Friday, 11 April 2014

Reason to Celebrate

Tomorrow is a big day.  April the 12th is the day my Mom was born and also the day my parents and late paternal grandparents were married.  As much as it is more blessed to give than to receive, I cannot help but think about how much I have received because of the historic family events that have taken place on April the 12th.  I am thankful for the blessing that my Mom and Dad are and for the example they have set for our family.

Growing up my Mom was one of my heroes and still is.  Not only is she an awesome Mom and Mummu to my girls who does all the things that you envision an awesome mom doing, but she also had enough gumption not to give up on her dream.  So many years ago now, with three children, she went back to school to complete high school and nursing college.  I remember her studying her anatomy books well into the evening and on weekends finding time where she could while still taking care of us all.  She accomplished that which she set out to do and continues to succeed in her career as a nurse.  She now works in palliative care helping comfort those who have no hope for recovery and easing them into the sweet hereafter.  She handles her sacred duty with quiet strength (although she is not always quiet), resolve and compassion indicative of her character.  I am proud of my Mom and glad that my girls have such a great example that they can learn from and hope to be like one day (my girls are very fortunate with the number of quality women they are surrounded with).

My Mom and Dad have done it together for I am sure that my mom would agree that without my Dad supporting her decision to go back to school and encouragement, it would have been a heck of a lot harder to accomplish what she has.  They have stuck together through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and in health and continue to demonstrate love, commitment and teamwork.  When I consider what my parents have given me I think about the faith they fostered in me, the values they instilled, the belief they had in me and the encouragement and support they continue to give to me and my family.  These are priceless... a rich heritage that I strive to guard as fervently as I would a precious family heirloom so that I may pass them on to my girls and them to their children.

So to my Mom and Dad I say Happy Birthday and Anniversary, may God richly bless you today and in the coming year and we thank you for all that you have given to us!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Fatherhood is Like Gravity

Well another Oscar night has come and gone. I used to love Oscar night because I used to love films.  There were a few years there that I'm pretty sure I saw every movie nominated for a major award (working at a movie theatre and going to film school were certainly enabling factors).   I think this is the first time in eighteen years that I didn't catch any of the broadcast.  I didn't even know all the films that were nominated for Best Picture until after the telecast when I was reviewing the winners.  It was then that it hit me just how out of touch I am with pulp culture.  While fatherhood and family life tend to do that (at least to me) do not think that I am lamenting this fact.  I'd much rather be grounded in what matters (family) than caught up with my head in the clouds floating to and fro whichever way the wind may blow (divergent entertainment).

It all reminds me of that movie least what I imagine Gravity to be about since I've only ever seen the teaser.  If I'm correct the movie is about a couple of astronauts sent adrift in space after a spacewalk goes wrong.  That's it pretty much in a nutshell, isn't it?

I think parents need to be especially vigilant with the time they carve out for each other lest they end up like the two astronauts in the movie (although if I could end up looking like George Clooney when I'm 50, I'd be okay with that...and I think my wife would concur).  There are so many things willing to be your distraction du jour that it is tempting to lose sight of what's important and float away.  If one is not careful, it is easy to get caught up in the doing of the things of everyday life and be sent adrift in the inertia of it all only to look up and find yourself miles from where you intended to be, far from your partner and no notion of how to get back.  

So in the spacewalk that is life (how's that for some fromage?) even when what you're doing is filled with purpose, don't lose focus of the big picture and for goodness sake hang on tight to each other.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sea of Pink

Having three girls I should have expected a certain amount of pinkness in my life but sometimes for no reason it seems to really explode. In a good way. Although my girls are sporty and love things like star wars, lego, and Jack London stories, every once and a while they really have to get their pink on. Like on Saturday after hockey with their little cousin joining in. Enjoy! 


Monday, 24 February 2014

No Play Allowed

I was at a school park with my kids the other day after school hours. My children were happily playing on the play structure which was fairly snowy, but since it was constructed mostly of wood and not very dangerous looking I didn't really see it as a problem. Now there is a sign on said play structure that says Ottawa District School has closed this structure until spring. "Ok that sounds clear enough Ryan", you say? Wait! The park near the school is actually owned by the city so while the school has rights to the structure during school hours they do not after school is over. So I took it upon myself to ignore the stupid rule sign and let my children play on the "dangerous play structure"; can dangerous play structure even go in the same sentence? I digress,,.

From the school came abounding two very well meaning ECE workers who help run the day-care within the school. " Sorry but the play structures closed for the season you can you it in the spring", they said in their patronising veiled with concern tone. "But, but, it's only a bit snowy, and it's after 4 pm, and, and, its a dumb rule" I said, somewhat reverting into a fourth grade version of myself. "Sorry it's just way too dangerous in the winter to use it" said the ECE teacher. "OK, fine, we will go play on the two story high snow hill beside the parking lot" I say. Which is actually dangerous but with no other options what can you do?

