Public Announcement

Monday, March 31, 2008
"The proprietor of this Blog, Randall Friesen, announced earlier today that due to a lack of interest and time because he has a major assignment due for class, there will be no acknowledgement of, or shenanigans associated with April Fools Day this year.

He is still enjoying the fun from three years ago."

Journeying Home

Only lately as in the past few days, has it begun to dawn on me how far I have travelled from the place I prefer to live. The place I'll call home.

It is a place of contentment and relative peace, where the stress comes from without, rather than from within.

When it comes from the outside, I can deal with it and return to that space of clarity. When it is from within, I end up running from ghosts and half clear thoughts. Even solitude is difficult when the stress comes from within as I become my own worst enemy.


This year has been so intense, so busy. So many things to try to process and move through, work, school, family, health, discernment, future. The list this year has seemed more intense than any I remember recently.

And the lists have pulled me from home, from the place I am myself, to a place of occasional confusion and doubt, and if I am honest, fear and worry. I feel somewhat homeless, as I wander through these lists of life.

It is not a homelessness from God or even that I feel disconnected from him. For in fact He seems closer these days than many times in the past. No, that tether is secure and provides me with a good level of hope and strength that helps me move through most days.

No, this is just the stuff of life crowding out the horizon. I've been out here with these dang lists so much that I seem to have lost the clear way back to, well back to home.

The other day Lauralea observed that at the end of last summer, and last autumn, I was laughing again. It gave her hope that at least that part of me was still alive someplace down inside.

It is, or I am, still alive down in there some place amongst the lists. And they seem to be parting a bit, clearing just enough so that I am catching glimpses of home again.

It does give me great hope, and occasionally a clear direction to move in. Because it's a place I love to live.


Wordpress 2.5

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Spent some time tonight installing Wordpress 2.5.

The dashboard changes are significant and much cleaner looking.

Now I have Tags and Categories!


(Click to enlarge)

Sunday morning

and the Saints who meet at Gateway Covenant Church are gathering.

Gathering from their different lives and experiences this past week.

Gathering to create together what they could not create alone, an hour of worship which pours from the unique place their lives and hearts have been this week.

No where else on the earth will this be replicated.

So today will be unique, and what we bring the King will be unique too.

A gift for a king, only available in Prince Albert, Canada.


Saturday, March 29, 2008
(Written July 1998. Added here because I need to remember it)

I enjoy talking to the Lord, especially when my heart is full.

I'm kind of like a child running home after school to tell his mom all about what he saw & heard that day. Or sometimes if you've had a hard day at school, you return home to mom and she hugs you and says it'll be all right. That's how it is sometimes with God and me.

Late last Sunday night I was at the Church talking to God like that. I was telling him about the day's ministry, and how it had gone. I was telling Him some of my concerns & fears.

Then I began to ask Him what were the keys for this church. What were the things that would unlock peoples hearts and minds toward the gospel? How was He going to implement His plan for this church?

He was quiet.

Being a bit impatient, I asked the question in another way.
"What did He want me to do here? How did He want me to respond to the many different people and situations?"

I silently waited on the Lord.

Then, in the way the Lord often "Talks" with me, I began to hear His still, small voice call me to Ephesians 5:2. It says;

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma."

I had heard enough to know it was Him, and that this was His heart for this church.

I confess that it did surprise me a bit. He didn't say "Change this or that" He didn't say "Teach them this new truth,” nor did He say "Go out and get all new people!”

He didn't say "Harp on them till they get it right,” He didn't say "Turn the church around into a new direction,” and He didn't say "The problem is you don't have enough money!”

He didn't say "Get rid of the hurting people,” or "Only let good Christians into the church.”

He didn't say "Change all the leadership" or "Get more people praying" or even "Target your worship to meet the needs of the lost.”

What He asks of me, and us, is far greater, and sometimes harder than all these things, He asks us to walk in Love.

His example to me of this kind of love was God made flesh - Jesus Christ. That in loving another, as Christ loved us, there is a call for a great sacrifice. A sacrifice of all I may hold dear. My rights, my desires, my hopes and plans, my dreams, all to be laid aside for those I'm called to love and be a part of.

