Team Saskatchewan’s Sarah Slywka

Our good friend Sarah has been on our TV all week.

TSN’s broadcasts from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts have beamed faces from the Slywka family into our living room, none more often than Sarah.

While Team Saskatchewan failed to qualify for playoffs, they finished with a middle-of-the-pack record of 5-6, and were in serious contention until a rough second-last day of the round robin.  Finishing strong, they dominated Team Canada in their final match last night.

The Leader-Post did a great article on Sarah and her first experience at the Scotties.  If you haven’t already seen it, it is certainly worth a read.

Congratulations to these ladies for winning the right to represent Saskatchewan at the Scotties and for representing our province well.

Cecil Bailey (1913-2007)

On April 3, I attended the funeral of my 94-year-old friend Cecil. He was a man of faith and a man of character. I considered myself blessed to know him and to actually have chances to bounce ideas around with him. He once called me “my boy” in a passing sentence; I wasn’t related to him through any family tree, but I took the phrase as a badge that I was happy to wear. He was a man to aspire after; besides that high praise, closer-to-earth comments fit Cecil too, like this one: He was a wonderfully easy man to enjoy.

At his funeral, his son-in-law read this eulogy. I found it quite beautiful and have finally found a copy to post.

Whether or not you knew a man named Cecil Bailey is irrelevant. The words below testify to a life well lived. I’ve bolded parts that I found especially touching.

It is a shame that eulogies are reserved for funerals; life I’m sure would be so much more enjoyable if our positive characteristics were those which others chose to see.

However you know my father-in-law; Mr. Bailey, Brother Bailey, Cecil Bailey, uncle, dad or grandpa, you know him as a man of honour and integrity.

He did not fear death, but looked forward to it; in life and death he was an example and encouragement to those around him.

We do not mourn his passing as one fading into oblivion, but rejoice in his passage into the heavenly home.

A verse from the Prologue of the book “Paul”, written by Brother Bailey reflects his admiration of the apostle and in some ways speaks to his own life.

The impact of his life’s beyond ‘renown’;
Because of him the world is richer far.
His foes declared he ‘turned it upside down!’
Not so. To all mankind he is a guiding star.

Paul told the Corinthians; “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” I think my father-in-law took that recommendation to heart.

While it may be said of him that, what you saw is what you got; the sometimes unpolished exterior belied the true nature of the inner man. Mr. Bailey achieved excellence in his roles as teacher and as principal in the secular educational system, but his real passion was teaching the truths contained in scripture.

My father-in-law had what it takes to be a great teacher – he was a consummate learner.

In his study he was fastidious; always searching; always learning. I don’t believe I’ve met a younger thinking old man. Brother Bailey did more than keep up with current thought; he was himself a forward thinker.

As to his religious leaning; he was a conservative liberal fundamentalist.

Mr. Bailey held a deep loyalty to Christ and to the church; he was persistent in belief, and, in his commitment to God he was totally loyal. He loved God’s word and derived pleasure and strength from it.

In honesty dad was above reproach; he was tireless in promoting justice. He stood up for those unable to stand up for themselves. He was uncompromising in ethics and highly principled in life.

He learned to forgive and love those who wronged him; and developed patience toward those who misunderstood him.

If I were asked what kind of man my father-in-law was, I would think back to a bleak cold winter’s day; he had traveled from Winnipeg to Regina in minus 40o temperatures, as he often did he picked up a hitch-hiker; when he dropped the guy of on the outskirts of Regina he gave him $10 and his winter coat. The $10 was likely all he had on him and he didn’t have another coat.

Cecil would literally give the shirt off his back; he generously practiced true religion which Jesus described in a pictorial scene of the judgment.

“I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me;
I was in prison, and you came to Me.”

Cecil Bailey did all of those things; and I expect that in this gathering some of us were recipients in one or more ways of his generosity.

Cecil Bailey was a stabilizing influence in the brotherhood of Christians; a stalwart of the faith; a champion of love; he will be missed.

Two Blogs

A couple of our favourite couples have blogs that you should know about, in case you don’t already…

Craig & Leah “Sass Girl” Reid are heading to Korea and write some “must read” stuff HERE.

Brian & Charla Cox hold down one of the finest corners in Brandon and are both known to post HERE.

Kenya Kelli

If you haven’t already been keeping up my friend Kelli in Kenya for six weeks…

Well, that’s just something you should start.



From the Mouths of Babes

I am unable to take any credit for what follows. This is an email received from our good friends Curtis & Heather Parker.

Even though we are in Calgary, we are still trying to keep our Saskatchewan heritage alive in our family. In particular, this includes our allegiance to the Roughriders. As parents we have ensured that our 7 and 4 year old children have a deep understanding and knowledge about what is important in this regard. For example, like knowing which division the Roughriders, and all of its opponents, are in and what the current standings are. Of course, this is helpful when faced with the inevitable task of figuring out which other teams need to win to give Saskatchewan a mathematical chance of making the playoffs!

However, there is one simple truth that has no relevance to the standings. We never cheer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers – ever. Even if the season lay in the balance, and our only hope was that Winnipeg defeat some other team, we would not utter even the feeblest of cheers for a Blue Bomber win. And that is why the annual Labour Day game between the Green/White and the Blue/Gold takes on such special meaning. While we cannot make it to Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field this year, we have been anticipating this game for weeks now. The children know the start time and they will be decorating the family room with flags and pom-poms.

Some would say that we are imposing our will and have been forcing our kids to believe as we do, without any freedom to make their own decisions. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. In our house, everyone has the freedom to cheer for someone other than the Roughriders – even the Blue Bombers! (However, they do that knowing that they will have to sleep in the shed with small rations of bread and water for a week if they choose that option).

A recent incident around the dinner table did cause me to re-think our nurturing of this Rider Pride, though. Our family was talking about how excited we were about the upcoming labour day football game between the Roughriders and Blue Bombers. I explained to the kids that there are other labour games too, like Calgary vs. Edmonton and Toronto vs Hamiton. We talked about how the Labour Day weekend kicks off this new season, when school and other activities begin, the leaves begin to turn, and harvest is underway. And then Noah stepped in to the middle of this conversation and said “Mom…I bet that people who are not Christians…” There was a pause and Heather said “yes Noah, what?” He started all over and said, “Mom, I bet that people who are not Christians – cheer for the Blue Bombers.”

After his mom and dad laughed hysterically for a few minutes, I contemplated what had just taken place. On one hand ,it was a proud moment for me as a father, in that I saw that he had internalized the concept that we had been trying to teach from birth (Riders – good; Blue Bombers – evil). On the other hand, I realized that we have some work to do to continue our teaching about sin, grace, redemption – and the Truth – that even Blue Bomber fans can be saved!

Thinking of you all today. Go Riders Go!