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December 27, 2007

It doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to do my weekly John Owen “Reading the Classics Together” post today. And for that I apologize. Being away from home has completely disrupted my ability to keep this site operating as it usually does. I’m a routine-based person, it seems, and being away from my usual day-to-day life really changes my ability to do what I usually do. I woke up very early this morning and, with a touch of panic, my first thought was, “Today is John Owen day.” Yet I haven’t read the chapter carefully yet. In fact, I haven’t even thought of doing so. Most weeks I read it at least twice prior to Thursday morning and once more write before I write about it. This week I haven’t even thought about the book. I blame the disruption of my routine.

I’m a routine-driven guy. Case in point: my side of the bed. A few weeks before our youngest was born Aileen and I began planning how we would restructure certain parts of our lives to accommodate an entirely helpless infant. As we did with our first two children, and to the great chagrin of all the Ezzo followers out there, we decided to have the baby sleeping in our room for the first few weeks (or months, depending on how soon we would get tired of having a baby in such close proximity). Because the master bedroom in our new house was oriented differently than in our old house, we realized that, for sake of convenience, it might be easiest if Aileen and I changed sides of the bed. That way, when she needed to nurse the baby at night, she would not have to climb over or around me. So on Friday night we changed sides. I didn’t sleep. On Saturday night we tried again. I didn’t sleep. Finally, in the middle of the night, when my tossing and turning had woken her up, we switched back. I slept like a baby. My routine survived.

My ability to carry on normal operations on this site depends on routine, I guess. As soon as I travel, I find that the time I usually spend reading the Bible, praying, reading good books, reflecting on life, and so on, is very hard to come by. I stay up late yacking with my siblings and then sleep in late the next morning. When I’m usually writing, I’m now sleeping. When I’m usually sleeping I’m now talking. Of course it’s great to have some time off and time away from the day-to-day, but it certainly does impact my ability to keep this site going.

So please just hang on for a few more days as I continue to focus on lighter fare at this site. Beginning tomorrow I’ll be spending the weekend at the Reality Check Conference and look forward to bringing some good updates from what promises to be a really interesting event. Sunday evening I’ll be speaking at Lyndon Avenue Baptist Church in Chattanooga. Monday I’ll be driving home. Tuesday is New Years and then on Wednesday life returns to normal. As much as I love being away and love being with family, it will be good to be home and it will be good to be back to my beloved routine.

December 25, 2007

It has been a long but good day here in Woodstock, GA. We got up early and had the kids dig into their stockings. Then, once family had arrived from far and wide, we got busy opening what looked like just an obscene amount of gifts (there are, after all, eighteen people involved). After a great breakfast, a few of the menfolk (mostly) headed downstairs to package up copies of my book to be sent all around the world.

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That’s my brother-in-law Rick checking labels against the spreadsheet, me stuffing books into envelopes, my brother-in-law Justin putting the 3 cent stamps on, my dad putting on the rest of the stamps, and my brother-in-law Pat writing “Media Mail” in hundreds of envelopes. It wasn’t fun work, but we had a good time. Or I did, anyways.

We got most of the tough work done and it remains just to take all of those books to the post office tomorrow.

Anyways, from my clan to yours, have a very Merry Christmas…

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December 24, 2007

I’ve seen a few blogs where the authors are outlining their Christmas traditions. I’ve also been asked by some readers what my Christmas includes. So I thought I’d let you in on the Challies family Christmas. The way Aileen and I celebrate Christmas is a bit of a blend of two family traditions.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up as part of a tradition that celebrated Christmas but did not generally emphasize it as a day to remember the birth of Jesus. It was not quite a secular holiday, but neither was it a sacred one. Aileen’s family was actually quite similar. So our Christmas traditions include little by the way of reading nativity stories (though we did that on occasion) or lighting candles. It’s also worth mentioning that our Christmas traditions are evolving as time goes on. Now that my family has moved to the U.S., we spend every second Christmas in the south. My parents and all of my siblings gather (from Toronto, New York City, Atlanta and Chattanooga) and we celebrate Christmas together. That means we have (at the moment) 18 people gathering together. The off years, where we celebrate at our own at home, is a lot quieter but maybe not quite so much fun.