Then I realised the last part of the verse. The results of this selfless love, is that we become a sweet-smelling sacrifice before God. That our offering isn't in vain, that it's not counted as lost, but that indeed, our sacrifice, our offering pleases the living God.

This is to me a living Hope!

Yet I remind myself that success (as I would see it!) is not promised. That a large, victorious, harmonious, loving church may not be the final result.

It may or may not be God's desire, but we are people and as people, we continue to make our own choices.

But the success we are called to is the success of faithfulness. That of being a faithful sacrifice unto the Lord.

Remember Jesus sweet example. He didn't succeed as the disciples saw it, they saw Him die. But He did succeed in God's eyes, He was faithful throughout the sacrifice of love, and God raised Him up from the dead and rewarded him with Glory.

So I, and we, are left with the choice of living a sacrificial love towards each other, or doin it our own way. As for me, I want to choose God's way, though I know my tendency to fail.

I want to be a sweet-smelling sacrifice before God more than I want to get my own way. When I get my own way, I often end up smelling like a chicken farm anyway.

If we give Him the chance, He'll take care of the details and changes that need to happen for us to grow. As for our part in the process, He asks us to "Walk in love, as Christ walked . . . "

Am I willing?




Whom have you invited to church lately?

How did you first come to Church?

14000 people were asked how they found their way into a church. They responded;

.5% Came as a result of an evangelistic crusade.

1-2% Came as a result of a special need they had in their lives.

1-2% Came as a result of a visit someone made to them from the church.

2-3% Just walked in off the street.

2-3% Came for the church programs.

4-5% Came because of the church Sunday School.

5-6% Came because of the pastor’s ministry.

75-90% Came because they were invited by a friend or relative.

After 23 years I do believe Lauralea is getting the hang of this marriage thing.

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish!) is part of the warm welcome needed. 

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.




N. T. Wright on how Heaven Is Not Our Home

Heaven Is Not Our Home: The bodily resurrection is the good news of the gospel—and thus our social and political mandate by N. T. Wright.

From Christianity Today

When the church is seen to move straight from worship of God to affecting much-needed change in the world; when it becomes clear that the people who feast at Jesus' table are the ones at the forefront of work to eliminate hunger and famine; when people realize that those who pray for the Spirit to work in and through them are the people who seem to have extra resources of love and patience in caring for those whose lives are damaged, bruised, and shamed—then it is natural for people to recognize that something is going on that they want to be part of.

No single individual can attempt more than a fraction of this mission. That's why mission is the work of the whole church, the whole time. Paul's advice to the Philippians—even though he and they knew they were suffering for their faith and might be tempted to retreat from the world into a dualistic, sectarian mentality—was upbeat. "These are the things you should think through," he wrote: "whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is upright, whatever is pure, whatever is attractive, whatever has a good reputation; anything virtuous, anything praiseworthy." And in thinking through these things, we will discover more and more about the same Creator God whom we know in and through Jesus Christ and will be better equipped to work effectively not over against the world, but with the grain of all goodwill, of all that seeks to bring and enhance life.

This article is excerpted from his latest book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church


Friday, March 28, 2008
We've made it back home. After a day of activity and treasure hunting.

Took the holidaying boys with us to Saskatoon and hit the used XBox game store, then an old used book store. We found treasures in each place.

Coffee with Lauralea, then supper with mom, and off for home again.

Now we are back and I have a full day of work tomorrow.

I'm tired, off to bed.

Stay warm and safe. Big snow in the forecast.


Market Mall

The mens washroom at the mall has WiFi. Now that's effort.

Not bad at all.

Reporting from the third stall...

Gibsons Fish

is the best place in Saskatoon to go for fish.

Lunch was great.

Virginia Woolf

On a cold spring morning on Friday, March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf sat down at her desk in her writing hut and wrote to her husband, Leonard:

“I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

And she, who struggled with what we now know as bipolar disorder, walked down to the River Ouse, and placed stones in her pockets. She walked into the river and drowned herself.

She was not found until April 18th.



Thursday, March 27, 2008
I think I'm nearly done with winter here already. More snow fell today, like it has every day since Sunday morning.

I say enough already.

Bring on Spring already. Who do you gotta pay around here to get some sun?

