Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I found out that our baby is with the Lord.

Look out, it's starting

Monday, November 13, 2006

I am a fiction lover. Christian fiction in particular, although I'll devour the latest Mary Higgins Clark in mere hours. Over the last few years, I've read a few fiction books that portray a future western civilization that is completely and utterly hostile to Christianity, especially evangelicals. One common thread through the books is that this hostility begins with one of the current 'hot topics'---abortion, gay rights...well, ok, those are the only two I can think of right now.

Reading fictitious accounts of what could happen to believers in the next many years is often disconcerting, but never long lasting, as I comfort myself that we're not there, it may not ever happen and I've got enough to worry about that is actually affecting my life NOW!

However, I read an alarming story on yahoo news just now.

See it here.

First of all, I think the United Church should be terribly offended. Not that I'm in agreement with the United church in all regards, but it's fairly well known that they are great supporters of gay rights, and go out of their way to show massive acceptance of all those proclaiming to be gay. I know they ordain gay ministers and allow gays in all areas of church leadership. The United church has even started a new...for lack of a better word, program, that allows congregations to take on the name 'affirming' which means they won't reject anyone based on gender, sexual orientation or race.

I hope that they respond, and quickly. Elton John is too huge a star to allow his comments to filter through our society unchecked. He is exactly the kind of politically active, diversely talented poster boy anti-religion movements need. People listen to him. He can sway alot of public opinion.

The fact that his comments in this article are inconsistent will likely make no difference to those who might seize his stance and elevate it to the forefront of anti-religious endeavours.
"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people," John said
in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine in an interview published
Saturday. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."
"But there
are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," said the
What kind of sadistic people does Elton know, that would puposefully involve themselves with an organization that "hates" them and apparently promotes hatred against those like them?

Unfortunately, I think the United church are the only ones that could defend "organized religion" in this case. Take the words of another blogger, Scott Williams:

"today, however, because of comments by one notorious church planter who is fond
of telling you his credentials; many christians are branded as fundamentalist,
gay-bashing, stupid rednecks"
and then at the end:

"just for the record, most of us can't afford air conditioned dog houses
and we don't ask people to drink poisoned kool-aid. we don't hate gay people and
some of us wouldn't vote republican if it was a one party system. most
christians i have met are incredibly humble and giving, the best kind of people.
they would take a bullet for a stranger and every day wake up and try to be a
good citizen and a compassionate human being."
Of course, Christians' reputations haven't been built on just one idiots public comments. It's been the zealots, the cults, the misguided fringe elements. The fact that thousands of mainstream, conservative evangelical churches would never dream of preaching hatred towards anyone, just can't hold a candle to the luscious glee so many journalists experience when handed the weapon to skewer "organized religion". Want to know a shocking truth? Public opinion is sometimes WRONG. Would you like proof? Answer the following scenario:

Your 10 year old son comes home and asks to go over to a friends house, with the plan that after a bit, he and his friend will go over to a third friends house. You know that friend number one has a pool, and you know your son and friend will likely be going for a swim. You know that friend two's dad owns a gun and that the kids know where it is kept. What are you going to say to your son?

Possible answers:
1) Sure, go ahead, be home by supper.
2) You can go to friend number one's house, but I don't want you going to friend two's house.
3) You can go to friend number two's house, but I don't want you going to friend one's house.
4) You failed your science test today---you're not going anywhere buddy.

If you're actually a parent, you're probably thinking about answer 2. Or maybe you're not because you know that's the expected answer, and you never do what's expected.

Yes, it is the expected answer, and Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner prove it nicely in their book "Freakonomics" when they list the statistical evidence concerning juvenile death by guns, compared to death by drowning in a family pool. Most do not see a backyard pool as an inherent danger to their children, but would never dream of owning a gun. However, statistics prove that a child in a home with both a gun and a swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to die in the swimming pool, rather then in an accident with the gun. How well known is this fact?

Well, did you know?

All this to say that my heart sinks when I see the likes of Elton John making such horribly damaging comments across the worldwide stage. As followers of Jesus Christ, our highest mandate is to love. God is love and we strive to be like him.

November's not normally this exciting....

Monday, November 6, 2006

I have a few more exciting announcements!

No, I'm not having twins. (Although I did have a dream about that....)

