Sunday evening, blowing snow

It's dark out there now but I know it's still snowing and blowing and shifting and well, cold. Today actually looked like a bit of a blizzard as the snow flew from the field on the other side of the road, to our little field. I suppose it's natural given it's still January, at least for a couple of more hours anyway.

This week I have to get going on some catch up work in getting our church boards up and running, and getting some opportunities rolling towards maybe seeing open doors walked through.

But I need also to reflect a bit on last week, especially the day in the mountains. Twenty some of us spent the day in a large hundred year old stone house and yard on a prayer retreat. I did discover some things there, and I need to take time to discern and pray through some of the things I think I heard.

It was good to hear, in that way again. It was good to get away, to silence and solitude. To rest and listen and talk with a director, listening together. I think it helps so much to have someone who will walk alongside you, helping you to listen and hear.

These times are deeply valuable to my own heart and life. I need them like the dirt needs the rain. And last week there were some of those moments, I just need to build more of those times into life, again.

I was reflecting yesterday that I haven't really done a good week or months fast or an extended season of prayer for a while now. Maybe it's time again.

Anyway tomorrow is another Doctors appointment with Lauralea. Hopefully we see some action soon.


But today with its blowing snow and morning spent in good worship draws to a close, so I'm off to bed.

Night from the field.

Home, where I belong

I think it may be good that I don't have the cash to winter in southern climes because after only five days away spring has sprung in my head and my step and coming back here to Snowsville is a bit bumpy. I mean last night it was -19C and I was chillin. Sheesh, How do these Hawaii travellers do it??

The trip was very good and reconnecting with people was the best part of the time away.

I'll certainly post some pictures, etc. but right now I'm getting things ready for tomorrow and I'm trying to acclimatize myself to the current conditions of The Field. Cold and snowing.

And Lauralea's coming down with something nasty, so we're keeping an eye on her too.

In the mean time, to give you an idea of the scope of my suffering, here is a Full Circle I did outside my hotel in downtown Denver.

2010-01-29 my Twitter talk


  • Breakfast meeting over. Now to check out and get to my next meeting, at the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch with the denom's VP. Interesting. #

  • Well closing in on the final moments of this trip. I'm at my gate about 2 hours before boarding time and my back is shot. #

  • Best part of Midwinter was the people. Hanging with old friends and new was great. Also had a good one day retreat in silence. Very good. #

  • In the plane. United 7530 if you want to follow along at home. Just google it. Very loud baby behind me. Ipod here we come. #

  • Ah on the ground finally. On to customs. #

2010-01-28 my Twitter talk


  • And the day that began over eighteen hours ago draws to a close. Good day and good night. #

  • Just can't get my eyes to focus clearly this morning. And worse, all the news coverage here is state of the union and no Apple stuff, yet. #

  • A few spare moments, a Starbucks coffee, and a beautiful warm day outside. What more could I want for 15 minutes? #

  • My evenings work is now done. Perhaps one last walk in the balmy street weather. Snow is on the way here tonight too. #

Found a wifi signal

Yes I am in Denver Co. Connecting, visiting, meeting, walking in shirtsleeves on the no snow downtown streets, not sleeping because sleeping would be a waste of a good opportunity, and generally having a good time.

Lauralea reports new snow in the field and so I am kinda not wanting to leave here but I will. When the time comes. Tomorrow.

In the mean time, I have communion practice in an hour, then the Canadians will do supper together, then the service, one more visit, then maybe a bit of sleep.


Pictures and words when I get home, to the snow.

2010-01-27 my Twitter talk


  • Heading off into the early Denver light to find the Rialto Cafe for a meeting. Two guys on Vespas in January. #

  • I'm in the mountains for a day of solitude & silence today and my body is being very loud. #

2010-01-26 my Twitter talk


  • Looking out my 7th floor window is like looking into a great canyon surrounded by tall buildings with lit windows reaching into the nite sky #

  • What a beautiful day. Couple free hours, no snow, walking the 16th Street Mall. #

  • Just found a used bookstore that's bigger than my house. In fact the new magazine section alone is about my house size. Bit of heaven. #

  • Oh shin splints, my arch enemy. #

  • Had supper at an Irish Pub with the pastors and teams from Winnepeg. Old friends good people, great memories. #

Happy Birthday Dad

January 25 was my fathers birthday. This year I believe he would have been 68 years old.

