365 Days of Accomplishment

Sunday, December 31, 2006
Last night as I sat here on the couch in my tee-shirt and boxers, my mind started wondering through the past year. I was a bit surprised to see the different things that felt completed in my life. Things that feel like they are accomplished.

Things like my work on the CBC Board. Feels like this year, though it was really tough, we were able to get to a place that I guess I was feeling we needed to be. Feels accomplished.

Then there is this space. Randallfriesen.com. Only one threat of legal action, and a couple of interviews, from the Regina Leader Post and the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. Wrote a couple of good pieces and lots of mundane stuff. Getting more things published feels accomplished. Also, a highlight to the year which started as a result of this space was when Chris and Toni came to visit us, all the way from the UK. That alone proved to me the value the Internet and blogging can have.

Then at my place of work. This year I"ve probably been free to lead like I haven"t been for the previous 7 years I"ve been here. We"ve been able to change the leadership structure of the church so that the structure is our servant and a good tool, rather than a demanding taskmaster that wouldn"t let us work in our areas of strengths. To that end we have good people in leadership and that"s partly a result of the change in structure too. We"ve begun to understand stewardship in ways that are good and challenge us. We"ve given more to care and ministry opportunities than we have in previous years. We saw the two young men finally arrive as refugees from the Congo, after working and waiting through 7 years of red tape.

I"m enrolled in a course which is something I"ve been interested in pursuing for many years. Spiritual Direction. Being back in school is a formidable thing too. I"m stretching and my mind and spirit are growing. I"m learning new ways to pray and to listen. Deep internal spiritual work is happening inside of me. Accomplishment.

In our home, Lauralea and I have released our two daughters into the world, having done our best at raising and loving them as parents. There is a profound sense of accomplishment in that, and in how well they are doing out there. The shift has happened and we are done with that part of our lives. Now they have the keys to their lives and are free to make their way out there. Thomas got his drivers license and a job, and Micah is in grade seven. Both are growing into young men and both are considerable accomplishments too!

And of course dad died this summer. His days on this earth were accomplished as well, and he made it through to the end in a moving and faithful way.

I can"t remember another time in recent years when so many things have been completed.
Makes me pleased because honestly, there"s been so much stress in this year too. Now I get why I"ve been stressed.

365 Days of Accomplishment.

"Well, I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head, that didn't hurt"

-- Johnny Cash, Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Look at this, it's Sunday morning and I'm watching NFL.

So this is what it feels like to be a heathen, or the member of an emergent church that meets Tuesday afternoons at 3:45 pm. And I know, for some of you those are one and the same...
Today is my last Sunday off this year, and on our Sundays off Lauralea and I usually walk up to the little Anglican church up the street for their service.
But this morning I awoke to the sound of the boys coming up the stairs. In my haze I thought it was Saturday, then I jolted awake because they were getting their coats on and heading out the door.

And in a moment I realized A. It was indeed Sunday, B. we forgot to turn on the alarm clock, C. There was no way I was going to be able to get to church in the next ten minutes, D. Would this make me a bad person. (Well, I only thought that for a sec, and it was more like would the boys think I was a bad person if they went to church while I was in bed...) and E. THE BOYS GOT THEMSELVES UP AND ARE OFF TO CHURCH WITHOUT OUR ENCOURAGEMENT???
So I got up and showered and got ready for the day, and now I'm writing this and chatting with Johanna and watching Sunday NFL Countdown.

I could quickly learn to like this.

But then again, I've been the guy who can worship God at most times of the day or night. Not just Sunday mornings at 10 am.

Greater love has no man than this...

Saturday, December 30, 2006
That he helps his brother move into a third floor apartment.

Guess what we are doing today...



Saddam Hussein executed

Friday, December 29, 2006
Saddam, who ruled Iraq with an iron grip for almost 25 years, was hanged in Baghdad around 6 a.m. local time Saturday (10 p.m. ET Friday) in Baghdad's Green Zone, according to state-run Iraqiya television.

"Criminal Saddam was hanged to death," the report said.
The station also quoted Iraqi security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie as saying Saddam "totally surrendered" and did not resist before being led to the gallows.

He said a judge read the sentence to Saddam, who was taken in handcuffs to the execution room, where he stood while photographs and video footage were taken.

While I don't agree with the things he did, and we could go back and forth on creating a punishment deserving of his crimes, I was sad when I read this.

It's not a happy, he deserved it, kind of a day, but just a sad day.

The bloodshed he caused has led to more bloodshed, which tomorrow will lead to even more bloodshed.

It will not end.

So it is a day for mourning.

The power of Coincidence

The longer I have been around on this orb, the less and less I believe in coincidence. I mean, I try to leave alot of room in my life for creative intent by an Outside Force.

But this really is starting to test my understanding. Either that or the Outside Force is trying to communicate something to me.


Over the Christmas break in 2003, the Master Brake Cylinder blew out on the van. Lost the brakes.

During the Christmas break in 2004, the replaced Master Cylinder blew out again. Lost the brakes.

During the Christmas break in 2005, a wheel cylinder blew out on the van. Lost the brakes, again.

So last Sunday I mentioned to my brake guy friend, that this year seemed to be different, no pending brake problems.

Well, that lasted till Tuesday night in Saskatoon, when I lost my brakes.

Yep, master cylinder gone again.

To me that is much to coincidence.

I just don't know what to do with that.

Weird really.

Saskatoon to Prince Albert in under 7 minutes

Normally this ride takes over an hour, but Thomas, who has power over time, manages it in under 7 minutes.

It is interesting to watch how the landscape changes from fields to forest.

Watch it here.

The Fog Lifts

I really don't think I could give words to this Christmas any better than Lauralea did, so I shall direct your attention there.

