Family Vacation

Family getting ready for the photo shootSo the house has been considerably full for a couple of weeks, and besides an occasional tense moment it's actually been quite nice.

Everybody has grown a bit this past year and summer and it's interesting to watch them become adults, struggling with all the difficult bits of what that means too.

We've even had one more than the regular four kids around here. Nate has been here too. He's the new guy around these parts and seems he wants to marry Johanna next spring, so we're gonna have a wedding!

The Family I think if these past two weeks of him living with us hasn't scared him away, he'll do just fine. I think we will be able to let him into the Inner Circle of Truth.

But New Guy Nate is a keeper. Kind, sensitive, relaxed person with some cool insights of his own. And he has his Bachelors in Golf Course design, what's not to love.

Johanna and Nate leave for points west on Monday, off to seek their fortune on the coast. Hillary leaves for PRBI on Sunday and will be learning there in Northern Alberta this year. Thomas is heading into grade 12 with grad in spring. And Micah moves into grade 8 with a grad in spring too.

Nate and Johanna Sheesh, just writing that makes it all seem very sudden. Too sudden I think.

It will be ok, I know it will. Just weird, and awkward, and empty, but good.

And if all else fails, I still have the pictures from this little family reunion to help me get by.

a morning prayer

SunriseLord Christ,
we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth,
disconcerted by the world's violence
and it's sorrow,
distracted by our inward doubts and fears.
Wherever we are on this day's journey,
breathe on us your gentle Spirit,
that we may be oases
of quietness and refreshment,
bringing to your uneasy world
reconciliation and peace.

(BoCO)

and... SNAP

So, the whole upgrade Wordpress thing was a good idea, really it was, I totally owned that changeover.

But the whole, what do I want the site to behave like, question has not left me alone. In fact each time I came to the site I was feeling more and more like throwing up.

So, the content has gone to the dogs since I've been throwing up so much.

:)

I've been busily working away in stolen moments trying to fashion a template that would make me throw up less. Now, with hesitation, I can say, I think this is it.

I think.

The left side there on the main page shows my Twitter updates, if you care. And beneath that baby I've brought back the ole "Send a message to my cell phone" option, cause it's easier for Lauralea to send my phone the list of things I am suppose to pick up at the grocery store on the way home, than for her to keep calling me with each new item.

Of course you should feel free to use it too. If you are trying but failing to reach me, or you want to send me some love, go for it. It sends about 140 characters, so no long speeches please. But do feel free to try it out.

Beneath that is the recent comments list so you can see if your last comment was responded to and go flame the person who flamed you. (Uh, kidding there right?)

Then you can select from the Archives or Categories. Or you can run a search.

The right side will run my last posts from the Prayer, the Poetry, the Quotes and the Photography categories. Hopefully to provide a bit of inspiration when the middle area becomes dry or lame. As you click on individual posts, those pieces on the right will follow you, while the left panel will disappear to give you room to think and be less distracted.

The footer holds my latest 6 Flickr photos (Say "6 Flickr photos" five times if you dare). It also holds another search option and the administrative data. The middle... well that's open real estate as yet so stay tuned.

The top left of the header holds today's date so that you can quickly realize how many days it's been since I've posted anything of value.

The top right holds the page links. The Home link takes you to the front page. The cool stuff basically is what it says. The featured will hold some of my more memorable posts, history will host the archives and category selections again. Others has my blogroll and the Me page is a bit of my story and how to contact me. The RSS leads you to my syndication feed.

Brian Gardner was the original creator of the template Whitespace, and he invites us to tweak to our hearts content. His work is elegant, creative, clean and minimal, all the things I like in a site. So if something is out of place or not working, blame me. His work is inspiring.

And yeah. When you have a place you like to go to and be at, it inspires you to write and to write well. Let's hope this template isn't a distraction but simply a tool that enables me to write, you to read and respond and be encouraged. And I will be encouraged if you are.

As we mow through our sixth year blogging, (That's hard to believe...) things are shifting here, in me. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

At least I don't have a template excuse now.

prayer for a new year

Eternal God,
your everlasting mercy
rises new in the morning of another year.
Give us grace to arise with Christ
who is our morning light.
In this new year of our life's journey,
may we walk by faith in him,
and with a willing spirit
persevere to the end;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

(BoCO)

My bookmarks for August 28th

Back from my summer vacation

Well, it's 7:30 am and I'm sitting in my office chair thinking how to start this day, this year, and this next phase of my life.

It's kind of like the first day of school today. Trouble sleeping last night, woke up at 6 am with the sun, and, yeah I'm at the office early.

I think this has been the best summer I've had since, I don't know when. The break has done me so much good.

