Friday, December 18, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
As 2009 draws to a close, I am poignantly reminded of the fragility of my mortal existence. Way back in 2005, my wife's mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and told that she probably had less than 18 months to live. In 2005 and since, our family prayed lots for Mom and the Lord saw fit to prolong her life. Now, Diana’s mother’s life is drawing to a close. As I sit with Mom, listening to each ragged breath, and wondering which one will be her last, I am lead to believe that family is so much more important that things. I feel somewhat compelled to believe that the goodness in Mom’s life has power over the bands of death and that her goodness will influence us long after she is gone. I am reminded that not everything I once thought was important really is.
At our home, which is 1600 miles away, our Christmas presents sit alone, awaiting our return. Several weeks ago, I lovingly placed tenderly wrapped presents in the growing pile, anticipating the joy I might see in the eyes of each recipient on Christmas morning. Today, however, those far away presents seem lifeless and meaningless when compared to the fragile life of my mother-in-law as she hangs on to the precious gift of life that I too share in. Someone has sat with Mom nearly every moment of every day in the past few weeks and since I arrived here in Indiana on December 4th, I have taken my turn to watch over her. The last few nights, as I sat into the wee hours of the morning and read to her, held her hand, administered her medications, thought about her life or moved her into a more comfortable position, I have been amazed at the depth of my feelings. Mom has been a wonderful mother-in-law as well as a good friend. Along with her sweet husband, who has been an angel of mercy to her for many years, they raised an amazing daughter who I have been privileged to be married to for over 27 years. I feel honoured to be able to offer a small amount of service in partial payment for the debt I feel. I feel honoured to know such a noble woman.
In 2005, shortly after Mom was diagnosed with cancer, I felt moved to write a poem in her honour. For those of you who have read my blog for a long time, you may recall that I promised to share that poem. Today, I feel that the time has come. I hope you both enjoy and benefit from the words I penned – words that I feel came from a source larger than my own mind and heart.
When Death Comes
When threat of death our loved ones get,
Their hearts can scarcely brave the threat,
It seems so soon, it seems so near,
For death is something we all fear.
I wish my soul could find some wings,
To take me up and way beyond,
The pain of day and night so long.
And when its time for me to go,
I know ‘tis sad to leave below,
My loved ones left to fare alone,
My friends who’ll look and find me gone.
I’m heaven bound, at least I hope,
Because for me a plan was wrote.
A price was paid, His blood was spilt,
So I could find escape from guilt.
A life again, he promised me.
A life with joy and not so tough.
And so let’s see how I will do,
When my turn comes to conquer through…
The bounds of earth and sky to see,
If I have live so worthily.
Am I at peace or just not here?
Are loved ones left to cringe in fear?
Do I await the gates above?
Is Jesus Christ the one I love?
My path is sure. All men must tread,
But life’s not just ‘bout being dead.
Just time away, and time for thought,
It’s nice, but lots of pain is brought.
My loved ones pray, faith on their lips,
As life from me so slowly slips.
I hope to meet again someday.
I hope to love again and play,
As once I did before hard times,
And hug and kiss and give my charms.
But for today, the time is gone.
For choosing either right or wrong.
My loved ones watch, but cannot go
To Heaven’s gate or down below.
Then wisdom speaks and makes me glad,
That life brought both, some good and bad,
To help me grow and have a choice,
And work to speak with Heaven’s voice.
And so with heart all strained and sad
I grin and say that life is glad.
For up and down our lives may be,
But that is just the entry fee…
I have to pay if I’m to hope,
That I can rest in Jesus cloak.
So upward look, to days ahead,
When none of us will need a bed.
For gone will be the pains of earth,
And glad I’ll be that I had birth.
Sweet crowns of light are in my reach,
Our Lord and God on earth did teach.
And faith and hope and charity,
Will be my song and be my gleam.
For I will win the fight of life,
And reach for things beyond this strife.
My loved ones left for just a while,
As I go on to join the choir,
Of angels fair, all dressed in white,
And robed in glory, love and light.
Soon you will come and join our throng.
Soon ‘twill be time to come back home,
To God who gave you life and love.
Soon ‘twill be time to sing above.