Except to say thank you to those of you who sent cards and emails and called us. This Christmas was considerably different than any other in my 43 years, because Dad was not there, and because Johanna was not there. All in all it was good, and that's a bit more than I expected out of it all.

My Christmas gifts certainly held a "spiritual" theme this year, well, mostly. Lauralea made me my own Celtic Cross, (I do like to take credit for her cross creations as I was the original person who asked her for one.) Hillary made me a set of hand made prayer beads, which I'll have to learn to use. Thomas got me the DVD, The Island, which I loved the first time I saw it. Micah got me a container full of my favourite candy and four rolls of electrical tape which Thomas is always stealing from me. My sister in law got me a new socket set which I have been in need of since mine was stolen from the van. And I got to talk with Johanna on Christmas Day which was a treat.

Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I'm nearly done for this Christmas.
All that is left is the Candlelight Service, family, games, and food.
Oh yes, and a week of saved holidays to let my hair down by.
Hope you're doing the same.

Merry Christmas


2006 in Pictures

I've taken some of my pictures from 2006, put them in chronological order, and added some music to them.

Most of the images are only important to me, but you might see yourself in the movie.

So, mostly for me, but you can get a look at it too.

It's over at Google for now. You can see it here.


Looks like she made it

Well, we have picture proof that Johanna has made it to England for Christmas, and as much as she likes having her picture taken, I'm glad Toni and Chris were able to get her in at least one.

So, apart from Micah being up most of the night because he missed his sister, and us missing her at Christmas for the first time ever, we will survive and it will be ok.

Merry Christmas Johanna, we miss you, and I guess we'll have one less bowl under the tree this year.

Gingerbread Heaven

Saturday, December 23, 2006
Well, guess what this place was up to tonight.

Yep, gingerbread houses, the recent household Christmas Tradition.

Check em all out here. Then go and make your own.

Hillary's was the one that looks like a real house, complete with peanut chimney, flower garden border, and caramel and green marshmallow tree.

Micah's vision was a round igloo like, candy covered dome creation, complete with marshmallow border, melted candy glass windows, and little gingerbread people at the door.

Thomas' idea was a creative one too. His theme was "Trailer Park trash" and came complete with wheels up on blocks, broken candy window, ivy growing up the side, and a lovely matching set of Old Glory's for that God Bless America feel.

A creative bunch, that's for sure.

Home time

Feels like I've been here at the office for most of the day, but I'm done now.

Think I'll go home and see if Mrs. Cratchit has anything left to eat.

Godbless us,


Getting revved up for Christmas

Nestled all snug in my bed with visions of sugarplums dancing all around my head, out in my distant subconscious I heard a car revving it's engine.

I returned to my sugarplums once more and it came again. The sound of a car that was spinning it's wheels much to often.

I thought in my pre Christmas sleep stupor, "Santa, is that you? Are you trying to tell me something Santa??"

"Have I been spinning my wheels too much this year? Do you want me to rev up for you Santa??"

Back to the sugarplums.

Back to the revving.

Back to the sugarplums.

Back to the revving.

Back to the sugarplums.

Back to the revving.


As I awoke this morning Mrs.randallfriesen.com, (Otherwise known as lauralea.ca) asked if I was awakened by the "Idiots."

I replied, "No but I had this awesome dream about Santa!"

The Baby Who Stopped a War

Friday, December 22, 2006
By Randall Friesen
Prince Albert Daily Herald

It was Christmas Eve in 1914, the first year of World War I when the famous truce happened that stopped the war for a day.

You see, British and German forces were facing each other over a muddy strip of pockmarked land. The muddy trenches on either side of the no-man's land kept the freezing men safe from one another. They kept low, listening for enemy activity. No one wanted to die on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, tonight things were quiet.

Then, in the inky blackness of the night, the British soldiers heard an amazing sound. A familiar song began to rise from the opposite trenches. The German soldiers were singing, "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht"

The sound was quiet at first, but grew in strength and courage as their enemies sang from their hearts. Then they ended as gently as they had begun, "Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh" ...sleep in heavenly peace.

When the sound melted into the night, the British soldiers replied with "The First Noel".

Back and forth, the singing continued for nearly an hour. Then someone yelled out an invitation and a lone German with great courage climbed out of his trench. As he began to cross no-mans land with his hands clearly visible, some of his buddies joined him.

When they arrived at their enemies trench, the German soldier said to his British counterpart, "I'm a Saxon, you are Anglo-Saxons. Why do we fight?"

They began to talk together and decided that they would declare peace for one day, beginning in the morning. Christmas morning.

As light returned to the sky that Christmas morning in 1914, the air was silent. No gunfire or mortar-fire erupted, from either side.

They cautiously crawled out of their trenches noticing that the silence had encouraged the birds to return, and they were singing.

The soldiers shared some brandy and chocolates and traded cigarettes and photographs from home. Later on they joined in a game of soccer and wished each other well.

Then someone brought out a squeezebox and a German got out his violin and they played together a bit.

At the end of the day they wished each other well and returned to their trenches, planning to carry on with the war.

Two armies, stopped in their tracks, because of a baby. But not just any baby. They stopped their fighting because a baby with the title Prince of Peace had been born years before.

They stopped fighting for a day. The day Jesus entered the world, the Prince of Peace.

When men and women focus on Jesus, peace can happen.

The more I observe about mankind's version of Christmas peace on earth, and the more I fight for a parking spot at the mall, and am pushed and jostled as I shop in the stores. The more I am convinced that humankinds attempt at creating peace in this world rings hollow and empty.

Yet the more I experience of Christ's love and care, the more I find I enjoy his true lasting peace.

Peace will always escape us until the message of Christmas really sinks into our hearts, that this holy babe born in a stable is the only Mediator between us and God.

