We are off to London for the day TODAY.
Sober really when we think of yesterdays bomb scare, two cars loaded with explosives.
And sorry for those of you freaked out by the news, thinking we were there yesterday.
That the bombs in London today were found is a gift of life for someone I suppose. An amazing grace.
Today the only thing we have to work around is a TON of people downtown London today. There is a gay pride march in Trafalger Square, where we are going.
They're expecting half a million gays, and us.
Iona was truly a wonderful delight, and the ocean was amazing. I've never lived near, or visited the sea, but it is an amazing place. Each morning found me more curious to see what the sea looked like that day. It certainly not a static thing at all, but changes each morning and throughout the day. It was a very pleasant surprise. And, it was indeed a thin place.
Glasgow was, well, compared to Iona, it was a heavy, thick place. For reasons that go back in time, it just was.
And now we are north of Oxford, in Toni and Chris town.
We spent the day in Oxford today, and (Marc) we had a pint at the old Eagle & Child, (for you mate).
Tomorrow we will be in London for a bit of seeing the sights, then Sunday here getting to meet some of you who read this space. Which I'm looking forward to.
Monday we begin towards Glasgow again. We will stop a night at Lauralea's ancestral home town, Kendal. Wednesday we fly home.
All is very well, we are having fun, God seems to be here too, and though the rest of the UK seems to be flooding and raining, we haven't seen a drop of rain on the Isle since we landed.
anyway, dessert calls.
and all is very good.
bye for now.
June 24, a little after nine am, my dad died.
The day before, on June 23, Lauralea and I were in town at the hospital, along with my mom and siblings, taking turns with dad. He was unresponsive till later on in the morning when he "Woke up" and we were able to spend time with him and help him and joke with him.
At one point in the morning Dad's sister came to see him and to give him some papers he'd been waiting for, having to do with his mom and dad's final estate arrangement. He needed to sign a cheque for mom to deposit, and he looked to me for a pen.
I pulled out my pen and gave it to him, and he signed his name in that distinctive, authoritative way he always had whenever he signed his name.
It was always so strong and decisive. Now he struggled a bit. Breathing and writing at the same time were not easy any longer.
He signed his name, Reuben Friesen, and gave the cheque to mom with relief in his eyes. And he handed me back my pen.
His name, his signature, was the last thing he wrote.
For dad, your name meant something. Your yes should be yes and your no should be no, and your name should stand behind your words.
I remember that signature signing my report cards, and other papers I would have to take back to school. I remember it on the inside of books, and on his papers. I remember it's strength and clarity, even through the years of illness.
And so that morning after my dad gave me back my pen, I returned it to my shirt pocket and I remember thinking that could be one of the last things he writes.
And so it was.
I confess I have carefully held onto that pen this year, each morning returning it to my pocket. And each time I place it there, or use it, I think of him. And I think of his name and choices and strength and clarity, and I am encouraged.
Though there is a measure of comfort in that, a pen is no replacement for a dad.
I still miss him.
We'll need to get our luggage, then find the bus stop and find a bus for downtown.
Then its a
Train to Oban.
and a Ferry to Craignure.
then a Bus to Fionnphort
and finally a Ferry to Iona.
Where cars are not allowed, so we'll walk to our B&B.
Can you say End of the world?
I knew you could.
There are puffins out here, and whales and seals and,
God, I hope.
Tomorrow morning we start our journey to an Island off the west coast of Scotland.
A place where God has been meeting with people for hundreds and thousands of years.
A place where Columba landed and made his home base from which to launch Christianity into the north of what would become the British Isles.
But in terms of reality, people here in Prince Albert are fighting back water in their basements. It's so discouraging having water running in your basement. We've lived through that ourselves. So don't forget them.
And it looks like our kids have a place to stay, and we have people staying at our house while we're gone, so it should be all right.
Blogging might be light for a bit this week, although I've timed a couple of posts to pop up on certain days.
And I'm looking forward to exploring this space again as I enter into my Sabbatical time. In fact I'm kinda excited about it.
So yeah, here we go.
Blessings on you all.
I got up early, so I headed off to McDonalds alone for breakfast and did some thinking about my dad and grandpa, and last years fathers day and how tough it was for me.
Went to church and had a good morning. This was our last Sunday before the Sabbatical which begins on Wednesday. What isn't good about that?!?
