If I met You tomorrow

If I met You face to face tomorrow
There’d be so many things I’d want to say

I’d want to thank You
for the things I got to do
for the places I got to go
for the people I got to meet

I’d want to thank You
for all of the fun
I’d want to tell You
that I think I had a good run

If I met You face to face tomorrow
There would be so many things I’d want to say

I’d want to thank You
for keeping Your promise
for saving me from this world
for paying for my salvation

I’d want to tell You
I’m grateful for meeting The Truth and The Life just in time
I’d want to tell You
That I finally understood this life wasn’t actually mine

If I met you face to face tomorrow
There would be so many things I’d want to say

But, if I met You face to face tomorrow
I'd probably stand in awe of You
Not able to say anything at all

I thank God You know my heart
In case I meet You face to face tomorrow


ode to an orange peeler

my wife packed in my lunch today
a navel orange, oh no! i say

oh so tasty, oh so sweet
but have to peel, before can eat

open open silly thing
its peel is very annoying

my fingers can not pierce its rind
failure will mark my every try
its juice will squirt into my eye
the sting will make me cry out WHY!?!!

its zest under my fingernails
its pulp locked up in dimpled jail

this little, couloured citrus ball
mocking me from in its shell

but hark! what is this tricky tool
packed with that which makes me a fool?

brother barrett gave as a gift
oh i can feel my spirits lift

it too is orange but plastic-y
long and slender and pointy

one end like a farmer's plow
victory is not far now

its design is clever, fun
(refer below to figure 1)

Figure 1: Profile view of an orange and peeler.

space age tool from dollar store
to rip this fruit from aft to fore

and peel it in little strips
that tangy taste soon on my lips

that silly fruit once made me scowl
but it's pure joy to eat it... now


I'm a man, yes I am...

At least I am *trying* to be a man. It is a difficult thing, and perhaps something that should come more naturally. I'm not talking about being a boy, a guy, a male, a male who has (you know), or even a "man's man".

What do I mean then, "man"? Well, let me tell you about a few things I think may apply.

A man is strong.
A man stands up regardless of how hard the wind is blowing, how much the land is shaking or sinking, how heavy the snow is on his branches. His wife, his family, depend on his strength, and should be able to lean on him at all times. And, too, when the wind is soft, the land solid, the snow melted, and the standing is easy. Obviously, the life of a soldier is difficult during times of war, but I understand that their life is also very difficult when there are no more enemies left to fight. I promised to be strong in "good times and in bad", and I think that "good times" is written into that vow for good reason.

A man takes responsibility.
He takes responsibility for all of his family, including himself. The buck stops here. If somebody has a problem with my wife or family or anything they do, they have a problem with me. Anything my family does might as well have been done by me, because the responsibility for those actions is mine. If this sounds wrong to you, I would remind you that when I married I became one person with my wife. She is me, and I she. Thankfully, she is a saint both in the New Testament sense of the word, and in the ( mostly ;) ) blameless sense of the word -- it makes my job a lot easier.

And, just as her actions are my actions, mine too are hers. So as I go through any day, I must consider what I'm doing: "Is this something my wife would want me to do?". At all times, I represent us, so REPRESENT!

A man provides.
A man is typically not great at counselling, or caregiving, or giving birth, or keeping track of everyone's feelings and needs. He can be, though, productive. So, he should work! Whenever, wherever his family needs him to. He should ensure that their needs are provided for completely, so that they can perform their God-given roles.

In this, though, he should remember his values. He may work *under* his boss, but he works *for* his family. We can't lose the perspective that the family is the value, the job is the means to the end. That should motivate us to work, and it should motivate us to go right home when work is done.

A man leads.
There is leading by telling everybody what to do, and there is also leading by doing. A man needs to do a little of both. Instruct when there is error, when actions aren't in line with the will of God. But always hold yourself to the highest of standards, be above reproach, so that people can do as you say *and* as you do.

And at all times the leader is the servant. It is the brave general who leads the charge into battle, he doesn't send his troops in first... Despite the knowledge that this puts *him* in everyone's crosshairs.

A man sacrifices.
A man lays down his life for his wife, just as Christ laid down his life for all of us.

A man excludes.
A man belongs to his family, period. He does not belong to the world, and he should not act that way. Nor does the world belong to him. Already a man divides his attention between his wife and God, he shouldn't divide it further.