Adele - Chasing Pavements


I, uh, slept through prayer time this morning...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Dear Sisters in Christ;

It is with much regret that I must seek your patience and understanding in as much as this morning as my alarm awoke me at a reasonable time to allow me a leisurely morning in the washroom completing my morning ablutions to get me to the appointed prayer meeting well and on time, did not happen.

I regret if my absence has made your hearts sorrowful or full of feelings of abandonment by myself. That is indeed not the intent.

I am however, humbly penitent, and rebuked of spirit.

I remain yours prayerfully,

Rev. Randall E. Friesen

And now, we are four.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
From 20 people in our house on Friday, to nine on Sunday, to eight on Monday, to six this morning, to four this afternoon.

Everyone has left.

It will be a long time before we see Nate and Johanna again, I suspect. Saying goodbye to them was hard this time.

With their Neon loaded up with everything they need to take from here, off they went, into the West.


And I am back at the office, with more memories of this church space than I had a week ago, and getting back into life.

I believe I have a major paper that has been delayed till this week. But for tonight I think we four will just take it easy. Soup for supper, maybe a movie in the evening, just decompress and let these new feelings find new homes in our hearts.


Once again, settling into the new normal.

It's ok.




More Pictures

Monday, March 24, 2008
loaded up to Flickr.

The Couple

And here, on Marc's blog. Look what he does with a camera.


What a day

Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Bride was beautiful, the groom was in top form and the day was a success.

Getting down to business 

Late tonight as Lauralea and I got into the van, Hi-fiving each other, we agreed it was a most blessed day indeed.

The dress was a success, as was the meal, and Lauralea made it all look good in her new outfit.

The mother of the Bride

A few pictures, just a few. It's late and we are absolutely exhausted.


The whole party



The Last Night

Friday, March 21, 2008
Well tonight we have our house to ourselves for the night, something I've waited for. And it is significant to me.

All the family will sleep here, one last time tonight, in the place we've called home for ten years.

Lots of memories too. Birthday parties, Christmas mornings, graduations. Meals together, fights, voice lessons, homework, just life lived out one day after another.

Its not all sad news though. Tomorrow Nate joins the family, and Johanna and he will go make their own family. That just keeps moving forward, into eternity.

I think that for all my kids I wish for them the best of a close intimate lifetime relationship. That is such a wonderful thing.

Lauralea and I are not perfect, and we've fought lots, but while I was vacuming tonight I thought I don't think there has ever been a time that I wished I had not married her. No regrets there, at all. And to me that is a real gift.

I wish that for my kids too.

May Johanna & Nate experience all the life and love that a lifetime of commitment can offer. And may the three of them enjoy all God has for them.


...the last one.

Two more sleeps

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Its hard these days to find solitude and get a clear head. But these things I know for sure.

Lauralea is amazing. Sewing a wedding dress, hosting, feeding and caring for a house full of relative strangers, buying food for a reception, spending all day working on the food, and tomorrow she wants to sew herself a new skirt for the wedding.

The kids are amazing. Hillary, Thomas and Micah have stepped up and answered the call well beyond the call of duty. From looking for dresses to planning the bridal party, from doing all the music for the wedding, with a youth band no less, to helping with sound and setup, and giving up their rooms for strangers and sleeping on floors, buying wedding gifts, and standing up for their sister, they have done incredibly well. I am so proud of them.

And the bride, planning and pulling this thing off from a great distance. Every detail thought through, each angle of each detail considered, not in an obsesive way, but a considerate way, concerned for peoples feelings.

And the groom. Sensitive enough to know we are exhausted, trying his best to help clear the way, concerned over the bride, sacrificing his time to sit and wait for a call while we need to go out. A call that never comes.

I am like a rich king with wealth pouring everywhere, if wealth is a great family. Really.

Not perfect, they don't have it all figured out yet, but dang if they don't know how to step up and be there.

On Saturday when this thing happens, it will be because they cared and made it happen.

They are amazing, good people.

I love them all.

Nearly here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
So, I think I am finally mostly ready for the Easter services- Maundy Thursday tomorrow night, (7-8 come and join us!) Sunrise Service at 7 am Sunday morning, and then the regular Sunday Easter Service on Sunday morning.

But I'm not sure I am ready for this wedding thing.

"They" are good together, and Nate is not hard to like or get along with. He's good stock. No, I mean the different things that are at work in our lives preparing for this party.