My daughter gave me a great card. My other daughter, who forgot it was Fathers Day, MSNed me because she always does when she's having a bad day and never when she's having a good day, but today she was having a good day.
I ordered a pizza for supper and it took an hour and a half to arrive. I was ticked until the delivery guy, who was about my age, arrived in absolutely pouring rain and tried communicating to me in broken English.
I tipped him anyway.
And now I just finished a game of C.O.D. with my son's and my brother. We haven't done that for a loooong time and it was fun.
Happy Father's Day to you biological or emotional or spiritual father's out there.
It's a tough job. That's why they gave it to us.
Father's Day? Yes.
Grad recognition day? Yes.
My last Sunday before Sabbatical? Yes.
Cover the passage from the Common Lectionary? Yes.
So I did the next best thing. I put it aside a bit and went and drove the E25 from Neuchatel to Lausanne, then took a "boat" up to Geneva.
It's a gorgeous day in Switzerland.
God Bless the people who created Google Earth.
They let me live large even in my shrunken world.
MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) â€”Ruth Graham, wife of the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, has died. She was 87.
A spokesman says Graham died at 5:05 p.m. today at her home at Little Piney Cove, N. C., surrounded by her husband and all five of their children, Billy Graham released a statement calling Ruth his life partner, and saying the two of them were â€œcalled by God as a team.â€
May she enjoy the Hope of her Salvation now.
Even though the truth of my life is that God is near and not far away, pilgrimage for me is a search for God and Godâ€™s goodness. Pilgrimage has to do with a change of heart. The outward, physical journey serves to frame an inner journey: a journey of repentance and rebirth; a journey which seeks a deeper faith, and greater holiness; a journey towards God.
I feel like that journey has already begun these past weeks. So I continue to prepare my spirit, as well as the luggage.
Some of you have asked where Iona is, and since one picture is worth a thousand words, here are a thousand words. Click to enlarge.
Some of you have told me how much you would like to go there yourselves, and I can actually understand this desire. Really. I've lived with it as a desire, but not one I ever thought I would see fulfilled. This, I suspect, is a once in a lifetime journey.
I've thought about this long and hard and I want to make an offer to you.
I plan to take some good time when we are there just for prayer, as I journey towards Christ. If you would like me to be in prayer for you during the week and take your needs with me as I move towards Jesus, why not let me know.
If you would like me to pray for a need in your life, or even for you generally, just send me an email and I'll "Take you along."
And maybe, in the spirit of this extravagant gift I have been given, lets make the prayer requests about you and your needs, rather than requesting prayer for aunt Beverley's bunion on her right foot.
What is it in your life that you would like mentioned to God?
Um yeah, during supper a couple was going at it in the back yard, hot and, yeah whatever.
It was kinda like seeing an accident. I couldn't believe my eyes.
It progressed to the point I was uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what to do... get the hose and water them down?
So I sat down and ate supper, and kept the kids away from the window.
One of the new features I really enjoy about Flickr is the ability to pinpoint on a map the exact location you took a picture. Then others can go look at that location for other pictures.
There might be occasions in which I don't want to Geolocate an image, but I often do. And now I can.
It's a cool thing.
Well, now you can pick your own steak too.
BY TIM COOK
THE CANADIAN PRESS
WATROUS â€” If a steer could somehow whistle, twiddle his hooves and just blend into the background, it seems as if this one would as rancher Ivan Allin approaches and looks him over.
â€œThis fella here is starting to get a lot of flesh over the front shoulder, bulging in the neck and full in the rear,â€™â€™ the rancher explains. â€œHe will probably grade AA and that means there will be some marbling in your steak, which will add to its tenderness and juiciness.â€™â€™
In as little as 40 days, Allin says, he could have the animal packaged and in your freezer â€” that is, if you like what you see. Itâ€™s not a traditional take on â€œyou-pickâ€™â€™ food, but Allin is looking to carve out a niche for himself and his third-generation century farm among consumers who are increasingly aware of what they eat and how far food travelled to get to the table. The hope is that enough people will want to know where their roasts and hamburger comes from that they will stop by Allinâ€™s U-Pick Steak Farm, about 100 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon, and check it out.
I take my U-Picked-Hat off to him.
So what's next, U-Pick wise?
If you want U-Picked-Steak, check out his site: http://u-pickbeef.com/Â
This time it was our local boys (and girls) in blue doing their best to bring justice to this city. They had found my cell phone.
