I was here, but now I'm gone

Sunday, September 30, 2007
The leadership weekend was great, and the three days were so worth it.

I was able to extend some Spiritual Direction care to ten individuals, and it was so good to hear their stories and to be able to walk with them.

But 8 hours out there, and 8 hours back today have left me a bit fuzzy.

I got a couple of good pictures I'll upload as soon as I can.

This morning I was up quite early for a meeting, and as I looked out my bedroom window the sun was rising behind me, and the amazing pink and orange was reflected on the blue and grey of the mountains in front of me, it was gorgeous.

So yeah, Autumn is coming early to the mountains in Alberta, and it's beautiful.

Pic's to follow.

PS. And if you have emailed me, hang in there, it will be a day or two before I catch up.


I'm off

Friday, September 28, 2007
and on the road for the day.

If you would like a prayer, just shoot a short note (130 characters-ish) to my cell phone below, and I'll have you covered.

Have a good one.

Back to the Island

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iona Abby

Tonight during our small group's evening prayers every time I closed my eyes I was back on Iona.

The cool late evening breeze across my face, the echoing silence while sitting in the Abby, and the prayers prayed together by many individuals on different pilgrimages all leading to the same God.

It was a good memory, a warm space for my heart. So I just enjoyed it, and kept my eyes closed while we prayed.

I'm still working out the differences in who I am as a result of that Isle. I am a different person and I've seen things in me that haven't been there before. I am starting to look forward towards the things God showed me are yet to come for me.

Yet I feel content, unrushed. There is time to do what he asks of me, and he will lead as things unfold. There is a balanced-ness (If I may create a new word) in my life I am enjoying right now. It is good.

And it was very good to be back there tonight. If only in my prayers.


Having a spot of trouble

... with the template. Do bear with me as I use this one temporarily.

I'm quite busy for the next few days, so I won't get to it till next week.

Until then you may point and make snickering sounds at this template. It's pretty minimalist so it won't take you're insults personally. It's much more highbrow than that.


Oh, and while I'm gone you may use the "Send message to my cell" box at the bottom there to send me notes of affirmation and questions about when all the white will disappear.

Letter from an unpredictable life

I'm tired this morning as I make my rounds to coffee corner to hang with the retired guys, then to the hospital to connect with my weekly visits. I'm tired and I was in bed shortly after 11 last night, up at 7am, so I really have no excuse.

There's lot's of tension around here these days and I honestly don't know where it's all coming from, but it just is. Tomorrow I head off to help with a leadership retreat in the mountains. I'm talking a bit about spiritual direction in a leaders life, and I suspect we will also be offering it if anyone would like to spend some time with me. That ends with my return Sunday night.

Then Monday morning Lauralea and I are heading back to the mountains for the yearly pastors and spouse retreat. It's a pretty focused, tightly packed time, but the drive can do us good. We'll have someone staying at the house the whole time, so I'm not too worried about burst pipes and such.

September in our yardLife is finding a  rhythm at our house this autumn. The girls are making their own ways in the world, up hills and down, and the guys are settling into school trying to get used to life in the next grade and it's tougher demands on them.

Lauralea isn't looking forward to winter this year, which really is a new development. She usually anticipates it with some enthusiasm and joy which just isn't there this year.

For all the comfort the rhythms of life provide us with, it sure gets wobbly when the old rhythms aren't working. Maybe that's an indication of the need for new rhythms and order. Perhaps that's the direction to look in.

Whatever it is, life is anything but predictable. At least throughout the unpredictability of it all, there are a few things which are certain and true to us, and I guess that at times like this it's good to hang tightly onto those things.

Hope your day goes well.