And physically, I can't remember being so weirded out. I am so tired all the time, and it seems like at night about an hour after I fall asleep, I am awakened by a violent fireworks in my gut that is committed to making an escape the same way the food came in. It's downright scary, waking up, swallowing quickly trying to keep things down there.

But, things around the house don't feel pressured or difficult, even with nine people here now. It's just moving along towards this conclusion, sometime on Sunday.

I am sure looking forward to the Wedding, but boy am I also looking forward to Monday.








SD, Internet, Sausage, and Hillary. Yes in that order.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Today I had an appointment with my Spiritual Direction Supervisor (It's not like they let us run amuck while we are in training!!) and it was really good.

I learned some new things about myself, and I just really sat in awe of these people who do this stuff with ease and insight, wielding the tools with ease and precision. It was good.

Then I met up with another pastor and we were able to catch up a bit with our lives. Encouraging chat and connection with him.

I helped get his churches on a good path with an Internet presence, which can be tricky in a church. It's too easy to have a crappy web presence, and it takes some effort and commitment to keep it up to date... (which I have done a lousy job at lately, I admit)

Then I popped over to a Christian organization to help get them online. They've been trying for a while, and some of the numbers they have received as quotes made the job impossible for them. I can get them up and running with no fees from me, and off they go.

A quick supper with my mom, who still makes the best Mennonite farmer sausage, and vareneki, and shmount fat, and I am a happy camper.

Then I picked up Hillary at the Airport, and we got in around nine tonight.


Now I'm tired, and it's early prayer tomorrow, so I am off to bed.





and as I crawl into bed bone weary...

Monday, March 17, 2008
I am glad for a comfortable bed, a safe home, and a good rest.



A couple of weeks ago I was learning Yahoo Pipes, and came up with an rss feed for all things Randall Friesen.

It's like an RSS feed for everything I post online.

If you're into that sort of thing.

Check it here. 



Hanging with the cool girl

Today during lunch hour, Lauralea and I caught Micah's school band concert.

We entered and quickly she was swarmed by other moms and dads. She was the center of attention, and I quickly realized I was with the cool girl.

Other parents wanted to sit by us and run their comments past Lauralea, ask her opinion on things - it was crazy, and fun.

Usually we go to a place and I'm the guy people connect with, she gets overlooked.

But today I got to be in her world and it was fun.

Lovely to bask in her glow a bit.




Happy St. Paddy's to ya then

So it falls to the Saint's day to be on a week when it's also Easter, and a Wedding, and a house full of guests. 

I'm just saying it may fall between the cracks somewhere.

Patrick - Patron saint of Ireland 

"Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere."

Patrick is remembered today as the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland (not true), the teacher who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity (doubted), and the namesake of annual parades in New York and Boston. What is less well-known is that Patrick was a humble missionary (this saint regularly referred to himself as "a sinner") of enormous courage. When he evangelized Ireland, he set in motion a series of events that impacted all of Europe. It all started when he was carried off into slavery by Irish raiders.

A 16-year-old Romanized Briton, Patrick was sold to a cruel warrior chief whose opponents' heads sat atop sharp poles around his palisade in Northern Ireland. While Patrick minded his master's pigs in the nearby hills, he lived like an animal himself, enduring long bouts of hunger, thirst, and isolation. A nominal Christian to this point, he now turned to the Christian God of his fathers for comfort.

"I would pray constantly during the daylight hours," he later recalled. "The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more. And faith grew. And the spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less."

After six years of slavery, a mysterious, supernatural voice spoke to him: "Soon you will return to your homeland."

So Patrick fled and ran 200 miles to a southeastern harbor. There he boarded a ship of traders bound for Europe.

After a few years on the continent, Patrick returned to his family in England—only to be called back to Ireland as an evangelist.

"I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut ... and they cried out as with one voice, 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.' I was deeply moved in heart and I could read no further, so I awoke."

Whether Patrick was the first missionary to Ireland or not, paganism was still dominant when he arrived. "I dwell among gentiles," he wrote, "in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things."

Patrick's mission faced the most opposition from the druids, who practiced magic, were skilled in secular learning (especially law and history), and advised Irish kings. Biographies of the saint are replete with stories of druids who "wished to kill holy Patrick."

"Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity," Patrick wrote, "but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere."

Read the rest here.


On how cool it is to be addressed as "Sir"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One of the Son-in-laws relatives is a U.S. Marine.   He's been with us for a day already and I am here to tell you that it goes straight to your head when you are addressed as Sir. 

"Yes Sir."

"No Sir."

"Thank you Sir." 



I think the Marines could start up a boot camp for Kids. You know, if they had some extra time on their hands and wanted to raise a bit of extra cash. 






Palm Sunday

Credit where credit is due.

I awoke this morning with Howard Dyck and Choral Concert on CBC 2 playing All Glory, Laud and Honor.

Nice. Just a good way to wake up.
Well, for me anyway. 


All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessèd One.

CBC continues it's bizarre behaviour

Saturday, March 15, 2008
Over lunch recently, a CBC television journalist outlined to me some of the stories she has put together for upcoming broadcasts. A segment of which she was particularly proud included an interview with the Chief Exorcist at the Vatican, and the increased frequency of demonic possession around the world. What excited her most about this segment was the date it was then scheduled to air: "I told my producer -- we have to do it on Easter Sunday!"  I have not seen the interview in question. That said, I suggested to her that, on a day when millions of Canadians revere Christ's triumph over death, it seems insensitive to broadcast an update on the devil's progress.

"All right, then," she answered with annoyance, "What would be on your approved list for CBC Sunday?"

Interesting, that. Always, we are told that the CBC is the people's broadcaster, owned by all Canadians. Yet when I, a Canadian taxpayer, posit that a segment about demonic possession is inappropriate programming on the holiest day of the Christian calendar, the reflexive response is a who-do-you-think-you-are, sarcastic rejoinder, as though I should have no say in the matter.

I suggested a church service, or even something with no religious connection at all. For Heaven's sake, they could just replay Chicken Run, which is shown on CBC half a dozen times on any given weekend (see what a billion taxpayer dollars buys you?).

But then, this is the network that marked the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with a special investigation into whether the terrorist attacks were an inside job by the U.S. government (CBC gave "both sides" of the story -- note to our national broadcaster: both sides of bollocks is still bollocks). They will do as they please with our tax dollars.

Theo Caldwell, National Post  


A good piece of challenging writing there.

What's frustrating me plenty these days is some of the strange decisions being made over at CBC 2. Come this September: 
Mornings (6-10): Less classical, more light contemporary like Diana Krall and Joni Mitchell. About half of the music will be Canadian. No decision yet on who the host will be.
Mid-day (10-3): Entirely classical, both recorded and live music. About 40% Canadian content.
Drive time (3-6): No classical — instead, a wide variety of genres from world music to blues to contemporary. The show will spend more time on emerging artists and recently released songs.  

When I moved to Prince Albert there was no CBC 2 here, and thus no classical music options at all. I wrote letters, and emails, and I remember the day CBC 2 came to Prince Albert. What a day that was.

Now, the good quality announcers and their programs seem to be leaving in droves, abandoning the mother ship like she's sinking like a rock.

And we will be left with more mainstream noise, less options, and the decisions being made in another land.

I used to be a great supporter of CBC, and when some of my tax dollars went towards it, I was great with that. Given the directions they are moving in, I am less and less supportive of them. In fact, maybe it's time for them to raise their funds on pledge drive weekends.

At least that way we may occasionally see some locally made Television.


<Rant Over> 






I need rescuing

Tomorrow, Palm Sunday, I am going to talk about Shepherds.

I know it's not Advent, but for me the cradle and the cross are intertwined.


One day Jesus told a story to reveal what his father is like.

A shepherd had one hundred sheep in his care and during the course of the days labors he lost one.

Tired, hungry, thirsty and desiring to be with his family, he nevertheless began to retrace the many and difficult steps of the days journey. He finally found the kid which had strayed off and become frightened.

Then he tenderly and joyfully put it on his own shoulders, returned home, and gave a little party to celebrate finding the lost sheep.

Then Jesus made the point: God is like that Shepherd. He wants us all safely in the fold. He has gone on a long search. And he rejoices when one person is found.

That is the meaning of Christmas and Easter. That baby in the manger, and man on the cross, is God looking for you.

The father rescuing his babies.






