Friday, November 25, 2011


Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's good to look back on your life in order to better understand how you got to where you are today? In some ways, it gives meaning and depth to the "now".

As our two sons get older, my wife and I have more of these moments of looking back to when they were little (I know, a little pathetic, but that is what's happening). This week I was thinking about our oldest son's first birthday. It was a big deal, a first-born son party blowout.

Man, it was happening.
We had family and friends around us. We had food, streamers, cake, candles and - wait for it...

a C-L-O-W-N! Yup, a clown!

My friend dressed up in this crazy clown outfit that was way too small (we nicknamed him Wedgie the Clown ever since). When Ian appeared in that clown outfit, our oldest son responded in a way that we did not prepare ourselves for: HE SCREAMED HIS LITTLE LUNGS OUT! It was a bad scene; it could have scarred him for life, but since he was only one, he has no memory of it. We sure do.

Without the clown outfit, our son loved Ian. Once that suit was on, everything changed.

I look back and laugh at that moment, but it also makes me stop and think about how at times in life we live with a mask on. At times, we pretend to be something that we are not.

We wear the "I am okay" mask, the "I am important" mask, the "I don't need help" mask, the "I am the victim" mask, the "I don't care" mask... for some, a mask is a way of life.

I ask this: If we live life trying to pretend we are something we are not, is that really living? Is that the way life was meant to be? I know this idea can be taken too far, and some might, but don't you think that living from a place of integrity, honesty, truthfulness and authenticity is a better place?

Yes, we wear masks for all kinds of reasons, but I want us to really look at them and ask ourselves: Is this really living life the way we were meant to live?

If you reading this, I want to encourage you to stop clowning around, and consider taking the mask off.

Just Sayin!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Light, Green Light

I know some of you read that title and thought about the childhood game that you used to play, but guess what... that's not what comes to my mind.

The other day, my youngest son Paul had tickets to the London Knights hockey game. If you are reading this, and you live in my town, you know who they are. If you don't know, the Knights are the local Junior hockey team. He had two tickets and he wanted to take a friend with him.

We drove to his friend's house, picked him up, and headed downtown to where the Knights play. Not far from this friend's house is an intersection with traffic lights. As we approached the lights, I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. This person (a woman) was running the red, as I proceeded to turn right on the green. I thought to myself, "Self, what is she doing?". Just as that thought brushed over my mind, I heard my wife's voice saying, "What are you doing? You just ran that red!!!"

A quick check of the mirror proved that she was correct, I ran the red!!! For the next ten minutes we discussed my infraction. At the end of the discussion, she asked to drive (not kidding).

It got me thinking how easy it is to be there, but not there. I had no excuse for what I had done, other than that at that moment I was somewhere else in my thoughts.

Life can be like that. We can go through the motions each day and miss moments with our kids, friends, co-workers and even our spouse. It's as if we are there, but not there. It can even happen at times in a walk with God. If I understand one thing about God, it's this: He is trying to have a conversation with all of us. The problem lies in the fact that we are not always present, not always listening... not always aware.

This Christmas, let me encourage you to not miss the amazing message of Jesus. It would be easy to be there, but not, in this season. Take time to slow down and allow yourself to be there! You might discover that He is trying to get your attention.

Just Sayin!