Christ has reconciled us to our Creator and made a way for us to be one, so the eternal conflict can stop.

Jesus signed a peace treaty with us in his blood. All we have to do is accept it.

Open your hearts to his peace. For Jesus is the true Spirit of Christmas.

Randall Friesen is a local husband and father who pastors Gateway Covenant Church. He writes regularly at randallfriesen.com

Keeping X in Xmas?

Here is a good explanation of why X is in Xmas.

No evil plot, nothing sinister really, just a good explanation.

In College I used the variation of "X" when I was quickly writing "Christ," for the same reasons.

So there you go. Now you know. Use what you like.

another one on the road

Luke Loseth passed his drivers today so he's out there on the road.

You'll wanna look out for him.


Your deep thought for the day

We are most surely creatures who reject discomfort for comfort. We don"t like living in uncomfortable ways or with people or situations that cause us stress or discomfort. Far easier to dispatch them, or the teacher we sit under, or the boss we detest.

There are things of God and humanity we can learn in those situations that we cannot learn anyplace else on the face of the earth. Instead of fleeing the discomfort perhaps we need to move towards it. To help identify it and name it gives us greater clarity into the situation, and often into our own hearts.

Then to give the situation over to the one who is able to make old things new, and dead things come back to life. To give Him room to redeem the relationship even if it"s only in us he works because that is his only available canvas.

There are riches to be enjoyed if only we would reject the easy, most comfortable way out. And instead choose the deeper, more difficult paths of life.

Making a list

So, this year Christmas is on a Monday, which means I don't have the usual time between the Sunday before Christmas and Christmas Eve to take care of our Christmas Eve Candle service details.

This week I've been going mostly non-stop as I try to get ready for the Carol service Sunday morning, and the Christmas Eve service in the evening. I keep thinking it through, but I have this gnawing sensation that I've forgotten something, and that just makes me very nervous.

This morning I've got to make a list and check it twice, see what I've missed.

Green Bay, 6 - Minnesota 0

Thursday, December 21, 2006
At half-time in this NFL Thursday night game, the Packers are leading, barely.

It's hard to watch a great quarterback like Favre struggle so much after such a great career.

Go Packers.

The Nativity Story

"The Nativity Story, released on 7,000 screens worldwide on December 1, tells the story of the year before Jesus" birth until the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem, plus the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape Herod"s wrath.

The film"s focus is on the spiritual and actual journeys of Mary of Nazareth in particular, and imagines the role of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, as well as those of Elizabeth, Anna and Joachim, in ways that provide insight into God"s amazing intervention in their lives. Unlike some of the one-dimensional low-budget Bible movies of the past or the obligatory Christmas play at church, however endearing, The Nativity Story hopes to allow us to experience the characters" emotions and the difficulties they face in the context of their time and place."

I haven't seen the film yet, but the story behind it is interesting.

Check out "The Nativity Story: The Making of the Movie" here.

Tobogganing on the Internet

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Ok, so the Christmas spirit has your office in it's laissez-faire grip and anyway after the office party the productivity in the place is totally gone down the crapper. What to do, what to do.

Well, thanks to Angie and her two cents worth, you now have an activity that can while away the hours.

Line Rider.

An online, create a downhill slope, watch the toboggan rider try it and see how well you created the slope, game.

And for some very cool ideas, check out the clips from other peoples designs, especially the last one. Sweet.

Be careful, if you have addiction issues this baby could be dangerous to your health.

And thanks Angie for making this Christmas season just a bit more complete.

Office Party 2006

Well, we are about to hit the party mode here at the office. It's time for our yearly office Staff Christmas Party, and woohoo, Christmas is in the air.

So since it's still only two of us on staff, I expect Steve will be the guy with tinsel on his head and we'll turn on the radio and do the cha cha around the offices.

Should be a blast.

Gotta get the nog chilled.


If you are into design and technology you probably have heard of FITC, the festival or Technology and Creativity. But have you heard that many of the presentations are online via. video?

There are presentations and interviews with some of the world"s top designers, technologists, artists and creative types.

They explore many topics, and make me think in different ways about creativity.

If you are so inclined, check it out.

...and lo...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
It's late and I'm still at the office trying to settle some things inside myself. The kind of stuff that I need to settle so I can be free to focus on the needs at hand, and the situations that each day brings.

I've been trying to help some people recently, and though they are hurting and in need of care, they reject it and push back. Instead of me being of any assistance to them, I end up more like them inside, and I really don't want that at all. So I'm here praying it through, trying to guard my heart so that bitterness doesn't take root. At least there is grace enough on me to see that I am becoming hard. That is a good thing.

Only six sleeps left before I get that shiny new one slice toaster, or whatever it will be. And tonight for whatever reasons, the words of Linus are ringing through me.

Well, they're the words of St. Luke as told by Linus, but you get my drift.

So maybe as I close this part of my day I'll leave them with you, kind of as a reminder. Remember what this season is all about, and try to rest in that knowledge just a bit tonight.


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David, To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


15 minutes

Today I have been receiving emails telling me that randallfriesen.com was mentioned on Brent Loucks morning show over at NewsTalk 650 out of Saskatoon, so some of you are checking this place out because of that plug. (Thanks Mr. Loucks).

While others of you read the blogging in Saskatchewan piece over at the Regina Leader-Post and you thought you"d check out who the 43 year old blogging nerd was, and here you are.

To you who are new to this space, make yourself at home. Put your feet up and stay as long as you like, then go start your own blog. It"s easier than you think, the starting one I mean. The real trick comes in writing something regularly that isn"t just what colour socks you are wearing with each new day.

But write the things that you know. Write your own story as if you were writing only to yourself, cause you probably are, at least at the beginning.

