Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dear Diary,

Last night I turned off the house lights, plugged in the Christmas lights and began reading What's So Amazing About Grace?  It moved me, a lot.  There are few books that have had a major impact on me but this book seems to be one of them.  I guess time will tell.  I just finished reading it 30 minutes ago and it left me in tears.  I would recommend this book to anyone out there reading this entry.  It will change you.  If you don't have time, maybe just read the fourth chapter.  You will not regret it.

Lord, please grant me the ability to live in Your grace and give grace to those who need it.  Amen.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simply Amazing

I am a big fan of the David Crowder Band. I was lucky enough to see them live in Saskatoon a couple months ago. Here is their music video for SMS (Shine). I think it is one of the best videos ever made. It is creative and artful. It is beautiful and moving. Simply amazing.  I like it a lot. It even made me a little misty eyed.


My work has a demanding schedule.  I can work anywhere from 5am to 11pm on an average day, and up to 14 hours in a row.  I can work beyond those hours as well with advanced notice.  It is difficult to live a normal life outside of that type of schedule.  Having said that, I have noticed something amazing.  I have been to church for 8 consecutive weeks, maybe more, but I'm not really counting.  I have been to 4 consecutive weekly C&C nights, and I only started attending 4 weeks ago.  I have attended my church's monthly prayer/solitude retreats each month for the last 3 months, since they've began.  I have also attended the last 4 prayer meetings on Friday mornings at our church since I learned about them 4 weeks ago.  How is that even possible considering the schedule I keep?  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But it's definitely cool.  And this week I'll be able to attend C&C, the prayer meeting, C&C's Christmas banquet, a spiritual direction meeting and church again.  It is such a blessing to me.  I almost feel spoiled.  God, are you pulling some strings for me?  Thank you.

Somewhat unrelated, here's a video I shot on my cell phone tonight at work.  This is why I love my job.

Oh, I almost forgot, I have been thinking about reading the book What's So Amazing About Grace this last week.  I don't actually own it.  Today my brother just happened to check it out of the library, with no knowledge that I was intending to read it.  It's sitting here waiting for me.  How cool is that?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Won't Let Go of You

'Nuff said.

Proverbs V

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of
driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames,with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

forwarded to me by my mom

My Rut

I have been stuck in a rut for the last couple years.  It was a comfortable rut.  It molded itself to me and never asked that I change.  Perhaps, more accurately, it never let me change.  I am climbing out of this rut.

I find a reoccurring theme of living an abundant life in scripture.  Although I am just learning what an abundant life really is, I am confident I know what it is not.  It is not the rut I was stuck in.

On Sunday I spoke briefly at church about what God has been doing in my life.  The bulk of what I spoke about was how God has been creating dissatisfaction in me with how my life has been.  I realize it sounds strange crediting God with creating dissatisfaction but that's exactly what I needed.  My old life consisted mostly of work, tv, video games, sleep and  food.  I would squeeze church in when my schedule allowed, but I didn't try too hard.  It makes me sad to say that.  And then BAM, it became so unsastisfying.  The old things that filled my life didn't really fill me any more.  I had the urge to seek for something of substance.  I am still seeking, but I am also finding.  My new life consists mostly of work, sleep, food, church, C&C, prayer time, reading things of God, worship, and even people.  Can you see the difference?  I can feel it.  I feel my life is more abundant now than it has ever been.  That's not to say I have arrived.  I merely started on the journey.  There are still things of substance to incorporate into my life and there are desires I want, which I am learning to hand over to God.  I hope they are desires placed in me by God.  I can't say for sure, but that's why I feel I am on a journey.  There's discovery around every corner.  I'm sure I'll get lost a couple times along the way but I am learning to ask for directions from people who've gone before me and from the Map Maker Himself.

And on a more superficial tangent, I am making myself try new things.  For too long I have lived an insular life.  I became quite boring.  Now I am looking for a little adventure in life.  For instance I am going to make myself learn to ski, even if it kills me (which previous experience tells me is a possibility).  I am going to my company's Christmas party.  (I skipped my previous company's past 5 Christmas parties.)  I am going to C&C's Christmas party (which I was considering skipping).  I am going to get more involved with Sunday School at church.  I am even going to travel/vacation just to have fun.

Update:  I may as well learn how to dance while I'm at it.

Take that, rut!


More random thoughts ahead, although somewhat arranged this time...

I have said previously I think a lot.  But what does that really mean?

Well, I am constantly thinking of possibilities.  When someone says something is impossible that is all the motivation I need to think of ways to achieve the impossible.  And many times I do.
I analyze a lot.  I take seemingly random things and form them into a cohesive idea or derive a narrative from seemingly unrelated facts.
I am intuitive, in that I make judgments based on very little evidence, but still end up at a correct conclusion by filling in the blanks with my perceptions and analysis.
And I imagine a lot.  My mind is always focussed on the what ifs.  I can run through scenarios that I may never experience but go through all my options and outcomes so I am ready if the opportunity ever comes up.

I don't know if many people are like that.

It is a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is that I am never bored.  There's a world inside my head full of possibilities and new ideas.  It's a pretty cool place to visit sometimes.

The curse is that there is a world outside my head too which I don't always interact with because I'm stuck inside my head.  Unfortunately for me that world doesn't behave the way I want it to all the time.

But the great thing about being aware of how I work is that I can make changes if I don't think things are the way they should be, the way God wants them to be.  I've said it before, many times, but I am aware of my shortcomings so now I can change them.

And that is what I have been doing the last 4 months.  I have been limiting life inside my head and going out to experience the real world.  I guess I am trying to be a better balanced introvert.  I am experiencing new things and people.  When I say new, I really do mean new, to me at least.  But now that I've experienced these new things I find myself running back inside my head analyzing it all and digesting it and trying to figure out what it all means.  Maybe I'm over thinking everything too much.  Scratch that.  I am definitely over thinking everything too much.

