There’s a song. It’s a song that I wrote. The words actually seem a bit out of order:
“More of you and of me less…”
(Sometimes when you write songs, the words fit better when they’re “out of order”.)
But the words are still true.
(If you have time, or can listen while you read—or both?—you can find the song here.)
I have been hearing more and more again lately how the most important things in life are to put ourselves in a place of complete reliance on our Father—for everything in life, as it’s all from, through, and for him to begin with—and how in direct correlation, our own self and interests must diminish.
The song, written nearly twenty years ago now, was something I began singing while playing around with a chord loop on my Yamaha acoustic guitar (now in the possession and occasional employ of our oldest son) … “Take my life, Lord… make it wholly yours.” John the Baptist said, regarding Jesus, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30) Those words were reverberating in my heart and mind while I hummed and strummed a new tune … and thus was born a song.
And the theme has never diminished.
You’ve read it here, to be sure. There is a recurring realization that I frequently share on these pages: That Jesus is Life and Life is Jesus. They are synonymous and inseparable. (And they are separately unattainable, as they do not exist apart from each other.) We can produce no fruit—a visible sign of life—apart from him. Jesus tried to make that abundantly clear to us, both through his words and his actions.
Equally so, he wanted us to realize that to put him first, to follow him, means to put our own agendas and interests and even our life down—actually, to death.
If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
That is so ridiculously hard for all of us at some points, and some of us at most points.
So how do we actually “die to self” in order to receive this Life that we can find in Jesus? What does this look like?
To me, it’s often this:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:3-5)
Now… that may be what it looks like, and I see that Paul said we “must” have the same attitude as Jesus, but again … how?
I keep coming back to this symbiotic relationship of “more of you” (Jesus, Father, Spirit) and “of me less”.
Do you remember symbiotic relationships from biology classes, or maybe books of that topic, if that is an interest of yours? Wikipedia describes it thusly: Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν “together” and βίωσις “living”) is close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species.
That sounds about right.
He is wholly other than us. His ways are not our ways, and all such similar sayings.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16)
…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
It’s all about him, and not about us. And, likewise, it’s all about humbly serving, giving, loving others—endlessly, without agenda, without “strings attached”—because all of us have limitless value to our Creator, and so regardless of how we are treated (or any self-benefit), we serve, love, give… as we have received from Father.
Just like Jesus.
But it only works if we first focus our hearts and minds on him. That is so important.
If we are doing selfless in our own strength, just “because it’s right” … well, that won’t last. We must be filled, too. You matter, too. But if I am angling to take care of me, then I will be missing the Life that Jesus wants to give me. He gives Life. Not me.
(I just get to share what he gives.)
Oh that you and I could daily understand this truth more and more. It’s so abundant through the entirety of the Scriptures.
One last one:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)
More of him. Less of me. That’s the way it ought to be.
(Hey… maybe that could be a song…)
As the darker, shorter days of winter began giving way to the increasingly earlier sunrises, I have taken up early morning walks once again.
I’m not sure what exactly happened to me… I used to enjoy the cold walks, but I honestly chose not to walk on many days when I previously would have enjoyed the outdoor activity. My reason? Simply because it would be “too cold”. Perhaps it’s another thing to chalk up to “getting older”?
Well, as the temps have been at least above freezing, I’ve ventured out generally at least four days a week, and sometimes five. One day of the week I’ve recently begun to consistently get up and out for my walk somewhere around 6:00am is Sunday morning. Sometimes it will be on the back end of the six o’clock hour, but it’s usually some time that begins with a six.
I just love how quiet everything is. It is seriously quiet. Hardly any traffic, and I can’t say I’ve seen any other walkers so far on those days. I love it!
Now Monday… Monday is a completely different story!
This morning, out at about 6:30am, it felt more like noon! There were a half-dozen other people out walking or jogging, some with their animal companion, others with their technological companion (iPod, iPhone) like me. Besides the foot traffic, there were lines of cars going all four directions at the main intersection I cross to get to the quiet path I prefer to traverse. Really! Lines!