I think the best part of the summer was the trip to the UK. God had some things to tell me while we were there, and as I was reflecting on it yesterday, it seems he's also done some rewiring inside of me. I've noticed a change in me that is significant and measurable. The beginnings of it happened in that Abby on the Island, and it's been working it's way out ever since.

So, it's Tuesday August 28 and I'm back in the harness. And it's good.

Painting the Kitchen

So much easier now with that magic camera.

:)

Pink KitchenGreen KitchenOrange KitchenPink KitchenOrange Kitchen

My bookmarks for August 25th

One last Saturday

Desolate

You know,

Today I wish I lived in this house and had a wooden desk in that room with the upstairs window on the far right.

I'd sit at the desk telling everybody who would disturb me that I was working hard, but the truth would be that I'd be sitting there staring out the window watching the sea.

Yep. That's what I'd be doing on this last free Saturday of my Sabbatical.

My bookmarks for August 24th

Another Dragon Slain

Well look at me, I'm all MySql expert and Wordpress back up and upgrade guy!!

Bring on the nuclear science or brain surgery or some equal task cause I'm pretty sure that at this point in my life I could handle that with ease.

And for the record, Wordpress 2.2.2 is so much better than 2.0. The Editor alone was worth the effort and price (FREE!).

This was a part of the project I wanted to complete before I am back at work on Tuesday.

So there you go.

If, and when you find any site snags, le'me know and I'll make it all better.

4 days left

Well, four more days of break left, and I think I am really ready to get back at it.

This summer has been a gift to me, and I've appreciated it so much. It's hopeful to me that I feel ready to get back at it.

Now, as for what "It" is.

This is an opportunity to come back into the work with people who have had some opportunities to do some of the things I used to do. Rather than have me move back in and kick them out of their work, we will need to see who's doing what well and who would like to continue, without having me just pick up where I left off.

But, for today, that lawn calls to me. And it might just be dry enough to cut it, finally.

And Thomas is working and Micah is sick as a dog, (If the dog were sick...) and he has been for about three weeks already. Read: "What did I do with my summer holidays? I was SICK..."

So I better get at it. I still have one more big project left before work starts again.

chillin which is good because ...

chillin which is good because it's cold out there tonight1

Brie And Bread Cool

Brie And Bread Cool

Homework Done

In a purposeful crazy form I set my alarm clock for 6 am this morning. By six thirty I was at my desk at the office working on my paper due this week.

I tried working at home, first in the busy livingroom. No dice.

Then I tried on a little tiny table in a corner of our bedroom. Got a sore back.

So finally I headed to the office at a mad hour, so as not to pick up on too many interruptions. But Linea was already here! I forgot it was Wednesday morning, early prayer time.

I think she must have suspected what I was up to, because she didn't come by the office at all, simply let me work.

And now I am nearly completed.

That's always a good thing.

The House Guest has arrived

Not to be confused with just any house guest, this is the house guest.

The guest of Johanna, who has not seen her for half a year who she intends to marry next year sometime.

The house guest.

Nate.

Kind of totally weird.

I asked at supper how I should treat him, as family or as a house guest.

She asked what the difference would be.

I replied that if he was family then I could ignore him and come and go as I pleased, like I do with the rest of them around here. But if he was a guest then I should play the host and entertain him.

She quickly said; "As family!"

Ok, I can do that.

But, it's still weird. Being the dad of the bride and all.

I guess it wouldn't be conducive to our future relationship if I were to sit here in my darkened livingroom wearing only my boxers while watching the news.
Right?

I have a confession to make that might totally blow my street cred.

I have a favourite designer.



Yeah, go figure, Mr. "faded blue jeans are upper casual" actually likes what a clothing designer creates.

Ozwald Boateng.

I love what he does with a suit. Tailored jacket, thin pant legs, leather black shoes to complete the look. It's a bit of a throwback to the sixties I agree, but his cautious use of colour and timeless creations convince me that his taste is impeccable.



He just does men's suits with taste and style. Something that is sadly lacking in todays sweats and t-shirts.

And as long as we are in full bore confession mode here, confession number two is that I would really love to be able to wear a suit on a daily basis, really.

A good suit with a fine shirt and sharp tie just make me feel like it's all good baby.

As I said, todays clothing of choice really leave so much to be desired. Jeans? Sweats? What's that about? And what does it say about how we see ourselves. A good suit is just a good thing.
But alas, that doesn't go with my income, or the city I live in, or the work that I do, or my van...

But hey, I did pick up a couple of up to date stylewise ties in Glasgow. Big knots, pink and purple and one orange-ish. But I may have to get a new shirt to wear with them.

And now you probably know more about me then you thought you ever would five minutes ago.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

I wish his website had a wishlist feature.

Sitting At The Dentist With Mi...

Sitting At The Dentist With Micah

Yes children, it is August 20th

Well, in one month Autumn will officially arrive and although you may not want to hear that, there it is.

