The day that was.

was a long day.

We were at the hospital early and the surgery was booked for noon, but didn't get going till about one. The surgery took longer than expected, well over an hour, so she wasn't back in the room till 3:30pm.

She had some ongoing difficulty coming out of the anaesthetic, and getting enough oxygen into her system, so it became my job to remind her to breathe, but I doubt she will remember that. By six she was clearer yet still in and out.

So as far as we know the surgery went well, but we'll get more information in the morning when the doctor checks in on her.

Maybe if you live in the area, skip the idea of going to visit her for a couple of days. She mumbled that request as I was leaving tonight.

And thanks for your prayers and good thoughts. We appreciate them all.

Waiting...



Tuesday _ Holy Week

The week is starting to gear up nicely already and it's only Tuesday so far.

Many of you may already know that Lauralea is heading to surgery tomorrow in hopes of having the bits of herself that cause her to bleed too much each month and thus cause a very very low iron level in her body which causes all manner of difficulties, removed. DEEEP BREATH.

Well, that was easier to explain then when the nine year old from church asked me what a hysterectomy was.

:)

So that's tomorrow then, about noon local time if you are anywhere near your knees.

Today as her last supper, I offered her whatever she wanted. She wanted Chinese food, so it's off to the Wok an Woll (or is it roll...) for supper.

She feels like it doesn't hurt her that her surgery is in the middle of Holy Week, and I reminded her that the last time she had surgery in Holy Week was the time that Thomas came to live with us. Fond memories of stressful Easter week stuff and me with two very little girls and spring and the hospital and a boy and if memory serves, hockey playoffs. Course that Easter was a bit later in the year. May I think he was born in.

Anyway, today I was suppose to get things ready for Thursday night but I've been doing admin stuff all day so maybe I'll take the laptop tomorrow while she's in surgery.


And tomorrow by this time we'll have a bouncing baby uterus.

Ok. That was in poor taste. Lets blame stress.

Richard Foster on the curse of our age

Superficiality is the curse of our age... The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.

Richard Foster

...And just like that its ready for an evening coffee house.


With Keith Kitchen in concert.

Mothers Of PreSchoolers kids play in the sanctuary.




Thursday already?

It's already Thursday around these parts and that means that this morning is our Mother's Of PreSchoolers morning when moms from miles around bring their little ones and gather together to support and care for one another. That means 40 to 50 or 60 little ones being cared for where ever we can find space in this old building.

And tonight is our Keith Kitchen concert at the church. Desserts start at 6:30 and music starts at 7:30. If you are within the sound of my voice, come on by and enjoy the evening.

But I am reminded by my unanswered emails and requests for what's happening Sunday, that this is really my first hardcore day in the office this week. Tuesday I was visiting and connecting with people and yesterday was similar. I got in the car at 8:30 am and got home about 5:45 pm with about 200 kms more on the car for the day. People visits, ministerial meeting, and a couple of work errands and there you go, another day gone by.

So I'm in the office on an office full day, playing catch up.

In other news, the running around I've been doing the past couple of days should have put my back in big pain, but so far it's only been a dull roar with occasional spasms. Interesting.

Prayer. It's not just for your aunt's ingrown toenail any more.

One of the most humbling things one can do in life is to ask for help. And one of the most most humbling things we can do is to ask people to pray for us and our situations. It's humbling because it's an indication that we can do nothing in our own power to change our events or situations.

It's precisely because we walk through the humility of asking for prayer for help, that God has great room to work and answer our prayers. God has indicated to us that he gives grace to the humble and humility is in action whenever we ask for prayer. God gives what is needed to the one who is broken, humbled, and unable to fix the situation themselves.

This is why my heart does a leap when people come and ask for prayer. Not just a "Pray for me when you have a second padre," but an "I want you to lay hands on me or anoint me with oil" kind of prayer. That kind of prayer effects much. That kind of humility gives God a good deal of room to work in a life.

It's always been a thing for me that people should be able to ask more and be prayed for much more than we do in our churches already. Not just the passing "Pray for me" kind of thing like I said, but there should be a context wherein people can ask for that kind of prayer and get it, whenever and as often as they would like. Because it changes people, and it gives God lot's of room to work in them.

Anyway It's time to deal with this ongoing back pain I've struggled with, so in listening to my own preaching, I asked the deacons who were already meeting if they would pray for me and give me the whole works, oil, hands on, prayer. Normally because I'm the pastor, I usually lead the charge into prayers like this, but this time as I told the prayers, I would just act like a sponge. And so as an act of obedience to scripture, the deacons gathered around me, and anointed my head with oil and prayed for me. And God came.

