It hurts my nose to lie down

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
It was kind of in a dry moment this morning when I woke up and the one nostril was doing the work of two so it was overworked and over dried. Ouch.

So I figured I might as well get up and get the pay cheque into the bank so the mortgage is payed and I can live here another day, and there was one other thing I needed to do today...

Oh yeah, taxes are due today, so I have to get that data into someone who does better at that stuff than I do.

So in the end I really had to get up anyway.

My plan is to work here at the office until I start to loose gas, then its off to home for more drugs and possibly a nap.

Here we go.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I thought I was taking a turn for the better, but tonight it's sicker.

Coughing, choking spitting sneezing spewing. The joy is endless.

I haven't been sick all winter, or last summer if memory serves. So I guess I am due.

But this is a kicker.

What a day for an RCMP cadet

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yep, Steve is now a fully fledged and pledged RCMP Officer.
He did really well today, it was an awesome show.

And, he scored near the top in his class for his firearm skills.

So if you are gonna do something illegal, don't do it in Alberta.
The Mounties always get their man. (or woman I suppose...)

More pics here.

Blogging from Broadview

Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well I arrived at my father-in-laws for the night. Mom is in Ontario so he and I hit the local small prairie town cafe for the supper buffet.

Ever seen the Corner Gas cafe, The Ruby? Yeah well it ain't that far from the truth. All of us in a big room around our own tables, calling smart remarks at your neighbour eating on the other side of the room. Felt like the dining hall at summer camp. Pretty sure a guy who sounded a lot like Oscar sat behind me and called someone a Jackass...

But the food was hearty and good, so I'm still full.

Still sick though, and getting ready for bed I think.

Tomorrow early, I'm up and off to the RCMP Depot in Regina to get in the graduation of our church's last youth guy, Steve. He's been trained and jumped through all the hoops, so that tomorrow he gets his badge and sworn in. A very big day, so I want to be there for that.

Then, late afternoon I head home.

It's a quiet little town, Broadview, so there isn't much else happening here. Streets are empty and it's gone to bed for the night, so I will too.


The business is done.

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Well, the Steve Bell concert tonight was standard Bell fare. Excellent music, quality musicianship, and moving challenging stories. He was in top form.

And I am moving to the bottom of the barrel, form wise.

Throat hurts, coughing hurts, head hurts, body hurts, and nose runs, and thus it too is on it's way to hurt.

Tomorrow morning is worship and communion, then a bit of lunch and then I'll make my way towards Regina.

The story of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Canada is a story of God at work in ways that are his and his alone. So many cool "God activities" in the works. So many cool surprises. It's good to be with these people in times like these.

Be home on Monday, late.

Notes from Minnedosa

Friday, April 25, 2008
Tonight I was recognized as Johanna's dad and it had the same feeling of pride that I used to know when I was recognized as Reuben's son. It's odd how it works but it seems to be the same feeling. I like that.

Apparently she sang in church last week, surprising some of them who didn't know her or her history that much. She impressed. I told them she used to sing in Europe. ( well, literally she did...).

Anyway, the seminar went well, and that is from some of the attendees to the event, not just my biased opinion. I thought it went well too. Spiritual Direction is being well received here and that's kind of exciting.

But tonight I feel like crap. My throat is quite sore and I'm coughing up some manner of flem. I made it through the whole of winter with nasty diseases all around me and nothing touched me, and now I get into Manitoba and some small bug gets me. Gross. At least my public talking is over for the weekend and I don't need my voice as much for the rest. I have a couple of meetings planned with people yet and hopefully tomorrow we can fit them in, as well as the general meeting.

And, it's been fun getting to know some of the new pastors in Canada. One guy's dad is so high up in the Canadian government that I could probably meet the Prime Minister, if I was so inclined. Oh and another pastor I met, who's mom was Miss Canada once.

What a bunch.



My seminar on Spiritual Direction

They were a good bunch and things went well.

Blogging from our Conference of churches in Minnedosa Manitoba.


Thursday, April 24, 2008
I'm in my motel room and I just cooked some pizza pops in the bedside microwave on some napkins. The napkins and the pops tended to mush together into one hot, mouth burning supper. But it was late and I'm tired, so I ate my fibre.

Feels like I am here for more than just the business meeting of our conference. I'm here for more than this workshop tomorrow, and connecting with people. I'm here for more than the direction sessions that are already planned for the next few days with individuals.