But till that day go forth with faith,
And keep sweet smiles upon your face.
For you are who I leave behind,
To take my work in heart and mind.
And leave a legacy for me,
That death and pain will never grey.
Remember I will wait for you,
So make me proud and Jesus too.
Go right to work and train that voice.
Learn Heaven’s words; It’s still your choice.
For you have time, to choose the right,
And walk in truth and love and light.
And when your time arrives to go,
Be glad that you have lived below.
But ‘till that day please take some time,
To train your voice with pleasing rhyme…
So you can come and sing with me,
And blend refrains in harmony.
I wait for you my dear loved one,
Please join me when your work is done.
By Davis L. Bigelow
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Scheduled to air again on BYU TV
November 2009 dates and times (MST)
Monday the 16th @8:00 PM
Thursday the 19th @ 9:00 AM
Friday the 20th @ 1:00 AM
Monday the 23rd @ 4:00 PM
You may want to check out one of these broadcasts. Just click on the title of this post to go directly to BYU TV
Sunday, September 6, 2009
As we ate lunch at the lake, the partly cloudy sky darkened and we got a good downpour. Thankfully, we had some large evergreens to hide under. Only a few drops landed on us. After the short shower, we meandered behind the lake, past the tenting campsite and enjoyed a spectacular meadow filled with yellow columbines. I wish you could have all enjoyed the day with us, but at least I had a camera with me. As we walked, we heard a strange, piercing noise. It sounded like a raptor sound effect off of the movie Jurassic Park. We were rather freaked out until we located the source. it was a hawk.
Check out the slide show to see it all.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Just a note to let you all know that I am yet alive and well - just extremely busy adventuring, etc...
Since I last posted, I've been on a backpacking trip, kayaked down a river - twice, been Tiger Hunting in the Hoodoos, photographed some exotic places, read an amazing adventure story (which I will be reviewing in my next post), been camping, sat around several fires, carved a little, played with my grandchildren, visited with my daughters and son, been sailing, photographed two weddings, got published in the book "Famous Family Nights" by Anne Bradshaw, worked on my own book, "Three Seconds On, Three Seconds Off", partnered with a gifted artist (to complete the artistic touches on two of my children's stories), made new friends, been in contact with old ones, attended the Calgary Stampede, created a brand new business card, hiked to Goat Lake, dealt with a sewer backup, worked to pay for it all, and generally had a great time so far this summer. (The sewer backup, however, didn't make the "great time" list!)
As for my book, "Three Seconds On, Three Seconds Off", it is a little closer to print, but my publisher was unhappy with a few things and I am currently going through the manuscript for time #7. I hope to be done and see the book in print for Christmas, but still no commitments as yet.
I would like to post more frequently and will try harder to do so. I have many photos and adventures to share, so please stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your summers are all going great too!!!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Yesterday, believe it or not, the day was so warm that I ran my truck's air conditioner for several hours. For the past few days, our furnace has not even needed to run. The great outdoors has lured us with an abundance of short-sleeve weather. Late last night, however, a storm front came in. I hate it when that happens! Mother Nature never has consulted me - I guess I should stop waiting for it. Now all that remains is damage control. I hope my snow shovel is lost under a drift!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Book ReviewI recently listened to Traci Hunter Abramson’s book, "The Deep End", on CD and quite enjoyed it. The narration is abridged, but since I’ve not perused the pages of the actual book, sadly, I can’t articulate any differences. On the CD however, the narration begins with character introduction before rapidly plunging into a plot thick with intrigue and action. I quickly found myself absorbed in the imaginative saga. The story shelters several unexpected twists and turns, and I thought Traci did a fine job of protecting the surprises―unveiling them at just the right times. Occasionally, when I sensed predictability forming in the plot, Traci sent my notions into wild tailspins. I especially liked the emotional rhythm of the story. On the downside, there were some minor moments when I thought the tale would have benefited from a little more development, but after all, it was the abridged version I listened to. Overall, Traci’s book was richly entertaining. “The Deep End” gets a big round of applause from me!
You can check out all seven of Traci's books on her blog.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I was doing a bit of surfing this morning and came across some very wild sporting events. “Outlandish, amazing, over the top and crazy” are only some of the words that came to mind as I gazed onto my screen! (I think my mouth is still hanging open!) Here are the websites. Feel free to enjoy a good laugh too!!
