Meme

Wendy (Bless her heart anyway) tagged me with this. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

1. I LOVE techno, electronica, dance music. Anything with a good beat makes me happy. (Can you say ABBA, or Paul Oakenfold or E-Type?)

2. I cannot, could not, and never have been able to dance. For that matter, I've never been drunk, smoked anything, and used the F word once. (This doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else, it's just who I am.)

3. I interrupted John Diefenbaker's funeral procession.

4. Through a series of unfortunate events, I once had a date with two girls at the same time and same place. I married one of the girls.

5. I. Love. Pizza. Even after I used to make it for a living, I would eat it every night I worked, and still love it to this day.

6. I have driven from Northern Alberta to Southern Ontario in one go, a number of times. It's over 60 hours drive.

Tanks

As most of you well know, living with emotional stress can, over time, cause your reserves of emotional well being to be depleted. This can happen in a multitude of ways, you will have your own story.

I think mine is about living with a best friend, partner, spouse, who goes through illness and surgery.

Then waiting after the surgery for the results to come back to tell you what shape your life will take for the next 1 to 24 months.

I think this has caused some leakage in the emotional reserves tank.

Though I have been living like the tank is OK, it seems there is a crack somewhere beneath the surface that is allowing the life to escape out of me.

I have prepared a helpful graphic for clarity sake.


I think that being a human sometimes requires us to step up and take one for the team, and so we fake the right side of the emotional resources tank and pretend that there is more in there than there really is. Since the walls of the tank are opaque, we are often able to fake it and pretend that there is much more in there than there really is. Even to ourselves.

This works fine until a friend requires some emotional support from you, and after you stop maniacally laughing you realize, oops the tank, she is empty.

This makes it difficult, if not downright embarrassing, if all the emotional support you can muster up is, "Ah  the blighters deserved it. Let em sink!"

So, not in the vein of poor pitiful me, but rather out of genuine curiosity and interest I would ask, What do you do to refill your tank?  Where do you go to get the tank refilled?

Really.

I'm asking.

Invisible leadership

Some good quotes from the article "The Art of Invisible Leadership" By Dr. W. Craig Gilliam.
Dr. Gilliam is director of The Center for Pastoral Effectiveness for the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

- As the Tao te Ching, that 1000-year-old classic work of Chinese wisdom, put it: When a good leader is finished, the people think they did it themselves.

- "Invisible" leadership builds or cultivates healthy organisms and institutions because when the work is done, people can say we did it ourselves. With invisible leadership, the people take responsibility for their work and their accomplishments. For the headliner leader, gratification comes from the thrill of the spotlight and the applause. But the invisible leader finds gratification and even joy in helping to create an environment that empowers people and the organization to learn and grow. A leader who can stay out of the way is uncommon. Yet invisible leaders have built or nurtured many great congregations and other organizations.

-It puzzles people at first, to see how little the able leader actually does, and yet how much gets done. But the leader knows that is how things work. After all, Tao does nothing at all, yet everything gets done. When the leader gets too busy, the time has come to return to selfless silence. Selflessness gives one center. Center creates order. When there is order, there is little to do.

-...When the leader practices silence, the group remains focused. When the leader does not impose rules, the group discovers its own goodness. When the leader acts unselfishly, the group simply does what is to be done. Good leadership consists of doing less and being more.

- Either way, real leadership is not about dominance and control. Though those traits may be part of the lexicon of modern management, let's don't associate them with leadership. Instead, lets reserve the word leader to mean invitation, not imposition. Time and again, in my world lately, I have witnessed the good news that happens when a community, an organization, or a congregation begins to have an honest relationship with freedom and trust. When that happens, it talks less and less about leadership, power, rules and policies.

- But how does an invisible leader lead? How can she or he make an impact and change the system? The power and impact of the invisible leader may not be seen, but it is surely felt by the system. Though it may sound selfless, invisible leadership is actually anything but. Indeed, it may actually be an extremely evolved form of selfishness. An invisible leader is selfish about the purpose and joy of building others and allowing them space and opportunity to grow.

Larry Norman has died



I want the people to know
That He saved my soul
But I still like to listen to the radio
They say that rock and roll is wrong, we’ll give you more chance
I say I feel so good I gotta get up and dance
I know what’s right, I know what’s wrong and I don’t confuse it
Why should the devil have all the good music
I feel good every day
‘Cause Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away

"Christian music legend Larry Norman died Sunday of heart failure, according to his brother Charles Norman. He was 60.