First of all, you'll see a link to the Hamilton Children's Choir on my sidebar. This is because I'm on the artistic staff. I conduct the training choir, called Prelude and the boys choir, called Allmen. I've been involved with the HCC since I was ten years old when I joined as a chorister. I came on staff in 2001, right after Jairus was born. At the time, the Artistic Director was David Davis, who had been my conductor as a child and who became a close friend and mentor as I grew up.

David left the HCC in 2002 to become the director of the Canadian Male Orpheus choir. He did this until his death this past spring.

Zimfira Poloz came on as our new artistic director. Having only lived in Canada for three years, her english had an impossibly strong Russian accent, but she was impressively fluent. Also impressive was her experience. She had founded a choral school in her native Kazakhstan which grew from nothing to hundreds of students and a large staff of teachers in only 15 years. Upon arriving in Canada, she headed right for the top--the Toronto Children's Chorus. Soon after, she took over the High Park Children's Choir in TO and then joined us in the January of 2003. Zimfira still travels more than once a year to adjudicate and present at world reknowned choral competitions all over the globe. Working with her has been incredible and I've learned SO much in only 3 years.

In a couple hours the Concert Choir arrives home from Tolosa, Spain. There they competed in a world class choral competition, for the first time, and placed second behind a Russian choir. Furthermore, they were awarded the audience's "People's Choice" Award as best choir in the competition. I was so thrilled to hear this! And especially proud, when I look at the pictures and see children (now teens) that started in my training choir years ago.

New uniforms were created for the trip--see how amazing these kids look!!

So, congratulations to the Hamilton Children's Choir!! For more pictures, take a look at the trip blog here.

In other news, we heard today that my brother Paul has been accepted into the military. This is both exciting and scary! Paul is 18 years old and graduated from highschool in June. He's been working part-ish time at Tim Hortons, but no more!! He flies out to St. John's, NFLD in less than two weeks to start basic training. Please pray that he'll hook up with some good guys out there that will help keep him on the straight and narrow. Plus that he'll get in shape soon--he's spent most of the last year on his computer!! Congratulations Paul!!

Last but not least, late last week my sister Lauren was accepted into the Cosmetology and Marketing program at Sheridan College in Oakville. She's so excited! Lauren graduated from highschool last year and has been working full time for Direct Buy in Stoney Creek all this year. Now we've gotta get apartment hunting...Congratulations Lauren!!

And congratulations to my parents. You just got rid of two kids within 5 days!!! Hallelujah!

And I thought I'd give an update on Mvelopes. After some initial gliches with service interruptions, it's been running along smoothly and I've never been so excited about taking care of the family finances. It's been just over three months now since I joined up, first taking advantage of the 30 day free trial. It's taken some trial and error, a number of instant message sessions with the tech people and a few posts on the support forum, but I've got the hang of it now. I was able to solve the biggest hurdle I was seeing--that Mvelopes has you plan your budget based on a monthly pay schedule, and we get paid bi-weekly (plus a few other income sources throughout the month). I connected with another user through the forums who was much more experienced than I, and she sent me a spreadsheet that showed me how to plan out the use of each and every paycheque. This made the whole process 100% clearer and I really feel like I'm using the system closer to it's full potential. Some immediate improvements I've seen:

  • There's actually still money left in my bank account when the next paycheque arrives. This never happened before!!
  • There's money in our savings account. Can I just say, holy cannoli.
  • I've got money set aside for a few small things that I never used to have--like money to buy medicine or prescriptions (we've got no plan). Had to buy Tylenol last night because Honour was complaining of a sore throat and....oh my goodness, there was actually money there to do that!

So, I'm really thrilled with how the Mvelopes is working for us. I'd encourage anyone who makes ANY money to look into it pronto.

I have an appointment with the Prenatal Diagnostic clinic on Nov. 21st. This will be my ultrasound--anatomical scan and 3-D ultrasound, and then an appointment with the geneticist. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous. I feel like this baby doesn't move around as much as I remember my other babies. I'm hoping it's just because I'm so busy with the other 3 all the time that I don't notice. I'm hardly showing too. Tomorrow I'll be 17 weeks and nobody can really tell than I'm pregnant. But I have gained more weight at this point than I have with the other three (oh, great), so that's gotta be a good sign, right? And at the last midwife appointment, the heartbeat was nice and strong--up in the 150's and I was measuring just right. I keep reassuring myself with that info.

Thanks for readin'.

Later all.

Tatum Update

Thursday, November 2, 2006

We got some news about Tatum this week.

Please hop over to the Help Tatum blog to read about it.

Thanks much,