Full Circle - May 29 2010, The Field

Because that's the kind of day it's been.

Play a bit. Here.

Ok so it's still snowing out and yes this is May, but that doesn't have to stop you from having a very fun afternoon.

Get over to this website:
http://mrdoob.com/projects/chromeexperiments/ball_pool/

Follow these instructions:

1. Drag a ball.
2. Click on the background.
3. Shake your browser.
4. Double click.
5. Play!


And play with your browser.

Just don't blame me for causing you to forget to do your Saturday chores.

Walking in a winter wonderland.




What a fun moment.




Field Trip Day

Usually on weeks when it's a statutory holiday (bank holiday) I take the extra day off during the week when I have some time. But this week has been a good full week around these parts and so we've been busy.

But this morning I need to get to a town a bit further away, closer to the city, so I'm taking Lauralea along and we're doing breakfast at Ikea (cheap beggar that I am) and then I'm dragging her to something I've never seen before, the grand opening of an Apple Store.

Seems Edmonton is getting it's second Apple Store on the same day that the iPad is released here in Canada. While I have no plans to get such an item, I think it should be fund to play with one, if there is one to be played with. It should also be fun to see what a Grand Opening at an Apple store looks like.

So, on a rainy cool day in the field, we are going on a field trip.

See you later.

Waiting for Claire...

...sounds like a good album title for a classic 70's rock and roll band.

Working on a new Profile Pic.

The guys were a great help.

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.26 #2


or...

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.26 #3

or...

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.27

or...

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.37 #2

or...

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.37 #3

or...

Photo on 2010-05-26 at 17.31 #2

Mr. Monochrome Man

So aparently I got up early this morning, put on my black socks, my dark grey boxers (yes boxers. And I was going to add some comment about the boys needing room but I'm not going to go there...today...), put on my black Tshirt, black jeans, black dress shirt, and of course there were my black shoes later.

Halfway to town it dawned on me how pathetic my closet has become, and how hot this outfit was going to be today.

So after my first meeting I raced over to Walmart, heading straight to the mens shirts, and with 40 minutes to shop, bought four non black, mostly short sleeve shirts. Oh and a pair of shorts. So I suppose I'm ready for summer.

I just need to figure out the shorts thing. I dispise shorts with black socks and sandles or even worse, black loafers. So I don't know how to wear them. Professionally I'm not even sure i should be wearing shorts. But if I could get the shoe thing figured out, then maybe.

So yeah 30 minutes and I'm Mr. Bring on the summer.

At least it shouldn't be as warm as black is.

A beautiful morning in The Field


Too bad I have to spend it in a town ministerial meeting.


Thankfully there are no smoke alarms in this kitchen

Because what started out to be fried chicken with mashed potatos turned out to be blackened chicken with instant mashed potatos and cold peas.

She returns tomorrow.

It's 5 am and I'm already at the office

and not because I want to be as it's my stat today. But because for some reason my body, with three full hours of sleep, decided that was enough. So at 3:30 I woke up mostly bright eyed, no mention of my tail.

Oh dear reader, how I tried to get back to dreamland but it was not to be found. Finally in frustration I arose to my morning toilet and washed up, taking my sweet time, and here I am.

The coffee is made for the early prayer guys and if I was Lauralea I'd probably bake something for them too. But I really don't have a clue.

Tonight is the spiritual life board meeting so this day could prove to be a long one. I'll probably skip home at some point and crash a bit, hopefully that doesn't wreck my tonights sleep.

Then tomorrow night Lauralea's back home and perhaps with her will come normal sleep patterns once again.

Intimacy shared.

I think, my children, that for me social networking isn't much fun.

I've been noticing my online friendships of late, just kind of observing what they are doing and what I am doing about them. Over the past four months or so I've seen less interest in myself to go over to a friends blog site or Twitter, or facebook site. I've wondered if I'm less of a friend or don't care any more about them or even if this whole internet connection thing is past due. That's really done a number on my head because it makes me feel less than whole.

These friends I have, now scattered throughout the world have fed my spirit in the past. We've shared deep moments and an occasional insight, and in so doing we've shared life. But lately it feels like there is really no life there in words or pictures on a screen. It's not that we are no longer friends, but for some reason I'm missing something from our friendship that I can't get from an online representation.

Finally it dawned on me the other day as I was leaving a comment on a good friends blog.

I wrote:

To be honest I haven't been hitting the blogs too much lately because, I don't know why. Something to do with always being with my friends in this virtual space and wanting so much just a good old face to face. My heart can only stand the distance so long and then it's hungry for a kiss on the cheek or a bear hug or even a pint across from a friend.


It's like half a relationship if you can only read about the person. If you never get to sit with them or be together then how does a relationship grow? Even with a live Skype video call, there is no place for sitting together in silence or moving together to another room or a walk or laughing at subtle jokes. This lack of intimacy is the biggest hole social networking has in it. It's networking socially for power's sake. For making bigger networks and having many followers. It's not for making and carrying friendships because it lacks the ability to share intimacy.

What I'm after in a friendship, is intimacy shared. Moments where hearts can be shared, honestly. Where laughter can be shared and joy celebrated. Where tears can flow and no words need to be spoken because presence is enough. In fact, it's everything.

When I add the online "presences" to flesh and blood connections, then it enhances our relationship. But when the online is all that we have, it feels like the life is slowly drained away from the connection, until it becomes a dried up empty shell of a relationship.