I am struck nearly every Monday by how much we are revved up to get as much done at the beginnings of our weeks. Most of my weeks go like this:
- Monday, catch up with any emails that came in over the week, and respond to many more requests (emails/calls/etc) that come in Monday throughout the day.
- Tuesday, receive more work/support requests and follow up on those as well as the ones not completed Monday.
- Wednesday, finish up whatever was begun Monday and Tuesday, generally not much more work comes in throughout the day.
- Thursday, finish up any remaining work/support requests and then get back to larger, longer-term projects which were delayed by the flurry of new requests on Monday and Tuesday.
- Friday and Saturday are free (unless I scheduled a meeting) to work on the longer-term projects as new work/support requests very infrequently come in at all.
Why do we push so hard at the start of the week? Why is everyone rearing to go on Monday morning at 6:30am?
Perhaps even more amusing than the bustle of Mondays, each successive day at the six o’clock hour, the pedestrian and automobile traffic—in the same location—dwindles just a bit more, until reaching the previously mentioned peaceful serenity of Sunday.
You always hear that Mondays are a drag, or that they’re the worst day of the week. I wonder if that’s in part because we come flying out of the gates so hard? Perhaps.
So I hope you had a great Monday, whether you were cranking it up early and pushing hard all day, or if you just resumed a normal, tortoise-paced routine, in no hurry to get this week over with.
I’d like to think I fall more towards the Tortoise. But that might be something better suited for others to remark upon.
Maybe this cycle of frenzy to serenity simply reveals that all is still right with the world, at least on some level.
(Or, maybe it depends on who defines “right” …)
April 25th is the day that we became home owners. The year was precisely one decade ago: 2003. Ten years of mortgage payments, tax payments, home owner’s insurance payments, home improvement and maintenance projects and cost…
But, it is still a fun day to celebrate.
This home is the only one that four of the Campbell children have known. Ten years is a long time to live in one place. (I think this might be the longest that I personally have lived at one address over my lifetime?) Much life has been lived in this domicile; and some, over that time, has been lived elsewhere, with Campbell hearts hoping to return to this place we call ‘home’.
In ten years we’ve reconstructed and deconstructed, repaired and replaced, upgraded and removed, laughed and cried, and we do not lack for anecdotal evidence of all of those things. (Some of which you can find here at this blog!)
I’m not entirely sure how we will celebrate this decade of residing here. We’ll think of something, I’m sure. (We do enjoy celebrations, commemorations…)One thing that I love about this little parcel of land and this fairly old edifice is that we are part of a larger history. When we first purchased the home and then obtained the deed to this property, I truly enjoyed reading through the history of our home. Who owned it through the years; the agreement with one of the neighbors that the owner of this land could cross several other owners’ lots to reach the community well—that being, perhaps, my favorite—and just knowing that much more life had happened here at this place we now call “ours”.
Who knows how much more life will be lived here in this spot? We can’t know. Perhaps another decade? The rest of our lives on this planet? Maybe just a short while longer? You just never know.
But I do know that today marks ten years in our Little Yellow House. Our ten-year house-i-versary.
I wonder what memories will be reminisced on April 25th, 2023…
There is no word to describe what I’m attempting to put into words. The concept of capturing extant reality in written words when no words are used—nor in the true reality, are they necessary—in order to communicate by text or mere oration (and auditory-only experience of that oratory) the experience in its entirety. It’s so difficult, and yet so masterfully accomplished by J. R. R. Tolkien in his stories of Middle-earth.
My two oldest boys and I have been making the journey through Tolkien’s adventures, starting with the Hobbit and subsequently through the Lord of the Rings trilogy for probably the past two years. (We’re taking them at a Sunday Driver’s pace…) The worlds that this man must have seen in his mind’s eye, and the incredible attention to detail that he conveys through description and dialogue are truly, utterly astounding. At times it even feels like too much; there are moments when after a few pages of reading poetry in Elven tongues you begin to wonder, “What is the deal with this guy?”
But then there are moments where you almost feel you are not simply present with the characters, in the magical places—rather you feel as though you are one of them.
