Down but not out

Friday, February 26, 2010
I used to never get sick enough to loose a day or two of work but being in the field these sixteen months and having the flu three times leaves me feeling a touch guilty. That's tied somehow to my work ethic and identity and blah blah blah.

I've noticed during this bout of the flu, that taking Tylenol and remaining somewhat horizontal eases most of the symptoms. So I've found that there has been room to pray. There are a number of things that are happening here that give me much to pray for, as well as my family and a few friends. Add to that the restlessness of a night spent on the couch (so that Laura won't catch it either) and time recuperating, waiting for healthier days, has left me with enough clarity to be praying. Or at least enough clarity for God to know and hear.

And so I've been doing that, and actually sensing God quite close through it all.

I often tell people who are bedridden or trapped by some physical limitations that there still is work for them to do. There are still people out there who desperately need someone, anyone, to pray for them. And it can be very satisfying work when there's a connection with the Holy Spirit who leads the prayer, and confirms when you're done.

It's not all learned in one single class grasshopper. It takes time to learn the intricacies of prayer, but you won't learn it if you are never trying it. Try it, be teachable, ask questions of others who pray, and listen for His voice to lead you.

Thats twice in one year

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Well I never saw that coming. The flu I mean.

Well it's not a full fledged flu I suppose, its more of a mini flu. No temperature or cough or cold. Just muscle ache that is beyond reasonable. I ended up being awake most of last night as a result.

I lasted at work till a bit after noon and then I came home in search of meds.

Its not a great time to be ill, but I'm sure it will pass and it better pass soon.

As for now, I believe more pain meds are in order.

This just in...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I am an uncle again.

My brother Jeff & his wife Heidi have this evening produced a baby boy. 8 lbs. 1 oz, the same as our eldest.

His name is Connor Reuben Friesen. A good strong name with room in it to grow.

May his life be deeply blessed.

First Sunday with chairs

Here's a bunch that look guilty...

First day with our chairs so we celebrated with worship and cake.


More pictures here.

The Rainy Day

Monday, February 22, 2010
On a particularly dark day Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote these poignant words:

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Although it isn't actually raining here in the field, it is still just as foggy as it was when I awoke early this morning. The day has followed along those lines since then.

I feel as I understand one might feel with a bit of a hangover and a touch of flu today. I'm not sure what brings it on because this weekend was as others are, but this morning saw me wake up without really waking up. I dragged myself around the place with my eyes half closed and my head swimming. A look outside tells me its the same out there as it is in here, and so I half sleep when I sit in chairs and stumble about when I'm not.

I do suppose as Henry tells, that some days must be dark and dreary. Can you imagine a life where each day is sunshine and moonbeams? Where would the texture be? The depth, the challenge, the highs and lows?

No, it's just the order of life working itself out where I live. And if I am tired, as I constantly tell herself, then I should sleep because it's my body communicating it's weariness and I should respond appropriately. But I just seem to fade in and out of rest with no depth of sleep to help heal whats needed.

So it seems that I have just offered to make the potatoes for supper. So I'll get my tired haunches off the chair and see what is to be done with them.

In the mean time Henry, your words were not so far off for a guy living in the snow and fog, in a field.

2010 Vancouver Olympics (or is the use of that word copyrighted too?)

Saturday, February 20, 2010
I'm tired of the Olympics already.

Let me correct that, I'm tired of hearing "Canada will do really well in this event, at least one, maybe two metals." And then they go finish fourth and fifth. I've watched that happen now a couple of times and I'm tired of it to be honest. I can't even imagine what the participants are feeling.

Too many close calls. Too many losses, too many hundredths of a second or millimeter or whatever.

I heard yesterday that for any South Korean athlete who wins a gold medal has a salary for life so I'm kinda cheering for them when I have the chance. I mean that would be sweet in a tough place like that. Not too many chances to work your heart out and have it rewarded that well in places like that.

