Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes

The story of our house (so far)

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Christa’s Uganda Experiences

It has been 2 weeks since I returned home from Uganda. What a fantastic time it was!

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We landed at almost midnight on Friday- Aug 14th. Bea and I were hoping we would have a ride to take us to our hotel. We walked through the airport at Entebbe and into the dark night and there found a smiling face holding a sign with our names! Patrick is one of the amazing employees at Kampala Children’s Centre (KCC). He drove us around a lot in the 10 days we were in Uganda! I was SO glad that I did not have to drive and that he was such a competent driver. The driving is crazier than here in Belgium- which is crazier than Canada…those are my comparisons 🙂

When Patrick dropped us off at our hotel on Friday evening he said he would be back to pick us up on Monday morning. Continue reading


Our One Word for 2015

We have a fun family tradition that involves looking back at the year we just had and forward into the next.  Rather than setting resolutions that will be hard to keep, impossible to track or even just plain discouraging, we talk and pray and consider what word will guide us through the year to come.

The idea comes from Jon Gordon – it’s something he does with corporate teams, sports teams and families – to help them focus their goals and increase team cohesion.  Here’s a little video that fires me up again for 2015:

This is our third year to do One Word.  Each family member chooses their word.  Sometimes it’s simple and it comes easily.  Other times it’s been a wrestle to discover the word that God is giving us to help us through the next months.

Last year the Lord gave me the word re:load and the picture was of a boat at the dock, preparing for loading.  Everything was still and it was waiting to be filled.  That certainly was a helpful picture to understand the weeks of waiting for visas, passports, jobs, tickets and the new situation that we find ourselves in.  While everything is exciting, it’s been a season of reloading and even readjusting the load.

Here are our words for 2015:

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When I grow up, I want to be a little kid

“When I grow up, I want to be a little kid.”  Joseph Heller

There are a few people in my life who, when I was a teenager, impacted me by their interest in me. Uncle George (one of the trusted adults at my growing up church) would come and find me after church, give me a special handshake and ask my opinion on some sporting event – imagine that, he asked my opinion! Mr. Warke didn’t know me well but he opened his home to our weekly Bible Study. I remember distinctly that he respected and showed real interest in me. He was a lawyer and rubbed shoulders with all sorts of powerful people every day, but he showed such curiosity about me. These men left a lasting impact on me.

Strangely, even though most of us were children (and teenagers) at one time, we forget what it means to be young. Continue reading


The Heritage & Reward of Children

When I got married I thought that I was pretty selfless person – generous and forgiving in my life. Becoming a husband burst that fantasy – I was (though hopefully am less now) an arrogant & self-serving man. Likewise, when I became a dad I thought that I was a patient person and that I was beginning to really get a handle on my anger. It sure didn’t take too long to realize that I have a much greater capacity for impatience, self importance and anger than I thought.

Loving the fighter jets at the airplane museum

Loving the fighter jets at the airplane museum

Maybe you’ve heard others blame their adult temper tantrums on their children? I’ve even heard parents say that they have to drink heavily or use illegal drugs & painkillers because their children cause them so much stress. It’s easy for me to understand why they make these statements, but it’s not how God sees children. Continue reading


Remembering Hosea Bennett

Last Friday our good friend Hosea Bennett passed into glory and we miss him dearly.
Grandpa Bennett sauntered into our lives when I needed a weekend retreat and, with Donald Grier, travelled to Fargo ND to stay for a few days.  Hosea welcomed me in and became a good friend in a short time.  Later that summer, our whole family travelled through Fargo, on our way to BC – my children, like most children, instantly bonded with Grandpa Bennett.  Since that visit, we’ve enjoyed his visits for BBQ when he’s come to Winnipeg.
What we will miss about Hosea Bennett:

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Reflection on “Good to Great” by Jim Collins


This was a book that I felt I had read before.  I think because I’ve been in several of Jim Collin’s lectures and his stories were quite memorable.  The premise of the book was to show, through research, what were the common factors among companies that went from good (even mediocre) to being great performers.  The Good to Great companies had to sustain their greatness for at least 15 years and not just beat the market, but they had to beat their comparison companies, because good to great couldn’t be a measure of just a whole industry taking off.
I read this with a mind to the organizations that I’ve been in, the leaders I’ve been under and the leadership I would like to give in the social sector and my faith community.  Here are my top learnings from the main concepts:
  1. Level 5 Leadership is essential. Leaders of G2G organizations are not flashy – they subscribe to hard work, disciplined action, humility and they surrounded themselves with the right people.
  2. First Who, then What. Who you have around you is more important than the thing you are doing. The right people in the right places is essential. When the right people are in the right places, the leader doesn’t have to be the expert or the smartest – the team can passionately argue and then respectfully follow what was decided.
  3. Confront the brutal facts. The Stockdale Paradox: Be stubbornly convinced that you will reach your goal, but don’t make promises that you cannot keep. G2G companies were not optimistic, they under promised and over delivered. And, listen to the experts (your people who can see what’s actually happening).
  4. The hedgehog concept: foxes run around, try all sorts of things, but hedgehogs know one thing and have confidence that what they do will work. The secret to greatness lies in finding the one thing that you can be great at.
  5. Culture of discipline: fanatically disciplined, not bureaucratic. Within the consistency there is great freedom and great responsibility. There are no shortcuts, every action is focused around the one thing you could be great at. From the outside it looks boring and slow moving, but in reality more opportunities open up.
  6. Technology accelerators: technology is never a ticket to greatness and yet every G2G company was among the most innovative and tech savy companies. Technology had to work to enhance the one thing that they were passionate about.

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