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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Isle of Mull family wedding

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I discovered today that my great-great-great grandparents Donald Hector McLean Sr (born 1786) and Janet McCallum McLean (born 1791) were married on June 22nd 1807 in Bunessan on the Isle of #Mull in Western Scotland by Iona.

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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The Birth of the Book

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I love libraries. In our family, we have four favorite places for ‘down-time’ and restoration: beaches, parks, gyms, and libraries.  I see lifting weights and lifting up books as equally stimulating and healthy. One exercises the body; the other one the mind.

My late parents loved books. My father read so extensively that he exhausted virtually every library he joins, and had to move on to another neighbouring library just to find new options.  Scholars have discovered that the best way to motivate one’s children to learn is by example. If your children never see you reading, it has a profound impact on their likelihood to pick up a book themselves.  There is no better way for your children to expand their minds than to turn off their video games, iPods, or TV, and actually crack open a thought-provoking book or e-book.

The latest library book that has fascinated me is Dr Andrew Pettegree’s “The Book in the Renaissance”.  Dr Pettegree is the Head of the School of History at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, and founding director of the St. Andrew’s Reformation Studies Institute. I have learned so much from reading this amazing book. I was shocked to discover that before the sixteenth century in Europe, educators did not teach history in school. One of my growing passions is history, which is why I included so much Canadian history in my last book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada.’  Dr Pettegree comments that “the teaching of history was in many respects the most original curricular innovation of the Renaissance period. History was not taught in the classrooms in classical times…”

I was also surprised to discover that in England, there was no formal provision for teaching writing in the grammar schools.  Few classrooms even had desks.  If one wanted to learn how to write, it had to be done during school vacations, perhaps employing a private writing master.

The existence of books can be traced back to before the 7th century BC.  Some of the earliest books in Mesopotamia were made of clay tablets. Others were made of silk, bone, bronze, pottery, shell, dried palm leaves, or wood.  The Greek word for ‘book’ biblos originally meant “fibre inside of a tree”. The Chinese character for book is an image of a bamboo tablet.

The ancient Egyptians developed a very sophisticated form of book-making, using papyrus made of stretched-out reeds, pasted together in scrolls, sometimes up to forty feet. Beginning in the 3rd century BC, parchment made out of animal skins gradually replaced papyrus as the dominant form of book-making. Parchment was both very durable and very expensive. Until the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the fifteenth century, virtually all books were handwritten manuscripts, often painstakingly transcribed in monasteries.

We are all very aware of how the internet and social media has revolutionized our 21st century.  Gutenberg’s printing press was just as revolutionary.  Before Gutenberg, books were only for the wealthy elite.  After Gutenberg, books democratized Europe by making new ideas available for ordinary people. His revolution did not just birth printed books, but gave rise to newspapers, further educating ordinary people and infusing their minds with dreams of freedom and equality.

The first book that Gutenberg printed was the Bible.  The ready accessibility of the Bible in one’s own language was a radical innovation that many bureaucrats resisted with a passion.  Bibles were burnt openly in every part of Europe.  Tyrants knew that if ordinary people were given a chance to read the Bible for themselves, liberty would break out everywhere.  As the Great Physician put it, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

I was fortunate to be number seven of the eight people to receive an IPhone 4 at a local phone store. My only problem was that I didn’t know how to make it work. So I went back to the phone store, asking about the user guide. None of the three employees had ever seen or read the user guide. All had IPhone 4s. “How did you learn to use it?” I asked. One of the young employees said to me “I just pressed buttons until something happened.”  Eventually I found the user guide, and actually read it. What an amazing difference it made.  As my math teacher said in Grade 10, “When all else fails, read the instructions”. We live in an amazing age when most of us are able to read, yet we still often fail to make the most of this gift.

Gutenberg gave us the gift of printed Bibles available for all to read. Isn’t it about time that we take a look once again at God’s user manual?

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the North Shore News/ Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


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Golfing with my Undertaker

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Golf is now over 510 years old, having been played officially throughout Scotland since 1502. Most of the earliest references to golf were about attempts to ban it or to condemn the golfers.  On 6th March 1457 in Edinburgh, King James II banned ‘ye golf’ because it was more popular than archery.

As a teenager, I golfed religiously three times a week at Langara Golf Course in Vancouver.  To prove my dedication, I even sometimes golfed in the snow.  I also used to caddy for my father, which was a great way to spend quality time with him.

Years later, my golf game has its moments of glory, as well as many reminders of how far I have fallen.  I took part in a golfing tournament a while ago with forty undertakers and one hundred and ten clergy.  On the second hole of the tournament, I sunk a forty-five-foot putt.  Delusions of being the next PGA superstar filled my mind until I missed a four-foot  putt on the very next hole.  Golf can be very humbling, and is therefore good for the soul, or so they tell me.