There is one particular thing I have been thinking about for a while now and I don't know what to do with it.  I've written an entry about it but I have not published it (yet) because I just don't know where I want to take it.  Really, this whole post is just me trying to say I have been thinking about something, something I want to share, but don't know how.  I have discussed it with one friend, who is the exact opposite of me in almost every way, and it has given me hope and new insight, but I am still unsure how to proceed.

When I run into these situations I tend to go back to God again.  To delight myself in the Lord, to trust Him always, to be the person He wants me to be, and hopefully the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

This entry was really more for me than you.  I think it's helped.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Goal

If this is my life, a little more each day, it will have been a life well spent.

Star Fish

by Loren Eiseley
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

I used to be the "wise" man.  Hopefully I am becoming the young man.

Stuck in Traffic

I was stuck in traffic last night and it was great.

I suppose it's nice to get home in 15 minutes instead of an hour, but I'm the type of guy who sees the silver lining to every cloud.

Of all the places to be stuck in traffic, I found the perfect place.  I was stuck on Spadina East.  The snow was dusting every branch of every tree.  The ice crystals were sparkling.  The character homes along the street were decorated for Christmas.  It felt like I was in a Norman Rockwell painting.  So I sat back, listened to the radio, and smiled at the passers by.  It was my little oasis that evening.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Convicted, etc

There's a lot going around in my head lately.  This is a no edit zone.  I'm going just start typing what ever by brain sends to my fingers.  Look out.  Where to begin?

I want to start with conviction.  I have been confronted with God's word, and with wisdom from other people about a lot of things over the last week or two.  It's been good.  I have started to focus on the verse that says,
delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  That is so powerful.  There are things in my life that I want.  Some of those things are self centered and some are very important, but the fact remains, I have been seeking them before I have been seeking to delight myself in the Lord.  This is where my thought process gets messy, or human.  I wanted to twist God's word around to say, if I seek God first, he will give me all those other things I want.  And I believe that is taking God's word out of context.  I am aware of Matthew 6:33, but within a larger context it is about God meeting our needs, not being a genie that grants us wishes.

And here's where things start to get really messed up.  I want something.  Something that I am not sure how to get.  And basically because I don't know how to go about it, or it hasn't worked out the way I would like it, I started to think that maybe if I started to focus on God, He would give me the thing I want.  Then I started to think that maybe, if I focused on God, I wouldn't want that other thing as much, and because I didn't really want that thing as much God would give it to me.  Ya, that's just as bad as the first thought.  

I finally decided I have no idea what I am doing, so I am going to focus on God.  Period.  I may never get what I want, but I already have God.  If that is all I have the rest of my life I will be content.  I will delight myself in the Lord.  As I do, I know the desires of my heart will change.  Who knows what I will really want by then anyway.  I suppose God, and he will be the one to grant me those things or not.  Somehow, I feel this is closer to the truth of the scripture.  And I have to be honest, I still want that thing, but I have turned it over to God now.  It is scary.  I may never get it.  That is hard for me to accept.  All I can be is who God wants me to be, and all I will seek is God.  You don't know how hard it is for me to say that.  Being myself is what I struggled with most of my life and seeking God first is the opposite of how I achieved a lot of things in my life.  This is all backwards to me.  

What else have I been convicted about?  Let's see.  I have been convicted about how I care for the needy.  Jesus said whatever I do for the least of these I did for him.  And I can't say I've done a whole lot for Jesus in my life.  It frustrates me because I have the ability to do more than I have.  But I am starting.  I have recently started fostering a child through Compassion Canada.  You need to as well.  There's no reason any person reading this cannot do the same.  I mean it.  No reason whatsoever.  I said previously that sometimes I am scared to open up a little bit and care for the world because I feel like I would be overwhelmed by the pain in the world.  Sometime between then and now I feel like God has been telling me to man up.  I just may get washed away by the sorrow and pain, but I just may make a difference in someone's life too.  If I'm going to err, it is going to be on the side that allows Jesus to be reflected through me.  I feel convicted for not showing enough compassion to others.  I feel convicted for not showing enough grace.  I feel convicted for not sharing my faith with others.  That is so difficult for me.  Being the person I am, the last thing I feel comfortable with is talking with people I don't know very well about something that may cause me to be rejected.  Stupid SAD.  I have been feeling convicted as I read sections from What's So Amazing About Grace.  I'm going to have to read the whole thing now.  I have been feeling convicted about how little I read the bible.  That is changing now.  I am starting with the book of John.  I am getting re-introduced to my Savior.  

As long as I'm typing like crazy what else can I confess?  I like ACDC.  I bought clothes to impress a girl.  I am so drastically different than 6 months ago.  Thank you Jesus.  I can't tie a full Windsor knot.  I wish I could be an extrovert.  Life would be so much easier.  I am going to make myself go skiing this year, to force myself out of this comfortable rut.  My happiest times right now are at C&C on Thursdays and the Prayer Meeting Friday mornings.  I struggle to be myself 100% around other people, but I'm getting better.  I want to be the person God wants me to be.  I really want a new car.  I love my job.  I want to be in love one day.  I still don't feel like I've found the place where I "fit" yet.  I get Christmas off for the first time in 5 years.

I think my brain is on empty.  I'm done.  My next posts will be thought out and edited.  I promise.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Dear Diary

Some unexpected things have happened lately.  Good things.  Maybe even God things.

First off, I have been getting hammered with conviction and scripture and other people's writings and thoughts, in a good way.  I will write more about that later.  It really is awesome how God is changing me.