Thomas Merton on the Inner life

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"I do not know if I have found answers. When I first became a monk, yes, I was more sure of "answers." But as I grow old in the monastic life and advance further into solitude, I become aware that I have only begun to seek the questions. And what are the questions? Can man make sense out of his existence? Can man honestly give his life meaning merely by adopting a certain set of explanations which pretend to tell him why the world began and where it will end, why there is evil and what is necessary for a good life? My brother, perhaps in my solitude I have become as it were an explorer for you, a searcher in realms which you are not able to visit . . . I have been summoned to explore a desert area of man's heart in which explanations no longer suffice, and in which one learns that only experience counts. An arid, rocky, dark land of the soul, sometimes illuminated by strange fires which men fear and peopled by specters which men studiously avoid except in their nightmares. And in this area I have learned that one cannot truly know hope unless he has found out how like despair hope is."
- Thomas Merton
The Hidden Ground of Love

The second murder victim of the year has a name: Dean Josie

On Saturday here in Prince Albert, an 18 year old young man was killed in a very gruesome manner. His name was Dean Josie. Five youths have been charged with his murder, and they are about 15 years of age.

I haven't mentioned it yet, mostly because I don't know what to say.

Sometimes the darkness is overwhelming and dispiriting. It runs just beneath the surface here. The clear divide between the have and the have nots is as easy to see as driving from one end of the city to the other.

It's not as simple a classification to make as the rich and the poor, or the healthy and the broken. That would be too easy a separation to make. It would also be untrue.

It's the human condition at the end of it's rope.
It's about addiction, lovelessness, and people going where their hearts push them to go.

It's been said by people way smarter than I, that the only way to overcome evil is with good. Which is an interesting response, given that my inner gut reaction is anything but good. If I go with my inner gut reaction, I will become as those teens are, and I will propagate the evil, in me and my community.

But overcoming evil with good is the only chance a community or an individual has to stop that kind of violence. It's the only way out of the depths of loss and pain for a city reeling from the violence.

Otherwise, the violence eats you alive, and you become like that you despise.

So I need to ask myself the question today, in the world in which I live, how will I overcome evil with good?

And because we are community, I need to ask you the same thing.

Today, in the world in which we live, how will we overcome evil with good?

Iona marble

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Iona Marble

"The stone of Iona is among the oldest on the surface of the planet, thrust up millenia ago from the very depths of the primordial sea. There is no fossil record here - this rock predates all life."

Deborah Smith "Weavings" Vol. XIII Number 4 July/August 1998

Autumn 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007
And so Autumn officially arrived here on the weekend and to honour the event I went out and took a bunch of photos of our back yard.

We do have a great yard here, with park on two sides. There have been times when it's 950 square feet have been very tight for the six of us and we've thought of selling, but again and again the yard pulls us back, encouraging us towards patience.

The set of images is here.


Happy Birthday Hillary Jane

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nineteen years ago, after a day of hard work, Hillary came into this world.

And tonight as I write this, she's up in the hinterland of Northern Alberta, attending a discipleship school. It's a place where you learn more about God and yourself and others, from books and interaction with community. But she's up there settling in, finding her way, making friends.

This week I went in search of The Rose, and I was able to find a small flower shop 20 minutes away who were willing to deliver to the college. So I ordered one and that night she called me, excited about many things, including the rose.

I hope your 19th year is a sweet one Hillary, and that this weekend was a good start to that year.

Happy Birthday, and good night.

1. 2. 3. 4.

One Two Three Four
Tell me that you love me more
Sleepless long nights
That is what my youth was for

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door
Left you with nothing but they want some more

Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, You know who you are

That song from the TV commercial for the Ipod Nano has gotten into my head.
And I like it.

It's by Canadian singer/songwriter Leslie Feist.

Here is the link to the Nano commercial.

And here is the whole video.


Jelly! - Not just for your bread any more.

Now this is cool, a website that lets you gather with others and do your work in the same place.

Jelly! - Casual coworking is awesome."

So you have some work to do online or on paper, and you enjoy a bit of community. Jelly lets you set up meeting points at certain times and you gather and do your individual work, together.

So far it seems to be a great addition to big city living.

I'm not sure how well it would work in a town like Prince Albert, Sk.

But it's still a great idea.


Saturday, September 22, 2007
...she closed the door behind her and slipped off into a life empty of his contact. Never again would she have to hear those words yelled at her. No more would she know the physical pain as he grabbed her arm and forced it in directions he controlled. She had finally had enough, and she was through with him, she thought.

