Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: sunshine

Spring musings

Spring is coming, even here in the Great White North country.  Nothing is green yet, but there’s a lot less of the white stuff. No song birds yet, either, but our bird feeder isn’t emptying quite so quickly, which means the birds must be finding something  else now that the snow is receding.

Our cats have spring fever. They love these sunny days. So do we, the time from sunup to sundown is increasing at the rate of four minutes a day. That’s pretty much half an hour every week. I’ve been exercising on  my rebounder every day in the winter months; as the temperature climbs I will start going out more often for a walk.

I think I bought the last container of hand sanitizer in the town of Outlook  yesterday. Our small senior’s home needed more, but that was all I could find after visiting three stores. I’m sure there will be more on the shelves soon. Kudos for kijiji for refusing to carry any ads for COVID-19 supplies, in order not to be an enabler for those trying to profit from the current situation. (Kijiji is the major online classified service in Canada.)

Malls have been posting signs in their washrooms saying how many tons of paper are diverted from landfills by using blow driers. They may have to rethink that message. Hot air driers are great at blowing germs onto your hands. Paper towels are far more sanitary.

Our country may be more open to rethink globalism after this crisis. Maybe not everything needs to be manufactured in some far away place across the ocean. Having a local source would give us a little greater sense of security.

François Légault, Prime Minister of Quebec, is recording daily message for the people of Quebec. There is something reassuring about his calm demeanour; things are being taken care of and he is giving good advice about protecting each other, especially the aged and infirm.  Those people are the main reason all these restrictions are being put in place. Children and young people are not in much danger, but they should be concerned about the grandpas and grandmas.

Change is in the air

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Image by Tovin Sannes-Venhuizen from Pixabay

A few days ago the days started to grow longer. I can’t tell the difference yet–the sun still rises at 9:15 AM and sets at 5:00 PM. The daily change so far is small: today is 25 seconds longer than yesterday, tomorrow will be 30 seconds longer than today. But I know that soon it will change by 3 minutes a day or more and in six months the sun will rise at 5:30 AM and set at 9:45 PM, giving us long, glorious summer days.

Winter has just begun, yet the change that will defeat winter has also begun. We will have snow storms and bitterly cold weather over the next few months, yet the inexorable force of the sun that will drive winter away has begun its campaign.

Today you see a little girl, carefree, careless, not paying much attention to the things her mother tries to teach her. If you watch her day after day you will not notice a change. But if you go away for a few years, then come back, you see this little girl transformed. Now she is a mother, trying to teach her own little girl all the things she learned from her mother. And almost despairing because the child doesn’t seem to be listening. But she is and the cycle will repeat. This is how growing up works. It is a natural process; it happens almost unseen until one day you take stock and realize how much is different.

Perhaps today you see a young man, a rebel, a wastrel, drifting farther into the dangerous allurements the world offers. People try to warn him, to help him. He ignores them, rejects their counsels. It seems hopeless. But just perhaps you may come back some day and find this same young man with a wife, a family, a home. He reads the Bible to his family, takes them to church, is always ready to speak of his love for God and for Jesus. It can happen, I’ve seen it happen, it happened to me.

This is not a natural change, it is supernatural. Yet the change did not happen overnight. There was a precise moment when there was a 180° turn in the direction his life was going. But people looking on didn’t notice a difference at first. Then a few changes appeared, one by one, a little at a time. He made mistakes, but now there was something within him that kept him from giving up. He made corrections and kept going. Today he does not seem at all like the person he used to be. Because he isn’t.

There are cycles that God set in order at Creation that continue to happen. We say it’s just part of nature. The movement of the celestial bodies, day and night, the cycle of the seasons, the growth of a child. We have no control over such things. There are other things, such as conversion, that will not happen unless we give God permission. He does not force us to be a Christian, we cannot make ourselves be a Christian by wisdom and determination. But if we hear God call our name, open the door of our heart, the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to transform us.

© Bob Goodnough, December 27, 2019

We’re headed in the right direction

It is -30° this morning, the sun won’t rise until 9:15 and it will set again at 5:00 P.M. But the days are getting longer — I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Twenty-five years ago I took a statistics course taught by a man originally from India. He told us how he and his family had arrived in Toronto one frosty January day and the rest of the family had turned to him and asked: “What kind of a country have you brought us to?”

“Look,” he said, ” we talked this over and over when we were back in India and we all agreed there would be a better future for us in Canada. Now we are here and we need to learn to like everything about this country.” Then he went out and bought winter clothing, skates and skis for himself and all the family.

I wish I could be more like that. But I know the command start on my car won’t work this morning and the garage door opener will take about five tries to get the door open all the way. So I will need to walk out to the garage, push that button five times, and put the key in the ignition to start the car (It is plugged in and will start without a problem, it’s just that the electronic circuitry in the command start relay doesn’t handle this cold very well.) Oh, the hardships of winter!

Maybe I’m getting too old to get much pleasure out of winter. But I know that winter is only for a season and before many months we’ll be enjoying 16 hours of sunlight.

Return of the sunshine

sun-310144_1280My wife left for Edmonton again on Sunday, December 14. That was followed by a week of overcast skies. I sent her a text message on Friday saying “You are my sunshine,” since I hadn’t seen any sunshine since she left.

Yesterday was the beginning of another new week, and it was a gloriously sunny day. I am taking that as a promise of brighter days ahead. No, my wife isn’t home yet, that happens tomorrow.

Yesterday was also the first day of winter, which maybe isn’t so great, but it means that the days start getting longer as of today. That is good news.

Many people are travelling to be with family for Christmas. We will be travelling all of 2.5km to be with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

Summer in sunny Saskatchewan

I hope everybody had a chuckle over the mistake in my last post. Two millimetres a year would come to two hundred millimetres in a century, or twenty centimetres, not two metres. If you look at the post now, you will see that I have corrected the error.

Warm weather was late in arriving this year, but when it came the appearance, and sound, of our yard changed almost overnight. The trees between us and the farm yard next to us have become a dense forest, obscuring any hint that there might be another house and other buildings a short distance from us.  All the birds are back, singing happily in the cool of the morning and evening.

Tuesday morning I heard a loud humming from the caragana trees south of our house. Walking closer to see the source of the sound, I found bees busily collecting nectar from the yellow blossoms which cover the trees. They buzzed around me, but didn’t bother me.

As I walked down the road a marbled godwit circled overhead, loudly announcing my presence. There were ducks on the ponds on either side of the road, frogs conversing loudly, blackbirds singing on the fenceposts and from somewhere I heard a willet and what I think was a grasshopper sparrow.

There are swallows and wrens nesting in the nestboxes in our yard. Godlfinches come to our birdfeeder and sometimes we see a brown thrasher underneath the feeder. Meadowlarks and robins make themselves heard, we think we got a glimpse of a catbird one day. The lilacs are starting to bloom, the strawberry plants are full of blossoms. In short, the beautiful days of summer are here.

There is another aspect of Saskatchewan weather that makes itself felt in summer as well as in the other seasons − the wind. A book published twenty years ago, If you’re not from the prairie . . .*, contains these lines:

If you’re not from the prairie,
You don’t know the wind,
You can’t know the wind.

Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core,
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door.
As children we know when we play any game,
The wind will be there, yet we play just the same.

We had such a wind yesterday, and not being children anymore we didn’t feel much like going out to play.

*If you’re not from the prairie . . . © 1993 by David Bouchard for th poetry and © 1993 by Henry Ripplinger for the illustrations. Published by Raincoast Books.

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