Secondly, I spent Friday night on the phone with a couple friends.  That is unexpected in and of itself because I am not a fan of chatting on the phone.  I don't really like conversations that start with, "Whatcha doing?" or, "I'm bored."  Anyway I talked with an old friend in Alberta for an hour.  Wow.  And then I talked with a new friend in PA for almost two hours.  Crazy.  Slowly it seems God is bringing me out of my shell.  And then weird enough, an old colleague I haven't seen in a year or so met up with me on facebook and suggested we go out for coffee some time.  And then an even older friend, who I met in grade 7, caught up with me and suggested we go see a movie tonight.  This all happened within a couple hours.  Good thing?  God thing?  I'm not sure but it feels good to be socializing with people.

And finally, I was supposed to work today.  My job got postponed so I still made it to church, a couple minutes late.  I was originally scheduled to speak for five minutes but I didn't write anything down because I thought I would be at work.  I still spoke at the end of the service though, mostly off a few notes I scribbled on the bulletin.  It was good.  And it opened a few doors for me to speak with people after the service I've never spoken to like DS, S and RO, and B.  And I got a few hugs.  Was it because of the blog?  I can't say, but keep 'em coming.  It was all good.

Now, hopefully the Riders win today...


Friday, November 19, 2010

Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day.  The sun is out after hiding behind the clouds for the last week.  Sure, we had to go through a snow storm before we could get to the light, but truth be told, I don't mind it too much.  As long as the sun is out I can take all the cold and snow.

It has been/will be a good week.

Saturday -I went to a 30+ church group.  I have decided I am not 30+.  I may have enough orbits around the sun to qualify, but mentally, I'm somewhere in my 20's.  (Stay tuned for a future post on that.)
Sunday -Church.  I helped with worship again, this time in front of the piano.  Baby steps.  It felt good.  I had to rush off to work immediately after.  I didn't want to leave so quickly, I actually wanted to stay and chat with some people so that is a good sign regarding me getting out of my shell a little bit.
Monday -Work
Tuesday -Financial information meeting
Wednesday -Sanctuary -Work related meeting -Bank meeting
Thursday -C&C
Friday -Prayer meeting
Saturday -Financial planning meeting
Sunday -I was scheduled to share a 5 minute blurb at church on what God has been doing in my life.  That is a big step for me, to actually speak in front of people again.  But as of an hour ago I have to work Sunday morning so I won't be able to share.  Still, I was ready, willing and able.  Instead I am going to be doing my last flight in a Navajo Chieftain (in the exact plane pictured below) from Stony Rapids to Saskatoon.  I suppose that is noteworthy.

Maybe it's the fact that I went for a walk this morning, or C&C lifted my spirits last night, or I'm using some fancy-pants moisturizer but I'm feeling pretty good.  Happy Clint good.  And while that is great, I still want my attitude to be based on God's goodness and unchanging nature.  It may storm again, I may miss next week's C&C, and this moisturizer won't last forever, but God is unchanging.  In the good times and bad I want to say I will trust Him.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hugs Hugs Hugs

Ok, here we go.  There's something special about touch.  You know it's true.

I've heard many anecdotal stories of babies in orphanages dying from lack of touch but those that were held grew strong and healthy.  I can't find any official documentation but I have also heard the similar things for the elderly living in retirement homes.  Physical touch improves health and decreases depression.  Now unfortunately I'm rather shy, and I don't socialize all that often so I am not really in contact with many people. When I started thinking about this I realized it is possible for me to go weeks without actually touching another human being.  That's kind of sad.  Then I started wondering what are the possible ramifications for my health and overall well being.  Probably not very good.  I have said previously I am excited about my life because I feel that I am at the beginning of a new adventure, a fresh start after years of being in a stagnant, introverted prison.  I am actively working to change those things in my life that need changing.  This is one of those things.  I am not a touchy feely person, but I am working to change that.

So, I know that there are some people out there reading this.  I don't know who you all are but I have a homework assignment for you.  I would like you to hug me the next time you see me.  To motivate you, I promise there will be health benefits in it for yourself.

I think this will be kinda fun.  Image going through your everyday life with random people hugging you.  Hey, I could get used to this.

Anyway, thanks in advance to those who accept the challenge.

Growing Up

This is one of those entries that could become 50 000 words +.  I'll try to keep it brief.  There won't be a lot of direction in what I write.  I just want to share some of the things from my past so you can see where I've come from and maybe a little of why I am the way I am.

Growing up, money was tight in our family.  I never went hungry.  I always had a place to live.  So, from my perspective things were pretty good.  I never really understood the stresses my parents were under to provide for us though.  We didn't have a lot new clothes.  I wore hand me downs from other families.  I remember dad taking me out one afternoon, when I was about 5 or 6 to go pick bottles up in the ditch along the highway to Shellbrook.  I had a good time.  I didn't realize we were actually doing it so we could have bread and milk that night.  There were times when my brother and I couldn't stay for lunch at school when they were doing the $2.50 for a hot dog, drink and rice crispie square fundraiser because my parents just couldn't afford it.  I remember when I was 12, a friend wanted to go to 7/11 to get a slurpee after school.  I was so embarrassed because I had no money.  He suggested I ask my dad for $1.  I was terrified to ask for money.  I knew we didn't have any.  But I did it.  I remember the look on dad's face.  I thought back then that he was mad at me for asking, but now that I think about it, I'm sure it was more of a look of pain.  Pain that he couldn't give me anything.  He went inside the house and 10 minutes later he came back with a handful of nickels and dimes.  I'm sure he scoured every corner of the house and looked under every couch cushion to put it together.