On Christmas Eve we usually just enjoy appetizers and snacks and try to get the children to bed at a good hour. And we tend to turn in fairly early as well as we know the next day will begin early. We might watch a movie or play a game or just hang out. Just before bed we lay out the stockings and make sure the gifts are where they need to be. There’s no mention of Santa.

Christmas morning we begin with stockings for the children and then eat a breakfast of croissants and bacon and egg rings (which my mom makes). Those bacon and egg rings are made in muffin tins and are really quite delicious—much better than standard bacon and eggs. That’s a tradition that goes back as far as I can remember. After breakfast we get to work and begin opening gifts, moving from youngest to oldest and going round after round. After a few rounds order inevitably gets thrown the wind and we just open whatever is left. Then we begin to look towards the afternoon and begin work on a turkey dinner (which we try to convince my brother-in-law to make since he cooks up a mean turkey). We tend to spend the day fairly quietly, just enjoying family and lots of good food. There’s inevitably a game or two going on and some music playing. We eat together and then head our separate ways. This year we’re beginning what we hope will be a new tradition by heading out the day after Christmas for a family outing (which, this year, will probably take us to the Chattanooga aquarium).

And that’s about all. We try to keep Christmas fairly simple and low-key. It’s usually just about the best day of the year.

December 21, 2007

Yesterday morning (shortly after posting my John Owen post, as it happens) we bundled the family into the car and began to drive south. Far south. We are on our way to Atlanta to spend some time with my family. Yesterday we made it from Toronto all the way to almost the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. I’m writing today from a hotel that I believe is in a town called Corbin or something like that. I must have had a little too much Coke yesterday (I’m not a coffee drinker so Coke gives me my caffeine for the highway) because I didn’t sleep very well and then woke up early. I thought I’d get some writing done while the family catches up on lost sleep.

As I lay in bed last night I was thinking about how long this drive is (16 hours each way, or so) and how easy it would be to waste that entire 16 hours. I determined before we left that I was going to try to take advantage of the time and to that end packed some good audio books—Max McLean’s recording of The Pilgrim’s Progress and an audio version of Desiring God. Aileen the supermom packed a great bag of goodies for the kids—coloring books and stories, stickers and stamps, and nearly everything else a kid could want to use up some of the long hours. The kids haven’t quite yet caught onto the joy of traveling games—counting out of state plates, etc. But they had a good time with their treat bags and with a couple of DVDs as well. I didn’t listen to as much as the audio books as I might have liked, but did make some progress through The Pilgrim’s Progress since I thought the children would be more likely to enjoy that than Desiring God.

I’m determined that we’ll make the most of these two drives and thought I would ask you what you do to keep from wasting your drives. Every family, I think, sooner or later does a ridiculously long drive. If you’ve done that, why not share what you do to redeem some of that time. I’d be eager to learn.

November 23, 2007

Every now and again I get concerned that people are going to think this blog is getting too commercialized—that I keep trying to sell you things. I’m not into blogging for that. But sometimes it’s fun to talk about things like this, so bear with me. Today I’m going to talk about Christmas music and offer up some suggestions.

A few of my favorite blogs have been offering Christmas music suggestions. I don’t think lists of favorites get much more eclectic than those for Christmas music. After all, there are so many available that people can search far and wide and far across genres to make their picks. David’s picks range from The Master’s College Choral to Nat King Cole. Zach’s picks are surprisingly mainstream for Zach (and include, to my great surprise, selections by both Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant). He also goes with Harry Connick Jr., Charlie Brown, and Kevin Max.

I am not a big fan of Sufjan Stevens and his rather weird music, but I do think his Christmas set Songs for Christmas (42 songs across 5 EPs) is an amazing set and one you probably haven’t heard before. He sings plenty of the traditional songs interspersed with some of his own. Songs like “I Saw Three Ships” (disc 2), “Once in David’s Royal City” (disc 2) and “The Friendly Beasts” (disc 3) are done very, very well. With five albums recorded over five years, there is something for everyone on these CDs. I love ‘em! The set comes with “a 42-page booklet with an original Christmas essay by acclaimed American novelist Ricky Moody, two essays, a short story by Stevens, a holiday sticker, chord charts, lyrics, comic strip, family portrait poster, photos, and an animated video.”

Christmas Songs is the latest album by Jars of Clay and one that showed up just in time for Christmas. The guys, who are among the most talented musicians in all of Christian music, provide fourteen songs, some of which are classics and some of which are originals.

Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man was released last year by Sovereign Grace Ministries. You’ve probably seen ads for it running on this site. It offers twelve original songs by Bob Kauflin, Mark Altrogge, and the other Sovereign Grace musicians.

City on a Hill: It’s Christmas is an entry in the City on a Hill series and one that brings some Christmas favorites and a few originals by bands like Caedmon’s Call, Jars Of Clay, Third Day and Sixpence None The Richer.

If you’re in the mood for some lighter fare, Relient K’s Let it Snow Baby, Let it Reindeer is kind of fun. It has seventeen songs, some of which are the typical holiday favorites and some of which are Matt Theissen’s typical Relient K tunes. At the very least, it’s a fun album to listen to! If you bought 2003’s Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand you’ve already got half the songs. If you like that, you may also enjoy the Gloria EP by Hawk Nelson.

Of course it’s not Christmas if you don’t listen to at least one Trans-Siberian Orchestra album at least once. I’m kind of partial towards The Lost Christmas Eve. And you’ll need to listen to Handel’s Messiah at least one time as well. Better yet, read it and keep a Bible handy as you do so.

Those are my picks. What are your favorite Christmas albums?

November 02, 2007

All Scripture is breathed out by God…

In my personal devotions I’ve recently begun a study of Esther. Since it is a short book and one that is entirely narrative, I do not anticipate being in the book for long—probably just about one day per chapter. Esther is probably best known among Christians as being a book of the Bible that never mentions God, either explicitly or even implicitly. But though His name is never mentioned, His hand is all over the book. His name does not need to be mentioned for us to see Him in, over and behind the story. His providence and His care for His people is as clear in Esther as it would be if His name was mentioned throughout.

Yet it’s still easy to miss God in the story. The evidence of this is in how little attention we give to this book. It is rarely spoken of and rarely preached. I don’t know if, through all my years of going to church, I’ve ever heard a sermon that looked primarily to Esther. But there is a reason that Esther is in the Bible. Like each of the other sixty five books, its author is God—the God who is unafraid to leave His name out of this story.

A few weeks ago I spent a few days staying at the home of my aunt and uncle. They live in the countryside, far from any major urban center. They embrace country living, growing vegetables on their farm, allowing a giant, furry, stinky dog to roam and protect the property, and keeping a small collection of potent firearms. While not a seasoned hunter, my uncle does enjoy heading out into his property to chase down the occasional deer. One evening he and I sat outside while he grilled some steaks and he told of how he killed a deer on his property the year before. After killing it, he knew that he would need to figure out how to butcher the thing. So he loaded it onto a little tractor and drove it up to his barn. There he hoisted it up so it hung from a rafter, and he set to work.

Thankfully, he had had the foresight to get a copy of a book that gave step-by-step instructions on how to properly butcher the deer and prepare the meat. As he described the butchering process, he disappeared into the house for a moment and returned with the book. I began to flip through it, turning past chapters on how to butcher cows, pigs, sheep, rabbits, raccoons and chickens. It wasn’t hard to tell when I came to the portion on butchering a deer—those pages were covered in blood. Obviously my uncle had kept this book with him through the butchering process and had turned to it often. There were bloody fingerprints on the edges and drops of blood smeared across the pages. It looked well-used. Apparently it served as a good guide because my uncle managed to properly butcher the deer and prepare it for eating. The week we were there he was preparing a pit in which he could smoke the meat from the next deer that found itself in his crosshairs.

I thought about that book later and thought about the difference between the pages that are covered with blood and those that are still pristine (and which will no doubt remain that way until a hapless sheep happens to wander through my uncle’s property during hunting season). I thought of that book as I began my study of Esther, pondering the difference between the pages that show evidence of use and those that do not. There are some pages in my Bible that are covered in blood, so to speak. They are pages that I use to proclaim or defend my faith; they are pages with verses that uplift and inspire; they are the pages with verses that people like to adapt as their “life verses.” I turn to these pages often and love to learn from them.

