The Cobbler

Harrison and I climbed the Cobbler followed by a stop at the Drovers Inn fir fish & chips. Brilliant weather and a great time together.

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Special Guests – Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams

This week we have Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams staying with us. Today he is leading a seminar on grace filled relationships for the church, then speaking at our church gathering. There will be many quotes I will find worthy of posting; some his, some others. Here is one from the seminar that I think is worth posting.

“Grace is control of inward attitudes and outward actions by means of love without any penalty.”

I will ruminate on this for awhile…

Home safe

I’m back in Glasgow and only a bit jet lagged. I had a wonderful time at my family & high school reunions and it was so good to be back with people who never forget me for who I was and who I have become and have yet to be. Mermories of my past behaviour were frequently brought up (I was a little vandal) and also compliments about my wife, kids, ministry that made me feel so loved and appreciated.  Special thanks go out to my sister Mary for hosting me, my parents for carting me about, and to my brother Brian and his wife Karen for the goodies and taking me to the airport. Makes me want to move back to the States….but I can’t. Mike

New Page

In April we fasted from TV, PC, & DS – for the older readers that is television, personal computer and Nintendo Developers Station (a hand held game). The kids had become addicted to them and were fighting and we were fighting with them about the games. It was out of control – even if we only let them watch TV for 30 minutes in the evening with us there would be disputes. So we banned them for a month and we all adhered to this e-fast (except me who kept working on the PC). Today it carries on but with greater freedom. Today I awakened to the girls playing in their room with toys. Harrison is to be found reading. I however, and breaking the fast with a cup of coffee and posting this blog update! P.S. – Do you like the new look of the site? I had to update Mosaic’s (www.glasgowmosaic.com), so I did ours as well.

Home Again

Carol has returned home after visiting her father for his 80th birthday. I’m not one to get homesick as I am a fairly independent person and a phone call can pacify me. However, I missed her alot and the past month I have really been homesick for my family in the USA. It doesn’t help that I have a 20th high school reunion, family reunion, family home being sold, and I listened to John Denver and James Taylor for the past few weeks. Memories of my past kept flooding my mind and also regrets I have or regrets I will have if I don’t say some goodbyes and make some effort to reconnect. In 6 years I have been to the USA 4 times now so Ireally shouldn’t be that homesick (IMO). But I cannot deny it so I’ve booked tickets to visit family and friends from June 19-24th!

Like A Sad Song (by John Denver)

Usually in the morning I’m filled with sweet belonging and everything is beautiful to see.
Even when it’s raining, the sound of heaven singing is simply joyful music to me.
But sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

So many different places, a million smiling faces, life is so incredible to me.
Especially to be near you and how it is to touch you, oh, paradise was made for you and me.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

I know that life goes on just perfectly and everything is just the way that it should be.
Still there are times when my heart feels like breaking and anywhere is where I’d rather be.
Oh, and in the nighttime, I know that it’s the right time to hold you close and say I love you so.
To have someone to share with and someone I can care with
and that is why I wanted you to know.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you, without you.

Perspective

I’ve been down the past week for a variety of reasons and really feeling burdened. On Friday it was a particularly rough day with almost burning the house down and having some really difficult ministry related conversations. In passing someone mentioned all the polic that were 5 minutes from the school – something major had obviously happened. I read this on Monday from the BBC website:

“A murder inquiry has been launched following what police called the “violent death” of Eleni Pachou. The body of the 25-year-old, who was from Greece, was found in Di Maggio’s pizzeria in Ruthven Lane in the city’s west end at 0820 BST on Friday. ”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7427580.stm

Her family is grieving over her death and I’m bemoaning what really are trivial things. With opening a business ourselves and at times having staff, perhaps even Carol or myself, closing the store at night, this could have just as easily been one of us. This news about this young ladies death, in a well off business district, 5 minutes from my kids school, and me pitying myself, makes me sick of my sinful attitude. We have much to be thankful for if we only had the proper perspective. I am thankful.

Airport, IKEA, UPS and swimming

That was the order today as Carol headed to Boston to celebrate her father’s 80th birthday. We all loaded into the car and took her to the airport, said our goodbyes and then snaked through the back way to IKEa for their 95p breakfast (the kids and I love it). Did some idea shopping for the store and then went to ship a package for a photo shoot for the business. We came back home, I did some emails and follow up phone calls, changed and headed out to go swimming. We now have set up a movie room – the church projector & screen – to watch The Call of the Wild and eat bangers and mash (sausages and mash potatoes). Need to go make the mash!

Hillwalks

Carol leaves Tuesday for a 9 day visit to see her father in Boston. Since the kids had off for a school break today we decided to take a trip to a nearby hill – Dumgoyne – to spend some time together as a family. It was a beautiful day and the walk was not too hard. Except for the sheep droppings, which Sophie CANNOT handle, we made it to the top & back alive. It was a bit of a hard go at times, Sophie crying for about 1/2 the way, Harrison almost falling down the mountain, Lily complaining she couldn’t take another step, and me at wits end! Carol seemed not to be bothered by it all. The day was summed up by Harrison during his bedtime prayer – “thank you for a great time walking even though we argued.” How true, as it was oddly a good day despite the trials. I am thankful Harrison had the sense to recognise this and remind me of being thankful in all things.

In the home stretch?

We are entering a really busy month. I’m still trying to figure out if we are ‘in the home stretch’ or just starting the journey.

  1. We have introduced in Mosaic the concept of the ‘promise’ – a commitment to particular practices that will help Mosaic live out its vision. Commitment is more easily adopted in secular groups (teams, organizations, etc.) but when it comes to the church, people tend to want preference and consumption without sacrifice or participation. We need to go further in helping people see the biblical basis for commitment or covenanting. I see this as  matter of aligning our head & hearts with what God wants for our community. That isn’t always easy to correct our preferences, traditions, habits, etc. and align them with what God calls us to. That is discipleship though.
  2. We have two sets of guests arriving – Dan & Bert. One set are friends who will be here for a week. One will stay on until May. We also have my sister in law and niece coming. They’ll be here to help with our kids while Carol and I are away for 5 days at a conference in Portugal (we’ve also been able to tack on 4 days in Paris – for FREE!!!).
  3. This week will also be heavy with conversations about our future (I’ll post in a couple weeks in detail) and the reason for Dan & Bert’s visit. It is the beginning steps of a longer and more settled future for us.
  4. We are starting lent and this elads up to Easter…school breaks…etc. It is always a packed time.

However, I am tending toward the positive with all this. It is good stuff, healthy, exciting and I see it as the culmination of things that started long ago (2000 years ago for one event!). I see it as both the home stretch and the start of a new chapter.

Poverty

It has been raining a lot and because the weather was fair today we went out for a walk. We decided to walk along the Kelvin River and Forth & Clyde Canal. We ended up passing through the area of Maryhill. This is one of Glasgow’s poorest areasand on the doorstep of Glasgow’s wealthiest neighbourhood. As we walked through streets with litter, Tesco shopping trolleys thrown about, abandoned flats, etc. a general sadness came over me. We have enjoyed food, parties, and presents this Christmas season and this grey, lonely and blighted area brought me great sadness. Even one of the local churches seemed to be braced for what might happen in the night – steel doors and bars, no longer stained glass but plastic windows, and closed off entrances. The contrast of Maryhill and our ‘rich’ Christmas season makes me pause with gratefulness, sadness, and simply a desire to pray for healing there.