They SAID it was just off the road, a mile or two...

Sunday, November 30, 2008
and am I glad I followed someone else because there is no way I would have found The Cabin in the middle of a field on top of the rise over looking a lake where we were going for a wiener roast and hay ride.

This was us following the guy in front who knew where the place was.

and it turned out to be a really nice day. Lots of fun and connections. Some great food, and a wonderful views to photograph.

I documented some of the fun, here.

a good day.


(Note, November 30th and no snow.)


Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tonight as I write this the window is open just a crack and there is a very gentle breeze outside. We as yet have not seen any real snow which will make the sleigh ride some interesting tomorrow. But we are hardy people. We'll not complain over a lack of the white stuff. 

Though we lack the snow to remind us that winter is coming, the other signs are quite apparent. More and more the darkness grows, till today when its been dark since about 5 pm. The kids are getting ready for a Christmas concert at church and at school, and as I said, tomorrow is the skating, snow sliding, hay riding, wiener roasting party.

Of course the other reminder is that tomorrow begins Advent.

Advent is a season in the Christian church when we pause to consider and remember the coming of Christ so many years ago, and to remind one another that he is coming again, triumphantly.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the rush and madness of trying to meet this worlds Christmas expectations. Then this week, just as the Christmas rush begins, Advent comes and reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. We are reminded that Christ came into this world, not to visit, but to become one of us. To put on skin and show us what love really means.

That's what Advent and Christmas is all about.

Its a time to shift gears and slow down, to remember what is important in this Christmas season and to practice those graces.

Don't let the lack of snow fool you. Christmas and all it's worldly demands will begin to want to pressure you for these few remaining days before The Day. So take some time this Advent to consider what Christ has done for you, and how you need to respond to him, and live.


Nite. From The Field.

Church Windows on a late November day

Church Windows

As I was walking through the sanctuary late today the setting sun caught the southern windows in a most magnificent golden hue. 

It was stunning.

Ten Thousand Villages Day

Ten Thousand Villages


I'm sitting in my office with the window open a bit and a beautiful cool autumn breeze is clearing out the old air. Of course I'm wearing my Jets Jersey, because I can, and downstairs the Ten Thousand Villages shop is open for Christmas business.



It's a cool way to be a blessing to people who live far away, and to help make their lives a bit more live-able.










And now we sacrifice humans to the god we serve.

Friday, November 28, 2008
"Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede."

Yeah, it's called Black Friday for a reason. Now, for one family at least, the name is legitimate.

For now we offer up human sacrifices to this god that we serve and worship.


Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

Jeff Update

Just talked with him for a few moments, and many of you have been asking.

The surgery went ok, the "Largest herniated disk I ever saw" said the doctor.

Whether the damage is permanent or not, it remains to be seen. His left foot is tingling a bit today though so he's getting hopeful. But the journey to walking seems like it will be a while yet. He was up with a walker today a bit too.

His boss has assured him of his job whenever he gets back up and around, so thats good.

But still lots of scary stuff ahead, and a bit of a long road back, if its even doable. 

Which is why we are praying.



Recently on Twitter 2008-11-27

Thursday, November 27, 2008

  • A good day behind me by now. Time to sleep. Night. #

  • Well the church is full of Moms Of Preschoolers. Oh the humanity. Oh the wailing and gnashing of gums... #


off to a banquet

Not sure what to expect, but there should be food there!

Our church does a Christmas banquet with another church and tonight is the night. Upon checking with the locals, I've downgraded my planned apparel from my white Bond double-breasted dinner jacket and black bow-tie, to a nice collared shirt and slacks, maybe even my dark jeans.


Ah, life in the country.


"An Israeli rescue team is heading for Mumbai as terrorists continue to hold up to 20 Israeli citizens, CNN reports."

You wanna know that when Israel sends a rescue team that they probably mean business.

Happy Thanksgiving America

I do think that this is one holiday that America gets right, this thanksgiving thing.

It's in the winter season yet there is no mad rush to purchase gifts. There are no Thanksgiving parties to attend or office parties where people get drunk and do things they will regret for the rest of the year. There are no Thanksgiving pageants or special outfits. No candy or special plants to decorate. It's about gratitude, which is always good to be reminded to celebrate.

It's celebrated with food, usually around tables with friends and family, and it's not really hard to think about things to be grateful for.

Kinda like Christmas but without all the fanfare and months of mad prep work.