In the forty years since I was ordained, I have taken many funerals.  Virtually every funeral involves a funeral director, sometimes called a family services counselor.  I have found them to be very personal, decent individuals.  It was not until I started golfing with funeral directors that I really came to know them personally.  Over the eighteen holes, the pastors and undertakers shared the inevitable victories and defeats.  It really helped us realize how much we had in common, though the funeral directors are usually better golfers.

Both funeral directors and clergy are usually called upon in times of sorrow and death.  While some people try to do their own services, most Canadians still look to professionals to help them through this most difficult of times.  Both pastors and undertakers are often misunderstood.  People sometimes don’t realize that undertakers and clergy are ordinary human beings much like themselves.  I remember once when a Deep Cove resident was shocked to see me shopping at Safeway, because they didn’t think that clergy actually shopped.

One of the privileges of having served for the past 31 years has been to walk with North Shore families and individuals through the key transitions of life: birth, marriage, and death.  With one local family, I had the privilege of burying four members.  Families during funerals will open up and share their hearts in ways that you rarely otherwise see.

Death is the great leveler.  No matter how we try to avoid it and deny it, death catches up with every family.  We can put it off for a while through healthy eating and exercising, but sooner or later we all face the grim reaper.

Both funeral directors and clergy can make a big difference in helping families navigate these painful waters.  I am grateful that I can remind grieving people that there is a bridge over troubled waters, that Jesus made a way and prepared a resting place for them.  I am  grateful that death does not have the final say.

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us will find that bridge over troubled waters.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Governor James Douglas: Father of BC

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

How often do we give thanks for Governor James Douglas, Father of BC?  BC still bears the mark of Douglas’ vision.  Douglas had little to work with in terms of men, money and materials; the only thing not lacking was Douglas’ determination.  Governor Douglas prophetically said: ‘It is the bold, resolute, strong, self-reliant man, who fights his own way through every obstacle and wins the confidence and respect of his fellows.  As with men, so it is with nations.’

Douglas had a vision of a great highway of commerce down the centre of the mainland colony.  In little more than two years, he was to achieve what seems almost a miracle: a wagon road, eighteen feet wide and four hundred miles long, connecting the wealthy new gold fields of the Cariboo to the older coastal settlements

Douglas was born in Guyana.  His mom Martha Ann Ritchie, originally from Barbados, was a free Creole whose family moved to Guyana for better employment in the late 1790’s.  His father John Douglas, a Scottish merchant planter, took James and his brother to Scotland at age nine.  James never saw his mom again, never returning to Guyana.  After schooling, James moved at age sixteen to Canada and apprenticed with the Northwest Company, which eventually merged with the rival Hudson’s Bay Company.  James spoke French so well that he was even able to lead Prayer Book worship services in French with the other voyageurs.

At Fort St. James he married Amelia Connolly, whose father was an Irish-French fur trader and whose mother was a Cree Chief’s daughter.  The Douglas family moved to Fort Vancouver, Washington where James quickly became the Hudson Bay Company Chief Factor in 1839.  While still at Fort Vancouver, he had set down in a notebook four tasks that he hoped to achieve.  These were: “The moral renovation of this place; Abolition of slavery within our limits; Lay down a principle and act upon it with confidence; The building of a church of Christ in this place.”

As it became more obvious that everything below the 49th Parallel would become American territory, James Douglas was sent to Vancouver Island to relocate the Hudson’s Bay Fort.  On March 14, 1843 Douglas founded the new capital Fort Victoria.  In 1851 Douglas was appointed the second Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island.

When the 1858 Gold rush struck BC, Douglas noted: “this country and Fraser’s River have gained an increase of 10,000 inhabitants within the last six weeks, and the tide of immigration continues to roll onward without any prospect of abatement.”  Writing to Lord Stanley, Douglas predicted that ‘in the course of a few months there may be one hundred thousand people in the country.’

James Douglas preserved BC from absolute chaos during the 1858 Gold rush.  With tens of thousands of American gold miners descending upon BC, James Douglas held back a avalanche that would have irrevocably swept BC out of any Canadian orbit.  As historian Derek Pethick commented, “It is in the hour of crisis, when all but the bravest would have abandoned the unequal struggle, one man stood up and was counted.  That man was James Douglas.”  There is no doubt that Canada as we know it ‘from sea to shining sea’, would not exist today without Governor Douglas, one of the greatest of the Fathers of Confederation.

Governor Douglas had an outer exterior of implacability, but in his private family life he showed great depths of feeling. Upon the death of his daughter Cecilia, Douglas lamented: ‘She was the joy of my eyes, the light of my life; her ear was ever open to the calls of distress; the poor and afflicted never appealed to her in vain; they will miss her sympathizing heart and helping hand.’

