In contact with large crop circles

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fearless Dutch Boy Climbs Large Crop Circle

So later on today Lauralea and I joined Marc and Dixie for a bit of an adventure. It involved a great cafe, a hike through the forest, a few moments by the lake and an iced latte on a deck in a small catholic town.

It was a great day, and here is the proof.


I like my new Doctor

Well, early this morning I met my new Doctor. A pleasant young lady who, bless her heart and skinny fingers, seems to be thorough enough. Tomorrow morning I have another appointment and I can’t eat or, basically use the toilet until then. Then, Thursday morning I have another early appointment and I’m not allowed to eat tomorrow evening. So many rules I need to remember.

I was complaining about my back acne, or Bac-ne as my daughters call it, and she asked if I was able to clean back there. I quietly remembered my last endeavour to shave my shoulder hair which turned into an an embarrassing arrow of hair on my back and said, “Uh no, I can’t reach back there.”

Then she recommended the best thing any Doctor has ever instructed me to do. She said, with a twinkle in her eye, maybe Lauralea could join me in the shower and help with that part of things.

Just when I get a great Doctor, I move away. The story of my life.



Prayer of confession

Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
and there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults.
Restore thou them that are penitent;
according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy name.



Monday, September 29, 2008
points the Dow Jones fell today. Nearly 7% of it's value is gone. One Trillion dollars wiped off the market.


Stock people were caught completely by surprise by the failed vote of their political leaders in America, and I too was very surprised that after all their work on this package, they promptly voted it down.

And now some are are running around in fear.

I've been listening to the BBC tonight and CNBC is on the TV now. It's just like watching an accident happening before your eyes, in slow motion. Words like recession and even depression are being used by people with microphones in front of them. One interviewer even asked if Capitalism had died. A lot of dramatic language being thrown about it seems. We are watching history unfold and people will talk of this day for years to come.

It seems its the financial guys that are hurting the most right now. Strange, questionable decisions made in the cause of serving the almighty dollar it seems. Now we reap what we've sown. Should we be surprised?

I know some people who will really be hurting tomorrow. They're just people who have been working hard in the market to earn some cash so they can retire. But like my father-in-law who lost a great deal in the BC market, likes to tell me from personal experience, only invest in the market what you are willing to lose.

Maybe it helps us remember where we place our trust. Perhaps it helps us value what is really important. Hopefully it doesn't cause us to give up and give in, and quit life.

Like it has in the past.

Recently on Twitter 2008-09-29

  • done my second last service at Gateway. Groan. #



The moment was not lost on me yesterday as I helped a young couple dedicate their third born, to God. As I stood there with my hand on the sleeping little girl, praying for her future, and seeking God's blessing on her, my mind was flashing back to the first time we had all gathered in the church.

It was a bunch of years ago and the couple had just had a baby that was born, but because of problems the child had died within hours. Their grief was so deep and I remember the loss so great that I feared for their very future.

Yesterday morning was poignant as we gave thanks for that little girl. And my eyes got wet as I thought back while I prayed, to how far this young family had come. They have gone on to have a boy who is just starting Kindergarten this week, and now this little girl.

Sometimes life is just really hard. And sometimes it's really good.

Recently on Twitter 2008-09-27

Saturday, September 27, 2008

  • I think I'm hungry. I should go home for lunch. #

  • Bathroom is clean and I'm going to bed. Night internets. #


House Showing #3

A new Realtor and his client, a pretty, twenty something girl.

He was impressed that we had had three viewings in the first week because, "Things were slowing down considerably."

A couple of times they mentioned how clean and well cared for it looked.

Our hard work pays off, at least visually.

Hope it soon pays off financially.

Recently on Twitter 2008-09-26

Friday, September 26, 2008

  • My Physical today. First time with new Doctor. I hope she has skinny fingers. #

  • Is there and election on? I've only seen signs from Randy whatever his name is from the conservatives... #


Yep. Wanna know what it's sometimes really like?

to be in a pastors family?

Here is an anonymous pastors wife sharing some truths. Her anonymity allows her to say things that might not be true, but her insight into some of the struggles can only gained by living through those kinds of days. In other words, you can't make that stuff up. It's real. I've seen it.

Oh and don't click the link if you are already searching for reasons to hate the Church, cause you can't colour them all with the same crayon.

And don't click the link if you don't want to feel sick to your stomach, it's not worth it. There will always be people like this. I mean hey, these kinds of people killed our leader. Why should we assume it will be different for us?

Dear Tormentor

Via Tara.

Autumn in PA

Driving back from the hospital

Just on my way back to the office from the Hospital this morning and the sight took my breath away.


There are a few more images in my Flickr account.




Hospital visits

The rhythm of going to the hospital each week is one that is helpful for me to follow, and I do it regularly each week and more, depending on what it going on up there.