So, time is of the essence here. Get up and get out there and enjoy what little season is left. Meet some friends for coffee at an outdoor cafe or go for a walk in the rain (If you're in Saskatchewan or Scotland).

Go for a bike ride or go get some supper supplies at the shops and enjoy a late supper.

Just do something because in too short a time it will be a winter wonderland out there.

Now go. Get out there.

A Summer’s Diary - David Wilbourne

An inspiring read of a country vicar.

Very good, I loved it.

What I learned during my summer vacation. Part 1.

During this summer's sabbatical we've been able to attend a few different churches which has been a treat. I'm trying to formulate my feelings about the different experiences we've had with different churches and it's tough.

But, I'm starting to think that the places I felt uncomfortable and not at home were the places that seemed to try to be something they were not. And in that way, they lacked integrity. Their language or approach were inconsistent with who they were.

The places I felt at home were the places that didn't really try to be something else, they were who they were.

The church which created room for God to speak to people was cool, it's who they are.

The small rural church with the Minister who wouldn't let the fact that they didn't have a drama team stop him from including a drama in the service could have failed miserably, except that was who he was, and it worked a charm.

Of course that was the same church where the 95 year old organist would interrupt the Minister to introduce the great hymn of the church we were singing next and the history of that hymn in that area. It was really great, honestly, because they were being honest with who they were. And it worked.

Or the church on this side of the Atlantic where the poor worship leader worked really hard to woop up some deep emotional response from the elderly congregation. That didn't come so easily so they started mini preaching between the songs. I felt sorry for them. The worship approach didn't seem consistent with who they were.

Or the church that was mostly filled with older people and no music older than 30 years was attempted, at all. The worship leader there seemed to be trying a Mega-Church worship approach, with one instrument, thinking that singing songs equalled standing up. After 40 minutes of the congregation standing and singing songs they didn't really know, their legs began to fail them.

Again, they had trouble being who they were.

This being who you are theme also passed over into the preaching.

Teachers who would get up and for forty minutes break down a passage out of Isaiah 4, giving all the right information and, well, teaching, to a group who were not necessarily in need of a breakdown of Isaiah 4. Many perhaps in need of a word of encouragement and hope.

Or an individual who really isn't up front material, being asked to preach and so he climbs the stage and through discomfort and pain, regales us with many many many stories from his childhood.

How wonderful it is when a speaker is blessed with the ability to inspire a crowd to go back into their daily lives and live just a bit differently. Better even.
I may be too harsh here, and I'm sorry if I come across that way, I don't mean to.

But if I was looking for God and I came into some of our services and saw or felt the inconsistency of the church with its worship, I would still be looking for God.

And I know, getting volunteers to help and speakers for the summer is tough slogging, really.

I'm not on about having a perfect service or dynamic speakers. Those don't make or break it for me.

But let us be consistent with who we are as congregations. Let us have the integrity to know who the congregation is that we are leading on any given Sunday. Let us learn their language and speak it as we lead them.

And let us respect the grace of God enough that we don't ask things of people who simply cannot give what we ask them to give. If you're not made to do this or that, God forbid that we push you into places you weren't made to go.

And let our space fit our beliefs. If we believe in a God who gives what he has to the poor, and who calls us to live likewise, then let us live within our means rather than with extravagant surroundings and equipment that say more about what we believe than any sermon would. Let us live what we say we believe.

I am taking back to Gateway a keen sense of our need to be consistent with who we are. To be honest with ourselves and giving ourselves freedom to be ourselves is a very powerful idea.

It's more powerful than having a perfect service.

It's more powerful than singing the right songs or having the right sermon.

It is consistency, being who we say we are.

And for people who say they believe in God, inconsistency is a death blow.

Note to self

Square plates and bowls take twice as long to wash as round ones do.

Expect to double the time you give to washing up.

This will leave less time for other things like reading, surfing, exercising, laying about, and sex.

But now that we've purchased the new dishware, we are committed.

Don't say I haven't warned you.

Riders 39 Eskimos 32

Saskatchewan Roughriders,

First place in the West CFL at 6 and 2.
First time since 1976 with Ron Lancaster.

Nice. Finally.

Come on Riders, let's get play...

Come on Riders, let's get playing...

The good ones go too soon

Took "The Wife" out for a lovely anniversary lunch today at Sobeys. And before you say something, it's not completely that I'm cheap but there was a community fund raiser BBQ there her friend was working and she wanted to stop in.
While there enjoying a lovely standup smokie in a bun and grape pop, I started chatting with another pastor there. He let me know that he's leaving town in a month for a new Parish.

He echoed my response, "Crap" I said. And crap it was indeed.