Douglas deeply loved nature as seen in a letter to his daughter Martha: ‘The sweet little robin is pouring out his heart in melody, making the welkin ring with his morning song of praise and thanksgiving.  Would that we were equally grateful to the Author of all good.”  In giving advice to his son James, Douglas commented:  “We are all poor frail creatures when left to ourselves; our sufficiency is of the Lord; we must look to him for strength and guidance in the hour of trial.  His power is sufficient for us…”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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Sir Alexander Fleming: Countless Millions Saved

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

When Alexander Fleming’s picture turned up on the front cover of Time magazine, the byword stated “His penicillin will save more lives than war can spend”.  A vivid example of this ‘miracle’ was the usage of penicillin on D-Day to save 3,000 on Normandy Beach from deadly gangrene.  Some researchers consider penicillin to be one of the key top-secret weapons that helped the Allies win World War II.

It is hard for our modern generation to fully appreciate that before penicillin, even an infected pinprick or a tiny cut might be lethal.  Hospitals were full of people with easily caught infections raging out of control.  Children died regularly from scarlet fever, from infections of the bones, throat, stomach, or brain.  It is no exaggeration to say that many of you reading this article would not be here today if it weren’t for the miracle of antibiotics touching you and your extended family.

In 1881, Alexander Fleming was born in Ayrshire in the lowlands of southwestern Scotland.  A playground accident smashed the bridge of his nose and left him looking like a battered boxer.  Andre Maurois said that Fleming had those qualities which many attribute to the Scots: a capacity for hard and sustained work, a combative spirit which refuses to admit defeat, a steadfastness and loyalty which creates respect and affection, and a true humility which protects against pretentiousness and pride.

Affectionately called Little Flem, his gift of silence appeared to be inexhaustible.  One colleague said that Fleming ‘could be more eloquently silent than any man I have ever known.’  His capacity for silence was only matched by his capacity for waiting – and for hanging on, an attribute that greatly helped him in his penicillin adventure.

The body’s fight with infection was Fleming’s abiding interest.  One of Fleming’s first breakthroughs was in the discovery of lysozyme, a natural antiseptic contained in human tears and saliva.  Fleming’s method of collecting lysozyme was to recruit a passing student or laboratory boy and drop lemon juice in his eye!  Eventually Fleming switched to the use of egg white which has a stronger concentration of lysozyme.

Lysozyme, unfortunately, ended up being an embarrassment to Fleming because it proved useless in killing harmful diseases.  As a result, his fellow colleagues mostly treated Fleming’s later penicillin discovery as if it were another laboratory dead-end.  Alexander Fleming always said, ‘We shall hear more about lysozyme one day’.  With thousands of scientific papers now written about it, the Russians use lysozyme for preserving caviar; doctors add lysozyme to cow-milk to reproduce the component structure of human milk, as well as for the treatment of eye and intestinal infections.

Fleming, being a ‘packrat’, never liked to throw anything away.  One day, Fleming noticed a blue mould growing on one of his unwashed petri dishes.  He seized the moment and changed the world forever.  From that moment, Fleming became obsessed with penicillin mould, even using his friends’ moldy old shoes. Fleming showed amazing ingenuity in his makeshift creation of the first penicillin ‘factory’, employing devices like oilcans, biscuit tins, dustbins, bedpans, milk churns, and bookracks!

For twelve long years after his 1928 discovery of penicillin, Fleming faced skeptical indifference.  Penicillin was a medical Cinderella that no one wanted to dance with.  ‘The man of genius’, writes Lord Beaverbrook, ‘ is often an egotist. When, as sometimes happens, he is simple and retiring, the world is inclined to underestimate his gifts…’

In 1937 Howard Florey and Ernst Chain of Oxford purified Fleming’s lysozyme.  From there, they purified Fleming’s penicillin, making it stable, concentrated, and more useful.

When Alexander Fleming turned up in Oxford, Chain was taken completely by surprise.  He had thought that Fleming was dead!  Fleming generously said of the two,‘We all owe a lot to Florey, Chain and their co-workers.  They did not initiate penicillin but they put it on the map as an effective drug.’

By freeze-drying it at a low temperature with a neutral pH, Chain and Florey were able to purify penicillin to become a thousand times more powerful than Fleming’s original mold.  Once completely purified, penicillin became a million times stronger than at first!