I mean, there is a huge parade, and people can be excessive with the food. Oh, and the team sports can get in the way. Football I mean. (I checked todays games and they look kinda lean. Which I suppose, is something for some people to be thankful for too.) And there is Black Friday which is called that for a reason. The biggest shopping orgy the American public enters into each year, to prepare for The Holiday of the year, Christmas.

But on this day when India is burning, and the financial markets continue a downward spiral, when people are loosing their homes and food costs more, and people are sick and hurting, maybe there are still things to be thankful for.

Though it isn't good to be thankful that we are not like them, caught in their pain and loss, it is good that we pray for them at our tables and gatherings.

No, maybe there are things that we ourselves can be thankful for. In an odd twist of reality, it's sometimes the people of the world who have the least who are the most grateful. Those of us who have much can find ourselves jaded by the smallest pain and become thankless individuals.

It's good to remember to be thankful especially in such a blessed country.
It's good to stop and think and remember and to be thankful.

So wherever you find yourselves living these days, it's a good idea to remember to be thankful, for some grace in your life.

On this one I think we can take our cues from the Americans.

A couple of bucks in a field

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Two bucks sizing each other up

Caught over the lunch hour.


I feel gross today.

In my former ways I would simply say "Deny thy feelings and thrust forward into the abyss, thou winey sniveling self."

However, in trying to learn how to not diss myself and the accompanying feelings, a different response is probably in order.

I just don't know what it is yet.


So, I'm off to visit the long term care home.

Brothers are cool to have around

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

jandr1There are certain things one kind of assumes in life. Things like the bank will take care of your money and if they fail then the government will give you your money back, or like we will always have something to eat or there will always be gas to buy or electricity running into our homes. You know, those kinds of absolute things we just don’t think twice about, even if we should.

I guess one of those things for me is that I have always kind of assumed that as the eldest child of my parents, I should expect to have more of the physical age related frustrations than my siblings might. You know, sickness or disease would probably visit me first because I’m first in line and if it’s age related then because I am the oldest, it should be me. Well, it isn’t.

Tonight my brother is in the hospital in Saskatoon. He had emergency surgery on his back late this afternoon. This is his third surgery on his back and over the past few months the pain has been returning. Then this morning he had difficulty walking or feeling his legs.

So today for them has been a very stressful day, and we’ve been watching with them waiting to hear what was what. Tonight the news isn’t great. It’s not terrible either, but its enough to pop that balloon of assumptions I had built up in my head. Only the days ahead will tell if there is permanent damage or not.

Which, dear reader, is where you come in.

jandr2 Some may not agree but brothers are about the coolest things in life that one can have, and I want mine around long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil. As for me I want him walking and standing and moving and hugging and living well. So if you are the praying kind, would you mind? Or if that’s not who you are, then simply think of him or send him some good vibes. They can use it.


It’s been a long enough day here too. I’m off to bed, thinking about Jeff and Heidi and their little boy, hoping for their future to be bright.






The dark shadows outside my office window were just moving so I looked up to get a better idea of what was going on and right beside the house there were about eight deer having a munch on grass and mingling around.

Beautiful, graceful animals. Mostly small and maybe not even a year old.

And just as suddenly as they arrived, they are leaving. The smallest one lagging behind.

Isn't that always the way.

Seasons Change

As I sit here in my office early on this Tuesday morning my window looks out towards the house and behind it the eastern sky is starting to lighten up. It's quite beautiful and amazing.

The rhythms of life are intricately connected here on this earth, and they feel even more tied together here in this field. Winter is coming, so preparations are being made. Equipment is being placed into storage, poultry is being sent to market, cattle is being shipped or moved to winter homes. And the land is allowed to rest. 

Rest. Hibernation. Winter brings that to us in different ways, at least here on the Canadian prairies. We are forced by the coming rhythm of winter, to change gears, downshift, conserve energy, rest. And that is a good thing.

I don't know who we would be if we didn't have winter. I suspect choosing to rest if it wasn't forced upon us might be difficult. Probably even seen as a weakness. And if our neighbours didn't rest, then probably neither would we.

So we are forced, by the plans of God and the grace of the land, to rest. And even if we inside ourselves don't slow down, that's our choice. Sometimes the land and the rhythms of life God has given us, are smarter than we are, and if we are teachable we will learn a thing or two about seasons of rest.

Learning to live well in that balance is a secret to life that not all people understand. Whether you are a high stakes banker living in the glass towers of the big city, or a farmer working the land. There are things about the balanced life that we need to learn, so that our lives too will be blessed in ways that give us life.