This morning I headed up there and my goal was to tell some of the people in there that I, we, are moving. I've actually tried this a couple of times, but I've bailed each time. And today was no different.

The one lady who was there was not having a good morning, even being unsure of who I was. She was not pleased to be placed in the part of the hospital that is long care related. So she was upset and frustrated with the system.

Her daughter was there too, which made any deep conversation almost impossible, so I said I would return later, and I will.

When you are aged and when you are ill, you value the local minister for different reasons than the good old, "We'll miss you" kinds of thoughts, because people in that phase of life are facing different needs than the rest of us are.

Honestly, many people in that season of life want someone there to see them through the final transition of life. To walk with them to death, and to see them through that door.

Many times they have asked me after my being away on holiday, "Are you leaving us? Are you going away?" So far I've always assured them that I wasn't going anywhere, and that allows them to settle down a bit and be more comfortable.

But now I need to tell them I'm going, and I don't know how.

They will ask me if I can come back and do their funerals, and I won't know the answer to that either. So I will assure them that I will do everything I can do to make their transitions ok. Knowing that I will do my best, but my best might not be the same as their perception of my best. But I can live with that.

I know this is a tough season for some of them, especially some of the 90 year olds who are not well. They will worry and fret a bit, and honestly, some of them may pass away sooner so that there is someone to bury them. I know that sounds morbid, but I know it to happen. The levels in a human heart are amazing.

I just gotta get myself to the place of telling them that I'm going, and hope and pray and trust God to be their God too.

Recently on Twitter 2008-09-25

Thursday, September 25, 2008

  • I am a total sloberpuss after 2 hours in the dentist chair. #

  • I'm going to find some lunch I can suck through a straw. #

  • Watching George Gently on BBC Canada. Seems a good police/mystery show. #


here or not

Dunno why the company we use is having server trouble today, but it seems to be having a bad of it.

So if it says we are not here, don't believe it for a second.

I'm still here.

Burn after Reading

The movie Lauralwa and I went to see tonight.

What shall I say about it...

The last two minutes were funny, sort of.

And that's all I got.

Oh, and the houses in the movie were nice.

Ah Lovely Autumn, otherwise known as prostate exam season

This here blogging thing can sure help keep record of things, like the last time I had a physical, you know, with a Doctor and everything. Well it seems the last time was October 2005.

I didn’t think it was that long ago, but my words are there to prove me wrong. Three years since and it’s time to go back.

Today was the day to go see the Doctor. My NEW doctor, as the last one did what they have been doing to me for ten years, leaving town.

I hadn't met her yet but Lauralea likes her. My only qualification, at this point in my life, was that she has skinny fingers. Somewhat thankfully I didn't have the opportunity to meet her because as I was going to her office, she was called out the back door to deliver a baby at the hospital, and I am rebooked for next Tuesday, 8:30 am. That's ok, I won't have time to fret about things. Just get up and go to the Doctors.

Doctors I don't fret about. Blood tests haven't scared me since I was five. But you start talking digital exams and I get all light headed.

And that is not the time to pass out.


From the PETA Files


Make ice cream from breast milk,

PEOPLE for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has urged US ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's Homemade to replace cow's milk in ice cream products with breast milk.

"PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 per cent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the animal rights group said.

PETA officials say a move to breast milk would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their calves on factory farms and benefit human health.

More here, if you can stomach it…

I could see this leading to a whole new line of flavours;

Mamma ate chocolate before milking
Mamma ate pistachio before milking
Mamma at cookie dough before milking. 

Course I probably shouldn’t mock it. It could be an extra source of income for stay-at-home moms.


via. Kim


Ah that might look good hanging over the pulpit

You know how sometimes churches can become a sort of dumping ground for the junk we have in our homes that doesn't really fit our lifestyles any longer but its too good to throw out, so we give it to the church to use?

You know how that happens?

Well yeah, it happens here too, so we've decided to put everything like that in a big room and the people can come and take whatever they like and what's left will be donated to other organizations.

So I was just down there, walking amongst the stuff, and I came across a four rifle gun rack with lockable drawer apparently for the shells. A GUN RACK for pete's sake. In what line of thought would somebody think that that might be a good thing for a church to have??


I've been with these people over ten years and they still surprise me sometimes.


(Anybody wanna buy a dark wood, three rifle gun rack?)

Recently on Twitter 2008-09-24

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

  • I'm in bed but I'm thirsty for some good strong black tea. #

  • Its just not fun when Lauralea does laundry so early in the morning that my morning washup becomes a hot/cold psyco-drama. #


a free night

and herself and I don't know what to do.

Feels like our life is about waiting right now. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

It's not fun when you are a kid, and it's not fun when you are an adult either.

We pass the time talking to each other with a Scottish accent.