Dad's life was changed dramatically by someone who was thoughtful enough to have signed their organ donor card, and then they had a relative who, in the midst of great personal pain and loss, was able to carry out the wishes of their loved one. Dad was the recipient of an organ transplant.

Not only was dad's life changed, but ours was too. So I got to thinking how I can honour dad's memory, and this is one way.
I pulled out something I had written the evening he died and sent it in as a letter to the local paper and the Star Phoenix paper in Saskatoon where dad lived. They both ran the letter and hopefully it caused a few people to think through the idea of organ donation.

Think about filling out your donor card and tell a loved one of your desire.

Thank you.


____________________________________________________

My father passed away peacefully this morning. He was 64 years old. This should normally cause us to be filled with grief, however for us it"s bittersweet.

You see, Dad was suppose to die eight years ago. He had a genetic liver disorder that caused his liver and eventually his lungs to fail. But eight years ago when his health began to fail rapidly, all the health options quickly became exhausted, there was no hope, except one.

That one hope lay in a liver transplant. Someone, somewhere would need to release the organs of someone they loved who had just died, probably in difficult circumstances.

Thankfully, for us and our father, someone somewhere was willing to do just that. And that has made all the difference.

Eight years more of life. What an amazing gift.

He saw his son meet the love of his life and marry her. He got to see his daughter get the job she had long waited for, and to see her do well in it, being promoted to positions of management. He saw his other daughter find fulfilling work and become established in her church community.

He shared wisdom with me as our children grew. He saw his youngest grandson grow up, and his eldest grandson move past the difficult stage of grade school and hit his stride in High School. He saw his granddaughters graduate from school with honors, and move off to University and College, something he was unable to do.

He was able to walk with his own parents through their own difficult seasons, into death. And to care for the details after they had gone.

He had extra time to love my mom, and to communicate his love and appreciation for her, as more and more he needed her to care for him.

This gift of extra time was never lost on him. He was always deeply aware of what it meant for him. In fact, when he passed away he donated the only thing his body was healthy enough to offer, his corneas.

Think for a moment of someone you loved who has passed away. What would you do with eight extra years with them? This is the kind of gift we received. Now it"s the kind of gift we offer when we make our organs available for another. It is the gift of extra time.

Please sign your organ donor card, and communicate your wishes to your family. It is a gift of time that you offer to another. And that extra time can make all the difference in the world.

2010-01-25 my Twitter talk


  • Cleared customs easily which was a nice surprise. Now, to Starbucks or not to Starbucks. #

  • On the ground in Denver. White knuckle approach and landing. Much closer to Jesus now so its a good start to the week. #

  • Nice hotel, I'm in room 777 how perfect is that. Cross street fr. Starbucks & Barnes & Noble and Johnny Rockets Diner. Very sweet indeed. #

  • Note to self. Cherry Coke is a wonderful thing but is it worth $2.52 a bottle? I'm not sure. #

Do I look excited about flying? Into the US no less.


Made it through the vetting process and I was deemed USA Worthy.
Now I'm watching for people I know because I always meet friends in the airport.

And this may be my last post for a while unless I find a free connection someplace.
Now, Denver.


Sex after twenty five years

Is still amazing. It still makes you roll over and mumble while catching your breath, "We have to do that more often because it's amazing." Its still the most intimate thing we share.

It's still as passionate and hungry as 25 years ago but it's not as nervous or as inexperienced as then. It's quietly confident now after the space of time and years of experience. You have become an expert on the one you love and you alone know their body and heart like no one else has ever known it. You know it through space and time and you know where to kiss and how long a touch needs to linger.