Sunset in the Field

Good thing I don't have a day job

Monday, November 24, 2008
Cause having to book off work to go to the bank to set up an account might require a sick day. I mean, what, they open at 9 am and close at 4 pm? And it takes an hour to set up an account? And that's if you can convince them to give you an account.

We went in to set up an account this morning and we were informed that we needed to have Photo ID from this province, AND a gas or electric bill from this place.


How can I get a utility bill if I don't have a bank account to pay for the bill?

And we sure don't have Alberta Drivers licenses yet.


So we asked the nice lady those questions, and she talked with her superior who finally gave her permission to set it up if we brought in those kinds of ID within a month, or else the account would be closed.

Now I appreciate that they are more strict with setting up accounts, especially in this day of identity theft, but there has to be some way to do it when the situation requires it.

Anyway, after all that we ran out of time to set up the account, and they closed at 4 pm so I'll have to rebook it for later on this week and we will try again.


Being known in a community is a good thing, it just takes some time to build that up.

Calgary Stampeders over Montreal Alouettes in Grey Cup, 22-14

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Well, this is hard to believe, and figure out.


I'm not prophetic, per say, but that's a little weird. Especially since it came last February.


Because I am not a Calgary fan, or hoped for them to win.

But there they go, Cup in hand.

So go figure.


Oh and the party at the Grimms was great.

50 inches of High Def greatness.


Very fun to watch sports on with a crowd.

Thanks all.

My installation service

My formal reception as the pastor at Malmo Mission Covenant Church happened last Sunday.

Here is the audio from the day. It's about 30 minutes and its mostly for my mom.

But it's Eunice Nelson on the piano, Natasha Westerhoud opening with prayer, Jeff Anderson doing the installation, various people coming up and praying for us, and me talking a bit about my story about being a pastor.

Here it is, NOV2308installationservice.mp3

We progress towards health and home

Saturday, November 22, 2008
This morning I awoke with a pain that seemed to be centered on my face. More particularly my nose. Dry and sore and overworked and underpaid.  I got up because honestly there is no use trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning when one's nose is in rebellion.

The house was still quiet so I sat and rested a bit before heading to the office for the morning. 

Lauralea is making this shell of a house into a home. She has ideas and is being much more purposeful about her home space planning than I would ever be. She's good at that. She can make a home out of pretty much anything.

But then again, we are simple people who could live in most any accommodations. The space we live in doesn't have to be one way or another. Sure we have our preferences, but we are not going to be carrying on about those things if they are not present in our lives.

So we have lived in a tiny cold house trailer up in northern Alberta, in a room in my parents home, in a upstairs apartment in a house, then downstairs. We have lived in three side by sides and one large three story house in Winnipeg, and a 960 sq ft bungalow in Prince Albert where we raised our kids.

In each place, Lauralea was up to the challenge of turning the building into a home. And to her credit I've never heard her complain about the place we lived in for that time.

The front room

None of the places, except for the three story house, was in her taste. She likes old with character. Arched entry ways, old wooden moldings, hardwood floors and trim. You know, the kinds of places where a few generations of families have raised their kids, and now it would be our turn. That's what she loves and who she is.

The front room

Now we find ourselves in a large more contemporary house than we've lived in for some time. It comes with the job, and we see it as God's continuing provision for us. Though it is very different than we've had for a while, and different than our own personal tastes, Lauralea once again has stepped up and with a grace shared by few. She is turning this place into a home.

I do think it is a grace that with the kind of work that we do, we have not been fussy about the places we've lived in. We've always lived with that in God's hands, and he has always taken care of us well.

So the process of turning a house into a home continues here in The Field. 


Herself is doing a fine job, and I love her attitude.

Alright already

Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm sick.

Cold and flu sick, not "I need surgery" sick. So I stuck around the office most of the day, answering mail, working on some pieces I need to have written, general office stuff. Just trying to stay away from the care homes and older people who don't need to get sick.

My goal was to stay within three feet of a box of Kleenex, which I suceeded at although there was one close call.

Generally it's progressed through the day getting worse, running more, aching more. But this too shall pass, if Lauralea and Micah are any indication.

I have a bit more work to do to prep for Sunday which I'll do tomorrow.

I need to be lots better by Sunday. It's our formal acceptance into ministry here and no one wants to lay hands on a runny nose, teary eyed, mouth breathing shepherd guy.

