Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

It has been a great Christmas, we have started a small new tradition in our family, which went well today. What a great season to remember the hope, joy and love that has come to the world in the birth of Jesus! Merry Christmas everyone! :) Here are a few pics of us during Christmas. 





Sunday, December 21, 2008

Russia Wins Euro Tour 2...


Euro Tour 2nd tour, is over and Russia after winning the first one in Finland, goes undefeated and wins the second tour in Moscow today.  In other news World Junior Hockey is about to start, which is pretty much the best tournament to watch, its in Canada who is on the verge of winning 5 straight gold medals. Russia has been in the finals 3 of the four times, unable to beat Canada.  This should be another exciting tournament to watch.  I am as we speak watching classic world junior games on ESPN and the game they are showing is my favorite game of all time in Halifax, Canada.  Both Russia and Canada were loaded with talent. Ovechkin made his debut as a 16 yr. old in this tournament. Canada up 2-1 going into the third period, Russia storming back to win. Since then its been Canadian domination of the gold, and Russia seems to be only second best with silvers, is this they year this changes? Will see. I am looking forward to watching this with family and Brendan :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Conference and clever Chicago Blackhawks

I am in Toronto right now, I am at a youth workers conference, it has so far been a packed full day 9am to 11pm of Sessions, Speakers, conversations and worship.  It is going incredibly good.  Today I had the joy to listen to Shane Claiborne  I have read his book earlier in the year Irresistible Revolution which my youth pastor had given to me.  Like I was by his book I was again powerfully moved by his message on the Scandal of Grace.  I am still processing all that was said, and will post more later.  Then this evening we had the privilege of listening to   Tony Compolo  who in fact was Shane's prof at Eastern College and who's call to social justice the call to walk in the footsteps of Jesus was an amazing challenge colored with Tony's great style of speaking.  I am in the hotel room my head feels full of million things to process and I am thankful for that.

On the funny side of things, Chicago Blackhawks are doing a great job of promoting the All-Star Game by having their two young stars Toews and Kane competing agains each other for a spot to the All-Star Game, so they created political like commercials against each other that are excellent.  A must see only 30 sec. each :

For Kane against Toews:




For Toews against Kane:



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Nights...

So Tuesdays has become the boys night at home...Jessica heads of to SIAST to teach, and the boys and I have an evening together.  It is pretty fun time of playing floor hockey, watching hockey, wrestling, and of course the Wii.  

Today during 'da boys supper' we were talking about Sasha's kindergarden, you see he is a big boy now and goes to kindergarden every Tuesday and Thursday.  Sasha loves school, but in particular he really likes a girl there (already) and she really likes him... They spend in fact way to much time together and don't socialize as much with other kids, at least thats what the teacher told us.  So they have recently been encouraged to be in groups with other kids.  So today at 'da boys supper' Sasha was talking about this problem of not being together, and well here is a bit of our conversation:

Sasha - "Today I couldn't be with Chloe, I was partnered up with someone else, but thats ok cause I still had fun, but Chloe was sad that she wasn't with me. "
Me - "Well its good to make friends."
Sasha - "Yeah it was, but Chloe loves me."
Me - "Oh? How do you know?"
Sasha - "We talked about getting married."
Me - "You don't want to get married already, do you? Then you would have to get a job, buy a house."
Sasha - "No we talked about it, we can live downstairs, there is the extra bedroom with a bed so we can be married."

Ummm so should I be worried that my five year old is making marriage plans with his kindergarden girl friend, and wants to live in his parents basement?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Champions League....(hockey)


For those of you that are familiar with the champions league format in
soccer, there is also one in hockey in europe in the past few years clubs from russia have won the tournament, but this year the tournament gained official standing, sponsorships, TV coverage and contracts.  It's goal is to become the premier standard for club competition in europe... It has had fantastic online and TV coverage all for free with an easy to follow website, here is the link if anyone is interested.  

Bit of history as recorded on the CHL website:

1965-1997: 

Almost ironically, the original idea of a European cup was inspired by football's FIFA European Cup. It came from IIHF president Günther Sabetzki and the first pan-European club team tournament was announced at the 1965 IIHF congress in Finland.

The 31-year history of the European Cup proved two things beyond a show of a doubt.

First, the tournament provided ample evidence of why the CSKA Moscow (Red Army) team was universally considered the world’s premier club outside the NHL. But the downside of that dominance is that it also showed that it’s hard to sustain interest in a competition in which the outcome is almost a foregone conclusion.  