Of course this is the goal of anyone who puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), but how many can so well achieve this as has Mr. Tolkien? When you have a society in your name, you’ve probably made a name for yourself.
We’ve nearly reached the end of the third book in the LoTR series, and tonight’s chapter was just such an enjoyable read. Tolkien is bringing together several long, arduous journeys for so many characters through whom he has helped us live this adventure; their joys are ours, all that they are experiencing can be felt by the reader.
When I read the following paragraph, I stopped and commented to my son Ian, the aspiring author, observing that what Tolkien is able to do is to put into words things which have no words. He assembles (even creates) just the right words to allow the reader to enter the entirety of the moment. Not only does he elaborately describe a lush environment in all its fullness, but he also so perfectly captures the emotions and even the reasons for the emotions without “spelling it out” … rather he brings it to life.
‘A great Shadow has departed’, said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.
If Artists did not exist who could master the words to somehow so beautifully capture the fullness of that moment, it might have gone something like this:
‘A great Shadow has departed’, said Gandalf, with a laugh, a sound which Sam had not heard for a long time, as their journey had been so full of sadness, toil, and hardship. The sound made him glad, but Sam began to cry. After a while, his tears ceased and he too began to laugh. Then he got out of bed.
One of these things is not like the other …
I remain awe-struck at the way Tolkien not only paints a vivid picture using words, he really creates a wordality. (A reality brought to life—as near as possible—with only words.) The way the emotions of the moment are described in that paragraph, to think to describe the depth of the joy as laughter “[falling] upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known”, is much more engaging and colorful and real than, “The sound made him glad”.
(It’s quite obvious that I am no J. R. R. Tolkien!)
While words can never capture the fullness of experience, there truly is power in words, and I am becoming a firm believer that J. R. R. was one of the finest word craftsmen/artists/story-tellers ever to have breathed our air.
I shall greatly miss Middle-earth when we finally complete our reading of The Return of The King. I may have to delve into one of the sundry other works of Tolkien that rest quietly on my shelves, anticipating their turn to share the worlds which they contain.
The wordalities I myself endeavor to create may not be as complete and vivid as Tolkien’s, but I will nonetheless continue with ardent fealty my quest to capture with words the thoughts that are stirred in my heart and mind, ruminate in my soul, crescendoing within the depths of my being from the simplest melodies to the most elaborate symphonies; becoming then all the more enjoyable when shared with a fellow Word Enthusiast and Lover of Locution, like you.
I love visual truth. Even though I am a person who loves words, and communicating thoughts, emotions, questions, and experiences through just the right word or phrase chosen to build a vivid picture of truth in one’s mind, there is nothing quite like a visual “object lesson”.
Tonight mine came in the form of a neglected electronic relic.
For a few years we have lamented the condition in which we often find most all of our material possessions—generally that would be broken—because of the lack of value placed on those items by our children. It does not matter that we’ve instructed and admonished them using words, nor does our example of how we care for our own things seem to connect this one lesson with their young hearts and minds.
Nothing we do seems to help them value their stuff.
This evening, as dusk set upon the landscape of our little backyard, I decided to do some post-winter clean up. We got rid of the plastic liner from the ice rink today (whose water had already slowly leaked out the previous many weeks thanks to a hole sliced in it late-winter by a submerged skate), and I was also removing and preparing to store the pieces of wood that form the frame of our frozen playground.
As I was picking up the pieces from the rink deconstruction, I spotted a few other items throughout our yard. (To be clear, that is a gross understatement!) I decided that I would gather up the articles of clothing this evening before it was too dark.
I picked up a small fuzzy jacket which had been left by the campfire pit; and there was a glove or two nearby; a wool knitted hat was left in lonely isolation for untold months of winter.
Then I spotted the walkie talkie.
See, this is a working, real, usable (with a battery replacement) walkie talkie. It’s mine. I purchased it, for a decent sum of money. I used it, and it was valuable to me. All of these thoughts raced quickly through my mind as I unburied it from the sand in the kids’ sandbox. (Along with a few more unpaired gloves.)