He's been good for this city. Been involved and held his convictions strongly and clearly. I've worked with him on a few things we've been doing in the city, and he's great to work with. He's one of those good, administrative, caring, clear convictions pastors who just impact a community.

That's why I said crap.

I don't want him to go, but like I told him, I don't begrudge him the move.

I asked where he was going, and he lifted a fake joint to his mouth and through a grin murmured, "The Island."

Vancouver island, Canada's lifestyle destination.

I groaned and asked "It's a good parish then?"

"Very good," he reported, "And I've been here ten years already" he finished.

Sigh.

Can't get him out of my mind since. It will be a big loss to the city.

And somehow a big loss to me too.

Hope he has a great time out there, he deserves it.

22 years done

Celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary.

Family style.



Click to see the slide show.

At home, watching some movie a...

At home, watching some movie about Wimsy... bit of a strange one that.

Johanna comes home tomorrow and she's bringing presents!!!

It will be early there now as she awakens from a sleepless last night in her room in Cernier Switzerland.

One year.
One year ago we put her on a plane to go to the other side of the world and take care of two beautiful little girls. She went, and with her went a part of us.

She's made friends, created a local life, hiked the Swiss mountains, travelled through Europe, gone to Paris for the weekend, eaten crepes, learned to drink beer and wine, learned to stand on her own two feet, experienced Christmas in England, cared for two little girls through a year of their little lives, and grown up a lot.

What an amazing opportunity she's had, and lived into. Seems she's made the most of her year there, and I expect the year will have changed her. Maybe not first in perceptible ways, but certainly in the deep ways of the heart.

No matter where she lives her life, her world will never be small again. She's seen the other side of it and lived in it and tasted it and spoken it's language. Nope, her world will be big now for the rest of her life.

And challenges will come and if they are really hard, they will be held up against this year and she will see how she was able to make it through this past year and she will find new courage and strength to face whatever is ahead.

She's done well.

And tomorrow she comes back. And it will be so good to see her and hug her and be with her again.

It's kind of weird you know. Your babies grow up and do these hugely significant things with their lives and you just sit back and give your head a shake in disbelief.

Amazing, inspiring, and just plain cool.

See you tomorrow night at 10:35 Johanna.

Be safe.

Craftsman, Creator

That helpful (and I use that term very loosely) little personality test I took the other day concluded by declaring me a Craftsman, and Creator. That's been rattling around in my brain the past couple of days or so, Craftsman and Creator.

It surprised me because in all honesty those are the two words I've described myself as wanting to be, as far back as my 20's. I always wanted to be a craftsman, a creator who day in and day out would steadily, patiently work on some delicate thing of beauty. Shaping and creating it's every curve and new design, the fine details would not escape me.

Like the guy who would take a year to shape and form a violin. Each day in the workshop, patiently waiting till the wood was ready and the vision was clear enough to make the first cut. Then going to work with focused attention, never pushing beyond the readiness of the wood or the clarity of the vision.

And Creator. That is just not a word that was even in my vocabulary when describing myself, until a few years ago. But I love to create. I just do.

I'm always looking for creative outlets. A well framed image, a beautiful website, a story told well, I just love the process of creation. The details, the effects, the processes. I get very frustrated when those parts of me are not working well, not creating something of beauty.

I've realized that those two words describe quite well the things of pastoral ministry that I enjoy very much. They are the things I've given myself to, in the ministry. Sometimes I've given myself too much to them, I've worked hard, maybe too hard, giving my best energies and efforts into crafting and creating. Not always a wise use of my life energy, but I did it none the less because I loved it.
And here I sit, near the end of my two month sabbatical after some 25ish years of ministry and I understand better why I have found patience after patience with difficult situations and people. How I have stuck with it and sought new ways to help people find their way. Because at my core I'm a Craftsman and a Creator.

Even as I type that, it's like seeing for the first time.

At my worst I'm like some hermited, driven artist pushed by some internal drive to create and craft a thing of sheer beauty, not resting until it's completed.

At my best I'm respected for my patience and hard work and stick-to-it ness, and the church begins to look differently. Healthy, hopful, alive.

For me, on a night like tonight, that is a breathtaking insight.

I can't blame God for calling me to a life's work that is demanding and sometimes unwieldy. I can only blame myself for answering a call to a couple of driving taskmasters like Craftsman and Creator.

Oh, there's nothing wrong with those two. I love what they give me, a sense of fulfilment and at the end of the day that's a good thing.

But when I make them my excuse, my reason for doing what I do, then I cross a line and shift the blame for my brokenness onto others, especially God.

A big part of my improving emotional health during this sabbatical, is how those things return to me. The Craftsman, and Creator parts of me. Are they returning in healthy ways.

