Evel Knievel, dead.

Evel Knievel, the motorcycle daredevil whose stunts -- including an attempted leap over Idaho's Snake River Canyon -- made him a popular cultural figure, is dead. He was 69.Evel Knievel was known for his daredevil stunts. Over his career, Knievel was said to have broken practically every bone in his body -- some multiple times. With his red-white-and-blue jumpsuits, shock of hair and stone-faced mein, he was a fixture on ABC's program "Wide World of Sports" in the 1970s, his stunts perennial ratings-grabbers.

via.

I remember that big attempted jump over the Snake River Canyon on the Wide World of Sports.

I suppose it's a bit of an amazement that after all that stuff, he was still alive at 69.

Bad news

I heard some bad news as I was driving home tonight. Seems we are in for the coldest winter in fifteen years.

I tell you that does nothing for my motivation. In fact it's a bit overwhelming in ways I never realized.

15 years eh?

That was what, 1992?

I was 29 then.

Younger. Warmer. Or at least I didn't care how cold it was then.

This is hard news indeed.

Gross.

Hmm, where can I get me some PEP Cereal?


Ah, this must be why the good old days were the good old days.

:)

More here. If you dare.

via.

Concert Tonight?

I think that tonight if we were nearby, Lauralea and I would be in attendance at the newly refurbished St Martin-in-the-Fields in London enjoying "Brandenburg Concertos by Candlelight."

Performed by the London Concertante, Adam Summerhayes, director.

"London Concertante is one of the finest chamber ensembles in the country now celebrating its 15th Anniversary, its players brought together through a shared passion for chamber music. The group has the rare ability to combine flexibility of instrumental grouping and consistently maintain superb artistic endeavour. With an enviable array of critical acclaim, a wide spectrum of recordings, and performances throughout the UK and Europe, London Concertante rightfully claims its position at the forefront of classical performers in the UK."

The programme for this evening includes:

Johann Pachelbel: Canon, from the Canon and Gigue in D
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G, BWV1048
George Frideric Handel: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, from 'Solomon'
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 4 in G, BWV 1049
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D, BWV 1050

What a delight that would be.

Then perhaps a walk up the Strand to Porters English Restaurant for a late supper, and a walk back down to Charing Cross Station for a ride home.

A lovely evening out with a pretty girl to share it with.

Nice.






via.

Now, onto Sunday

Back at my desk after an intense four days of funeral prep and people and care and services.

It's quiet here, all except for the Christmas Classical channel I have playing. So it's good. I am gathering my thoughts and starting to plan for Sunday, the First Sunday in Advent.

I set it up a long time ago so that I am leading the service on Sunday. Thankfully my talk is mostly ready, and some of the Advent readings are from last year so I will reuse those. We practiced with the worship people on Tuesday night and we got some good Advent tunes ready for the day. So things are coming along smoothly.

Sunday evening is our annual Advent Concert where everyone brings their song to sing or instrument to play or even balls to juggle. And we celebrate by sharing what we have to offer. It's a cool tradition for us here at GCC and it's one of the things each year that I look forward to.

So I best get to it.

And you, stay warm ok?

Don't get overwhelmed by the snow or cold or the season. Just take it as it comes, lean into God a bit more and let Him care for you too.

Of course it had to happen today

In the midst of this funeral, and the prayer meetings, and repainting the kitchen, and you name it, our EPSON InkJet printer has dried up and no longer prints in colour.

Thomas needs an InkJet to print a transfer sheet for his school project, and I don't have time to go buy one today.

Anyone out there within the sound of my blog have a InkJet printer that Thomas could come over and use a bit tonight?

Ideas?

SORRY I NO SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE

Alright all you people from Brazil who are coming to this web site looking for I don't know what. I am sorry I can't speak a lick of Portuguese, however I do like your drink. A small glass of Port after supper helps settle the stomach in a pleasant manner.