I am still watching the hockey, although the Canadian professionals don't look that professional when Norway then Switzerland give them a run for their money. Wait to see what happens tomorrow when they play the US of A. Who knows, I might be completely done with the Olympics by tomorrow night.

Anyway, Johanna and Hillary and probably Nate are downtown Vancouver tonight trying to get into a free Sam Roberts concert, so at least our family is well represented at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Now, when does football season start?

In for a landing

Friday, February 19, 2010
For a week in which the rest of Canada got a day off to celebrate with their families, this week has been family oriented in a different way for me I suppose.

I spent a couple of days in Calgary working with our intentional community house on Spiritual Direction and a bit of pastoral encouragement as well. Thomas has moved there and is now a part of the life there so I took him out for a good Indian lunch one day. I offered him alternatives for getting direction being I'm his dad and all, but he wanted to have a go at it, so we'll see how that goes. The house is doing great and life continues to deepen and progress.

And yesterday evening I headed into the guts of Edmonton to the Bus Terminal to pick up Hillary. She was asked to accompany an individual who Air Canada (turns and spits) suddenly deemed unable to travel by himself, to Vancouver Island. Then she's taking a ferry over to Vancouver for the weekend to stay with Johanna & Nate.

That's Vancouver, the center of the olympic world for these weeks. Free concerts, fireworks, outdoor parties and cafe's, did I mention free concerts? Anyway, she's a lucky bum this weekend.

And I'm in the office doing a weeks worth of catching up and preparation for Sunday, because tomorrow I am at our camp annual meeting for the day.

So, not much field news for the week, well except for the crap news Monday night and Tuesday morning. But I am landing now for a while. Time to get back into the rhythm of life here.

Greyhound bus TERMINAL. Edmonton.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Terminal indeed.


Snowing in Calgary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


After a crappy night, we emerge early

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
As bedtime approached last night and we were getting done for the day, our sewage warning light suddenly came on lighting up the darkness out in the field. That means that the sewage isn't getting through the pipe to where it needs to end up, and when that happens, life backs up pretty quickly.

So I called the numbers I had for the guy who knows these things and I realized that he and his family were away for the weekend. There are a list of other names I could call too, but I am still a man and there are internal things going on when one has to call others to come solve one's problems.

So about 10:30 Micah and I manned up and headed of into the night to see what the problem was. Everything seemed to be working up until the dispersement pipe. So we started to take that apart, then the next part, then the next part until we found the problem. Sewage ice buildup inside the pipe.

By this time it's near midnight, standing out in The Field in two feet of snow at minus 14C, with a small flashlight and candle gently warming the outer edges of the pipe to get the blockages loose. Need I paint a picture of how much human shit was on me? No? I disagree, I do need to communicate that. I had human shit all over the place, all over me. I have reserved the use of the word Shit in this blog dear reader for such an occasion as this. This was possibly the first required use of the term simply because it was so deserving of the use of the word to describe the occasion. Shit.

We got the system rebuilt by sometime after midnight, and into bed after showers and laundry was done, sometime after 1:30 am. That meant that my 5:30 wake up alarm came so early this morning and I was up and off to the guys prayer time. But we totally owned that sewage system. Micah and I beat the elements and the forces of waste removal systems and we won. Now I know the parts and where they are and how it mostly all works, so I say we won.

Now I am packed and off to Calgary for two days of work.

The roads look a bit touchy and there are fog warnings out for my highways, but at least my family can wash and crap when they want to. And that a a luxury too often overlooked.

A more photographic bunch you've never seen

Monday, February 15, 2010
Yesterday I took the camera to church to take a few snaps of the people as they gathered to worship.

People gathering for worship

These were taken before we started and people were still coming. But as soon as they all saw me taking pictures, they put on their "Say Cheese" faces and smiled a ton. Good models that way.

The reason I took the shots?

Well yesterday morning was the last morning we would be using those 60 year old pews.