By one biographer’s account, Fleming was given 25 honorary degrees, 26 medals, 18 prizes, 13 decorations, the freedom of 15 cities and boroughs, and honorary membership in 89 academies and societies.  Both Florey and Fleming were knighted in 1944, and in 1945 Fleming, Florey and Chain were jointly given the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. Medical centers, research institutes, and even a moon crater were named in honour of the beloved ‘father’ of penicillin.  It meant a lot to Fleming as a Scot when he was elected as Rector of Edinburgh University in 1951.  When Fleming received an ovation at a Spanish bullfight, 20,000 fans broke out into mass hysteria.  The famous Spanish scientist Don Gregorio Maranon said of Fleming that ‘God selected him to carry out the greatest miracle which humanity has ever seen’.

Yet despite all the honours showered on Fleming, fame didn’t spoil him.  He remained a simple humble man, not even bothering to patent penicillin for personal profit.  When Fleming was asked to what he attributed his success, he said: ‘I can only suppose that God wanted penicillin, and that this was his reason for creating Alexander Fleming.’

Countless millions have been saved physically through Fleming’s sacrificial work on penicillin. Countless millions have been saved spiritually through Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross.  When is the last time that we thanked God for such amazing acts of generosity?

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



12 Comments

Alexander Graham Bell: Inventing the future

By  the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Like many Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell moved to the United States to get his big break, but always longed to return to the beauty and peace of Canada.  Both Alexander’s mom and wife had serious hearing impairments, a challenge that directly aided Alexander in his development of the first workable telephone.  It was while Alexander served as a teacher of the hearing-impaired that he began to really understand the fundamental principles of communication and speech.

One of Bell’s most famous pupils was Helen Keller who came to him as a child unable to see, hear or speak.  Helen Keller later said of Bell that he dedicated his life to the penetration of that ‘inhuman silence that separates and estranges.’  Dedicating her autobiography to Bell, she said: ‘You have always shown a father’s joy in my success and a father’s tenderness when things have not gone right.’

Like many millions of Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell was not born in Canada.  Rather his family fled to Canada after the tuberculosis deaths of their two other sons in Edinburgh, Scotland.  They naively believed that the pure air of Canada would save the life of Alexander who was also afflicted with tuberculosis.  While Alexander did live until age 75, he was never that well and often suffered from severe headaches.  But Alexander never let his problems hold him back from being creative.

Alexander had a pioneering mind and great vision.  He defined an inventor as someone “who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are.  He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.”  “We should not keep going forever”, said Alexander, “on the public road, going only where others have gone.  We should leave the beaten track occasionally and enter the woods.  Every time you do that, you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before.”

While Alexander became famous from his invention of the first workable telephone, his inventive genius reached much farther.  He was the first in North America to show how x-rays could be used to treat cancers inside the body.  He invented a probe that discovered where bullets were lodged inside people.

Through creative experimenting with kites, he built the first successful airplane in the British Empire.  His Canadian airplane flew almost a kilometre at 64 kilometres per hour on February 23rd, 1909 at Beinn Bhreagh, Cape Breton.  Alexander’s hydrofoil built in 1915 reached speeds of 70 mph (112 kph).

After the death of his son from weak lungs, Alexander invented the first respirator.  To assist shipwrecked sailors, he created a machine that turned the moisture in air into drinking water.  His endless inventions also included the first practical phonograph, the first flat-disk record, an iceberg-locating device, a water purifier that removed salt from seawater, an air conditioner, and an audiometer to test people’s hearing.

But it was Bell’s invention of the telephone that caused the greatest controversy.  Some wrote Bell off as a mad scientist who was challenging the laws of nature.  Others tried to argue that telephones were somehow of the devil and against the bible.  There were widespread fears that telephones would spread disease and even insanity over the telephone wires.  During an 18-year period, Bell faced and won over 600 lawsuits challenging his telephone patent.

The first business use of the telephone began in 1877.  By 1888, there were over 150,000 users in North America.  The cost of having a phone installed in 1888 was $10, the equivalent of a whole year’s wage for a servant.  As of 2010, there are literally hundred of millions who might find it hard to imagine life without a phone.

When Bell’s body was buried in 1922 on top of a Cape Breton Island mountain, every telephone in North America observed a minute’s silence.  Thomas Edison, a rival and friend, said at that time: ‘My late friend Alexander Graham Bell,  whose world-famed invention annihilated time and space, and brought the human family in closer touch.’

The word ‘telephone’ means ‘sound over a long distance’.  Bell brought good news to many through a physical device.  May God use each of us as pioneers to bring the sound of good news throughout the world.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



13 Comments

Queen Victoria and Sir James Simpson

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

As told in the delightful movie “Mrs. Brown”, Queen Victoria had a great love for the Scottish Balmoral Castle.  The Queen actually preferred Scotland to England.  As a result, everything Scottish suddenly became fashionable.  Tartans, reels, bagpipes and sporrans were considered cultured and refined where before they had been hidden away when friends from the South arrived.