But as you take a bit of time to write each day, your writing will improve and you will discover that you have a writing voice, a way that you write best, if you will.

As you establish a small readership of, say your mom, and you want to increase that, simply start writing about controversial things like abortion or homosexuality or as I recall, peeing standing up.

I mean, everybody has an opinion on things so if you want a bit of give and take in your blog share your opinions, in strong ways. Somebody is sure to respond.

But write what you love. Learn and work the discipline of writing well and it will strengthen you.

It makes you a better thinker and communicator. It will help you win bets with your spouse over when exactly was the last time you did go visit the in-laws, because you blogged it. It will help you establish lasting relationships even over the miles. (Shall I tell you of Toni and Chris and how they started reading this space years ago and how this past summer they came to visit for a week from Jolly Olde England?) And of course it will keep you up-to-date on the lives of your kids lived far away.

And if you"re particularly good at it, people will ask you to write books. Or your readership will increase to the point where you can place advertisements on your blog and quit your day job.

This here Internet is still a cool place to discover hidden talents like yourself, tucked away in Humboldt or Kindersley or Kipling Saskatchewan, writing for a worldwide audience.

You really should give it a try.

But for now, thanks for dropping by. And like I say, make yourself at home, just use the coasters.


Everything you always wanted to know about snowflakes...

Monday, December 18, 2006
Including some amazing photographs.


"How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat."
-Henry David Thoreau, 1856

Check this amazing site out.

5 Things

This “5 things about me”? meme is going around the net lately. Lauralea did it and said I should do one too.
So here we go.

1. I am kneeshakingly, cry like a baby, scared of heights.
Yet in spite of that, I have flown an airplane, ridden in a hot air balloon, been to the top of the CN Tower and the Sears Tower a number of times. Hey, I choose to face my fears. But I am still afraid of heights.

2. I interupted the Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker"s funeral procession.
I wanted to get a better shot of Pierre Trudeau, and Joe Clark as they came around a corner walking in front of the casket so I dashed out of the crowd between the guards and the dignitaries, to cross the street. I hadn"t realized what I had done but everyone froze, and a few a few of the police jumped out towards me, then they relaxed and let me go.

3. I have been nearly killed a number of times.
I pushed a scaffold into a power line, pushing again and again not sure what was stopping it, till I happened to look up. As I instantly let go of it, it arced and shut down power to the block.
I also was nearly in a very bad highspeed, semi-truck involved accident. I ended up doing some one handed driving that I just can"t explain. To this day.
A couple of other near death experiences have convinced me that I am living on someone else"s time table here.

4. I and a friend once drove from Sexsmith, Northern Alberta, to Aylmer, Southwestern Ontario. It took 60 hours straight and I drove the last 4 hours alone. Then a week later we did it again on the return trip.

5. I was once upon a time able to stack 60 pennies on my raised elbow, bring my hand down fast and catch every penny before they hit the ground.

5 small secrets of my life.
I"ll save the big ones for a slow news day.

On how Sobey's make me feel emasculated

Lauralea and I went to Sobey's today to get some groceries for the week. I was pushing the cart and Lauralea and I were both watching for the things that were on our list. We would add them to the cart as we saw them on the shelves.

Let the reader understand that I was well able to push the semi filled cart without having to breath heavy or cause strain to my person.

Then we went to the checkout, and the cashier started to do her work. She was friendly enough, but called over a bagperson (as opposed to a bagboy which may seem in this day and age, somewhat sexist.)

The guy started to bag the items, and instead of placing the bags back in my cart, he began to place them in his own cart. Right there in front of me and my lifemate, without asking if I would like him to carry out the bags, he assumed and placed them in his cart.

This left me standing there holding the handle of my own empty cart, and the implication in the air that I am surely unable to push my own cart to the car. That just ticks me off.
I always do my own cart pushing, but instead this guy and store policy demanded I stand there with an empty cart, watch him fill his cart with my groceries, then follow behind him like some eunuch while he does my job, all in front of my wife.

Usually at other places I am asked if I would like carry out service, but for some reason I'm never asked at this store, especially when my wife is with me it seems.

All I'm asking for is choice, an option. "Will that be emasculated or non-emasculated sir?" would be a great place to start.

Then I can make up my own mind.
/end rant


Sunday, December 17, 2006
I used this this morning in church.

Halfway through it I realized how close to home it was getting.


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

Some days I don't know if I can do this.

Prince Of Peace

Saturday, December 16, 2006
By Randall Friesen
Prince Albert Daily Herald

A year ago I remember reading about a mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players who trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a Wal-Mart.

Jenny had her eye on a $29 DVD player, but when the siren blared at 6 a.m. Friday announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-year-old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers behind her.

Jenny's sister said; "She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants. I told them, 'Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!"'

Some shoppers tried to help her, but most people just continued their rush for deals.

Jenny had to be flown to a medical center. She was black and blue from the ordeal and didn't remember anything from it.

Why do we fight? Conflict seems to be so much a part of the essence of humanity.

If true lasting peace is difficult, if not impossible to achieve, what will we ever do to experience it?

Years ago, the prophet Isaiah preached to his people;

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

This child prophesied about years in advance came to be born in a stable. Jesus Christ.

It is good for us to remember that Christ's very title and work is peace. The implication is that where Jesus is invited to reign as prince, peace will result. True, lasting, peace.

Isn't it ironic that this time of the year when we can almost quote those words of Isaiah's by heart, is also the most stressful and peace-less time of the year.

In fact by simply driving in traffic, or going to the mall you will be impressed by the distinct lack of "Peace."

We say Peace on earth, and we utter a curse at the guy who took our parking space. We wish goodwill to all mankind until the lady with the full shopping cart won't get out of our way as we try to pass her.