I think a part of my trip this weekend is simply that I need to listen and hear God on a few things.

There are so many things swirling around and I haven't had time to really try to discern what they lead to. I feel like I need to hear him.

Even at 44 (Younger now than the partying Ms. I still find myself asking God who I am, and what is it I want to do with the rest of my years. Questions like what do I want to pour my energy and effort into. How can I make the most of these days, which are suppose to be my prime working years.

There are times of life in which I go into these questioning seasons. It helps me to continue to move ahead in my work and calling and it's important for me to refocus during these times. I need to try to understand what this shifting is that is going on within me. How am I changing and what is it within me that is changing.

So here I am, listening, watching, straining, hoping.

I hope He is talking.

I have landed

Turns out that Minnedosa is a lovely town, really quiet old and beautiful.

The motel turns out to be quite functional. I checked for bed bugs, looks clear. There is a microwave that i can reach and use while I'm lying in bed, and it has a very fuzzy few channels small TV with no remote. But that's ok as I can just roll over and change channels on the other side of the bed.

Classic prairie fare, cinder block square room construction. Rickety table and chair to short to reach the table.

But it's good to be here.

Tomorrow is my workshop, looks like about 40 signed up for it. Hope I live up to their expectations.

Blogging from Minnedosa in Snowfilled manitoba.

Happy Birthday Lauralea

It's her 45th Birthday today and I am on the road all day.

I'm not close enough to celebrate it with her, and feeling all manner of bad about that.

But you can help.

So you're sitting at your office desk or computer table thinking "How can I help?"

Well, I have two options for you.

Option 1. Call her and wish her a happy birthday.

306-764-0701 will get you through to our phone, and if the angry phone answering machine lady answers, just leave a message for her.

Option 2. Email her a birthday wish.

lauraleafriesen AT gmail DOT com and you will get through to her and brighten her day a bit.

Now, I know from checking the stats that there are a lot of you out there, certainly enough of you to make a difference in her day.

And it doesn't make a difference if you know her or not, you will like her, I promise. If you don't like her, then I will reimburse your long distance call (That offer not available to relatives...).

And it doesn't mater if this is your first visit to, you have read these words so now you are invited to call.

Go on, you know you want to. And it will brighten her day, and make me feel less responsible for leaving her alone on her birthday.


Happy Birthday Lauralea


kinda never fails

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I have this workshop I am preparing for today and the interruptions keep rolling in.

Involving taking Hillary to the Hospital to have her head examined, which I just turned into a hospital visitation of two of our people up there.

Then called by Lauralea because she's at Safeway and has a flat tire and apparently, though we have never officially talked about it that I can remember, it's the man's job to change the tire.

So Thomas and I went and changed the blooming thing with the icy wind whipping around us. He's now off to try and find another tire.

And I'm back at the office, picking up where I left off half a day ago.

Good thing this isn't a tough prep.

Art in the Worship Space

Get your artists and creative types to bring well framed photos and paintings and creative pieces to place on the walls of the sanctuary as acts of creation and worship.

It recognizes that perhaps God speaks more than just English, in fact, he may speak the language of the spirit more than we realize.

Getting our creative types involved in worship in this way values their contribution, and broadens our perspective.

Give it a try. It's worked well for us.

(Sorry for the quality image.)


I am number one with Google

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I love that I'm number one with Google search for "IV WITH D5W."

I love even more that I still get regular searches for IV D5W, TKO, WITH RINGERS LACTATE!

Come back Johnny and Roy.

January 10, 2003, 10:01 pm

The first digital photo I ever took.

And the subject was Micah.


FINALLY Homework is done - for now

Tried, tested, written, formatted, processed, done.
Now only need to interact with the class that needs to comment and process and interact with it.

Boy, I'm glad to have that done.

You may access it at
It's a tool kit for leading Contemplative Retreats.

Now, a little preparation for this workshop I'm doing this weekend in Manitoba.

Minnedosa is in Manitoba, right?

The Garrison on feeling left behind and lost.

