It has been a full and rather intense week – the kind of week that feels like ideas and events and experiences and emotions are tumbling over you so fast you barely have time to process it all and give meaning to it. Here are a few of the highlights:

– It was really wonderful meeting Brian McLaren in person AND spending a delightful evening and plane ride home reading his new book “Everything Must Change”. If you’ve been struggling with how your faith connects with the really big issues that are going on in this world – climate change, poverty, war, unfair trade, etc. – you really should read this book.

– Marcel and I attended the 25th anniversary celebration for our friends Steve and Nanci. I traveled to Ethiopia with Steve and Nanci (and produced a couple of videos with Steve, which I’ll link to soon) and it’s been really cool developing a friendship with them. There was great music being played at the social that night, the highlight of which was the reunion of Steve’s old band “Elias, Shritt, and Bell”. Their harmonies are truly amazing – kinda like Simon and Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

– This week marked the seventh anniversary of the birth and death of our son Matthew. In what is becoming a family tradition, we celebrated the place he holds in our family’s story by visiting his grave and making a trip to Dairy Queen for some birthday ice cream sundaes.

– I attended this concert and saw part of the related art exhibit. About all I can say is “Wow!” If you’re in Winnipeg and you can take in the exhibit, you really should do so. It’s incredibly moving.

– I got to chat with Bob Bennett and tell him how much his songs “We are the Kings” and “We were the Kings” have meant to me. It was a brief conversation and I didn’t get a chance to tell him the story of how those songs served as a touchstone for me in Ethiopia when I found out my best childhood friend Julie’s father had died and I couldn’t be around to mourn with her. Perhaps another time.

– I also had a brief opportunity to talk to Carolyn Arends and let her know how her music had been my constant companion in the hospital during the three weeks leading up to the birth and death of Matthew. When she sang “We’ve been Waiting for You”, I wept, because that was the song that was the most closely connected to our waiting and longing for Matthew. She got a chuckle out of the story of how I listened to her music on the Fisher Price tape recorder a friend had brought to my hospital room.

– After being gone for most of the week, I took Friday off and hung out with my kids. We did a little shopping and went out for lunch. They’re at such a great age right now – they’re truly fun to hang out with and don’t require a lot of “caring for them” energy. We’ve had some great laughs this weekend, like when Marcel showed his age by referring to MySpace and/or Facebook as “My Face”.

– I had some of the greatest conversations with people this week. Some of them happened in Toronto, as I mentioned in my last post, but some of them happened closer to home. It was really fun connecting with a new friend – the mother of one of Nikki’s best friends – on her front yard. A conversation that started with the kind of sandals we both love wandered from there to fair trade, life changes, and the impact of losing a son. (Joanne, if you’re reading this – WELCOME!)

– I spoke in church this morning – something I truly enjoy doing. You know what they say about public speaking being one of the most common fears among people? Yeah, well I’m an exception to that statistic. It gives me energy.

– With all of these incredibly inspiring things swirling around me, the muse has visited and I’ve gotten inspired with a few writing and work-related ideas. I can hardly wait to get started. Now if only I can find the time.

I think I need a quiet day in a retreat centre just to process all of this.

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