Swamp Soccer & Snowshoe Soccer – Finland- make sure you look at the photo gallery (Just in case you need to know, the scroll tabs come up along the upper edges of each photo when the mouse cursor passes close enough.)
Wife Carrying – Finland, USA, Australia, Ireland
Mobile Phone Throwing Contest – Finland – top throw was 85 metres (279ft)
World Bog Snorkeling Championship - Wales
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A year or so ago, I listened to Nancy’s first two books on CD, but never got around to enjoying the final two volumes until recently. A visit to my public library found me signing out volumes two, three and four – I thought I’d better re-listen to Volume two.
Over the past three weeks, I devoured the remaining bulk of the saga, enjoying each and every minute of it. I thought I knew about the American Civil War. In my Canadian schooling, I studied it in depth—or so I thought. By the time Nancy Allen’s powerful tale was told, however, I realized that my knowledge was painfully superficial. Nancy took me where my studies had never ventured—into the hearts and minds of individuals on both sides of the conflict. In listening to the narration, I saw and I heard, but most of all, I felt. Nancy’s unforgettable characters let me experience the fear of furious and oft-times senseless battles, to weep with the oppressed, to rejoice at the uncountable acts of valour, and to celebrate the ultimate triumph of the noble cause of freedom—a cause that cost so very much more than I had ever realized!
Thank you Nancy for your amazing contribution to the literary world! Thank you for your contribution to my own understanding!
N. C. Allen’s Series: Faith of Our Fathers
Volume 1 - A House Divided
Volume 2 - To Make Men Free
Volume 3 - Through the Perilous Fight
Volume 4 - One Nation Under God
N. C. Allen’s Blog
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Of late, I've been working on the first story for Three Seconds On, Three Seconds Off - Volume II. It is a very emotional tale from 1964 and I've made use of a series of flashbacks to help me tell it. I enjoy seeing flashbacks in the works of others, but at first, I found them a bit difficult to write myself. I assumed that my writing habits were in the way so I did some brainstorming.
I tend to get small blocks of time in which to write - typically five to fifteen minutes, zero to five times a day. The sporatic intervals of interruption totally prevented me from remembering where I was in the telling, so I finally got creative in my approach to writing flashbacks. I took the story's timeline and wrote it succinctly. With the short outline in easy reach for reference, coming back to the place I had left off wasn't too tough. The story is progressing nicely now and I hope to begin work on the second one in a week or so.
As for my recent adventures, I don't often stop my semi just to take photographs, but yesterday I made an interesting exception. Over time, I have taken several nice shots. Some are artsy, some are scenic, this one is funny. In honour of this picture, I have launched a new slide show category: Adventures in Trucking. Enjoy - and thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
These two sets of photographs were taken on August of 1997 and February of 2008. Both photos are multiple images - put together in Photoshop, but the pictures of the lightning began their lives as slides.
For the 1997 panorama, we were camping at a lake near Cardston, Alberta. The night was unusually calm, but not across the water. If memory serves, my exposures were in the neighbourhood of 60 seconds each and I used four images to make the finished scene. An hour after packing up my tripod, the wind came up and blew so strongly that the next morning we packed up our wet stuff and relocated to a more protected campground about 30 kilometres away. Oh the memories!
As for the sun & sundogs, the ambient temperature was around –25 Celsius (-5 Fahrenheit) and I was heading south in my semi, after just unloading some grain. Some who view this photograph may think that the giant rainbow-like circle is lens flare, but not so. Except for a bit of flare over top of the snow, what I actually saw was perfectly captured by my faithful camera. Sundogs occur on cold days when there is moisture in the atmosphere for the sun to reflect off of. As the light bounces through the moisture, the effect is similar to a rainbow. Usually, sundogs are not seen in pairs, nor are they normally so large.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Interestingly enough, when we, as human beings, watch a television show or read a book, it is easy to embrace the notion that we are witnessing a lot of truth blended with a little fiction. After all, television and print media can often be defined this way. The real trick is to determine how much of the dramatization is truth and how much is fiction?
