And so winter comes to The Field.

Monday, November 30, 2009
Finally. It has arrived.
It's been snowing most of the day and last night, so here we are with piles of the white stuff.

On the upside, Lauralea is happier than she has been for weeks. Even if she denies it.


Big big game today

Sunday, November 29, 2009
Well today is the big day for Canadian Football, it's Grey Cup Sunday. And millions will be watching the game tonight.

As it goes, my Saskatechewan Roughriders have earned an opportunity to play the Montreal Alloets for the title of national champions.

I have been a rider fan for as long as I can remember, and for rider fans, it's not just a game, it's something more.

So Rider fans are a little different you might say. They are committed to their only professional sports team, like the hardy people of the land that they are.

So today I'll be cheering for them and see if they can pull off a huge upset over Montreal.

Whatever the outcome, it'll be a good day because the one thing Rider fans know and have learned is that there always is next year.

Go Riders.

Sunrise in Paris

Thursday, November 26, 2009
No I'm not there, I'm just looking at the place from a distant longing.

Looks like a beautiful Friday morning dawning there.

These webcams are great.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day to our favOURite Americans

… which is Nate, my son-in-law.

May the Packers beat the Lions this day, and may there be plenty of white meat.

Is it so bad to be secretly glad there isn't any snow yet?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
…I mean when I'm praying with people and they are praying for snow and I'm OK with our need for snow but I'm also glad not to have to fight with it in the mean time.

I'm kinda pumped that there isn't any snow yet.

How far can we go, without snow?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009
WHEN the summer fields are mown,
When the birds are fledged and flown,
And the dry leaves strew the path;
With the falling of the snow,
With the cawing of the crow,
Once again the fields we mow
And gather in the aftermath.
Not the sweet, new grass with flowers
Is this harvesting of ours;
Not the upland clover bloom;
But the rowan mixed with weeds,
Tangled tufts from marsh and meads,
Where the poppy drops its seeds
In the silence and the gloom.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American Poet, Language Professor at Harvard (1807 - 1882)

The annual receiving of the church Christmas tree from the heavens.

And the guys early prayer group was suddenly entrusted with this great responsibility this year.

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File under freakin amazing

Monday, November 23, 2009
For 23 torturous years, Rom Houben says he lay trapped in his paralyzed body, aware of what was going on around him but unable to tell anyone or even cry out.
The car-crash victim had been diagnosed as being in a vegetative state but appears to have been conscious the whole time. An expert using a specialized type of brain scan that was not available in the 1980s finally realized it, and unlocked Houben's mind again.
The 46-year-old Houben is now communicating with one finger and a special touchscreen on his wheelchair.

The implications are staggering.
23 years unable to communicate that you are conscience and aware of your surroundings.

Wow, kind of sobering.

Read it all here.

Via. Vandersluys

Walking, praying, waiting, listening, watching, hoping, talking, moving

Sunday, November 22, 2009
As I sit here and consider starting my journey towards bed and blissful sleep, my face smiles at the work accomplished today. As a pastor, the work is always about people and God and the connections between the two. It's good work, mostly, but it is demanding work as well.

My face smiles outwardly and honestly I believe. But inwardly there is a creeping sadness which doesn't seem to have a quick fix pill to make it all better. And I have experience enough and training enough to know that there isn't any quick solutions for these kinds of things. There is only the next morning to be faced and you rise to meet the day, hopefully, maybe this day will bring a difference to the heart.

It's difficult to say what it is. It may be physical or emotional tiredness, or not getting ones vitamins. Perhaps it's the infernal darkness that seems to rule most of the 24 precious hours we've been given each day. Maybe it's loneliness or separation. I don't know. Anyway I get tired of trying self diagnosis. People who do that have fools for doctors, or something like that.

It seems we all here in the Field are trying to find our way back to normal. Lauralea is making noises like she wants the Christmas decorations out soon, which chills me to the bone because they are in the closet I packed so tightly that one pine cone pulled out will cause the whole to collapse on top of me. Micah plays guitar and listens to music waiting for a shift in the atmosphere because it's hard days for him too. Seems like it's just trudging through deep sand here for everybody.