Norman, a blonde, long-haired rocker who is often called the father of Christian rock music, was a giant in the Christian music industry, said Chris Willman, senior music writer for Entertainment Weekly.

"His influence outweighed his sales so much that it's comical," Willman said. "He certainly had a heart for evangelism — almost to his detriment, I might say. He really could've been a star if he were singing about something other than Jesus."

Norman's 1972 Only Visiting This Planet album is regarded as one of the top contemporary Christian music albums of all time. His many hits were at the cutting edge, said Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College."

Christianity Today

He was only 60.
Not always an easy life, but his struggle is done.

Peace to his Memory,
and may his music continue to rock.

via Brad

Prayer of Submission

We are no longer our own, but yours.
Put us with what you will,
rank us with whom you will;
put us to doing, put us to suffering;
let us be employed for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let us be full, let us be empty;
let us have all things, let us have nothing;
we freely and wholeheartedly
yield to all things
to your pleasure and disposal.

Amen.





(BoCO)

gross

I'm awake again.
My bloated stomach wants desperately to come back up.
I haven't thrown up since grade school.
And I'm gulping as fast as I can, so that I can keep that record.

I feel so so gross.

Be Still

I allowed my head to rise above the parapet today and I looked around.

Week two of waiting for Lauralea's surgery results begins and we seek to live patiently.

Yet the other demands of life grow around me. So this morning I made a list.

At the top of the list I placed the only instruction that I absolutely need to follow,

Be Still.

I need to be still or else the other things won't be completed. Or be effective, or helpful.
I need to be still or I will become lost, and loose my way.
I need to be still, so that I will know who is God, and who is not.

I need to be still.

Still...

Miss. Potter

Last night Lauralea and I opened our new copy of the movie, Miss Potter.

When we first saw the film we wanted to have our own copy, so I picked it up last week, and last night, full of anticipation, we opened it up, and enjoyed it better than we had remembered it to be.

In a day and age when violence and the obscene seems to rule the movie industry, here is a simple little film that is like a deep breath of clean, fresh air.

The story is of Beatrix Potter, and how she became an author, a land owner, farmer, and conservationist. The great tragedy's of her life and some of the great joys play through so well. Even though it's written from a different time and place, the struggles are identifiable, as are the simple joys of life.

And, it is a love story, just not your average love story.
The banner image I have at the top of this page happens to be a picture I took of Windermere Lake, the area Miss. Potter moved to and began to buy up, so that it wouldn't be bought for profit by land developers.

The film is much like her children's books, and like the area she chose to live in. Simple, clear, breathtaking, inviting, warm, and safe.

We can use more of that in our lives.

Wendell Berry on beginnings




It may be when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.


-Wendell Berry

Basic Life Truth: You Reap What You Sow

I offered to take another pastors day for being on call with the hospital chaplain phone today, mostly because he had to go away suddenly and Sundays are not usually too busy. That turned out to be a wrong assumption.

So as it was, the day involved death. Twice.

Death is never an easy thing. Rarely peaceful or gentle, it can be violent and angry.

Sometimes that anger and violence is physical. Sometimes it's emotional. Today it was both.

Can I remind you, my children, that as you live and sow to your life, so shall you die. If you sow towards anger, greed, and self in life, so shall you reap in death. Even a sudden tragic death can leave your family and friends in a state of anger, greed and self, or in a position of grace and mercy.

As the preacher said this morning, if you don't plant seeds of life and love while you live, don't expect to be able to do so suddenly on your deathbed. Because you reap what you sow.

And God.

Will you begin today to create room in your life for God? He knocks, gently not aggressively. If you've heard an aggressive gospel, I question its validity. He knocks, and if you open the door, he will enter. He will not push it in, he will not beat it down, you need to open the door to him. And when you do, Jesus says he will come in, and do lunch with you.

Then he and you can go about changing the things that drive you crazy about yourself.

You want some good stuff growing in your life? Then start planting some good seeds. Today.

Golden era for music in Canada?

Would you be willing to pay $5 a month to download all the music you wanted to, guilt free?

The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) has come forward with a proposal that could radically change things in the files sharing industry. I gotta give them credit for creativity and boldness with their initiative.