Queen Victoria also had a preference for Scottish doctors, in particular Sir James Simpson of Edinburgh.  Her appointment of James Simpson as one of her Majesty’s Physicians was symptomatic of Victoria’s innovative leadership style.  Despite the prejudice many have today to all things ‘Victorian’, Queen Victoria helped open the doors for her people to modern science and medicine.  Even as a child, she led the way as the first member of the Royal Family to be vaccinated for smallpox.  Later as Victoria was to give birth to her fifth child, she turned to Sir James Simpson, the father of modern anesthetics, for help.

Until Queen Victoria’s bold move, there was a great controversy about the morality of whether women should use anesthetics in childbirth.  Her leadership broke people free from superstition and fear.  Her use of an anaesthetic was so controversial that the official Royal Press ‘The Lancet’ actually denied that she had accepted chloroform, but the lay press rushed to spread the news.

Dr. Petrie in Liverpool considered anesthesia a breach of medical ethics.  It was the act of a coward, he wrote, to avoid pain, and if a woman insisted on the use of chloroform to alleviate her labour pains, she must be told that she was in no fit state to make decisions.  ‘Are we going to allow the patient to tell us what to do?’ he enquired indignantly.

Sir James Simpson used careful statistics to overcome enormous prejudice among these medical colleagues.  Many of Simpson’s fellow doctors feared that chloroform would increase the already high death rate following operation, increase the incidence of bleeding, paralysis, & pneumonia, and bring on ‘mania’ in the mother.

There were also clergymen who argued that anesthetics was somehow against the Bible.  Simpson humorously responded that on the occasion of the first recorded operation –the removal of a rib – the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, proof of his approval of anesthesia!  In defending anesthesia against clerical criticism, Simpson noted that some churchmen also first spoke against optical glasses, spectacles and the telescope as ‘offsprings of man’s wicked mind’, because they changed the natural appearance of things and presented them in an untrue light.  Simpson was so convinced of the rightness of anesthetics that he even called his study ‘St. Anesthesia’.

In the midst of this raging battle with the medical and ecclesiastical establishments, along came Queen Victoria who settled the controversy in one decisive act.  Throughout the British Empire, her loyal subjects agreed that the sensible Queen would have never taken chloroform from Dr. Simpson if it was really dangerous or against the will of the Lord.  The gift of anesthetic was Queen Victoria’s  present to millions of grateful mothers around the world.

The mothers of the mid-nineteenth century were looking for a doctor who would consider them seriously as people, and not as baggage.  James Simpson was a man of great compassion who could not bear to see women in pain.  As a young intern, Simpson ran out in horror during a cancer operation and almost switched to studying law.  ‘Can nothing be done’; he pleaded, ‘to make operations less painful?’  James Simpson was a man who respected women of all classes and considered it their due to receive the best medical attention that there was to offer.  Simpson didn’t just treat the Queen as an individual; he treated all women as ‘queens’.  Simpson, as a man of deep faith, knew that in Christ there was neither slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one and equally valued in the Lord (Galatians 3:28).

In 1870 a contemporary of Simpson wrote, “Simpson adopted obstetrics when it was the lowest and most ignoble of our medical arts: he has left it a science numbering amongst its professors many of the most distinguished of our modern physicians.’  The average physician of the early Victorian age was armed with a jar of sticky black leeches and an obsession for putting them to work.  With the discovery of chloroform, Simpson held that ‘a new light had burst upon Surgery, and a large boon conferred on mankind.’

Simpson was a natural inventor who was always eager to experiment in new directions –the fight against puerperal fever, the invention of new types of forceps, the combating of cholera, and the invention of the vacuum suction extractor to help with childbirth problems.  And he invented the uterine sound instrument by accident by dropping a straight tool on the ground and bending it!

For Simpson, faith was as natural as breathing.  Family prayers were at 8:15am in the dining room.  Everyone had their own Bible in their hand, and the family sat around the mahogany table.  Simpson always read the Lesson, but enjoyed the children leading the prayers. After the tragic death of his fifteen-year old son Jamie, Simpson had a profound encounter with Jesus Christ.  ‘I am the oldest sinner and the youngest believer in this room’ he said to a gathering of enthusiastic medical missionary students.  Despite his fame for discovering chloroform, Simpson said to all: “My greatest discovery is Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour”.