We have a few ministry opportunities that simply require more space than we have presently, so we explored the possibility of getting chairs and removing the pews, so that we could use that space with greater flexibility. The idea was very well received and a decision was made to order some chairs. That process was handled quite well considering it's a 110 year old church with a long history and you don't just toss out 60 year old pews.

So tomorrow the new chairs are due to arrive and by this coming Sunday we should be sitting on more flexibility than we have been on too date.

On Love

Sunday, February 14, 2010
If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body [to hardship] that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

For those of you trying to get a children's book published

Friday, February 12, 2010
Dr. Seuss' first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before he stepped into an office elevator and bumped into an old friend who happened to be working at a publishing house.

And just like that the day changes

The morning started out with plans for, office in the morning and the afternoon would be spent visiting someone in a psychiatric facility about a half hour away.

Then halfway through the morning it quickly shifted to an urgent need to get to a hospital an hour away and check on someone there, and then the psychiatric facility which is in the other direction.

Then early this afternoon it shifted to no urgent hospital visit required, but lets get to the psychiatric facility to check on someone.

Just now it went to no psychiatric facility visit desired by the person involved.

I just did the 30 minute run without even leaving my chair.

But my stomach reminds me that I haven't had anything to eat yet today. Maybe I'll call over to the Chef and see what she had for lunch.

But of course the phone could ring again…

Thomas À Kempis on silence and solitude

Thursday, February 11, 2010
“In quiet and silence the faithful soul makes progress, the hidden meanings of the Scriptures become clear, and the eyes weep with devotion every night.  Even as one learns to grow still, he draws closer to the Creator and farther from the hurly-burly of the world.  As one divests himself of friends and acquaintances, he is visited by God and his holy angels.”

600 years ago Thomas À Kempis

Slow Me Down

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Having lived in The Field over a year now has allowed me some time for reflection and consideration of the uniqunesses of life here in rural rural Canada.

Lauralea and I were talking the other evening about what it was we were going to receive from our life here in The Field, and though we had no clear answers at that time I've been thinking that question through and turning it over and over. What is the gift that life in a field has for me...

After only one year here I think that one of the very determined gifts that the field wants us to have is the grace of slowing down. I know that is the road to go down, but I've never been disiplined enough or willing enough to just slow down. My tendency is to go and go some more and burn candles at many ends, thinking, doing, praying, planning, so much to do and even better if I can get three things done at once. If getting one thing done feels good, then how much better to get four things done at once. That should quadruple the enjoyment, right?

Well, this field life is moving me, against my will, into a forced slowdown.

When it takes 25 minutes to get to town and 25 minutes back, you don't do a lot on the spur of the moment let alone doing three things. When you don't have the resources here to do a job, that job will have to be put off for days possibly.

Last Sunday getting a video clip to play for the service grew from a small task to one that would take me well past Sunday to accomplish, because of format issues and no DVD disk issues. In the city I would have been out the door and in the store in 6 minutes getting disks, and back again. Badda bing.

And it's not just travel time either. The winter slows down the pace of life too, even more than it does in the the city. You see people less here. You're more subject to the whims of the weather systems out here than you are in the city. Threats of snow, wind and cold will make you stay at home here, but not so much in the city.

I think its fair to say that out here life just takes longer to live and that a person who regularly does many things in a day will simply acomplish less here on any given day. It's as if a slower life is enforced upon him or her.

And I say that's a gift because I really believe that too many times my haste has led me to not being able to enjoy the true moments of life. You become a cog in a gear rather than being able to enjoy the gracious sweep of life that passes by. I know it is a better thing to live at deeper levels, but it is easier to live fast. So I fight it at every turn. I mutter when I slip on the snow rather than taking my time. I moan when I can't get what I want, when I want it, and I struggle to feel fulfilled when I only get five things done in a day rather than twenty five.

