Monday, April 18, 2011

Michael Ignatief & The Canadian Liberals

In 2 weeks today Canadians head to their voting stations as we once again decide on who serves another term in office in a federal election. To inject a bit of humor amid the political bantering, I decided to share an email I got regarding Michael Ignatief’s leadership of the Canadian Liberal Party*. I hope you enjoy.


While suturing up a cut on the hand of a 75 year old farmer, whose hand had been caught in the gate while working his cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to "Michael Ignatief" and how he got to be the leader of the Liberals.

The old farmer said, "Well, ya know, Ignatief is just a Post Turtle."

Now not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked, What's a "Post Turtle?"

The old farmer said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a Turtle balanced on top, that's a Post Turtle."

The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain,

"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he sure as hell isn't goin' anywhere, and you just wonder what kind of dumb bastard put him there in the first place."

*please note that this is not an endorsement for and/or by any political party whatsoever, its just a bit of fun as I make up my own mind on who to vote for. Be blessed, Tim Bitz

Friday, April 15, 2011


“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.” (Mark 1:40) NLT.

As I read this verse a few weeks ago, something struck me. Here the leper asks Jesus to make him clean, but only if He wants to. The following verse tells us that Jesus is willing, so He reaches out His hand touches and heals the man. The Leper is overflowing with joy. He then spreads the word about the great and mighty work that Jesus had done and he’s possibly praising God because of it. But Jesus only healed the man because He was willing to do so. What if the leper asked Jesus to heal him and He said no?

This is a reality I am faced with daily. Born with a disability I find myself echoing the words of the leper. “Jesus, I know that you can heal me, so please take this disability away.” In the face of my plea I wake up each morning with the Lord denying my request; and living life the same as yesterday. Limited in my physical abilities and having to navigate my daily functions with an unwanted challange.

I take comfort knowing that I don’t face this alone. Scripture calms my mood when God refuses to heal my legs; especially these words from the apostle Paul: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. ” Here, Paul confesses to having a thorn embedded in his flesh. Not wanting to deal with this ailment, he too gives voice to the plea of the leper. “Jesus, if you are willing you can make me clean.” Yet Jesus withholds His healing touch. The leper praised God and spread the news of his healing, but Paul’s testimony tells a different story.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul tells us that he cried out to God, pleading three times to make his life easier by removing the thorn from his side. The Lord hears his cry and responds by saying no. Paul doesn’t need to be healed. As the thorn remains, God is shown to be bigger then healings and miracles. By keeping the thorn in his flesh, anything Paul does to advance God’s Kingdom is merely God’s Holy Spirit using Paul’s weakness to His advantage.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote:

“…God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

Yet in his next letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is boasting about his weaknesses. This is an act of God’s grace. The fact that people are praising God in lieu of Paul’s weaknesses gives testimony to God’s power. No one can say that they are the only reason Paul’s ministry is thriving. Paul’s weakness is so debilitating that the ministry would suffer if he didn’t depend on God to give him his daily needs. This is why he boasts in his weaknesses. For when he is weak, God is strong. Without the thorn, Paul would rely on his own strength to see the ministry to survive. Giving him this thorn keeps Paul humbled. By solely relying on God’s strength, He gets all the credit. When someone praises Paul for his success in ministry, all the apostle can do is thank God for being an instrument of God’s grace.

Every day I wake up and realize that God denied my request to walk on my own. Consequently I’m forced to answer this question: what benefit does today’s challenge bring me? Most often the answer is humility and encouragement to those around me. When people see what I go through in a day they are humbled. Putting on socks is an example of little things that most people take for granted. Because of my disability I struggle with this task. Four or five attempts later, those socks are warming my toes. When people watch me do it with a smile, they are blown away. I’m not frustrated or beating myself up because I can’t do it or is so hard. It puts them in a place of humility.

In this example, all I’m doing is putting on a pair of socks. But some people see God in what I do. People see me struggle yet I’m not depressed or getting sad about it. I have joy! I’ve been told on countless occasions people are inspired by the joy in my heart and the smile on my face. Jesus gave me that smile. As I wake each morning, I receive the grace I need to face my challenges head on. Bringing glory to God in the midst of my weakness; praising God for His grace that is sufficient.

Earlier I shared about answering the question: what benefit does today’s challenge bring me? Think about some of your own challenges for a moment. What might some of them be? How might this approach to the challenges you face change your attitude about it? How does it help you see God in the situation?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Here is another article from the Inglewood newsletter. This one is simply called Woohoo! It’s about the benefits of another person's company. Have a read below or download the entire newsletter here.