The craftsman part of me wants to get back in there already and start shaping and crafting things for Autumn. That gives me hope. Near the end of my work I was pretty unable to craft anything of beauty, but I still had the push and drive to make something great.

But this Creator thing is taking it's sweet time to return, as you can tell by the distinct lack of creativity in this space. I am looking, praying actually, for a heart to create once again.
Nothing yet, but time isn't up yet.

That's not bad for an evenings revelation. It actually helps me understand myself much more.

At least this summer as my eyes seem to be getting older, (heading straight for bi-focal crapsville,) it seems I am getting smarter.

There is hope it seems.

It's a good thing

I've been going hard core since early today, and this is the first chance to sit down, so I am taking it.

In an effort to procrastinate with my homework paper due sometime next week, I went and bought guitar strings for Micah who wants to have a go at my guitar. Thomas promptly broke a new string while installing it.

I tore out the old, messy caulking from the bathroom and replaced it. All. That ain't fun when you are a perfectionist. I continued even cleaning the tub and tub surround in the process.

I went and bought the groceries that Lauralea needed.

I removed the insides of the upstairs toilet and replaced all the parts with a new setup, and had to hand shape some pieces that didn't fit. Force fit worked a charm.

Lauralea asked me to pick up a new shower curtain for the bathroom too as ours was, well it was dead. So Micah and I went and shopped through the lovely limited selection. She wanted something green, or orange. I went with green since that was the only colour they had.

Getting caught up in the moment, I picked up a set of bathmats which were on sale, and a guest bath towel, forest green, and a matching hand towel, mint green.

I was Martha Stewart!

A lovely way to start the week

...by taking a test.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Nothing really new there, except the strength of the "Introverted." I didn't think I was that far out there.

Anyway, i am what i am.

Thanks LT.

Getting a shower in

Tonight just as I was tucking myself into my comfy bed with my Grrrreat Pilla, I remembered there was to be a shower tonight, the Perseid meteor shower to be exact.

So I got up and put some pants on and went outside with the camera and tripod and let the 15 second shutter delay do the best that it could do.

I got one good little shot in.

Meteor Shower

Then the clouds came and I got bored,

Stars & Clouds

so i did this too.

My name in lights!

What is it with guys who get bored and feel the need to write their names with whatever they have handy?

(Click on the images to take you to their place on Flickr where you can check out larger versions. I've got more pictures there too.)

Quite an amazing, beautiful night out there, the stars were different colours too.

Very inspiring.

a short review of worship this morning

One of the beauties of a sabbatical is the chance to visit other churches and see how they approach the whole Sunday morning worship experience thing. There are always good ideas to take home with you, and you get to be an encouragement to what they're doing in their home churches.

So this morning we planned to attend G.M.C here in Prince Albert and connect with some people who worship God in that place.

It didn't really start off in a great way, as Lauralea and I left the house this morning at 8:45 am. I was muttering something about who has church this early on a Sunday morning anyway. 9 am worship seems a bit, well, harsh to me.

I had phoned the night before. Actually I first did a websearch on the church to find out the time of the service in the morning. They had no web presence, so I was forced to use the phone. Now, there's nothing wrong with not being online with your times and location as a church, but it was interesting to me that that was the first place I looked for information. Online.

So, instead I called them and their machine held the information I was looking for. Worship service was at 9 am with Sunday School starting a little after that service.

Seemed a bit early, but if Lauralea was willing to have a go, so would I. She asked the time she should be ready to go and I guessed an 8:45 leaving time should be good enough. She groaned, and I agreed.

But this morning, after the alarm woke us at 7:30 we got up and got dressed and moaned our way out the door.

The drive was certainly nice, with very little traffic on the roads at that time. One street was closed because of roadworks, but we took the detour confident that we would arrive in time.

As we pulled up into the church parking lot at 8:57 with our bright clean morning faces on, I was at first a bit confused. There were lots parking spaces available, mainly because there were no cars in the parking lot.

"What... ?" Was my response.

I pulled up in front of the sign and parked and read it out loud.

"Sunday Worship, 11:00 am."

I started a litany of questions; "11 am? How?, Whaaat? Why?"

I called the number on the sign and re listened to the announcement and got Lauralea to listen to it too. It still said Worship at 9 am.

Sigh.

What to do, up so early on a Sunday.

I decided breakfast at A&W would be good, so off we went.

The early morning wasn't a total waste. We had a good visit and made some plans for the fall.

And so we went to worship this morning at G.M.C, and apart from committing the unforgivable sin, (Now I know what it is!!) we had a great time.

I'd give it a two thumbs up.

:)

Washing windows, changing ligh...

Washing windows, changing lightbulbs, vacuuming the floor, doing househusband things today.

He said the "A" word

It's cool out there tonight, 12C already.

And you know where that's going gentle readers, it's going down.