Growing up, recreation and leisure were foreign concepts.  Dad worked to provide for us.  That was all he had time for.  We never went on a vacation.  The only time we traveled anywhere was to visit family, which wasn't bad, but it wasn't really a vacation either.  I'm sure finances played a role.  Mom and dad did manage to pay for 1 season of little league for my brother, and 4 months of kayaking lessons for myself but outside of that there was not much else.  My parents didn't really have a concept of extra-curricular activities.  We never went golfing.  We never went skiing.  We never enrolled in any organized sports.  No hockey.  No soccer.  No baseball for me.  No cadets.  No boy scouts.  We never went camping.  I grew up in Prince Albert and didn't even know PA National Park or Waskesiu existed until I was 16 and our youth group went there.  Sometimes, when I see pictures or hear stories of families going on vacation, or going on ski trips I am envious.  I had my bike.  When other families were in Mexico, or Disney, I was on my bike, all day, every day.

Growing up I didn't have a lot of friends.  I never invited anyone over to our house to play.  My friends would actually comment on how they would invite me over to their place but I would never invite them to mine.  I guess that was the SAD thing again.  Birthdays were the only time I ever asked anyone over, and I did that mostly because I felt I had to.  I avoided youth group at church until I was about 15 or 16.  I felt very uncomfortable there for the first year or so.

Growing up, I was all about school and reading.  I would read a novel every couple days.  I had a 99% average through most of elementary and Junior High.  That was my world.  I was a pretty tightly wound kid.  I remember crying because I couldn't figure out how to spell a word on a spelling test in grade 5.  I finished off our entire grade 6 math text book in a week and spent the rest of the year helping my teacher help the other students in class.  In grade 9 I didn't even take math, I read.  Our teacher would give us a pretest, and if we got over 95% we didn't have to take the particular unit.  It was like a spare all year long.  I'm also pretty sure I was a little OCD.  I remember walking to school and having rules about how many steps I could take on each pavement block.  I couldn't step on any cracks.  I was allowed only 1 step on pieces that were cracked.  I was only allowed 2 steps on on whole blocks.  I could bank up extra steps I didn't use on previous blocks for future blocks if I got into any trouble.  It was insane, but I would do that going to and coming from school every day.

So, if that was me growing up, where does it leave me today?  Well, I tend to be cheap.  Even if I can afford something, rarely can I justify buying it.  I have only been on 2 vacations in my life, and the first one my friend had to basically drag me to California kicking and screaming.  I'm thankful for that though.  I'm still a bit of a nerd but I have greatly scaled back my reading and studying, although I still love to learn.  I think the OCD is gone.  As for recreation, I ride my bike, still.  I am working on actually picking up some new hobbies though. I see how excited and happy people are to go on ski trips or go to the lake for a weekend and I want to give it a shot myself.  It is a big decision for me to do things like that but I am going to force myself out of my rut.  Look out world, here I come.  And finally, relationships.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  I do have some friends and yet I am still trying to figure out how to be a friend.  I will write a lot more about that in an upcoming post.

This is why I am excited about life.  I am aware of these limits so I can change them.  I can be the person I want to become.  I have been thinking about the verse, "delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart," lately. It's strange because I see it popping up all over the place. Right now my focus is really to delight myself in the Lord, and hopefully the other things in life will fall into place.

Once again, thanks for letting me get this stuff off my chest.

Just A Reminder

I've been a bit of a funk the last 5 days or so, I'll get over it. I just thought it was interesting that my situation hasn't changed, the world hasn't changed, the people in my life haven't changed. The only thing that has is how I choose to perceive my situation. And the crazy thing is, my perception could be 100% wrong. As Hamlet says, "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." A week ago I was doing pretty good, and really, nothing has changed between last week and now except my perception.

God hasn't changed. That is why I have decided that, "yet will I trust Him." Despite feelings and circumstance I pledge to always stay focussed on God. Today I just needed to remind myself that ain't it good to be alive.


They say extroverts make up 75% of the world and introverts make up the remaining 25%.

Extroverts tend to go through life surrounded by similar people, other extroverts.  Introverts tend to go through life like an alien on a foreign planet.  I suppose that is why I started to write this blog to begin with.  I just want to be understood by the majority of people in my life who are extroverts.

So, for you extroverts out there, here are some introvert things I would like you to know about me.

I don't mind being alone.
I would prefer to spend my Friday nights reading a book by a fireplace than going to any party.
If I turn down an invitation to hang out, it's nothing personal, I just really need some time to myself so that I will have the energy again to be with other people.
I like to be prepared for any situation before engaging in it.
I am loyal.
If I am in a group of people for a long time, I will probably take brief "intermissions" just to recoup some energy.
I do like people, I just like alone time as well.
I prefer structure and guided purposeful conversations to "socializing".
I relive social situations (both good and bad) over and over again in my head, thinking of different possibilities and outcomes if I had done something differently.
If I seem quiet, it's not that I have nothing to say, it's that I'm deliberating, thinking, and editing what I want to say before I say it.

Thank you for trying to understand me.  I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was still feeling a bit "empty" today.  I don't know how else to describe it.

I went to church.  I layed down in the Sanctuary.

I think we, me in particular, and Christians in general, spend a lot of time asking God for things.  Sometimes it's not very important.  Please help me pass this test, get that girl to like me, find a parking spot.  Sometimes it's much more serious.  Healing, deliverance, salvation.  But rarely is it just to be with God.

So, there I was, laying down in the middle of the Sanctuary, being with God.  And it was good.

I can't say that anything happened exactly but I made a decision.  Now, I have always said I want this blog to be the best reflection of me I can make it, so I will be totally honest here.  I don't like the book of Job, and yet I was thinking about it and thinking about me.  I was thinking about how great my life really is and yet I let such a tiny thing get me down.  Then I thought of Job, who lost everything, and his response was, "and yet will I trust Him."  I decided to trust God.  It doesn't sound like much but it really is monumental.  I can't say that I trust God as much as I should.  Right now I'm going through a minor low but I will trust in God.  I have decided that no matter what life has in store for me yet will I trust God.  When things are good I will trust God.   When things are bad I will trust God.  I will trust God.  This is life changing for me.