I grumbled more than a bit as I brushed off the dusty layers of sand and thought, “Why do these kids just not care about our stuff? What in the world can I do to help them know the real value of all of our stuff?!”
Ah. Clarity. Mental and spiritual clarity. Lightbulb. Smile.
I suppose that all of this time, I’ve mostly had it backwards. I am the one who has the “wrong” value on our stuff, and the kids are the ones who actually understand the “real” value of it—
Enjoy it. Use it. And don’t give it a second thought.
Now there’s certainly something to be said for what many refer to as “stewardship”. Our “stuff” does cost us something. (Perhaps the amount of stuff we have in this home is fodder for a future post on the “value of stuff”?) If you’ve spent money to own something, it’s still a good idea to take good care of it. That’s not wrong.
But being all ruffled up over a broken walkie talkie (that you haven’t needed for many years now…) is almost certainly a misplaced, misunderstood value.
And so this night, though the lesson was unintentionally given, my sloppy, careless (fantastically imaginative and fun-loving) offspring reminded me—through my discovering a neglected and most likely ruined possession—the real value of stuff.
We’re trying something new this spring: we’re sugarin’ our maple trees!
It’s fun to see how things are made, and in my opinion the best way to see is to do.
The process began a while ago, when we talked about doing it. We live on a small, quarter-acre lot in a somewhat urban-ish setting. It’s entirely possible that our tiny plot of land has the most trees of any other parcel on our block. (Or several blocks.) Appropriately enough for the task of making our own maple syrup, many of them are maples!
After initially assessing the plausibility of our task, we decided to do it! Part of my encouragement towards this particular backyard project comes from college friends of ours (one of whom I work closely with on many web projects) who have been “sugarin’” for years. (They strangely took a break this particular winter… the first winter we are giving it a go…) A couple seasons ago they sent us a sample of their work; it was delicious!
We knew that we would need to put taps/spouts in our trees—later we would learn that they are called spiles—and some containers to collect the sap, and then finally some way of cooking down the sap.
And that’s about what we knew.
Thankfully, the friends mentioned above recently used an episode of their weekly podcast to explain in great detail the wonders (and the challenges) of maple sugaring. (You can listen to it here.) They also recommended a few good resources, including a book called Backyard Sugarin’, which I promptly placed on hold at our local library. All of that came together nicely to help build my confidence towards giving this a try.
And so, on one chilly, late-winter afternoon… I bought six spiles.
It’s a meager, humble beginning; but it’s a beginning.
(A two week adventure through hockey tournaments, three separate family birthdays, and LOTS of really hefty sickness delayed the implementing of this project. That, however, is for a different post. Or… perhaps none at all.)
Early this morning, just after the sun fully brightened the March sky, I decided to tap my maple trees. The book had suggested using empty plastic milk containers to collect the sap (rather than the more expensive option of tin buckets with cool lids) and since we are always happy to find an equal-but-less-costly option, I gladly rummaged through our recycling bin. To my chagrin, there were only a couple containers that did not have that lovely milk-not-quite-completely-rinsed-out aroma, so I emptied the 1/3 of a gallon (or so) of milk in the open container in our fridge into a different container, and was thus able to score two sap collection containers to get us started.
Our property is quite long. It’s a walk of a couple hundred feet from the road to the back property line. The healthiest maple tree on the premises is about five short feet from the back of this long plot of dirt. Now, I say all of this because I was going to need to drill holes. And my only drill is not cordless.
So I needed extension cord. And plenty of it!
I unburied and unwound both hundred-foot, bright orange extension cords sitting in our basement and—sap collectors, spiles, hammer and drill in hands—I headed straight for the nearest maple!
It was mighty chilly this morning still, and with only two containers, and having no idea if this would even work, I decided to stick to the two maples closest to our house. (Half of that extension cord for now naught. At least, temporarily.) I plugged in my drill, tightened the bit, and looked for a good spot to drill.
I knew that it was good to drill on the south or southwest side, as that would receive the most sun. Sun gets the sap flowing. I also knew that sap flows best toward a large root. Figuring that our giant maple would be a good candidate for more than one tap (eventually) I chose that tree first, and found a good south-side, root-below spot to drill my hole.
