The Book of Negroes

Strong rains started the day but by noon it was replaced by the warm rays from the sun!

The morning’s rain was warm, something we have almost forgotten about since leaving Ontario.

I finished reading “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill. When I have a better internet connection I will post some interesting links he includes in the back of the book regarding the real Book of Negroes which, yes, does exist. You cannot read Hill’s novel without wondering how man can be so cruel to man. Yet every generation sees this disregard for human life revealed again and again. Perhaps that is to the point that man actually disregard human life. He replaces the word humanity with the word property. He denies his brotherhood and prefers being superior, powerful and authoritative.

My Dad use to repeat the phrase to me; “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Hill provides amble truth of this adage.

God save us from ourselves.


Looking for a Spokane quilt shop

Wendy loves to quilt. She’s a machine quilter as opposed to those who hand quilt. As a quilter she’s creative – but then that’s what quilting is about. Quilters take pieces of fabric, different colours, different kinds and put them together to form a colourful collage. Sometimes it is an image, sometimes a kalidescope!

To get ideas and see the creative results of others Wendy is often looking through quilting magazines.

Since we were coming to Idaho Wendy had seen some quilting store ads for the Spokane area. Today we were headed to Spokane so we inserted the address into our GPS. It took us off I-90 and into what appeared to be a commercial area…and then past that into a residential area. When our female voice announced “you have reached your destination” we were in front of a very attractive ranch style bungalow.

Just then a man came out to the mailbox – so we pulled up, rolled down the window and engaged him in a conversation. At first it was simply discovery; “are we in the right place, is this a quilt shop”, and his response “this is a virtual shop, you can buy a kit, if you are looking for a quilt shop you’ll be disappointed”.

Then the conversation took on a personal tone. He told us that his wife had been doing this for 18 years and that since he lost his job 20 months ago he had been helping her…”In fact she’s down the basement now – she’s got three quilts due this week for a publisher.”

It turns out he had been in manufacturing and the plant was relocated to Mexico. The pain in his voice was obvious. He was not a young man – as some see young. He was closer to the end of his career than the start. As he turned to go back into the house he commented that he was trying to re-invent himself. We wished him well and headed off but the pain that the present state of the economy is inflicting on millions was suddenly very personal.

We did find another quilt shop in the area and the rest of the day, though enjoyable, was set in the context of one person’s pain.

God knows his pain – and while we know very little else about this family I hope that they have a sense that He cares for them.

Sunday at the Kroc Center

Yesterday we had stumbled across the Kroc Centre here in Coeur d’Alene and today we went back to attend worship.  This huge $38 million dollar facility was built with the generous donation of the Krocs.  Some of you will know the story of how the owners of McDonald’s gave a significant amount of money to The Salvation Army to build centers of excellence for education, arts and mission across the country.  While $7 million was raised locally, as I understand it, the rest came from the Kroc estate.  (They also own the San Diego Padres).

There were 133 in attendance this morning and even as we worshiped in what is arguably the best equipped “sanctuary” I’ve ever seen.  The theatre which is used as the sanctuary is accessed by the entire city as a  performance center.  Even as we worshiped some of the 20,000 members who have joined the centre used the recreation complex which is attached.  There are lap pools, walking and jogging tracks, exercise equipment, a recording stuido, classrooms, a gym, an Olympic sized pool, offices, a cafe, a dance studio and on it goes….

What is even more amazing is that 5 years ago there was no Salvation Army presence in this city.  Today they are a major force to be contended with.  There are four officers here and after the service they invited us to join them.  We found the worshiping community to be very welcoming and very young.  The theatre has a capacity of 400 and somehow it won’t be hard to see this filled soon.

By the way did I mention that the corps has only been in existence 18 months – and started in the officers livingroom.

In the midst of the joy of our vacation I should mention that some of our friends are having a very tough summer.  Cheryl and Gary are struggling with Julia (their youngest) in the children’s hospital in Calgary.  Julia has started treatment (5 days a week for 6 weeks).  Also a friend from many years ago, Don Kerr has a daughter in hospital too.  She suffered a brain aneurysm and you can follow their journey at this site.  Perhaps you could add them to your prayer list.

I wish I could upload some photos but the internet speed here makes that almost impossible.  So I sign out from pool side and hope you’re enjoying summer as much as we are!

A few thoughts about us as a family and our interests.