Personally, and yes I know we've had this conversation before, but personally I love how cool it has been lately, and how low the skies have been hanging. So near the earth, blurring the horizon.

Somehow when the sky is so low and foreboding, I feel safe, cocooned, alive.

Like a big quilt I can pull up under my chin and lean into and drift off into bliss.



Yeah, I know it's August, but Autumn has given us a cheque it intends to cash in a few short weeks.

And Autumn I'm ok with, it's her ugly stepsister Winter that I can't get along with. She's one nasty piece of work.

So here's to low clouds and cool nights, a looong Fall and a delayed winter. And here's to the chance to even be able to love one season and hate another.

Life is found in between those simple cracks of life.
You can live it well, or fight it all the way.

Software helps focus thoughts

I've been preparing today for a retreat I'm leading in November in Winnipeg, and I've got tons of ideas I've been trying to order and shape.

As soon as I got out my FreeMind mapping software, it made the work a breeze.

It allows me just to spew ideas for a while, then I can structure and move my thoughts around. It's great for organizing your thoughts.

FreeMind. It's free and powerful.

Watching the Riders beat the A...

Watching the Riders beat the Argos on TSN Broadband.

This is Beautiful

Years of women portrayed in art, in a few moments of time.

Enjoy.



Star Eyed miraculous

The other day while innocently perusing my choice of news, home improvement or cooking channels on TV, I incidentally saw an ad for a new talk show with Star Jones. The problem was that the person talking about the new program wasn't Star Jones, it seemed to be some sort of spokesperson.

I thought what, she's not interested in promoting her own Talk Show? She has to get some other person to speak for her?

But then she said her name, Star Jones, and I did a double take and she was gone. I was left with the tape going over in my head that wasn't Star Jones. Wasn't she the one who used to be on The View?

All knowing Google solved the mystery for me. Seems she had the gastric bypass surgery and Bob's your uncle, you are all brand new.

(Now follows my multimedia presentation.)

Before:



And after.



And again, Before:



And after.



Are you kidding me???

That is just amazing. Really. Unbelievable even.

In a society that objectifies body image, the doctors who are able to accomplish these miracles should run in the same league as Greek gods.
You would think, well I would think, that in a place as regularly reported as Obese as Saskatchewan, Doctors who do this surgery would hit the mother load. I mean, better than finding a vein of pure gold in an Alaskan Gold rush.

Even apart from the body image thing, and just relying on the whole health of the individual argument, why don't we have Doctors here in Saskatchewan willing to do this surgery?

The last Dr. here willing to do these things closed up shop a couple of months ago, and no one has taken his place.

So why can't we see any of them willing to reside in Saskatchewan and make their fortunes here?
What am I missing?

Zen and the art of mowing

I got into a mode today.
Right around 12:45 pm the mood/guilt struck me that the lawn needed some love I hadn't been giving it for a long time.

So I began to mow. And mow. And mow and mow and freaking mow, I think technically I own an acreage here. Well, nearly.

I mowed the back yard and took a sit down, get my breath back break.

Then I mowed the side yard and took a sit down, get my water back up break.

Then I mowed the front yard, and yada yada yada, the sucker was done.

Then I wippersnipped (is that how you spell it?) the life out of 30 million weeds around the edge of the yard. I even did along the back ally.

By then I took a break and sprayed half the edge around the house in the ongoing battle with ant's which I am winning by the way.

Then I did some trimming of trees that are not Elms as trimming Elm trees is illegal here during the summer. I even reached deeply into no man's land by our neighbours to help "trim" a couple of their weed trees. That's better.

And finally I washed off the muddy patio and the pergola, and promptly filled my big rubber boots with ice cold water to try and cool off my aching blistering feet.

As much as I hate, no pardon me, HATE yard work, there is something deeply satisfying in it. And it give you plenty of time to think and pray and pose deep life questions to yourself, like "I wonder if when my son-in-law-to-be comes to visit whether he with his landscaping degree will love to cut my lawn?"

Course, it could have been the heat and sun beating down on me that made me so delirious.

I finished up around 5:15 pm, and my back hasn't been the same since.


Feels like G&T time.

Cards from little friends

Cards from little friends


The postman brought this today.
Fun.

Curriculum vitæ

My new resume.

Actually, she forgot my best feature, my guns, Jack Johnson and Tom O'Leary.

They're always ready for action.

Just enjoying some Shut your mouth stew

Dad always said if you have nothing good to say then don't say anything at all.

Well, he didn't say that actually, it was more about being positive with your words and choices than negative.

So that's why I've been quiet since Sunday, not really much good to talk about.