Monday, April 21, 2008
It's an agonizing time when you feel your peers edging ahead and the cool people aren't seeking you out and almost every day somebody announces a cool new job, or a big romance, or the receipt of an awesome gift, some fresh kill from the jungle, and it depresses you. You don't want to be a loser. And you sense the fact that, in life, so much -- so very much -- is pure luck, no matter what they want you to think, and an angel may knock at your door in the person of a beggar, and you say No, and that No will resound for the rest of your born days. It is agonizing to think about.
Garrison Keillor

It feels like that a lot around here these days. Looking, praying for a better fitting life, but finding more and more that the hard corners are being worn off yourself and you may end up fitting better but it hurts like crazy and you don't know if it will ever end this side of glory.

Garrison gave some new words to my inside struggles.
He can be good like that.


SaskTel Network is down AGAIN

Sunday, April 20, 2008
So I have to phone Thomas on his mobile who txt's Hillary and asks her where her bus it and she replies to him and he phones us back.

Good Grief.

They are both on the Virgin Network.

The UK's Virgin Network works nicely in Saskatchewan, but the local, home made brand doesn't.


Oh, and I had to get the info from her, because the Bus Company hasn't heard from the bus driver yet. As far as they are concerned the bus should still be on time, like they said, "due in 25 minutes ago."

The bus driver probably uses SaskTel too.

The bad weather continues to move across Saskatchewan

Hillary's bus is running at least an hour late now, so I think she'll hold up in Saskatoon for the night and finish the bus trip tomorrow morning.
The rain in Saskatoon as of early this evening will change to freezing rain near 8 PM as temperatures drop, then to snow overnight as colder air moves in from the west. A similar story is expected in Prince Albert, with rain developing this evening then changing to freezing rain as temperatures fall then to snow overnight.

Just better for you all to stay at home tonight I think.

Something near the front please Lord.

I suspect and hope that when The Day arrives and we get translated to Glory, that some things are to be expected. I mean, knowing Christ's priorities for the little and the least of these, over and above those who just talk a great deal, should result in people like Lauralea getting a good seat in heaven, something near the front.

You see, I can carry on at great length about how to live and love and care for others. But Lauralea does most of her talking, in this regard anyway, with her actions.

This morning I awoke and upon entering the kitchen I discovered she was icing a cake she had made. It was a simple 8 or 9 inch round cake with lovely icing on it and four intersecting hearts made in various shades of colour from sprinkles. It looked lovely.

It seems she had made it for a young girl who occasionally comes to our church, by herself. She remembered this girls birth date from when the girl used to attend our church kids program, and she had decided to make her a cake for her 13th or whatever it was birthday.

She does things like this quite selflessly, and without motivation other than love.

I replied that she might not be at church, but I knew this wouldn't slow her down any. She finished her task.

And wouldn't you know it, while we were at church the young girl came too, and looked up Lauralea just to say hi as she always does, knowing Lauralea will talk to her like a caring friend.

Lauralea presented her with her gift and a happy birthday. The girl smiled, and laughed just like she always does whenever she's talking to Lauralea.

So much to learn. So little time.


Icy Decisions

Hillary is on a bus somewhere between here and Grand Prairie Alberta.

She left last night at around 10 pm and was to be in Edmonton in good time to catch her connecting bus to Saskatoon, but the weather made her bus late and she missed the connecting bus.

This means that if everything works ok, then she should be into Saskatoon at 8:30 tonight, which makes her miss the bus to Prince Albert.

Which means we could go in and get her, if the weather holds, and if her bus makes it through.

Right now ice rain is falling here, and the roads are covered with ice. Not only that, but Highway 16, the route her bus is on, is closed because of bad weather near Lloydminster. She may not even make it to Saskatoon today.

Oh and her mobile minutes are all used up.

What to do, what to do...


Honestly what is it about Tim Hortons that makes people line up?

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Really. I mean, the coffee isn't that great, and the donuts are not worth the paper they are made with...


Today I wanted a bagel, tea optional, and the lineup at 11:30 in the morning was crap. I went over to McDonalds who have great coffee now too, and no lineup or anything.

Why are people lining up and waiting an eternity for a Tims coffee? Is there drugs in it? Is there a spell cast over it?

Do the people think its a Canadian thing to do? Or that it's cheap coffee?


Is it the marketing or the colour Brown?

Is it the "Roll up the Rim" gambling opportunity?

Is it how you order a Tea with sugar and cream and they give you a coffee surprise with sugar and cream (cough, spit, choke) and you find out about it later at the office?