Besides, Sunday afternoon the Grey Cup final game is on and I don't want to miss that.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-20

Thursday, November 20, 2008

  • Time for bed i think. Nite internets. #


We might need to see a "Trained" Doctor,

I know Lauralea looks like a Doctor when she takes my flashlight and a big spoon and tells Micah to open wide, but she's only qualified to tell me of the spots and puss down in there. She's not allowed to issue prescriptions, yet.

So we need to find a good walk in clinic around here somewhere. If they even have such things here.

Any suggestions?

Call 780-352-8113 with your ideas.

A highspeed winter car chase in Canada

At least, that's the commercial we've been seeing on TV.


looking for a party

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Hey, does anyone around this here field have a Grey Cup party?

You know, someone with a big TV and snacks and room to sit and watch. Kind of a party??


It happens this Sunday and if you just learned that, then you may not be the right kind of fan for such an occasion.


I suppose it was a day like any other

at least in the grand scheme of things.

- We got word that a friend who was waiting for some results on her cancer surgery, received good news and though she isn't out of the wood yet she is on a path that will hopefully lead her to good health.

- I took mom to the airport to get on a plane to go home like many other people were doing.

- We bumped into some "from the field" friends at a store in South Edmonton, near the Airport. Cool that that can happen, even out here in a big space.

- While we were on the road this morning I received txts that a friend who had been struggling with cancer, had suddenly passed away.

- We had a sick child at home.

- A friend brought us some good soup for supper.

- My nose is running and I'm sneezing a lot.

- A internet friend sent me an encouraging note.

- I saw gas priced at 78 cents a liter.


I suppose they are all things that happen to different people around the world on any given day. Well, except for the cheap gas; that was like as unto a miracle.


An emotional day with different farewells.

The hardest part was the news of the friend. That was a bit of a shock to us and took our breath away. After that it felt like many of the things we were working on today just didn't really matter. We kind of just lost interest in the day.

I feel like I just want to curl up into a ball and weep.


Just a part of living life I suppose. People always coming and going. For everyone, not just us.

I think it may be best to end the day with a hot shower that will steam my sinuses out, and get to bed. See if we can find some sleep.


Night from the field.

... and its not really as bad as it seems, just a bit sick and tired I suspect.

Micah's turn

Full blown, temperature rising, in bed and not moving, flu.

Hope it ends with him cause I don't want it.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-18

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

  • home from a meeting realizing again that there is simply no easy fixes in life. #


November 18, 2008 The Field


I LoVe my heated garage

I think this thing is going to be sweet. 

Tonight the temp is going to go down to -16 C and so this evening I got some cardboard down and ceremonially drove the van into the garage.

Toasty warm, I tucked it in for the night.

And early tomorrow morning, while its still dark and cold out there, I will go out and get into it without scraping the windows and warming it up (Because, as I've been told, warming up a car in a closed garage is just asking for trouble), and will drive my mom to the Airport.


The other reason that I like this house is that there is finally a place to put the big packages of toilet paper that used to sit in the hallway or in some kids bedroom. It all fits beneath the washroom sink.


Thinking deep thoughts today

and praying.

Trying to understand the subtleties of the past that motivate people today. Like groping around in the dark, wondering why people with such a long shared history, do what they do.

Strong feelings seem to come out of pain in the past, from many directions.

And so today I've been quiet in my spirit and praying.

Praying for the broken, for the hurting, for the healing needed. Praying that there might be a future of wholeness for people.

This is my work, for now. On some days it is to exhort the sinner, on other days it is to hold the broken, but on most days it is to pray for the distance between the two, to shrink quickly because they are the same person.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-17

Monday, November 17, 2008

  • all quiet in the field this morning. #



Sunday, November 16, 2008
Well the disease that has been following Lauralea all week has finally caught up with her.
She spent the night coughing and hacking and on and on.

Maybe a day of rest will help her.

Too close

Saturday, November 15, 2008
After a bit of frozen rain this morning, we ventured into downtown Edmonton to meet up with Hillary who had a 2 hour layover. She's on a journey from her sisters place in Vancouver, to northern Alberta where she's at school.

It was a nice visit and we hit a Swiss Chalet for lunch. I've been wanting to do that since we moved here, because only the Colonel with his wee beady eyes makes better chicken.

We took her back and waited for her bus to leave, saying our farewells and hugs and all, then off she went.

And so did we.

Later when we got back home we heard from Thomas that on the western edge of the city her bus driver had stopped to kick somebody off the bus. I guess that person didn't take the news too well and attacked the bus driver, beating him badly. The last we heard the police came and the driver was taken to the hospital and a new driver brought in. No word yet on the attacker.