Yes I believe God is everywhere, but some times and places he's more everywhere than he is at other times, if you know what I mean. I saw things, and felt things and experienced things that were and are a part of my sense of God being present in that space, and I acted like a sponge. I soaked in their prayers and God was moving and very very present.

They prayed for a good while and after they were done so was I. I sat there, head back on the couch, eyes unwilling or unable to open, just soaking in God's grace. It was so very good.

I am watching for the fruit of the prayer time, apart from the wonderful delights of being prayed for by others. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, I'm watching for the fruit of that time, to see what is what with it all.


Why share that here? Because I want you to know how good it can be when you are able to ask for prayer. When you are able to rest upon another's ability to carry you in prayer, and God's ability to pour himself into your greatest need.

In the ancient church this was one of the important parts of a two year mentorship process with a church elder. They would regularly lay hands on you and pray for you and that would be a significant part of your changing reality. We need to remember this strong powerful work because it effects people and changes who they are, because we are always changed when we come face to face with creator God.

Prayer. It's not just for your aunt's ingrown toenail any more.

Caught in the in-between

Caught in the in-between is what we are here in The Field today.

Spring is trying it's best to arrive, but today is a bit of a blustery setback. Snowing and blowing out there this morning so we won't have spring in these parts today. But it is on it's way, promise.

In the mean time, hang in there. Do some things for your soul. Read or listen to some good music. Watch a movie or do something creative. Keep nourishing your spirit so that spring finds you in good shape.

Blustery day in the field

As for me I'm off to town to do some visiting.


peace.

Dick and Jane go to the jungle

This morning I spent some time with three youngsters (I mean I'm old enough to use that word right?) who recently went with their parents and a team from the church on a missions trip. They went to Quito Ecuador, then into the jungle, to a village that had been moved because of a killer mountain slide a bunch of years ago. We are helping them build some basic infrastructure, etc. But it's in the heart of the rain forest, jungle jungle stuff I mean. No hospitals or doctors or police or much of anything. That sort of stuff is over two hours away.

I wanted to meet with them to listen to their stories and if possible, help them process the trip a little bit more. All of the adults I've talked to who went there, to that small, poor, hardworking village in the middle of jungle, came back different people. I've told them they are wrecked for North American life now. Being comfortable isn't enough for them any longer, so they really are wrecked for the pursuit of what we would see as the North American dream.

Anyway I was wondering how these kids were dealing with the trip and the work there.

As kids are they were light and fun and constantly moving, telling how seeing these kind hearted generous people sharing the little they had, with them. They saw the attentiveness of youngsters there, and they witnessed people with nothing, being happy and being content. They were actually in some cases able to give even that kind of language to their observations.

I've always been a proponent of travel being a great educator. When you go to another country it changes you somehow, enlarges your perspective and increases your patience and interest in other cultures. But if you want to maximize your travel dollar to effect your spirit the most, I've always suggested travel to a much poorer place than you live in. See how they live, eat and clean and poop and sing and work where and how they do. See how their kids behave. Observe how they deal with contentment and you begin to realize just how far we are down that road of what we might call progress. Of course they all have their own problems and some of them are even the same struggles as our own culture, but if you are willing it will change you.

And that's not a bad shift in who you are and how you see the world, especially when you are eleven years old.

Welcome Sun

It's been warming up outside nicely with temperatures in the positives rather than the negatives, and that's been helping the snow to go away, and the ground is thirsty so there is really no standing water around at all. In other words it feels like spring is here. finally.

Which, as it seems, brings it's own set of baggage with it.

I've been experiencing the normal-to-me feelings of spring, (no not that, or at least not just that) which are feelings of elation and lets get out there and walk and meet people and sit in outdoor cafes and see friends and get the kids bikes out and the patio furniture and lets get this party started, feelings. And, that just isn't going to happen easily here.

So it's kind of a basket full of nostalgic feelings, even connecting me with my childhood and on through my growing up and even parenting years. Just nostalgia I think.

And then I go over to google maps and hit the "StreetView" button and walk the streets we used to live and old memories flood the dry plains of my mind and it gets all soggy in there. My heart I mean.

Memories can be gracious, blessed things, and as any abuse victim can tell you they can also be evil dark tide pools of the struggling soul. I am grateful for my memories and how they are good to me. They cause me to give thanks again and again for the many good things I've experienced in life. But in times like this they can be a speed bump to my normal life.

I don't want to live in the past because then I miss the present, and I think that's not been a difficulty here yet. But it interests me that of all the seasons, this one seems the toughest, for those reasons.

So it's mid March, spring is coming, and, and, and, I may have to build a pergola or something.

:)

I could have been a good stay at home dad.

It's a beautiful springish overcast day out there so the fire is on and I'm just sitting down for a moment after washing the dishes, before I get on to some prep work for tomorrow.