But then there is Esther. I’ve rarely turned to the book at all. There is no blood on the pages of Esther, at least in my Bible. There is little evidence that I have learned from those pages and that I use them to bolster my faith. There is little evidence that I have used those pages to teach me more about the God I serve. But even from this brief study (in which I’m being guided by the commentary of Iain Duguid) I’m learning again that God didn’t put any unnecessary chapters or any empty narratives in His book. After all, this is the God who says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Even Esther, the book that does not mention God, is given for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness. It exists to make me competent and equipped to live in the way God wants me to live.

I’ve become convicted that I can’t leave Esther until there is some blood on those pages.

October 26, 2007

Lessons from an infant…

Michaela, my youngest daughter, is just about eighteen months old. She’s at the stage of infancy I enjoy the most—she is just starting to figure out how the world works and is just learning how to communicate. Her vocabulary is increasing by the day and so many of her attempts to use these new words leave us howling with laughter. A couple of times a week Aileen “puppysits” for some neighbors who just got a new puppy. Michaela likes to look at the puppy, but hates it when the dog comes over to her and tries to play with her or, even worse, lick her. So Michaela sticks her little finger in the air, waves it at the dog, and says with all the authority she can muster, “No, no!” Needless to say, the puppy couldn’t care less and continues to pounce and to play.

This morning Aileen was trying to get Michaela dressed and that little girl just wouldn’t play nice. She squirmed and wiggled and screeched, but refused to submit to having her little pink pants put on. It’s not that there was something else she wanted to wear, or not that we could tell. She just did not want to be jostled and cajoled. At eighteen months she was already demanding autonomy. Then, when it came time to get her out the door to walk the other children to school, she flopped to the ground, unwilling to have me help her put her coat on. Never mind that she loves the pink coat with the flowers on it, and never mind that it’s only ten degrees above freezing out there—she didn’t think she needed that coat and was not going to go down without a fight.

It was amazing to me to see this little red-headed, pig-tailed baby fighting for nothing more than her right to autonomy. I’m convinced that she did not really want to go out this morning wearing only her pajamas, a dirty diaper and no coat. The issue is that she did not want us, her mother and father, forcing her to do anything. And so she rebelled against our authority, preferring to think that she would be happier if she did things her own way. And she’s not even two years old.

Somehow this rebellion against authority is one of humanity’s besetting sins. When even the babies are doing it—the infants who can barely express themselves verbally—we know it has deep roots.

Of course I’m far from immune to this sin. I rebel all the time. I may not flop to the ground when it comes time to getting dressed, but I see these same seeds of rebellion in my heart. I see the same desire to be autonomous and to do the things I want to do, regardless of what I’m told by those who have authority over me.

Matthias Media’s “Two Ways to Live” presentation covers this well:

The sad truth is that, from the very beginning, men and women everywhere have rejected God by doing things their own way. We all do this. We don’t like someone telling us what to do or how to live—least of all God—and so we rebel against him in lots of different ways. We ignore him and just get on with our own lives; or we disobey his instructions for living in his world; or we shake our puny fists in his face and tell him to get lost.

How ever we do it, we are all rebels, because we don’t live God’s way. We prefer to follow our own desires, and to run things our own way, without God. This rebellious, self-sufficient attitude is what the Bible calls ‘sin’.

And what does God do about this sin and rebellion?

God cares enough about humanity to take our rebellion seriously. He calls us to account for our actions, because it matters to him that we treat him, and other people, so poorly. In other words, he won’t let the rebellion go on forever.

The sentence God passes against us is entirely just, because he gives us exactly what we ask for. In rebelling against God, we are saying to him, “Go away. I don’t want you telling me what to do. Leave me alone.” And this is precisely what God does. His judgement on rebels is to withdraw from them, to cut them off from himself—permanently. But since God is the source of life and all good things, being cut off from him means death and hell. God’s judgement against rebels is an everlasting, God-less death.

In my daughter’s rebellion against me I see just a shadow of her rebellion against God and from there, a glimpse of my own rebellion against Him. Some day my daughter will be glad that I did not say to her, “I will give you what you desire” and leave her to her own devices. She would not last a day. And I pray that she also sees in herself that the desire for autonomy is a desire for a Godless, rebellious existence at emnity with God. May she come to see the joy and the utter necessity of submitting to authority.