I've tried at many times in my life to be the whole "Mr. Sensitive" type, and failed miserably. I failed because I am not that type, but acting that type was rewarded with emotional intimacy and receptiveness from the opposite gender. But a man should not seek or find any emotional dependencies outside of his "significant others": his wife, his family, etc. I think any man who is honest with himself understands who is significant, and who is not. For me, it is and has to be Candice to provide that for me, and I know she sees that as a duty. And yes, it is easier now that I have a wife than it was before, but to all you single men out there... "suck it up"!

This must be tough for those men whose jobs require intimacy in another family. The pastors and doctors and nurses and such. Men who have to, in providing for their own family, participate in another man's family. It must take a special man with a special call to do this in a way that glorifies.

A man is thank-less, but not love-less?
I don't think a man should be thanked for doing this stuff right. After all, that's what he was designed to do. But, he should be *loved* for being a man. (To be sure, though, I feel both thanked and loved.)

A man grows
We are not born men, we grow to become men. Thank God for growth, or I would never become the man I want and need to be. I would be stuck as a boy forever.

Why am I writing about this? Consider it a challenge to all you "men" out there, to look carefully at where you're standing, and how you're standing. Consider it, as well, a public statement, and I ask you to hold me to it.

Please comment, if you are inclined. And don't hold back... I'm (trying to be) a man, I can take it!


He is always there...[the Everything Skit]

We've all been tossed around by the world...Investing too much into unhealthy relationships, chasing materialism, conforming to social pressures, being completely overwhelmed by our situations. A good friend of ours sent this our way; I think we can all associate with it, in whole or in part.

He is there for all of us, always. We just have to ask, and He will do the rest.

Tom and Candice


I received these last week.


Ok, Time for a Tutorial!

Alright...Now, we do have a lot of fun sharing our thoughts with you and, possibly contrary to popular belief, spend a great deal of time executing these thoughts onto a blackboard (pun intended). But, do you know what we would enjoy more than hearing ourselves type? Your feedback! Otherwise, it kinda like typing to the wall.

We have changed our settings and now you are able to leave comments anonymously - no other reader will know that insightful/confusing/poorly spelled comment came from you. So we want you, yes YOU to tell us something. Anything!! Absolutely everyone has an opinion. A wise man once told me - "if you haven't offended anyone, you haven't shared your opinion enough". Not that I am anticipating someone wanting to pick a bone with us, but it does emphasise that we all think differently and we can only learn from each other by sharing with each other.

So, lets try a little experiment - voice your opinion by stating your favorite colour. Yup, we're serious. We want to know your favorite colour - this way you can practice leaving a comment and I can prove to Tom that not everyone loves maroon.

So, on that note, I'll hand the keyboard over to my man, who is oh, so good at explaining the technicals:

Okay, first scroll down to the end of this post to where it says "10000 COMMENTS" or "2 COMMENTS", or in a really sad case, "0 COMMENTS". Click on that, smack dab in the middle of the word "COMMENTS". A screen like this pops up:

Type your favourite colour, whatever you want to say, in the box on the right, just under "Leave your comment". Then scroll down to see something like this:

Type in the funny word you see on the screen, into the little box beside "WORD VERIFICATION" (in this case "hcrko"). Then, either:
a) Type in your gmail username beside "USERNAME" and password beside "PASSWORD" (if you have a gmail account and want us to know who you are). If you're not sure what a "gmail" is, go to b) or c) below.
b) Click the little circle to the left of "Nickname", type in your real name or a nickname in the little box to the right of "Nickname". (Remember: "He-Man T-Man" has already been claimed by yours truly.)
c) Click the little circle to the left of "Anonymous". (Chicken!!!)

Then, click on "PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT" (the big orange button).

Finally, scroll back up to the top, and click on "No time like the present..." (next to "Post a Comment On:") to come back to the blog.

Now that you know how - comment away.

(C'mon, maroon is awesome, right?)

Story Update - Husband is Hero

New information has been revealed regarding the Scatliff incident earlier this week. Due to the overwhelming reader response and numerous letters demanding to know where Scatliff's husband was in all of this madness - our reporters dug deeper. This is what they found:
Apparently, Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 was an important day in the Scatliff residence. You see, that very morning there was a very important interview...for a very important job...for a very cute young man. That's right, Mr. Scatliff was on his way to a job interview.
He was scheduled to take the bus that morning, but considering his wife had inconspicuously hid his suit jacket under her fuzzy sweater (in efforts to sabotage his self-confidence, of course) there was some detective work to do and, subsequently, some de-wrinkling and de-fuzzing to do before he was allowed to exit the apartment. And so it was decided, she will drive him to the interview.
As they entered the vehicle at 7:23, Mrs Scatliff patted the dashboard of her old friend and asked "Not this morning, ok? Not this morning". Indicating to the old beast that this was an important day, so don't break down today.

