Amazing. Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Friday, April 30, 2010
I posted a link the other day to a similar idea but this is such a grander scale.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque
People from all over the world were welcomed to sing along to a song, while recording themselves in video and audio, on YouTube. All the videos were synchronized and this is the stunning result.


Notes from the road

After last night fiasco I wondered if today would be worth even trying. I had a bit of stomach flu in the night and ended up not able to get to sleep till sometime after 3 am and that was just nasty. By the morning I was groggy and unsure. I headed off to the day to do my best anyway.

As Ministerial chair it was my job to plan and lead the ministerial this morning and all in all I thought it went well. Leading a meeting is something I can do, but I'm not a big one for rules and orders and authors named Roberts. I'm more of a consensus guy and a lets ask questions and talk it through guy. This morning that was fine and an accepted approach to the day. That went well and I was encouraged by the meeting.

Then this afternoon I had been asked to participate in a workshop on Spiritual Direction and I enjoyed participating in that too. It was a good conversation about the process and it was great to see some old friends and to talk together about things we are passionate about.

Then for supper I found Thomas and we went out and ate a bunch and talked a bunch and found an Orange Julius and were able to convince them to make us our old favourite, a Tropical Creme Supreme. (They don't have it on their board any longer. I suppose they think they need to be all about the healthy smoothies now.)

A good day with good friends. And the beauty is that most of my work for the weekend is done. Tomorrow it's the business part of the weekend and I can do that no problem. Then it's home to get ready for Sunday.

Oh and the coolest part of the day? The church building we had rented for the meeting this morning was a beautiful baptist building and as I entered the space, I saw my cousin, Brad, and my worlds began colliding inside my head. Family world and pastor/church worlds ran smack into one another. We saw one another and began doing mental callisthenics sorting out our surprise. Turns out this is the church in Calgary where he works. Like I said, it was really cool and we had a few minutes to talk and catch up and connect. A highlight to the day.

Pretty wild bunch of pastors.

Bad flu night but the day is going well.

QE 2 closed. Stuck in detour traffic.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slow slow day. Travel wise.


You can use the power of the Internet for good you know

Yes the internet is full of dark places, like porn and facebook.

But there are also bright moments too when total strangers are brought together to sing for someone they don't know who's going through a tough patch.

Like this.


Yes but it's moisture

"A winter storm is hitting Calgary and southern Alberta, cancelling flights at the airport, closing schools, and turning area highways into a slick mess.
RCMP in Airdrie, Innisfail and Ponoka have all advised against travel on the QE II due to poor visibility, drifting snow as well as snow covered lanes. Travel is not recommended on Highways 4, 5 and 52 in the Raymond, Cardston and Milk River areas because of poor visibility and heavy slush covered roads and strong winds.
In the city, roads are slush covered and slick but watch for ramps and hills. Some cars are getting stuck or sliding down. Calgary transit is also advising that bus service may be delayed as some buses have been getting stuck.
Dozens of flights have been cancelled at the Calgary International Airport, and many more have been delayed. via."

Yes, that's where I am heading in a while. QE II.
Thankfully I'm driving so my flight won't be cancelled.


One prayer is about us. The other is about God. (or, we could sure use some rain about now God.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I remember last spring when the snow was melting and seeding season was upon us, I nearly couldn't stand the enthusiasm of the guys around here. The previous year had been a bumper crop, perfectly timed rains with no frost and good sun. That made last year exciting and hopeful and they were like a bunch of kids at Christmas time when it was time to seed.

Then came the year that wasn't. June had the least rain ever recorded and the rest of summer wasn't much better. Frost came right after seeding and by July a good number were just tilling the fields of dust under. For some, insurance helped so they could try again this year, but not everyone had insurance. The cattle had nothing to eat so herds were sold off, at a loss. the biggest frustration last summer was the lack of rain. One farmer kept an eye on the rainfall in the Sahara and declared that we had had less than that place this past year. Lakes dried up, dugouts became dry, and in winter the ground didn't freeze because there was no moisture in it.

When this spring came around there was no spring in their steps or excitement to get out in the fields. I saw nervousness in their eyes and they walked like their backs were heavy carrying large invisible packs. Such a difference. One farmer told me that even with a great crop, the value of the crops they were growing had diminished so much that the price it fetched wouldn't even pay for what it cost to plant and grow. So they were already behind it all.

In spite of the difficulties of last year, some of them told me miracle stories of crops that sprang up without water, and fields that shouldn't produce much, giving more than expected. Some found untaped resources for feed for their cattle that brought them through the winter. Others spoke of surprise opportunities for income that have helped them make it through the season with a little bit of cash.