They state:
We believe the time has come to put in place a reasonable and unobtrusive system of compensation for creators of music in regard to this popular and growing use of their work. The plan we propose would not change or interfere with the way Canadians receive their music. No one would be sued for the online sharing of songs. On the contrary, the sharing of music on Peer-to-Peer networks and similar technologies would become perfectly legal. In addition, Music Publishers and Record Labels would be fairly compensated for the crucial role they play in supporting Canadian music creators. Canada has given the world some of the greatest music ever produced. We believe that implementing a fair way of compensating Canada’s music creators for the online sharing of their music will usher in a new Golden Age of creativity.

Legalize file sharing. Hmm what a concept, to stop trying to fight it, and instead use it as an income source.

Interesting. Creative even.
We propose a licence fee of $5.00 per internet subscription, per month. Payment of this fee would remove the stigma of illegality from file sharing. In addition, it would represent excellent value to the consumer, since this fee would grant access to the majority of the world’s repertoire of music. Existing download subscription services generally charge considerably more than $5.00 per month, while offering a mere fraction of the file-sharing repertoire. In addition, this would present a major financial improvement for the music industry. Since the license fee would be paid by all internet and wireless accounts, the amount of income generated annually could adequately compensate the industry for years of declining sales and lost revenues, and would dramatically enhance current legal digital music income. Sales of physical product would continue to earn substantial amounts, albeit gradually decreasing. Masters would continue to be licensed to movies and television. Radio would continue to sell advertising and pay royalties on music. We believe strongly that by giving Canadian music Creators a solid business model for the 21st century, this endeavor would initiate a golden era for music in Canada. Ultimately, we see this model being adopted internationally, and we are working with Creators groups around the world to effect a global system of remuneration for the sharing of music files.

 

I think I like this idea.
Five dollars tagged onto my internet connection? For legalized music downloads? And the money to go towards the music industry? Yeah, I think I'd be interested.

That would also remove the bite of the file-sharing industry. They wouldn't be fighting each other any longer, but instead be a source of revenue for the music industry.

Wether it would work or not, this is exactly the kind of thinking that will get us past the fight, the roadblock, if you will. It's creative and could release a bunch of money into the music industry.

Back in the day, if you were a musician, you would need a benefactor, someone to keep you in pants and food, while you created music. Somewhere we shifted into this present system of purchasing recorded music for our own enjoyment and the cash went to the music industry. Perhaps we are on the verge of another monumental shift in how music is delivered to the masses. Five bucks a month seems doable.

I'm interested. Sign me up.

 

 

Â

Brit Awards

Caught a bit of the Brit Awards this past week, and some of the video effects were just stunning.

Of course Sir Paul ended the show with a set of three tunes and my favourite was the visuals for Live and Let Die.
Here it is, as long as the copyright people just Let it Be.

Nothing takes me back to my childhood Sunday mornings like Porridge

She made porridge this morning, and like an old couple we sat at the table just the two of us, eating toast, tea, and porridge.

With the sun streaming through the kitchen window, it was nice.

Wish I liked porridge more.

Something to watch

I was glad when the old Soviet Union crumbled to the ground, after years of prayer by thousands of people. But I wondered how the countries that came out of that time and place would fare.

This week has brought more turmoil in Serbia, and Russia has been doing things that make me nervous for it's future too.

The BBC is running a couple of articles about the shifting power base there. Putin is not someone who seems trustworthy.

Anyway, here's a piece for your international news category.
 




The new President, Boris Yeltsin, moved to neutralise the secret policemen by cutting their budget, slashing their numbers and hiving off their functions to rival agencies. He renamed the organisation the FSB - Federal Security Service - but somehow the spirit of the KGB lived on...


In 1999, Vladimir Putin, then director of the FSB and a career KGB man, was appointed prime minister.

The FSB (Old KGB) has influence beyond its headquarters in Moscow.
On 20 December 1999, at an FSB party to celebrate the founding of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, he (Putin) told his former colleagues: "Dear comrades, I can report that the group of agents you sent to infiltrate the government has accomplished the first part of its mission."

The second part of the mission - getting a KGB man into the presidency - was accomplished the following year.

Under Vladimir Putin, the security services have regained their former prestige, their budgets and their numbers are now higher than ever, and they have gained positions of power in all areas of the nation's life.