I haven't been into a Tims in months (I began my international boycott on September 21, 2007) and am glad to see how quickly it's caught on here in Prince Albert. not.

But they still have lineups 9 cars deep and 17 people deep at the door.

What makes you line up for a Tims coffee?

Teach me, tell me, help me understand.

April 18th Today

Friday, April 18, 2008

Twenty Five Years Done.

Winter. It ain't over till the fat lady sings.

The current view from my office;

Office View - No Snow

The Weather Forecast:
Updated special weather statement issued for regions of Saskatchewan by Environment Canada at 4:08 AM CST Friday 18 April 2008.

Special weather statement issued for..
City of Saskatoon
City of Regina...
Prince Albert - Shellbrook - Spiritwood - Duck Lake
Meadow Lake - Big River - Green Lake - Pierceland.

...Massive late winter storm likely to bury much of southern and Central Saskatchewan this weekend into early next week....

An intense low pressure system will develop over the northern us during the next few days and slowly track through the central prairies into early next week. This system has the potential to produce widespread blizzard conditions with excessive amounts of wet
snow and poor visibilities to a large portion of southwestern and central Saskatchewan from Saturday night right on into Tuesday.
The various computer models are all pointing to the same solution with heavy wet snow and strong winds expected for much of southern and central Saskatchewan so confidence of a major winter storm for portions of the region is quite high. The location of the heaviest
amounts of snow is still uncertain at this time but there is a potential for 50 or more centimetres of heavy wet snow over western and central areas of the province from Saturday night until the snow gradually tapers off during the day on Tuesday. As well strong
northerly winds will likely produce near zero visibilities in snow and blowing snow over much of the area. Travel may become nearly impossible Sunday and Monday. Southeastern areas of the province will initially be on the relatively milder side of this system so any precipitation should remain as rain for areas near Regina and southeast but those areas should see the precipitation change over to wet snow on Monday as well. We will continue to monitor the
development of this system over the next few days and watches and warnings will be issued later in the week as the details of this massive winter storm evolves.

This winter isn't over just yet, it has one more raging storm to throw at us.
So batten down the hatches, make sure there's gas in the car and food in the house, and you have a few good movies to watch. You aren't going to want to be outside much this weekend.

Drummers may be less dumb than originally thought!

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Oh, really?
Well now they have some ammunition against the other musicians.

Drummers are better known for their beats than their brain power, but research has suggested that they might actually be natural intellectuals.

Scientists who asked volunteers to keep time with a drumstick before taking intelligence tests discovered that those with the best sense of rhythm also scored highest in the mental assessments.

Prof Frederic Ullen, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, concluded that there was a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.

This is gonna go right to their heads.

The Gold Rush isn't always real gold

Lauralea and I went for a walk last night through our community and again we wondered at the number of houses going up for sale in our area. Each day brings a new yard with a For Sale sign in it.

We've checked some of these houses online and the mad prices they are asking for their homes are ridiculous. It's like a new gold rush hitting town.

House prices have more than doubled than they were just a few short years ago, and it seems like people are speculating, seeing if they can get big bucks for their houses.

It just seems crazy. What is the value of some wood and land? Especially here in Northern Saskatchewan.

A gold rush never helps the local community it happens in. Speculators with big money come in and buy up cheap homes and hang on to them just long enough to get some money out of them, then they sell and take their cash and leave town. It's already happening here.

The results are that young couples are unable to purchase homes to live in, and one income families find it difficult to live.

This kind of gold rush isn't always really gold.

La Crete has it's own Radio Station?

Now, I've been to La Crete, a number of times, in fact I probably have relatives still living up in that tiny Northern Alberta community.

But they have their own radio station?

And I'm listening to it ONLINE.

Boy they are no techno-phobes up there.

The music is a variety of southern gospel, contemporary worship, hymns and spiritual songs. Sounds quite eclectic, and the audio feed is clear and solid.

Nice. Well done La Crete.

Here's the link.

A Good Year

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
"I would like a lifetime spent with an irrational and suspicious Goddess, some short tempered jealousy on the side, and a bottle of wine that tastes like her and a glass thats never empty."
Russell Crowe playing Max Skinner

Watched this good movie tonight.
It's a keeper.

I always loved Peter Mayle's writing.