She pulled the door quietly till it clicked behind her, and she moved forward into her freedom. The tears running down her red cheeks were an odd mix of fear and relief. But she pressed ahead into the dark night, not sure where she was going.

She just knew she was running from him. Forever.

She didn't realize that she was also running from something deep within herself. It was a part of her, of who she was, and wherever she was going, it was going too.

It would be a long night.


Well, enough of that then.

Friday, September 21, 2007
I had a 1:30 appointment this afternoon at Tim Hortons - Cornerstone, and as I arrived I was encouraged with only 5 customers in front of me and two cashiers taking our orders.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

I ordered a cup of soup because I'm coffee'd out already today.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

For another ten minutes for one of the six people behind the counter to go to the soup table and get me a cup of Butternut Squash soup.

I sat down a full 20 minutes late.

I'm done with Tim Hortons - Cornerstone. At least for a few months.

And I realize they may have staffing issues, but if things have changed that much that you can no longer hire people to work for $7.00 an hour, then you need to change your model of service.

Change baby.
Change or die.

if you pray...

or think good thoughts, could you remember a friend of mine, a pastor in the city who is in the hospital today.

They seem to be thinking it's West Nile, and he's is in a very bad way. Urgent even.

Lord, have mercy on J.

Another Country, another politician

Hmm, some days I wonder.
Gabriele Pauli, who is running for the leadership of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union party, suggested this week that marriages should last just seven years.

During the launch of her campaign manifesto in Munich on Wednesday, the twice-divorced Pauli proposed the seven-year limit, with couples being given the option of renewing their commitment to each other or allowing their union to dissolve automatically.

"The basic approach is wrong," Pauli told reporters. "Many marriages last just because people believe they are safe.

"My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years."

Would you be allowed to start working on a new relationship by year 5 just so you have somebody new to take over as soon as year 7 is up?

I wonder what would happen to people if they didn't have the opportunity to work through a ten or 20 or 30 year relationship? How self absorbed would we become? I wonder.

Of course this would mean getting new underwear at least every 7 years, cause who wants to go into a new relationship with old unde... yeah, that doesn't go anywhere helpful.

Kinda like this politician's idea.

via cbc.

The Story of our Life

A lovely Autumn weekend lays stretched out before us, with no huge undertakings in the plans. I'll work today and probably a chunk of tomorrow and Sunday, BUT..

This morning the boys have headed off to a youth retreat for the weekend. It's only herself and me who are home.





And, with a sense of timing that can only be considered cruel and unusual for both of us, that time of the month known as The Fun Time Happy Zone started at out house yesterday.


Timing is everything in a relationship.

Wow, a politician who admits he was wrong

Thursday, September 20, 2007
This is quite unbelievable. At first I thought I was reading something sarcastic, but it seems that Federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has taken the blame for his party's defeats in three Quebec byelections, saying, "A leader has to put himself out there and I didn't do it."

Most politicians in my years on this planet, regardless of their party affiliation, would blame other people or situations rather than accepting responsibility for failure.
Dion said he's the first person who should be held responsible for the Liberals' nosedive in the federal byelections on Monday night, which saw the party lose its traditional Montreal stronghold riding in Outremont while earning single-digit support in the Saguenay and Saint-Hyacinthe ridings.

"I'm taking the responsibility," Dion told the CBC's French-language television program Téléjournal Wednesday night.

"I've always focused on the stakes … but I've never put myself on the line and I understand now that a leader must do that.… A leader has to put himself out there and I didn't do it,"

via cbc.

I agree with his assessment, and respect him for claiming ownership.

When writing a blog can be like shoving a stick into a hornets nest

I removed an individual from my "Voices" section tonight because they shut down their blog, closed up shop and went home. A quick check with them told a story I'm all too familiar with and have heard often enough. An insecure relative felt provoked with many of the regular blog posts, which resulted in stressful phone calls and angry words and an ongoing sense of frustration.