Strange that at Christmas time of all times, we really need a prince of peace who would bring God's peace to our hearts. One who could bring forgiveness of sins, renewal and new life, and the assurance of eternal life in heaven.

For this peace, and to make this peace available to us, Jesus was born.

This babe came into the world so that we might be able to experience the peace that God gives. Today, when Jesus is welcomed into the human heart, he can establish a reign of peace.

But we will only experience real, deep peace when Jesus enters the equation. When men and women focus on Jesus first, peace can happen.

What's your Christmas looking like? Is it all "Peace on earth, goodwill to mankind on whom His favour rests?" Or is it empty of peace, in your home and in your heart.

Draw near to God this Advent Season, and he will draw near to you.

Randall Friesen is a local husband and father who pastors Gateway Covenant Church. He writes regularly at randallfriesen.com

Pictures from the party

I put them in a video format and added a little tune.
Remember they are from a webcam, thus the quality.

If you can't see the player below, just go to this link to see it.

and thanks for coming.

Saturday at Walmart

It's been snowing for some 24 hours now and that is what it is.

However, the snag in that seasonal dumpingness, is that we have two broken shovels. So today I stopped in at Walmart to pick up a shovel. And I remembered that you just don't stop in at Walmart, to pick up a shovel.

What a stupid sad excuse for Christmas cheer. Unbelievable oppressiveness and darkness chintzed up as good will to all men.
It was Ho Ho Ho-riffic.

Open House 2006 - TODAY

Friday, December 15, 2006

From 2 pm till about 9 pm, drop by this place and check the Friesencam.

You might just see someone you know.

(It will take a new image every minute. You may have to reload your page.)

Or go to the self reloading Open House page.»? »?


I am repanted.

And the lady at Value Village didn't even flinch when i told her my story.

Probably happens on a regular basis, that the wife throws out the husband's "best" pants.

Now I can wear pants when people come to visit. They will be pleased.

The King has no Pants

So, this morning I discovered that last night Lauralea gave away my only pair of publicly wearable jeans.

She put them in the bag of used clothing I took to the second hand store. She says it was an accident, but, you wonder...

This could be the first wave of a Passive/Aggressive cold front on her part!!

Speaking of cold fronts, if you are in Saskatchewan today be careful on the roads. There is a Winter Weather Warning if effect.
Prince Albert - Shellbrook - Spiritwood - Duck Lake
5:39 AM CST Friday 15 December 2006
Snowfall warning for
Prince Albert - Shellbrook - Spiritwood - Duck Lake continued

Up to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall across central Saskatchewan by Saturday morning.

A low pressure system currently developing in Alberta is expected to bring a wintry weather mix to Saskatchewan today. An hour of so of freezing rain is expected in much of southern Saskatchewan today as a warm front pushes towards the region.

Further north in central Saskatchewan the precipitation will fall mainly as snow. Up to 10 cm is expected to fall today and tonight.

Saturday will also see poor weather over much of the province, as snow and blowing snow affect much of the south.

So be careful out there. And watch out for me, I'll be the guy with no pants.

I just miss my dad

Thursday, December 14, 2006
I knew something was up when I was watching a bit of the news and my eyes began to fill over some story of injustice. I heard a song playing on the radio and more tears. Then I sat down to watch a bit of Coldplay and it's like waterworks as they close their concert with "Fix You."

I don't do this, at all, mostly ever. But these days I am. This week, for many reasons, I am a basket case.

It's ok you know? It's ok and it feels ok and there's a safe-ness in it all. But boy oh boy, what a difficult week.

Christmas seems to bring out the best and worst in people, and this week in my work, well, it's been a very very emotional week, shock and awe wise.

It was also my sisters birthday, she celebrated alone. Hillary is home and Johanna is not. And Christmas is nearly here and we haven't started with gifts yet.

And my dad isn't here.


Tomorrow is open house. You need to come by because Lauralea has done a ton of work for it. You need to come and I will smile and welcome you because I am honestly glad you could come over. Some may not come because they are hurting or angry.

It will be ok, trust me.

So let's end the day shall we? With a few nearly fitting words from Coldplay.
When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try
to fix you


Cheers, Prost, and Here's Looking Up Your Old Address.

At the risk of starting something I may be sorry for, it seems a new study is out.

If you want to live a healthier life and live longer, drink more alcohol. But not too much.
Moderate drinking may lengthen your life, while too much may shorten it, researchers from Italy report. Their conclusion is based on pooled data from 34 large studies involving more than 1 million people and 94,000 deaths.

According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol ”? up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women ”? reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Of course they call for balance and consideration when consuming, but I was surprised by the four glass a day maximum. Seems like a lot.

And they did encourage consumption during meals. That was good to see.

The size of the study is quite an amazing thing to see.»? "... data from 34 large studies involving more than 1 million people and 94,000 deaths."

So, this Christmas season it would seem that wine with the christmas goose would be a very physically healthy thing to do.

Read the whole piece here.


"Sightings the talk of 'sasquatch-ewan'"

Sightings of a large hairy creature walking upright in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have sparked renewed interest in the legendary sasquatch.

CBC Saskatchewan radio host Tom Roberts said he's talked with people from the northern community of Dechambault Lake who say a resident saw a sasquatch-like creature on Saturday.

They say a woman from the village was driving to Prince Albert on Saturday afternoon when she saw a creature near the side of the highway at Torch River.

"She slowed down, thinking maybe a bear," Roberts said. "She stopped and watched ... and saw it going alongside the hill and knew it was not a bear."

The woman continued driving until she was in cell phone range, then stopped to call home. She described seeing a large, "very hairy" creature that walked upright.