I am doing a few things attempting to find level once again. Walking, praying, waiting, listening, watching, hoping, talking, moving.

"It's just a season, it'll pass. Hang in there." Says my dad's voice inside my head. I know it will, I just would prefer it to pass sooner rather than later.

… and in other happy news, it's nearly one month till Christmas…

I knew you'd like that.

Prayer for a difficult day

Friday, November 20, 2009
As the rain hides the stars,
as the autumn mist
hides the hills,
as the clouds veil
the blue of the sky, so
the dark happenings of my lot
hide the shining of thy face from me.
Yet, if I may hold thy hand in the darkness,
it is enough, since I know,
that though I may stumble in my going,
Thou dost not fall.

Traditional Gaelic

Yesterday I bought myself a pink vibrator...

I know I know, some posts are all about the headline. But I really couldn't leave it alone.


A new aspect to my back pains are that in certain areas of my back the muscles are cramping up while trying to cope with how I'm standing to deal with the pain, etc. So I figured a vibrator massager might help loosen things up back there.

The only one I was willing to pay for was a pink one. Actually reminded me of a 1960's model my grandparents had.

And it has 5 attachments for my scalp and face and soft tissue and so on. So last night as best I could, I massaged my back.

Sure felt good, especially in the right places.

…enough said. Better stop talking now.

Doing an airport run this morning.

And of course Air Canada has one counter open and no assistants nearby.

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Chocolate Anyone? (Women Only)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Tonight a bunch of the gals (I feel so 1970's when I use that term) from the church got together for a Chocolate party. That's right, a party to celebrate one of the good things in life, friendships. You thought I'd say chocolate didn't you? It was a night for connection and catching up with old friends and maybe make a new one or two. The excuse to gather was to eat chocolate. Hard chocolate, soft chocolate, whatever your choice. I believe there was also going to be a fountain of chocolate.

Many churches are often about don't and shouldn't, and give much energy to helping you not to touch. Or do, or be. We don't have many parties to celebrate the great grace we enjoy and relationships we can have, because of Jesus.

I gotta believe Jesus just has a good evening being with a bunch of laughing visiting, chocolate eating daughters of his.

Those are some of the good and gracious memories everyone should have of their church lives. Its too bad that we remember the hard times easier.

Parties. Not just for Christmas any longer.

How to get free food and housewares. Really.

Nope, it isn't easy, in fact it probably takes some serious work, but wow.
The results are amazing.
I lover her cupboard full of free food.

via. Kim.

And the world goes on and on

Monday, November 16, 2009
One of the apps I have on my iPod Touch is a webcam app, and so in the evenings before I go to sleep I like to catch a glimpse of my favourite places and what seems to be happening around the world. It reminds me that this world is a much bigger place than this field I live in.

Anyway, a couple of my favourites are these;

An Italian town that hangs onto a cliff. Looks beautiful with the early morning lights coming on,

It's a gorgeous town though you would have to keep your brakes in good order.

Then there is this one. A small train station in the Czech Republic.
Some day I want to visit that place.

Or how about a laundry in Paris.
Yeah, we all think of the glamour of Paris, but here is the place it gets clean. But at 6:30 in the morning?

And here is my favourite.
Seems like perhaps a son has placed a webcam in his parents kitchen, in Hiroshima, Japan, to keep an eye on them. They come and go and their table looks like life is lived daily there. Some mail and reading material on the table, along with some sauce and of course, a rice cooker.

It's like they have become a strange comfort to me. Just people living their lives same as I do, on the other side of the world.

Yeah it may make for boring tv.
But I think it's more real than all the crap that's out there these days.

A beautiful morning out here in these prairie hills

Saturday, November 14, 2009
And so with Lauralea off on a quilting adventure, as if quilting can be an adventure, then txting me later informing me of her new plans to go with a few others for brunch, and with Micah sound asleep, I had the morning to myself. A rare treat.

So I ate some homemade bread toast and some corn pops, looked out into the dazzling sunshine and felt something more than the Corn Pops stirring inside me. I got my ipod and shuffled my worship tunes, threw on my coat and headed off on a prayer hike through the harvested hills around my home. And I walked and prayed.

It was so good, like finding home again.