Also, I like your big Jesus. Nice job on that one.

You are welcome here no problem.

But we don't wear those tiny thong like bathing suits you all seem to have taken to so uh, deeply. In fact its so cold here that there isn't enough sun in Rio to melt the ice that would form on us if we stood outside for one minute wearing one of those bathing suits.

So welcome to randallfriesen.com, enjoy the snow, and keep your heavy outdoor clothes on.

And now, in Portuguese:

Alright tudo que você povoa de Brasil que está vindo a este Web site procurando eu não sei que. Eu sou pesaroso que eu não posso falar um lick do português, porém eu gosto de sua bebida. Um vidro pequeno do porto após ajudas do supper estabelece o estômago em uma maneira agradável. Também, eu gosto de seu Jesus grande. Trabalho de Nice nesse. Você é bem-vindo aqui nenhum problema. Mas nós não desgastamos aquele o thong minúsculo como ternos banhando-se você que todos parecem ter feito exame assim ao uh, profundamente. No fato seu assim frio aqui que não há bastante sol em Rio para derreter o gelo que daria forma em nós se nós estivéssemos fora para um minuto que desgasta um daqueles ternos se banhando. Assim a boa vinda a randallfriesen.com, aprecía a neve, e mantem sua roupa ao ar livre pesada sobre.

adeus.

Nearly ready

For the funeral tomorrow.

Time to go home and get some food. I have to be back here for music practice tonight, then later on be back here again for evening prayers.

We came across a cool poem she wanted read at her funeral, and so I've included that in the service.
See if you find your own words in there someplace.






I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, from pain I’m free.
I’m following the path
God has laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard His call
I turned around and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found the peace on a sunny day,

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A family shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I’ve savoured much,
Good family, good times,
A loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief,
Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee
God wanted me now;
From pain I’m free.

-Author Unknown-

I should read my own blog

I had to run some bank errands downtown first thing this morning and while in transit I think I may have gotten frostbite on my ears.

I was covered from my toes to the bottom of my ears, just over my nose, and I guess it wasn't enough.

Dang it's so cold out there.

Stay warm children, and while driving, plan for the worst. Hats, boots, scarves, mitts, you know the routine.

I had to relearn it this morning.

Deep breath everyone...

here we go.

I was out at the 9:15 night prayer time, and I thought it seemed kinda cold out there. I took a bit of extra time shovelling off the back drive and yikes my face got cold quickly.

Turns out this is the reason why.

It's -27 C out there.

Sheesh, I'm not ready for this.

I think winter is upon us.

So, here we go.

Morning, Noon, and Night Prayer

I am at the office today because, among many other things happening this week, it is also our church's yearly prayer week.

We are gathering for morning, noon, and night prayer this year. I just led the noon prayer time.

There are a number of significant stresses happening in our lives these days. Well at least significant enough stresses to keep us from peace. What they are doesn't matter much, except they seem to be coming from so many fronts, and I can't juggle them all while still being who I need to be.

It's very frustrating, overwhelming even.

Into this haze of angst comes the words of the prayer we prayed moments ago:

Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth!
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth.

For those of you King James-edly challenged, it means relax, don't let things freak you out. God is still there and still the same. Patience helps you make it through and anyways you have everything you really need, in God alone.

To that prayer I can say Amen.

God, be with us.

Riders defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19



Well there you go, Saskatchewan Roughriders win the 95th Annual Grey Cup in a very messy win. If Winnipeg would have had their regular quarterback, they would have won.

But hey, a win is a win, and after 18 years without, as I said I'll take it.

And as I know a bunch of Bomber fans crying into their empty glasses tonight I offer this word of encouragement, there's always next year.

Well, ok so I don't have the gift of encouragement.

But hmm, what about that gift of prophecy...

Evening Prayer



The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23

Another Saint is Home

I was up a good piece of the night last night, and early in the morning the call came to come to the hospital. Lauralea heard the phone ring and woke me and I got up and somehow got myself dressed and drove the deserted streets to the hospital.