Those stories have helped me refocus my prayers for this area. I have been, and still am praying for rain here. Three days of rain would start to set things right again, bring back a slough or two and help with crops and livestock. I need to keep asking God about that one. But the shift in my praying has brought me to the place where I am praying that God would meet the needs of the local farmers around here. That he might help us to rely on him and see him provide for our needs, be it through the crops or cattle, or through his own means. It may seem subtle but the one prayer asks for the conditions to change while the other prayer asks for us to be changed. Honestly I think that's the greater prayer, to change man's hearts rather than changing the weather. It's humbling to be provided for by a gracious God through means other than the ones we like and want. But maybe that way just reminds us better that we serve him and he doesn't serve us.

That's not a bad lesson to learn again, especially when we get to thinking we can do it all.

It's been gently raining here on and off all day, and for the first time in a very long time, I see puddles.

It just get's better and better. NOT. (Or can I still use that early 90's turn of phrase?)

Today I am secluded in the Field Safety Zone Bunker of Silence to accomplish all the work I need to have done by tomorrow when I am due to be in Calgary for a couple of days of meetings, some of which I am leading. I can deal with all that.

What I can't deal with exactly, is THIS;
The agency has issued a winter storm warning for the city today, calling for 10 to 20 centimetres of snow by Thursday evening. The forecast says the precipitation will turn to snow by Thursday morning in what officials are calling "dangerous winter weather conditions."

The agency says the snowfall will come from an upper low pressure system moving across the Rockies into southern Alberta today. The system is expected to bring winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour in addition to the snow.

Just Great. April on the Prairies (that exist right beside the mountains.)

ain't life grand?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
... early morning prayer, get home to care for a sick boy, call bus driver, back to office, to town for ministerial, to the care home for a visit, back to the field, make sure supper is happening, deacon meeting tonight, bed late.

Yes, another glorious day in the life of myself.

Where's Micah

Monday, April 26, 2010

In the same vein as Where's Waldo?

Happy Birthday Lauralea

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And I took her out for a fundraising banquet.

Its ok though. I got her a great gift.

And they gave her a cake.
And half the family will be here later tonight.

Good day.


Yes that is a punch fountain in the church.

Big banquet here tonight.

Raising some money for a small struggling town in the jungles of Ecuador.

This is cool.


Mentally Challenged Robins

Friday, April 23, 2010
"Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud."

I heard from the washroom this morning.

I looked into the bedroom, over a sleeping Lauralea and there was a Robin trying to fly into her closed window. Repeatedly. Without learning it's lesson.

I walked over and scared it away.

Ten minutes later, "Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud." From the bedroom beside ours.

Again, some Robin flying into the window. Repeatedly. Without learning it's lesson.

I chased it away.

Ten minutes or so later, it was trying the next window. I spent my breakfast time running outside chasing the dumb bird away.

Finally, full of brain damage it seemed to go away.

Till twenty minutes ago, at my office. "Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud."

I got up and walked into the secretaries office and sure enough, some brain dead Robin is trying to fly into the window. Repeatedly. Without learning it's lesson.

I've been chasing it away, but I think it may need more that I could give it.

Either it's one stubborn brain damaged bird or the earth's magnetic poles are screwed up and the end of the world is at hand.

We'll see you tomorrow. Maybe.

Streets and Roads

Thursday, April 22, 2010
51 london path

I love paths that lead me to places that look interesting and fun. Roads that invite me to walk them because they might be holding on to secrets yet untold.

That's always been a part of my adult life. Going where no Randall Friesen has ever gone before. Wherever I've ended up living I've gone in search of paths to explore. Sometimes I would strike out on my own two feet and sometimes I'd bike to a good walking place. Better yet I'd drive back to a quiet street or path I'd passed earlier that week and it had looked inviting. I'd park the car and off I'd go, exploring the land.

Down those paths there are things to be seen, amazing things. And sounds and smells that trigger memories and make new ones.

Yes sometimes you walk and walk and only find a dead end and then you have to turn around and retrace your steps. But sometimes, just sometimes mind you, the path opens up to secrets and gardens just waiting for your presence. You sit midst the quiet and listen with your whole being, giving attention to the moment. Not running on ahead or making plans to bring a friend back to the place, but just being present to the moment.

Those are the moments in which you truly live. Without living in the past or pushing into the future those are the times when you are fully alive.

I wish for you many secret gardens and the grace to know when you are in one.

7 london center

Abandon the field day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So its 1.99 breakfast at Ikea.

Hot and dry in these parts

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Well, it's only the middle of april and I've already heard of one farmer who is seeding. That's crazy, I think. It's still April for petes sake, but it does feel better than a cold April.

Yesterday it was plus 24C and today was similar. So I've been getting itchy for some spring work. Yesterday I cleaned up some messes in the yard and today I tackled the garage. Woo baby what a job. Mud drug in from all winter long, salt stains, half opened boxes supposed to be in storage, boots, garbage, and bags and bags of empty cans and bottles.