It felt pretty weird to take a drill to my living tree, I’ll have you know…
I drilled at a slight upward angle, and out came the fresh tree shavings. My bit actually got stuck and came out of the drill! I wiggled it free and made sure to keep the drill speed up a bit higher, and was able to make the appropriate 1 1/2″-deep hole. No sap was flowing early in the morning, so I took my time and gently tapped in the perfectly-fitting spile. It all seemed to be going great! (Aside from the no sap, part…) I hooked the first milk container onto the spile, and headed toward the second maple.
Having gained some confidence from the first tap, I quickly found the perfect spot, drilled (more successfully this time) and hung the second sap collection unit. (A better sounding name, don’t you think?)
I had no idea if this was going to work. Really. I quietly collected my tools and put everything back where it belongs, and went on with my day. There was still more sick care to be given to many members of the family. There was a good deal more parenting to do as the Mom is one of the sicker family members at the moment. There was work to be done as well. A normal, full day of life.
As the day was coming to a close, I remembered the taps.
About 4:30pm or so, I checked on the second tap, which is near the front of our property, visible from our front porch.
IT WAS FULL!!!
OK, not full… but it held enough clear liquid for me to use ALL CAPS to relay to you the excitement I felt when my eyes first beheld that sight!
I ran inside to get shoes on and to get as many kids as could amble to see the start of this latest backyard adventure! They quickly finished up a task I requested that they complete, shoed and coated up, and we headed out our front door, camera in hand!
There were gasps of excitement, joyful, exuberant jumping, clapping, and lots of rapid-fire questions. I snapped some photos, and explained the whole process I had gone through early that morning, and we decided to do one more tap following our apparent success!
Kirsten was perhaps the most excited of all four kiddos. (Cam joined us later, unwilling to miss the backyard project party, though he was not conscious for much of today thanks to his current battle with sickness…) Kirstie wore the biggest smile, asked the most questions, and hung on every word of my stories and instruction.
Following a very successful third tap—we decided to tap the healthiest maple, the one at the back of our property, and the sap was flowing within a second of the drill first penetrating the tree!—Kirsten discovered the book I had gotten from the library, and began flipping through the pages, yearning to learn more. I saw this and said, “Kirstie, you can read that if you’d like. That’d be great.” At this, she quickly headed for the living room couch, a visible bounce in her gait!
Learning is fun. Doing is also fun. Combined, they are really fun! And learning by doing together… you can’t beat it.
Now hopefully we’ll get the boiling down the sap part right, and have a super-tasty final product!
But even if we don’t… I can unabashedly say this backyard project has already been a wonderful success!
Rest is currently the word reverberating through various sectors of my life.
That usually means I should listen.
I am reading through the Old Testament—slowly but surely—and currently find myself musing through the prophesies (and historical context content) of Isaiah, son of Amoz. There are many utterances and proclamations of doom and destruction for all who have chosen to abandon their Creator—The Creator—and line after line of what most would sum up with the word despair. However, my eye caught a couple interesting verses, including this one:
This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.
The fifteenth verse of chapter thirty in the book of Isaiah tells us that only in resting (in the Holy One of Israel) will we be saved. That doesn’t make much sense, but the second line reinforces that our strength is found in quietness and confidence. (Remember, Paul says in the New Testament this:
Three different times I begged the Lord to take [my weakness] away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
And we’ve all heard this before, from Isaiah chapter 40:
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
I keep coming across this idea of rest. Perhaps it’s because I am tired. I am overburdened right now by pretty much all areas of my life. I live most days on the edge of tired (or even exhaustion). My constant thought is of when I will be able to rest.
So perhaps my subconscious mind is pushing this “rest” theme out in front of me wherever I turn, whatever I do. It could very well be that.
Or maybe it’s that what I’m really looking for is truly what I need.
There are times when rest eludes us. Busyness is one of the seasons of life. (And its ebb and flow are constant and yet unpredictable through all of the other seasons of our lives.) But from what I’ve been reading from Scripture lately—listening hard for the words spoken by my Father—is that I am best when I rest.