Later, several men from the village drove down to the area and found footprints, which they tracked through the snow. They found a tuft of brown hair and took photographs of the tracks, Roberts said.

Actually, that describes a couple of people I've seen in Prince Albert lately.

There's more to the story.


Online Christmas Radio and Song Sheets

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
So, you say you're trying to get into the Christmasy swing of things but it's an uphill battle?

Uncle randallfriesen.com is here for you, let me help you with that.

Music is the key that will unlock all those subconscious childhood Christmas memories sleeping silently just below the surface of your inner pain. Each Christmas song is lodged in there, stuck, and only comes out when coaxed with a little snowfall.

So, to help release your inner carol singer, follow these three simple steps.

First, head on over to www.accuradio.com/holidays/ and select your favourite blend of Christmas music from one of their many available channels of Holiday goodness.

Then, thanks to the good people at the Prince Albert Daily Herald, download a .pdf of Sing Along Christmas Song sheets. Download the song sheets here and print them off.
Finally, get into the Christmas fun zone by listening to the songs of your childhood Christmases. Then take your song sheet and go stand outside your neighbours residence and with full gusto (and perhaps just a wee bit of dutch courage) start bellowing out the great anthems of the season.

Your Christmas Heart will grow twice it's size.
And what happened then...?
Well...in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he...

The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Cheers, and Merry Christmas.


Open House 2006

Well well well, look what time of the year it is again so soon. It's Party at the Pastors Christmas Extravaganza 2006.

This Friday, (Dec. 15) Lauralea and I want to invite you to stop by for a bit. From 2 pm till about 9 pm, we invite you to get yourselves to 1179, 4th Street East, here in Prince Albert.
We usually have some coffee, tea, and hot apple cider, and carry a full selection of sweets and cookies, nachos and cheese, etc.

The point of all this is to say come on down and just hang out with us a bit. It"s lots of fun and we usually have a blast, full house and all.This year I have purchased some, "I can't not buy these" candies for the kids, so it should be fun for them too.

And, if you find yourself far away this Christmas, check this site for the live Open House Webcam.

In the immortal words of the Charlie Brown Christmas Choir;
Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

Mad World

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World


Trevor Herd: Best in Show.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Trevor Herd, who has been blogging for 2 posts now, has received significant recognition regarding his blog. Here is a clipping I took from the paper this morning.

Congratulations Trevor and well done.

The Blogosphere will never be the same again.

Wal-Mart open round the clock

The Daily Herald is announcing that:
To accommodate last-minute holiday shoppers,
the local Wal-Mart store will keep its doors open
around the clock the week before Christmas.
Last year, Wal-Mart Canada did a pilot project
where it kept nine stores open for 72 hours
The success of that project prompted the company
to try the idea again this holiday season.
Fifty-one Wal-Mart stores will remain open for
up to 144 hours straight.

At last! Now I can finally ignore my inner impulses for me to stop as I near exhaustion and sleep, and instead go shopping at 3am.

What a blessing.

13 more sleeps

Monday, December 11, 2006
I'm not sure what does it these days but the miscommunication around here seems at an all time high.

Add to that a wake up call from daughter number one, a little before 7 am, and a car that won't start and you have the makings of a very weary day.

I do think that this year hasn't been as busy as previous years, which is nice. And probably just as well, considering we're also trying to learn a lot of new things.

I do believe the sooner this day ends, the better.


Which blank cd/dvd's will last a long time?

Saturday, December 09, 2006
Ever wonder which blank CD's and DVD's are quality ones and will last a few years?

Now you can know. Check this list of digital media quality, and get the best.



After getting back from a great Christmas Concert in Melfort, I got to bed late last night. It seemed like 4am when the phone began ringing, three separate times. Turned out it was only 7am and it was Zellers wanting Thomas to come in to work this morning.

The nice bit?

Lauralea and Micah got up to get to a Doctors appointment, Thomas went to work, and I rolled over and went back to sleep, TILL 11 AM NO LESS!!

I haven't done that for a long long time.

And it was, nice.

The value of Community

Friday, December 08, 2006
I"ve been doing research on the value of true community in our lives for a seminar I"m prepping for. Yesterday I came across some statistics that are a bit shocking if you see their implications.
“As of 2004, the average American had just two close friends, compared with three in 1985. Those reporting no confidants at all jumped from 10 percent to 25 percent. Even the share of Americans reporting a healthy circle of four or five friends had plunged from 33 percent to just over 15 percent.”?

I had been suspecting this was the case, but these numbers seem to prove my suspicions. I think that less and less people have other people in their lives enough. People don"t have close friends, or at least friends they are willing to confide in, trust, and love.

Whatever it is due to, maybe moving too often and not having time to establish friendships, or maybe being so busy with one"s own life that you don"t have time to cultivate a decent caring friendship, we just don"t have good friends any longer.

This leads to constant low levels of stress, because nobody has your back. Nobody calls if you don"t show up at work because you have the flu. There"s nobody to listen to your frustrations about work, nobody to talk you off the ledge of quitting because you had a bad day, nobody to celebrate with you because you just proposed to the woman you love. Nobody.

And what of being cared for? That has to effect you too if the only person who cares for you is your mom and she lives 2000 miles away from you!

No one to check up on you or bring you chicken soup. No one to help you out if your basement floods or you need a couple bucks for the cab fare home.

This emptiness forces people to talk to counselors often about things that friends should be listening to and helping you to process in healthy ways.

It also leads to all manner of stress related illnesses. Lonely people are often sicker (Physically!) than people with a few friends. Studies show that individuals who have even a couple of good friends actually live longer than those who are alone.

We have replaced comfortable relationships with people, with comfortable relationships with other things. Food, alcohol, and drugs become comforting for our loneliness. The internet becomes a familiar friend to us, or television with it"s half hour comedies becomes a comfortable relationship for us.