She's not been well lately, and I spent a couple of hours in the dentists chair this morning. She says she might as well get ready for bed, and not in that come hither sense either. And I agree with her, my head is hurting, so I'm going to have a shower and go to bed.

Just an exciting night at the Friesens.

You Might Be A Pastor if…

Somebody sent me this list and I laughed at a few of the points. Then I realized I laughed because they are true.


~ You hesitate to tell people what you do for a living.

~ You've ever dreamed you were preaching only to awaken and discover you were.

~ You've ever wondered why people couldn't die at more appropriate times.

~ You find yourself counting people at a sporting event.

~ You're leading the church into the 21st century, but you don't know what you're preaching on Sunday.

~ A church picnic is no picnic.

~ You jiggle all the commode handles at the church before you leave.

~ People sleep while you're talking.

~ You've ever wanted to "lay hands" around a deacon's neck.

~ You often feel like you're herding cats rather than shepherding sheep.




Recently on Twitter 2008-09-23

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  • Weird day, hard rain, clouds, sun, the first day of Spring has everything. #

  • I have been corrected, and discovered my big problem in life, it's Autumn, not Spring. #


The girl has new eyes

Lauralea with new eyes


To the dump, To the dump, To the dump dump dump

We don't normally use the city dump but we already gave away a bunch for recycling and the remainders were mostly trash. At the dump you can sort your stuff too, so that it gets recycled there too, which makes it a great dump in my opinion. So that's what Micah and I did after work today.

To the dump

I think going to the dump with your kids, well yourself even, connects you better to the stuff you have and leave behind. When you actually have to stand there and toss some of your garbage on a pile and leave it there with the understanding that it will remain there for a long time after you are gone, well that's just sobering.

I think it beings to make you think twice about the stuff you spend you life and money gathering.


Happy Birthday Hillary

I hope you had a great day, and I miss you and I hope you got your rose.

Love dad.

we all need to be connected

A full morning behind me. Resigning from some more groups I work with here in PA. Then I spent an hour and a half talking with a young pastor in a faraway city on the phone.

Its often that they phone me for some connection or insight, and yet it’s I who am so encouraged and hopeful when we part. The quality and passion of these young leaders is staggering when I watch their lives and choices.


When I was a young pastor, there was nobody that I could call to ask questions or freak out on. Nobody to hear my heart or my desires, no one who I could trust with my suspicions or theological explorations. It was pretty lonely out there.

And so that partly motivates me to be there for whoever needs a friend or a senior pastor, or whatever.

What’s cool about that is that I get to hear their heartbeat, I get to see their passions, and it’s so familiar to my own story. Those talks take me back in time to my own story, and my centre returns again and I remember how I got to where I am.

I think sometimes its easy to get cynical, but those times call me right back to who I am called to be. Iron sharpens iron.

This year, because of the transitions in our lives, Lauralea and I won’t be hanging out with many of them at our yearly Pastors & spouse retreat in Canmore. We feel that loss deeply as it always is a time to hang out with those we have deep connections with. People who do the same things we do, and so have the same appreciations for the struggles and successes we might have.  For us Autumn always includes this re-connection.


I am really excited and hopeful for the future of the Church. Yeah, there are always some leaders who really don’t get it, but more and more there are Godly young men and women who are willing to live what they believe, and they are the ones that will change history.


the score to date

Monday, September 22, 2008
House for sale, 5 days.

1 person came to view, and later decided to rent.

1 person drove past very slowly and people here thought the guy was looking at the house. I thought he was casing the joint.

2 new houses for sale on the next block. That makes 8, or 9. It's an absolutely crazy market out there right now, especially if you're selling.


1 homeowner who hasn't completly lost heart yet, but he can see it from here.

Firefox 3

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Finally, after months of frustration and an afternoon of googling, Reading, and tweaking, my Firefox 3 is no longer taking 90 seconds to load.

I've got that down to 9 seconds.

It was making me crazy.

Good Grief

Saturday, September 20, 2008
Sometimes it's harder being a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan than a player I think.

Rainbows of Colours


Thomas Kelly on life


"We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfil them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed, and fearful we shall be shallow...We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center!... We have seen and known some people who have found this deep Center of living, where the fretful calls of life are integrated, where No as well as Yes can be said with confidence."

Thomas Kelly


Walking at Little Red


Friday Night Fun

Friday, September 19, 2008
Cleaning the back entrance of the house.

Vacuuming the ceiling.

Washing the walls.

Scraping the floor.  .  .  with an SOS pad.

And only threee hours after starting that, I'm back at my office working.

Oh well, at least I'm not stuck at home washing my hair or watching some star wars pre-pre-prequel in the finest "I can't get a date" nerd fashion.

Course, by looking at the list of things I did tonight, I believe I have my own issues.

The Velvet fog is gone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008
She just drove off the lot with a young couple with a baby.
Their newer car had transmission trouble they couldn't afford, so they needed to get around in the mean time.

