Let me tell you about my day

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IMG_1036I was out for a walk with God tonight, a practice I have tried to maintain every night since my Sabbatical this summer.  I was telling God all the reasons that I was out for that walk with Him.

To walk with Him . . . to pray for my family and my neighbours . . . to pray for the new developments that He has us involved etc.  Then I thought, what I really want to do is to just tell Him about my day.

I had a picture of The Shack, and Mack warming up to Papa just freely talking, smiling and laughing.  So with that in mind I said, “God, I would like to tell you about my day.  I had a great day . . . hey, I had a great day with my Dad.  We went to an interesting Charity Law Conference in Toronto and we talked all the way there and all the way back.  We encouraged each other and laughed at a few things we had a great day!  I had a great day with my Dad.”

I sensed the Father was pleased with this and I thanked Him for the experience I had with My Dad.  It was a gift from God.

Have you ever walked with God and . . . just told Him about your day?


The Sun Came Up

•August 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

I am sitting on a US Airways plane to Dublin Ireland. I opened my window to see the glow of morning rising on the horizon. The gold hue of morning was reveiling the light cloud beneith me and the storm front ahead. But above it all the sun started to break through. I’ve been told that seeing the sun rise on the ocean horizon is a spectacle unmatched in nature.

As the sun ball began to rise I broke into internal song, with the help of David Crowder – Oh for a thousand tongues.

I have learned so much from the Lord over this summer. So much about his love for me, and the cost of his sacrifice for me. I have grown in appreciation of my oppourtunity and responsibility to take everything to Him in prayer and thanksgiving. I especially find myself so thankful to Him for things big and small through out my day. I want to strive to keep this practice as I head bck into the “real world”. In everyting. Oh, I don’t to be out of step at all with Him, not out of fear but out of joy! I love walking in step with Jesus! There is no better more satisfying place to be, it is pure satisfaction!

Well, I am into full morning now and the plane has begun it’s decent into Dublin. Lord, thank you for today, lead me in step with you, and lead others around me to you as well.

Heading to Northern Ireland

•August 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well, after a great summer of spending time with my family and more focused time with the Lord on my Sabbatical, I am heading off to Northern Ireland to visit my brother Paul. Christine bought me the trip for Father’s Day, our 18th Anniversary and my 40th Birthday, which I will be celebrating while in NI.

I will try and post updates through out the week, with lots of photos!

Finish Packing, cut the lawn and I’m off.


Saying Goodbye

•August 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I had Uncle Peter on my mind all day today and for most of the past month.  Peter Rayfield is the youngest sibling in my mother’s side of the family.  He passed away on Wednesday, August 12th in his home, surrounded by his family and friends.  I was especially fond of my Uncle Peter.  I spent far too little time with him in this life and plan on changing that as I think of how to reconnect with the rest of my mother and father’s family . . . too often we only see each other at weddings and funerals.

Peter asked me if I would give a Eulogy at his funeral . . . what an honour.  I decided, with the help of his children Clinton and Katie, to speak on their behalf, retelling their story.  If you wish to read the what I shared today, you can do so below.  You must read it in a dramatic reading fashion as I tried to retell this story with all the humor and emotion that came out of the telling these stories from Clinton and Katie.

Good Bye for now Peter.



Peter Rayfield – as remembered by his Children and told by Tim Coles, the oldest son of his only sister Florence.

The Morning

Peter wasn’t an early riser on a regular work day, I’m sure he was on a fishing or hunting day, but on a work day he wasn’t used to seeing the clock much before 8:00 am.  He would always make a fresh cup of coffee and could often be found enjoying his cup of morning glory either on the back deck or out in the Garage.  That is where Katie (whenever she woke up that early) would join him to talk about the day past and the day ahead, or just to enjoy the presence of her Dad.

It was here that he would ask about what Kate learned in school the previous day, where father and daughter would share sameness and oneness that only two persons sown of the same cloth could share – that is after Katie’s teen age years!  Of course what father has any hope of understanding his teenage daughter, but as time marched on Katie found the morning with her dad to be a special time.  The morning was for being.