My Editor may need an Editor

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lauralea wrote at the beginning of an article I have been working on;
*so: if it's red and in a bracket, that means I think it should be deleted. If it's just red, I think it should be added. If there's red/bracket followed by red, it means I'd take out what was in the bracket, changing it to what follows in red. Clear as mud? It's a good piece.




3.14 Happy Pi Day

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971 693993751058209749445923078164062862089986 28034825342117067982148086513282306647093 84460955058223172535940812848111745028410 27019385211055596446229489549303819644288 1097566593344612847564823378678316527120 1909145648566923460348610454326648213393 6072602491412737245870066063155881748815 2092096282925409171536436789259036001133 0530548820466521384146951941511609...

"It is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed as a fraction m/n, where m and n are integers and its decimal representation never ends or repeats. Indeed: beyond being irrational, it is a transcendental number, which means that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) could ever produce it. Throughout the history of mathematics, much effort has been made to determine π more accurately and understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into culture at large."

So, in the name of all that is Pi, go out today and eat a big piece of your favourite Pie.
Coconut cream, Rasberry, Chocolate, Peach whatever your fancy.

And have a happy Pi Day.

Being Present. With Socks.

Thursday, March 13, 2008
The other day while I was running some errands I ended up at Walmart to return some socks I had purchased a week earlier which were about 9 sized too big.

I realize I digress here, but who in the world buys socks that attempt to climb over ones calves and secure themselves nicely in the crack beneath ones knees? I mean, who besides my dead grandfather, likes having socks ride up so high that they could be confused with the stylish leg warmers of the 1980's?

Having made the wrong purchase a week earlier, and discovered the problem early one morning as I dressed in the dark and the socks continued their journey past my heels, my ankles, and my calves, reaching dangerously towards my ticklish knees, I sought to return them.

I took my place as the only person in the chute waiting my turn to explain to some young lady half my age why I didn't love the luxurious feel of encapsulating my calves in some cotton rayon blend, and because I was tired, I leaned against the wall for support.

After some four minutes of waiting, a thirty something mom came to join me in the line with some toys to return and while I appreciated the company I was at first surprised, then shocked, then ticked off when she walked right past me and stood in front of me in the chute.

The Nerve, I thought, of this woman. What am I, chopped liver? And who is she and where does she order her nerve from because there are days and meetings at which I should like to be the keeper of such nerve that I would order it and use it en mass.

So, standing behind her now, watching the young lady behind the counter deal with another customer who had obviously come with her own high dosage of Nerve and was giving her some trouble; (Allow me to interject here some of my vast experience in retail; the customer is rarely right. In fact, the customer is most often not right, but we say that they are right because we want them to come back and spend their money here, at this store. In fact, the louder and more obnoxious they are, the righter they are.)

When the line cleared and the lady in front of me began to move towards the counter, the girl behind the counter looked at me with a helpless look, and in that moment of eye contact I took my opportunity to sweep past the Nerve filled lady and declare in a loud voice, "I have a return to make."

Nerve lady stopped short in surprise and her mouth flapped open as counter girl and I looked back at her. Nerve lady was offended and hurt, and began to sputter "But I was waiting in line, I was the next person in line..."

To which I replied, "That was me leaning against the wall there!" and I turned towards counter girl and got out of the long sock business altogether.

Now, I am not a small man, 6' 3' on a good day, with my weight running a bit over the 200 lb marker. I initially found it hard to think she would miss me. I'm just not that missable, really. I am not saying I shouldn't be missed, but more that its just tough to miss me. How could she actually, really, walk past me, brushing against my coat, actually have missed me?

And I got to thinking as I left with my new short socks, she was probably so distracted with life that she really didn't see me. It wasn't that she had a lifetime supply of nerve to spend in 5 minutes, it was more that she was distracted.  I mean sometimes I get so distracted with life that I don't remember things told to me, or I don't remember the drive home, or I forget my Spiritual Direction meeting Tuesday morning.

Life can do that to you. You get so overwhelmed that you miss the moment.

That's what I am afraid of for the wedding next week. I don't want to miss the moment and walk past people. I don't want to not see things that I should see and feel and experience. I want to live the days and minutes well, etch them into my memory and hold them there forever.

So I'm trying hard to get into that headspace now, and it's tough, really.

But I have a week left.