Not just sleep… or a good afternoon nap. Real rest. Soul rest.
How that comes is still a bit of a mystery to me. I know a big part of it rests on my ability to live out my trust of Father. The more I try to retain control of my life, of everything around me, the less rest (or peace) I have. I know this. From experience.
But is it that simple? Maybe. God says it plainly enough, and often enough, that our life is found only in him. Him. Not (just) his teachings, or principles, and definitely not what we do for him… but in him.
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.”
That last line: But you would have none of it. We can read it like an angry, (justifiably) vindictive accuser, shouting passionately a righteous and correct judgment upon one who has failed.
Or, we could read it as a loving Father, who so longs for his beloved to know the fullness and richness of living loved.
More from Isaiah, this from chapter forty-two:
“He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.”
The very nature of Jesus—who is in very nature, God—is rest. Peace. Quiet confidence and strength.
And when we are in him—all of us, only in him—then we, too, know rest.
So, I know this stuff…
Now it’s time to live it.
Thank you, Father, for your wisdom, patience, understanding, and incredible grace and mercy.
And for your Rest.
We have a hockey player in the house.
Actually, we have two—or more—but only one who plays “professionally”.
Ian participated in a 3-on-3 tournament this past weekend. Generally, hockey is 5-on-5 with a goalie, so with fewer skaters, I was actually a bit concerned for Ian. As the goalie for one of the four teams, he was likely to face far more shots than in a normal game, and as the backup goalie for his regular team this season, he is a bit “green” still.
However, Ian ended up with perhaps the best performance of all four of the goalies in the tournament!
He was teamed with several players from the travel teams. Travel teams often are comprised of the more skilled players (but not necessarily so) and in general would be favored to out-perform the house-league players (who are Ian’s regular teammates). There was good-natured competition brewing between these house-league teammates and their goalie understudy. And he bested them all!
Ian’s first game was probably his best, actually. He started the tournament against a team that was stacked with some of the better players from his regular team—who was also the early favorite to win this 3-on-3 tournament. It was a hard-fought game by both teams, but Ian’s team had a somewhat comfortable 5-3 lead up to the final minute. It was then that one of his regular teammates put a puck past Ian to make the score 5-4. Tense moments followed—including some clutch saves by Ian Campbell—until the final buzzer sounded with Ian’s team the victors!
That set the tone for the whole tournament, I think.
Many folks were telling me that Ian not only played a great game, but everyone was saying so. (Including the players from the other teams.)
Not wanting it to go too much to his head (and see him “flop” in Game Two) I kept such comments to myself, but did compliment him on a very well-played game.
(Really! I was very impressed!)
Well, Game Two was played, and Ian’s team was able to sort of “coast” to a 5-2 win. Not bad! There was a break then for the afternoon, followed by two more games for each team in the evening.
Back on the ice for Game Three, Ian actually completed 25 minutes of ice time without allowing a single goal, including a save on a penalty shot against a fairly good scorer from his regular team. (Again… impressed!) His team triumphed 7-0, and was to face the pre-tournament “best” team for their final game—right after they finished the third game!
To my (great) surprise, Ian’s team was skating harder and faster than the rested team, and built up a 5-2 lead going into the last third of the game or so.
But then they felt the tired.
One goal, then two, then THREE goals scored in the final minutes—I can’t recall now, but it might have been the final minute—produced a tie, and also solidified Ian’s team as the top seed in the tournament the following day with a final record of 3-0-1.
Ian was undefeated! Wow! Who’d-a thunk it?!
The tournament began at 8:30am the next morning, and Ian continued his very solid play, posting a 2-1 victory in the opening game against the fourth seed. The only goal he allowed was on a penalty shot! (Are you kidding me???)
The second game to determine their opponent in the Championship Game started very surprisingly with the pre-tournament “favorite” finding themselves down 3-0 very early in the game. It turned out to be a fantastic match, however, as that team came back and scored with literally one second remaining to avoid overtime and steal the victory by one goal.