In the end I wanted to give it to them, but I didn't. I think that's the mode I'm in, just give everything away. How do you put a price on something you love, and has loved you back, if a ton of tin can love back.

So one more piece is gone and for the first time in years we are a one vehicle family.

Be good to them Velvet. Live long and drive far.

Remember, Talk Like A Pirate Day

Tomorrow is international Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Get yer plans in place and have a go at talking like a pirate.


See, it's that easy.

Here's help if you need it.


After a stressful spring where my mind, heart, and creativity were needed elsewhere, my photo-blog, took a rest.

It's back in action today. Until my creativity is needed elsewhere again.

a worthy comercial break

Tara tells me that:
There are two volunteer associations that I have joined. One is Operation Photo Rescue - - what they do is volunteer to repair people's pictures. They are still working on pictures from Katrina and now have a inload from this last round of storms. Their funding has also been cut - due to the mess on Wall Street going on - but they really need people to repair photos.

The other organization is a bit sadder Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep - -they are looking for volunteers to join their photographer base, as well as photo retouchers. They have the photographers go to the hospital when an infant is born stillbirth or is expected to die shortly. The photographer takes professional pictures, sends them to the organization who sends it out to one of us retouchers, where we make the photos look pretty and as pleasant as possible. The family is either given a disc with the pictures on it, or an album of the pictures by the organization. This way it gives them a keepsake, that is special. Most nurses aren't comfortable taking the pictures - most don't know how. This way the pictures are done with all the right camera settings, lighting etc, to make the photo truly a work of art and hopefully they will remember that, and not so much the not so pretty side.

Two opportunities for you photographers and photoshop magic workers out there.

And I'm the pastor who has sat beside the bed and held a fully formed but lifeless little baby in my hand. The parents, desperate for some connection, some memory of that loved child, uncomfortably take their own pictures of the baby, keeping them hidden for years.

Yeah, this could be a good thing. And a good way to use your gifts and talents.

Wow. Ron Lancaster is dead

He was the first and best thing I remembered of the early years of the Riders.

It's Lifting.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I mean, the sense of responsibility, the care for these people and their souls, it's lifting.

All the physical things we are doing are helping the proceedings. Tonight we had our last congregation meeting and I talked to them at that level for the last time. We have plans and some people in place for what happens when we go. So it's lifting.

All these years of prayer and care and checking up and encouraging, they don't just get let go of. Because God is good, there is a lifting of the yoke for this place, and it's shifting for the next.

Already praying for the next place, the church in the field people. Starting to live into what Advent looks like there, and Christmas, and spring. Starting to take up that yoke.

And really that's how it should be, if God is in it, and we are healthy.

So it feels good, it's as it should be, and things are going to be alright. Because we prayed tonight. As a church they prayed for us, and we prayed for them.

It'll be alright.



Gather data of my last ten and a half years here.

Sweet sweet digital agendas.

Do search. Count events. There you go.

Wonder when that happened?

Search by title. Boom. There you go.

God bless digital. Sometime analog is just for the devil.

One of these things is not like the other

Satire: "The literary art of ridiculing a folly or vice in order to expose or correct it. The object of satire is usually some human frailty; people, institutions, ideas, and things are all fair game for satirists."


Now, as far as I am able to tell, this is Satire.



This is not.


From The Way International which seems to have a few of it's own problems besides hiring its choreographer from America Can Dance.




Well, I just attended my last Council meeting at Gateway

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
and the mood was, subdued to say the least. There was not a lot of joy there.

When I reflect on one of my first board meetings here, (Shhhh don't tell anyone) I still cringe.

I sat mostly in a state of total shock as two, three or four parties, I can't recall, yelled at one another at the top of their lungs for two hours. They were not afraid to include personal insults and nuances in their voluminous exchanges.

And then, after two hours of that, we all went out for a friendly coffee. And my eyes were as big as a two Chinese woks.

I crawled into the house later that night in stunned silence, fell into the big chair and just sat there, trying to make sense of the evenings display.

And I thought to myself, and to God, what am I doing here?!?!

Indeed. It's safe to say He knows what He's doing.

Did you ever wonder...

What Google knows?

Now you can know too.


met with the realestate guy today

and for reasons I'm still trying to figure out, I feel sick to my stomach.


A New taste Sensation

Monday, September 15, 2008
I LoVe these things,

Miss Vickie's Rosemary and Basil flavour chips.

Just awesome with some cheddar cheese.

Lately snack foods have taken a bad turn, need I mention dunkaroos?  But these things are renewing my faith in snackfood.

So new, their website doesn't even have them yet.

A bad day to have a Wall St. address

I was watching the financial news and reports on the weekend, and was a bit apprehensive to turn on the news this morning. A great many people are in a new world of hurt today as a result of decisions made by other people.