The things that seemed they needed praying for mostly were for churches out there that seem more intent on accusing one another than they are about getting on with the business of following their leader. I am constantly amazed by a churches ability to look inward and take pot shots at itself, destroying God's work in the process. But there are a couple of church stories I am aware of and they keep me up at night, so I pray.

Other things were prayed for too, but it was good to walk and pray and actually to be able to pray out loud with no one around to mock me out about how I pray or what I pray for.


After a good chunk of time my bum leg started to catch up with me so I sat a bit and just enjoyed the space and time and his presence.

Lauralea should be home soon, and then I think it's time for some Saturday chores.

Better go wake the sleeping dead.

"I asked for the LARGE stack of pancakes!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

This was embarrassing. I ordered the pancakes at a meeting this morning and they were HUGE. All I could eat was a small corner of the pile. Like I said, embarrassing.


Tired to the core

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well my children I think it only resonable to confess that I am tired. I think that today I managed 10 hours of wakefullness before I needed a nap. That bugs me because I'm so tired of health excuses. The Doctors here are pretty sure my flu was pork related, H1N1, and have told me to expect at least a month to begin to return to health. I'm tired physically and all this ongoing draging about frustrates me emotionally and spiritually. I want to go and be and do without these silly physical limitations, and I can't.

Truth is, I'm afraid of who I become when I have physical limitations, so I guess I keep fighting them and their presence. Back of it all is still the reality of growing back and leg pain that I'm trying to learn to live with and I'm afraid of how that will direct my life. Or change it.

No I've never been able to do the rope climb or do a hundred pushups, or run a 20k race, but I've never been limited physically in the work that I've done either. These days I find myself wondering if that's where I end up.

So the physical wears on the emotional which wears on the relational, or so it seems for me.

The good things are that there are good things to learn in this part of my life that i'd never have opportunity to learn anywhere else. Another good thing is that the flu was only a nasty flu for me. In Alberta today another five people died as a result of the flu.

Now I'm rolling over and going to sleep, with all my "tired" baggage.


Bringing supper home FAIL

I brought a great fish and chips meal home for supper, you know, as a not having to make supper treat.

Turns out the half hour drive from town causes the food to go all, cold and wimpy.


Start again tomorrow.

I know that I am Thine

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Even though the day be laden
and my task dreary
and my strength small,
a song keeps singing
in my heart.
For I know that I am Thine.
I am part of Thee.
Thou art kin to me,
and all my times
are in Thy hand.

Alistair Maclean

At the Memorial Service in Wetaskiwin.


The Senility Prayer

"Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference."

Amen Indeed.

Photo hosting options?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I'm frustrated with Flickr lately, and getting more so with every picture they won't display on the website.

What are you using to host your images? Anyone using picassa? Smugmug? Others?

Let me know what you like.

Just curious.

Don't know if I've mentioned it here before or not, but we do have this church in the field online now, so you can see where it is and a picture or two and some church announcements and an odd talk or two by myself.


The man who created Guinness

I first tasted Guinness in 1995 when we were in London, gathered with some new friends who took us out that night to see the city. At first it tasted like I was drinking food, bitter, solid, like chewing on roasted grains. But after a while I began to be ok with it. I think it's fair to say it was an acquired taste for me.

In a day and age when the corporate world is not about creating good automobiles or customer service or quality goods, or a better life for their employees, but rather they are about creating wealth for a few, it is good to be reminded that there should be other goals too.

Mr. Arthur Guinness can be an example to us.

It is the mid-1760s, and in Dublin's grand St. Patrick's Cathedral the famed revivalist John Wesley is preaching with all of his might. He is aware that the congregation of St. Patrick's is filled with the city's more successful, comfortable, perhaps self-satisfied souls. And so he thunders against their self-centeredness, rails against their disregard for the poor. "Oh who has courage to speak plain to these rich and honorable sinners?" Wesley writes afterward in his journals.

In the congregation is a young businessman who only a few years before has begun to make his mark in the city. Born in nearby Celbridge and raised on the archbishop's estate that his father managed, this young man has gained something of a reputation for his skill at brewing beer. In fact, he has purchased a defunct brewery at St. James' Gate, along the River Liffey, and, having married well and embedded himself skillfully in Dublin's merchant class, he fully intends to rise.