It's true, our Mildred has gone home.

She passed peacefully and gently, from one world to another, and now she's home.

I don't think I've ever met another human being who fought death so many times, and won. Who had so many physical struggles and losses in her life but who faced each one with the faith that God was real and it would be ok.

And in spite of such difficulty and increasing loss, she never became embittered, never permanently angry at God or others, or even herself.

She taught me so many things.

Peace, much peace to her memory.

An alternative Christmas Present

Wallpaper for the alternative ones out there.

Enjoy.



(Click to Enjoy)

A most prophetable morning

started with a breakfast connection at 8 am where I again freaked out the A&W staff by ordering a papa burger (no onions) and coffee for breakfast.

From there to the Hospital to check on friends there.

Then to finalize my sermons for the next four weeks. I am excited about them because I want to explore the idea of what gifts we have to offer the King. What are Spiritual gifts and how does that whole idea work, what we do with the things God has entrusted to us, and offering up the gift of our weakness. Gonna be a cool Advent this year.

Then there was meeting with Lauralea after her Doctor's appointment, and finally a trip to Micah's school for parent/teacher interviews.

That was some morning.

Now, onto the afternoon.

An Early Christmas Present

For the readers of randallfriesen.com.

I found this online someplace and can't remember it now, but it makes a nice wallpaper, if you are into that kind of stuff.

Cheers, happy season to you, and I hope you Americans didn't overdo it on the turkey or football.



1600x1067.
Should fit most of you out there.

Your Word for the Day: FRISSON

Which is a lot like FRIESEN, and has the same feel to it.

And, I believe, the same definition, which is:

"a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill. Especially a shiver of excitement."

Yeah baby.

a shiver of excitement.

Thursday morning duties

Well I arrived a few minutes late at the guys coffee break this morning and found that I was the only one in attendance, so I had a coffee and quickly got tired of the company so I headed to the Hospital.

I have a friend I care for there who has only days left. Her family is gathering and each day finds her less and less here. I meet with a few of her family who are always there, and I hold her hand and pray with her, for her.

I wrestle with allowing myself to grieve over her going.
She is headed to an eternity that God has witnessed to in her heart time and time again, but I won't see her smile and determined spirit again for a while. Then mix into that mess images that flash through my mind of my dad's passing, and it all gets pretty weird in my heart.

Then I remember that I have to prepare something to talk about on Sunday, and other people out there who need my attention and I decide to grieve later on. I head to the office.

When the people I care for enter into these seasons of life that are about death, I head to the hospital at least once a day, more if the family asks. And as always the phone is nearby so that I can be reached, even through the night.

In the midst of this comes the need to keep the car running in cold weather, and I need to get the house windows winterized because it's starting to get cold out there. I wanted to paint before we did that, but I may not get to. And Lauralea's been going through poking and prodding and things that just create a bit of ongoing low level concern for her, and I.

But hey, that's just my Thursday morning.

Can't wait to see what the afternoon brings.

Secret Obsession

There are just times in life when I have to go over to You Tube and watch old ABBA videos.

Tonight was one of those times.

Depending on who you are, you will see this as either a great weakness or a great strength.

Hey, it's who I am.

Love me or leave me...

...Fernando.

A prediciton for England

I predict there are a lot of poor blighters weeping into their pints tonight.

Croatia 2, England 0.

Ouch.

A cold morning has broken



Instructions:

Click to enlarge.
Enjoy.
Give thanks.

Prophetic Wind? (Read:Gas Bag)

Some of you are curious about "The Prophecy" that is being referenced in some of the comments.

It refers to Sunday November 11th when I spoke at Faith Covenant Church in Winnipeg. Before I launched into my talk I, half jokingly said I had a prophetic word for them and if it came to pass they had to listen to what I had to tell them.

The "Word" went something like this.