According to research by the Russian Academy of Sciences, three quarters of senior politicians have a background in the security forces and Russia's largest companies are now headed by former KGB men with personal ties to Vladimir Putin.



...the spirit lives on.

Owning myself

randallfriesen.com reader Barb writes in her own blog:
I don’t know if it is a universal truth, but especially with church stuff, I always feel I have to be upbeat, pointing out the positive and offering hope and encouragement. This sometimes means that the tough stuff doesn’t get digested and some feelings get denied, which obviously isn’t healthy long term.

So I’m taking time this week to allow myself to feel frustration and maybe even anger. It’s a strange place to be, but it certainly doesn’t feel Godless. Maybe I need to buy a punchbag.

She gives language to my frustrations too.

In trying to come to terms with my frustration and anger, I wrongly consider that it's a waste of time and energy. Or even worse, I become fearful of it owning me and it starting to define me.

I don't want to be that angry, frustrated person.
As a result I end up fighting more than resting and owning my, for lack of a better word, feelings.

I think an appropriate prayer would be,

God help us.

Quiet

I feel like I have so much to write down.

So much is stirring, so much processing, well and not so well.

So many new feelings and experiences as a result of these days.

Feels a bit like there is this emotional hole I'm trying to crawl out of, and it takes so much effort, I keep sliding back down the muddy sides of the hole.

That's why it's been mostly quiet around here.

Just trying to sort out life and people and events and motivations and work.

It'll be alright. Just takes a bit of time is all.


Beautiful Cumbria

Home from the office time

Then make supper time.
Then, I think, do laundry time.
Then watch Doc Martin time.

It's a full life.


:)

$98 -- Fly to Cancun from Saskatoon (Return), this Saturday

I just got this heads up from a friend.

And since I am working this weekend I thought I'd just pass it onto randallfriesen.com readers, especially those from Saskatchewan.




Cancun, Mexico

Top 20 deal - sells out quickly!

Travel dates: February 23

By Tara Rhodes
Travelzoo Staff
It's rare that we ever see deals from Saskatchewan, especially hot ones like airfare to Mexico for only $98 roundtrip. This fare saves you at least $600 OFF what other airlines are charging on the exact same dates!

* Saskatoon to Cancun ... $98 (roundtrip)
Depart: Feb. 23; Return: March 2

This flight is extremely last minute, so make sure you book soon before these seats disappear!

Note: Taxes are approximately $268.






Hey, maybe it will works for some of you.

I just hope my piano player doesn't see this...




link.

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon





Located on an archipelago about 15 miles (25 km) off the southern coast of the island of Newfoundland, Canada, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon represent the sole remaining vestige of France's once vast North American possessions.

The islands became a French overseas territory in 1946 and in May 1985 the islands were given a new status with a new name, Collectivité.
French pride is extremely strong here. The inhabitants speak French and adhere to French customs and traditions. The majority of the population (6,500) is Roman Catholic and the only proper national flag accepted is that of France.





This Island has always interested me. It's 15 miles off the coast of Canada, is a French territory, belonging to France, and still fully French.
Talk about a mouse living next door to a giant...

Well, they have a live webcam. And it's kinda cool to check into now and then.

Looks like a beautiful day there today.

Here is the link to the webcam.

Anne Lamott on God

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
Anne Lamott

Just to keep me humble

I was flattered this morning to receive an email from a travel guide company that publishes guides to cities around the world. They asked permission to use one of my images for their next edition on Chicago.

I thought oh they probably want this well framed picture, or no maybe they want that image catching the evening light.

Nope.

Turns out they want this picture.

House of Blues Southern Turkey Dinner

Yeah. That was a beauty.
The food was pretty good too.

If the amount of Flowers in the kitchen are any indication, then we are loved.



And this picture I took last night.

As of tonight there are 6 more bouquets in the pile.

And supper tonight was an amazing curry chicken with tomatoes and onions that even the guys said they loved, and ate and ate and ate.

Our supper's are taken care of till Wednesday, which is also so cool.

Lauralea said she should get her throat cut more often.

At this rate, I agree.

Thank you, you marvellous cooks and flower choosers.

We love you too.

Night.

After a bit of a long crazy morning at the office trying to get ready for tomorrow, I went up to the Hospital.  Lauralea was itching to get out of there.

She had a very sick roommate who kept her up through the night, and the hall speaker was outside her door, so she was ready to go home and sleep.