Thomas Merton on submission

Take my life into Your hands at last. Do whatever You want with it. I give myself to Your love. I mean to keep on giving myself to Your love - rejecting neither the hard things nor the pleasant things You have arranged for me. It is enough for me that You have glory. Everything You have planned is good. It is all love.

Dialogues with Silence, prayers and drawings of Thomas Merton

Hope you don't mind, but since I'm up...

So, after an emotionally busy day yesterday and a late, hard working Council meeting last night, and not falling asleep quickly enough, I was going to sleep past early morning prayer. I silently confided that if I was awake early enough to go, which never happens on it's own, then I would attend.

Well, this morning at about the exact time I usually get up for early prayer, I rolled over, half awake, and saw the time.

I obediently got up, washed, dressed and am here at the church waiting for my cohorts in prayer.

And I think today I shall be praying for a couple of you all. There are some of you who are at the top of my list for prayer, and I will be talking to God about you.

Hope you don't mind.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Can you imagine being trapped in a New York elevator for forty one hours?

Oh yes it does happen.

And here is a condensed video clip showing what it looks like.

I don't know how I'd do.

Thanks Maureen

Maureen suggested a song to listen to.
I think this was the best version of that song that I could find.

Good old YouTube.


in silence

Monday, April 14, 2008
We went for a long walk tonight, in silence.

Not an angry or hostile silence but a comfortable one.

It was good to get some breeze against the face again, and the blood flowing through the veins again.

The snow is nearly gone.

The silence is good too.
There are so many opportunities for my spirit to be in turmoil these days, and I need to choose the simpler ways. The ways of peace and silence, of solitude and simplicity.

Last week I wrote:
Silence in our day and age has become a rare commodity. In fact, in many places it is difficult if not impossible to experience real silence. Our homes are filled with noisy appliances, heaters and air conditioners. The stereo is on and the television broadcasts its noise to a waiting world. Our cars have am/fm/satellite/cd/dvd/ipod options so that we feel guilty if we drive in silence. Even when we are out in nature walking or running, we pipe noise into our ears to make the time more enjoyable or more productive. We long for silence and yet we are afraid of it. When the outside noise is stilled, we begin to hear our inner noise replaying history or planning for the future.

Silence is not the purpose of a contemplative retreat, but rather the vehicle through which we are paying attention to God. We discover that once we’ve silenced our mouths and our minds we seem to be able to see and hear with greater clarity the created world around us. For when we do not need to share our experience by talking about it, we can simply be with whatever is happening and know it to be a gift from God.

I really need to practice what I preach these days. Perhaps thats one reason that it seems everything conspires against me. The stresses of family and work and broken houses and sick friends... I need to learn what stillness looks like in times like this.

I suppose anyone can be still when nothing is happening, but it takes some practice to learn the art of inner stillness when everything is crazy.

And so this week I shall try to practice that which I preach.

I will attempt to be still, and know who is God in my life.


Day off

Took the mobile phone back up to the Hospital this morning. That always feels like a relief, and that maybe life can just chill a bit.

Funny how being "On Call" puts you into a different mode during the week. I can't quite peg it, but I do know it feels much better and a relief when I hand off the phone to the next pastor for the following week.

And thankfully there was only one call, and that was around 1:30 the other morning. It was a 64 year old guy, and a relatively sudden death. Same age as my dad was...

Anyway, off to do some more homework I suppose. Trying to finish this paper with the classmate from Colorado.


That Banner makes me smile

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is the picture the banner is taken from.

It was at The Heritage Hotel, a large B&B Lauralea and I stayed in, in Glasgow last year.

It was in the dining room and when we came down for breakfast, the room was quite full, except for this prime seat.

We took our seats and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast looking out over this gorgeous street.

What a day it turned out to be.

Spaghetti Alla Caprese

Lauralea started a new class today, and it looks like a regular Sunday afternoon deal, so today I offered to make supper.

I came up with Spaghetti Alla Caprese from my television friend, David Rocco.

The sauce in the works.
Spaghetti Alla Caprese

Got the pasta boiling:
Spaghetti Alla Caprese

And the result.
Spaghetti Alla Caprese

Not bad at all, although I think I would use less olive oil in it.

But it turned out pretty good, I'll try it again.

Off to bed

Saturday, April 12, 2008
Yes, i know I know, Im still up, but I am off to bed now.