Today Lauraleas and my usual roles are reversed. She's off to a local church ladies retreat to do a seminar teaching them how to eat better and healthier, and I'm at home keeping things in shape and praying for her. I don't mind a reversal like this, in fact I kinda like it.

So she is nervously off to challenge their worldview on eating.

She really has become knowledgeable with food and how to tweak it to get it healthy, or at least, healthier. While I've not always appreciated her challenges to my eating habits, I know that they are better choices for me. And I sometimes feel bad for her because her real abilities lay in baking and adjusting baking for more healthy options, and alas I really don't enjoy sweets. Tough to be her.

So today she teaches and I clean and pray for her to do well and stay healthy. She's not been feeling too well lately, tiredwise and that stresses her too.

Now, what shall we have for supper?

The times they are a changing...

Unless you need a good excuse to sleep in on Sunday you'll need to remember that this Saturday night before you go to bed, you should advance all the clocks in your house by one hour.

Yep, it's time change Sunday again, at least in these parts.

So it's SPRING AHEAD, FALL BACK so at 10 pm move the big hand on your clock to 11 pm and there you go, you're all set to make it to church on time.

Be warned that you will need a nap on Sunday afternoon, catchup wise.


Glad I could help.

I'll take seven hours

aaaaand it's back.

Seven hours of beautiful sleep last night. And I'll take it.

Now for today I'm off into the towns and homes in the area, catching up with some people.

Full day. Off I go.

Ok sleep is this how it's going to be??

Yeah, this is like visiting a new country I've never been to before, this inability to sleep.

It's too early to say it's a problem but usually I fall asleep out of a sense of exhaustion rather than fuss and bother, turn and twist and get angry at not falling asleep.

Last night, night 2 of The Sleeplessness saw me in bed by 11:30 and then saw me doing the twisting and turning thing till about 2:30. Then I just got up and walked around the house a bit for an hour. Then, tired, I headed to bed, full of hope. Too much hope it seems because I then did round two of the sleeplessness thing. The last time I remember looking at the clock was around 4:30 am.

I'm not too concerned yet because this just isn't my standard operating procedure. I sleep, that's what I do. And I enjoy it. It'll return soon enough because I will need it to return, and soon.

And no there isn't one big thing that keeps me awake at night. I don't lay there worrying about world peace or anything, so I can rule that out.

But actually after I had my angry patch last night because I wasn't able to sleep, I settled in and used the time better. I prayed for a good number of you, and that was good. You needed it and I needed to pray. So there.

I also listened to a cool documentary on the first "All Girls" run radio station on NPR. That was really good.

So it isn't a total waste. I just better not be laying down any new habits here. I need my beauty sleep.

Round three tonight.

Some days my life feels like a Far Side comic

The other day as Lauralea and I were returning to our home from visiting someplace or another we were traveling along a gravel backroad. Up on the horizon which was near the crest of a small hill I saw what looked like the silhouette of a long line of cattle running across the road we were on.

It looked most bizarre and as we drew nearer that's exactly what was happening. 30 or 40 head of cattle had made a break for it and had broken through the fence and were hightailing it across the road and down the nice lane of a farm of some friends of ours, tearing up the driveway and lawn in the process.

The rest of the cattle initially got frightened by our approach and halted just inside the fence, watching what we were going to do. We stopped right in their way and I made a call to someone who might know who owned these dim bulbs. They watched us carefully and wanted to go with their friends too so they slowly ventured out past the fence. I honked and hollered a bit which did at first slow them down, but the rest of the herd was starting to push past the initial front and they wanted out too.

And if cattle can look guilty and full of trouble, these did. Honestly. They just wanted to sneak around our car to get to where the other rebels were. And the guilty ones who had already torn up the drive and a bit of the front yard of our friends house looked extremely guilty, like they knew what they had been doing and now the mess they had made was much bigger than their ability to talk their way out of.

And maybe that's the true comedy of Gary Larsons cartoon, The Far Side. It's so true to life, he must have lived in a field someplace, sometime.

chasing sleep

Of course it's the night before I need to be up early for the guys prayer time that I have difficulty sleeping.

Start heading to bed around 10:30 pm and try forcing sleep till 1:30 am. Nothing.

About that time I decided to heed the advice I've read and just get up a while and start all over again to find my missing sleep.

I got up and waited till I started to feel a bit sleepy which was about 3am.

I sat on my bed staring at the alarm clock set for 5:30, which was just over 2 hours away and made the decision there and then, to turn off the alarm.

And then I fell into bed and a deep sleep.

The things we go through to get some rest.

A Perfect Storm

Imagine that I never go into the basement bedroom used by Thomas except for late this afternoon, and imagine my freak as my socks began to soak in something covering the floor in the room.