We got her home around 2:30 and I went to get a prescription filled and buy some easy makeable soup.

Some kind heart brought us butternut squash soup for supper, and now Lauralea's drugged up and off to bed.

So we are tired and I believe this day is nearly done.

So with that, I thank you all again for your care and notes, and calls.

Perhaps sometime very soon life can get back to some kind of normal.

set back

By the time I got to the hospital this afternoon I expected to see her sitting up, somewhat ready to go home.

I was mistaken.

She wasn't in any shape to go home, and the Doctor who followed me in agreed.

She's still on IV, and sleepy and in pain.

Can't really swallow or carry a conversion.

So it's better for her to stay another night.

Day two of processed food for us.

Gross.

and done.

I'm back home now, making calls etc.

She arrived on the floor around 2:30pm and we waited for the doctor.

She is in and out of sleep, very sick to her stomach, still on oxygen and intravenous.

The doctor tested her voice first thing, which was his big fear, and she could still squeak a little.

He removed half her thyroid and the 4cm diameter growth. He couldn't tell if it was bad so we will have to wait and see.

This news helped L feel considerably better, and she began to return to her old self. The self I haven't really seen for too many weeks.

She is weak and will need some time, but for tonight, all is well.

Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. They are drops of rain on a very dry garden.

Happy Valentines Day.

no word yet

but she must be in recovery by now.

Surgery was to start about 3 hours ago, and she hasn't been moved to her room yet.

Sleepless night, nerves, gross feelings, and up and at the hospital by seven.

But all is well. She walked through the door like a trooper.

I've been in a waiting/staff coffee room since then. I had to to start the car because it was -36C out there this am, so I went for a coffee.

More as it arrives.

Did lunch with Micah yesterday

We went to Pizza Hut which has changed substantially with their "Re-decoration."

No more "Pizza Buffet" table with all the pizza you can eat.

In fact, there were hardly any people in there for lunch where as it used to be full every lunch hour.

But that is a Prince Albert thing I believe. All you can eat sells very well in this blue collar town.

But we had fun.

Those are some of the funnest times I remember having with the kids. Lunch out.

Odd days indeed.

And by odd I don't mean good or exciting.

More surprising and overwhelming and a bit lost.

Yet life moves on.

and I need a nap.

Out for a late supper

Spent the evening eating pasta with Jeff A, my friend and our conference superintendent.

Just connecting with him is good, lots of fun old memories and shared experiences.

The pasta was good too.

Boy it's quiet around here

with the guys gone.

Not bad at all. I can even listen to my own satellite radio station.

nice.

Reclaiming Normal

The stress of these past weeks has been showing up through subtle cracks in the framework of life, or so it seems.

The physical and mental preparations required for a significant surgery in someone near to you are significant. And I suppose the fact that this isn’t a repair job on a knee or some wart removal process just adds to the pressure.

True, this kind of surgery is a regular occurrence, but it’s the what’s next that adds an unknown quality to life. And there are enough concerns with Lauralea’s thyroid and the ever increasing cyst/tumor/growth/lump by professionals who care for us that causes us to take this seriously too.

We have communicated these concerns with the kids and family and some friends because it’s important that they know. But it’s hard to communicate the truth, or possible truth, without it becoming pessimistic or dwelling on the negative possibilities.

Nor do you want to be all, “Oh everything’s fine, no problem, life as usual, cheerio, stiff upper lip and all that what,” either. (The Brits do seem to do a good job at that whole thing.)

No, you want to estimate carefully and communicate honestly, which seems to be a fuzzy line, depending on how tired you are.

And the individual reactions occur in different ways. A child travels home just to be with you a bit. Phone calls that linger. Longer good bye hugs. A kid sobbing into a pillow over a normally insignificant frustration. Stray, random thoughts shoot through your mind at odd times. Hands held a bit longer after praying grace together.

It’s not that anything has changed since yesterday we tell ourselves. Yet everything has changed and we know it. That bit of information about a small piece of a loved one’s body changes things. And that kind of change is difficult to learn how to live around.

The longer we live into the change the more we realize its just the new normal. Whatever happens with the future, even if it’s rosy and good and sunny, we know and will know the difference between how we used to live, and the new normal we find ourselves living in now.

Yes we will settle down and things may feel like they used to feel. I expect we’ll go on living like we used to live. But we will be different people. It makes you different, or at least it gives you a different perspective on life when you live through different realities or shapes of normal.