I've been reading some blogs of some pastors that I follow, finding some encouragement wherever I can get it. And I've been listening to BBC Radio Cumbria. They run a great morning show over there with lots of wonderful worship music and encouraging comments, don't know how a public broadcaster gets away with it, but it's so encouraging. Nicely done.

And I've been sending off a couple of emails, checking on some of the people I've been concerned about this week.

So, if you are in the UK, it's about 8:30 am, so you should get up and find a church to get too!


And if you are still on this side of the darkness, then get some sleep so you don't fall asleep in church tomorrow. 

I know I better.





Happy Eighteenth Birthday Thomas

So April now has Nate's birthday, Lauralea's birthday, and Thomas' birthday.

(Gonna be an expensive month I think...)

But today is the day a boy came into our family, his name was Thomas.

18 years ago today.


He does clean up nicely in a suit too.

Happy Birthday Thomas.
It's been great having you with The Family these 18 years.

The New Cherry Sours are in!!

Friday, April 11, 2008
Cherry Sours

So stop by my office.

You know where they are.



Have anything left?

Thursday, April 10, 2008
I came to church because I had a phone meeting at 6 pm.

Since I arrived I have been trying to run someone's 85 megabyte powerpoint presentation file through a system that doesn't even have powerpoint.


I just worked a bypass for them and their slides.

and it's 7:48 pm.

And the very worst part is that at home, for whatever reason unknown to me, and for the first time in our home ownership, water from this rain is running down the inside walls of two bedrooms.

crap crap crap.

I don't do well with this sort of thing. I just don't.

I get stressed, and tense, and frustrated, and overwhelmed, and angry. Then I go back to the beginning, except twice as hard as the first time.

So, it's going to be a looooong night yet I fear.

Very long.

So, if you have anything left, please, pray for me.

Thank you.

High Treason

This should be punishable by death.

A chocolate bunny, saved for an afternoon after a night of four hours sleep, trying to stay awake, needing a chocolate buzz,



What's "Milk Chocolate FLAVORED" mean Anyways??

It's NOT real chocolate, and to say it Tastes Like Chocolate is like saying Napoleon was just a little bit of a neighbourhood nuisance!

Sheesh what a rip off.

Who bought this...?

Oh yeah, my mom did.

Thanks mom for the lovely chocolate bunny.

What is that stuff falling outside?

Is that rain??

I haven't seen rain in five months.

How delightful.

Flickr New and Improved. Now with Video.


A long night for others too.

A friend's child tried to take their life last night.

The level of pain and grief and deep sense of despair runs so deeply through our society, that sometimes it's really hard just to hang on for the ride, and we want off.

God be with them this day.

That's all for now

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Well I think I have a huge chunk of this paper for class now behind me.


It's been a long day here, and a longer night. I had to stop around 1:30 am to go to the hospital for an emergency call. Then came back and did some more work on it.

Should be a great tool when we are done with it.

anyway, home to bed.


Happy Birthday Nate

Now that Nate is inside the "Family Circle of Trust" I suppose he deserves the same treatment as the rest of the kids.

Happy Birthday Nate.

You're a fine addition to the family.


So you're sitting at your desk in the big city, or you are in your home paying the bills online and you just need a break.

Here's a break

Occasionally you will see lambs, young and old, having lunch, or just making noise, talking with one another.

If not, you may see and hear birds and the sky and hills of someplace in the United Kingdom.

(Course you might also be able to hear a blowing gale force storm).

This thing that I do is strange business.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I work with people, praying for them, teaching them, helping them along towards the cross as much as they are willing to go. Then I pray for them some more.

I meet with them at their home or work. I know their kids and have seen all the pictures of all the grandchildren. I have heard their stories of how they cleared the land when they were young, again and again.

I have drank their weak tea and eaten their four years past date cookies that they have offered me in a spirit of hospitality and care. I have pet their shedding cats and their loud "jump up to lick my face" dogs.

We have shared life for ten years or more, shared our stories and faith.

And then, just when we've become occasionally more and sometimes less than friends, they go and die.


This is indeed a strange work that I do where my friends end up dying, the people I work with are dying, as are the people in the church I attend.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it just kinda dawned on me today when I left the hospital. These people I care about and help and pray for and who have become my work and friends and church, are all headed through the same door marked death. Some now, and some later.

What a gyp. 

Somehow, my work and church and many friendships have integrated into the same group of people. And that group of people is getting smaller.