Orange 3 There are simply readers out there who for whatever reason, feel poked or challenged or offended when you write your words. Even though the words may not be directed at anyone in particular, or even worse, when seemingly good words and ideas are shared in a passionate way but someone takes deep offense, it is hard to keep going.

And this instant way of communicating back to the writer with comments and interaction, sometimes allows us to respond quickly, too quickly, without giving it a second thought.

Mordecai Richler once said in an interview, that at the beginning when he was writing his best, the stuff that really sold well, he wrote from his personal experiences. He would write them into his characters, and they came alive. Then he started taking some deep criticism from a couple of family members who didn't like themselves portrayed so poorly, even if it was in novel form and they were not identified.

So he tried not to do that, and his writing took a turn for the worse. He decided it was better to write what he knew. The rest is history.

The blogs that I read and like the best are the real life blogs. Not so much the "I went here or there" blogs, but more the "I went here and felt like _____ " blogs.

The good writers seem to be able to tell us how they live well or poorly, not just what they do. As one wise writer wrote;
"it dawned on me that how a writer writes is what sets him or her apart from other writers and, more so, from the rest of us chaps. What a writer says—e.g., “Communism is an unmitigated evil” or “Communism has some merit”—could be said by any one of us, but most of us couldn’t say these things the way a gifted writer could. It’s the how of the writer which appeals to us as readers and motivates us to read an author’s books. "

Amen. And blogs too.

Brandel Library 2 So yeah, sometimes you want to do a little writing and you step out on this trial and error journey. Often you make more mistakes than you wish you would. Still you keep trying to be a better writer and if you have the energy to risk it, you keep writing, shaping and being shaped by the words on the screen.

And sometimes you just get overwhelmed by the crowd of naysayers. Usually a small, vocal group. But on a bad day, they're loud enough to make you want to never write again. Ever.

So, R.I.P CZ Blog. I am sad yet glad that you closed up shop. Sad for me, glad for you.

Thanks for making the net a brighter place. I know you will continue to do so, just in other formats.

As for the rest of you, do what's best for your spirit, your heart. I wish only the best for you.


Even though


Even though the day be laden
and my task dreary
and my strength small,
a song keeps singing
in my heart.
For I know that I am Thine.
I am part of Thee.
Thou art kin to me,
and all my times
are in Thy hand.

Alistair Maclean

My relationship with Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Ah my children, did I ever tell you about the time I met Bob in person?

He was taping this new song of his and I came up with the idea of using these Q-Cards to express himself.
People were having difficulty understanding his shtick, but my idea for the cards seemed to make the day.

The rest, of course, was history.


(Tongue firmly and safely planted in cheek.)

Provincial Election?

November 5th.

possibly October 29th.

I'm just saying.

Power Outage Casualties

So, you live in Saskatchewan or parts of Alberta or Manitoba or the northern States, and woke up this morning with your alarm clock flashing?

And you urgently lept from your bed to find your watch and discovered that you were late for work?

Then, half dressed you grabbed a slice of bread as you ran out the door to your car and set the land speed record getting to work?

Well then, you are not alone.

Although I am not in your company.

In rare form my bladder woke me up at 5 am this morning, and as I was stirring I realized the digital readout on the clock was gone.

As focus returned to my consciousness I realized that the street light wasn't shinning in my window and the light down the hall from the kitchen was off too.

Everything, and I mean everything was dark.

My first fuzzy thought was that something was covering my eyes and I remember rubbing them trying to see better. No better.

Then I thought maybe a stroke or illness affected my eyes. But the rest of me felt ok, except for my bladder which by now was complaining significantly.

I got out of bed and stumbled to the window and pulled back the curtain and what a weird sight. Everything was black. Up and down the street, blackness.

It was very cool. I wanted to go outside, but I had business to attend to.

I found the cell phone and set the alarm on that and went back to bed.

When the phone alarm sounded at 7:30 this morning, Lauralea rolled over and groaned that I should have left it off because then we could have slept in guilt free.

So, if Lauralea has an appointment with you today and she's late, she has no excuse, she was up in plenty of time!

But boy it was black out there.

banners, and fussy bits.