Our own particular experience with life lets us filter what we see and come to our own personal conclusion about the percentage of truth and fiction we are witnessing. The opinion of another may even help us decide our own minds. But what happens if our personal filter lacks sufficient experience, information, understanding or maturity to accurately process the scenes that our eyes and ears are gathering up for us to consider? This dilemma, of passing accurate judgement, induces me to worry about a show that dramatizes polygamous and religious relationships - especially when the writers, actors, actresses, producers, etc are diligently and dogmatically working to ensure the success of their TV series. Perhaps Big Love is an accurate portrayal of both plural marriage relationships and the church, but before you decide, I would invite you to consider this…
I've heard it said, "You should never spoil a good story with the truth." For some writers, this line seems to capture the essence of their work. After all, when your next meal depends on your ability to entertain, I can see how easy it might be to rationalize your creative process into ignoring self-evident moral standards and write what sells.
As a non-fiction writer, I have been tempted to embellish truth. As a fiction writer, I have considered creating character interactions that are surreal or amoral, but still believable. Character interactions, in print or on the screen, may be entertaining, but some I have seen and read are nothing more than the effects of an overzealous, morally rationalizing writer trying to provide sufficient sensory experience for their audience, thereby hoping to ensure an enduring pay check (and a next meal). When a book or television program purposefully purports to portray truth, while underhandedly slipping fiction into our minds, I would be a poor citizen of earth if I didn’t condemn the action. I hope that Big Love isn't guilty of this.
Polygamy is a lifestyle that most of us know very little about. How much do you know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? In my opinion, it is in the best interest of us all to become informed – because others have the right to write whatever they want, be it truth, fiction or a blend of some sort. If you are interested, the church has made an official response to an upcoming episode of Big Love. If you want to read a good story that portrays polygamy, you could try the book, Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
On February 12th I was waiting for Mike, a tired farmer, who had to clear enough snow so I could load some of his wheat. It took him and his tractor about two hours, and while I waited, I wandered out in his field in search of a photo opp. Wow, was I rewarded! Tiny patches and filigrees of ice on the stubble field were just far enough off the ground to fit my camera under them! This is nature's jewelry at its finest! I never knew you could grow gemstones in a wheat field. I wonder what other wonders I haven't seen yet??
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!
I received this Blog wonderful award from Ainhoa, a Spanish young author (currently working on a novel). Translated to English, “Premio Symbelmine” means "Sublime Award". I am deeply honoured. Thank you Ainhoa!!
Ainhoa's blog is in Spanish, but you can obtain a fairly good translation by using an Spanish/English Translator. The free version of the translator can handle 500 characters at a time (about 90 words).
As a Premio Symbelmine award recipient, it is my pleasure to find seven other Blogs that I think merit sublime status. I couldn’t settle on just seven, however, so here are eight greats (in no particular order):
James Ball - Author - So You Want to be a Pilot, Eh? James’s blog is loaded up with highflying fun!
Tristi Pinkston - Author - Nothing to Regret - Tristi’s blog is always a nice place to visit. My wife recently enjoyed one of Tristi’s books.
Traci Hunter Abramson - Author - The Deep End - Traci is on the move - another title is about to hit the stores.
Anne Bradshaw - Author - Please, No Zits – Anne runs a happenin’ blog with a waterfall of contests.
Autumn Ables - Author - As We Greet With A Kiss – Recently, Autumn has been too busy to talk about things in her corner of the world, but when she does, it is always interesting.
Adam Letourneau - Author - So You Want To Be A Lawyer, Eh? – Adam’s blog leads its readers into some fascinating facets of the Canadian legal system.
Deanna Raybourn - Author - Silent in the Moor – Deanna’s blog always promises something intriguing and unexpected.
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) - Author - Dreams Die Hard, Lost Canyon Springs Vol. II – If you like political stirrings, this is the blog for you – and Candace doesn’t pull any punches, so just hold on for the ride!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I hope the Christmas and New Years celebrations were great for you all!! Mine were wonderful! I did a great many things in 2008, and here is my lengthy account of the highlights:
During the summer, Diana and I were privileged to join in a family reunion, held in Kelowna, B.C. We had a stellar time! Games, stories, late night visits, photo opps, kayaking and more gave us cherished memories of loved ones we don’t often see. Our next reunion is planned for 2011.