Now, listening to John Wesley speak of the obligations of wealth, of a God-given duty to care for the hurting of the world, this gifted young man is reminded of values he learned on that archbishop's estate and at his father's knee. They are values that resurfaced in the Reformation of Calvin and Luther and that were set aflame and made personal in the Methodism of John Wesley. This rising entrepreneur hears and allows Wesley's words to frame a vision for his fledgling company: a vision for producing wealth through brewing excellence and then for using that wealth to serve the downtrodden and the poor.

We should be glad that he did, for that young man was Arthur Guinness, the founder of the renowned brewery whose 250th anniversary we celebrate this year. His famous dark stout would become one of the most beloved beverages in the world, the Guinness brand among the most recognizable on earth. Yet interwoven throughout these 2 and a half centuries of brewing success is a legacy of benevolence that we ought to know and that is perhaps an antidote to one of the great crises of our age.

The values Arthur Guinness envisioned for his company were first honed in a life of devotion to God. He was an earthy but pious man who frequently thundered his views despite angry opposition. He was beloved throughout Ireland for his defense of Roman Catholic rights, for example, an astonishing stand for a Protestant in his day. He criticized the material excesses of the upper class and sat on the board of a hospital for the poor. He was also the founder of the first Sunday schools in Ireland. When he died in 1803, the Dublin Evening Post declared that Arthur Guinness's life was "useful and benevolent and virtuous." It was true.

Read the whole story here. It's quite inspiring

And a happy birthday to Guinness.

This is my confession

Saturday, November 07, 2009
I just turned on a Christmas music radio station.

I know, I know, gasp, spit, barf. I'm sorry but there it is.

To be fair, it isn't all christmas radio, which is why I like it. It mixes in some short classical pieces, chill, celtic, ambient stuff that's just good to listen to when I'm not trying to break it down old skool.

You can check it out here:

and chill.

Wiener roast for supper.

Thursday, November 05, 2009
We had a bit of a picnic here in the field tonight, and the weather was amazing for November 5th.

The pictorial record is here.

And here is a short video of the event. Turn up the volume and listen to the farm animal noises Hillary is making.

A beautiful evening here.

November 4, 2009. The Field 360

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

only Tuesday?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Tonight ends a twelve day run of busy evenings and lot's of work being done. Tomorrow night is free and clear and I'm kinda looking forward to that.

The coyotes are howling up a storm out there tonight and the sky is clear so it's going to go well below freezing before we see the sun tomorrow morning. Later in the week it's going to be warming up into the double digits again which is fine by me and only begins to make up for the snowy cold October.

I think Lauralea is already in bed so I should shut off the lights in my office and get home, maybe have a sandwich, and get to bed myself.

Life continues on here in the field.
Into year two.

Well looks like a nasty morning in the Czech Republic.

Monday, November 02, 2009
A live pic from my iPod touch.

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Monday morning summary

It's monday and the college kids are home for a week calling it "Reading Week." I think this means some study might be involved at some level, but you never know.

I do know that I finally, have a doctors appointment this afternoon. Of course I am feeling better than I have for a while now, so I get to go see him and be embarrassed by my health. Nice work Friesen.

I sat down with my schedule (Pronounced with a SHedule and not a SKedule) this morning and have realized that I haven't had a free evening at home in over ten days. That may have contributed to this lingering illness. (I can hear you thinking, "YA THINK?" Now quiet down you.) Anyway, this coming Wednesday evening looks like it may be clear, and I should make it to then.

So it seems we've been one year in The Field, working with the field people. It's been better than I had imagined, that I can say without hesitation. There have also come some surprises in terms of understanding myself better. There is a better understanding of some of the unverbalized or misunderstood pressures facing a city dwelling newcomer to a field. That has more to do with trying to fit in to field life than it does have to do with leaving the city.

But I am pleased with where we now live and I'm excited about the progress of the church. Since we've been here a year the realization is dawning upon some people that I am not the answer to their problems and that we may have to go a bit deeper to figure those thing out. That's a good place to be at because it means that the work can now begin.

I see my next appointment has arrived and I should go meet them.

Happy Monday to you all, internets.
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