Sunday, September 16, 2007
Some of you, including myself if i were truthful, were missing the banner image at the top of the page which i would occasionally switch up, just to keep things interesting.

So I did a little tweaking tonight and fussed with a few areas that were bugging me.

and there you go, instant banner image of the view outside  my living room window.



I wish.

nope, just a picture I took this summer in a far away land.

But yeah, enough of the self absorbed dreaming.


the ocean

Saturday, September 15, 2007
I went for a long walk tonight.

I think I was looking for the Ocean.


Now, for a boy from the prairies, the ocean is very far away.

But I was looking anyway.

It is always new, yet never changes.

Kind of like God I think.

The Sea

But I was looking for the ocean because I need it tonight.

It let's me rest.

It lulls me to sleep.

It stirs my heart.

It restores my soul.

It awakens my senses.

It is vast and untameable.

It is mystery and greatness.

It is one drop splashed on my face.

Iona Shore

It attracts my attention with it's seductive power and beauty

and makes me take my eyes off of myself.

Tonight I went looking for the ocean.

And in some strange way, there will now always be a part of me looking for the ocean.

I guess I can be glad I only met the ocean when I was 43.

That way I have less time to pine away,



So yesterday when I was driving past the Rawlinson centre here in Prince Albert, my good eye caught a glimpse of a sign announcing that Holly Cole would be in concert here in October. Lauralea has a couple of her CD's and loves her like she likes her own children, and if truth be told, even better on some days.

I immediately pulled into the lot and went inside.

There were very few tickets left which surprised me because I hadn't even heard she was coming to town. Without even flinching at the $38.00 cost per seat, which was no small thing indeed, I asked for and received two tickets.

When I got home and waved the two tickets beneath Lauralea's nostrils she was able to discern them from the scent alone. Then got excited and started to thank me in ways a wife should thank her husband.

And in that moment it dawned on me, how much I had invested in our "Relationship Bank." I totally owned the day and realized that I probably owned the month too. I could probably be an Ass, two three or eight times this month and it would be OK, because of those tickets.

And in a fresh revelation I discovered that I had a AssPass for a month.

Course, I'm not one to use and manipulate my relationship with her. But it's nice knowing that there is a bit of buffer room, you know, for when I accidentally mention PMS, or forget to pick up something she's waiting at home for.

As I recall, there were still a few seats left for the concert. You know, if things are kinda tense at home.

I'm just sayin...

Northern Rock just a stone's throw away from oblivion

The fifth largest bank in the UK, Northern Rock, is in day two of a financial nightmare.

They must be going crazy there.

Yesterday, in a bit of a panic scare, their customers withdrew about one billion pounds, today looks like it was about the same madness. People are lined up around the blocks with Police having to do crowd control, because the people don’t trust the bank, or those communicating on it’s behalf.

Northern Rock has about 24 billion of people’s pounds they look after, and much of that is tied up in mortgages loaned out to it’s other customers. That’s how banks do business. But because of recent strains on the world market, money markets Have stopped lending money to Northern Rock, again due to the crisis in the US sub-prime mortgage market.

The Bank of England has made available cash for Northern to borrow if it needs it, so there is money there. The Chancellor, the British Bankers' Association and on down the line are saying it will be alright, just give it time. However people are not convinced it seems.

As it’s shares continue to drop, Northern Rock will probably be taken over by a bigger financial institution. In this ongoing story, people who have money in savings at Northern should be alright.

But here is a glimpse at how things can go so badly, so quickly.


For those of you in warmer climates

Friday, September 14, 2007
I had to scrape the frost off my van windows this morning.
This means that the end is near.
And living proof that Global Warming is years away from implementation.


I can't wear my coloured set of short sleeve golf shirts to work any more.
And of course my matching white belt and white leather shoes are out.

Winter is so retched, and hard on the wardrobe.

Oh yeah, there are archives...

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Because sometimes you just forget the past.

@ Home Mom

I forgot this one.


Here's a heads up on a sweet little program that changes the look and colour of your folders in Windows.

iColorFolder is a free program which you can use to change the look and feel of your folders.