This thing that I do is strange business indeed.




My First Baby Shower

Sunday, April 06, 2008
Baby showers have always been the domain of my wife. Usually if there was going to be a baby shower, that meant that the men folk could stay home and the women folk had got to go.

But this one was a trans-gendered baby shower, that is to say that guys were invited too.

So I went.

I guess none of the other guys from church heard the announcement, as I was the only older church guy there.

Then we played a game where we had to guess how much different baby things cost. Lauralea won.

Then things got even better and we got to play a game where we would open up a series of ten disposable diapers that each had a different piece of melted chocolate bar in them, and we had to guess which chocolate bar they were.

I nearly barfed.

It was good for me to be there, and to celebrate with the couple and their new baby. But I think we may need to kick up the activities a bit if we are going to continue with these trans-gendered get togethers.

Thanks Tammy for the party. The blue punch with the three rubber duckies in it was awesome.

Another Day

Here by the water I'll build an altar to praise Him.
Out of the stones that I've found here.
I'll set them down here rough as they are.
Knowing you can make them holy

And on these notes, another day closes.

Saturday, April 05, 2008
Except for the fact that I'm not a crier, on nights like tonight I wish it was within my personality to just crawl up under the covers and cry and sob and carry on. I think that would at least give me something to do.

I have a stuffed head that got me up early this morning and refuses to drain properly and I think I'm getting sick.

I have a friend in the hospital who I am caring for and who is in her last days.

I miss the girls.

And the roof seems to be leaking in the front, and it seems to be an ice dam up there even after I spent 3 hours the other evening on a ladder up to my bare elbows in ice and ice water cleaning it out.

It is so. dang. discouraging.

And as I said, I wish I could go cry.

Might as well go lie down. Maybe if I'm lucky sleep will find me.

Oh, and a PS. for my kids;

Down the road, if and when I am an old man, and I am sick and placed in the hospital and the Doctor reports to you on my illness, for the record I do want to know what is wrong with me, ok? I mean, just respect and love me enough to speak to me the truth, ok?



Charlton Heston Dead at 84

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing "Ben-Hur" and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other heroic figures in movie epics of the '50s and '60s, has died. He was 84.

A spokesman for the actor's family said Heston died Saturday at his home in Beverly Hills. His wife Lydia was at his side.


What's wrong with this picture?

Another photoshop disaster.

So much more bad work here.

Enhancing my Spring Wardrobe

Thought I'd get me one of these:

And one of these for the Fall Pastors Conferences:

Get yours here.

When you can't afford to buy the help you need.

Gordon Atkinson, a preacher/writer/husband/father down in Texas writes about what happens when you can't get health insurance, because your health is bad.

It feels like he lives in a third world country, but really it's America.

Unfortunately, every company we contacted turned down me and our middle daughter Shelby. Me because I take Wellbutrin. Shelby because she had some emotional troubles and spent some days in a psych unit in 2007. She was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and put on medication. She’s done wonderfully ever since, and we’re thankful to have had that time at the psych unit. It saved her life. (She’s fine with me telling you this)

In desperation we contacted a health insurance specialist who explained things to us. “Shelby is uninsurable,” he said. “Forget about her. She’ll never get health insurance.”

“Can’t she get some kind of insurance that wouldn’t cover her for any mental health issues?”

“Nope. She’s not going to get any insurance of any kind as long as she’s taking her medication.”

“That puts us in a hard place,” I said. “If she stops taking that medicine she’ll fall back into that horrible state that she was in. The medicine helps her.”

“I know it,” he said. “But that’s the way it is. You best just forget about her being able to get insurance. Put it out of your mind. No insurance company will touch her with a ten foot pole. You’ll need to keep her on your wife’s old plan with COBRA until that runs out in 18 months. I know it’s expensive, but after that she’ll be eligible for the Texas pool for the uninsurable. But she has to exhaust every other possibility before they will take her, so keep her on COBRA until they kick you off.”

“As for you, Gordon, I know an insurance company that will probably take you. I’ll have to talk to the underwriter, but I can help her understand your situation. You’re not in counseling, are you?”

“No. I’d like to be. Can’t really afford it now that COBRA insurance costs us like $1000 a month!”

“Thank God for that. If you were taking Wellbutrin AND in counseling, I couldn’t help you. That’s the kiss of death.”