For his service to Queen Victoria, Simpson became the first Scottish doctor to knighted as a baronet. In his memoirs Lord Playfair, Professor of Chemistry, called Simpson ‘…the greatest physician of his time’.  A doctor in the Indian Army said in the Bombay Courier of 22 January 1848 that “the most outstanding character that he had come across in his tour of the medical centres of Europe was ‘little Simpson of Edinburgh’ who had the four ideals for the perfect physician:  the brain of an Apollo, the eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion, and the hand of a lady –nothing baffles his intellect, nothing escapes his penetrating glance…”  Despite all the rejection Simpson experienced, he was eventually elected President of the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians,  as a Foreign Associate of the Academy of Medicine of Paris, and given the Swedish Royal Order of St. Olaf.

The Scottish people loved him deeply.  When Simpson was dying in extreme pain, he commented: ‘When I think, it is of the words ‘Jesus only’ and really that is all that is needed, is it not?’  To honour this Christ-like man, 80,000 Scots watched his funeral procession in Edinburgh.

My prayer  is that each of us may treat the mothers in our lives, as Sir James Simpson treated all women, with respect and dignity.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-Previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



7 Comments

Sir Alexander Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Alexander Mackenzie ranks as one of the most remarkable persons of North American wilderness history and, indeed, as one of the greatest travelers of all time.  His transcontinental crossing predated (and indeed inspired) the more famous Lewis and Clark American expedition by twelve years.  Even Bernard De Voto, the well-known Utah-born historian said of Mackenzie, “In courage, in the faculty of command, in ability to meet the unforeseen with resources of craft and skill, in the will that cannot be overborne, he has had no superior in the history of American exploration.”

Mackenzie realized the dream of a Canada stretching from sea to sea.  Beneath the lion and the unicorn supporting the coat of arms of Canada are the Latin words: A MARI USQUE AD MARE, taken from a Biblical text, ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Without Alexander Mackenzie (and his Nor’Wester friends Simon Fraser and David Thompson), Canada would have lost her entire Pacific Coast, being shut off from any access to the sea.

In 1764, Alexander Mackenzie was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, a windswept, rugged island in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  When Alexander was ten, his mom died.  Neighbours, knowing he had memorized long passages from the Bible, predicted that Alexander would become a clergyman. Through the local pastor’s library, he learned about astronomy and the use of telescopes.  At age 13, Alexander tabulated all the animal and plant life in the Hebrides, and he and his pastor tried unsuccessfully to get it published in London.

To escape the grinding poverty, his family, like thousands of other Highlanders, moved to the New World, only to become caught up in the American Revolution.  His father, like Simon Fraser’s dad, joined a United Empire Loyalist regiment near New York, before escaping with his family to Montreal. In those days, every one of Montreal’s 4000 inhabitants was involved in some way with the fur trade.  To young Alexander Mackenzie, the Montreal-based North West Company fur trade signified adventure, a chance to travel and explore new territory.

The heart of the fur industry was the voyageurs, who were the heroes and athletes of the 18th century.  As with the NHL, a voyageur was an old man at forty and forced to retire.

A good voyageur paddled 40 strokes to the minute and could keep up that pace from dawn to dusk with brief stops.  They had the reputation of being the finest canoeists in the world, who could travel anywhere.  Most of the North West Company’s 1,100 voyageurs were Canadians, which in those days meant that they were Quebec-born francophones.  The Northwest Company brought together a unique blend of Canadians and Scots like Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie.  At the height of the North West Company, it had eight times as many men in Western Canada as the more cautious Hudson’s Bay Company.

While looking for the Pacific Ocean, Mackenzie discovered and charted the largest river in Canada, the 2,500-mile long Mackenzie River .  He reached the Arctic Ocean on July 14th, 1789 –the same day as the angry Paris mobs stormed the French Bastille. Mackenzie was so heartbroken over ending up at the wrong ocean that he named his river ‘The River of Disappointment.’  The Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin renamed it the Mackenzie River.  Over 200 years later, there are 11 different places named after Alexander Mackenzie in BC and the North West Territories, including the Mackenzie Delta, the Mackenzie Mountains, the Mackenzie Highway, and the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park.

Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog was above all things resilient.  Rather than give up his Pacific quest, he went to England to improve his knowledge of astronomy and geography.  Upon returning to Canada, Mackenzie once again struck out towards the Pacific Ocean, known by some First Nations as the ‘Stinking Lake’.  This time he traveled down the Peace River and the Parsnip River before trekking the final distance over the ‘Grease Trail’, traveled by the First Nations for countless generations.  Once again his victory was bitter-sweet. Yes, he had succeeded in reaching Bella Coola on the Pacific Ocean.  But like Simon Fraser, he too had discovered a route that was useless as a fur-trading canoe highway.

Following his two epic journeys to the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans, Mackenzie wrote an instant best-selling book called Voyages.  His book was so popular with the English and Germans that the publisher could not print enough copies to keep up with the demand.  During this time, he went back to England, became friendly with the Prince of Wales, and was knighted by his father King George IV.  That winter and spring, Sir Alexander was the most popular man in London. No social event was considered a success unless he attended it.