Well, you know what happened...

And there they were, running, he in his best suit and she in her pajamas (just kidding, she wasn't in her pajamas! That would have been funny though...) through the rain - from the broken down car and into a building in efforts to find a phone book and, subsequently, a taxi.
As her husband ran toward the taxi pick-up location, he shouted over his shoulder "Remember, call the Diabetes Foundation not a tow truck!"
A lump developed in her throat. "So, this is it" she thought.
Within moments, the campus security came to aide the damsel in distress [oh, yeah, right!] and said he would go get his partner and they would help push the car to a safer spot. Well, when she knew he was gone, she climbed back into the beast and clearly explained the situation to the girl - using a very loud voice (just in case the car couldn't hear in her old age). "This is going to get even more embarrassing," shouted Scatliff "so lets move it girl!" And, with a great enthusiasm, the car started again. Scatliff took off the e-brake and threw it into gear, knowing that this may be her last chance to get it home, and to get out of there before security boys returned.
Meanwhile, even after a stressful suit jacket hunt, a run in the rain, and a taxi ride through morning rush hour traffic, Mr. Scatliff exceeds the interviewers expectations (surprise, surprise) and they offer him a sweet-deal of a job.
So, as the story goes, the beast is still parked out back..and will still be used (but only along major bus routes) until the new paychecks come in...then Mr. Scatliff may demand that the old friend be kicked to the curb.


Old Friend Leaves Woman Stranded

At approximately 7:45 yesterday morning, a great friend of over 7 years leaves 23 year old Candice Scatliff stranded on the roadside while en route to an important appointment. "I knew this was coming" said Scatliff, "she just hasn't been acting her normal self for a few months now." Apparently, the beginning of the end of this relationship began shortly after the beginning of another relationship in Scatliff's life. "It was around the time that I met Tom," Scatliff's now husband, "that she really started to deteriorate." Yet, the friend still remained loyal during the last few months of life, even moving to Montreal with the newlyweds - against doctors orders. "The move was hard on her. A change in climate can have such a huge impact on health."
Known by most simply as "The Road-Runner", the 16 year old with 299000kms will be missed for her spontaneous smells, cracked windshield, two-speaker sound system, and - most definitely - her one tire that just could not hold a hubcap. Scatliff cherishes many fond memories and takes solace in the fact that her loyal friend will be laid to rest on French soil. The Protégé is home.


It's all fun and games until someone sucks in a fuzz ball

Yesterday, our heavy weight champs, Milo and Otis, weighed in at a whopping 2.4lbs. [That's right, we know how to raise 'em plump 'round here!] They now satisfied adoption requirements and we had to leave them at the SPCA. And, because of a temporary neighborhood issue, we left the SPCA empty handed.

After running plenty of errands uptown, we headed back to our little home in Ste-Anne. Tom worked on the computer while I made dinner. But, when I didn't have any small animals to fend off when I dropped a piece of salmon on the floor, and when Tom didn't have to lock himself in the computer room so no little furry beasts would get in his way, empty-nest syndrome really sunk in. So, we began to stuff our lives full of things to keep us occupied:

We picked out our favorite wedding pictures and painted cheap picture frames to put them in.

We erected a new shelving unit and a new lamp.

We baked cinnamon buns,
but I think the fumes from the verathane made us a little giddy.

And one of us fell asleep while watching Planet Earth.
(Guess which one!)

But you see, the real fun wasn't over yet. When we nestled into bed I told my husband, "This was such a productive day, I wish it wasn't over yet." And with those words I rolled over to kiss his cheek good night and began to inhale to let out a sigh. And that's when it happened; my life nearly flashed before my eyes. A piece of fuzz from our fleece throw was violently sucked in -- it proceeded to lodge itself halfway down my throat. The next few minutes were filled with hacks... then coughs... then I threw up, many times.

[Picture unavailable.]


Alright, here we go...(my first day of school)!

Yesterday was full of orientations, course outlines, and a bit of confusion...My official first day as a a graduate student.

I am so thankful that we moved to Montreal before the term began so we could settle in and orientate ourselves to our new home. Although I took full advantage of arriving here early by getting to know my colleagues, the project, and the campus...I was still slightly blindsided by the difference between undergrad and graduate school.