After an exhausting day on Sunday, we came home and for the most part, I went to bed before telling others in the house that I was going to bed. I am learning that this is a communication of negative consequence and Monday turned out to be a tense day around here.  I find that with the females in the house, my mood, which may be one thing, can be read by them as being completely another thing, which I hadn't seen or felt at all. I suppose this is normal, except the guys don't seem to "go there" in their minds. I mean with them it's "Hey, he's gone to bed, he's tired, bada bing."

But I think that's one of the general differences between guys and gals. (Did I just use the word gals? sorry...)
Face value presumptions.

Yeah, everybody was tense or on edge or picking fights or something yesterday. Wasn't even hot out.

Well then last night we were off to bed at a good hour, and Thomas comes to tell me the dryer is broken and he's got wet clothing to dry out before morning when they boys head off to camp.

Sigh.

So, at 12:00 am I'm down there trying to fix the broken dryer, with no luck, sheesh.

Things are better around here today. I spent the whole morning and a bit more getting they dryer working again. (Broken wire, fixed. $1.49)

And the boys are off to camp, so I'm the lone male here.

Still feels like a bit of an edge in the air around here, but even after questioning, it seems ambiguous to me.

However, things are picking up, we are off to Dairy Queen and baby nothing solves that tension in the air like some soft Ice Cream with chocolate on it.

This week might be redeemable yet.

Many happy returns. What does that mean?

For all of Facebook's reconnect-ability one thing it has done really well is be a reminder to me of when my friends and contacts are having their birthdays.

It's been nice this morning and yesterday, getting all kinds of congratulations from people on "The Face" who were reminded that it's my birthday today.

Yesterday my sister sent me a funny e-card, and this morning even ClassicFM.com sent me this lovely purple greeting;


I don't know how we celebrated birthdays before AlGore invented the Internet!

End with a blessing

We got in from the wedding reception about half an hour ago and I'm sitting here getting my mellow on.

Lauralea's puttering around the kitchen having mumbled something about baking something with that ton of rhubarb we had growing in the backyard.  Hillary is downstairs sewing herself a vintage dress. She ordered a pattern from the states online and it finally arrived last week. The boys are playing xbox downstairs, and I am left here with my thoughts.

Kate is on the stereo, and I'm looking through my Iona pictures, changing my banner at the top of the page. Again I am stunned by the sheer beauty of the place. Breathless.

You would think with that kind of a lead up I'd have something pretty profound to say, but I don't.

Except maybe how cool it is that I don't have to work tomorrow, and how that simple thing has allowed my Saturday to be wonderfully free and clear and enjoyable.

After twenty some years of having Saturdays that focused me on Sunday, this is such a blessed treat. To be able to focus on just the now, the present, is a grace to me and those near me.

Today I visited with family, I had a nap, attended a wedding party/reception in the country, bought donuts for the kids, emailed my daughter, and now I'm talking to you. Not bad for a days work.

:)

Thinking how blessed I am, tonight I will leave the blessing with you.



Deep peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

Just a three hour tour...

I ended up doing a complete install of Windows XP yesterday so last night when I had a few moments I started to replace some of the programs I use regularly and I lost track of the time.

And, after 5 hours sleep I was up for breakfast hanging out with my uncle and aunt, which was also kinda cool.

But by 11 am I was tired.

And so, on this beautiful birthday weekend Saturday, with my beautiful new bed, and the beautiful old ceiling fan blowing down on me, I went for a nap.

Three hours later, I arose from the dead.

And hey look at me, I'm a new man!!

Which is good, because we are off to a wedding reception, complete with a roast Bison.

I think I'm ready to bison the night away, especially since I don't have to work tomorrow.

:)

"No more Squirrel roasting at Bible Camp"

You thought the post title was a bit surreal? Check out the story...
A Saskatchewan bible camp has a new policy on animal treatment after a squirrel was killed and roasted over the fire by one of its counsellors.

The Christopher Lake camp counsellor killed the squirrel after throwing a stick in its direction and injuring it last week, said camp director Curtis Anderson.

The man destroyed the injured animal rather than letting it die on its own, and then roasted it to show nothing should go to waste, Anderson said. Several counsellors ate some of the cooked meat.

Although the counsellor knows he made a mistake, Anderson said, the man did not do anything illegal.

The Saskatchewan SPCA's Frances Wach applauded the camp's new policy.

"My understanding is that the policy is to forbid the harassment of rodents by camp counsellors and campers," Wach told CBC News on Friday. "I think that will teach the kids respect for animals."

The camp needs to find humane ways to deal with nuisance squirrels, Wach said.

I hear squirrel is good. Tastes a lot like chicken.

Update:

This little event happened at Camp Kadesh. That was the camp dad was on the board of directors of when they were searching for a site to build the camp on. I remember going with dad up to the area to search out good sites to build the camp. Sheesh. Memories.

pownce.com

Hey, i am presently trying out pownce.com and if that means anything to you and you want a free invite, just let me know.