We can come home after a long tiring day, sit back with a cold one, turn on the TV and the consistent safe relationship we have with a few characters fills our need for relationships.

We laugh at their familiar mistakes and stories and they treat us like old friends by coming back tomorrow at the same time.

Besides, it"s easier to do that than to work at being a real friend, because sometimes being a real friend is just hard work.

I think we need a revolution in how we value friendships. They are not an extra to life, but life itself. We need to carve out space and time to have friends. To cultivate and grow a good friendship.

Yes it"s work, but in the end somebody will have your back, you will have somebody to care for, and hey, you"ll live longer.

If you want a friend, be a friend.


Now this sounds very inviting:
Soup of the day: A Butternut Carrot soup with a touch of curry and dollop of sour cream on top.

Laura's doing a great job with updating the Bison site.

European Vacation

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tonight, in just a couple of hours, Johanna and Nate will be returning to Switzerland from their European Vacation.

They will have seen Zurich, Munich, Paris, La Spezia, Rome, Florence, Venice, and each other.

Already from the first day they will have been keenly aware that they would eventually part company for a large portion of the coming year.

Now that day is closer than ever.

I hope God hears their prayers.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Nearly every year someone asks me if it isn't wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas given it's pagan history? And nearly every year I take time to explain my understanding of things.

This year Andrew Jones beat me to it, nicely:
Not every believer will come up with the same list of holy days. "One person regards one day as holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind" Romans 14:5

So, if your conviction is to celebrate Christmas, by all means put on that party hat, decorate that tree and roast that turkey but don't push that particular conviction on to other believers lest you become a stumbling block. "Therefore do not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister." Romans 14:13.

And if God's good people are giving you hell because of your Christmas tree, and if you are convinced in your own mind that you are celebrating Christmas to the glory of God, then stick up for what you believe. "Therefore do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:16-17

And in sticking up for what you believe, give them some space for what they believe also.

Check out his whole post, here.

Lights off. Save money.

So, the electrical company came by yesterday to install a new meter. They think that the previous one was faulty because since the summer, our consumption rate has dropped significantly and they don't want to loose money on us because of a bad meter.

So what's happened since summer?

Johanna and Hillary moved out, THAT'S what happened since summer.

Early Prayer

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
We awaken from slumber hours before the dawn and arise to prepare for the day. The cold that greets us as we leave our warm homes is a shock to our sleepy systems, but the car starts and its sound is a form of comfort to us this morning.

The cold snow crunches beneath the tires as we drive through the darkness heading to the church where we will meet others who have made the same early journey.

And there we gather, just a few select ones of us who feel compelled by a need to pray and to connect with heaven together.

We gather in the semi darkness with most of the light coming from the burning candle in the center of our little group.

Silence is the first order of business, as we allow room for individuals to prepare their hearts and to begin to commune with the living God who has promised to draw near to us if we will draw near to him.

Then as the yellow glow of the small flame warms us, we begin to tell our stories, and the stories of those we care for or have met along the journey.

Slowly those stories turn into prayer which rises as incense before the living God.

And he meets with us there.

Life in the bowl

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Yesterday evening was the night scheduled for my yearly evaluation and review.

Usually these are opportunities to discover places for needed internal growth or to look for outward public weaknesses or gaps in the work that I do here. So each year I look forward to them.

Last night was very affirming and positive.

The thing with pastoral evaluations is that it"s just very difficult to provide people with a tool that is helpful for the evaluation. Do you give them a paper to fill out with multiple choice questions, or fill in the blanks? And how deep can you get with, “Circle the best option”? questions.

Those kinds of documents usually lead to surface changes, which don"t reach to the heart of the matter.

The kinds of reviews that are helpful take thought and time to complete. Yet when done well, can effect change in my ministry and work.

So what we do here is to ask two questions. What are ______________"s strengths this past year and what are his growth areas.

This places more expectation on the individual to think it through and answer in a thoughtful manner. Then the returned documents are processed by a team from the church, so that I don"t see the original answers or names of those responding.

They look for common areas of strength or concern, recording the themes and general directions peoples thoughts are going.

Because this process requires some thought, time and effort, often those people who are happy with things will not complete a form. But it does give lots of room for people to communicate if they are not happy about something or another. And it"s a good thing that people have room to communicate.

It"s also a good thing because you can see the Holy Spirit speaking through the body. If everybody were saying he seems really good at this and not at that, you could use that to redirect your ministry and work. Or if they were generally dissatisfied with your work it could be a key indication that its time to move on.

For those reasons I appreciate times like last night. I need to hear God every chance I get, and this is just another way to do that.

Anyway, it seems that God is not done with us here yet.

And I"m great with that.

Modern technology meets my need for good soup

See, there are things like this that make me go, "This is what the Internet was made for!"

Laura down at the Bison Cafe is now blogging on the Cafe site. The one daily thing she is planning to keep updated is the soup of the day.

Now, this isn't just any soup, this is great soup that is your whole meal right there in a bowl. Think of the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld, and remove the Nazi part, and you can get a sense of the beauty of this soup.

Usually I can plead ignorance and I don't go downtown for the soup.

But now my excuses are gone.

So, if you live and breathe in P.A. now you will know what soup they are serving down at the Bison Cafe, and probably a little bit about what's happening downtown on any given day.

Check them out, virtually and in person.

Regina Leader-Post Interview

Sunday, December 03, 2006
Sask. bloggers create online interactive community

Karen Brownlee
Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post

Monday, December 04, 2006

REGINA -- When Lance Levsen began exploring American blogs, he didn't realize it would lead him back to his small town near Saskatoon.

The Delisle man met one of his neighbours, Kate McMillan, through her blog, Small Dead Animals.