When I got home I felt led to play this song.  And I immediately started bawling.  Why am I even sharing this?  I'm not sure, but it happened, and it felt like a God thing, so there you go.

I want to spend more time in the Sanctuary.

My Dad

My Dad is
a man's man
a salt of the earth guy
a blue collar guy
a perfectionist
a hunter
a giver
a very hard worker
a fixer of anything mechanical
an extrovert
an electrician
mostly moustached

This will be one of the few entries I talk about someone else without keeping their identity secret.   My life has been greatly impacted by my dad, and so I can't talk about it without talking about him.

Dad grew up in rural Saskatchewan on a farm.  He only spoke French until the age of 5 when he attended kindergarten and his surprised family discovered school was only in English. He was driving a truck by the age of 7 and a combine by 12.  By 16 he was helping raise his family, going to school, and holding down a full time job.  He never actually graduated from high school, just a couple credits short.  He did not let my brother or I know.  When I was 10 he received his GED after submitting his trade school accreditation for his missing credits.

The book The Five Love Languages describes different ways people say, "I love you."  It's an interesting read.  My dad does not say it with words or with affection.  My dad says it through acts of service.  Growing up I have seen my dad give away 3 cars, 1 truck, hundreds of pounds of meat and tens of thousands of dollars to family and friends in need.  I have seen him give his services as an electrician and an all round handy man without asking for a dime.  It is a powerful witness to me, to see my dad do these things.  It is magnified by the fact that we did not have very much growing up.  That will be the subject of a different post.  However, just because our family sometimes struggled to make ends meet, it never kept my dad from giving to those he felt were worse off than us.  To this day dad still rotates my tires for me.  It's not that I can't.  It's how he says I love you.  It took me a long time to let dad do this for me, trying to figure out why he always wanted to help do these things.  Now I know.

I said previously that I find it difficult to relate to guys/men and I felt that was partly because dad wasn't around much when I was growing up.  It left a hole in my life that I'm not sure has ever been filled.  It's not that he didn't want to be around.  Dad did what he had to do to provide for our family.  I respect his sacrifices greatly.  I never realized how much of a sacrifice it must have been for him until recently when I had to work away from home myself.  It was extremely difficult for me and I'm not married and I don't have kids.  It really hasn't been until recently, as an adult myself, that I have got to know my dad.  It's a very unique situation to be in.

I respect my dad so much for what he has done for our family, and yet, I don't want to be the same type of dad to my future family as dad was to us.  Most of my developmental years dad had to work in other cities to pay the bills and keep us fed.  Even when he was home he would have to run around paying bills or fixing the car or other errands until he had to go away again to work.  It created a bit of a void in my life.  I never really had the opportunity to see how a man lived.  I never got to see how a husband treats a wife.  I didn't really get to experience how a father plays with his kids.  I never want to be away from my family.  I don't want to be a stranger to my kids.  In some ways I have had to think very intentionally about what kind of husband and father I want to be because I knew growing up I did not want to do what my dad had to.  I think that is a good thing.

My dad is a good man.  One of the best.  If you know my dad, you would agree.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


For me worship is a hard thing to describe.  I'm sure most people think of music and singing when they think of worship.  That is usually what I think of as well, but my understanding is expanding.  I know people who worship through writing, through dance, through art.  I find it intriguing.  Whatever worship is, it includes an element of intimacy.  That is kinda what I want to focus on.  Intimacy with God.

Coming from an academic background, much of my understanding of God growing up was academic.  I could give all the right or doctrinally sound answers about God until one day while I was still in high school someone asked me, "How's your relationship with God?"  I was stuck.  I didn't know how to answer that.  I didn't understand the question.  What does that mean?  Where can I find that answer?  What is the right answer?  It even upset me a bit.  I go to church.  I tithe.  I'm a nice person.  What do you mean how's my relationship with God?  I think deep down I was aware that something was missing and I just didn't understand what it was.  Most of my adolescence I didn't really have much of a relationship with anyone, and so I didn't really have a frame of reference for a relationship with God.  I could tell you that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, but I couldn't honestly say that I did.  I couldn't even comprehend what that meant.  And being academically minded, it troubled me that I couldn't answer that stupid question.  I'm glad someone asked me though because it triggered something in my life.  It created the realization that my relationship with God was not what I thought it was.  It caused me to start searching.

I now understand what it means to love and be loved, somewhat.  And I know what it means to love God with all my heart, soul and mind.  I can't say I do, but I strive to every day.  The fact that God loves me is sometimes so overwhelming, in a good way.  And now I feel a lump rising in my throat.  I wish I could say in words how I feel inside.  I wish I could let you know how great it is, and yet I can barely comprehend it myself.  How deep the Father's Love for us, how vast beyond all measure.  Sometimes I feel so unworthy.  My best is never good enough.  And that's the greatest thing about God's love.  It doesn't matter that I'm not worthy.  That's the whole point.  I long to love God like He loves me.  For me, I express that intimacy, my love, through music.  I am not a great singer, or guitarist, but that is my main outlet.  And God has made ways for me to use that outlet.

About  two months ago I was feeling the urge to participate in worship in church.  I was struggling a bit with the idea that I, a normal sinful guy, could even come before God and worship, let alone help lead people to God in worship.  But the urge was there.  It's not that I have the right to come before God and worship, its that He allows me to, and desires that I do.  It's so amazing.  I haven't done anything like this in years, and unfortunately I haven't really been involved in my church until just recently either.  But the urge was still there.  And literally 2 days later, at a pizza get-together at church (an event the old shy Clinton would have normally avoided) someone approached me and asked if I played the guitar and if I wanted to help with worship next week.  I was shocked and declined.  It was all happening a little too fast.  I think God likes having fun with us.  I told God I needed a little more time to get ready for this, but thanks for bringing the opportunity.  Several weeks later I was at church again, alone, (which is also something the old shy Clinton wouldn't normally do) and instead of taking off after the service like I normally would have, I forced myself to stay and visit.  I will be honest, it was not easy for me to do.  Several minutes later, the same person came up to me and asked me if I wanted to help with worship.  This time I was so ready I think I said yes before she even finished the question.  The last two weeks in a row I have helped with worship and it has been great.  I have made mistakes and  I have tried to hide behind the piano but I am amazed that God has made a way to let me participate.  In an earlier post I said helping with worship has meant more to me than I think anyone really knows.  Well, now you know.