Beginning in 1968-69, the Soviet champions got involved, and the competition might as well have been renamed the CSKA Cup, because CSKA Moscow won the championship 19 times in 21 years, often pummeling their overmatched opponents by double-digit margins. While this certainly affirmed the breathtaking skills of CSKA, it didn’t exactly make for competitive hockey when the outcome was a foregone conclusion. 

The purpose of the European Cup, after all, was not to stage a hockey version of the Harlem Globetrotters versus the hapless Washington Generals. But CSKA was often so much better than their opponents that the only thing missing was the “Sweet Georgia Brown” theme music as CSKA played keep-away with the puck and scored at will. 

CSKA’s toughest competition often came from other Soviet clubs. When the Red Army won its second European Cup (1969-70), the finals were essentially an IIHF-sanctioned derby between CSKA and Spartak Moscow at the legendary Luzhniki Arena. Some 28,000 spectators witnessed the two final games, and were treated to some outstanding hockey.

Unfortunately, few teams outside of CSKA were even interested in trying to compete in the tournament. The prize money was minimal and the cost of travel was high. It was a constant struggle to find willing teams and to ensure that games took place as scheduled..

On a yearly basis, games were either postponed or simply canceled for logistical reasons. Teams often forfeited games willingly rather than travel to away games. They also double-booked dates at their home arenas– the European Cup games rarely took priority.  Unfortunately, many potential participants actually considered their eligibility for the European Cup to be a drawback – not a perk – of winning their national championship.

It wasn’t until 1973-74 that all scheduled pairings and games were actually played, after interminable postponements. How interminable? The competition didn’t get finished until September 1975, two full years after the first game was played! The competition ended, as per usual, with a CSKA Moscow championship. 

Likewise, the 1977-78 schedule still had not been completed by the time the 1978-79 competition was slated to get underway. In order to catch up, the IIHF declared that the winner of the 1978-79 finals – CSKA Moscow, naturally – would be credited as the winner of the previous year’s tournament as well. CSKA’s 3-1 won over HC Poldi Kladno is believed to be the only time a team has ever won two championships with a single victory.


1997-2000:

In the inaugural 1996-1997 season, the EHL had 20 clubs organized into five divisions. That grew to 24 teams and six divisions the following year but contracted to 16 teams in four divisions by 1999-2000.

The inaugural winners, TPS Turku, were not a big surprise to anyone. But the second winner, VEU Feldkirch – which beat Russia’s Dynamo Moscow in a 3-2 final – were an unexpected champion.

The IIHF decided to suspend the EHL after 2000 and study ways to boost visibility and interest around Europe. For instance, the IIHF consult with European broadcasters starting from the 2001-2002 season. An international club competition, in the tradition of the previous European Cup, was staged by the IIHF for the 2000-2001 season, but there was no official EHL season.


2000-2008:

The IIHF European Champions Cup was created into become a stepping stone to an extended European club competition. This time around, the tournament was limited to the champions from the different leagues and the tournament was conducted in whirlwind fashion with a bigger prize budget to reward the championship team.

Participation in this tournament was determined by the current IIHF national team rankings. The top six European countries were eligible to send their reigning champions to compete in the ECC. The six teams were divided into two divisions of three teams each. After a two-game round robin, the winners of each division face off for the championship. The winners divided 45 percent of the prize money.

The prize money itself grew substantially. By 2007, the total purse was 800,000 Swiss francs (about $640,750 U.S.), with the second-place team splitting 25 percent, the third- and fourth-place finishers getting 10 percent and the fifth- and sixth-place teams dividing 5 percent. The victor also received the Silver Stone Trophy, the prize formerly awarded to the EHL champion.

The final final tournament was played at the New Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, from Jan. 10-13, 2008. The competing teams were then-reigning Russian Super League champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk, 2006-07 Czech Extraliga titleholder Sparta Prague, Elitserien’s Modo Hockey Örnsköldsvik, SM-Liiga victor Kärpät Oulu and Slovak Extraliga winner Slovan Bratislava.

Throughout the tournament’s brief existence, Russian teams dominated from the outset, with a Russian Super League team winning every tournament. and this year was no exception. Metallurg won the 2008 Silver Stone Trophy, defeating Sparta 5-2 in the championship game. The previous tournament victors were Russian Super League teams Avangard Omsk (2005), Dynamo Moscow (2006) and Ak Bars Kazan (2007).

The stage is now set for the Champions Hockey League. 



* Side note the two russian teams are still in and both facing each other in semi's and both plus one Swedish team are  undefeated. If you like hockey this is a treat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

EuroTour...


