Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Day

If all pumpkins were cannibals, they would go extinct!
I am not a huge fan of Halloween. There seem to be more negatives than positives regarding the celebration. Here is a list of  positives, lest I be labeled as a negative spoilsport.
1. Retail stores and junk food manufacturers rack up huge profits as the packages get smaller each year and the prices go up.
2. Dentists will rack up huge increases in business in the months following the ingestion of sugar during Halloween.
3. Firefighters will be run off their feet, giving them plenty of exercise, putting out minor fires and chasing law breaking igniters of the illegal fireworks.
4. Our dinner will be interrupted many times and will end up being eaten cold and I will not burn my tongue.
5. We will get to see teenagers doing something valuable with their time as opposed to hanging out at the mall.
6. I will eat as much chocolate as I give out, also adding to the bottom line of my dental office.
7. We will be driving over broken pumpkins the following day, breaking the monotony of driving over wind blown leaves every day.
8. We will run up and down the street picking up garbage, keeping the neighbourhood neat and tidy and getting plenty of unexpected exercise the next day.
9. We will see children as young as three dressed up as ghouls, witches, ghosts and zombies, ensuring that they do not grow up thinking that they might become a princess or Robin Hood.
10. I can blog about the unforgettable moments in the days after.
There. Halloween is not all that bad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lake of Fire

The movie "Hellbound?" is supposed to be an examination of the question, but is in fact a proponent of redefining the doctrine of hell that we find in the Bible, the source of ultimate truth for the Christian. It skews the viewer's objectivity with an old Hollywood trick, that of putting the Christians in a bad light so they will be easily mocked. In this case, the proponents of the Biblical view of hell are put in a bad light and are to be scoffed at because of the way they are portrayed in the documentary. The well reasoned and articulate interviewees are all for changing the orthodox or traditional concept of hell. This is not a fair examination of both sides of an issue and only weakens their argument.
I am by no means a theologian, but I have read and heard enough on the subject to make some observations.
1. If the Bible is the source for all truth and is the reliable basis for all Christian doctrine, there is no doubt that hell is real and is the way it is described by Jesus himself and his brother John. We cannot simply take a vote on whether or not there is a hell.
2. The language used in the Bible to describe "eternal" life are the same words used to describe "eternal" punishment.
3. God does not condemn anyone to hell, but because He is the author of justice, there is punishment, and those who will go there will go of their own free will because of their rejection of Jesus. God, the creator of the universe, sent his son to die as a substitution for our wrongdoings and if we snub the offer, we are belittling the offer and the act. If this was us, we would be ticked. Then how much more is God offended when we turn our nose up at his generous offer of eternal life in the Heaven he has prepared for us?
4. God, in his love and mercy for everyone of us, has provided a way to avoid this place. Now, that is good news.
5. God will not allow a single one of his 'children' to suffer in hell. But not all people are children of God as the movie "Hellbound?" suggests. Those who share in the inheritance of Jesus Christ are God's children and we do that by believing in Him and following him. Those who reject Him do so at their own peril.
6. Our concept of God has changed from what the Bible portrays him to be, so we have re-invented God to be our buddy, a help in times of trouble, someone who loves us all so much he would not harm us in any way. In fact, God is so much higher even than what we can conceive. Moses was not allowed to look on his face, and even the Israelites who watched Moses go into the mountain were not allowed to even touch the mountain or they would die! If one so great and holy is sinned against, would not the punishment have to follow suit? The punishment always fits the severity of the crime and takes into consideration the one sinned against.
Concluding remarks on Thursday.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Re-inventing Truth

Since reading Paul Chamberlain's book "Can We Be Good Without God", I have come to see some issues in a different light. (See my review here )
Today's culture is prone to believe in subjective morality, that is, what is right for you, may not be right for me. The belief in the absence of absolute truth (objective morality) naturally gives rise to this type of thinking. As a result, we realise that we now have freedom to re-invent what used to be accepted as truth, and turn it into something more to our liking, more palatable. Hence, the move to more lax divorce laws, acceptance of abortion, a warming up to the idea of euthanasia, a more relaxed attitude in the judicial system, changing the language to soften the blow of such harsh things as alcoholism (it is a disease), prostitution (sex trade workers), and lying (mis-speaking the truth).
Lately, both inside and outside of the church, the latest 'softening' has come on the subject of Hell. Is there a Hell and if there is, what is it? How can a loving God condemn people to eternal punishment? How can we possibly attract people to a belief system that promotes such a politically incorrect doctrine as eternal fire with real people populating it? It seems to have been a stumbling block for so called 'forward thinking' people in society and in the church. Recently, a documentary movie, "Hellbound?" has been released, examining the issue. 
Cont'd tomorrow.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Money Management