The Day

The day was for doing, and where there were things to get done Peter did them in the day.  Peter was a Mason – a Brick Layer, one of the many things that identified him to his family and the rest of the outside world.  He was known for this talent and his family is proud of that.  Who after all doesn’t have a highly admired brick home finished by Peter, on the contrary who has a home that was not bricked by Peter that hasn’t had a few soft criticisms mentioned in passing in and out of entrances or garage doors.

His children remember Peter as a business man of integrity, he always said “Honesty is everything – you just can’t lie”.  This value he passed on to his kids.

Peter was a “Wanna be Italian”, he ate Italian, he tanned Italian, he even looked a bit Italian and of course he married Italian.  And he raised to Italian kids as I even heard Katie say yesterday . . . When approaching the large spread of Italian food at the funeral home – “I love being Italian!”

But on many days he played, either while he was “supposed to be” at work or on a well planned fishing trip, curling bonspiel or on a family fishing outing.

On one particular outing in a canoe on the Coldwater River, Peter and Clinton (10) were fishing and Katie (8) sat on the floor of the canoe reading a book.  Suddenly Clinton hooked into what turned out to be a 29 pound Chinook Salmon that decided once hooked, that Georgian Bay was its next destination.  Young Clinton hung on with all he had while Peter dug both paddles into the sand to hold the boat still so that Clinton could bring in this monster of a fish.  But the constant run of this King Salmon was proving too much for the young 10 year old and Peter had no choice but to let go of the paddles and help his son.  The Chinook fought them approximately 1/2 a kilometer down stream until they were finally able to land him and get him wary but flopping endlessly on the floor of the canoe on top of the book and in the lap of a very displeased Katie.

After the battle was over and the fish released back to the wild, and the crew of the SS Coldwater discovered that they were literally “downstream without a paddle” and had to hitch a ride back up to where their journey began.

That wasn’t the only time they were left without a ride.  One day Katie needed to car to get to town, but Peter, home from work early had set off with bow in hand to his tree stand some 800 yards across the field, hoping to catch a glimpse and a shot on that buck that he had seen feeding in the area recently.  In order to go undetected, Peter would take the car over two concessions and walk in the back way to his tree stand, so as not to startle the deer.  He waited for over an hour and a half when the deer finally came almost with in range.  It was moving unaware closer and closer into the reach of the sharp tip of Peter’s arrow.

When all of the sudden from across the field Peter heard the clear shot . . . of Katie’s voice – ringing out and bouncing off the trees.  “Daaaaaaaaaaaaad!”  There was a long pause, the deer’s head lifted and then stood motionless.  Silence . . . “Daaaaaaaaaaaad I need the Caaaaar!”  The young buck now turned his body alert but broadside to Peter, but still out of range.  Stillness . . . “Daaaaaaaaaaaad!” followed by the flash of a white tale and the anticipated response from Peter . . . “Shuuuuuuuut Uuuuuuuuup!”  Katie forgot to mention if she got the car that day or not.

In the day Peter would take Clinton and Katie to Hockey and Curling, and later Clinton to Baseball, Curling and Golf.  Both kids felt that their Dad had taught them “everything they knew” about each of these sports, sometimes Clinton especially would find the presence of his dad the biggest distraction at a game.  Once Clinton recalls at the Ontario Juniors, though their were hundreds of people in the crowd watching his golf game, there was only one person really there, and that was his Dad.  After hitting his 1st hole tee shot 40 yards out of bounds, Peter knowing his son’s dilemma started to hide behind trees.  Clinton would make a nice fairway shot and there was Peter’s head, sticking out from behind a tree.  Eventually he made the decision to leave the course all together after nine holes, only to return to find out that Clinton’s back nine had significantly improved over his front nine.  But Clinton recalls this was not due to pressure put on him by his dad, but rather the tremendous desire within Clinton to make his Dad proud.