Imagine my rush to the furnace room and seeing water running down the pipes used to heat the floors. Imagine me getting a bucket under the biggest water streams, pouring to the soaking floor.

Imagine me thinking who to call because this is the churches house and this is a complete mess. Imagine a name comes to mind and so I call and communicate our desperate need. Imagine him saying he has a boiler and heater man there right now from the city doing some work for him and that they'll be right over. Just imagine.

Imagine me finding our wet/dry shop vac in the garage and finding the parts still in moving boxes and getting the water and antifreeze sucked up pretty good out of the carpet.

Then imagine the guy coming over with the boiler fixer guy and within 20 minutes had the problem isolated, diagnosed, and broken parts replaced.

These parts of such a story just don't normally come together so nicely like that, ever. Why it's hardly even imaginable. But they did this afternoon, for us here in the Field. It could have been so very very much worse than it was, but because it was a perfect storm, the damage was limited.

Tonight the fans are on and it smells a bit damp, but it's going to be alright.

2010 Wetaskiwin Church Bonspiel

Today was the community Church Bonspiel and our church had three teams entered.

The Blayne Leeuw Rink:
The sweeping seems to be left to the younger men

The Bert Weaver Rink:
Bert lining up his shot


And the Jan Schwonik Rink:
Even the kids love curling here


The winner of the day was Team Schwonik.
Jan going for the gold


They won the opportunity to plan and host the event next year.

Well done to the teams from Malmo Mission Covenant Church. You made us look like we knew what we were doing out there.

The cheering fans (Otherwise known as the peanut gallery)

And good job for the cheering section!

Check out the whole photo collection for the day. Here.

Big awards show Sunday night

I think we are having company Sunday night but failing that I know I'd have my eyes glued to the TV for the big awards ceremony known as the East Coast Music Awards* being held in Sydney, Nova Scotia Sunday night.

I'd be watching for Amelia Curran, a singer songwriter from Newfoundland who is up for Female Solo Recording of the Year, FACTOR Recording of the Year, Folk Recording of the Year and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year. Her new album Hunter, Hunter is a beautiful piece of work that has also just been nominated for a Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (solo).

Here is a very poor recording of my favourite song of hers, Bye Bye Montreal.
Give it a few seconds in your ears and you'll be watching too.


*Got ya Dix.

God?

God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at mine end,
and at my departing.


There are times and seasons of life when one simply hangs on for the ride and throws to the wind any hope of safe landing. You trust in past God connections and remember previous histories to gain you safe passage through the blinding turbulences of the present. Then the sky clears a bit and you can see again the light of day and lift up your head and wonder if this is heaven or if you just made it through the rough patch, still with your person intact.

I don't suppose that for those who look on from the outside anything appears amiss. From the distance it all looks good and that things are alright, and I suppose to an extent that is true and real. But sometimes the inner fight is just as great and tumultuous, though less acknowledged especially by those who fight that fight.

That is why the prayer above has been mine these days. Holding on inside for dear life. Waiting for normal to arrive again.

It is a humbling journey this interior one, that leads through so many different patches. And amidst this most difficult season I have experienced a wise and powerful God speaking words out of my mouth and granting me direction to stumble into his provision in spite of and perhaps because of my weakness.

Sometimes one feels so weak and so heavy inside that it gets overwhelming. And you and I need to remember that that is ok. Life is filled with ease and difficulty, good and bad. But somehow it's easier to acknowledge that one has a broken leg than it is to realize that it's the middle of the day yet inside yourself it seems like dusk.

For times like this for people like me a good written prayer can help give words where there are only feelings.

So yes, God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.


If this is a prayer you can use too, then good on you. Use the words, make them your own and blessings to you.


amen.

Yes, I'm still here.

I am still here with nothing deeply profound to say.

I could speak of the gut wrenching sound I was awaken to this morning at 5:30 which was an odd occasional barking/shrieking/raspy kind of noise in my back yard that the guys at prayer time first though may be a fox, then thought better that it was probably the large cat, or perhaps I should write Cat, that's been roaming the area of late. I nearly asked for a ride to the house after that.

Or I could speak of picking up Hillary in Edmonton in the middle of the night at Denny's where her ride dropped her off. She's with us for the week.

Or the amazingly wonderful Olympic hockey we watched on Sunday with Canada vs. USA wherein I nearly lost my spleen and let go my bladder and watched Canada grow in it's sense of identity. We're still a young nation you realize, and we've not conquered other landmasses, yet. This is the closest we get to that.


But things are just a bit heavy around here, and by here I simply mean me.

Might be from the flu last week or from how behind I am, or the attempts at spring being made outside, I don't know. But I'm just cranky.


Time to grab a bit of lunch and then I'm off to town to catch up on some visits.

I'm still here.