I run certain folders with certain colours so that it's easier to see them right away.

(Click to see a larger image)


It's a good thing.

Home again

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Left the house at 7 this morning, and just returned home.

I had four meetings with people in Saskatoon today, so Lauralea and I headed into town early.

The day was a perfect day. Low clouds, occasional rain, and a high of 11C made for a very autumn-y day indeed. My favourite kind of day.

I dropped Lauralea downtown as I drove through to my first appointment. She headed to my mom's to spend some time with her. I think they had some fun together.

And I, had some great moments meeting with people I needed to connect with again. A University student from our church, an individual connected with my work, a friend starting a network of housechurches this fall, and Lauralea joined me as we checked on another friend who's parents were in town for a visit.

Each visit different, yet each visit distinctly profound, and fresh. God seemed all over the place today, and the conversations were gracious and good.

I like love days like that, when God seems to have gone before and the way has been prepared. Kinda gives me hope that God is still around, doing what he does.

Anyway, Lauralea and I finished up the day with a visit to McNally Robinson where I picked up the latest Classic FM magazine with its TWO FREE DISKS this month. Life is good.

And, since the boys were feeding themselves supper, we went to Jerry's for some fish and chips for supper.

A very good day indeed.

Night Falls in Prince Albert

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The up's and down's of being Hillary

Well, in spite of being asked to consider withdrawing from Voice lessons, she sounded considerably chipper on the phone last night.

Hillary seems to be doing OK at school.

Although, classes only begin full steam this week.

The Tryst

Lord, set your blessing on us
as we begin this day together.
Confirm in us the truth
by which we live;
confront us with the truth
from which we wrongly turn.
We ask not for what we want
but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves
for you and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.


Romeo and Juliet - Act II. Scene II.

Monday, September 10, 2007
Because sometimes a little bit of Shakespeare is a good thing.

Verona. Capulet's Orchard.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady; O! it is my love:
O! that she knew she were.
She speaks, yet she says nothing. what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return..
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes m heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See! how she leans her cheek upon- her hand:
O! that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek.

If Microsoft sold a phone...

You may laugh out loud.
I did.


Simple Church

Friday, September 07, 2007
In the late 1990s, Royal Philips Electronics was a slow-footed behemoth whose products, from medical diagnostic imaging systems to electric shavers, were losing traction in the marketplace. By 2002, a new CEO, Gerard Kleisterlee, determined that the company urgently needed to address the dynamic global marketplace and become more responsive to consumers' changing needs.Philips deployed researchers in seven countries, asking nearly 2,000 consumers to identify the biggest societal issue that the company should address. The response was loud and urgent. "Almost immediately, we hit on the notion of complexity and its relationship to human beings," says Andrea Ragnetti, Philips's chief marketing officer. Consumers told the researchers that they felt overwhelmed by the complexity of technology. Some 30% of home-networking products were returned because people couldn't get them to work. Nearly 48% of people had put off buying a digital camera because they thought it would be too complicated.

Strategists recognized a huge opportunity: to be the company that delivered on the promise of sophisticated technology without the hassles. Philips, they said, should position itself as a simple company. Ragnetti was dumbstruck. "I said, 'You must be joking. This is an organization built on complexity, sophistication, brainpower.' " But he and Kleisterlee responded with an even more audacious plan. Rather than merely retooling products, Philips would also transform itself into a simpler, more market-driven organization.

That initiative has been felt from the highest rungs of the organization to the lowest. Instead of 500 different businesses, Philips is now in 70; instead of 30 divisions, there are 5. Even things as prosaic as business meetings have been nudged in the direction of simplicity: The company now forbids more than 10 slides in any PowerPoint presentation. Just enough, they decided, was more.

The campaign, christened "Sense and Simplicity," required that everything Philips did going forward be technologically advanced--but it also had to be designed with the end user in mind and be easy to experience. That ideal has influenced product development from conception--each new product, like the ShoqBox, an MP3 mini-boom box, must be based on a user need that's tested and validated--to packaging. Philips invited 15 customers to its Consumer Experience Research Centre in Bruges, Belgium, to see how they unpacked and set up a Flat TV. After watching people struggle to lift the heavy set from an upright box, designers altered the packaging so the TV could be removed from a carton lying flat on the ground.