Only one week.


I might need some nerve yet...

I'm going to be a bit late batt is dead...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
(received from the boy who is at school with the red car.)

If you received the above txt, how would you interpret it?

Really, I'm asking.

How quickly a star falls from the sky

Did she ever think she would see this day?

Did he think he wouldn't be caught?

- Anger, Shame, Embarrassment.

Where does it all start to go wrong?

The first glimpse of a pornographic image? The first step up the ladder of power? The first time you have to work hard to conceal a secret?

The heart holds a thousand secrets, each one a seed powerful enough to lose you your life's work, or your spouse, or your children's love.

Unless that seed falls to the ground and dies, it will have a devastating effect on you.

How do you kill a seed?

Expose it to the elements?

Bring it out into the light?

Don't bury it?

Alberta. You got your Brown and you got your Blue.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Last Saturday on the drive home.

(Click to enlarge)

"You will find your solution where you least expect it."

Printed on a fortune cookie handed to me after lunch with Lauralea at Vu's Garden yesterday.

Letters from the edge

Dear _________

I am indeed around... just going through "a season" I think, and hope.

Stuff churning, shifting inside, don't know where it's coming from or what its about.

It something new, and different. Odd, disconcerting, uncomfortable, but not overwhelming.

I've been quiet because I've been struggling with trying to identify it. Tying to explain it, and understand it myself.

The stillness has been good, been alright.

But I'll probably be back sometime today.

thanks for giving a care G.


Final Collect

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
O Christ, the Master Carpenter,
who at the last, through wood and nails,
purchased our whole salvation,
wield well your tools
in  the workshop of your world,
so that we who come rough-hewn to your bench
may here be fashioned
to a truer beauty of your hand.
We ask it for your own name's sake






Brad. The man I always go to with my Citrus questions.

Orange 3My friend Brad is beginning a new career as a citrus consultant. (He seems to be adding this to his Bible School teaching, leadership development, and church planter guy stories already written.)

Now, I can't honestly think of a better person for such a position. Citric Acid flows through his veins, and he knows Key Lime pie like nobody I know. You wanna be beside Brad when you walk through the fruit department at the grocery store, except that right now he and his wife live in Guam, teaching.

And so, in the interest of things Citrus, you should check out his new website

I notice that he has included on the site his secret recipe for Key Lime Pie.  (We Canadians don't have a clue what we are missing.)

So make the jump and check out Brads new blog,  It's filled with citrusy goodness. 



I was going to write a great post but I forget what it was about.

which seems to be the status quo around here these days.

My memory is slipping like my new smooth bottomed shoes on the black iced roads downtown.

For example, yesterday while visiting with a sick individual, for whatever reason in trying to relate to their situation I had my father-in-law in surgery for a double knee replacement. Well, at least in my head anyway. Then minutes later as my memory kicked in again I blurted out that it wasn't double knee replacement, it was a mole removal or something like that.

I still am searching for ways to deal with the empty tank syndrome. You would think that with the news on Monday that things would just top up nicely. But not.

Then I feel guilty for that. 

And tomorrow I am on the road for an eight hour drive, I have board meetings this week. And I'm not looking forward to the day as much as I usually do. 

Feels a bit lost, and deeply frustrating.


Perhaps I am trying to treat my need for two new knees, with a simple mole removal. And it isn't enough. 

isn't nearly.



This is India Calling

Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Have you ever spent a lovely evening on the phone with "some guy" from India talking about why your (fill in the name brand of your computer here) refuses to boot?

Well, here is a live camera of the "Some guys."

They have faces and names and seem to work in a hallway.

Henri Nouwen Thoughts on Prayer

Monday, March 03, 2008
Why should I spend an hour in prayer when I do nothing during that time but think about people I’m at odds with, people who are at odds with me, things that I should be reading and doing, and many other hardly-important things that happen to grab my mind for a moment? Why ?? Because God is greater than my mind and my heart, and what is really happening in the “house of prayer” is not measurable in normal human terms of success and failure.

