pastored a church in Scarborough. In that church were a couple of elderly women who loved to treat Christine and I occasionally to a dinner out. It was their annual Christmas gift to us to take us for dinner in downtown Toronto and then to a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony at the Roy Thompson Hall. Year after year the four of us did this wonderful evening together. We loved it. Then we moved to BC and since that time over two decades ago, Christmas in our home has begun with our playing of the CDs of that outstanding oratorio.
Handel’s Messiah is an oratorio, not an opera.   Handel’s Messiah is a well regarded and popular piece of choral literature and an oratorio is not everyone’s choice of music you have all been exposed to some music from the Messiah. The music is exquisite but the best part for me is the text because it is Biblical.  With most sacred oratorios while the themes may be biblical, they do not exclusively use Biblical texts. The Messiah does do that, skillfully, brilliantly, movingly. This marriage of words and music can cause listeners to tremble in admiration of God. Handel’s Messiah is a reflective commentary on God’s Promise consisting of Christ’s Incarnation, His Passion and His Resurrection. There are three oratorio parts.The first part emphasizes that"unto us a child is born."  The second part from Handel’s Messiah uses. “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world ” (John 1:29). Then the third part is such an encouraging and triumphant reminder of our hope.  “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  For now is Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep” (Job 19:25).