After last summers reminder of how violent people can be, this one feels too close to home.

As best we know, Hillary is all right, at least physically. Hopefully the rest is ok too.

Maybe send up a prayer tonight for the travelers on that bus, and the driver and attacker too. Participating in that level of violence even just as an observer, can shift your whole heart in ways you might not understand for a while.



Good night from the field.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-14

Friday, November 14, 2008

  • a free and quiet evening. Might spend it playing pool with the boys. #


How to get the adrenaline pumping again

After a long day at the office it's nice to come home, after dark, and find a warm greeting awaiting me from my wife.

Then to take off my coat, and get a cold drink of water and settle in for a bit.

I wandered into the toilet to take care of things and low and behold there on the back of the toilet is a pregnancy test stick. The test has been taken.

What do you do with that? I mean, really, is this some passive aggressive way of communication?

I sat there a while, wondering if I should look at it, and even if I looked, would I know what I was looking for?

I didn't even know which end to pick up, because the math in my head said that one of the ends was used to, you know, gather the data. I didn't want to touch the end that was used to gather data.

And why would she just leave it out here anyway. It would be just like her to tell me in this way that we were pregnant again. Just like her indeed.

I figured I should just get on with it because the joke was getting old, so I risked it, grabbing the lilac coloured end. I carefully lifted it to where I could see it without waving it about a lot.

There was a window with a line in it. Steady Friesen, this may mean nothing. How do I read it?

Oh, here is an instruction cartoon. If it looks like this picture, you are pregnant. If it looks like this picture, then you are not pregnant.

Trying to focus on the small images, which one, which one is like the one I see... Crap I'm too old to do this again, I can't even see small lettering any longer.

It looks like the second picture, I think it's the one where we are not pregnant, I think.

I better re-read the instruction pictures, just to be sure.

Nope, not pregnant, just menopause.

Sigh. Deep breath.



Ever since we had the surprise Micah come to live with the family, we live on the edge. And the edge is a very fine line sometimes.

Evening Prayers

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tonight it feels like the whole field is in jeopardy of blowing away. The wind has been howling all day and the wind warnings have not gone unnoticed. I walked home through the trees near the cemetery tonight and there are some tall big trees that have broken and fallen halfway down, waiting for someone to cut down I suppose.

Tonight is a quiet night around here, after a few nights out with visits and meetings, it's just good to sit down and think and pray a bit. My mind is moving among old friends I miss, and new friends I'm already caring for. Praying especially for a mom, about our age, who has walked through the scare Lauralea had last year, except hers hasn't turned out as well, yet. Praying for old friends trying to listen for Jesus and his leading in their lives, praying that they find his leading, clearly. Praying for Gateway and her people that they might find another shepherd whom God has prepared to care for them, in much better ways than I could.

Praying for some of you I've met over the internet, some of whom I've met in person, and others I've yet to meet.  The stories of your lives always inspire and challenge me. Indeed it's not unreasonable to say I am a different person for having known many of you. And I should add, I'm a better person for knowing you.


Thomas has arrived safely from Prince Albert through the snow and rain and fog. He'll be here for a couple of days and then he's heading back to school on the weekend. And Hillary is at Johanna's home on the Wet coast. I think Saturday she heads back to college to pick up where she left off before reading week.

And my mom has come here for a few days to visit. That's a good thing because it gives her a chance to see where we live and sometimes that's a comfort.


That's about it from The Field this windy night.
Stay warm, and if you need a prayer just shoot me an email. I can pray.


Give Up Yer Aul Sins - Making Blind See


And now for something completely different

An elderly couple is attending church.
About halfway through, the wife leans over and says to her husband, 'I just let out a silent fart; what do you think I should do?'
He replies, 'Put a new battery in your hearing aid.'

via. Somebody who shall remain nameless

How to burn down the parsonage, without really trying.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
1. Burn the trash in the burn barrel, on a beautiful, calm November afternoon.

2. Watch it until it's burned down to ashes.

3. Wait seven hours.

4. Get ready for bed.

5. Watch as the wind picks up.

6. Look out the window before you go off to bed.

7. See the wind pull burning embers up from the bottom of the barrel, and blow them towards the house.


Quite amazing thing to witness actually, but it wasn't as bad as the title sounds.

Lauralea caught it and I went out with a bucket of water and soaked what was left in the bottom of the barrel. 