If for no other reason, I must spend time at prayer simply as an act of faithfulness. If I believe that the First Commandment is to love God with my whole heart, mind and soul, then I should at least be able to spend one hour a day with nobody but God, Whether it is helpful, useful, practical or fruitful is completely irrelevant. The only reason to love is for the sake of love itself. Everything else is secondary. The remarkable thing, however is that sitting in the presence of God for one hour each morning (day after day, week by week, month after month, often in confusion and with a myriad of distractions) radically changes my life.
God, who loves me so much that He sent His only Son not to condemn me but to save me, does not leave me waiting in the dark too long. I might think that each hour is useless, but after thirty or sixty or ninety such useless hours, I gradually come to realize that I have not been as alone as I might have thought: a very small, gentle voice has been speaking to me far beyond my noisy places.


no cancer

For the first time since the emergency biopsy 87 days ago, we have clear results. Lauralea does not have cancer.

Now, on with the wedding.

Hillary just called...

Sunday, March 02, 2008
Seems we are now grandparents.

She just bought a fish.

Named it Susie.

Grandma and I are pleased.

Not just another Beatles interpretation

Saturday, March 01, 2008
Hey Jude...


The story of the man with such little faith, and an iPod

I was browsing my site the other day and came across a post I had done on the iPod Touch that Apple introduced last summer. I was drooling even back then.

By late autumn I had decided that if I could squirrel some extra money away I would try to get one. And so it went. An extra speaking invitation or doing a special service for someone, might see me get a small honorarium. And I saved them through the Fall. I finally had enough near mid November and I was preparing to make my purchase.

But then we had some surprises around here, financially I mean, and I couldn't justify such a purchase. The funds I had saved were the perfect size for our needs. I used them where they needed to be spent. But I did talk to God about it.

And talked to him again about it. Not begging or whining, but asking, exploring if there was room in our relationship to ask for such an extravagance.

Within three weeks, this faithless man received an iPod Touch, out of the blue, as a gift. And what a gift it's been.

I use it more for work than I ever thought I would.

The Calendar and Contacts sync with my Outlook nicely, so I use it to manage my appointments. The contacts are sweet because if I click on an address of someone, Google Maps opens up and shows me exactly where they live. Google Maps also shows me how to make the journey from my place to any other location I type in. Plus, it's fun just to zoom down onto your house and see where you live.

The Current Weather App was helpful when it was so cold and I needed to know what it was like outside before I headed out. And the Photos feature is kinda fun, to look and remember.

The Notes app allows me to keep some short notes as I head out to my meetings, and change them while I'm in the meeting. Then I can email the notes to where ever they need to go.

The You Tube connection is fun, and I can watch Preachers preach if I can't fall asleep at night. That helps.

But I suppose the two things I use the most is the Internet browser, Safari, and the Email App.

I get on average between 20 and 40 emails a day that I need to respond to, so this baby allows me to not to have to open a computer and fire off a response. I can do it quickly while I'm in the washroom, ahem, or even when I am waiting for somebody to get out of the washroom. It shows PDF's without a problem and I can read the Prince Albert Daily Herald on it. It also displays Word documents and Excel spreadsheets very nicely.

This has been the greatest benefit to me. I am able to deal quickly with these emails and move on with other, often better things.

I check your blogs over a quick morning coffee or milk, see what's up out there, and sometimes when I start the day crazy I head over to Pray-as-you-go to settle my spirit and start the day better.

Prince Albert is quite well supplied with free WiFi, so if I'm shopping for groceries at Safeway or researching something at the library, at a mall or even anyplace downtown as the whole area has coverage now, this tool works.

It really has helped me to do more and to do it better. Not that that's a good thing but it is what it is.

In fact, the thing I use it for the least? Listening to music.

I have 4 gigs of my tunes on it, and a bunch of my home videos and the Iona videos on it for when I have a moment or want to show someone where we were last summer.

But besides all that crap, it is a reminder that God likes me, cares about what I care about, and is taking good care of me.

If you ask, maybe he'll get you one too.


University of Glasgow Chapel

The University has a series of three cameras and live audio that runs 24/7.

Occasionally I have tuned in just to see what's going on. It's usually people milling about, musicians practicing, or individuals praying. But today there was a choir concert there. It was very good.

The place filled up with listeners, and the choir entered and gave a stirring concert, filling the Chapel with echoes of praise.

It was sweet.

And here I sat in my living room watching, listening to the stereo which was playing the audio for me.

This is when the Internet shines, at least for me.


May we have some more please?
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