One of my neighbors likes to fiddle by doing odd jobs around the house. The tasks are minor things like organizing stacks of paper, making grocery lists or cleaning silverware. Whenever I visit her, she like to serve me coffee. Watching her grab the cup, lift the pot, and pour the drink, she squints. Arthritis grips her bones and makes simple movements like this a daily challenge. Seeing her struggle to serve me I offer to help and usually get shunned away. I’m told to stay seated and relax.

Puttering around the house, inviting people over for coffee and tea allows her to keep busy and take her mind off the difficulty arthritis has made her daily life. Doing so lifts her spirits and keeps her mind from travelling down a dark road. No surrender is her attitude. She tells me no matter how bad things get, she’s got to keep a positive attitude. This is best accomplished by keeping busy and getting her mind off how bad things are.

As I work with people with disabilities I have come to learn a big part of what we do is help the person accentuate the things they can do. For example, when working with someone who may be deaf, we don’t ignore them because “they can’t hear us”. Instead we ask their opinions using sign language, because they can still grasp the concepts and participate in the discussion. We may have a poker night with someone who can’t hold cards but they can still play if they lay their cards face down on the table. So in prepping the game table, we would leave extra room for them to lay out their cards. I know for myself there are a number of places I go that don’t have a ramp for my wheelchair, so I leave my chair at home because I can go up and down stairs using crutches.

I have a neighbor who often tells me that I’m often the light of his day – an answer to his prayers! His day is filled with doctor visits, appointments with social workers, and trips too and from the hospital. He delights in any chance to turn on his coffee pot, open his door and invite people in. It’s a change from the some times mundane and predictable routine of his life. It also gives his mind a break from dealing with doctor talk. Ask any mother who deals with screaming toddlers twenty-four hours a day. The highlight of their day is when other adults are around. I hear this from single parents all the time: “There is another grown up around! I get to have an adult conversation! No more baby talk! Woohoo!!!” So never under estimate the power of your own company. You just might be the “Woohoo!!!” of someone’s day.

Pots, Pans & Cutlery

I have been rather silent on this blog recently, but that doesn't mean I haven’t been writing. One of my avenues for writing is the Inglewood Community Newsletter. It has a limited circulation and as such doesn’t get around to ALL Calgarians. I also have a few fans that are outside of Canada. So for their benefit here is a copy of the article I wrote for the March edition. It’s called Pots, Pans, & Cutlery. If you want a PDF version of the newsletter in its entirety, the link is here.


In college, I took a class called Building Community. We spent four months looking at the dynamics of a great community and were challenged with what it takes to create a sense of belonging. Every week we were faced with the question: if given the task of creating a placewhere people could feel at home, how would we do it? What might that look like? In other words, our task was to create an environment where people felt like they belonged to something significant.

Years after critiquing the reasons behind the methods of creating community, I never would have guessed a sense of belonging could be found in something as simple as one’s dishes. Pots, pans, cutlery, plates and cups are five simple things one can use to create a sense of belonging.

Moving away from my parents’ home wasn’t something done out of necessity. Moving out is something I had planned to do when I had finished college. So when all my college fees were paid off, I began to get things I would need once I lived on my own. This proved to be a wise move on my part. I didn’t spend a single day crafting a dining table out of cardboard boxes; I had everything I needed. At the end of “move-in” day, I had a fully furnished place to live.

Leading up to the big move, I slowly bought the things I needed. Scouring the weekly fliers, I was on the lookout for great sales. A complete pot-and-pan set for 50 percent off meant I could invest more money into a bedroom set. My birthday and Christmas gifts included things like tea towels and ladles for my kitchen. If people were replacing furniture, I’d barter with them for the old stuff. I distinctly remember working out a deal with my mother regarding cutlery.

She wanted to buy me a set of cutlery that had six of each item. Ideally, I wanted to have 12. The same went for dishes. I wanted to have two sets of plates, cups and bowls. What’s the reason you ask? I like to entertain. I thoroughly enjoy cooking for others. So when people come over to check out my new “pad,” I’d like to have the means to offer everyone a drink. If my friends want to bring their four kids, each person can have their own beverage.

As I built friendships with others at Alice Bisset Place, some of us took turns hosting the other for tea and coffee. When the holidays approached, we would plan dinner parties to commemorate the upcoming occasions. We’d take turns hosting the dinner, but because my kitchen was well stocked with supplies, sometimes the neighbors would ask me to bring a few extra plates as they would only have dishes for two or three, and not 10.

Getting together like this brings back memories of my college days. Sitting in a classroom, mulling over some of the best ways to create authentic community; exploring the what, and why for of each scenario. I look back on those days and think, why are we sitting in the classroom talking about this? It’s as simple as gathering our plates, cups and other utensils, inviting people over and enjoying one another’s company.

Now I want to ask: what are you waiting for. Put down the paper and start making a guest list for your next get together.