That afternoon the Saskatchewan Roughriders would beat Calgary, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers would beat Montreal. Then, the next weekend, Saskatchewan would beat British Columbia, and Winnipeg would beat Toronto.

Though the odds were greatly against this happening, it has come to pass just as I suggested it would.

The last part of the word was that this coming Sunday, Saskatchewan would beat Winnipeg in the final game, the Grey Cup.

Last Sunday, unfortunately, the Winnipeg quarterback broke his arm near the end of the game. That means the team will step up and play harder, maybe even better.

But if this works out the way I guessed it might, I may have to turn my attention to a new calling. Maybe Prophetic Sports Announcer or something like that.

We'll see.


Winter has Landed



It's been snowing all day since I took this picture around 8 am this morning.

So, in your imagination, add like six inches of snow.

Now you get it.

And it's still snowing out there.

Pastorally speaking

Well, it's been quite a day, Canadian Football League wise. My Riders owned BC, and Winnipeg, my second team, beat Toronto. That means that the Riders and Winnipeg will meet next weekend in the final, the Grey Cup.

Talk about your bliss...

But today I am feeling pastorally challenged.

The beauty of being a "hired hand" as a pastor is that you are able to keep yourself at some distance, relationally at least. But if you're going to be more than that, if you're going to be a friend or confidant, or a shepherd, then at some point you're gonna hurt.

This weekend its catching up with me again.

Tonight I sat with a friend of ten years, who it seems, is nearly done with this part of her life. She can barely talk, and her words are unclear and whispered. The oxygen she breathes makes it hard to hear her. But I sit and encourage and whisper my own words to her ear. She wants me to say a prayer, and I gladly offer one, it seems to calm her.

But I wander out of the hospital into the thick falling snow, and I grieve, again, for the loss of a friend.

Last night I was up late praying for a kid from church who's making some really poor decisions lately. I can't get him out of my head. The choices he's making will lead to more pain for him, and he will have to grow through the choices he makes. But I care, I'm concerned with his safety and his future, so I pray.

I see the person in church who has made it clear to me that they no longer want me around. They have difficulty watching as I talk from up front. Strangely I feel no animosity towards them. I see the pain of their lives and the frustration they direct at me, and others, and I wish they could be free too.

I pray and I see the elderly woman who had her basement flood and furnace need replacing, and I think how much more can she stand with her physical pain and financial limitations and living alone in that big demanding house. I know that it means independence for her, something she deeply values, and I pray for God to be close and to watch over her and provide for her.

And the names and faces go on and on. They guy who thought my interpretation of the passage this morning was, "Interesting." (I smiled inside and thanked him...) Or the three ninety year old ladies, each now on their own cane, who still regularly attend, even in spite of the snow and cold, and whisper how tough things are getting more and more.

Or the young mom with three little ones whose husband is away at school for six months and how overwhelming that can be.  Or the young parents with kids who exasperate them completely.

See what I mean??

I don't carry their stuff. God hasn't asked me to do that. But I do walk with them through the things of life. Praying for them when things are garbage, celebrating when a moment is pure and good.

It just means that there are weekends like this that are a challenge, pastorally speaking.

But it's good to be back home. I told them that this morning, because it is really good to be back after a busy autumn.

And though it's difficult to say goodbye to a dieing friend, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Pastorally speaking.

Exactly

this is exactly how I feel so many times.

If I had a dime for every time I wanted to quit being a pastor I'd be, well I'd still not have a lot of money, (which is probably why I didn't become an accountant either but thats another thing...)

This work, which at times can seem so trite and lonely and absurd, is still the work that I do and usually love.

But there are days...

On How rugged individualism can kill you

This is a time in our western civilization when we are becoming more fragmented and disconnected as people.

Oh, we say we are more connected than ever before with our cell phones and txt-ing and emails and blogs and on and on it goes.