October 17, 2007

I graduated from college in 1995 (Or so. To be honest, I don’t even remember exactly what year it was), having earned a degree in history. That degree did not open up the world of possibilities I had obviously thought it might when I first chose history as my major three years before. With few options available to me, and suffering from a lack of motivation, I decided I had better find some kind of employment, even if it did not incorporate my training. I learned that a new Starbucks was opening nearby and quickly made my way through the interview process. The day the store opened I was there, and I stayed at that job, putting in my forty hours a week, for what must have been a year—possibly more.

I’m not sure if this is still the case, but back then every store was required to select one “Coffee Expert,” the one person on staff who would receive a bit of extra training in the world of coffee and who was required to know more about the various flavors of coffee than anyone else. This person had to be able to identify the differences between the types and to teach others how to do the same. He was responsible for brewing different kinds of coffees in order to educate both the employees and the customers. Through some strange twist of fate I was appointed to this position by the manager.

There was just one small problem. I hated coffee. I still do. I am convinced that it is a vile, evil concoction and one that has cruelly enslaved much of the human race. I despise the stuff, even in what I am assured is its finest form. I can barely stand even the smallest taste of it. It curdles my tongue, makes my eyes water, and leaves me gagging. I find it utterly revolting.

And yet I was the coffee expert. When customers wanted to know about the different kinds of coffee we offered, it was my job to lead them through the various options available to them and to help them select the coffee that was suited to their tastes. A customer would choose a package from the counter and I would say, “Oh, now that’s a great choice. It’s a delicious, full-bodied roast that you can taste all over your tongue. Look for the flavors of oak and a subtle hint of the spring flowers that grow in the mountains of Peru.” I had the routine down pat and helped sell a lot of coffee—more than anyone else in the store, I’m sure. The facts were all true; it’s not like I was some kind of used car dealer covering up a vehicle’s flaws and hoping to make a sell to some poor sap who would be stuck with a useless hulk. I simply relayed information I knew was true. But I hated the product. Had I been entirely forthcoming I would have said this: “It mostly tastes like burning. When I drink it I detect mostly the flavor of charcoal mixed with dirt—and not the nice dirt I used to eat as a kid, either. It tastes like burned, charred, nasty, ugly hot dirt. It’s loaded with caffeine and I’m sure it’s going to shorten your life. If you enjoy the smell or taste of manure, I’m sure you’ll love it. Would you like me to grind it for you?” It always struck me as just a little bit odd that I would champion something I disliked so much.

Now that I’ve finished my first book and am eagerly awaiting its release, I have had quite a few people ask me what’s in store for the future. Do I intend to write another book? And, indeed, I do hope to write another book. But I’ve become convinced that I can’t write a book until I first live a book. When it comes to writing it is always a temptation to relay information I know is true, even if I have not incorporated it into my life. I’ve had to confess that I’ve done this in the past right here on this blog. I can sometimes content myself with knowing that something I am writing is true and biblical, even if it has little resonance in my life. But when it comes to writing a book, I know that I need to live it in order to write it.

When I worked at Starbucks I had absolutely no passion for coffee. Though I could talk a good line, I always felt a bit like I was lying. Customers would ask, “What’s your favorite?” and I would just blurt out a flavor based on my favorite packaging. I had no favorite coffee anymore than I had a favorite flavor of cough syrup or a favorite kind of kick in the teeth. I don’t want my life to be like this. I want what I say and what I write to be a reflection of who I really am—or who I really want to be through the power of the Spirit.

I want to be a Christian who doesn’t just do a smooth job of selling the Christian life. I could probably sit down and write a book that would say all the right things and make me feel very happy when I had typed out the last word. But it wouldn’t satisfy because it wouldn’t be genuine.

So when will I write another book? I’ll write another book when I’ve lived another book.

October 11, 2007

I have an older brother named Andrew who lives in the fine city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Andrew needs help with something and I’m hoping that someone here—perhaps someone who lives in Chattanooga or who knows people who do, may be able to offer assistance.

Now I would not generally create a post such as this one, but the fact is that my brother has some special needs. He was diagnosed just a few years ago with Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s is one of several autism spectrum disorders and is characterized primarily by difficulties in social interaction (though motor clumsiness seems also to be a defining characteristic). It is distinguished from the other similar autism spectrum disorders in that it is not often marked by delays in language or cognitive development. People with Asperger’s are not much like the more seriously autistic people you may have seen might rock back and forth and who are often entirely unable to communicate. Most of the time they act and appear perfectly normal.