“Yeah, but doesn’t counseling actually help people who are depressed? I mean, isn’t that actually a good way for them to get better?”

“Doesn’t matter. The insurance companies don’t like it. They don’t like the sound of someone in counseling AND on medication. It makes it sound like you’re a high risk person.”

“Do you know I’ve never been in the hospital since I was born? And I’ve only missed two days sick at work in 18 years.”

He didn’t look up from his papers. “That doesn’t matter.”

“Now Gordon, understand that if I can get you covered - IF I can - it won’t be with any mental health benefits. That’s over for you. I think I can get you health insurance, but anything having to do with a psychiatrist or any medications like Wellbutrin, well, you’re going to have to pay for those yourself from now on.”

I swallowed hard. “Okay.”

It's Friday Night

Friday, April 04, 2008

and I hope you are doing something enjoyable.

Whatever that means for you!


I'm breaking in a new mouse. My old one died.


how lame am I??


"I have a dream."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated forty years ago today. He was in Memphis, Tennessee to march with sanitation workers demanding a better wage.

There are some things we shouldn't go through life not having seen.
This speech is one of those things.


Yes it's still winter here

You would think we live in Yellowknife or something what with all the snow we still have sitting around. And you can't see it in this picture, but it is snowing, and has been snowing since late yesterday. Not tons of snow, no, just enough to  remove any springtime joy from life.

Yes, it's still winter here.

A short story about Saskatchewan, cow manure, conservatives and lessons to be learned

Thursday, April 03, 2008
You know how when you are scraping out the barn floor full of a days worth of manure, and its all good and you get the snow shovel moving at a pretty good clip and it's pushing Sh** towards the pit at the other end of the room and then suddenly without warning you hit a little edge in the concrete floor and you suddenly find your self flying up over your shovel and through the Manure and land face first in the pit you were shovelling towards?

You know how that happens?

Well today it happened to a number of Conservatives in Saskatchewan.

Yes it has.

And indeed the great lesson of my mistake was that I learned to shovel with my mouth closed.

Perhaps they can learn from my mistake.

No Manager in the Inn.

I need a room for meetings I need to be at in Minnedosa Manitoba later on this month.

The few homes that were open, are full up (I prefer those to motels cause you get to meet real people). So this morning I phoned a Motel in that little berg.

The surreal conversation went something like this:

Motel: HELLO? (washing machine howling madly in the background)

Me: Uh hello, I'd like to check on the availability of a room please?

Motel: Um well I don't really have the book here so you'll have to call back.

Me: Uh ok, I was just checking on rates and availability.

Motel: Yeah like I said you'll have to call back cause the manager is away on holiday.

Me: Oh, and they'll be back when?

Motel: Oh you should call back after April 12.

Me: That's cutting it kinda close for me.

Motel: Well when do you want it for anyway?

Me: The weekend of __________________.

Motel: And your name and phone number?

Me: Rand..

Motel: WHAT?

Me: R-A-N-D-A-L-L F-R-I-E-S-E-N


Me: ...

Motel: And your Credit card number?

Me: WHAT? I just want to check the cost and availibility?

Motel: Well you see the MANAGER IS AWAY ON HOLIDAY!

Me: Well I'm not booking a room not knowing the cost!

Motel: Well you'll have to call back then when the manager is here.

Me: ... on April 12...

Motel: Correct.

Me: Still it cuts it kinda close for me.

Motel: Well, if there is a room available I have you down for it. You'll need to call with a credit card number.

Me: (I get the impression she's made notes on a napkin she's found near the washing machine.) I will call.

Motel: Good Bye.

Me: Bye.

Ah, life on the prairies.

hey it happens

Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I had one of those terrible rotten weird wasted troubled odd difficult days today in which it seems nothing of any value was accomplished.

So I'm back at the office tonight. Trying to make up for lost time.



MUCH homework has been accomplished tonight. I am glad.

Off home now to sleep a couple of hours, perchance to dream a bit too.

This girl follows your mouse.

In a most creepy sort of way.


Have I ever shown you...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I was just looking through some photos, trying to find something suitable for a public poster they need my image for, and I ran across these pictures again.

Have I ever shown you my holy spiritual Jesus shirt from Africa?

I haven't?

Well let me fix that for you.

It's cool.

A friend brought it for me from Africa.

I think it's fair to say I have an international wardrobe.
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