I am not sure if it is possible to reclaim normal, or if you simply go on to create a new normal. Some of you know those questions and answers much better than I do and I’ll leave it to you who have handled your own shades of normal so wisely, so graciously.

But as for us, these days seem to be times of searching for normal.
New or old, at this point we’ll take any kind of normal.

There they go

The kids from church are off to Norquay for Snow Daze, and Marc is doing the driving duties this weekend.

God go with them.

Please.

Thank you

For your thoughts and prayers through these days.

Your emails, notes, and calls have been a constant encouragement to us, and we are blessed.

Tonight as we have been preparing for tomorrow, laughter and peace has been the rule here. We are not worried about the days ahead and we don't feel really heavy about them either.

Just to take one step at a time tomorrow, through each thing. It will be alright, and good.

Thanks for helping us out these days. We'll let you know how things progress.



Nite.

YoYo

After having the Hospital call and cancel tomorrow's surgery for Lauralea because they had no empty beds, and us playing emotional yoyo for an hour, now it seems surgery is back on.

The Doctor is a man who walks with God, but I think this news pissed him off enough that he called them and didn't back off till it was reinstated.

I knew I liked this guy.

Ash Wednesday

I'm here, trying to work. I need to have this text read by the weekend but I find I'm re-reading paragraphs because my mind goes elsewhere.

Ash Wednesday today, the beginning of a journey that leads toward death. Death on a cross.

Yes resurrection comes too.

But first we must walk to the cross. We cannot be resurrected before we are dead.

So we move towards the cross, and death.

As harsh as it may sound, the cross is not just about death, it's also our symbol of life.

Things within us need to pass away. Parts of us need to die, so that we can be fully alive.

So we take this Lenten journey again.

Holding tightly to the One who can get us through today.

Trusting in the One who holds tomorrow.

Lord have Mercy
Christ have Mercy

A Prayer

I am all out of words these days.
Let these suffice.


Almighty God,
in you we live and move and have our being.
You have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless
till they rest in you.
Give us such purity of heart
and strength of purpose,
that no selfish passion
may hinder us from knowing your will
and no weakness prevent us from doing it.
In your light may we see light,
and in your service find our perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


(BoCO)

Big storm coming

To southern Ontario.

Late tonight it starts through to tomorrow night.

20-25 cms of snow and ice rain.

I remember those days in that part of the world.

Be careful you Ontario-ites.

I had a dream

... that the Calgary Stampeders will win this year's Grey Cup.

I'm only putting this here so that in case they win, I shall be recognized for my dreams and maybe next time I'd put a fiver on the team.

:)

Happy Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, or Mardi Gras, or TÅ‚usty Czwartek, or Fasnacht Day, or Chandeleur, or just plain Tuesday

The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes and doughnuts were therefore an efficient way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself via.


I think we are having Crepes for supper.

I'm hungry already.

Lauralea's Iona Cross



Her latest creation.

(Click to enlarge)

(More images here)

SaskTel's Mobile coverage has been off in Prince Albert

Again today.

If I could switch, I would.

I had a Dream

last night, that I stayed at Tom Brady's house for the night.

The house was great, but Tom was such a downer. He was all "I just wasn't in the zone all night."

Finally I started feeling quite uncomfortable with his depressed attitude.

So he went out to get drunk with his teammates, and I went to bed.

_________________________________

For those of you in Patriot grief this morning, I'm here for you.

This might help.

Ten Years Done

Ten years ago tonight we had just completed our first day pastoring at Gateway Covenant Church.

Our house was full of boxes, we couldn't find anything, and we were trying to get our small kids into their beds because tomorrow would be their first day at a new school.

I was excited, but worried. God's leading us here was so clear as to be considered miraculous. That clarity would be drawn on over the years of work here to reaffirm our call here. Actually during my early days I honestly thought that eventually I would be invited to leave here. People were hurt and wounded and that can result in violent self preserving responses when they feel cornered.

Perhaps that was why, when I was overwhelmed late one Sunday night, I poured out my heart, asking God what he wanted me to do here. Distinctly I heard, as if he was right there, that all he required of me was to love them.

No big plans, no miraculous insights, no huge amazing turnarounds here. Just do what every pastor is asked to do for the people they care for, love them.

How many times I have failed at that. How often I have asked God if he has seen this or that, and he wants me to love?