I don’t suppose the days events effect me that much, except that possibly the mutual funds my pension are invested in might see a bit of a hit. But I do know some people who are heavily invested, and they will feel some pain. Let alone the freshly unemployed workers of Lehman Brothers who filed for the biggest bankruptcy in history.

Bank of America said it would buy troubled Merrill Lynch and AIG slumped on fears that it can't raise cash. Last I read was that AIG might be declaring bankruptcy tomorrow morning which could unleash day two of this perfect storm in the financial markets.

Maybe just an opportunity to remember where our treasures are. I don’t want to sound trite when I say that there are things more precious than cash. Family is good. Friends who love you are awesome. A fulfilling job can be great. And a big screen tv is, well, just a big screen tv you sit in front of, watching alone without the family or friends to enjoy it with.

And you can tell where you keep your treasure and what it really is, by looking where your spirit or soul or heart spends most of its time.


That’s where your treasure is.


And before you go to bed tonight, it would be a good idea to send up a good thought, or say a prayer for those employees caught between a rock and a hard place this night. Tough decisions will need to be made, about treasures.


Moving to a House in a Field.

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Some of you have been asking, so it's probably time to let you in on the place we are heading for the beginning of November.

It's in a field, located next to the Malmo Mission Covenant Church, which is about 20 minutes southeast of Wetaskiwin Alberta.

The manse where we will be living, is located next to the church, and near the cemetery, kind of beside the field. It certainly will be further from any neighbours than I have ever known in my life. And the Manse is only a couple of years old. We'll have to learn how to live with a well and a septic system and skunks and other vermin.


The church draws about half from the surrounding farms, acreages and homes, and half from town. A unique dynamic. They are good rural people who are connected to the land, so they know what it's capable of, good and bad, and they watch out for one another. Classic prairie people.

So life is taking a turn for us, and like I wrote earlier, I've pastored in Southern Ontario with many people, then in Winnipeg with lots of people, then in Prince Albert with a few thousand people. But who am I when I pastor a church in a field? My world seems to be continually getting smaller, or perhaps more focused. I am excited by that potential, to shepherd and pastor in a wide open space. I wonder how that shapes me, and who I become in this context.

I think your surroundings effect who you become. Think, living in a garbage dump in Manila, or in a mansion in Beverly Hills. The South side of Chicago, or Alaska. Even living in an area with four seasons compared to living in a place with one or two. We are shaped by our surroundings, and I am interested to see who I become, living in a field, in Alberta.

But enough of that. Here are a few images I uploaded to my flickr account and you can click on them to see them expanded.

The Church building
The church building.
The inside of the church
The inside of the church building.
The view
The view.
The Manse
The Manse.
 The back yard
The back yard.

Life in a field.


The Spirituality of Painting

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This week of painting has been therapeutic for me. It’s given me a physical way to work out my emotions and inner stresses, and the house looks a whole lot better too.

I tend to carry emotional stresses in my body a bit to much, its just how I’m made. So this week of physical workouts has been great for me. It’s actually one of the parts of pastoral work that I don’t like – that it’s not very physical. I appreciate working hard, even physically, when things get accomplished. I don’t appreciate it when it’s just for exercises sake.

And the painting has given me lots of time to pray, so I have been praying, for many of you, and our kids, and our future. It’s been good that way, really nice.

But tonight is the first time I’ve seen a computer all week, so I’ve been trying to catch up on some emails.

I think I have to go put the curtains back up in our bed room, so we can get to bed. I’m tired.



another day, another room painted.

Friday, September 12, 2008
These times tend to test what someone is made of and if that is so, then Lauralea and I are made up of five arguments. Well ok four unique arguments and one that's gone on all week.

That and tears. Lots of tears it seems.

The kids are coming to terms with the move too. Even though they have moved away, it feels as though their home is going away. I understand that. Lauralea was chatting with one of the kids online today and came upstairs weeping. I guess the week of hard work, late nights, and change is catching up with us. It'll be ok.

And some of you have just been blowing me away with your caring and thoughtful emails. I mean it. This morning over pancakes I showed Lauralea a note I got last night and she was as overwhelmed as I was. Tears again.

This place has been quiet lately and might be for a few days more. I need to get a couple more rooms done.

Oh and now there is an election too and I'm all busy trying to transition my life, and there probably won't be another one for a few years anyway. Now that's just really bad timing!

That's todays update.

Goodnight from the madhouse.

Ode to a home

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Day four of house sale preparations. And again today I was preparing and paintng walls.

Each brush stroke covering a memory of life lived with children growing up.

A poem written on a bedroom wall as a reminder to a fourteen year old that life would be better.

Thirty six small nails in the walls holding up treasures.

Blue watercolour paint still visible from when your stupid dad said you could add some easy to wash off watercolours to decorate your room, so you coloured your whole room in that blue.