This "Gift" is forcing me to slow down more than I ever would on my own. Honestly. To be able to accept myself with only five things done today is a step for me. To learn to take time with a project or a task or a book or even waiting for the snow plow to come, is a lesson in patience for me.

I mean I'm already WAY better than I used to be, but this field life is pushing me to new levels of time management and time understanding. I know inside that this is a great gift to me, one I've been wanting to explore and learn for years. Now I just have to give myself permission to enjoy what I've been given, slow-wise.

Google Street View - Prince Albert

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I saw that today Google Streetview had added a bunch of smaller cities, including Prince Albert Saskatchewan, our old haunt.

Of course you know I went right to our old home and checked how it has been doing.

It looks so good. So many memories.

View Larger Map

Green Police - Updated

Yes this Super Bowl commercial made me smile. It's also got a catchy tune.
So why is there a part of me that gets a tinge nervous when I watch it?

Ah interesting:

But one aspect of the Green Police ad that's certain to remain with viewers of the Super Bowl is ... the music. Audi asked Cheap Trick to return to the recording studio to remake the rock band's classic hit "Dream Police" for a big Super Bowl presentation. The result? "Green Police" a song that combines the message of the A3 TDI Green Car of the Year win and the high-energy beat of the original tune.

"We have no doubt that viewers will walk away from the Super Bowl with that song playing in their heads," said Scott Keogh, Audi of America Chief Marketing Officer. "It is certain to make the environmental message behind the Green Police ad hard to forget." via.

How fun is that.
Get your own copy of the song here.

And now, we Buzz.

We emailed, we Blogged, we Facebooked, and FriendFeeded and Tumbled, we Flickred and Twittered and Waved, and now we are asked to Buzz.

Google today released it's more sociable than email younger brother, Buzz.

Yawn, yeah a lot like the other family members Twibber and BookFace, this little "Talk closely to your contacts" feature lets you share pics and videos with them much more easily I suppose. And it invites responses that you can then respond to better than say Twitter does. But then again, it's only you, speaking into the great void, of what colour socks you put on today, or some pithy quote you found on someone else's blog.

The Sociable web seems like it's less and less sociable. Less and less people willing to listen, more and more people talking at, well nothing usually.

Will it go places this young upstart Buzz? I don't know and really I don't care. It's just nice to have a new baby in the family.

Goochie goochie goo little Buzz. Welcome to the world wide web.

A beautiful night in Paris.

Monday, February 08, 2010
As viewed from my bedroom in The Field.

via. webcam of course.

Good Memories

Saturday, February 06, 2010
I was moving some files around today and noticed a file marked Friesens Farewell. I probably shouldn't have clicked on it but I did and there you go, flooded with memories.

Our church in Prince Albert prepared this as a part of our farewell.
Seems like so much living was done in those years. Kids, church, life, it's all there.

There was also lots of love there as I reflect now. Love was really the only thing that church really needed to help it get to a good place, and so we tried to love lots. And that love was given back to us in spades.

That's the thing about love it seems. When you offer it and give it away you never run out of it because it comes back to you, multiplied. I'm not great at math but that's a great equation.

Anyway, here's the file that made me smile and get wet eyes this afternoon.

Friesen Farewell from Randall Friesen on Vimeo.


Lauralea - Post haircut.

Hey, I live in a field and she's my only model within miles.



At 658 unopened emails,

Friday, February 05, 2010
I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a pool and can't get my head above water.

I'm starting to think out loud about email bankruptcy.

Although it would all just come back, unlike real bankruptcy which won't give you any credit for a few years.

So I'll continue to plow through as much as I reasonably can.

Just so you know, if you're waiting for an email from me.



Wednesday, February 03, 2010

At the risk of blushing because I want to talk about the iPad...


and of course the inevitable jokes that will follow anything thusly named, oh and what will they call the largest ipad with the most memory? A Maxi-pad…

You may groan now.

In spite of it's name, I think that this is the direction for the future of mainstream computing.