Don't know how I'd ever explain that to the church board.



Rain and guy cars

So here's a picture for ya.

This new place has a garage. Actually, to embarrass myself even more, it has a double garage. I haven't been using it yet partly because it seems an embarrassment of riches for me to use, and partly because my car is a guy car, not a girl car, and a guy car isn't a baby car, it can stand the cold a bit longer than, well than a girl car can. (And yes I realize I'm being sexist here, or at least, carist. I'm sorry.)

So somewhere between last night and this morning it rained out. Yep, ice rain covering the stairs and sidewalk and road and, the van. I lost about 20 minutes this morning getting the windscreen clear enough to be able to drive. I think that 20 minutes was all I needed to deal with my not using the garage for my guy car stuff.

I think it drips oil a bit so I need to get an old cardboard box underneath it so if it drips it will only mess up the cardboard. But I think I am well on my way to enjoying a heated garage this winter.

Bring on the snow, my guy car shall feel no pain.

The Last Post

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
for today, Remembrance Day here in Canada.

I began the day early at 6 am this morning, getting my butt to an early morning prayer time that ten or fifteen guys from the church gather at. Very cool. Well, maybe not the time we meet, but it does have a way of sifting the committed.


Lauralea and I got to the Wetaskiwin Remembrance Day service this morning - I kinda wanted to get a feel for the community and that was a good way to do that. Then we went for lunch at some new friends home.

We went most of the day and this evening I attended a meeting, about an hour away, where a few of us talked with the President of the North Park Theological Seminary about what Theological education looks like in the days ahead. He was mostly listening, which was good. There seems to be a sense of needing to listen, to hear what God is saying and how he is leading the school into the future. That's good. The schools and leaders who aren't interested in listening... well, I don't bank on them being relevant in the days ahead, if they're even around.

So I just got back from that, and it's past my bed time.

One thing Lauralea and I need to remember, that has been kinda lost in all this move and stuff, is that we are now down to having one kid at home. Micah. We've been out meeting a lot of the people, while he's been staying at home alone. Too much. Last year when we would be out, there would be at least two people home, and they would hang out or play a game or just watch out for one another. Now it's just one, and one can be a lonely number I guess. Yeah, we remembered that today. Balance in life.

I'm off to bed. I found out that the local ministerial group meets tomorrow at 9 am in town, and that will be followed by another busy day. Oh, and my mom is coming to visit a bit, she arrives tomorw too.

So that's our first Remembrance Day in the Field. Hope yours went well.


Remembrance Day

Maybe today is just a good day to remember...

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4

Of Walmart, Tim Hortons, and CKUA

Monday, November 10, 2008
Foggy tree

It's like a southern Ontario winter out there right now, cool, overcast, misty, generally beautiful. And if truth be told, it's comforting because it reminds us of our fun young parenting days when we lived just north of Lake Erie in a town called Aylmer.

But I digress.

Today it was realized that Micah's winter coat is unrepairable, so tonight in the falling mist, we made the trip to town to get to the Wallmart that isn't opened 24 hours. Such a strange deal when we need to think through the value of a trip to town for something, used to be a quick 5 minute trip, door to door. But we made it in time and even found a jacket for him. It does seem now like every time we do go to a store in town we end up spending more money than I'm used to. Things are more expensive out here, but we also buy more supplies.

Then we risked dropping into the Tims on the way home, and there was no line up, no crowds, no drive through line up of cars running filling the air with garbage. It was actually quite surreal, felt like the olden days in Prince Albert when you could get a Tims coffee and be out the door in 5 minutes.

And finally, driving home drinking my steeped tea double double, I tuned the radio and found CKUA, the Alberta public radio station. It's certainly one of the true benefits of living here, from the guy who plays an hour of Hawaiian music each week, to the local folk music, BBC news, and an evening of classical tunes. Tonight was a program of classics coming in on the AM band with all it's comforting static and interference. Just warms my heart.  


That's all I've got from the Field, this November 10th.


Monday morning laugh out loud

What if Starbucks marketed like a church? A parable.

via Brad.

Oh man, I did laugh out loud.
This is so true.

Just testing Me TV


Recently on Twitter 2008-11-09

Sunday, November 09, 2008

  • Edmonton is no place to be on a Saturday morning. Tooooooo crazy. Gimme the Field. #


The Field on a foggy Sunday afternoon


Do you know how long it takes to have a 6 year old friendship?

Yup, six years.

And it takes 8 years to have an eight year old relationship, and 10 years to have a ten year relationship, and so on and so forth.