All memories that are loosing any physical trace of ever having existed. Gone. And I feel heavy, like something is dying.

Though this house has sometimes frustrated me, I love how we have lived here. It has been such a wonderful place these years.

I, we worked hard to be in the same house for a long time. So the kids could put down roots, and know a steady, permanent place in their lives. To offer them a sure home.

And that's been great.

But it makes this time of change bittersweet, and it feels like in some way I'm erasing memories.

And so it goes.

Tomorrow I tackle the hallway.


It's September 11th today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I just remembered.

I hurt in places I don't even have body

Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Must be psycophysical pain or something.

So yeah, first chance on the computer today.

After preping, washing, sanding, and vacuming, the livingroom walls, I painted them. All. Twice.

I hurt all over.

Total workout.

I should actually have someone pay me to be their trainer, then I'd stick some wet rags in their hands and yell at them to get at it, keep it up, one more, one more, one more. Then when they are done I'd sitck a paint roller in their hands for part two of the work out.

Muscles would be tested, weight would be lost.


But yeah, I best get to bed. I have to be in the dentist chair by 8 am for some Happy Happy Fun Time.

Then, to fix some more house.


Sorry if you're waiting for an email for me. Patience grasshopper.



A Week of Luxurious Holiday

and eating and drinking by the pool, is underway.


Yesterday I worked in the yard.

Today I start to prep the living room for some paint.

Tomorrow I’m in the dentist chair getting major work done.

And repairing the bedroom walls and getting them ready for paint.

and on and on it will go.

Through the week.


It’s not fun.


Used Bungalow for Sale

Monday, September 08, 2008


Lauralea and I had planned that if we moved we wanted to help some friends own a house. They have been faithful caregivers to foster kids for a long time and partly because of those reasons, they still live in a rental. They love our home and so we wanted to try to help them get into a house and take the low low end of the price range to try to make it happen.

Unfortunately, again also partly because of their work, they have been turned down for a mortgage.

This house has been good to us, and God has blessed us here. We would still like to bless someone with it, help them out if possible.


So I’m willing to throw that out there. Our bottom line isn’t cash, it’s to help out and be gracious. And if we can do that for you, let me know. We’ll wait a day or two before we contact a real estate person.

She need a bit of paint and some updating, but those are mostly cosmetic changes.


She comes complete with a tree house I and the kids built with a great view, a number of goldfish buried beneath the lilac bush, great raspberry bushes, Mongolian cherry bushes, blackberry bushes and strawberry plants. A Pergola built one April day by the boys and I. A great kid friendly entrance, eat in kitchen, four bedrooms, two toilets, family room, and lots of lived in patina.

Email if you wish, and we can see if God is in it.


I resigned from Gateway this morning.

Sunday, September 07, 2008
I'll talk more about it later.

It's later now. I wanted that out there asap because it was going to be out there in different places and I preferred to control that information. Might as well go to the horses mouth.

And this afternoon I had day 2, part 2 of the funeral, then a council meeting, then driving Micah to youth.... you get it.

So I'm in my beloved office, easily the nicest office of any Canadian Covenant Pastor I believe.
Yes, I resigned this morning. One of the toughest things I've ever done.

Things were shifting it felt like, since this past winter, and I couldn't determine what it was exactly. It felt like the church was at a great place, a kind of wide open space and I wasn't getting any sense of new direction for us.

And we struggled through Lauralea's health scare, then a daughter got married and two sons were graduating and my course was drawing to a close. I felt like it was a good opportunity to spend some discernment time about what I wanted to do for the next part of my working life. I quietly listed some of the dreams we've held on to for a while, and wondered if now was the time for some of those things to come alive.

It was a tough spring, feeling like we were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and something to fall into place and give us clarity, but nothing gave us clarity or peace.

Calls came from other churches, asking of we were open, and each one was processed & prayed through by us and some of the church leadership here, and nothing stuck, nothing seemed right or gave us that peace.

And then late one night an email came from a friend who asked if I would be willing to consider a church that needed some of the things I had to offer.

I knew this church and have known it for some time, and I need to say that I have thanked God many times that he had never called me to pastor it. For my own biased reasons, I never wanted to pastor that church, or truth be told, live in that province.

And just so you know how arrogant I can be, I have told God in the past, never that church. Please.

The reasons are my own, but I remember crawling into bed and telling Lauralea of the email and who had sent it. Once she heard who was asking she said "That's probably it then eh?" I said something smart like not if I can help it.

So we processed this call like any other, and I fought for a long while to get my heart to the place where it didn't matter if we went there or not. Obviously I had things to deal with about my perception of the place. Or at least, about my arrogance in telling God what I would or wouldn't do.