Early results of the business reorganization, particularly in North America, have been dramatic. Sales growth for the first half of 2005 was up 35%, and the company was named Supplier of the Year by Best Buy and Sam's Club. Philips's Ambilight Flat TV and GoGear Digital Camcorder won European iF awards for integrating advanced technologies into a consumer-friendly design, and the Consumer Electronics Association handed the company 12 Innovation Awards for products ranging from a remote control to a wearable sport audio player.

Maeda, who, as a member of Philips's Simplicity Advisory Board has had a front-row seat for this transformation, is impressed. "The best indication of their sincerity is that they're embracing the concept at a management level," says Maeda. "It isn't just marketing to them. That's quite a radical thing."

(The Beauty of Simplicity - Fast Company)

In late August Jordon Cooper ran a post talking about this article that spoke of the value of simplicity in technology. People like their technology to be simple to use. You can see that in the Ipod, with it's single dial, or Google with it's simple interface. Both examples of companies that have struck a simple cord with people.

But, one of the complexities of this need is that people also feel something has less value if it is simple to use. Dan Ariely, a business-school professor from MIT says;
"If I offer you a VCR with only one button, it's not all that exciting, even if when you use it, it's likely to be easier."

It's less exciting and may be perceived as less valuable if it's less complex.

The call to simplicity in technology is driven by a desire in society for greater simplicity, even if sometimes we fear that the simple things are less valuable. That's quite a conundrum. We want simple, yet we fear it will make us seem poor, insignificant or second class.

This is reflected in how we behave as churches too.

We want our lives to be simplified, but we still like the band leading us in new choruses each week. We want the basics, but we still want the speaker to tell great stories and show us great pictures every Sunday. We want to pare down, but our church still needs the gym and kitchen and good seats and a great sound and video delivery system.

We want simple, but having simple may mean we are less than, and we don't want to be considered less than.

So the question rattling around in my head these weeks is, what does Simple Church look like?

What would it look like if we reviewed who we are and what we do and what we own and how our structures and activities worked, and simplified them?

And would North American's even attend a Simple Church?

The question is not rhetorical.

Autumn comes to Down Town Prince Albert

The Bison Cafe started with it's Fall hours this week which means it's open Thursday nights till 9pm.

It was a gorgeous evening so Lauralea and I went down there for a coffee and tea. It was warm out and dark early, but it felt, like Lauralea said, kind of Christmassy in the place.

It's not that far away I guess. Christmas I mean.

It's great to have a place like that downtown that's open in the evenings. They even have their great soup available.

Ok Mr. Jobs, you have my attention.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Now I'm interested.

I've never been a real Ipod fan, mainly because it's a hard drive that plays songs. There always were too many moving parts in that thing for me to relax about, better to have a flash memory song player. Cheaper too.

But today Apple introduced its new Ipod. The Ipod Touch.

Looks like an Iphone, which won't be available in Canada for an unknown amount of time yet.

A multi touch user interface, WiFi with Safari, Google search, contacts, and an 8 gig drive for $299.

I'm still not excited by the drive, but it might be a good trade off for having net access at wifi hotspots.

Unlike the regular Ipod, this one I could see myself using.

I think I'll put it on my wish list.

On people who don't let you grow up

Alright my children, here is the lesson for the day.

There are times in our lives when we leave our normal routines and even our physical locations for other places and during those times away we really experience growth and personal development. Then we return to our normal circumstances, with our old friends and family.

We come back significantly different people than when we left because we really are bigger people. We've experienced more, we've been shaped and honed and learned a thing or two along the way.

As we return we find that some of our old friends are excited for us and are pleased with us and who we've become. But more difficult and sad is that there are people who are not ready for us to have grown. They don't give us room to be who we've become, but rather continue to try to restrict us into old spaces and ways we used to be. That is unfair.