For a long time I've been asking people who should know this stuff about why on God's green earth are we still using desks and keyboards and screens to do our daily computing? What is required are computers that are integrated into our lives better, with no technological barrier between the user and the cpu, That's what we've needed for many years now. We should be more creative than this.

I have long yearned, yes yearned people, for a computer with no desk required, (Ok thank you laptop) and no keyboard required, (Ok now you're stretching me just a bit but keep talking) and possibly not even a mouse to interface with. (Oh my now you've lost it. How will we make it work?) And these kinds of computers should be available wherever you are. On walls, on coffee tables, in cars and trucks, and on and on, in places where you don't need a desk or outlet or ethernet or power cable or ergonomic chair or a place where you can put a big screen.

My real struggle is with why do we have no designers out there who are able to make the big bulky desktop, white or black versions of "Computers" go away? The mind boggles. I understand that the general public has come to understand the computer as one thing and is generally slow to adapt to new ways, but dang we've had computers around a long time. Something should have been done by now.

And so last week we saw a strong, somewhat arrogant company step up and produce kinda, sorta what I've been waiting for in terms of computers. Apple has come up with a computer format that is all new, and I believe exactly where personal computing needs to go in the future. The iPad, (Turns and spits.) They have removed the technological wall between the user and the computer.

Proof of that would be that my Grandmother, if she were still around, could use it and it wouldn't need tweaking or rebooting, drivers or setup or you name it. Within minutes she would have figured it out and been off into the world of personal computing.

To be able to remove the wall that stands between people and personal computing is a very powerful step in the evolution of computers and people. To be able to integrate them more easily into life and work will make the work that we do, seamless. It may also help equalize the classes of those who know how to get email or find out how the sun works or watch a movie or record your family history, and those who do not. Maybe this style of computer will be more affordable to produce so that even those with less income will see a day when they can participate in the information age too.

Aside from the name, this new model of computer gives me a good deal of hope for the future of personal computing and the technological age. This is the direction the whole area needs to move in.


Of course it's good to remember what happened the last time humanity wanted to know it all and so we took the apple and consumed it. Things haven't been the same since.


And I thought cats were basically good for nothing.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Seems I was wrong.

A cat with an uncanny ability to detect when nursing home patients are about to die has proven itself in around 50 cases by curling up with them in their final hours, according to a new book.

The cat, now five and generally unsociable, was adopted as a kitten at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence, Rhode Island, which specialises in caring for people with severe dementia.

Dr Dosa first publicised Oscar's gift in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. Since then, the cat has gone on to double the number of imminent deaths it has sensed and convinced the geriatrician that it is no fluke.
The tortoiseshell and white cat spends its days pacing from room to room, rarely spending any time with patients except those with just hours to live.

If kept outside the room of a dying patient, Oscar will scratch on the door trying to get in.
When nurses once placed the cat on the bed of a patient they thought close to death, Oscar "charged out" and went to sit beside someone in another room. The cat's judgement was better than that of the nurses: the second patient died that evening, while the first lived for two more days.

Dr Dosa and other staff are so confident in Oscar's accuracy that they will alert family members when the cat jumps on to a bed and stretches out beside its occupant.

"It's not like he dawdles. He'll slip out for two minutes, grab some kibble and then he's back at the patient's side. It's like he's literally on a vigil," Dr Dosa wrote.
Dr Dosa noted that the nursing home keeps five other cats, but none of the others have ever displayed a similar ability.

I've been in this business long enough to tell you a few stories of my own. Like this...

To read the whole piece, head over to The Telegraph.

What does a Saviour look like?

I usually post my sermons over at the church website,, but this one from last Sunday helps answer some of the questions some of you have been asking me.

Ever wonder what a good saviour looks like?
We took a shot at exploring that last Sunday. From Mrs. Libowitz to a guy running into a burning house, you can relive the moment here:
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