When Asperger’s is diagnosed early in life there are many programs available. We’ve seen evidence of this in the lives of the three boys who live next to us, all of whom have this syndrome. Since my brother was diagnosed later in life (in his early thirties) these programs are not available to him. Thus he’s looking for a job but has had to do so largely on his own, without the benefit of the counseling and support that would otherwise be available to him. Needless to say, it has been a tough proposition for him.

Because of the difficulties in social interaction he is really unable to present himself confidently in a job interview situation. To this point he has gained several interviews but, for various reasons unrelated to his skills, has been unable to secure employment. He is looking for something in the field of data entry or clerical work and should be well suited to this. I could see him doing well with filing or data entry and working in a church or office situation. He is not necessarily looking for full-time work and may well qualify for some kind of special needs program for his employer (assuming such a thing exists in Chattanooga). Andrew is a hard worker, a good friend for those with the patience and interest in getting to know him and he is a man who loves the Lord. He is just now learning to live on his own and he desperately wants and needs a job. I’m hoping and praying that someone who is part of this mysterious family we call “the church” may be able to assist a brother.

If you are aware of a potential position that might be available to him in the Chattanooga area or you know of someone who might, I’d sure be grateful if you would contact me.

October 03, 2007

Last week I had the joy and privilege of watching my cousin get married to the love of her life. The wedding was held in Ottawa, about 5 hours from where we live. Because it was an early morning wedding, we knew we would need to leave at least a day in advance in order to get there on time. So we booked ourselves in at the home of my aunt and uncle (unrelated to the cousin getting married, as it happens) and asked if we could stay there for a couple of nights. My aunt and uncle live in Lanark County, less than an hour from Ottawa. It is easily one of the most beautiful places in all of Ontario.

My uncle is an artist—a painter—and in my estimation (not that it’s really worth anything with my knowledge of art) an exceptional one. I am unable to go to his house or visit his web site without seeing at least a painting or two that I just need to have. He lives in Lanark at least in part because of its beauty—the sheer magnificence of the area gives him nearly endless opportunities to find scenes and landscapes that he can capture with his brush. And while Lanark is always beautiful, I’m convinced it could be no more beautiful than it is right now, resplendent in autumn colors. This time of year, with summer fading into fall and a Canadian winter fast approaching, the trees are in full glory, every one of them a work of art testifying to the loving hand of the Creator. As the trees begin to lose their leaves, the rest of the landscape begins to show just a little more—rocks that were hidden behind summer foliage peer out beneath the trees. Rivers, streams and waterways appear from behind increasingly bare branches. It’s glorious.

Southern Ontario, the portion that is sprawled out along the American border is largely developed but Lanark has retained a kind of purity. It still has huge portions that are wild. There are bears, wolves, coyotes, deer, fishers, and all other kinds of wildlife. Rumor even has it that cougars have made their way back into the area. I was overwhelmed by the beauty all around.

I’m a city guy, or a suburb guy more correctly. I’ve lived in suburbs of Toronto for nearly all my life. Rarely have I desired to be in the midst of a downtown and rarely have I desired to be in the middle of nowhere. But stepping outside of my aunt and uncle’s house, early on a Saturday morning, with no sounds of traffic and no neighbors to be seen anywhere, my heart nearly melted. I went and sat down near the river that flows through their property and just sat and enjoyed the silence, broken only by the trickle of a nearby waterfall, reduced to just a small flow after a dry summer. Before long the silence was broken as my daughter toddled up to me and attempted to scamper right into the river. But in that moment, for the first time I remember, I wanted to live in the country—I would have marched right home, sold my house, and come back to Lanark. Just around the corner from my aunt and uncle is a beautiful property with a huge house and plenty of land. Property prices being what they are in that area, we could probably sell our townhouse with its tiny plot of land and buy the massive property with the proceeds. I was tempted.

My senses soon returned. They had to, really. We’ve planted ourselves in the city where we have friends and a church and where we look for opportunities to share the gospel. We would miss being within a few minutes of a massive grocery store, would soon long for more companionship and would not be able to exist for long without high speed internet and cell phone access. We’re suburb folk. So we piled back into the van and headed home—back to Toronto. We returned to the city and all the amenities it offers. But I think I left my heart in Lanark.

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