But the truth is we are still separating ourselves from others at an alarming rate of speed.

It might be that a new job opportunity moves us away from home. Or we work longer hours and hours that take away our opportunity to be with people we care about. Maybe we feel like people are busy with their own lives so we don’t fit in with them any longer.

Whatever the reasons, we are simply coming to the place where there are less and less significant people in our lives on a daily basis.

Doctors are saying that this is one of the reasons we are increasingly living with low level stress in our lives. That leads to physical ailments, emotional problems and relational breakdowns.

It also leads to spiritual deadness.

Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:19 that we are joined together in Christ’s body “...supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

The ligaments and sinews and some translations include “Joints,” are the connecting points of the body of Christ. They are the places where two parts of the body meet together, where they “Relate.”

Since we as followers of Christ are part of Christ’s body, we are growing in Christ as we connect and relate to others in his Body. If we separate ourselves from others, then how can we grow in Christ?

Indeed, if we are cut off from his body we will die.

So these days I’m thinking about whom I am connected to. Who do I have relationship with, who do I invite into my life and share life experiences with?

I need friends in my life who will walk with me and challenge me and grow with me because that is what causes me to grow.

Who are the people in your life who have access to your heart? Maybe spending some time cultivating relationships is the best and most spiritual thing we can do for a while?

Build something eternal and gracious and life giving in your relationships. Start by calling somebody up and go out for coffee, and welcome them into your life.

Then pay for the coffee.

Super ninja chi tea moves

I was at the Hospital this morning for a meeting and as I was leaving the place I nearly wiped out completely on the ice and concrete.

But thanks to my Super Ninja Chi Tea Moves, I was able to avoid going down completely.

however...

The guy coming towards me, bigger, taller, bulkier than my svelte self, and as it turned out, less Ninja like, didn't have such success.

His feet went out from under him and his whole body lifted into the air as he launched himself, his right shoulder, head first onto the ice and concrete.

Crap, big crap. Well that's what he said, except there was a well deserved S where the C was... and a hit where the rap was, truth be told.

And I absolutely agreed with him.

I moved over to him to check on him, and like most guys he got up as quickly as the shock allowed and said he was ok. But I knew he wasn't OK as I watched him limp into the hospital, hunched over.

I really really hate that about winter up here. People die falling down like that. Bones break, ligaments pull, and blood clots up and causes aneurysms and people die.

Just glad I've got the Super Ninja Chi Tea Moves going for me these days.

I'm just gonna feel it in the morning.

This boy knows me

During the weekend I was being contacted by another pastor, at home. I txt-ed a updated question for Thomas who was the go between:

MY TXT MESSAGE: "Any luck calling that pastor for me"

THOMAS TXT MESSAGE: "Nope, but the fudge people are in the mall"

Does he know me or what.

So today I had to stop in for some maple fudge.

Yep, Christmas is here if the Fudge people are in the mall.

Home again

Made it home, late last night.

I ended up leaving Winnipeg a bit later than I had planed, and I forgot that it takes a good 10 hours to drive, rather than the 8 I was thinking of. I had to be in Prince Albert for a meeting that began at 7 pm.

Anyway, I was glad when the speed was 110 kms on the double lane highway, because I drove hard all day.

And, I was driving head first into a 80 and 90 km wind, it was fierce, and when that increased to snow and rain, well then the fun began.

I was quite proud of myself because I only stopped for gas and that had to include a toilet break. So half an hour out of Regina I had to "Go," but I successfully held er together till Saskatoon, three hours later.

I totally owned my bladder.

:)

Anyway, I got to the meeting shortly after 8pm. It was my yearly evaluation results meeting and i got out of there after 11 pm.

Upon reflection, it was ok, the meeting I mean, well, and the evaluation. People still like what we do here and there is lots of support for us here.

Lauralea and I sat up till early in the morning talking, catching up after a while apart.

It's good to be home.

nearly done here

It's been a good day here in Winnipeg.