I needed to remember that this morning. That its just going to take time and shared history to be able to have time and shared history together. And that's why long term relationships are such valuable things, because you've invested in them, long term. You can't get them overnight. You can't buy them or force them or borrow them or anything. the only thing you can do, is create them together over time. Like a very fine wine I suppose.

So we are on our way here, building relationships with people who we are new to and who are new to us. I just need to remember to have patience grasshopper.

How quickly I forget.

A foggy Sunday morning in the Field

Good morning.

Hope you have a good Sunday.

A foggy morning

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-08

Saturday, November 08, 2008

  • The kids are home for a few hours anyway. Nice. #


The kids were home for a few hours...

Seems it's reading week at college, so I guess in college, "Reading" means road trip. Hillary and Thomas drove down from school and arrived last night. We saw them for a few hours, played a game of pool, they did their laundry and that was that.

This morning we were up at 6 am to get Hillary into Edmonton to the Greyhound Bus depot where she hopped a bus for her sisters place in the west. And Thomas got in the car and headed east for Prince Albert for a few days.

So that was nice. At least we got a few hours with them.


Hope they have safe travel and good weather. The prairies can be unforgiving this time of year.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-07

Friday, November 07, 2008

  • overcast, grey day here in The Field. In other words it's a beautiful day, #


Snow and Hills. A dangerous combination.

See, when you think snow and hills you think Skiing.
That's not always the case.


Recently on Twitter 2008-11-06

Thursday, November 06, 2008

  • Good morning Internets. You are looking particularly cheerful today, is it because the past 4 years of electioneering has come to a close? #


And now we are on the American Girl mailing list?

Look what came in the mail today.
American Girl


American Girl

How did we EVER get on their mailing list???

Especially now that our girls are in their 20's.



(Although the dolly on page 38 looks really hugable...)

Interesting notes from the field

The present five acres the church and manse and cemetery sit on was purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1902 for $25.00 cash.

Not a bad deal. I mean, for a field.

American Leadership Transition

You can watch the changes take place and get to know the "Changers" at It's run by the staff of the President Elect.

Looks interesting. provides resources to better understand the transition process and the decisions being made as part of it. It also offers an opportunity to be heard about the challenges our country faces and your ideas for tackling them. The Obama Administration will reflect an essential lesson from the success of the Obama campaign: that people united around a common purpose can achieve great things. President-Elect Obama reminded the country of our limitless potential when he claimed this victory:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

today it was deer

Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tonight as I left my office, the sky was low and moving towards dusk. There was a Southern Ontario drizzle falling down but too light to care about.

As I began my commute home my eye caught some movement on my right so I turned and saw a mule deer staring at me. He was 25 feet away on the lawn right at the edge of the trees. He watched me and then turned his attention to his walk, continuing along the tree line beside the cemetery.

Life in a field.

a touch of snow

Today Lauralea and I spent most of the day in town, and while she found a farmers market, library, and good tea shop, I hit the care homes and met the people in the church who just can't get there that easily any longer.

It was good, and interesting. Some just needed a few moments of my time, while others were interested in talking for a while.

For some I met again after meeting them on Sunday, and I suspect I will be meeting them all over again for the next six months every time I go to visit them.

But it was good. I learned a lot about the old history of the church and conference. It's stunning to me how they can remember what they paid for a valentines card, and exactly what it said when they purchased it 60 years ago, but they can't remember that they told me that story 2 minutes ago. What a complex thing life is.

In the afternoon Lauralea and I got together and visited a few places together. It was nice.

So, we are off and running.

and it started snowing just a bit today.

The coyotes are howling out there tonight

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
... and they're loud.

and there are a bunch of them....

and they seem awfully close.

What was the number of the neighbour with the gun... just in case.

I mean, I'm not a fast runner, you know.

Thankfully I just have to be faster than Lauralea.


A big day for the world

Unless you've been living in another galaxy far far away for the past 4 years, you will be aware that today is an election that will have a big effect on the world.

And if the polls are correct, the Democrats will be happy again after two terms of joylessness, and the Republicans will be worried that the Anti-Christ has taken up the seat of desolation.

Of course I generalize, but those are the range of emails I've received regarding this day.

So maybe on a day like today, it's just good to remember who is in control here.
God is still around, doing what he does.

So perhaps we need not fret or celebrate too much, but instead remember that He didn't create us and go fishing. How could that be love?

No, his door is always open.