I have spaces to give away.

That is all.

No TSN? Don't worry.

I don't have TSN on tv at my house and it's only a couple of months each summer when it hurts. Football season, when the CFL starts up.

So how cool is it when I got word from a friend that they are webcasting the games on TSN too.

That's where I am tonight for the Roughriders/BC game.

Very Very good indeed.

Thank you Jesus. (And yes, that was a prayer.)

Another summer lesson



In an effort to minimize our family eco-footprint, (yeah, actually it's because herself likes the feel and smell of air dried laundry!) today we purchased an outdoor dryer.

It was a bit harder to install than I thought it would be, well, at least if I wanted it to stand straight up it was.

But it looks like we are on our way to fresh smelling laundry, a lower electric bill, and a smaller eco-footprint.

We noticed it was done this way a lot over in the UK, and we figure every little bit helps.

We'll see.

The Bed

On the one day we had between visiting Lauralea's mom and dad, and me leaving for Chicago, we bought a new bed.

Our last bed was given to us, already fairly well used, some years ago. Actually it's a bit embarrassing to realize that we got that bed when Lauralea was pregnant with Thomas, and he enters grade 12 this autumn.

What an amazing bed. What luxury, what comfort, what little sideways movement, what quiet springs, what a dramatic difference it makes to your awake hours.

And, it's not as low as the other bed used to be. This baby rides about 8 inches higher than the other bed used to. And I love that. It's like sleeping on a cloud of fluffy goodness.

So far Lauralea's not having to go to the chiropractor as much. And we are sleeping way better.

And the other stuff, read:sex, well I don't know yet if it was the whole being away for a week thing, or the fact that this is one sweet noiseless bed, but yeah, I recommend it. Really.

The only snag, which for me it isn't really an issue, but the only snag is that it's a little high for Lauralea to get into. Thomas built her a step to get into it, and I am awaiting the day when I awake to a huge crash and find her on a heap on the ground because she missed the step.

I think the top of the bed comes up to her stomach so she needs a little boost up into it. But so far she loves it, and if she's happy, then baby we're all happy.

It's a good thing.

Sabbatical, one month in

Well, one month into this thing, with our retreat to the Isle of Iona over (But still reverberating all over my heart...) and the education component nearly over (Only one paper to write by Aug 20...) I'd have to say we are in better shape than we have been for a while.

It really hit home for me yesterday.

Yesterday morning I received three fairly urgent calls from three situations that, because of their stories, require my attention. It yanked me out of this mode quicker than if somebody had thrown a grenade into the room.

I had planed to go out with Lauralea to process some of the "Stuff" that had happened last week, and we did try to go out for coffee and go through things. But after those calls, I really "Left the building."

I was trying to hold those needs, simply processing what I needed to do with them, and I was completely not present with Lauralea and the kids.

I was actually surprised at how "Not present" I was. Really. Not there for them at all. These three stories were front and centre for me and my head space for most of the day.

Today I'm a bit better, I think, but yesterday shocked me. I need to find ways to carry these situations before God while not being absent to my family. That's just tough. But it is something I need to be able to do this autumn, or else all the good this break has given us will evaporate.

Besides, it's fun being present with Lauralea and my family. It's fun and enjoyable and good, and that is the journey I need to make with three weeks left.

Some of you are pastors, and some of you have walked this road already. If you have any keen insights why not shoot me an email and tell me your stories.

I'm teachable.

:)

randallfriesen.com on an IPhone

While in Chicago, I made a trip to the Apple store on Michigan Avenue. And they had Iphones you could play. So I did and fell in love.

Wow. Sweet technology that just works well.

Think Google maps where ever you are, never get lost again. UTube when you are on the El and bored. Listening to your favourite tunes or catching your missed shows, and the rest of the Internet at your fingertips when needed.

Oh yeah, and you can phone with it too.

So I made a little movie while I explored this technoToy.

I've entitled it "Randallfriesen.com on an I-Phone."

Dramatic. I give it two thumbs up.


Chicago Photography



Here is the set of photos from Chicago.

I'll be adding to the set, but here is a start.

That place is always so photographic. I love it.

Letting Go

If you hold on too long, they strain against the grip, and you and them become injured.

If you let go too quickly, they fall and get hurt.

There is no way to do this easily.

An unspoken negotiation that both parties are aware of yet often misunderstand.



They've all done so well this year, they've matured and grown so much. I am proud of them, each of them, and they will do ok in life.

There are just days when the letting go catches up and there are stresses.

It's to be expected, I suppose, since we are all different and none of us perfect.

But it's about letting go, since the day they were born, it's been about letting go.

So good.

So strange.

So bitter-sweet.

Max Lucado on relationships

“Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful.”

Max Lucado (I believe)