I left at 9:30 am and got back at about 11:00 pm, and the day was full of connections with people, sharing stories, listening to hearts, praying with souls... it's all good.

Tomorrow morning I have one more good connection, Jeff's making me breakfast. Then I'm driving home.

A very good weekend here, and though I couldn't meet with everyone who wanted to, I'll plan to meet with you later on this fall.

And now, I'm tired.

Off to bed.

night.

"Refresh" Going well

Refresh 2007

Well, I am having a good time here, these people are great.

I am encouraged and full of hope for our future if these are the kinds of people that are moving into leadership and setting direction.

It's been great to be with them and swap stories and explore community.

They are good people.

(Click for more images...)

The Forks - Winnipeg

Some of us got down to The Forks a bit today. It was beautiful in the dusk light.

So many good memories as I drive through the city. It's good to be here again.

Refresh - "Hurry Hard"

Made it to Winnipeg and things are going great.

Tonight after worship, we went Curling. A Canadian thing to do.
I got a bunch of shots on Flicker,

Like this one.

IMG_3557

on the road, again.

Well I think I have my marbles together.
Some pages of notes and a few handouts for those who learn visually.

This one's been interesting. I knew what I was going to talk about three days after I was asked to do it. That rarely happens to me, but this time it seems God has some things for us to explore.

I am looking forward to it too. Three days with 20 and 30 somethings is a great way to spend a weekend.

I believe there will be a Chinese food banquet, late night curling, a trip to a mega book store, and various coffee shop opportunities to catch up with them.

I'm doing a optional workshop on "Listening for God - or how to make a decision that is good for you." It's a process St. Ignatius Loyola helped shape, and it's simple but its good to explore again how we listen to God and discern his leading.

But the bulk of the time will be spent talking about how we are such independent people, and how God has created us to be interdependent.

Yeah, it's gonna be good.

I'm just not looking forward to the 9 or 10 hour drive tomorrow with this weather going on.

But yeah, I should be back next week.

Be good. Play nice, and send up a prayer or two ok?

If you need one, just shoot it to my cell phone.

This is interesting

Last summer while we were on the Isle of Iona, on Monday afternoon while we were on the west side of the Island in a strong wind, I took this picture.

Just putt around the sheep...

At nearly the same moment there was a guy in a plane flying over the Isle to the north, and he took this picture.

That's just coolness.

I guess my vote doesn't count

as I had voted for no snow this winter.

It snowed all night long.

Now, my usual response to snow, especially the first snow of the year, would be "Gross."

Lauralea's first response to snow is usually giddy excitement. She is the one who ALWAYS wakes me up on the first snow day of the year with excited glee concerning the nocturnal downfall.

It's my job then to bring her back down to reality with a grumpy moan and some derogatory murmur about the white precipitation covering everything.

But not this morning.

She doesn't like the snow this year.

I don't like the snow most years, and she's the one who's suppose to like it. Things are changing so fast, I can't keep up.

Changes

Well the provincial election is completed, for the most part, and it looks like change is in the wind. The Saskatchewan party, (so named because the Progressive Conservative party so hosed the province in their last term in office that I guess the name "Conservative" doesn't sell any more, but I digress.)

Yep, there is change in the air, although I really thought that locally the Sask party would do much better than it did. In our riding the New Democratic Party took the seat, again. Which surprised me.

Ah well, a change is as good as a rest they say. I hope it translates into some positive changes for people on a level where they live.

Now, onto the next change, Snow is forecast, and I'm really concerned with that.

I had voted for a snow free winter this year.

Digitally speaking.

I need a new Doctor as mine is leaving town, again. This will be the forth or fifth Doctor I've had in ten years.

I was just talking with someone who is also looking for a new Doctor, and his requirement is simple. He wants a Doctor who has long, thin, fingers.

After I finished laughing, I realized that I too am of the age where that should be a significant requirement.