You know the hollow of the back and each curve, each rise because you've explored every inch a hundred times over. The back of the neck and each earlobe you've mapped out with your lips. All this knowledge makes love making almost effortless. It allows you to explore new delights that are yet to be discovered.

Twenty five years of only, always, the one other. Twenty five years of walking together, of committment, of no one else. That creates something unique, gracious, and amazing. Because of this, the sex too can be unique and amazing. Completely unlike anything you would experience anywhere else.

You can't get it from a one night stand. You can't get it after nine years with a few different partners. You can't even get it from being with the same person for twenty years because it only comes with time. 25 years of time.

Like other good things that improve with time, so too time can have the same effect on love.

amazing,
warm,
deep,
true,
holy,

and so very very worth it.

Supper out to celebrate another year completed.


We had our church annual meeting today and its all good. So against the warnings to stay off the bad roads, we went to town for supper. Tomorrow Denver.


It's plus 10C in Denver right now you know!

On Sunday morning for the better part of a week I'll depart from The Field for warmer, busier climes, namely this place called Denver Colorado.

Each winter about this time, the leaders from this tribe I'm with called the Evangelical Covenant Church get together and share war stories and pray together and eat together and help one another with wounds or scars and just kinda watch out for and with one another. Oh yes there are workshops and good speakers, but most of the reason the 700 - 900 pastors gather is to connect once again with one another. Connection.

Oh you can go to any conference, or stay home and read a good book for the transference of information to happen, but you have to be with one another for connection and relationship to happen. At least once in a while. So this is what we do. It's a bit of a rarity for such a large percentage of leaders to gather in winter, but we do, and it's good.

This year I understand they are going to try to webcast the evening meetings. You might want to check it out at: http://www.covchurch.org/cov/news/item7510

But if this space is quieter than usual, it's because I can't find a free wifi signal, and you know I'm all about the free WiFi.


Maybe I'll try to get my twitter account to post summaries of my days activities. We'll see.

Anybody ever been to Denver and recommend a place to see or eat or something?
Have your say.

It wasn't so much a nightmare...

I had difficulty falling asleep last night, which is unusual for me.

Usually I read untill I pass out into the unconscious world of rest. But last night it was as if I knew what lay ahead of me in that dark world. It seemed like half the night I lay awake and the other half I spent dreaming that Lauralea was pregnant.

A more bitter sweet dream one could not have I think.

Our ages, starting over, a kid graduating when we are in our late 60's. The long sleepless nights, the overwhelmingness of it all, the diapers and crib and highchair and feeding and, and,

and,

A new life, a child's laughter, helping them with life changing discoveries like the sourness of a pickle or the beauty of a lilac crayon or how to say the word LIKE. Knock knock jokes and potty humor and even "I want to put my socks on myself'" self determination.

But mostly it was terror, with scattered smiles and hopefilled moments of joy.

I did wake up, mostly glad that it was a dream.

mostly.

Like the Flower needs the Rain

Walking

To me, one of the great pleasures of life is walking.
When I walk, it's as if it's just God and I out there on the path. We talk and listen to each other. We compare stories and tell each other our concerns. We dream of the future and we celebrate the past.

Early in my ministry, as in during college, I used to walk and pray about the future so much. Hour after hour, night and day, walking. I look at it now as really the foundation laying time of my years of work and life. I reflect on those times with such fondness now. It's like a personal secret that God and I share and know about.

I miss those times.

Strangely, there are less opportunities to walk out here in the Field. Winter too takes away walking. The deep snow and surface ice make it too dangerous to wonder along with one's head in the clouds. So today was a rare treat.

I had to leave the car at the garage to get work done and I wanted to get to the store to look at a spring jacket I might need next week when I'm in Denver. So I walked, briskly, for nearly 25 minutes, and it was so good again.

Like parts of me were coming alive and thawing out after a long winter.

And just to make it perfect, it seems that brisk walking doesn't aggravate my back pain.

Come on warm weather. Come on places to walk. I need you like the flower needs the rain.


Walking

Escape to the city and we end up here.



And I'm sitting on the "I'm waiting for my wife who is inside there with all that lace and silk" bench with the other left behind male partners.