I got myself downtown and sure enough, it was in pristine condition, even had the temporary plastic cover still on the screen.
That is a cool ending to a frustrating story.
Now, as I looked through the numbers dialled, I saw the numbers she had tried to call after she had the phone. Even with the connection turned off, she had tried to make calls, and her attempts are all recorded there for me to see.
Looks like she finally realized the phone was off, by evening on that Sunday.
Oh, and in terms of the lost being found and much rejoicing in the land...
Last week a part of my frustration was the loss of a usb key which I use to back up my data on the computer. I keep it in a specific place where it is most difficult to find, but last week I had it in my dress pants a bit, and it fell out somewhere.
I was ok with that, it's only back up after all. Till I realized that a file containing my passwords and important credit data had been inadvertently included in the back up process and was on that usb key. And it was unlocked at the time.
Que the Freak out.
I mean really, freak out time.
I spent hours changing passwords and other various things as I could.
On Sunday at church, one of the ladies I had been to visit last week came up to me dangling the USB Key from her hand. My name was on it and she had found it while raking her lawn!!!
Good grief, was I thankful. Like you don't know how I was thankful.
Both things I had prayed about, and honestly, both things I had given up any chance of finding.
I had a bit of hope, but faith? Not much.
But here it is, a week of three lost things being returned to me, on the same day.
The timing, too weird to be coincidence.
There is a lesson in there some place for me.
The Baby Dedication with little Olivia mewing as she slept and I gently dabbed some oil on her forehead and prayed over her, to Hillary's watery baptism.
Throw into that mix a couple of my sisters and my mom came up, and Dad was conspicuous by his absence.Â He would have been pleased with the day too.
But the best part of the day?
Was just how much God was in the house.
I mean of course he's there every week, but there are days when the connection between heaven and earth is just thinner and it's easy to find him.
Today was such a day, and he was pleased.
So, a couple of pictures taken from video captures. That explains the quality.
(Click to enlarge.)
Marc, Dixie, and Olivia
Hillary telling her story
Answering some questions.
Kneeling for prayer.
Prayer of Anointing.
Taking her place in a long long line of witnesses down through history who have indicated their inner decision to follow Christ, with the outward sign of Baptism.
A good day.
Another life marker shooting past us. Another reminder that the kids are growing and moving on and making decisions about life and God.
But tomorrow is going to be cool. She decided to wait until she was ready, and she's ready. I respect that a lot.
She's changed so much these years. University can often make people doubt their faith. For her, it made her find it.
And God was always there.
It's not easy having a dad whose also suppose to be your pastor. That's just worlds colliding on so many levels.
But she's stuck with it, with me. And me with her.
So tomorrow she wants to stand and take her place in a long line of witnesses all down through history who have publicly indicated through baptism, their desire to turn towards God and worship him alone.
May God bless the day, and her life, with His presence and grace.
What if, indeed.
It is happening, and so far it's quite a cool thing to hear their responses.
Makes me do a rethink on those little Financial Update boxes some churches have in their weekly programs.
And of course, they are blogging their impressions and keeping score.
Check it out. The Five Churches Experiment.
Gross. Somebody's been in the van in the night again.
At least there's nothing left to steal, well, for the most part.
There is that Spice Girls tape in there...
Anyway, I looked inside it and couldn't see anything moved or gone through. Everything seemed in place.
When they opened the door it must have triggered the motion sensitive switch on the house lights, and they will have ran for their little lives.
That's one for us. Seven for them.
His history in pastoral work has been a long one, and I asked him a question about it.
The line got all quiet and I knew he was trying to get himself together. He was weeping.
Then I woke up.
after getting stuck downtown because the van wouldn't start, we took supper to some friends, then got the van home, then ate scrambled eggs because apparently... I dunno, I lost my train of thought there.
Oh yeah, by then it was after 6 and the kids had to get going to youth tonight.
Then I mowed the lawn and after that I crawled under the van to see if I could get near the starter. I gave it a good cleaning, and if that contributed to the problem, it should be better.
But yeah, after all that and everyone's in bed, it's just nice to sit down and listen to my favourite "Sound of Majesty" program.
If you like good music and choral groups, then check out this program.
I am sufficiently chilled out.
Are all words I would use these days to describe my insides.
It's not about the trip.
I'm having to make so many decisions these days that are just dang hard to make.
And they overwhelm me.
I mean, they're not life and death decisions, just the effects of weariness I suppose.