Fighting with God gets old, and I tried to get my head to the place where I could actually believe that God didn't care where I was working. But like Lauralea asked one night, "How do you feel about living in the belly of a fish for a few days?"

Point taken.

Really this process has been about coming to terms with my wants and wishes being contrary to Gods. And how to live in that space.

Fortunately or not, this church wouldn't get out of my system, I couldn't shake it. I had less peace when I considered dropping it, than when I considered walking it through. And the people who were discerning with us were agreeing. So we met with the church and they with us, and we were impressed with who they are. Good, prairie people, with a few systems issues and a long past history to live out.

It is a rural church, located in a field, in Alberta, at the crossroads of two grid roads. There is a manse beside the church, and a cemetery beside the manse.

It's a rural church, did I mention that? I've pastored in Southern Ontario with tons of people, then in Winnipeg with lots of people, then in Prince Albert with a few thousand people. But who am I when I pastor a church in a field?

Like I told a friend, my world seems to be continually getting smaller, or perhaps more focused.
So there is much to be nervous about, yet there is a great deal of peace that goes with this decision. I am good, really, about going there and I'm starting to look forward to it. I'm not so good yet about saying goodbye to this place. Gateway. Prince Albert. Saskatchewan.

And in all honesty I'm trying to process how it was that I felt like I wanted to go in one direction, and the direction God had for me, for now, is an opposite one.

Then the fortune cookie I got last March makes bizarre sense. It sits in a frame on my desk now because it has sat on my desk all spring and summer, taunting me with the words:

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



Home on the Prairies

Saturday, September 06, 2008



The day turned out to be a long one, but the funeral was great. It turned into the kind where people are full of stories of how they were loved by the one who is gone. Real legit stories of care, from grandchildren and family and friends and two separate sets of co-workers. It was great, lots of laughter too. God was there.

I took some time to stop at the Chortitz Cemetery on my way home. That’s where my dad has a small piece of land that holds his physical remains.

He and I had a good talk except that I did all the talking. (just so you know I’m not crazy) It’s been a difficult summer and I’ve wanted to get there all summer, so tonight I just did it.

There are some pictures of the place in my Flickr account.

But it was a cool night out there on the harvested prairies. It’s been a hard summer, for reasons I won’t bother with now. And the days ahead will be difficult too, for a time. But hopefully they will settle down as much as my spirit has settled and is at peace.

Yeah, there’s nothing like the prairies on a September night. Big sky, deep colours, fresh air…

Now a bit of prep work here and I can head home. Micah just called to say Lauralea has arrived and I don’t want to miss her.




A long day

I'm still in bed as I write this, not my prefered position for writing I confess but it's probably my only quiet in a long day.

I need to get myself down to Saskatoon to do this funeral and that alone will make it a long day.

But I'm not really ready for tomorrow.
The worship songs and scripture are pretty much in place, and we are sharing communion so we'll take some time with that. But I don't know what to talk about.

So, probably tonight I'll be at the office trying to sort things out.

The weekend feels overwhelming just a bit. So much work to be done.

Lauralea will be home late tonight, and Micah is staying home today to clean up and then get himself to the soup kitchen to help out.

And I should be back from the funeral later on tonight.

So it's gonna be a long one. Best get started.

A Call for Help

Friday, September 05, 2008

This is a general call out to people who may be able to give assistance tomorrow, Saturday September 5, between 10:30 and 4:30pm.

Vivian Reeves who lives west of the city and last week experienced a great deal of property and tree loss due to the high winds and tornado that effected that area, is having a work bee tomorrow to try to clean up a bit.

She has many trees and scrub down and needs to move them. There is also general clean up work that needs to be done as well.

If you can help, please consider giving an hour or two to assist her.

She lives West of Prince Albert, 19.2 kms from the pen.

Head west on 302.

Turn right on Pine Road.

At the dead end turn left.

Watch for the people working and she lives on the left side in a house with a red tin roof.

I expect to be at a funeral in Saskatoon tomorrow so I won't be around. But if you manage to get lost, please call her.

Thanks for any time you can give to her.


Hey you, child of the 80’s

I spent the 80’s in college, getting married, and having our first two girls, so I didn’t have much time for television.

But the 1980’s were when music videos hit the world.

Now you can time travel back to those cheesy, colour pant times and watch the music videos of those days.

Have fun. Just don’t loose the whole day there.


Love in a Walmart checkout line

What if love isn’t something you fall into. What if it’s not something you get lucky to find.

What if it’s something you choose and decide and create?





Now that's a Pizza

Thursday, September 04, 2008
Now that's a pizza

And She is the considerate person who brought this exquisite masterpiece for supper.

What an amazing gift, and all for Micah and I.

So we ate as much as we could, which was about half, and now we have enough for supper tomorrow too.

The people in this city are too much.

Thanks P.

I've got this song stuck in my head.

Now you do too.