The point has changed.
Undergrads want/need a degree, and for various reasons. Whether it be their parents persistence, a chance to put off getting a "real" job, curiosity, a challenge, a true strive to push ones self further, a desire to be a professional, a desire to write a few abbreviated credentials after ones name etc.
In grad school, you better want to be there - or you won't be there very long. Consider this - an employee with a masters degree, on average, earns about the exact same amount as an employee with an undergraduate degree in the same field [(anecdotal evidence only) I must learn to reference everything].

The experience has changed.
Over my five years as an undergraduate student, I learned a great many things about how to survive in an academic setting. By the time I graduated last spring, I figured that I finally figured this school thing out; how to network, how to plan, how to balance school and personal life, who to turn to with questions, how to write exams, how to effectively use the library system, how to pack a lunch....Well, you get the idea. Yup, I was pretty sure I got it - and pretty sure that a number of students in my graduating class didn't get it at all. Congratulations, Candice! (That took five years, eh?)
Well, in order to get through yesterday I had to employ nearly every school-skill I've acquired, including how to take a test, in order to successfully proceed through the day and not leave overwhelmed. Yup, needed all those skills to get through. The "amazing" part - everyone else got through the day successfully too. Hmmm...

The focus has changed.
Grades do no matter. I repeat, grades do not matter. No one cares how well you did in comparison to the rest of the class. Most exams aren't even held in class. You simply, absolutely need to know this material and it will be applicable over the next two years. Memorizing the material and spitting it back out during a 2 hour exam period will get you no where. Period.

The respect-o-meter has changed.
In the undergraduate world, if you disagree with a professor - the professor is right and you are wrong. I have a friend that once challenged a prof in a business class on a comment regarding spirituality. Not only did the professor shut her down right in front of the entire class, he created a question on the final exam reflecting the disagreement. It was a multiple choice question - both her answer was an option as well as his answer. You see, scan cards used in multiple choice exams can only have one correct answer, all the other options are wrong. Now, which answer do you think the professor made the "correct" answer?
Yesterday, when the professor was explaining a concept in class, a grad student spoke out against it. The example given to explain the concept happened to be in the student's area of expertise (not the professor's). This resulted in a "debate" amongst the students, which was facilitated and encouraged by the professor. All sorts of intelligent comments, concerns, and questions were raised by a number of grad students. My mind was racing to keep up - that little voice of "oh, so much experience" was shouting "get in there and prove you are up to speed on this". So I went for it and got in there with an (intelligent???) contribution to the conversation - well I tried to at least, but got stuck because the word "progression" temporarily escaped my skull - I will be forever indebted to the anonymous student beside me who tactfully whispered it to me under her breath during the odd silence that fell when my mind was racing for the word and my face fell completely blank (and crickets cherped). I finished my oh so smooth "contribution" and the debate continued on, perpetuated by a number of other students. [Great job there "big girl", you almost kept up. Welcome to the big(ger) leagues???] The professor closed off the conversation by validating our points and stating that she withdraws her comments and thanked us for our contributions. Wait a minute...This was encouraged? Our opinions are valued? (Tom warned me about this!)

My drive has changed.
Simply put - I'm not after the degree. I'm after the experience, the challenge, and the ends that this means may get Tom and I. In order to fulfill our duty here on earth, or at least what we think our duty is, we need to get experience and knowledge under our belt. I'm sure Tom will have to remind me of this several times through out the next few years, but I'm sure that this difference will make the difference between a few years of pure stress resulting from the same drive of perfection that propelled me through my undergrad, and a few years of hard work that will lead us to where we need to go.

My ammunition has changed.
In all honesty, I did not do my undergrad alone. There should be 3 names on the certificate I received from the University of Manitoba - my moma's, my fathar's, and mine. They were there every step of the way. Although we were a few-hours drive apart, they were with me through every exam and endured every assignment. Hey dad, do you remember the time during my first year of university when I cried on the phone to you for about an hour about the next day's sociology exam? Yeah, like that didn't stress you out too.
Now, not only do I have my parents, I have the unconditional love and support of my life partner. I could not have even dreamed up a more supportive, intelligent, and life-experienced husband. (Come on, is it not pretty handy that the person sitting beside me on this roller-coaster ride is someone who has been in a masters program before?!?)

In summary:

I have never been given a biger task in my entire life, but I also have never been this equipped or had a better reason to do it.

I have never been more challenged...But, I have never been more ready.

These pictures are for you momma - you know why!