I'm paying for my enthusiasm now though, can hardly move. But the garage is clean now, probably clean enough to eat off of. But of course only I will appreciate that.

Lauralea continues to improve and we've been in the same bed now for two nights, although after the first one back she had a bit of a relapse because we lay there talking too long and she was laughing too much. I blame the painkillers, she blames me.

Now, some more work for tomorrow.

And it's looking like another nice day in the mid 20's.

All is well

Friday, April 16, 2010
Word comes this morning that Lauraleas grandfather has passed away.

The response is mixed, but generally it's a good thing. Being 95 with everyone you were equals with long since gone is hard. And a hard time of life can test what one is made of. No more testing for him.

Since we received the news this song started pushing it's way into my head. All is well.

You can ignore the video and just enjoy the audio. I believe it's sung by the Nordic Choir.

Peace to his memory.


"HELLO" hello, hello, hello, (Echo-ee empty room kind of HELLO)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Yes. Still here.

Trying some new things, life things.

Thinking up some new things that can help me keep distracted from work when I need to be distracted from work.

Trying them. Seeing if they can carry my interest enough to sustain me.

Exercising more. That can't hurt.
Well, at least after the numbness goes away. Course the numbness doesn't hurt exactly.

I'm cycling about seven miles each night, getting it down less than 30 minutes. Sometimes in the dark, sometimes in the light, but always with some loud music in my ears that keeps my legs burning. It's good, but I begrudge that I've made it in life to the esteemed and luxurious position of having to exercise apart from my daily routine.

Western civilization. Work hard to earn enough money to buy a monthly pass at the gym to keep your body trim because you didn't work hard enough.

Feeling fulfilled by the work I'm picking up at home. Laundry. Dishes. Stove cleaning. Counters. Bathrooms. Garbage. It's just very very fulfilling to have a mess, and then do some work, and the mess is transformed into a shine. I love seeing the effects of my hard work. That's not always so when you work with hearts. At least initially. Lauralea should have had her uterus out long ago. I'm enjoying this stuff.

Speaking of the uterus free, emotional Lauralea. She continues to heal nicely. Today was another positive visit to the doctor.

She's still not comfortable with our bed, getting in and out of it I mean. So she's still in the short cot in the other room. I'm getting nervous that she likes it over there, more than where I now am, enthroned in the middle of our queen-sized monster. Yes the space is nice but you know, 25 years together in the same bed, and most of those were a double bed, you get to be friends and you miss your friends.

Anyway, to welcome her back over to the bed I reside in, I encouraged us to get another set of sheets because we only have one set and anyway now that I'm doing laundry it would be easier to change the sheets rather than take off a set and wash it and return it...

My point was, do you know how much new sheets cost for a bed? Good ones I mean? 500 threads or whatever that number is? You don't want to know but I could have probably bought a lawnmower for that amount. At least a push one.

Busy right now, really busy. Conference ministerial chair wise, home wise, church wise, parent wise, and so on. Not to mention biking and trying to live with fun too.

It's all about the balance anyway. Tip any one direction too far and you'll fall over. That's your deep thought for the day. Balance. Now go live it out.

Thomas 20.0

Monday, April 12, 2010
Today Thomas joined the ranks of the 20 year olds, so that makes three of our kids in that range.
Now that is hard to believe.

He's living down in Calgary right now, working at Safeway, making his way in life. Sorting things out, living in community, taking some good pictures, you know, just doing life.

Happy Birthday Thomas.
Hope your day got better and better.

You can check out his pic's here.

Supper is served.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Last one to bed has to go kiss the other goodnight

Friday, April 09, 2010
Because of the incision in Lauraleas general gut area, she finds it impossible so far to climb up and into or down and out of our bed. Even with her bedside stool, she can't quite make it yet.

So, she is using a low to the ground bed, in the other room.

This results in saying goodnight with a kiss in the hallway. However tonight I think we are implementing the "Last one to bed has to go to the one in bed and kiss them goodnight" rule.

Normally that's been me, but tonight I just beat her into bed. So I, like a king, await my goodnight kiss.

Hopefully soon, before I get acustomed to having my own bathroom, she will be able to make the assent to our bed and life can return to normal.

Hopefully soon.

Happy Birthday to my Favourite American

The Couple

My son-in-law, Nate.
One of the kindest men I know.

Happy Birthday Nate.

A cozy night to sit round the fire.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

As the snow and wind rage across the prairie, it's good to be able to stay in and read and study a bit.

Micah and I are clearing up and I just sent herself to sit down for a bit.

Be safe this night yourself.