After the Consolation Game, Ian’s team took the ice, ready to try to best the pre-tournament “favorites” one more time. He was already 1-0-1 against this team, and hoped to keep his perfect record going!
The game was really back and forth, but it didn’t start well! Ian’s team were down early, 2-1. They were able to fight back and gain a 4-2 advantage late in the contest—but favorites are favorites for a reason.
Tough play netted the “favorites” a goal to get them within one. Four to three was the score until just a couple minutes remained. The pressure was on… shot after shot… Ian’s team couldn’t get the puck. A shot from right in front of the net was saved by a swift motion of Ian’s leg pad…
But then it was just as swiftly tapped into the net by the same player who scored the fourth goal in the first game (Ian’s regular teammate) … and we had a tie game!
We’re headed to oooooooverrrrtime!
Overtime was tense, with chances for both teams, until finally Ian’s teammate was able to find the net with about a minute left in the 5-minute, non-sudden-death OT. Ian stopped the rest of the shots and his team left the ice with a well-earned 5-4 OT victory—and the Championship!
How fun for Ian! He’s been working really hard this year—and enjoying every minute of it!—as a backup goalie for the last-place team in his league. His only ice time has been in “mop-up” time: when his team was either up by a lot, or more likely, losing by a lot. He did get to play in one game near the end of the year, and helped his team to a victory! Again, fun!
They finish up this weekend with another tournament out of town. Ian will play in at least one game. He certainly has the support of his teammates (perhaps even more now?) and it will be fun to root him and all of them on to (hopefully) another tournament championship!
What a way to finish the season!
Great job, Ian The Goalie!
The Buffalo Sabres got their first win in five tries last night. It came by way of a(nother) great performance by goalie Ryan Miller. They have seven wins in this lockout-shortened season. Strangely, they are currently the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and yet they are only four points out of the final playoff spot.
The level of ineptitude (and apparent apathy) that they have displayed thus far was actually sufficient to cause the organization to fire their coach of sixteen years. (Which, honestly, even though it happens all the time in the league, many people in Buffalo figured it would never happen here!)
And now, the Buffalo Bills, who cleaned house at the end of the last season, are potentially not going to draft a quarterback in the first couple rounds?
Are we ever going to see a championship team here in Buffalo?
They really have come close. Obviously the Bills in the late 1980s to mid-1990s, a Ronnie Harmon catch away from six straight AFC Championship games. SIX, people! And the four straight Super Bowl appearances will likely never be rivaled. And, the Hall of Fame inductees from that team keep coming.
The Sabres have a couple Stanley Cup Finals appearances to their credit. (But no Cup…) They have a President’s Trophy (first place in the league for the regular season) and that team had some really notable names… but they are all gone.
Now names like Tyler Myers, and Tyler Ennis, and Stafford, Foligno, Enroth, Grigorenko, Brennan, McNabb, Adam, and on and on, are leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Buffalo sports fans everywhere.
Why can we never catch a break?
Free Agency is coming up for the Buffalo Bills. It begins on March 12th. The draft follows that in late April. The NHL trade deadline is much later than usual this year (because of the shorter season) at April 3rd. The Sabres’ deal makers have repeatedly stated that they are interested in making moves, “but we need to have a partner. It’s not like XBox.”
Since late last year, the Bills have said they want to draft a top-notch QB.
But since the new coaching staff has come in, they have been releasing (or not re-signing) veteran players at an alarming rate. This leads one to believe that they will use the draft to fill those holes. (Oh, and they also re-signed QB Tarvaris Jackson, and “reinstated” QB Ryan Fitzpatrick by publicly announcing that he and Jackson will compete for the starting job.)
With so many “new” holes, and making that move at quarterback (along with what most who follow the draft say is a “weak” class of QBs) does that mean that the Bills won’t draft a QB in the first couple rounds??
It may not even matter.