Tonight I stood at a rack in a store looking at a replacement for something I lost.
$29.00, a real bargain.
And I stood there, freaking out, unable to make a decision.Â $29.00 is just a lot of money.
(and I know it isn't...)
I just hate me when I'm like this.
And just so you don't forget what I look like.
Here's a today image of me. Trying to make a decision on a camera.
You can guess how that's going.
It'll be ok.
in his sleep.
Yeah. You know how the sides of the beds are up against the edge of the canvas tent part?
I guess we hadn't tightened them enough, and one morning when we got up he wasn't there.
We found him sleeping on the hard ground having slipped between the bed and the canvas side.
He fell the 4 feet without waking up enough to come back inside.
That's never happened to me.
I think that's why I still have hair but he doesn't.
You know, with a hopeful deadline a couple of weeks down the road, and a trip away, you would think I would be getting all, "Yes inner strength, we've nearly made it, this is getting good."
But it isn't. It's getting harder.
I am tired. Mentally, emotionally, relationally. The Rolaids bottle is my constant companion. Sleep escapes me.
I'm trying to keep up at work with a few extra things I need to be doing.
But the most difficult is trying to figure out the things for the trip.
Kind of overwhelming is all.
People here are feeling the stress of the future separation too.
I'm trying to shift into a more reflective mode, trying to re-align for the journey. But the gears are grinding madly.
I really hope the end result is worth the process used to get there.
(Click to enlarge)
Well, I am starting to get a bit excited, more so as I get things figured out. (Like the FACT that Glasgow has TWO train stations and you need to be in the right one for the right train!!)
In about two weeks we hop a jet from Calgary to Glasgow, arriving there at 6:30 the next morning. Then we will try to find a local bus to get us downtown, to the RIGHT train station. From there it's 4 hours north and west to a seaside town called Oban. The train station there is suppose to be close to the Ferry terminal so we will walk that with our luggage.
We hop on a Ferry for an hour which takes us to the Isle of Mull where there is suppose to be a local bus service which will take us the hour ride across the Isle to another port called Fionnphort. There we catch the local ferry for a ten minute ride to the Isle of Iona. From there we walk to our B&B.
Iona has been at the heart of Scotland's religious life since St Columba landed here from Ireland in AD563 and founded a monastery that was to become one of the most important in Europe. Despite attacks by the Vikings in 795, 802, 806 and 825, during which many monks were killed, Christianity clung on here. Iona also remained the burial place of successive Scottish Kings until Macbeth, who died in 1057.
In 1156, Somerled evicted the Norse from western Scotland and became the first Lord of the Isles. His son, Reginald MacDonald of Islay, decided in 1200 to turn Iona into a centre of Christianity important enough to rival anything on the Continent. This involved the building of an Benedictine Monastery to replace the old Columban one; and he also built an Augustinian Nunnery nearby.
Further building work in the late 1400s extended both Abbey and Nunnery and significantly improved the Abbey Church. However, everything changed with the Reformation in the 1560s and Iona Abbey's remote location did not save it from being swept aside in the same way as other monasteries across Scotland.
Columba landed on the Isle 1400 years before I was born, so it has some sense of history. He was about my age right now when he landed there and gave the rest of his life to reaching the Picts with the Gospel. His reputation as a holy man led to his role as a diplomat among the tribes and there are many stories of miracles which he performed during his work to convert the Picts.
He worked very hard in his evangelistic work, and, in addition to founding several churches in the Hebrides, he worked to turn his monastery at Iona into a school for missionaries. He was also a bit of a poet, having written several hymns and he's credited with having transcribed 300 books personally.
I don't know why I connected with this guy the first time I read of him, but I have and so it is. Now, 1444 years after he landed on the Isle, I shall too, and I'm looking forward to it.
The second week will include a trip by train from Glasgow to London and Toni and Chris place. A bit of touring around there and we will start back north. We are going to spend a day or two in Lauralea's family home town, Kendal.
Then another three hour train ride and we'll be back in Glasgow for our last night.
Our flight leaves early the next morning.
A forty four year old dying of cancer, on their last day on earth.
And a patient from one of the prisons here in town who, if you can tell anything by the size of one's guards, has done something really bad.
And I leave thinking again how hugely unfair life is.
I get to live, probably (Hopefully) past my 44th year, and this person doesn't.And the inmate gets good hospital care, but what of the victims of his story?