I just re-read yesterday's post and realized I must have been very tired when I wrote it. Amazing what a weekend will do! I am taking Monday off too, so that will put me in an even better frame of mind.
My father taught me many things, and when I was a kid it was drilled into me to be careful with money, always save some if it, do not spend foolishly, and never spend your last dollar. These early lessons have stuck with me, and so has my father.
He is now 90 years old and is in many ways reverting back to simple, child-like ways. There is much evidence for this, and yet, I still see him as my father, a bit of an authority figure, and someone who still exemplifies those things that he taught me.
When I was a child, I would, on occasion, ask him for money. Now, he is asking me for money. I am telling him that there is no place to spend it in the care home. He counters with the fact that he has not had any cash in his pocket for many months now. "How would you feel if you had no money for six  months?" he tells me. If I give him money, it will disappear, unaccounted for and end up either in the laundry or in some resident's or care worker's pocket, when they find it lying around.
I cannot get it through to him that this does not work, and yet he is persistent. I have a difficult time treating my dad like a kid, and yet I have to reprimand him and deny him as if he were one. This is different than teaching your child. Your child will learn a lesson for the betterment of his future, your aging parent will just carry resentment as the problem worsens.   

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Working Man Blues

Late September near Osoyoos BC.
This last week was a struggle for me at work. Each morning, on the commute to Mission, I wondered how I would get through the day. "Take it one hour at a time," I would tell myself. Somehow I managed to complete the week.
Another mind game I played, helped me somewhat. I talked myself into thinking that this was the last time I was ever going to do a certain task. I actually did this twice in one day. I feel obligated to be true to myself and keep my word.
I am finding certain elements of my work more and more difficult. I ease the burden of work, usually, by carrying on a dialogue with my customers, but on our recent job, I have had to hold my tongue because it was not my contract, but my partner's and I overstepped the boundary on the first day. So, I had to live with my thoughts for the rest of the week.
As you can see, dear reader, I am struggling with the transition to retirement. I struggle between fits of energy and times of deep fatigue, enthusiasm and lethargy, joy of work and drudgery of work. I want to, and then I don't want to. Self employment has always offered freedom of choice, and now that freedom is getting me down. I would almost prefer if someone fired me. I am the only one that can do that, and I cannot decide if I should or not.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Almost Home

At the Mill Lake car show this past summer.
Yesterday I noted how caution was necessary on our commute. Today it was uneventful, until very near the end. Only three blocks from home, we noticed multiple police and emergency vehicles in our lane just ahead. We drove slowly by and noticed that a motorist had veered off the road, crashed through a fence, and vaulted down a very steep and very large embankment. The angle was so steep that we could not see the vehicle, but there were many bystanders pointing and looking in the direction of the bottom of the hill. The fire/rescue truck was just arriving so we proceeded, with caution, the rest of the way home.
'They' say that most accidents happen within a mile of home. This was closer than that, and I was thankful that it was not us at the bottom of the slope.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stay Alert

North of Mission on a sunny day.
We are back working in Mission. We have commuted to that city, or actually north of it, for more than 6 weeks this fall. It is a nice drive but I find that one must be vigilant on Highway 11, especially crossing the bridge over the mighty Fraser River. Nobody drives the speed limit (the normal speed is at least 20 over) and it is common for drivers in a hurry to run the yellow, and then the red lights. Every year there are people killed on that road, as there were years ago before the big improvements.
Yes, the commute is faster now, but not a whole lot safer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beauty Out of Adversity

I have always maintained that the best part of my work, my job, my business, is meeting new people and getting to hear their story. And just as a thistle can have a beautiful blossom, so can a tragic life have value and meaning.  
The last two days have been a highlight for me in that regard. I have come to know a person in a new way, someone I had only ever seen at a distance and had only heard about her life second hand. She was very transparent, honest, and was a true inspiration to me as I witnessed first hand how she conducts her life.
It is so good to know that there are people like her and that she is an influence on many lives, especially those of her children, of which there are many. She served me a proper English Tea late in the afternoon and we continued a chat that started the day before as we seemed to be working in the same space most of the time. She told me that most people who meet her feel sorry for her and cannot understand how she can cope with the many tragedies that have come her way in recent years. She looked me in the eye and said with a huge smile and with absolute conviction, "I would not trade my life with ANYONE! God always gives us just enough grace to handle what he allows into our lives." 
And I believe her!    