Mary's Song, from Luke 1 reminds us that:
His mercy extends to those who fear him, 
      from generation to generation. 
 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; 
      he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 
 He has brought down rulers from their thrones 
      but has lifted up the humble. 
 He has filled the hungry with good things 
      but has sent the rich away empty.

May we live like we believe it.

A monday thing

Monday, November 03, 2008
I know that Mondays will be my regular days off, but today there were a couple of meetings planned from before I was here which I wanted to attend. So today I had a few meetings.

And they were really good connection points. Really good.

I only bring it up, because it is feeling more and more like God has gone before and the approach to ministry and the desire for its full effect seems so consistent with my own. Really it's another indication that He who is driving this thing, knows what he is doing.

It makes me smile.



Isn't it morally wrong for your wife to try to beat you at billards by having her top buttons undone too much??

I mean, more from a cheating at pool thing, than anything else??

Cause she just tried that with me and well she nearly won.

Recently on Twitter 2008-11-02

Sunday, November 02, 2008

  • working in the office, getting things done, before I drive into the city to pick up lauralea from the Bus Depot. #

  • a snooze would be great right now. #


It's quiet here tonight

We went for a bit of a drive to explore tonight, but it got so dark so early that we just came home, and did not much of anything. 

Lauralea read, and I tried to get the WiFi working, to no avail.

Mom called. Micah loading songs on his iPod, then off to bed.

Lauralea off to bed too, and I shall soon follow.


Today has been full of Presence, and emotional energy, and I am tired out. 

It's good to be in a place of obedience or faithfulness or just doing what you know you need to be doing. That's a good thing. But it doesn't keep away the human bits of life, you know? You still get lonely or bored, or you miss a friend or a familiar sight.

But it is quiet tonight. 

I'll let that stillness settle and use it as an opportunity to go to bed.

Tomorrow I have two appointments to take care of so I should be off to rest, as much as I can.


Night. From the Field

That’s the first morning then.

Our first official Sunday as Pastor to the people who meet at Malmo Mission Covenant Church.

And it was a blessed day.


I got a group picture of us, so you have a sense of things.

And then I talked for 15 minutes, about my prayer for them. You can hear it here.

Or if that bores you, and it's ok if it does, here are a couple of songs that were played during communion. All Who Are Thirsty and Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Then we had a huge potluck. Lots of food.



And now, I think I'm done. I am tired.

Last night for about 90 minutes in the middle of the night, I had an unbelievable pain in my lower back I had to wait out. Pain I don't normally have. But it went, eventually as quickly as it came.


So that's it from the field. I'm heading home.


Recently on Twitter 2008-11-01

Saturday, November 01, 2008

You change what??

It has come to my attention that this whole province out here in the west, changes its clocks, TWO TIMES A YEAR! And tonight is the night you are suppose to change it.

What's that about? Are they just looking for something to do in fall and spring? Do they get bored with the way the time is every year and think, "Hmm, lets have a go and change it, just to confuse people, and play with the minds of all those people who don't have a clue how to reprogram their VCR or microwave, so they just keep the old time on until next spring when their lives will make sense again, time wise?"

And what will happen to the chickens, how will they know when to lay an egg? Will the egg companies go under because their chickens are confused?

Or the cows, how will they know when it's time to get milked? Confused udders will be exploding across the west. Well, except for Saskatchewan which knows how to treat its cows and chickens I must say.

I don't know, all this change is freaking me out.  

And I don't have a clue how to change the time on my clock radio.

Maybe I'll just set it to wake me up an hour earlier... or is that an hour later...



I think that if all the Riders fans out here would join me in this endeavor, we may have critical mass. If we just refuse to change, and lived our lives like they do in Saskatchewan, just maybe we could stop all this madness. 

Then the cows and chickens would be happy. And the people who don't know how to program their VCR would be happy, and the pastors who are tired of people showing up an hour late for the service would be happy.

And lets face it, in these difficult economic times any level of happiness we can get is a good thing.



From the Field.

in a few moments

I'll be off to downtown Edmonton to get Lauralea from her northern history tour.

She always says that the first trip away from a new place is the test of if it feels like home. If you come home from a trip and it feels good, then it's home. If not, then it may take more time.

I hope for her sake, that it feels like home.

I think I'm ready for tomorrow. First official day in the place, first communion together, first sermon... I am ready for all that stuff. Hope I'm ready for all that it means too.


Anyway, enough for now. I gotta get Micah in the shower before his youth laser tag night in Edmonton.

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