Now McMillan is one of about 170 Saskatchewan bloggers linked to Levsen's online service. It allows readers to see when local bloggers put up new posts about politics, sports, technology or their daily lives and interests.

What they have created with their blogs are more than websites. Readers can comment on their posts, making the blogs interactive. Pictures and videos accompany their writing. Links allow readers to move from one blog to the next.

"As a cultural phenomena, that's relatively new," said Levsen. "It is no longer just a diary or post up information on the Internet, it's a community." Participating on other blogs is a new way for people to connect online, said Eric Eggerston, who blogs about public relations.

"It's a way of fi nding out who's reading what you are doing and what they think about it," said the Regina man.

A "critical mass" of bloggers has developed in Saskatchewan now, said Levsen.

Almost half of those John Klein knows have ties to rural Saskatchewan. Klein, who lives in Yorkton, writes Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy and helps organize picnics and other events for Saskatchewan bloggers to meet one another in person.

Communicating one's ideas and having others respond is the appeal of blogs for many, particularly those in rural Saskatchewan, said 26-year-old Klein.

Having the time to think and write also helps.

"I would suspect those in rural Saskatchewan are like me," said McMillan, who began Small Dead Animals about three years ago.

..." Prince Albert's Randall Friesen wanted to bring new perspective to people's online experience. He blogs about his life as the pastor of Gateway Covenant Church.

"In the area I am serving, there are a lot of preconceived ideas about pastors, (that) they're different people," said 43-year-old Friesen.

"I wanted (my readers) to appreciate that we're not so different." Being honest about who he is has drawn some, but driven others away. For example, writing about the topic of sex, even though he is a husband and a father of four, has not been welcomed by all.

"Some people can't handle it and reject it outright, but they seem to come back like it's a bad accident they're watching," said Friesen.

Blogging has made him a richer person, which surprised Friesen.

"It forced me to be refl ective and consider what I write and my relationship even with my spouse and kids," said Friesen. "It's forced me to be a deeper person, which I love." It has also helped him learn more about his family.

Each member has a blog, including the two oldest children who live in Switzerland and Saskatoon.

Frustration led Levsen to begin reading blogs last spring. He was looking for the testimony of Jean Brault. The Quebec advertising executive was facing charges of fraud and conspiracy at the time, but he was also testifying at the Gomery inquiry. Judge John Gomery made Brault's testimony subject to a publication ban until his criminal trials and those of two others were complete.

"The idea that testimony involving taxpayer money would be sealed from taxpayers (and) the lack of freedom that that invibed, it really choked me," said Levsen.

The testimony was found by many Canadians, including Levsen, at the American blog, Captain's Quarters. That blog linked to Small Dead Animals because McMillan had written a background piece for Captain's Quarters to inform American readers about the inquiry.

As Levsen continued reading McMillan's blog, he saw a post about an auction he recognized was happening down the street from him.

Not only had Levsen found a neighbour in his town of about 1,000 people, but he found he, too, wanted to do what McMillan was doing.

"I saw them putting their opinions out there for all the world to see and I thought, 'Hey, the world deserves my opinions too,' " he said with a laugh.

Levsen created the Sask Blogs Aggregator early this year. Readers can see what Saskatchewan bloggers have most recently posted.

"I was getting into the blogs pretty heavily," said the 36-year-old.

"I didn't know that many of the Saskatchewan ones and I wanted to know what other people were talking about in the province." A number of online services, such as blogger.com or livejournal.com, allow wannabe bloggers to create an account, name their blog and choose a format for it.

"You can have a blog set up in under three minutes if you have a high-speed connection," said Klein, who has been updating his blog almost daily since 2004.

Avoiding "blogger burnout" while posting fresh material on a regular basis is the next challenge.

"If you want to keep going with it, you have to keep living your real life cause that's what generates the stories," said Klein.

I am tired.

It's 9:50 pm and I am done for this day. Tired would be an understatement.

A full and good morning, then this evening was our Family Advent Concert where anyone and everyone can get up in front of the church and sing or play a song or do a reading, whatever. It was a really good evening.

For the first time ever, Lauralea and I sang a song together. We tackled "O du fröhliche," and it sounded good. Funny that I've been up in front of people for 20 years and my knees still get week and palms sweaty when I stand in front of a crowd to sing.

Thomas and Brittany were the hosts for the evening,

And Micah did a reading.

(I should report that the ties were the guys ideas, not mine.)

Anyway, like I reported to the half interested reader, I am tired and off to bed.


Oh to be in Rome now that winter is here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Right now, at 9:53 pm in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. the outside temperature is -30 C.

Right now, at Rome, where she is, it's +5 C.

I'd rather be in Rome.

Deep. (Space)

Ever wonder what would happen to the guy pushed out of the space station without a spacesuit on?
Contrary to popular belief, a person suddenly exposed to the vacuum would not explode, freeze to death, or die from boiling blood, but would take a short while to die by asphyxiation (suffocation). Air would immediately leave the lungs due to the enormous pressure gradient, and so any dissolved oxygen in the blood would empty into the lungs to try to equalise the partial pressure gradient. Once the deoxygenated blood arrived at the brain, death would quickly follow. Water vapor would also rapidly evaporate off from exposed areas such as the lungs and cornea of the eye, cooling the body.


From Wikipedia

I hate when that happens

This morning upon waking I visited the washroom as I am want to do each morning about the same time.
As I completed my work there I arose and shrieked like a scared little girl, and I'm sure I nearly fainted. I thought somebody had better call 911.

Then my memory returned and I regained my senses.

We had had beets for supper the night before.

I should devise some simple plan for reminding myself of this fact the morning after. It's not the first time this has happened, that's for sure.
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