With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible

Saturday evening, prayer week, and tomorrow I am leading worship as well as the band, and I want to talk about prayer some more. Tonight I am nervous in a, "Have I remembered everything" sort of a way.

This topic is a passion for me and so sometimes I can overtalk it. I don't want to do that.

It will be good if God is there tomorrow. I know, he's everywhere in everything. I know that, but I'm jealous for more. I want him there in a "Look what we are creating for you this morning Father, do you like it? do you like it? I hope you like it'" kind of a way.


but with God all things are possible
but with God all things are possible
but with God all things are possible

but with God all things are possible


but with God all things are possible



but with God all things are possible


Indeed, and Amen

Lord, have mercy on Haiti

Tuesday afternoon, January 12th, the worst earthquake in 200 years - 7.0 in magnitude - struck less than ten miles from the Caribbean city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The initial quake was later followed by twelve aftershocks greater than magnitude 5.0. Structures of all kinds were damaged or collapsed, from shantytown homes to national landmarks. It is still very early in the recovery effort, but millions are likely displaced, and thousands are feared dead as rescue teams from all over the world are now descending on Haiti to help where they are able.


Amazing and horrific pictures coming out of Haiti now.

You can see what The Big Picture is showing, here;

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/01/earthquake_in_haiti.html

The Best part of the day

Crawling into bed after a looong day.

A very early start to the day with early prayer time in town, then to appointments and meetings, correspondence and emails, worship planning, prayer service planning, report reading, a little blog help to keep it interesting, and ended it all off with an evening deacon meeting.

Crawling into bed is the best feeling ever. Safe, soft, quiet, and my back stops hurting as much as normal.

Good night internets. Play nicely while I sleep.

The week that was.

Well, I'm coming off a week that, though it was necessary, sure was tough slugging.

Saying goodbye to family. Joh & Nate one week ago, Thomas on Thursday, Hillary tomorrow. Not unlike a slow bleed, but we are determined to keep calm and carry on.

One evening took up my annual review for my work here. No real surprises for me in that process. "Good communicator to all ages, people feel cared for and prayed for, unthreatening even when he has tough things to say, has a unifying effect, works really well with others, he cares," and stuff like that. The one "real negative" that came up was a fair one which was that "he hasn't taken holidays this year yet and he needs to look after himself in that respect." As I said that's a very fair concern and though there were reasons for that, we are looking and planning some holidays presently.

Another night was spent getting Hillary from the airport in Edmonton and another evening was about getting Thomas to Calgary.

Last evening was the budget planning meeting with the church trustees. I know it's not a preferred way to spend a Friday night but we got through it by bringing snacks and baked goods and beef jerky. They are a good bunch to work with too, and so it was a fun evening.

Throw into the week a funeral, some conference work, getting ready for our prayer week next week, and that puts me right back in my office on Saturday trying to write my annual report, due tomorrow.

I suppose in some respects its good to be right back into the deep end of the pool so quickly after a busy time, but the bad side of that is all our christmas decorations are still up and the tree still shines brightly in our front window.

I did try to convince herself that maybe we should just keep it up all year long, but then she wanted to decorate it seasonally; Red hearts for February, Green shamrocks for March, lilac colour eggs for April, you get the idea.

She is all about the good ideas. And I'm the guy who brings her back down to earth. The tree will be gone on Monday.

My Christmas Gift

This Christmas Johanna had drawn my name to purchase a gift for. She got creative and came up with a very cool idea. She got some of my best photography printed and bound in a blurb.com book, and then she had them print, in softcover book form, my first three years of randallfriesen.com.

I wondered what the quality would be like but I am blown away by the clarity and beauty of the photographs, and even more impressed by the softcover books. It's surreal to pop open a book of the blog and read posts that I had written years ago.

What a very cool gift.

Click here to see some photos of the books.
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Keith C. Fullerton

The past 24 hours have found me walking a bit off balance, a touch in some other place. We received news yesterday while running some errands, that a friend, mentor, and co-worker, Keith C. Fullerton, died suddenly Sunday night. He and his wife were out for a walk in the cold small town in Saskatchewan they had just moved to, when he fell to the ground and rose to the rest of eternity. Just like that, one moment here and the next, there.