If there is any redemptive quality from love, and I know there is, it has come in spite of me rather than because of me.

Within the first month here I had two funerals to do. That was two more than I had to do in my previous church during the previous ten years. The funerals were such that the emotional demands they placed on me were completely overwhelming.

The first was a 16 year old boy who was found hanging in his closet, dead. The pain of that loss, meeting with his parents, his friends, his dad who found him, was to me nearly unbearable. The funeral with over 300 wailing weeping lost kids, I'll never forget that.

The second was an elderly lady in the congregation who was dieing of cancer. She was the first I would walk with, through cancer, into death. Her son was in the Cabinet of the ruling political party here in Saskatchewan, and when the day for her funeral came, so did his friends and coworkers. The Premier of the province, along with the Cabinet all flew in for the funeral. They introduced themselves to me and all took their place in the front row. That too I'll never forget.

Since then we've gone on to walk with a number of friends through illness and disease, into death. I've prayed for them all, hard, asking God to spare them. His answers have been complete and good, just different than mine.

We've baptised believers and dedicated children, served the bread and cup, preached, taught, met with, drank coffee with, counselled, prayed for, encouraged, watched out for, married, fed, held secrets for, and tried to love these people God has given me to care for.

Ten years worth.

Last week while visiting an individual, she brought up the subject on how much we have changed as a church. She said she felt we were so much more gentle. We were relaxed and more caring about one another now. I had to agree, we've come a long way and we have much to rejoice over. This place is a great place to live and love and serve. The people are very caring.

Now, as tricky as this work can be occasionally because it's about people, tonight as I reflect on it, it's the kind of thing I've wanted to pour my life into, long term. It's the way I have chosen to spend my life and I am grateful to have had the chance to live this way.

And God has been faithful, in spite of me.

No there have been no big sudden turn-arounds, no quick cures, just a long slow movement towards God which I believe causes a deeper truer change anyway.

Ten years done.

I wonder what the next ten years will hold.

Giants Win Giants Win Giants Win

Wow, New York is going to be a crazy place tonight.

Wish I was there.

Greater love hath no man than this...

that he misses half the Super Bowl to take his daughter to Saskatoon to catch her bus back to school.

Alrighty now, bring on the second half.

And so this week draws to an end

A most difficult, strange week,
full of new feelings and fears,
has drawn to a close.

Thankfully.

If you like you can pray with me this evening.

_____________________________________

Lord, hear our prayer. And let our cry come unto you.

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snare of the enemy;
let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace;
and let your blessing be upon us always;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us.

Amen.

The Internet s e e m s to b e slowing d o w n

If you are a somewhat regular reader you will have noticed a few changes here over the past while. Occasionally you will see a whole new look, then hit reload only to find it changed again.

I have been working to speed up the time this baby takes to load.

It's frustrating that even with high speed I have to sit there and doodle or knit while I wait for the thing to decide to show up or not. I'm not sure if it's the speed of the server being used or if the internet is just going out for a smoke break when I want to use it.

So I've removed the regularly loading Flickr images, because those servers are on constant smoke break and take forever to load. And I have trimmed some other long loading code here abouts. Hopefully the thing starts running better.

If you find something broken, just shoot me or my cell a note.

That is all.

What if 200 people in Grand Central Station suddenly just froze?

You'd see this:


Any one want a Flytunes invitation?

Its a site that plays music through your wifi enabled Ipod.

www.flytunes.fm

Shoot me an email.

Just saw a movie about a cooking rat

Is it just me or is the thought of rats cooking fine foods just a bit repulsive?

Thomas took me out for lunch today

We ate at the place he knew would be clean, Zellers Cafe.

We had the Thomas Special, two BLT wraps with crunchy chicken and some hot southwestern sauce in it that he had to go into the kitchen to help the cook make.

It was good.
We talked about life.

$44.6 BILLION

Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.'s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets. The Justice Department says it is interested in reviewing antitrust issues associated with it.
The surprise offer of $31 per share, made late Thursday and announced Friday, seizes on Yahoo's weakness while Microsoft tries to muscle up in a high-stakes battle with Google likely to define the technology landscape for years to come. via.


Wow. You think it's just another day in the frozen wasteland and then someone offers someone $44.6 BILLION for their company.
Of course, the Someones are not just Anyones.

This is getting interesting.