Between his book sales and his fur trading, Mackenzie became one of Canada’s wealthiest men. He even spent a brief period in Canadian politics which ‘bored him to tears’.  He also founded his own fur-trading ‘XY Company’ and tried unsuccessfully to do a corporate takeover of the failing Hudson’s Bay Company.

Few people in Canada realize that Mackenzie was an unwitting ‘accomplice’ in Napoleon’s planned re-conquest of Canada.  Napoleon had Mackenzie’s book smuggled from England and translated into French.  Mackenzie’s description of the Western Canada river system was so precise that Napoleon had set up a scheme during the War of 1812 to use Mackenzie’s book to invade Canada.  Canada would be conquered by a surprise attack from New Orleans, up the Mississippi River.  Fortunately for Canada, Napoleon ended up invading Moscow rather than Ottawa.

My prayer is that Jesus may raise up many more Alexander Mackenzies, people with bull-dog persistence, inexhaustible energy, and insatiable curiosity.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



5 Comments

Why did the Aussies Invent Refrigeration?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Where would the NHL be today without artificial ice? Where would Coca-Cola and Pepsi be without the ice-cold ‘pause that refreshes’?  Where would your family dinner be ‘at’ without your trusty kitchen fridge?  How easy it has been for humanity to produce heat by fire.  Yet we have quickly forgottenhow hard it has been for humanity to produce cold by any means.

The earliest method of refrigeration was the storage of food in caves and cold springs. This method of storing food in cold places slowly changed, as people began keeping food in their cellars, in their outdoor window boxes, in the snow, or underwater in nearby lakes, streams, or wells. For most of human history, perishable food have been preserved by drying, smoking, pickling, heating, and icing.

The ancient Romans were as fond of putting ice in their drinks as we are today.  In the 1st Century AD, no Roman banquet would have been complete without the provision of lavish amounts of ice or snow for guests to put into their wine goblets.  The famous Roman philosopher Seneca condemned snow-shops and ice-cold drinks as a clear sign of ever-growing decadence.  The Roman emperor Elgabalus used donkey trains to transport a literal mountain of snow to his hot summer villa: an early form of air conditioning!  Mideastern Sultans used their camel-driven postal system to transport snow all the way from the Lebanese Mountains to Cairo, Egypt.  In the early days of the British Empire, perishable Norwegian ice would be sent 8,000 miles around Cape Good Hope to colonies in India.

The invention of the icebox led to more efficient refrigeration. Ice was delivered to houses by the IceMan, and was used in wooden iceboxes that were lined in tin or zinc and insulated with sawdust or seaweed. In 1868, ice blocks cost 5 times more per pound than first-quality beefsteak.  By 1890 the U.S. was exporting 25 million tons of ice cut from her northern lakes.

The irony of artificial refrigeration is that some of its greatest breakthroughs came in the chilly land of Scotland.  From 1750 to 1850, Scotland was the world center of scientific and engineering thought.  It was in 1748 that William Cullen of Scotland demonstrated that the evaporation of ether in a partial vacuum produces cold.

Ninety years later in 1837, James Harrison, a Scottish journalist, moved to Australia from Glasgow and set about designing his own refrigeration machine.  In 1855 he succeeded in creating and patenting an ether liquid-vapour compression fridge.  The compressor worked by exerting pressure on a refrigerant gas, forcing it to pass through a condenser, where it cooled down and liquefied. The liquid then circulated through the refrigeration coils and vaporized again, cooling down the surrounding air.

Australia was in desperate need of refrigeration because of its lack of natural ice needed for keeping food cool.  Harrison was convinced that the economic salvation of Australia lay in the marketing of her millions of sheep and cows to the millions of Europeans.  But without refrigeration, it was impossible to ship the mutton across the 100 Degree-plus Equator.

Harrison spent his last penny to equip the Norfolk ship with a chemical freezing mixture for twenty tons of beef and mutton at Melbourne.  But when the meat arrived in London, it was discovered that the chemical tanks had leaked and ruined the entire cargo.  As a result, James Harrison went into bankruptcy, even being forced to sell his successful newspaper business.  Though Harrison was financially devastated, he did open the door for the economic salvation of Australia.  Other successful refrigerated voyages followed, which finally convinced Europe that Australia had something to offer, and that frozen food could be both safe and delectable.