Unfortunately, the Bills’ recent track record with the draft goes something like this:
- 2012: Stephone Gilmore, Cordy Glenn, T.J. Graham
- 2011: Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard
- 2010: C.J. Spiller, Torrell Troup, Alex Carington
- 2009: Aaron Maybin, Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd, Andy Levitre
- 2008: Leodis McKelvin, James Hardy, Chris Ellis
- 2007: Marshawn Lynch, Paul Posluszny, Trent Edwards
No QBs. And not a great list overall, though there are some good players there. (Even a couple Pro Bowlers in Byrd and Spiller.)
It’s a bit unfair to come to any real conclusions regarding last year’s draft (though, it does seem they did get a very solid player with the pick of Gilmore), and one must also consider that there were two different “regimes” overseeing those drafts (Jauron/Levy, Jauron/I forget, and then Nix/Gailey).
But the italicized players are no longer with the team, and in some cases, no longer in the NFL. These are guys picked in the top three rounds.
C.J. Spiller is going to be great. And there’s no way that BOTH Byrd and Levitre leave Buffalo (they just are not currently signed). But the rest…
It sure seems like perpetual, eternal sports doom for this city. For both of the major pro sports franchises.
I do find myself hoping that the bottom really falls out for the Sabres. From what I’ve read, there are three really good prospects in the 2013 NHL Draft. So, if we add one of those guys to some promising young players already part of the organization at some level … seems good, no?
But then you remember the whole Buffalo thing.
It seems like we have a lot of this to look forward to in the near future…
“Tarvaris Jackson throws it deep to T.J. Graham… he’s got his man beat! … OH! He drops the ball and the game is over! I don’t know why they didn’t give the ball to Spiller a whole lot more than they did in that game, do you, Mark?”
“Tyler Ennis makes a move to get around Chara… a beautiful pass across to Myers… OH! He fanned on it! But the Sabres get it back again, Leopold around behind the net… out in front to Foligno…. OH! He fired it badly wide of the open net! Rask was completely out of position, but he fired it WAY wide!”
Yep. Seems to be the way it shall forever be…
This will probably surprise you, but … no one cares much about President Millard Fillmore. At least, not according to this article.
Since we’re just a week past President’s Day, I figure it’s still appropriate to honor one of the men who served in that capacity for this great nation of ours.
Did you know that Millard Fillmore is somewhat revered in Buffalo, one of his and my “hometowns”. President Fillmore was born in Moravia, NY—and I in Springfield, OH—but we both spent many years of our lives near the home of the Buffalo Bills. (Hmm… not sure if they were around when he lived there, though…)
His name can be frequently found around Buffalo. My wife was born at Millard Fillmore hospital! He helped to found the University at Buffalo! (One of the universities to which I matriculated!) There’s even a statue at City Hall! (Along with fellow former President—and Mayor of Buffalo!—Grover Cleveland.)
Millard Fillmore died at his home in Buffalo, NY on March 8, 1874. (I haven’t done that yet, either… the similarities keep dwindling…)
And the hits keep coming… He was the last President from the Whig party, though not elected to that position. (He assumed office upon the death of Zachary Taylor, with whom he served as Vice President.)
He was the only president to have the same double letters in both his first, and last name. (Fellow Whig party member, and 9th president of the US, William Harrison, is the only other to have double letters in both names, but as you can see, they don’t match.)
Actually, I did enjoy reading about this president. He had some very interesting accomplishments in foreign affairs, and sounds like a pretty decent fellow. He is least-remembered and often ranked as one of the worst presidents in US history, partly (or mostly) as a function of the time in which he served. He was president during the decade prior to the Civil War. Things in our Union were at a boiling point, and thus, I don’t think many of his accomplishments are remembered. (Well, I know they are not.)
History is so fascinating in this way. Fillmore fell out of favor with the public, and his party (and his party also fell out of favor to the point of dissolution shortly thereafter) and so he was unsuccessful in his bid for election following his first and only term as president. And with all of the massive changes in our Union that followed his presidency, much about him is forgotten.
History is written by the victors.
Thankfully, there are still records, and there is still history to be read and learned.
He may not have been the greatest, but he was lucky number 13!
Next time you’re in Buffalo, look him up, and you might be surprised by what you find.
Read more about Millard Fillmore at this Wikipedia page. It’s the shortest article written about any US President. Figures, right?