Banff - Lake Louise - Banff

It is remarkable how much I get out. Usually I am not the initiator for outings. My friends are great for inviting me to go out and enjoy things. This past weekend was terrific for that. One of my adventures was sparked by Shane who invited me to cycle in the mountains. I hadn't ridden my bike since early June, so I was a little reluctant, but I'm not in terrible shape.

We cycled the return trip Banff-Lake Louise which is 100 km total. We took it easy and took plenty of breaks - there are majestic views around every corner so it was nice to take it slow.

We rode the Bow Valley Parkway heading west which was great because most of the road is smooth blacktop and the traffic is sparse and slow (60 km/h). The last 20 km to Lake Louise Village is mostly uphill, so we were pretty beat at our halfway point and we though we had perhaps bitten off more than we could chew.

But we took the advice of another cyclist took HWY 1 back to the Castle Mountain exit (to get back to the Parkway) and it was amazing - all downhill averaging 30-35 km/h.

As we crossed the bridge to the Parkway, a falcon was perched on a huge nest above the bridge. As it flew away, we noticed it had a big fish clutched in its talon.

We completed our journey under bright blue skies and with warm (not hot) temperatures and cheerfully. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Reading the Bible to my Class

This morning, actually, about 5 minutes ago, I read the last half of Stephen's sermon in Acts 7 which concludes with his martyrdom. I teared up reading
Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
A couple years ago I was reading to a grade 7 class the account of Abraham and young Isaac climbing the mountain where Abraham intends to sacrifice his son.
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
And I couldn't get through it. I had to ask a student to finish the story.

These accounts can still make me ache.


Adobe Premiere: Things I Like

As I updated my operating system on my iMac from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, I was led to believe that my old copy of Final Cut Pro would not work as it was designed for PowerPC and not the new Intel processors (as it turns out, FCP still works). So, I had to decide to either buy the major let down of Final Cut Pro X or the Adobe Creative Suite 6 which includes Premiere (very similar to the older version of Final Cut). I opted for Adobe which I get cheap as I'm a teacher (and there was even a $50 off sale!).

This is my initial positive response to working with Premiere:

  • Drag video or audio only onto the timeline
  • Nice titling options
  • Seamless work with other CS6 apps (Audition (audio editing), Encore (DVD authoring), AfterEffects, Photoshop)
  • Media Browser access to all my files
  • It works with all kinds of video
  • Marker Window with visual view of all markers
  • It looks and works so much like Final Cut Pro

Dragonfly Cohousing: We have a Development Permit from the City of Calgary

Dragonfly Cohousing: We have a Development Permit from the City of Calg...: Our Permit request was granted today after several months of deliberations with City Hall and redesigns by NORR Architects. This marks a landmark in our process to build Alberta's second cohousing development.

Regrets & Pride

I was challenged a couple months ago to consider my regrets. Rather quickly several major regrets came to mind.  Reflecting on my greatest regrettable actions I encounter a disturbing revelation: I have really regretted doing things that primarily made me look bad. Sadly, even when those regrets have involved hurting another person, the reason I regret it is because it tarnishes my reputation, not because of the harm I caused others.

I'll offer a couple examples:
On a band tour back in grade 10, we were passing through Perth Andover, NB where one of our band members lived (I attended a boarding school) and we were to pick him up. A vehicle took the exit off the highway while the other 3 vehicles waited on the shoulder. After some time, I heard our driver lament that this was taking a long time. I perked up and suggested we go to his house; I knew where he lived and it was just a couple kms up the road. Our entire caravan of vans then followed my directions and drove down the road. Very quickly, the vehicle with the Perth resident inside it passed us going the other way. Unfortunately, there were no good places to turn around for at least a km and even then it took quite a while to get everything turned around. In the end we ended up losing 10-15 minutes extending our already delayed trip unnecessarily. Our band conductor had some stern words for me. I was, and still am, embarrassed by that decision, which in hindsight still suggests the best of intentions and really didn't cause much disruption. My embarrassment remains.
In 2002 I was assigned to grade 8 and 9 language arts. There were several difficult students (and parents) and to multiply my frustration it was my first year teaching and I was teaching outside of my subject area. On the last day of regular classes, I showed my options class a movie - Back to the Future. Most of the class watched with enjoyment, but two of my students loudly mocked the film and essentially ruined it for everyone. I ended up speaking to them quite harshly and held one of them against the wall because of his outright defiance (I didn't harm him). I had to eat humble pie by apologizing to him and his father a couple days later along with a talk from my vice-principal. This event haunts me as perhaps the one thing that would really attack my character if I ever became a public figure in politics or otherwise. Note that I have little concern as to how this might have affected the student - which is terrible as I was in a position of authority and should never have treated him this way.
So I think an important step moving forward is to acknowledge this rather disconcerting emphasis on my own self-importance and hold others in high esteem.

I can identify four major "aha!" moments for me recognizing the value of the other:
1996: Working as a student missionary in the Marshall Islands and being asked by an uncle of a toddler to be her primary care giver. This broke my heart.
2000: Working as a youth pastor and discovering that a youth is more important than the lesson I was trying to teach to them.
2005: Receiving an email the morning my son was born which included the Hasidic saying:  "When a child walks down the road, a company of angels goes before him proclaiming, 'Make way for the image of the Holy One.'"
2009: Listening to a sermon on Anger where my pastor explained that he had no right to be angry with another person. It was an issue of pride raising him above another to demean them.
 It's a journey and I'm still on it. While most issues of faith have been cerebral, I am slowly realizing their applications in my life.


Power Thought Debunked

"I am perfect just the way I am."

I read this in a little book called Power Thoughts by Louise L. Hay. Hay is an inspirational writer specializing in little quotes to help people deal with life.

I think she's dead wrong. I think she's filling people's heads with total nonsense. Why? Because we aren't perfect just the way we are. We aren't deserving of love or riches or self-affirming platitudes. I don't believe we need to repeat "I suck!" as we gaze into our mirrors each morning, but we sort of do.

We should daily acknowledge what is good about us (we are loved by God and people, we have talents and gifts to use to contribute to the world around us and to praise God with, we are alive), but we absolutely must acknowledge that we do selfish things everyday. We let people down. We make excuses.

Take for example Luka Rocco Magnotta. A few weeks ago he filmed himself killing and dismembering a Chinese student in Montreal. Louise L. Hay is telling Magnotta to remind himself that he is perfect just the way he is. Does Hay believe this? Why should Magnotta tell himself this? Is this the path to recovery for this monster? Is it just that he didn't remember how perfect he was when he murdered Mr. Lin? I don't think Magnotta is beyond redemption, but affirming who he is is not the road to recovery.

Today's Daily Affirmation from Hay's website is "Today I don't have to fit into anyone else's emotional atmosphere." Gosh! I don't want any of her disciples crossing my path today - they can be as grumpy as they want to be.