In the day, Clinton would have his bonding with his dad through sports and fishing, but Katie’s connection with her dad came through gardening, morning coffees, discussing music and the things she learned at school.  It was definitely not through cutting the lawn.  A month ago, it was finally time to teach Katie how to cut the lawn as time was running short and Katie needed to learn to take over this responsibility as Clinton lives in Huntsville (with his wife Kate and daughter Kylie).

After showing Katie the controls: gears, cutting and throttle Peter’s resistance to this endeavor was confirmed when Katie articulated that she “doesn’t need to know how to make the engine louder, just how to make the lawn-tractor go faster.”  Katie then sped off into the back of the yard where Peter found her in tears and the lawn-tractor sitting up on an angel in the tall weeds.  He then further explained to her the relationship between the throttle and the gears, something she told me would have been VERY helpful a few minutes ago!

Sometimes, times like this cause us fathers to speak sharply to our kids, and Peter was able to do this from time to time, but both Katie and Clinton told me that when ever their Dad would “step out of bounds” he would always come back around and say sorry and then the friendship would take over again.

The Evening

The evening was for gardening and everyone who gardens knows how much work it takes to till the soil, plant the seed, loosen the soil and weed the ground.  Plants need to be pruned and deadheaded, pestilences needed to be discouraged or chased away.  Gardening was so much work, but brought Peter so much pleasure.


Peter would often fall asleep early in the evening, 8 PM wouldn’t be out of the norm after working a long and laborious day sculpting the exterior of the physical dwellings.  Brick laying was highly taxing on his body and at the end of the day it called him to rest early.

Similarly he fell asleep early in life as well.  His body, tired of fighting the cancer that laboured against him for so long had to rest, well before a normal bed time.  And as he enters into the rest of his Father Clinton and Mother Isabella he is remembered by his wife and children as a wonderful friend.

Friendship like gardening is also a lot of work, especially when it is between father and son and father and daughter and sometimes even between husband and wife, but again Peter found so much pleasure from his friendship with his family.  Though they each had different ways of relating to their Dad; Katie was more about Being with her Dad and Clinton was more in to Doing with his Dad, this friendship is where they both connected and said is the thing they would miss the most.

He now has a new friendship developing, this one with an old friend, but in recent years it is a friendship he has become more aquatinted with – that is with Jesus.

In the past year or so Peter’s friendship with Jesus was highly affected by the writings of William Paul Young, in his book The Shack. I have always been especially fond of Peter, he always embraced me and others with a hearty hello when he saw me. He taught me the art of Steelheading and some say, I have a little Peter in me.

When I had heard that Peter had read The Shack I had to see what it was that had such a profound impact on his life, so before I went to see him in the hospital a few weeks ago I read it too . . . And now I know why.

In memory of Peter, I would encourage you to read this book too.  It is an easy wonderful read, and in closing I would like to read a short part that made me think about my Uncle Peter and Jesus.  Just try and picture it for yourself.

Read Page 175 -176


•July 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IMG_0587A few days before my Sabbatical began I received an e-mail from my friend and former board member Bill Martin.  Bill and I have been on the YFC journey for quite some time.  He wrote me a short e-mail with these three words: Empty – Envision – Engage.

These words have stuck with me as I have set out to take on the world on my Sabbatical.  I had so many plans, so many planned days away – the books I was going to read, the walks I was going to take and then, as I recorded on day 2 I sprained my Ankle.  I should have taken this as a que that things weren’t going to go as planned.  The weeks that followed did not go as planned at all, there were numerous outside influences keeping me from what I had planned.

One evening while out for a walk on Pyramid Lake in Jasper (the end of June) I was feeling frustrated as I felt I was going no where in this sabbatical!  I walked along a twisty tar and gravel road up to the edge of Pyramid Lake.  Their was a mayfly hatch going on and I watched as the young mayfly’s were taking flight from the water, while the unlucky ones were being snatched up by emerging rainbow trout – it was an amazing sight.  In awe mixed with frustration I said out loud, “What exactly did you want me to get out of this sabbatical Lord?”  And then I looked up.  There in front of me was a towering mountain with its reflection full on the calm lake in front of me and as though audible I heard, “Be still, and know that I Am God.”