Digitally speaking of course.

Tell me whom to vote for...

It's Election time in Saskatchewan and I need to go vote before I head home for supper.

So, here lies an opportunity for you to effect the outcome of a provincial election.

Tell me whom to vote for.

Colin Fraser Saskatchewan Liberal Association
Darcy Furber New Democratic Party, Sask. Section
Ray Johnson Green Party of Saskatchewan
Kevin Shiach Saskatchewan Party

In an opportunity rarely afforded the regular reader of randallfriesen.com, I would like to give you an opportunity to state your preference on whose name I should place an X beside.

You may be from Elbow Sask, Johannesburg South Africa, or the outer Hebrides, just tell me what you think.

And on this important occasion, I will allow for anonymous responses, so that if a party official wants to tell me to vote for their guy, you may do so, "Without baggage."

Vote early, vote often, as my Chicago friends like to say.

All Faithful Departed

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had His hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled—
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?


“Heavy” by Mary Oliver. From Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver (Beacon Press, 2006).

Baloney



I don't know what this picture was doing on the camera, but by the subject matter I can safely deduce that it was set up and taken by one of my boys.

Don't ask me how I know that. Just a father's instinct.

:)

Gossip 411

Well yeah, I wanted to do a little post about gossip and how not to do it and how it's been my experience that sometimes Christians with a lot of time on their hands seem to move in this whole area way too much but I just don't think it would be a good use of my time.

I've already had to spend way too much time on it today anyway.

Pit of hell stuff.

Dealing with gossip always makes me feel dirty and like its a waste of energy and time.

So cut it out, ok?

Steve's gone.

As I pulled into my parking space at the church this morning I was just a bit overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness. Steve, our youth guy, and the guy with the parking spot next to mine, has left the church.

Sunday was the farewell for him and Lisa. He's off to follow God's leading and by Friday he will be in the RCMP training program down in Regina.

And that set's me back in the lone ministry position here at Gateway.

I did the lone pastor thing for some 10 years in my last post, but when I came here one of the treats was that there was another staff person, and I work well with others.

It's great to have someone else moving about the space. Someone to bounce new ideas off of or share notes with. Someone to pray with, drink a coffee with, and generally understand when things are crap at home, because they've been there too, last week.

I am glad for Steve, discernment has been going on for a long time now and the process is underway. But this morning pulling into my parking spot, it hit home.

So, I'm at the office, alone, getting things ready for the weekend, and it's -10C outside.

It's all just a bit gross this morning.

Day off

Well the day began with a bit of a sleep in. Till 11 if I remember correctly.

By the time my head hit the pillow last night, I was exhausted. Sometimes on Sundays I am so tired that i can't sleep. Yeah I know, makes me crazy, but it happens, and it happened last night.

Anyway, 11 am saw me eating some eggs and juice. A highlight of the day if you ask me.

In the afternoon I was out in the yard getting ready for winter. Shovelling gravel in low spots in the driveway, raking leaves, putting away the bikes, covering the swing with a tarp. Basically trying to remember that a wedding will happen here before the snow goes so I have to make decisions on where things should go, now, before the snow comes.

Lauralea and I went for some groceries, and made some soup for supper.

Tonight I've been watching some of the Monday Night Football, and Canada's Worst Drivers, with the guys, while Hillary is upstairs playing a game with her game starved mom.

Tomorrow I start to get ready hard core for this weekend of "Refresh" in Winnipeg.

Which reminds me, when God created humans, it reports, "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..."

So, "God said" something to some one, there was a meeting of God. The three got together and there was a meeting and someone suggested this concept of creating humans as an image or picture of God.

Cool.

This was a big decision, a big deal, so there was a corporate discussion about it.

Maybe even a plan was put forward.

These things have been in the works for a long long time.

That gives me some hope for this old earth.

Yeah. busy week ahead.
nite.

Time stands still in saskatechewan, saskatchiwaan, sashi, never mind.