Monday, October 22, 2012

Done for the Year

Elvira came up to me in the restaurant yesterday and told me that she reads my blog every morning. I had no idea who she was until she introduced herself. So, good morning to you Elvira. It was a pleasant surprise meeting you. Thanks for reading. I hope you like Morning Glories as much as I do because I will dedicate these photos to you.
I took these images a few weeks ago when the warm morning sun coaxed the blossoms from the buds very early each day. Now that the cold has invaded, the blossoms are stunted and a deeper purple colour. The first frost will kill them and then I will only have the photos instead of the real thing every morning, as I look out the kitchen window, drinking my coffee and eating my Mini-Wheats.


Sunday, October 21, 2012


Billy Graham is a man who is admired by all. He has remained untainted by scandal while being spiritual advisor to many presidents and a proponent of the Christian Gospel for his whole life. I am not getting my shirt in a knot about it, but I do find that on occasion he makes a compromise that I find a bit troubling.
He had a meeting with US presidential candidate Mitt Romney this week and was so impressed with Mitt's moral standard and commitment to faith issues that he had a very important page on his website (Billy Graham Evangelistic Society)  deleted. The page was the one that described in detail what constitutes a cult, and then listed Mormonism as a cult.
It seems that in his promise to Mitt to do whatever he could to promote him in the coming election, he compromised this evaluation of Mormonism. It would not do to promote a adherent of a cult to be the next POTUS!
The press release from Billy's people reads thus:
"Our primary focus is that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."
I am all for Billy Graham praying for presidents or candidates, as it is a Biblical mandate. What I am not in agreement with is that we change our definitions for the sake of political expediency. It is the 'Association' that has politicized an important issue by removing it from view so as to not offend Mormons and to make a Mormon a good candidate for Christians to vote for.   
I don't even care if Romney is a Mormon. I want the president of our powerful neighbour to be honest, moral, intelligent, knowledgeable, capable, and possess the leadership qualities to right the ship of state which is listing badly at the moment. If and when the USA goes under, we will be pulled in by the undertow. We need someone, now, who can patch up the ship and get us away from the icebergs.
However, by the 'Association's' own definition, Mormonism is still a cult.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Objective Morality

I bought this book for my Kindle and when I read the first paragraph, I realised I had already read it! I suppose that when one has read thousands of books, this is bound to happen eventually.
It was good to read it again. It is a discussion on whether morality, or ultimate good and bad, is objective or subjective. It all plays around a contrived conversation between four deep thinkers who are of differing views on the subject. They have been invited to a judge's mansion to have this conversation because the judge needs to make some serious decisions on his own as regards his criteria for judging those who come before him in the courtroom.
Paul Chamberlain takes us step by step through the objections to objective morality and then leads us to the only plausible conclusion as to who or what is the source of ultimate good innately realised by everyone.
The logic of the arguments is compelling and takes us deeply into philosophy as well as exploring differing views on how to judge what is right and what is wrong in our current culture.
3 1/2 stars

Friday, October 19, 2012


We have two local newspapers and every year at about this time, we get the same old headline stories, week after week, about the biggest fish ever caught on the Fraser River. Of course, it is the mighty sturgeon, the great bottom feeders that live to be more than 100 years old. The stories go on to tell of the epic battle that it is to land one of these behemoths.
They don't actually pull the fish into the boat, but drag it close to shore, get out into waist deep water, and pose for the camera while holding the fish out of the water almost long enough to kill it.
The fish is then released, free to hunker back down under a log boom and continue feeding until another tempting fish hook floats by.
Did it ever occur to these fishermen, and the media who soak this stuff up, that all these guys are probably catching the same fish over and over? They even go to the same general area to assure themselves of 'a catch'. Of course, there is one way to prove my theory and it is politically incorrect.
Eat it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Con Game

I did not pay very much for this Kindle book and it is a good thing. The premise sounded intriguing and the reviews were wonderful, but it was a bit of a disappointment.
Tim Trinity is a sham preacher playing the prosperity gospel game and is very good at it. But there is a new twist to his preaching. He falls on stage and begins speaking in tongues, predicting with 100% accuracy events of the immediate future. Not only that, but he becomes a true believer in God.  
His estranged nephew is a priest and works for the Vatican as a miracle investigator. He is assigned to his Uncle's case. From there it gets strange, as if it were not already so. The writing is not too bad, but the plot is full of holes and incredulity and I basically finished it because that is what I do when I start something.
It was interesting from the point of view that the author is very conversant on the many facets of Christianity. The most intriguing aspect of the story is the struggle that the young priest has with his vows, his belief in God, and in reconciling with his con artist uncle.
But, overall, I would not rate this book much better than a
2 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Ticklish Situation

Two of my three grandsons are touchy feely guys who love to be stroked and tickled. They sometimes compete for the best position under Granddad's fingers. I have two hands so I can do two at a time. They are like putty when under my spell, as you can see.
Liam was half ways ready for bed when he needed me to draw a race car on his back but because I was busy with Chad, he had to create another layer of grandsons without getting Chad too upset. This was his idea of solving the problem. He is very creative in getting his way.  
Lots'a fun!  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

East of Merrit

Allison Lake along Highway 5C north of Princeton.  

