A Look Back on 2009

Looking back, 2009 was an amazing year.


The big news in our household was the announcement of my daughter’s engagement. She is my pride and joy and I am so happy for her. Her fiance is a wonderful, talented and very bright young man. The wedding is planned for July of this year.

Another significant milestone in our family was the celebration of 30 years of marriage between Lorraine and myself. Our journey together in life has been nothing short of awesome.

My oldest son began his final year at university. For me, the most difficult part of being a parent is seeing my children leave home. And yet, helping them to become men and women of character is one of the most important objectives of parenting. My two oldest children are definitely men and women of character. But it is still hard to see them leave home.

Health and Fitness

On January 25 of last year, I decided to take control of my weight. That day, I was sitting at 215 pounds. Today, I am sitting at 161 pounds. Total weight loss: 54 pounds. It was not easy but by April of 2009 I had lost 29 pounds. And I had some fun with numbers to show the dramatic impact of exercise to a weight loss program.

Part of what made my weight loss program successful was spinning and riding. On February 28 I became the proud owner of an S-Works Specialized SL SRAM road bike. I have logged over 500 hours on this machine since then.

The outcome of my new year’s resolution was significant weight loss, a dramatic drop in blood pressure and resting heart rate and an overall improvement in well being.

Personal Development

Music plays a major part in my life and there were several highlights from 2009.

On April 6, 2009 I received a letter which read, in part:

Dear Richard,

On behalf of the CARAS Board of Directors and all the Canadian artists who benefit from your input, our sincere thanks for serving as a judge for the 38th annual Juno Awards.

It was an honour to serve as a judge.

I spent several hundred hours working on a recording project with my favourite Canadian artist and we had the privilege to track and master the project at Phase One Studios in Toronto. It was an amazing experience.

There were numerous opportunities for me to serve and contribute to the community in 2009 although I do remember two concerts in particular. One in August and another in December. Very special times.

I read 57 books in 2009. The Science of Leonardo by Fritjof Capra made the most impact. Memorable quote from Leonardo Da Vinci:

First I shall do some experiments before I proceed farther, because my intention is to cite experience first and then with reasoning show why such experience is bound to operate in such a way. And this is the true rule by which those who speculate about the effects of nature must proceed.

He was truly the father of modern science and an impressive model for the renaissance man.


After rising roughly 10% in the first six months of 2008, the S&P/TSX composite index recorded a peak-to-trough decline of more than 48% in 2008. Beginning the year at 13,833 and rising above 15,000 in June, Canada”™s benchmark index dipped as low as 7,724 on November 20.

I was told by one very senior investment officer that we had entered a time of financial armageddon. All was lost. The economy was doomed.

My investment portfolio took a savage beating. I re-read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. And I re-read A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel. I fired one of my investment advisors and moved those managed assets to self-directed accounts.

After the dust settled, I took advantage of some fire sales on some great company stocks. And I kept my discipline of reinvesting my dividends and putting money aside for the future.

From a household perspective, we did not let the economic tides unduly influence our lives. And, at the end of 2009, the portfolio has done just fine and we are still on track in terms of our longer range financial plans.


There seems to be a struggle with the search for meaning in life. To be a person of faith in North America has become decidedly unique in our current world. Is the church dying in North America? Sadly, yes.

I learned at a very young age that life on earth is brief and that life without purpose or meaning is a wasted life.

Lorraine and I have settled in well at our new church in 2009 and our faith continues to be an important and vibrant part of our lives. We are thankful for the hope that lives within us.


Although I do not blog about my career, I am absolutely delighted with work. 2009 was a terrific year for the team and I was pleased to serve my company to the best of my ability.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all who drop by this blog. Since I started the blog in March of 2004, the site broke a million page views in 2009. That is far more traffic than I would have ever expected. And, if you are a regular reader, thank you. I appreciate your time with me on this journey of life.

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