Category Archives: Canada



This is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Feasting, family, friends, football . . . you know the drill. It’s often a busy day with the people you care about and there might even be a comment or two where someone offers a word of gratitude.

Aside from this day set aside for thanksgiving, however, are we really grateful?

Hmm . . .

I read an article this morning about the victims of what’s known as the Great Purge, some of the more than 9,000 German Mennonites arrested in Ukraine from 1936-38, during Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s ethnically motivated persecution (click here). I am of Mennonite ancestry and my family immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine, so this news story caught my attention.

I got to thinking about Thanksgiving and how my generation, and those following, have little context with which to understand the sacrifices and hardships that made it possible for us to be where we are today. We, in North America, have not experienced world wars, the Great Depression, or ethnic persecution such as the Jewish Holocaust and that which is described in the article I read. We’ve certainly had rough times, but nothing to the extent that our forefathers lived through, and sometimes even died during.

Yet, they were thankful.

I know this, because I’ve read my great-great-grandmother’s diary. I’ve spoken with elderly people who shared their stories. Almost without exception, they repeatedly express their deepest gratitude to our heavenly Father for giving them courage, for protecting them, for making a way for them, and for never leaving or forsaking them.

I am certain that the Lord pointed me to that website with the article I mentioned. Reading it caused me to stop and really think about my own often ungrateful heart and how I can become more purposeful in expressing thanks, not just to my Father, but to others around me.

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, 
Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations. – Psalm 79:13 (NKJV)



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The Free Bible

One of our local Vancouver news sites posted this story yesterday: Students in Chilliwack Getting Free Bibles in School.

I received one of those New Testaments from the Gideons when I was in the fifth grade, as did every other Canadian child until some parents started voicing concerns about Christian indoctrination and such. This kind of protest increased to the point where there are very few schools that permit the distribution of the little Bibles these days. Apparently, it’s now considered discrimination against other religious groups and interferes with parents’ rights to educate their children.

Give me a break.

If a parent truly believes it is their right to educate their children, then home school the kids and be done with the evil Christian influence they think occurs in public schools. But many parents can’t, or don’t want to. Instead, they become so vocal about their “rights” that teachers aren’t allowed to do much more than read out of a text book because if they state anything that sounds like an opinion, they are raked over the coals by one group or another. The result is kids who grow up to mimic their parents’ attitudes and receive a narrow-minded education in the process. They are intolerant of anyone who does not agree with them.

That’s my opinion, based on what I see and hear around me.

Let the Gideons hand out their Bibles. If you don’t want your child to have one, then don’t sign the permission slip. But to start hurling unfounded and ridiculous accusations is a little bit over the top, don’t you think?

We’re facing the end times, folks, and this news article talks about just one tiny little event in the grand scheme of things. But the gray area between black and white is thinning quite rapidly. We can’t camp there anymore. Christians, take a stand. The enemy knows his days are numbered and he’s pulling out all the stops while he still can.

I’m so glad I know Who wins.

Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that’s known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as “Word of God.” The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords. – Revelation 19:11-16 (The Message)

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Let’s Bash the Prime Minister

Stephen Harper Worst Prime Minister in 40 Years

This was the headline I read first thing this morning. And I got mad. You know – the kind of mad that rates the “righteous anger” category.

This isn’t intended to be a political blog post as much as it is a rant about the way media spins a story. In this particular news article, 26% of 1500 people surveyed stated that they thought Stephen Harper was the worst Prime Minister Canada has had in 40 years. So 390 individuals don’t like Mr. Harper. Hardly a good indication of how the other 35,000,000 citizens of this country feel.

The folks down at media headquarters decided it was time to start a fire, so they came up with a headline that isn’t exactly a lie, but it ain’t the whole truth either. And people being people, most won’t even read the article. You think the media doesn’t know this?

All I wanted to say was that I believe this “news” article gave a false view of Mr. Harper’s administration. A Prime Minister’s job is difficult enough without having to deal with junk like this showing up in the media.

We want the truth in the news. Not  Prime Minister bashing.

And for the record, thank you Mr. Harper, for a job well done.



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Here’s the thing about long weekends . . .

Today was BC Day. For all of my non-Canadian readers, B.C. stands for British Columbia, which is the province (not providence) on the west coast of Canada. Anyway, BC Day always comes along on the first Monday in August, which means we just had a long weekend.

But here’s the thing about long weekends: they end. Too soon. Every time.

I had big plans for this particular long weekend. I was going to work on The Bond of Seven and get at least three chapters done so Emily (my granddaughter) would stop asking me what happens next. Didn’t happen. I was going to write several blog posts. That didn’t happen either. And I was going to clean the house. We won’t talk about that. The bottom line is that I pretty much didn’t do anything I had planned to do.

But . . .

I spent a lot of time with my family. I read a whole book. I cleaned my bathroom. I went to church (awesome sermon). I read my Bible. I got some new friends on Facebook. I got a fair bit of work done at the coffee shop. I watched women’s Olympic soccer (sad loss for the Canadians) and I don’t even know anything about soccer.

So I didn’t do what I thought I would do, but I did other important things on this long weekend that ended way too quickly.

And then something our pastor said last Sunday came to mind. God’s agenda supersedes all the agendas of man. We need to function on the playing field He sets out for us.

I’m not saying it was necessarily God’s agenda that I do all the things I did or didn’t, but it reminded me that I need to be listening to what He is telling me. I need to hear His voice when He lays out His agenda for me. And then I need to obey, even when He is asking me to do something that may not fit into my plans.

God says, in Isaiah 55:8, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” (The Message)


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Road Tripping

We’re going on a road trip. Leaving before the crack of dawn, even. We will make the eastern trek over the great Canadian Rocky Mountains and across a considerable expanse of prairie to reach our destination. Eighteen hours in the car. Maybe nineteen if we stop for too many potty breaks.

Hello, gas station bathrooms.

Can you appreciate what this kind of driving time does to your brain cells? You’re pretty good for the first six or eight hours, but after that it’s snoring with your mouth open (hopefully not the driver, of course), laughing at practically anything, and stiffness in the posterior regions. You’ve sung through the top fifty on the oldies station providing, of course, you’re already through the mountains and have a radio signal again. You’ve discussed your life goals in detail. And you’re wondering if that really was a Sasquatch you saw over there in the trees. Good times.

Then the boredom sets in. There is silence in the car, each of us alone with our thoughts. We check the clock every fourteen minutes. We calculate, for the twelfth time, how long it will be until the agony ends. We stop caring about roaming charges and start texting, emailing and Facebooking anyone who will answer.

Ah, the road trip.

Could there be any better way to travel?



Filed under Canada, Family, Imagination, Writing

On the Canadian Federal Election

I’ve never purposed this blog to be political in any way, but there are times when the subject bears review. We Canadians voted yesterday – our fourth federal election in seven years. And the people of Canada chose Stephen Harper, once again, to be our Prime Minister. But this time he has a majority government, giving him the opportunity to do the job he was elected to do.

I’m kind of bothered when I read or hear comments from people calling Mr. Harper a dictator, a loser, or any number of uncomplimentary names. I post here a comment from a young cousin of mine:

“There are governments that are run by real dictators, full of genocide, child soldiers, civil war and real political oppression. If you’re that upset about Harper, sit down and talk to a refugee and THEN tell us how much Canadian government sucks…”

Well said.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a surging ahead of our great country, with Mr. Harper at the helm. Is he perfect? No. But the man has morals and values and a strong Christian faith that so many have let fall by the wayside, especially our leaders.

This is good.

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O Canada!

Someone sent this to me today and I wanted to share. Bravo for one principal who had the guts to say it like it is. I imagine he/she has already been fired by a “politically correct” school board.


I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater
calling than to teach young people.

I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our

I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas
that have dominated public education in Canada have worked against
you, against your teachers, against your parents, and against our
country. Therefore: First, this school will no longer honor race or
ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown,
red, yellow, or white. I could not care less if your origins are
African, Latin American, Asian, or European, or if your ancestors
arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I
care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual
identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the
only national identity this school will care about is Canadian. This is
a Canadian public school, and Canadian public schools were created to
make better Canadians.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial, or religious identity through
your school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-,
race- and non-Canadian-nationality-based celebrations. They undermine
the motto of Canada.

And this school will be guided by Canada ‘s values. That includes
all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students
based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual
orientation, or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided
by political correctness. Your clubs will be based on interests and
passions — not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties.
Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation
with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think
beyond yourself. So, we will have clubs that transport you to the
wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not
already speak, math, carpentry, and more. If the only extracurricular
activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on
ethnic or racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of
yourself really interests you.

Second, I am not interested in whether or not English is your native
language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this
school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The
English language has united Canada’s citizens for more than 200
years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the
indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be
one country. And if you leave this school without excellent
English-language skills, I will have been remiss in my duty to ensure
that you are prepared to compete successfully in the Canadian job
market. We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that
most Canadians only speak English . But if you want classes taught in
your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in
this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among
other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many
people in our society dress more formally for a meal at a nice
restaurant than they do for church or school. Those people have their
priorities backwards. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at
this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this
school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic
events. If you can’t speak without using the “F-word,” you can’t speak.
By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal
Communications Commission plus epithets such as the “N-word,” even
when used by one black student to address another, or “bitch,” even
when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the
time you leave this school, you will be among the few of your age to
distinguish instinctively between the elevated and the degraded, the
holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school,
self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained
it by earning it. One immediate consequence of this is that there will be
only one class valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away
from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring
you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual
harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to
condom-wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or
primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince
you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or
not heterosexual, or not Christian. We will have failed, if any one of
you graduates from this school and does not consider himself or herself
inordinately lucky — to be alive and to be an Canadian.

Now, please stand and join me in singing, O CANADA to the only flag in
Canada. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand
them out to you.

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