Dallas Willard in Leadership Magazine on Pastors & Success

[Pastors] need to have a vision of success rooted in spiritual terms, determined by the vitality of a pastor’s own spiritual life and his capacity to pass that on to others. When pastors don’t have rich spiritual lives with Christ, they become victimized by other models of success—models conveyed to them by their training, by their experience in the church, or just by our culture. They begin to think their job is managing a set of ministry activities and success is about getting more people to engage those activities. Pastors, and those they lead, need to be set free from that belief.

Dallas Willard in Leadership Magazine

To the person who hid small Cadbury Creme eggs throughout my office

Thank you.

It's been an enjoyable week coming across them and then, eating them.


Not your average day off

Monday, April 05, 2010
I know that in some places the Monday after Easter is considered a holiday but I don't know what the deal is here in Alberta Canada, nor it doesn't matter. Monday is the one day a week I usually take off.

Easter weekend is usually a full weekend for your average pastor/priest, some much more so than others, and so this past week has been full for us as well. I was really looking forward to the break today, I just didn't know how much I was anticipating it.

We got Lauralea to bed at a good time last night but then it got a bit late as I finished up some things and puttering around the kitchen, cleaning, sorting etc. Anyway I got to bed about the time I normally fall asleep, but last night I was out like a light.

I recall getting up about 6 am for a nose blowing session and toilet break, but then right back to bed and sleep. When the light in my room finally woke me up it felt like about 9 am. Like I had slept solidly without waking and sleeping that often comes when I try sleeping in. So when I looked at the clock and saw 11:49 am I was very surprised. I can't remember the last time I did that kind of oversleeping. Nice.

So, the day is half over and I missed it, which is the downside of sleeping in. But Lauralea is back in bed and Micah and I have settled down to the BBC Earth DVD. Supper will be delivered around 5 pm and that all makes for today not being a bad day at all.

Now with easter behind us, it's time to start looking forward and planning the activities of Spring.

Foolish Wisdom

Saturday, April 03, 2010
And so on this Holy Saturday in two thousand and ten, when faith is considered quaint and belief in God is seen as old fashioned and actually thinking that one can have a relationship with Jesus Christ is laughed at as being naive, we stand out from the crowd.

So much of the western world has heard this good news already that for them it's old news. They've moved on to more sophisticated pursuits and for some, hobbies. It begs the question, have they even known God? Do they even know what is open to them, or have they just been scared off by having a little bit of Jesus, and too much of his body?

And where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. It's foolish to the Canadians who want many gods and it is foolish to the Americans who despise it's humility.

On this historically silent Saturday when all the world seemed caught in sober silence, shocked by yesterday and unsure of tomorrow, we who at least have the wisdom of perspective from today looking back, need to live into what precious little wisdom we have. We don't trust wisdom to save us from ourselves and our addictions and our enemies because it won't, but we can trust it to point the way to the One who can save us from all the rest. And while it is true that the message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction, it is also true that the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.

No, on this quiet night as the earth and all its inhabitants hung between the death of their hope of salvation and its glorious resolution the next morning when Christ would conquer death and be seen by hundreds of people, perhaps it's an appropriate time to give up our fancy excuses and deep profound earthly wisdom for what some consider a foolish idea. Maybe we should consider the words of a simple prison warden who out of desperation begged Paul: "What must I do to be saved?"

Pauls response was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”

Indeed. Tonight I pray for you the grace and the time to believe so that you too may stand out from the crowd.

Lots of flowers to keep happy


Saved for posterity sake on flickr. You can see more here.

Classic FM Hall of Fame

Friday, April 02, 2010
Of course it's Easter weekend and that means that ClassicFM will be running its top 300 favourites as selected by listeners and fans of classical music.

Each day, all day (London time) they run through the best of the best until Easter Monday evening when they reach the number one spot, and it's always a bit interesting who gets that coveted number one position.

I'm not sure when I started listening to the Hall of Fame, perhaps while we lived in Winnipeg, but it has added a lovely dimension to the Easter Weekend and its a most enjoyable station to have on all weekend long.

Some of you are not into Classical music, and thats fine, then I have people to pray for… but for those of you who do like it, check out the ClassicFM site on There is a listening link there.

ClassicFM Hall of Fame.

Well, she's home

We just got back and she's not doing too bad.

Get some soup into her and get her to bed and give her some time and she should get better.

And probably enjoy the pic because once she sees it, it will quickly go away.

At least this time I didn't take a picture right after surgery.


Because she wouldn't let me take a picture of her.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Flowers from mom & dad.

She's doing better today. Off IV and to be released tomorrow.
Still waiting for some pathology reports to come back but things look good.

No joke.


April First

Now that Lauralea's uterus has gone on to it's eternal reward, the potential for April Fools day is significantly diminished for me.


Remember the good old days?
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