Now it's not that I think this is the teachers or maybe even the schools fault. This is an insurance problem. The schools insurance will not cover student injuries in the winter, so they have to lie to students, parents and even themselves and say that it is because the play structure is dangerous in the winter. The problem with this is that everyone starts believing this lie. Students really think it's very dangerous to play on a meter high playground in the winter in Canada. Where it is winter like 9ish months of the year.

Meanwhile we have a huge push in Ottawa schools to curb obesity. Fresh fruit Fridays, no candy, one candy a day after Halloween, and exercise themed days every so often. How bout we can all that crap, start teaching them to read more often, and open that dammed play structure. Free the children I say!

I know this will not be happening anytime soon. Not while there is a huge insurance company holding the play structures at ransom. I hope that Canadian children are able to shake off their imposed fear when they are older and learn the difference between real danger and a crazy town idea of danger. And I hope that the school boards ubber health strategy doesn't do more harm than good in their students lives. Personally I would much rather have a bunch of kids falling off play structures in the winter if it meant we could give them a more carefree existence during school recess. But maybe thats just me.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different - Snow Shoveling and Electronic Records

Hey, have you ever wondered how e-Records Cleanup is Like Shoveling Snow?  I know, who hasn't, right?  I explored that exact topic just a couple of weeks ago for my company's blog.  Perhaps electronic records disposition and cleanup is not for you, that's understandable, however I'd still recommend checking out the link to glean some tips for shoveling snow and to sample some more fine writing from yours truly.


Monday, 13 January 2014

New Year's Coffee Revolution!!

The machine (in that background) that revolutionized the way I think about and drink coffee.

Latte.  Mocha Latte.  Mmmmm...yes these are items that only a few weeks ago I considered indulgent.  I have to admit I was a plain ol' regular coffee with a splash of milk kind of guy.

However since my wife and I received a fancy-dancy espresso machine for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!!)  my coffee habits have been revolutionized!  I have discovered the sheer joy of making and partaking in such delectable specialty coffees.  It is a fine feeling to sit down after a day at the office and enjoy a fine specialty coffee in my fine home with my fine family.  The whole experience is...well, FINE!!

My oldest daughter is a big fan of the machine too, she is quite proud of herself because she can now make her own hot chocolate.  Now the trick will be to teach her how to make a latte and then have her get up early each day (or maybe just on Sundays) so my latte is ready for me when I arise. dream!

My first attempt at latte's supposed to be a heart with an arrow
though it...made with love, for my wife!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Father's Perspective on Crashing

I don't want to dwell on our accident because as scary as it was it ultimately turned out alright.  It was a minor trauma that could have been a major tragedy...but wasn't.  So while I want to grant it its proper weight, I want to strive to keep it in perspective and avoid indulging in sensationalizing the experience.  That said I've had some stuff running through my mind that I wanted to write down and then that's it, it's on to other things (except when I have to deal with insurance et al).

As a father one of my main duties is to protect my family.  As a parent we strive to provide everything our kids need to be safe, healthy and generally provided for.  So much of my life revolves around what is best for them.  It strikes me that as vigilant and conscientious as we try to be, we are often on the edge of chaos and might not even know it.  I read a lot of westerns and one of the primary themes in westerns is the thin line that exists between civilization and basically just surviving.  We build up this illusion of control by making plans, working hard and preparing for anything...and in a moment it can all slip out from underneath us and make naught of all we've built.  We control so little.  Even something as foundational as our livelihoods are often contingent on the whims of the marketplace, the economy and a number of other variables beyond our realm of influence.  So what do I do with that?

Well for starters I beleive in a God that is in control, not even a sparrow falls to the ground outside of his care.  Even if we should fall, it's not the end of the world.  Even through or maybe especially through difficulties I believe God is working things together for the good of those who are called according to his will and his plan - even if what is happening is not good.  Put aside whether you believe God directly causes or simply allows some things or everything to happen and the theological implications of each (that is a big discussion for another day), because beauty can rise from the ashes of tragedy and there are many examples.  We may not alwasy be privy to the outcome...but I must believe.  As the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians to "live is Christ and to die is gain," he had a hard time deciding which he felt was better.I don't have too difficult a time accepting that on a personal level.

If this is true for me, then it is true for my wife and children.  While I do have a responsibility to them and for them, they are not mine.  So often I view my kids as extension of myself, forgetting that they are their own unique people with their own purposes and callings.  It's difficult for me to comprehend but God loves them more perfectly than I ever could and has created them for his own good pleasure and for his purpose - not mine.  I've been blessed with them for a time and as long as I live I will strive to be the best father for them, to protect and provide for them as vigilantly and diligently as ever.  That which I can control and plan for I will, that which I cannot I will trust that in my weakness and inability God will be glorified and his strength and faithfulness be known, and pray knowing that my family will remain in his will.

I found that it is not easy trusting someone else with those who are most precious to me...but isn't that what God has done and I'm simply recipricating?