Be still and know that I Am God: in the sprained ankle, in the trips to the hospital with Elijah, in the irritating interruptions of the evil one (and there have been several).  Be still and know that I Am God: with this mountain towering over me in the stillness of a northern Alberta near midnight sun, with the trout rising for the fly – be still.  Empty.

Back to the three words.  Empty – Envision – Engage, I think I have just hit the bottom of Empty and the beginning of Envision.  I am so thankful to God for having Bill send me those words, it kind of took the performance pressure off.  It is now at this point over half way through this time off, that I am beginning to think about developing for my return.

I bumped into Eva Beatie here at MBC.  Eva and I used to attend the same Youth Group in London and more recently her husband and I worked as ED’s in YFC.  She looked at me and said, “You are looking just way to relaxed!”  I took that as a complement and as a sign that this sabbatical is doing is work – I feel I’m at the end of empty and starting to envision.

Sabbatical Day 67

Trying to find Rhythm

•May 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

070811-N-6477M-037Well I’m back on my feet again after spraining my ankle last weekend.  Not that I ever really stopped, (its funny the number of people who said, “See, the Lord is using this to slow you down.”)  I too took it as a slow down, but to be honest, it didn’t really have that effect, oh, I took the odd afternoon nap with my swollen foot up in ice, but I was actually plesently pleased at how quickly I was back on my feet again.  I was even able to do a short run this morning, which is what I was lamenting the most with this ankle injury.

You see, one of the things I wanted to accomplish on my sabbatical is to find a new rhythm in life.  I do tend to run a bit on the busy side.  My ADD loves it, but it does take a toll on my mind and my spiritual life: I think it affects my family as well.  That is why, I want to find and settle into a new rhythm over these three months, where I make studying the Word of God, my family and my own health a priority, rather than something I just fit in when I can.

I was visiting a young man in jail last week.  He has settled into a new rhythm over the past 18 months as he has found a new life in Christ.  I have met few people who take the word of God, prayer and witness as seriously as he does.  Yet, he expressed a great sense of loss to me last week in that he didn’t “feel like he did in the beginning” and was finding it harder to take that time to be with the Lord each day.  I said, “Welcome to the journey.”  This is a guy who has a strong rhythm and a STRONG love for the Lord for what the LORD has done for him!  He KNOWS forgiveness, he KNOWS compassion and he is filled with the Holy Spirit as he literally is given the supernatual strength to turn the other cheek with the reason, because “my Saviour did it for me”.  I will ask him for permission to tell his story at another time.

So here I am, back on my feet again, trying to find a new rhythm and for me, I feel at my best when I start the day with a run, take a short walk to cool down where I pray and then settle into the WORD for a little while before the kids get up and the rest of life begins to take over.  But the rythm of this morning allready has me feeling a bit more intentional about the day.

Sabbatical Day 8

Sabbatical Day 2

•May 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IMG_0406What’s wrong with this picture?  Well, I haven’t even made it out of the long weekend and I am already sidelined by a sprained ankle.  No, I don’t have a broken toe, that’s just “Rayfield” genes, my brother has the same toe . . . just not quite as pronounced.  

I was out playing soccer on the front yard with Clay and Elijah and a few of their friends.  I stepped into a slight depression in the lawn and “pop, pop, crack” I was down, with that predictable shooting, burning pain that finds its way up the leg.  “Hmmm. I guess this is going to affect my run tomorrow morning . . . and maybe for the next few weeks.”  

Well, things happen and although this is not how I planned to spend the first few days or weeks (we’ll see how it goes) of my Sabbatical, it is how it is and the Lord knew.  My plans for the first two weeks were to start running again (was shooting for every other day and 10 lbs by the end of June), Finishing all the projects around the house and getting out for some fishing.  I guess running and projects are out . . . I’ll have to try fishing.  🙂

Thank you Lord for sidelining me with a swollen ankle.  Please use this situation for your purposes, help me not to miss out what you want through this.