They treat us the same way they used to treat us, and expect us to respond in the same old ways. But we aren't the same people we once were. We have grown and are internally pleased with that growth, as we should be. So when an old friend refuses to recognize how we've developed, it just really hurts inside and we don't know what to do.

For some, it just takes a bit of time and readjustment to the new you. If they love you then they will work at creating space for you to be who you've become.

Sunrise Maybe you are reading this and you've changed for the better, but some of your friends don't get it, yet. Patience grasshopper. Don't sell off the new you because your friends or family can't process it quickly enough. Give them a bit of time to process the good changes you are living into. And keep living into the better you. The temptation is sometimes there to give up on who you've become and just revert to the old, lesser you. That's not good, because it just isn't. So don't do it.

Or maybe you are reading this and your friend has changed a lot, and it seems they have changed for the better, but you miss the other person. Maybe they used to behave very poorly and now they don't and they want to show you that they have changed. Or worse yet, perhaps you liked them the way they used to be because they were worse than you were, and now they are not.

Let. Them. Be. Changed.

Create space for them to be different. Don't try to impose your yesterday's understanding of them today. Don't try to force them into a mold they no longer fit. Be gracious. Celebrate with them. If need be, grow up yourself.

Of course they are not perfect and they will occasionally slip back into old ways as they are learning the new ones. But if you are their friend or family, you want for their best anyway, don't you?

Personal development is tough enough without having people in your life who you thought cared for you but now they don't want to give you room to be yourself.

We all need people in our corner who care about us and will support us and give us room to grow

Lets be those people.

I Am a Swiss Army Knife

I'm sitting at the office with the first meeting of the day completed and I'm eating my yogurt I brought from home, with a paper spoon.

It keeps getting wimpy about bite 4, but I continue on.

Because I'm SwissArmyKnifeMan.

Wednesday Morning Prayer

Vulnerable God,
you challenge the powers
that rule this world,
through the needy,
the compassionate,
and those who are filled with longing.
Make us hunger and thirst to see right prevail,
that we may see your face
and be satisfied in you,
through Jesus Christ.


The Bourne Ultimatum

Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Wow, now that was a good movie.

Especially in terms of adrenalin shooting through the pipes, that rated a 8 out of 10 I figure.

Whew, if I smoked I think I'd need one about now.
But since I don't, maybe I'll go for a walk.


Happy 20th Birthday Johanna

... where ever you are tonight.

I hope your day has turned out better than you ever expected.

Love, Dad.

She's off.

Sunday, September 02, 2007
It seems that after two weeks of every one of our children in our home, they are starting the exodus. Tonight we took Hillary to the Bus Depot in Saskatoon for her trip to northern Alberta. She's been stressing over it all week, but by tonight she was nearly skipping to the bus, with five huge full suitcases mind you, but she was excited. She should arrive there tomorrow about 12:30, then her bible school education shall begin in earnest.

Tomorrow morning Johanna and Nate will be off to the coast where he will be working at a camp in the states, and she will be living in New-Westminster, looking for a job. Curse these bureaucratic heartless law makers that keep young love apart in different countries. Can't they see they are in love??

Anyway, they are off tomorrow and so we shall be down to just two.

The eldest of the two is starting grade 12 so in some ways is already leaving mentally. The youngest is finding it all quite difficult to handle. It's not easy being left behind, especially by those who have always been there before.  It's just really hard. Hopefully we can find some perks for staying at home.

But for now I'm off to bed. It's late and all these emotional good byes are catching up with me.


Labor Day Classic: Final Sask 31, WPG 26

First touchdown.

Dominguez makes it 7 to 1.

The game is online at tsn.ca, so I don't have to miss it.

Good game so far. And I LOVE the retro uniforms the Riders are wearing. Reminds me of the good old days.

Back to work. with pictures.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sunday morning we are back in church. I'll be talking a bit and leading Communion.
After the service we are having a potluck to party just a bit, then I will be showing a bunch of pictures from our trip to Scotland.

So if you want to see some sights, come and join us alright?

Copyright Randall Friesen. Powered by Blogger.