Life isn't fair. You know it isn't because you spent years telling your kids that.
And it isn't.
But the hope I used to cling to was that there was some heavenly leveller out there in Glory, where all injustices would be addressed.
But I'm not too sure it's like that.
I mean, there are rewards and awards mentioned in scripture, yes I agree.
But what about these injustices?
Maybe there will just be comfort, and no more pain from the injustices we face here in this world.
Cause let's face it, if God ever got to giving us what we deserve, the last thing I would deserve is a better seat in heaven, or some cool toys or more stuff or more happiness.
I'd probably deserve something a lot less than I have right now even.
Because I would have been in a one on one race with Adam to try that fruit out.
Nope, life isn't fair, and it's not even fair that it isn't fair.
But heaven isn't fair either.
Because God doesn't treat us how we deserve. He treats us better.
And it's good. And worthy of hope.
And it's something to look forward to, and get ready for.
So, on this unfair Sunday afternoon, take a few moments to consider your future.
Let God lavish some love on you, unfairly give you more than you deserve.
And say "Yes" to his overwhelming, unfair love.
Life won't be more fair, but that's ok too, because then it simply won't matter as much. You will already have moved into His comfort.
I'm tired tonight, it's been a weird, emotional week.
I had an emotionally challenging moment when an extravagant gift was given me. I was overwhelmed by grace and love.
I had someone communicate to me quite clearly, that I really don't meet their needs and they don't get anything from my ministry. Then later in the week I received some affirmation from another individual whom I never expected it from, so that's a wash.
I did the service at the hospital and we had a yeller. Oh, and a leaver. Or attempted leaver. One of her wheels was locked so all she could do was go in circles...
Less than two weeks till we leave, and I still have to get a flight to Calgary and a taxi from the Glasgow airport to the B&B...
And one baby dedication, next Sunday morning. And one baptism, at the lake, probably next Sunday. Grad Sunday after that, Fathers Day I think.
Fathers Day... the last day we spent with dad last year...
And tonight I was helping the Vandersluys' move homes. I always figured that is a real test of a friendship and maybe even the test of a good church, if they help you move. That's sacrifice and service and friendship. I always figured anyway.
(They still have a bit to move tomorrow if you are free a bit and can help)
So I think it's the shower and bed for me.
Tomorrow I still have some things to get ready for Sunday.
Yeah, what a week.
33 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 34 "When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mildew in a house in that land, 35 the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, 'I have seen something that looks like mildew in my house.' 36 The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mildew, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. 37 He is to examine the mildew on the walls, and if it has greenish or reddish depressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall, 38 the priest shall go out the doorway of the house and close it up for seven days. 39 On the seventh day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mildew has spread on the walls, 40 he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town. 41 He must have all the inside walls of the house scraped and the material that is scraped off dumped into an unclean place outside the town. 42 Then they are to take other stones to replace these and take new clay and plaster the house.
43 "If the mildew reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house scraped and plastered, 44 the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mildew has spread in the house, it is a destructive mildew; the house is unclean. 45 It must be torn downâ€”its stones, timbers and all the plasterâ€”and taken out of the town to an unclean place.
46 "Anyone who goes into the house while it is closed up will be unclean till evening. 47 Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash his clothes.
48 "But if the priest comes to examine it and the mildew has not spread after the house has been plastered, he shall pronounce the house clean, because the mildew is gone.
Uh, yes it's there.
* 17% of men in their mid-forties find Jean-Claude Van Damme 'an inspiration'.
* 33% of 48 yr old men look in the mirror in the morning and think: 'Yes.'
* 37% of men in their forties would like more prominent scars.
* Last month, 15,000 men started to think a tighter trouser made them more attractive.
* The average buttons done up on a 46 yr old's shirt has decreased by 2 since 2001.
* 14,500 middle-aged men took paintball seriously last year.
* 24,000 men their fifties think: "if Douglas can pull Zeta Jones, then so can I."
* Too many men in their forties listen to Steppenwolf whilst driving.
* 759 fifty-two year olds changed their name to Troy last year.
* 12% of men in their forties believe origami will 'help them with the ladies.'
* 7% of men in their forties are trying to master the nun-chucks.
Now here is a site that can help with that nasty midlife crisis nonsense.
The retreat, the treatments, the helpful statistics, and there's even a test you can take to help you see that you're in need.
So why not go there now and take the test. Hope and health is just around the corner.