Marshes, lakes and lowlands, all in high country. The ducks have all flown south already.

It was a perfect day in so many ways as we turned onto the Kelowna Connector and then home on the Coq.

And a parting shot of what will soon be covered in snow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Lis

North of Princeton

At Princeton we turned left (north) and discovered many beautiful Fall scenes.

I have always loved Aspens and their cousins, the Poplar. They are trees that look good in all seasons.

There are many small lakes along this route.

Can you see the heart? I love Autumn!

There were even a few green trees left, but most were in their peak of colour.

Allison Lake reflection.
One more batch tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hope-Princeton Colours

The Vine Maples along the road, and along the tree line, are only on the south facing slopes on the Hope-Princeton highway. There is perpetual deep shade on the north face of the mountains due to their steepness and only large coniferous trees grow there. The Engineer's road is just a short hike up from the west gate of Manning Park, with the parking lot beside the giant Marmot which you cannot miss. The hike up is not steep and is worth the slight effort. The road is part of the Dewdney Trail which brought gold miners to the area.

Standing on the 160 year old, man made road, and looking straight up, this is what you see.

A few more miles down the road is a 'must see' spot called Sumallo Grove. The short turnoff from the highway to the grove of giant trees is full of pot holes, so take it easy. Again, it is worth seeing. There is a small nature trail around the giant cedar, spruce, and fir trees, with interpretive signs. The view of a bend in the Sumallo River is spectacular at any time of year and the picnic table may be back next summer because the chain is still anchored to the trail. A short walk and you come to the foot bridge (pictured above) which crosses the river. It is sturdy and is 175 ft. long. Beyond this bridge is some very nice hiking, but take water and food. (and bear spray)

My dependable little truck parked in the deep shade of Sumallo Grove, dwarfed by the trees.

On to Princeton and a view from the edge of the road right across the highway from the pub as you start the descent into town. We found the trail head that leads to that trestle bridge and river and walked down the trail you see crossing the slope above the river.

It was hot and dry for October and the south facing slope gave evidence of it. I was looking for shade. More coming.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Old Trucks 'n Stuff

My photographic eye is attracted to old vehicles and old buildings.

We found a few in a beautiful horse pasture near the Hope Airport.

My friend, Frank, might like this one. Just needs new paint and that bald front tire replaced. Is that truck winking?

A very calm and sunny morning in Paradise Valley, just east of the Hope Slide.

Mirrror perfect!

Next stop was Manning Park. We hiked up to the old Engineers road built in the 1850's. The Vine Maples there were spectacular.

Andrew had his bear spray along but we did not have to use it. I always get nervous hiking in Manning Park. I never have run into a bear (while hiking, that is). Probably because I sing while I hike. Also never see Forest Rangers or other hikers. Could it be .....?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Colourful Trip

Cliche: "Life is not getting any shorter."
Thus, one must make time to do the things that are valuable.
After being turned down by a friend, I invited my business partner and son, Andrew, to go on a photo shoot with me. It would be an all day affair and would take us from home, to Hope, Princeton, Merrit, Hope, and back home, a round trip of close to 500 km.  
We  left home before 7am and were discouraged by the heavy fog that lasted until Bridal Veil Falls. As the sun was coming over the steep mountains of Hope, we decided to turn off the highway and find some back roads close to the Fraser River. We turned up a side road and almost thought we had died and gone to Heaven.

Perfect timing and perfect light. Now just get the camera settings right and compose a half decent photo. *

I was half expecting Angels to come floating down at any moment.

I have more of these types of photos from this moment in time, and it was difficult to choose the best ones. Our shutter releases were starting to overheat so we moved on, hoping to catch some other scenes before the fog burnt off.
Moments like this are what I lay awake at night, in the dead of winter, thinking about. And to think I could have been working and missed this rare opportunity.
*See them large for a much better view. (click on them or the album at the bottom of the blog page)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Falling into Autumn

Took a little trip yesterday to catch some Autumn beauty in our province. The above photo is a scene in Oroville from Sept. but as soon as I get to the new photos, you will see them here. We caught some pretty spectacular lighting near Hope and I am anxious to get to the photos.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Peas

Our phenomenal weather just will not quit. Who ever heard of Sweet Peas in mid October?

The low angle of light in these Autumn days makes for interesting photography.

No doubt the winter will seem just a bit shorter this year as we are still basking in sunshine when we should be getting grey, wet days.