The Joy

Johanna Joy to be exact.

Today is her birthday, and to celebrate I dug up the very first picture I could find of her.

She might not like how she looks in it, all upside down and all, but I like it.


The father, the mother, and baby makes three. (The 80’s were great for pants)

Now she lives on the coast with her husband, Nate who, if you can believe it, looks better in his early twenties than I did.


I hope you have a great day Johanna. I love you and I’m proud of you.

Happy Birthday.


Love Dad.




The week that wouldn’t be

It’s overcast and rainy out there right now, and I’m in my office looking at a day of funeral prep and service prep and sermon work.

It’s the good kind of overcast day and my office is mostly dark, except for the lamp lighting my desk and the candle I just lit to help me focus. I need to focus because there is much to do.

This week really has been a mess. A mess in the house from company and kids leaving, and with that goes a mess financially. A mess with miscommunication between Lauralea and I, which happens but these heightened emotional days just brings it out in us.

I’m on call at the hospital this week, and as it turns out I’m doing a two day, two city funeral this weekend. As well as a full Sunday morning.

And, Lauralea has left me.


yeah, we got her on a bus this morning for her sisters wedding this weekend, and the catch is that the only buses leaving Swift Current this weekend leave Saturday morning at 8:30am, or Late Sunday night. That means she will have to leave a full six hours before the wedding even happens, to get home before Monday. I told her she should drive down, but in the end she figured driving would keep her alone a lot and she wants to connect with her sister, who she’s meeting and spending some time with today. A long, frustrating story.

So it’s Micah and me in the midst of the chaos. And with the things I need to do before the weekend, I’m not even sure about myself.

Any good vibes you can send our way, I’d be grateful for.


Carry on.


Whats going on with this blog???

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
She's choking to a standstill.

Whats that about?

I may have to temporarily go to a default template. If you see that here, that's what is going on.

Right. This is what I miss.

Family Snapshot

January 18, 2003 at 5:47pm


Anybody check out the New CBC Radio 2?

There was some good jazz running a bit last night but waking up to that strange horn/cuban/salsa/noised music this morning was a huge shock to the system.

I still prefer smooth classics at dawn, for waking up to.

And Tom Allen, who is still the morning guy... I like him but getting used to him announcing contemporary urban music is weird to my mind. My sleeping mind says "Ahh Tom with his good conversation leads to wonderful music..."   NOT. 

Screeching halt.

I'll have to find another wake up station.

"I can see clearly now the rain is gone"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

There are seasons of life when we only see through the glass in unclear ways.

And we stress and we strain to see what we need to see, but for the time being, it's fuzzy.

It doesn't mean our eyes are broken, or that what we see is unreal. It may just mean that our vision is resolving and hopefully becoming more clear.

It may also be an invitation to believe what we think we see. To step out in some measure of faith, and see if it is indeed real.

...or it may just be a rained on windscreen.


Google's new browser, Chrome

This is my first post using Google's new browser, Chrome.

She seems fast and simple, and so far it does a good job on the webpages I view.

There are a few things that I regularly take two or three steps to do in Firefox, but in here they seem intuitively built in to the software.

So far, so very nice.

Lets see how this develops.


Check for yourself;

God did it. Jesus did too.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Today has been a day of trying to recuperate. To find our rest and let our spirits catch up with us. I, again, was surprised how much that is needed after a week or two like the past weeks have been.

And then a call comes. Somebody has died, suddenly. She was a friend and church connected individual, so I immediately feel surprise and pain of loss. Before I let myself step into my own process of grief, I become pastor Randall again and listen to their pain. I begin to make calls, and calls come in to me. Before I know it, I am working once again. Working on my only day off.

If you know me, you know that is not a complaint. Some days life, and death just happen. No, it’s about me trying to take responsibility for my health and well being. I am relearning that rest is a needed part of my health.

Park on a quiet evening

But I am caught. People don’t just have needs from Tuesday till Sunday, people die on Mondays too. So I need to work today. And tomorrow will have more to do. I feel caught with not many options for rest.

And I’m up late, trying to process the death a bit, trying to process some other information I’ve received and am struggling to deal with tonight. The exquisite pain of being a human sometimes overwhelms us, and we loose our way, giving in to the pain we endure, getting lost, and loosing ourselves.

I don’t want that for myself, so I need to find ways to rest.

God did it one day a week.  Jesus ran away to do it. So maybe I should be a bit more direct with it too.

Of course neither of those guys was a pastor.



A Canadian Political Question here

I seem to recall that the ruling Conservative party brought in legislation that an election had to be held on a certain, predesignated day down the road in a few years.  And that it was made illegal to simply call an election whenever the ruling party wanted.

With all this talk of a looming election, I’ve been wondering how this can be accomplished, if its now against present legislation to call an election, or to cause your own government to fall.

Any ideas out there?

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