Hey, don't forget to change your clocks tonight.

Forward or back, I don't care, makes no difference to me because I LIVE IN SASKATCHEWAN WHERE WE DON'T CHANGE THE CLOCKS!!

Yes, time sometimes stands still here, but it's kinda nice not having to worry about it.

(You know, I've lived in this province for most of my life and I still don't know how to spell saskatchewan! I so totally had to look it up there!!)

Coming Home

It appears that we are as ready as we are going to be for Hillary's arrival. She's on her way home as we speak, to hide out here for reading week.

And much work and frustrated yelling and slamming of doors has ensued as the boys have been drafted to carry boxed downstairs, clearing out the storage/Hillary's bedroom.

Which only serves to make the mother tired and weepy and, such things.

So here we sit. Lauralea on one computer, and I on another backing up five years of photos, (Don't bother to ask), Thomas eating supper after returning from work, and Micah going upstairs to finish cleaning up his room.

We are waiting for Hillary to phone and say she's in some town about half an hour from here and can we come and pick her up.

So, it's quiet here now, penitent even.

Which is a good thing.

And tonight...

Lauralea and I will be attending a keynote address by Stephen Lewis who will be talking about "The Virus of Inequality."

I'm looking forward to it. Mr. Lewis has gone on to work for the UN and has served the world well with his first hand accounts of the needs of Africa.
On Dec 31st, Stephen Lewis’s tenure as UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa comes to an end. For five and a half years, he’s criss-crossed Africa and the world at breakneck speed. His crammed schedule has included endless speeches and high level meetings with Presidents, UN officials and anyone who will listen to his impassioned plea for Africa. Possessing an intricate knowledge of the continent, he's made countless visits to grassroots projects: they give him great hope but also disturb him most deeply because the spectre of death is still everywhere. Each death haunts him. He rarely sleeps on these epic journeys – in fact it's not clear when he gets any rest at all.   via.

8:00 pm tonight, at TCU Place, Saskatoon.

Just so you know

I was in Walfart today to pick up a card, (They are charging the US prices on cards, wrapping paper, magazines, and books!) and while standing there finding nothing that fit the occasion, there began playing over the sound system the song Joy to the World.

November 2, and Christmas music is being played.

Sigh.

Joy to the world, indeed.

one step forward, two steps back

progress is made and progress is lost.

In parenting, relationships, and work, which seems to be all that my life consists of lately.

Trying to live life in balance, when some days balance cannot be found.

Tonight's meditation for prayer was this:

It is a difficult
lesson to learn today,
to leave one's friends
and family and deliberately
practise the art of solitude
for an hour or a day
or a week.
For me, the break
is most difficult ...


And yet, once it is done,
I find there is a quality
to being alone that is
incredibly precious.

 



Life rushes back into the void,
richer,
more vivid,
fuller than before!

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


I'm still up at 11:40pm because I am waiting for the house to settle down and I am looking for a brief few moments of this solitude.

Last night I was in bed reasonably early, but for whatever reason I couldn't sleep. The more I tossed and turned, the more agitated I became until I finally got up and went to the living room. Around 2:30 I was ready to sleep, and as I hit the pillow, I slept. Looking back now I wonder if it was the solitude I was after.

“In silence you leave the things of the world for the things of God. In solitude you leave the things of God for God alone.”

I can't "Do" solitude when there are other people around, which I suppose is a bit of an oxymoron. But I can't. Especially when there are things to leave with God. Children, relationships, and work.

I realized lately that this is one of the things that keeps me balanced and rooted, solitude.

And that's what I'm doing up late on a Thursday night in November.

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day, a day to remember the saints and believers in Christ who are passed on and are now with Christ.

I have a list of people, Saints, who have lived lives of faith before me, and have gone on ahead. Today I'm thinking about them, giving thanks for their lives.


It's also the first day in the Celtic new year.



Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.