I am shocked by this great shifting in the cosmos. And if I am honest, I am wondering what God thinks he is doing. All the while people around me come and go as though the world hasn't shifted and is a bit worse off.

I have a half written letter here, that I had begun to write to him. I suppose it goes unseen by him, at least for now.

He and his dear wife had just sold their place out on the BC coast and moved to small town, very rural, Saskatchewan. I understand they did it mostly to help out a family member, and it's much more affordable to live in a small town in Saskatchewan than it is in the mainland in British Columbia.

So they packed up their lives, because of love, and last Wednesday ended up in their new home. They weren't even there a week.

I wanted to tell him well done. That he was a living example to me of the great cost love sometimes asks us to pay, on behalf of others. I wanted to tell him thank you for being such an example, and for showing us dads the way to live, and love. Even in hard seasons.

So Viola is left to unpack, and set up home in a new world. While grieving.

The whole world is out of rhythm, everything is off just a bit.

Maybe remember him and his wife, Vi, and their family.
It's going to be a hard cold week out there.

Lord have mercy…


The announcement can be seen here.


UPDATE:

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments. You honour his memory and his life with your blessings.

The funeral is January 8th at 12 Pacific time, 2 pm local Saskatchewan time. They are going to try to stream it live from the church. If you want to try to participate, here is the link;

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/keith-fullerton-funeral

And now we raise the tree.



Each year on the first Tuesday of the new year, early in the morning, a secret society of dark coated men gather to pray and drink their poison, then hoist the Christmas tree to the highest place in the church where it sits waiting for its next opportunity to appear. This is how traditions get started.


Really? 62 already?

And so our 62nd Sunday in The Field draws to a close and I need to clean up and hit the sheets. Tomorrow things return to normal at surprising speed. Micah is off to school early, and I shall be taking Lauralea in to see more Doctors and later on in the day we'll be picking Hillary up at the airport.

Work is as I said nervously, busy now. I thought it was busy before, but things have been laid aside until the rush of the Christmas season was past so now I need to catch up on a small mountain of post-it note reminders of things I need to take care of. End of year things and beginning of new year things, small groups to get a handle on, classes to consider giving, a trip to Denver to plan and get happening before the end of January, and on and on.

Tonight L and I went to a Jazz concert the likes of which was simply brilliant. I was going to qualify that by adding; for the city of Wetaskiwin. But the truth is these guys could hold their own in any city. We don't get these types of quality jazz musicians in these parts very often or at all, so it was a treat. Better yet, we know the parents of the leader, Karl Schwonik Proud parents John & Jan sat in the back, cheering them on. It was just a treat to listen to great musicians have at it a while.

We left a bit early because we had another engagement, but it was a good end to the day.

Now to tomorrow, and the start of the second half of the year.
What will this year hold.

Happy Palindrome Day!

Wow, to think I nearly missed it.
And here for your viewing and listening pleasure, palindromes galore.




(… and no, this has nothing to do with Sarah Palin)

They are going.

The family is beginning to scatter to the North, South and West.

Hillary flew to Kelowna for the weekend to visit a friend before she heads north back to school. Johanna and Nate just left for home, 13 hours away with a significant mountain range in the way and snow in the forecast. Thomas will be heading south to Calgary in a few days to move into our Calgary "Life Together" house and see what his fortune will be like there.

Then it's Micah, Lauralea, and me again in the field. And though I considered finishing that last sentence with the word "Naturally," because of the self-pity implied, I shall not use it.

It's been a great christmas here in the field, really great. And the greatness has come from people to share the time with. I am really very grateful for it all.

I have been consciously aware of friends who don't have family around any longer, and my thoughts have turned to prayer many times these days. I am trying to be thankful for what I have on any given day, living in the present, enjoying what's given to me. Let's see if we can keep that thankfulness into next week, shall we?




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