The year of 2008 saw my manuscript, “3 Seconds On, 3 Seconds Off – Volume I”, go through ten edits in all. Seven of them were by me. Now I am waiting for a final review prior to publication. Volume 2 is already under way.
As the year progressed, I went scuba diving seven times (and got my certification), sailing twice, kayaking three times, rock climbing once, snowshoeing twice and hiking three times. I also began the hobby of low-relief woodcarving. I have one carving project in progress and plan to finish it soon.
As for theatrical events, Diana and I attended “Corteo – Cirque Du Soleil”, “Corb Lund”, “Anne Murray”, and “The Vinyl Café”. All performances were excellent!
In April and May, Diana and I repainted our upstairs bathroom and refinished our oak living room floor. Both rooms look great! With the living room looking good, we bought our very first new couch, love seat & chair set. After making do for 26 years, the new matching leather furniture is definitely appreciated.
On February 2, 2008, we bid farewell to President Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In my life, President Gordon B. Hinckley has been a profound influence, leading me by example as well as inspiring me with the spoken word to try to stand a little taller and be a little kinder. While I have sometimes forgotten his wise council, I have also sometimes succeeded in practicing it. My small successes continue to give me hope. I will miss his wise words.
In May, I was approached by a fellow author and asked to contribute a short story for a book she was trying to assemble about family home evenings. I felt deeply honoured and eagerly accepted the challenge. (Family Home Evening is a program our church advocates. It involves gathering the entire family each Monday night for singing, a spiritually uplifting lesson, fun activities and, of course, a sweet desert.) The upcoming book will be called “Famous Family Nights”. The book has 88 contributors in all, and is expected to be released in the Fall of 2009. I am very excited about this project. The piece I contributed is called, “Six Squirming Children On A Lighthouse”. I'll post more when I know more.
On June 5th, my Mother was trying to work in our garden when she fell, breaking her neck. She was alone, but the Lord was there to help her with a few miracles. Mom got up, supporting her head with her hands, walked out to the street, flagged down a car & rode to the hospital. The break in her neck was described by the specialist as “the worst possible break you can get”! We are grateful her life was spared. Mom spent three months in a halo and is now doing very well. She can even drive around our small town (when snow & ice are not covering the streets). Mom will turn 78 this year.
Diana’s Mother is still battling cancer (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) & its complications - kidney failure being the most prominent. She also has a defibrillator/pace maker in her chest to help with her Mio-Cardiopathy (heart condition). Late this past spring, Diana spent nearly a month with her parents. They live 1900 miles (3000km) away. I stayed home to work, but the lengthy visit was worth my minor sacrifice. So far, Mom is surviving, but we know that that could change quickly. Diana’s Dad is feeling pretty stressed too. Go figure? From so far away, about all we can do is make phone calls & pray. We do lots of both. Diana’s sister lives an hour away from them, so that helps calm our worries.
From November 1st to the 30th, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I wrote 30,902 additional words on an adventure novel that I began in November 2007. The fiction novel, “In Ravenscrag’s Shadow” now contains 45,540 words. Once I get my real book in circulation, I may publish this tale too.
For Christmas, Diana gave me a book about boat building techniques. "The Boat Builder's Apprentice" was a sweet read, and I conjured and imagined up more dreams than I could achieve in a lifetime. Still, I plan on building something boat-like this year, but my plans are currently caught in a swirling pool of possibility! I think I will first construct a pontoon (an ama for those who know the term) to use along side one of my kayaks. The outrigger will be relatively easy to make and I already have my basic plans drawn up. Once the frozen outdoors warm up a bit, I will commandeer the garage and get to work on the hull. The other boat I am listing towards is a fast, fibreglass kayak. No matter what I decide, I'll post photos of whatever I do.
Before I sign off, I wish you all a wonderful year for 2009. I hope you and yours will embrace happiness and enjoy good health. I hope you will find success in your plans and projects, but most of all, I hope you and I will all be found contributing positive things to our wonderful world!! God bless you all, and thank you for visiting my virtual world.