I am thankful for those opportunities.  I am thankful that my understanding of worship is growing.  I am thankful for God's love.  I pray that this intimacy may increase for me and you.

Monday, November 15, 2010


In earlier posts I mentioned certain subjects and followed them up with, "I will probably write a post about that some time".  Well, here is the list of subjects I am incubating at the moment:

My Dad
Growing Up
More Posts In My Life
More Introvert/Extrovert Thoughts
My Relationships with Males and Females
I Love you
My Arrested Development

Stay Tuned.  I will probably start churning them out quite quickly over the next couple days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Clint Returns

Today was good.  I was at work by 7am.  Church at 8:30 am for worship practice.  Church from 10 to 11am.  Work, again, by 11:30 am.  Finished work at 9pm.  Home by 9:30pm.  Things happened today that would normally upset or sadden me.  I'll call those things posts from my past life and yet I feel happy.  I feel refreshed.  I feel good, like I haven't felt for the last part of the week.  Why?  I can't say for sure.  However, today I worshiped God.  Today I prayed.  Today I was in church with other believers.  Was that it?  I can't say for sure.  I had reasons today to be more down than I have been lately and yet they haven't seemed to affect me.  I'm just a little confused.  The one thing I know is God is good.  And I'm doing pretty good myself.

I just thought I would share.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Clint

I'm typing as I think my thoughts so I apologize for the unedited chaos that's about to follow.

I'm still going through a bit of a low right now, which is unusual for me.  In fact, I'm usually so happy my nick name at my last job was Happy Clint.  I am generally positive and upbeat but right now that's not how I feel.  I try not to put too much stock in feelings because they can fluctuate for no reason whatsoever.  (Although they still are a barometer of how things are going in my life.)  Maybe it's the weather, or lack of sleep or something else but I feel blah.  I'm trying to figure this out.

Wednesday was the first Wednesday without our book study.  That's part of it.  The weather has been grey and cloudy lately.  That's part of it too.  I haven't really talked with my friend AH lately and that could be a contributing factor.  My brother has been very busy and so I haven't seen him as much as I would like either.  I think I'm feeling lonely.

It's weird for me to say I'm feeling lonely because I actually like plenty of alone time.  For me, being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely.  However, it's been said that no one feels lonelier than in a crowd.  That is true for me, and I have been in a lot of "crowds" lately.  When I am alone I am not usually aware of what is lacking.  However, when I am with a group of people, and I see everyone connecting and relating, I notice what is missing in my life.  I am jealous of those people who always have a group to hang out with.  Everyone is a friend.  They can have a get together and 50 people show up.  Sometimes I wish that was me.

This last week or so I have been getting involved with every group I can find.  Prayer groups.  Solitude groups.  Youth groups.  College and Career groups.  Book groups.  Volunteer groups.  Worship groups.  And the funny thing is, all this time with people has made me realize how lonely I feel.  I am still searching for a place I feel I fit, and I am still searching for friends.  I don't know if I've found it yet.  I don't want to run away from the groups I have been a part of though.  I said previously that it takes me a long time to make friends.  I need to continue to participate in these groups, although, in a weird sort of way, I think attending these functions just reminds me how lonely I feel.  Will things change?  I hope so.

I went to C&C last night.  It was good, again.  The worship meets me where I am at.  The people are great, and yet at the end of the night, that's when I find I feel loneliest.  Sometimes I feel like a stranger among a group of friends.  I need to push through.  It's too easy to run away.  That's what I've always done before and I don't want to do it anymore.  It's weird that chasing the thing I desire is what seems to create the feeling I despise.

Things will get better though.  When I need nourishment, I get hungry.  When I need sleep, I get tired.  I suppose when I need relationships, I get lonely.  God has designed us to pick up on the signals we need to keep us healthy.  Maybe my loneliness is a good thing.  I'm finally desiring something that has been so scarce in my life for too long.  I just wish it didn't have to be so hard to make friends.

And so I continue in my quest to bring back Happy Clint.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Song

Sometimes you just have to play the Happy Song really loud and dance.

I was feeling kinda sad the last couple days.  One reason is the end of the book study I have been involved in.

First, I have to go backtrack a little bit.  For the last few years I have been working in remote communities in Northern Canada.  It was good, but it was isolated.  For an introvert like me that's not a huge deal, but I did feel spiritually dry and somewhat lonely some times.  I tried to make an effort to go to church or see some friends on my time off in the south, but it was rare.  Several months ago I took a new job with a different company which allows me to actually live in the place I call home.  It lets me be involved with things I couldn't be involved with while working in the north.   Church is awesome.  I never appreciated how much it means to me or how my life with Jesus is dramatically enhanced through it.  And I am starting to appreciate people.  For too long everyone was a stranger to me, but now I actually have time to spend with people.  I didn't realize what I was missing out on until I came back south and saw all the relationships and friends everyone seems to have.  It blew me away because that is something I have not had for a very long time.

The book study I have been a part of the last 6 weeks was the first thing I have been involved with in years.  It was a time of learning and sharing, but it also contained social elements that I haven't experienced in quite a while.  It was the place I first started connecting with people in the church.  It holds a special place in my life because of what it became to me.  Now that it's over I feel a little sad.  It was a good place for me to be.  I never realized how alone I had let myself become up north, until I returned to the south and experienced what gathering with other Christians could be like.  This study group helped me a lot, simply by allowing me to socialize with people on a regular basis, which is not something I do too often.  I will miss it.