There is a wise old saying: ‘As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him.’ (Proverbs 25:13).  I give thanks to God for James Harrison the determined Scottish inventor who CHANGED Australia, who CHANGED our workplaces, who CHANGED our family kitchens by his invention of the cold.  God grant us the Serenity to accept the things that we cannot CHANGE, the courage to CHANGE the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



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James Watt: Creative Genius

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

James Watt was a creative genius who radically transformed the world from an agricultural society into an industrial one. Through Watt’s invention of the first practical engine, our modern world eventually moved from a 90% rural basis to a 90% urban basis. Everywhere in our world today, countless engines, many of them micro-computerized, power us.

Engines have played a big role in my family’s history. My maternal Grandpa Allen was a CPR Railway Engineer who was ‘bumped’ during the depression into shoveling coal into massive steam-driven engines. My paternal Grandpa Hird was a master mechanic and blacksmith who invented and raced one of the first jet-engine snowmobiles along the Edmonton River. In high school, I took numerous electronics courses in which I learned how to create an electronic mosquito-repellent engine and a voice-activated light switch. From Grade 3 to Grade 10, my fascination with electronic engines led me to want to become an electrical engineer, like my father. You can imagine the surprise of some of my family when their future engineer became a social worker and Anglican priest. My master-mechanic grandfather was not too impressed about Social Work, and proceeded to suggest that I should get a haircut and become a dentist!

James Watt, through the creation of the first practical engine, became the first modern-day engineer. The terms ‘engine’ and ‘engineer’ come from the Latin word ‘ingenium’, from which we get the words ‘ingenuity’ and ‘ingenious’. James Watt, by that definition, was a truly ingenious engineer who never let impossible obstacles hold him back. Born in 1736 at Greenock Scotland, James was a sickly child whose migraines and dreadful toothaches forced his parents to home-school him. Of the five children in James’ family, only James didn’t die at a young age. At age 11, James entered public school, and immediately became the daily target of vicious bullies, preying on his shyness and social ineptness. His teachers wrote him off as unintelligent.

Due to his aptitude at repairing his father’s navigation aids, James decided that he would become a maker of scientific instruments. James went first to Glasgow and then London in his search for proper training, but was blocked by the Guild of ‘The Worshipful Company of Clock-makers’ who had a stranglehold on apprenticing. Being a 20-year-old Scot, the Clockmakers saw James as too old to begin the required 7-year apprenticeship. As well, it was strictly forbidden for foreigners, which meant non-Londoners, to be trained as apprentices! Fortunately James found a renegade brassworker, John Morgan, who was willing to bend the rules and train him in just one year. James learned very quickly, but the overwork and near-starvation brought about a complete physical breakdown. Returning to Scotland, James regained his health quickly and attempted to set himself up as an instrument-maker in Glasgow. Because James was not a Glasgow native, the local Hammerman Guild did their best to drive him out. Fortunately for all of us who use engines, the Glasgow University gave him diplomatic immunity by declaring James the ‘Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University’.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Maquina_vapor_Watt_ETSIIM.jpg/300px-Maquina_vapor_Watt_ETSIIM.jpg

Even though he had no ear for music and if anything, disliked it, James Watt the official Instrument Maker used his mathematics genius to create high-quality harps, flutes, bagpipes, and even organs. To him, one instrument was the same as another! When one of Watt’s organs was installed for the first time ever in a Scottish church, the angry parishioners stormed St. Andrew’s Glasgow and forcibly removed such an ungodly instrument from their Kirk!

James Watt then turned from the problems of church organs to water pumps. Given the unique challenge of improving the unreliable Newcomen water pump, James poured his heart and soul into this enterprise. The Newcomen pump greedily devoured coal and then would collapse from the incessant overheating and cooling. By James Watt’s addition of a separate vacuum steam condenser, he radically reduced by ¾’s the coal consumption and the wear-&-tear on the engine. This simple modification unleashed the industrial age in a way that changed the lives of most families on planet earth. One practical consequence of Watt’s engine was that mines could now be made more productive by draining the underground water at much deeper levels.

When James further modified his invention to become a rotary, double-acting parallel-motion engine, it not only produced twice the power, but it unleashed the historic cotton mills which fuelled the Western economy. During all this time, James struggled with the threat of financial bankruptcy and with the tragic death of his first wife. But he never let impossible circumstances hold him back. Instead he went on to create a prototype of our modern photo-copier, which was able to eliminate the need for endless hand-copying. James also scientifically determined the exact measurements of one horsepower, defined forevermore as one horse lifting 33,000 pounds the distance of one foot in one minute. Ironically the international measurement system has dropped the term ‘horsepower’ in favour of the James Watt-honouring term ‘watt’!

Through James Watt the Inventor, countless millions have experienced dynamic power for living. There is hardly an area of our workplaces and homes that has not been impacted by James’ ground-breaking inventions. May each of us take inspiration from James Watt’s faithfulness and creativity.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca