Monday, April 18, 2011

Got Kilt?? Yes I Do

Wow it's been a month since my last post, where does the time go? Not alot has been happening here spring is trying to spring but mother nature seems to have a stranglehold and won't leave. I have my seeds for planting the garden but the weather isn't cooperating so I haven't been able to get out there and get the boxes ready for planting.

With spring approaching a mans fancy turns to other things namely, Highland games. I haven't been able to train yet because again the weather isn't cooperating. This is my first year competing and I'm pretty excited. I am confirmed for 5 games this year, Kalamazoo in Aug, Fife Lake in June, Gaylord in July, Canterbury Village in July, and last but not least and a little surprising I was notified last week that I'm in at Alma memorial day weekend. The Alma games is surprising because it usually takes a year or two to get in. I am still waiting to hear back on a couple of other games this year Midland in June and Saline in July. 

My Kilt Pin

To participate in the games you are required to wear a kilt so I recently took delivery on mine. I am going to be wearing the tartan of my clan in Scotland ( my great-great-great grandmother was a Livingston born in Scotland.) I chose to have my kilt made in the Livingston muted tartan and it is absolutely beautiful. I had the kilt made by Linda Lee of A Stitch In Time in Lake Orion, MI. She did a fantastic job!!!! I told her when I picked up the kilt that I was very pleasantly surprised, I felt that I was getting much more in quality than I paid for. Linda really is more of an artist than a seamstress she has a passion for what she does and it shows in her work. I have decided that the drive to Lake Orion is well worth it for her work and I will use her again for anything I need. Thanks again Linda. I have posted some pictures of the kilt here in the blog and on my facebook page check them out.  Other than that it has been pretty quiet up here in the north country. Today I did take my youngest to get his drivers license. It seems like this one stung a little more than it did with my daughter. I don't know if it's because he's getting older or because I am. Well that's it for now I will be posting more as the games get going this summer. 

                                                                             God Bless, Jay 
My Belt
My Belt Buckle

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Honor of St Patricks Day

In honor St Patricks Day and the Irish side of my family (My mother is a Collins) her is a biography of Irelands poet William Butler Yeats and one of his poems.

William Butler Yeats biography :

The 13th of June 1865 marked the entry of Irish poet, dramatist, mystic and civil servant, William Butler Yeats into the world. Yeats’ father was John Butler Yeats, and his mother was Susan Mary Pollexfen. Their family was very artistically inclined. His brother was a well-known painter, and both his sisters were actively involved in the Arts & Crafts movement.
From Dublin, the family moved to London. Yeats was initially educated at home, but in 1877, he was able to enter the Godolphin School. He studied there for four years but was considered by his masters as a mediocre student. The family returned to Dublin in 1880 and in 1881, Yeats continued his education at the Erasmus Smith High School until he left in 1883.
He started writing poetry between these periods and in 1885, his first poems were published in the Dublin University Review. His earlier works include Irish Fairy Tales (1892), The Celtic Twilight (1893), and The Wanderings Of Oisin And Other Poems (1889).
Yeats returned to Ireland in 1896 and reformed, first the Irish Literary Society; followed by the National Literary Society. In1897, he co-founded the Irish Literary Theater. He met and married Georgie Hyde-Lee in 1917, and together, they collaborated on a book on marriage entitled, A Vision (1925).
In 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1934, he and Rudyard Kipling received the Gothenburg Prize for Poetry. His autobiography, Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats was published in 1938.
Yeats suffered from several illnesses in his old age, and on 28 January 1939, Yeats was laid to rest. He was 73.

When You Are Old
by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Here is another one.

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
      HEN my arms wrap you round I press
      My heart upon the loveliness
      That has long faded from the world;
      The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
      In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
      The love-tales wrought with silken thread
      By dreaming ladies upon cloth
      That has made fat the murderous moth;
      The roses that of old time were
      Woven by ladies in their hair,
      The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
      Through many a sacred corridor
      Where such grey clouds of incense rose
      That only God's eyes did not close:
      For that pale breast and lingering hand
      Come from a more dream-heavy land,
      A more dream-heavy hour than this;
      And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
      I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
      For hours when all must fade like dew,
      But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
      Throne over throne where in half sleep,
      Their swords upon their iron knees,
      Brood her high lonely mysteries.
                                                                  Happy St Patricks Day Everyone,  Jay

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wow It's Been Almost A Month

Wow where does the time go!! I got looking at the blog today and realized that it has been nearly a month since I last posted anything. Let me bring you up to date as to what has been going on in my life. Since I last posted I have been leading a study in Sunday school on Revelations 2-3. I have been leading our adult Sunday school class about 10 years now I guess and I have always said I won't lead a study on the Book of Revelation, I don't feel that I have the credentials to lead a study on the book especially since there are so many ways to interpret the book and I don't like getting caught up chasing rabbits. My personal interpretation of this book is pretty simple, JUST BE READY. If we live our lives according to what the Lord has laid out for us in scripture there is nothing to worry about. I sometimes think that people get so worked up trying to look for the signs in this book so that they can do what they want right up to the last moment. Anyway, let me come down off of my soapbox now and continue with what I wanted to say. As I was saying, after much thought and prayer and as much as it hurts to admit it wrestling, and arguing with God we broke down the letters to the 7 churches. I can only say I was an idiot for trying to avoid this for so long, when I look at scripture I always try to find what the Lord is saying to me personally and what he had to say this time was truly eye-opening. One of the many things out there about the letters is that they each represent a time in church history I'm not arguing that but as I said I like taking it down to a more personal level so over the next few posts I will show what I have learned.

  Now on to other things. I just found out that my kilt should be ready in about 2 weeks, I'm pretty excited to get it as it means that the highland games season is just around the corner. This will be the first year I have participated in the games and it should be a blast. I'm not looking to break any records or even win any events but I do expect to at least make a good showing. I am tentatively set up for at least 4 games this year and I am on the waiting list for the Alma games. I probably won't participate in that one because it will probably be filled with past competitors but I'll be ready just in case. I will post a picture when I get my kilt, it is in the traditional tartan of my clan (Livingston). My Great-Great-Great Grandmother was a Livingston born in Scotland.

   This past weekend we took the youth group from the church to Springhill camp for a weekend retreat. Unfortunately Sean couldn't go because he came down with bronchitis friday. It was a great time of time with God and fun. I was most impressed with how some of the older kids took to mentoring the younger ones ( our group goes from 7th-12th grades). It is always a worry when you do things like this that God will get lost in the shuffle but Springhill goes out of their way to make sure that doesn't happen and you could see the kids get something out of the weekend other than just a fun time. Well I need to head to the gym talk to you later.

                                                                        God Bless, Jay

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Weekend In A Nutshell

What a great weekend!!! Saturday my wife spent the afternoon and evening together and went out to dinner to celebrate our 25th anniversary. First we drove to petoskey and went to what is fast becoming one of our favorite stores, County Emmet Celtic Shop.  There we purchased a small book of Irish quotations. It is full of quotations from famous Irish folks such as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, etc. In reading some of these quotes particularly Oscar Wilde you get a sense of not only the wit but also the wisdom of some of Ireland's best.  I think one of the ones I liked the best was this one from Oscar Wilde poet/playwright.

         Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that
         nothing that is worth knowing can be taught"

Is this wit or wisdom?? you decide. In one way this is a cynical remark about education but in another way it is a wise statement in the fact that what we learn in books is important but what we learn from experience can be so much more useful in our lives.

Anyway after we left the store we drove down to the waterfront. This place holds a special place in our hearts as it is the place of our first kiss and the place where we made it known to each other that this relationship was moving on from just dating to possible marriage. It was then that I popped the question! What question you may ask, I asked her if after 25 years she would do it again. She said yes!!! and more importantly she didn't hesitate even a little bit. I think I was more nervous and excited than the first time around. I told her the same thing it's good to know that after all this time you both feel the same way today as you did back then. After we sat there awhile talking and laughing we drove to Elk Rapids to what is becoming one of our favorite restaurants Pearls New Orleans Kitchen . This place has great Cajun and creole food and the atmosphere is fantastic. If you are ever in northern Michigan and have a hankerin' for Cajun this is the place to go. These people also own the Red Mesa Grill in Traverse City and Boyne City their speciality in these restaurants is Caribbean food once again it is great food.  This was just a great day spent with my wife and I hope we many more days like this in the future. Anyway that's it for now until next time

                                                                                             God Bless,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today Is The Day

25 years ago today my wife and I were married. Looking back it doesn't seem like it's been that long. My wife has been my biggest cheerleader, my confidante, and best friend. She has stuck with me when I have given up on myself and been there to help me pick up the pieces when I have wrecked. Without Vicki in my life there is no telling where I have ended up, I do know it wouldn't have been where I am now. She has lifted me up when I needed it and held me back when I needed it also. I guess the best way I can describe my wife is using scripture.

                                   Proverbs 31:10-31

10     jWho 3can find a 4virtuous wife?
     For her worth is far above rubies.
11     The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
     So he will have no lack of gain.
12     She does him good and not evil
     All the days of her life.
13     She seeks wool and flax,
     And willingly works with her hands.
14     She is like the merchant ships,
     She brings her food from afar.
15     kShe also rises while it is yet night,
     And lprovides food for her household,
     And a portion for her maidservants.
16     She considers a field and buys it;
     From 5her profits she plants a vineyard.
17     She girds herself with strength,
     And strengthens her arms.
18     She perceives that her merchandise is good,
     And her lamp does not go out by night.
19     She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
     And her hand holds the spindle.
20     mShe extends her hand to the poor,
     Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21     She is not afraid of snow for her household,
     For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22     She makes tapestry for herself;
     Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23     nHer husband is known in the gates,
     When he sits among the elders of the land.
24     She makes linen garments and sells them,
     And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25     Strength and honor are her clothing;
     She shall rejoice in time to come.
26     She opens her mouth with wisdom,
     And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27     She watches over the ways of her household,
     And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28     Her children rise up and call her blessed;
     Her husband also, and he praises her:
29     “Many daughters have done well,
     But you excel them all.”
30     Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
     But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31     Give her of the fruit of her hands,
     And let her own works praise her in the gates.
The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 (Pr 31:24). Thomas Nelson: Nashville
So here it is Happy Anniversary to my Proverbs 31 wife you complete me in to many to list here so I will just say I LOVE YOU and I wouldn't trade any day of the last 25 years if I had to go through them again without you by my side. Heres to another 25 years until we are old and gray.                 
                                                                      God Bless, Jay

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Mental Wanderings

Last night we found out Sean will be getting bumped up to varsity for the District wrestling tournament tonight. This is a good opportunity for him to help his team and have some success, he should be wrestling a kid from Ogemaw Heights. IF he is wrestling the person I think he will be he can beat him. In other news we found out that Adams cancer hasn't spread beyond the tumor location, this is great news as far as it starts giving them a game plan on treatment and is an answer to prayer. As a person who has walked through cancer with my wife I think that initial time of not knowing the facts is the hardest. Once you have that plan of treatment it seems to make things a little easier. Adam still has along road to go down but at least he can now start the journey with plan and more importantly with the confidence of Christ. Last sunday in sunday school we looked at the letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2. The Lord pointed out all the good things that they were doing but, he did tell them that they had lost their first love HIM. This served as a reminder to us all that we can't become so involved in DOING things that we forget the reason we are doing them. We are called by the Lord to do good works but we are never supposed to take our eyes off of him and allow the "things" to replace him. Gotta head to work.

                                                                          God Bless,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Morning

Well after snowpocalypse 2011 I am getting ready to head into work. Due to the storm they shut down the freight system Tuesday night and Wednesday. Good news is because I didn't work yesterday I was able to go watch the wrestling team capture their 5th or 6th straight conference wrestling title against Traverse City West High School. Sean had a tough day yesterday but Tuesday night he had a great night beating a kid from Mancelona and pinning a kid from Elk Rapids. His matches are done for the season unless he winds up bumping up to varsity for a match during team districts next week. He improved so much over the season, he is technically a better wrestler than I ever was and that killer instinct and confidence in his own abilities is starting to show itself. I think he will be very successful on the mat over the next couple of years. Even if he isn't I couldn't have asked for a better son. He is smart, thoughtful and kind to others what more can a dad ask for?
      On another note we are going to be studying the letters to the churches in chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation in Sunday school over the next couple of weeks. Once again God has proven one of my favorite sayings "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Just 2 weeks ago I said to the adult Sunday school class I lead that I didn't feel comfortable leading a study on that book of the Bible. Well apparently God thought that this would be a good time to take me out of my comfort zone so here we go. I know with prayer and study he will lead me through it and I will be all the better for it and he will get the glory. 

                                                       Gotta go  God Bless,


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Wrestling

Getting ready to head up to Gaylord High School for the Northern Michigan Wrestling Championships. 29 teams from all over the northern lower peninsula and as far west as Iron Mountain in the upper peninsula. This is one of the largest 1 day tournaments in the state of Michigan, the only tournaments bigger are Macomb and Oakland counties down in the Detroit area and the MHSAA state tournament held at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills Mi.  These tournaments are two day tournaments. Some of the best wrestlers in the state of Michigan will be there.

 Being a former wrestler myself and having a son who wrestles for Gaylord High School makes this one of my favorite days of the year. Literally 100's of matches at all weight classes this will be a great time. Watching young men (and more and more often young women) give their all and leave the mat totally spent just to get that final takedown or pin makes me realize that sometimes we sell our younger generation short and stereotype them to much. These kids have what it takes. Talk to you later.

                                                                     God Bless, Jay

Friday, January 28, 2011

Address To The Haggis by Robert Burns

Address to the haggis

Fair is your honest happy face
Great chieftain of the pudding race
Above them all you take your place
Stomach, tripe or guts
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm
The groaning platter there you fill
Your buttocks like a distant hill
Your skewer would help to repair a mill
In time of need
While through your pores the juices emerge
Like amber beads
His knife having seen hard labour wipes
And cuts you up with great skill
Digging into your gushing insides bright
Like any ditch
And then oh what a glorious sight
Warm steaming, rich
Then spoon for spoon
They stretch and strive
Devil take the last man, on they drive
Until all their well swollen bellies
Are bent like drums
Then, the old gent most likely to rift (burp)
Be thanked, mumbles
Is there that over his French Ragout
Or olio that would sicken a pig
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust
Looks down with a sneering scornful opinion
On such a dinner
Poor devil, see him over his trash
As week as a withered rush (reed)
His spindle-shank a good whiplash
His clenched fist…the size of a nut.
Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash
Oh how unfit
But take note of the strong haggis fed Scot
The trembling earth resounds his tread
Clasped in his large fist a blade
He'll make it whistle
And legs and arms and heads he will cut off
Like the tops of thistles
You powers who make mankind your care
And dish them out their meals
Old Scotland wants no watery food
That splashes in dishes
But if you wish her grateful prayer
Give her a haggis!

In a future post I will tell you what a haggis is. I will say that it is a food and it is delicious. This poem really takes something that is truly uniquely Scottish and uses it in a way to describe and pay homage to Scottish nationalism. This poem was written shortly after the Jacobite rebellion. I must say that I have never really been one for poetry now Robbie Burns ( or Rabbie Burns as they say in Scotland) is rapidly becoming a poet that I like to read.  Well off to the gym for weights and 2.5 to 3 miles.

                                                            God Bless, Jay

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

I am sitting here after work and before worship practice looking at the song list for the week. Praise Song- First line in the song is "We praise you o Lord for the Love that you give" This makes me ponder do we praise him for the love that he gives so freely and without remorse? or do we only praise him when things are going well or he has saved our bacon one more time. We are called to worship and praise God in ALL things when things are great and even more importantly when things are not so great. It is easy to thank God when it's all good but when the chips are down do you still trust him? Gods greatest desire is that we come to him at all times in good and bad. That our love for him does not diminish when things start to get tough. When things get tough draw nearer to him not turn away. I have a friend who found out yesterday that he has cancer. If there is one thing I know is that this man will continue to walk with the Lord and draw even nearer to him. There will be times of sorrow and times of discouragement, but through it all he knows that God is the answer to every question he will have.  Adam I am praying for you my friend, praying for healing, strength and that through it all God reveals himself to you in ways you never could have imagined.

                                                                    God Bless, Jay

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Robert Burns

In honor of the 252nd birthday of Scotlands poet Robert Burns born on January 25 1759. This poem is perhaps his most famous work.

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
O my luve's like a red, red rose.
That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my Dear,
Till a'the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o'life shall run.
And fare thee weel my only Luve!
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The first post.

At the suggestion of my wife I have started to blog. I have no idea where this will go other than to say I will blog as often as I feel I have something to say. So, lets get started. 

 On January 4th of 2010 I began a physical and spiritual journey that started with a goal of losing 60 pounds in a year. In 10 months I had far exceeded my goals and had lost 101 lbs. I could not have done this alone I had many people praying for me, holding me accountable and encouraging me and to them all I am so thankful to have them in my life. As important as these people were and are to me and this process even more important is the fact that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was with me every step of the way. I had tried to lose weight before never with very much success this time however I did something a little bit different. Instead of asking the Lord to help me lose the weight I asked him to give me the strength to make the right choices. In doing that he showed me his power in not only giving me the strength and encouragement to meet my goal but to surpass it by more than half. He reminded me that his power is there all we have to do is ask and his grace will be given in amounts that are beyond our reasoning. He reminded me that we not only need to come to him with the big things but perhaps more importantly the small things also. As I continue to post I will get into this journey back to health some more. 

  I thought I needed to explain the the title of my blog. It is called "The Haggis" primarily because I am of Scot descent. Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish cooked in a sheep's stomach. Yummm   I have recently became very interested in my Scot-Irish heritage and will talk about that more in upcoming post. That's it for now. Jay