Now is not the time to be sad though.  One chapter may be ending but hopefully a new one is beginning with C&C.  It's a new opportunity for me.  I hope it will allow me to continue my growth, closer to God and closer to people.  I pray that I will make friends.  It's been a while since I could say I've made true friends.

And tonight I felt like playing the Happy Song and dancing.  So I did.  You should too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week In Review

Dear Diary,

I believe the cardinal rule of blogging is to keep entries concise. I've probably broken that rule a couple times already. This entry will definitely break that rule again.

I had an amazing week. I am so tired. Remember, an extrovert draws energy from being around people while an introvert exerts energy being around people? Well, I was around a lot of people this week and I am tired. That's not to say I didn't like being around all these great people. I did. It's just now I have to recharge my batteries for the next round.

Monday night I went to a jewelry party.  I was the only guy among 25 women.  It was... interesting, but good.  You can find out more about it at Night Light International.  The whole purpose is to generate awareness and earn money for an industry aimed at helping women and girls escape the sex trade industry in Thailand.  Please visit the site and do what you can.

Wednesday night was our final book study. We kinda went off on a tangent and didn't focus on the book so much but more on the things people are going through in their lives. It was good. It was really good.  When I started attending this book study a month or so ago, I was with a group of strangers. When we ended on Wednesday I was with friends. The seeds of genuine friendship were planted. I pray that they grow into something special. It is not often that this happens in my life.

I also had the option of a one on one music practice for worship that night but I declined. I'm not the greatest musician but I didn't really need the extra practice. This week I have been focusing on genuinely getting to know people and if I called the extra practice it would have been with the ulterior motive of getting to know that person, not to really practice. I didn't want to take advantage of worship just to hang out with someone.

Thursday was also great, and somewhat scary for me. I went to a totally new College and Career group. But first I had to work. I didn't finish until 7:15pm and they meet at 7:30pm.  My brain was fighting me on this one.
You're going to be late.  Maybe you shouldn't go.
I went anyway.  I was only a minute or two late and people were still arriving.
I was expecting 20 to 30 people.  There were 50 cars in the parking lot.
There's too many people.  You'll get lost in the crowd.  You won't meet anyone.  This isn't  a good idea.
I parked and went inside any way.  There were about 100 people there.
Wow!  There's even more people here than you thought.  If you turned around right now no one would notice. It's not too late.
I stayed.  I went up to the first group of people I saw and introduced myself.  They were great.  They smiled. They talked with me.  They introduced themselves.  I know this sounds sad but I was expecting to be ignored or rejected or something like that.  This was one of those times I had to work at not letting old thoughts from my previous life come back.  Some day, I pray, I will be more confident and better adjusted.  I'm getting there.  Thursday was a good step in that direction.  Several really great things happened that night.  I met CI.  I've been chatting with him online and talked with him once on the phone over the last week as I was looking into C&C groups in the city.  He is recovering from surgery and I didn't think he'd be there, but he was.  It felt good to chat in person.  CI is the guy I was planning to meet for "coffee" on Friday.  And I ran into AS.  AS is the person who wrote the note I quoted in an earlier post and the person who was leading worship on Sunday.  We talked a bit.  It was good.  And I had a chance to have a substantial talk with another person at the group who I just met.  Things turned out really great.  Sometimes I regret missing out on these opportunities years ago when I was in my self imposed isolation, but more overpowering is the feeling of gratitude I have for the opportunity to experience them now.  It really is hard for me to put into words how good this night was for me.  And of course, we sung How Deep the Father's Love.  Yep, I got a little teary eyed.  It feels like this song is stalking me, in a good way.

On Friday morning I went to the 7am prayer meeting.  It was just me and two other guys.  It's difficult for me to explain what this time meant to me.  I have said previously I find it easier to relate to females than males.  Part of that is simply because my dad was not around  a lot growing up.  Don't think poorly of him.  I will write another entry explaining my relationship with my dad.  However, even to this day, I feel somewhat awkward hanging around with guys/men simply because I did not really do that during my developmental years with anyone.  Anyway, it was a new experience for me praying with other men, and ya, we had a box of kleenex handy.  It was required.

After our time of prayer I hung around the church practicing for worship on stage, playing my guitar and the church's piano.  It's been a long time since I've done anything like that.  It truly was a time of worship for me.

At 10am I went and visited with CI at his place.  He is such a great guy.  We chatted about superficial stuff and deep stuff and home repairs.  Somehow, it was just what I needed.

I mentioned that I am somewhat uncomfortable hanging out with "the guys" and yet this day was all about me hanging out with "the guys" and it was good.  Godly guys are good.  Maybe this whole day was a divine appointment, a day of God's purpose.

And finally Sunday arrived.  We met at the church to practice at 8:30am.  I had the opportunity to chat with RS and LN.  It's funny because we've seen each other around the church for a long time, but have never actually talked.  And it was good.  They are great people.  I can't believe I've deprived myself of knowing them for so long just by being somewhat shy.  Practice was good.  Church was good.  Worship was good. I only teared up once and I doubt anyone noticed.  After the service I talked with AS and CS and RH and a lot of other people and it was all good.  Once again, I find it hard to put into words how special it was for me to help with the worship team.  It meant more to me than I think anyone is really aware.  I may do a separate post on that some day.

So, to sum up the last 8 or 9 days... It was good.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Does My Soul Good

This Blog

I've been thinking about this blog again.  I've gone back and reread everything from the beginning.  I think it's interesting the direction it's gone.  There's a lot about me that doesn't appear at all, and that wasn't intentional, that's just how it has unfolded so far.  For instance I follow politics, like football (Go Riders!), was pulling for Josh Hamilton and the Rangers to win the World Series, take pictures all the time (although only with my cell phone cuz my camera died), and journal incessantly.  I don't think I've really mentioned any of that.  Interesting.