Yes the EuroHockey Tour has started again, the tour consists of four tournaments through out the hockey season in 4 countries to help the teams prepare for World Championships and Olympics, and last years winners Russia is off to a great start winning the first tournament Karjala Cup in Finland.  I am probably the only one on this side of the ocean that follows this, in contrast this tournament is a celebrated event in europe, giving less known players a chance to make an impression on the coaches, represent their country and get some great experience.  Bykov's men look good so far. Here is a bit of a photo archive

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Quote...

"The primary mission of Jesus was to tear down religion as the foundation for people's connection with God and to replace it with himself - the Divine coming to us in our own context and our own form.  This is what Jesus called 'The Kingdom of God.'  It is God and his people, living together the way he originally intended." 

-Bruxy Cavey

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Canada vs. Mexico World Cup Qualifier trip...

I had the privilege to have a sweet trip with Jeff, Dave and Brendan to watch World Cup Qualifier Game between Canada and Mexico it was a blast for the analysis of the game you can read that on Jeff's blog, here is the visual evidence:












Monday, October 20, 2008

My boys...

Is there anything better then this in the world,  we have a bunk bed for them but this is preferred arrangement by the two.  I love them so much, I really don't have words.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Prayer Labyrinth...

Have you ever done a labyrinth? To slow down quiet the soul, spend time with God? 

The prayer labyrinth was adopted by the Church across Europe during the medieval times, being often used as a means to meditate, pray and connect with God in a higher spiritual way. Numerous cathedrals in Europe have prayer labyrinths embedded into their floors, with the Cathedral of Chartres (Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral), located about 80 km from Paris having one of the most famous prayer labyrinths in the world. Prayer labyrinths were often viewed and modeled as a journey to Jerusalem and were even called Chemin de Jerusalem (Road of Jerusalem) serving as a spiritual pilgrimage for those who could not afford to travel to Jerusalem, the center of the world.

The widest accepted prayer labyrinth in the Church was the eleven-circuit labyrinth, which is more symbolic of Christ's cross with its four quadrants, and grace being symbolized by the never-ending path to the center and back, allowing the pilgrim to walk the path at his own pace, stop for prayer and meditation as needed.

By the 17th and 18th centuries however, prayer labyrinths had lost much of their spiritual meaning. Some clergy and other believers now associate them with New Age mystical practices.

With the practice of walking the prayer labyrinth becoming popular again in contemporary Christianity, particularly in the Emerging Church movement, many Christian denominations from across the theological spectrum are again adopting the practice of walking the prayer labyrinth. Some churches opening their labyrinths to any pilgrim in need of contemplation and prayer. It should be noted that the prayer labyrinth is not a maze in the popular sense, and rather has one path on which one cannot get lost, serving a powerful symbol of individual life journeys and pilgrimage in faith.


So all this to say there is a great online option if you want to spend some quiet guided time in prayer check it out!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Soviet Fun...

My experience of growing up in USSR was full of  fond memories of family, friends, playgrounds and soccer. What I  forgot (repressed in my mind) is how weird and scary some of the playgrounds were in USSR, now a parent myself I stumbled on to these pictures that triggered frightful memories and childhood nightmares... So if you ever wondered why I am the way I am here is the childhood magic of Soviet playgrounds, so from USSR with love:























Thursday, October 02, 2008

Yearbook pictures!

The there is this sweet website that lets you make a yearbook picture of yourself for any era, basically its the best, here a few examples of me:

1950:
1964:
1972:
1980:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quote...

"The measure of the Church's influence is found in society-on the streets, not in the pews." 

- Neil Cole, Organic Church

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Youth Year...


School has started and the faces were very happy and eager as I visited the youth in the hall ways on the first day of school, despite the complaining and the pained faces that I saw in my office before the school start... So thats good. This week we have also been busy planning the schedules and finalizing training for Jr. and Sr. sponsors and that has gone very well. We have an amazing bunch of Sr. and Jr. sponsors again this year and I am very excited to have such a great bunch of people joining me on this journey.  I have always had a lot of help (angels) in the background helping getting the snacks going, making sure we have enough rides, baby sitting for sponsors kids, and that continues.  I am very lucky to be where I am, we are truly community minded community, it is such a privilege to be able to serve in this great company of people... Anticipation is building... And this year Jessica is going to be able to come to Sr. Youth nights which is sweet/amazing!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Worst Album Covers Ever...

I have been meaning to blog about these for a while, so today was/is the day, I found a web page titled WorstAlbumCovers. After laughing my face off, I am going to share it with you enjoy! The few that I posted are my favorites more at the link.

The Best one is this one by Jim Post, Titled: I love my life