My question, for me, and you too, I guess, is how personal do I allow this blog to be?  Last night, I felt, was pretty personal.  My eyes were burning tears as I wrote.  I wonder if it is good to be this open, online anyway.  However, there's few places in my life where I feel I can be this open in person.  Once again, carry over from my younger years.    And there's other things I want to discuss as well which are generally of a personal nature that I haven't touched at all yet.  Should I?  Is it too much of me?  Is it too much for you?  What could the repercussions be further down the road?

Also, no person is an island.  Eventually I will probably talk about people in my life more often.  I don't want to spread people's names around the internet or disclose anything they may not want so I will continue to keep people as anonymous as I can.

I guess I will always try to stay true to my mission statement.  "To allow you to know me."

Thoughts Too Big To Handle

I'll begin by saying I'm tired.  I probably shouldn't make entries when I'm this exhausted, but I think any inhibitions I may have when I am in a more lucid state are gone when I'm practically asleep.  This is an important thought I don't want to butcher, but I can't let it percolate in my head much longer.

Sometimes I feel like Oskar Schindler, at the end of Schindler's List.  As the war rages Oskar looks at his ring and his car and breaks down.  For the cost of his car and his ring, he could have "bought" lives to save from the Nazis.  Sometimes I feel like that.  I have too much.  When I look at my possessions and realize that the money I paid for them could have gone to save a life, I hurt.  Now, I tend to be a minimalist and try to fight the materialism that is so rampant everywhere, but it's still there.  How many times have I changed the channel when someone is asking for a dollar a day to save the life of a child?  I am very aware of all the problems in the world and yet what have I done about it?  Not much.  This frustrates me so much.  I know I close it out.  Sometimes it feels like all the problems in the world are like a tidal wave bearing down on me.  What can I possibly do to prevent any of it?  I feel so helpless and useless.  And I think my response, like most others, is to block it all out.

I'm scared to care.  I'm scared to do anything.  I feel like if I were to open myself up to even a tiny portion of these issues, the flood gates will open and I will be drowned in the pain of the world.  And I know that's wrong.  I get frustrated with stupid things I let steal my attention, like meeting new people, when I should be focusing on these other issues.  I came across a note on facebook that said what I want to say much better than I can say it right now.  It basically triggered me to write this entry.  I just can't keep it inside anymore.  I had to read it several times over to absorb it.  If I can get permission, I'll quote it below sometime.

My answer is to go to God.  And that's scarier than anything else because God may just reply.  I am praying right now, "Lord, please use me.  Equip me or do whatever you have to do to help me do your will.  Help me help the world.  Help me show Your love.  Help me reflect Jesus in all I do.  Help me care.  Please.  In Jesus name I ask this, amen."

Update: Here's the note

Our world is a mess.

Jesus, where are you?
Why can't you still be here? On this earth. With us. As flesh and blood. You could heal and help and love. Come, Jesus, come.

Tragedy. Cancer slowly defeats so many. Health problems take over our bodies. Mental states deteriorate. Diseases claim innocent lives. Death is so real.
Jesus, where are you? Why can't you be here?

Suffering. Loneliness overwhelms lost souls. Hopelessness feeds grief. Broken hearts depend on anti-depressants. Women hate themselves because of abuse; hate is all they know. Pain suffocates children before they know what hit them. Anger causes unthinkable actions. Countries are at war. Peers are at war. Alcohol, drugs, sex, darkness, is what we turn to for fulfillment. Created things are worshiped more passionately than their Creator. Sin is a game. Evil is something to delight in. Judgment for the sinners...by other sinners. The wronged are merciless.
Jesus, where are you? Why can't you be here?

Desperation. Poverty consumes most of the world. A hungry man dies on the street corner while a family nearby throws out leftovers. A cold child freezes to death while the house across the road has two empty beds. The richest 20% of the world lives on 75% of the world's income. Every second child is bound by poverty. Natural disasters wipe out what is left of the poorest countries. It is not fair.
Jesus, where are you? Why can't you be here?

Lies blind us. Fear paralyzes us. Pride deafens us. Comfortableness cripples us. Apathy misleads us. Judgment condemns us. Selfishness consumes us.
Jesus, where are you? Why can't you be here?

I am. I am in you. Step up.
My Spirit is with the Church. Step up.

 Courtesy of AS

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Dear Diary,

I have my list of songs for worship on Sunday.  Wouldn't you know it, the list includes How Deep The Father's Love, among others.  I can barely make it through practicing alone in my bedroom without tearing up.  I get the feeling I'm going to be crying all Sunday service.  Nuts.  I will try to hide behind the piano.  I'm not much of an upfront kind of person any way.  Given the option, I'd rather be behind the scenes.  I'm still excited.

And tonight I go to a new College and Career group.  I don't know anyone there.  I will be honest, I am a little nervous.  I'm still not a fan of meeting strangers, but I am a fan of making friends.  Like Chief Wiggum sings, "A stranger's just a friend you haven't met."  Wish me luck.  Or, better yet, please pray for me.  It feels so awkward to ask for prayer to meet people at a C&C or even that I don't cause a distraction during worship on Sunday, but that's what I'm asking for.

And finally, I have found out there is a prayer group that meets at church Friday morning at 7am.  I am going. I don't want to spread myself too thin, but I am seriously searching for places where I feel I fit, in life in general, and my Christian life in particular, and I want to be there.




I have found myself singing, humming, thinking of this song all week. And, maybe it was a dream or a pseudo-memory, but I think I woke up singing this song recently too. I thought I would share it with you.

Monday, November 1, 2010