I'm wondering if there are many people out there, running around thinking they have hundreds of friends because they've been "Friended" by people. When in fact they don't. They don't even know what a friend is.

So I'm rethinking my online stuff. How does one create intimacy or shared moments with another human being? How do we build good friendships even with these online tools, or can we.

Intimacy.
That's really what we are all after, I think.

It feels like I have a better sense of myself and my own needs these days, and after months of kind of worrying about it, that realization makes me feel a lot better.

Seems I'm human after all.

The night before a free day off

Well look at that, it's 11:56 pm and I'm already showered and in bed. That's after a three hour nap this afternoon. For whatever reasons I am tired.

Tomorrow looks like a day I haven't seen for a while now. A day off, free, to do whatever I like. That's quite a luxury.

I mean I do take about four days off each month, and I work hard to keep them "off." But even on those days there are things to be done around here, or chances to do something with Lauralea.

However it looks like tomorrow could be spent reading a good book or puttering or tinkering or even sleeping. Like a rare treat.

Here in Canada it's a stat holiday to celebrate Queen Victoria's something or other. So many have the day off. Schools are closed so Micah is home, or would be if he wasn't hired out for the day picking rocks in a field. I told him we'd go find a good pizza place for supper so that's my only time certain. The rest of the day is mine.

And that's the weekend for you.
Lauralea should be home by late Wednesday evening, and normal should return by Thursday morning.

Night from the field.

If her txt msgs are any indication, she's having a good time.

And so yesterday as I was stuck in the office all day finalizing today and watching the occasional snowflakes in the gusting wind, she txt'd me:


Her: Could you check a map 4 me to see if there's an Old Navy near here?

Me: Ok. Hang on.

Me: Yep. 3170 Tillicum Road. Only one there. At Tillicul Centre. Near Victoria Library.

Her: Nowehere near where I am.

Me: What do you mean? Its way closer to you than the west Edmonton Mall one.

Her: I'm walking. Where from here?

Me:...

Me: na. not walkable.

Her: U should google wifi cafes for me. I'm downtown in Johnson or yates heading toward the harbor.

(I'm working in my office...)

Her: I just got to the 7-11 on Douglas:)

Her: Which way should I go? Anything on Google?

Me: I'm looking.

Her: There is a bus to Tillicum mall across the street!

(Not unlike the random "There's a blue bike" statement)

Me: U r on yates and douglas?

Her: Johnson & Douglas, but Yates is the next block over

Me: Head west half a block on johnson to the De Dutch Pancake House.

Her: West is toward the harbour?

Me: Yes. The ocean is west of you.

Her: K. It's sort of south too. Thanks.

Her: I wonder if its in the Best Western?

Me: 624 Johnston St.

Her: Nope.

Me: Then head south one block on Broad. See the Serious Coffee on broad.

Her: K. I'm at Wild Coffee & Bistro.

(Me, deep sigh of relief, now back to work.)

Her: It might not be worth it. Paninis are $10!

Her: What do you think? Panini or walk to the Bay Centre in hopes of a food court?

Me: You decide. Is there internet there?

Her: If I got something I'd ask. Maybe I'll just give it a shot. If there is email I'll let you know. :)

...

Her: The internet doesn't work here but The Panini is good at least.

Me: ....

Her: I'd like 2 live in a city like this 4 a while and not be a tourist.

Her: I found Serious Coffee now that I've had lunch.

Me: Ok.

Her: I'm waiting for N&J at a little coffee shop. A table on the sidewalk. Guys playing chess over there, funky music. REALLY wish U were here.

Me: Still in the office. Working.

Me: And then I'll go home and make supper.

Her: Hope your day ends better than it's been. Miss you.

Me: can I fry frozen patties in the pan?

Her: Probably. i do them on the griddle. Should be the same dif.

Me: But frozen?

Her: Yes.

Me: Ok.

Her: Just keep the heat low and turn them frequently.

....


Just two people thousands of miles apart, living the day they are dealt.

Sounds like she's having a fun week on the streets and cafes of Victoria, eating guiltily expensive Paninis.


Home Wednesday.

A weekend of carrying memories

As the wind and the rain continue to beat a beautiful rhythm against my office window and we have small water puddles forming on the ground as we enter day two or three of a slow rain, my heart is grateful.

This weekend is the weekend each year that is soaked with the memories of life changing events for me and my family, and for many of you.

This was the weekend my dad received two liver transplants, one year apart, that enabled him to get past his 50's and nearly midway through his 60's. It's the weekend in which my Grandfather died of cancer and right after the weekend, Grandma died and went to be with him. It's the weekend my brother married the redhead of his dreams and they now have two boys.

And it's a weekend when some of you have known difficult times and loss as well.

Funny how one weekend can get so emotionally built up over the years so that it hosts so many memories.

Anyway, all that is to say that today is kind of a holy day for me as I carry these memories for myself, my family, and for you out there. Carrying them the only way I know how, in prayer.

I know that though some of these memories are painful and that time has it's own way of shifting memories around. For today I am content to say that all is well.




Indeed.

Wieners, Fruit Loops, and Beans for supper

Ok so the meal making thing isn't going so well with Lauralea two provinces over. And that's only meal one. I'm not sure it promises to get much better than that. At least the hockey game was on so it wasn't that bad.

Getting ready to head out to the church in a blowing gale. Evening of work ahead.

Memories of Brown

Ah yes, this was one of randallfriesen.com's finest designs, made by me from scratch.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060424091706/http://randallfriesen.com/

One of my very favourite designs.

…Hmm, I wonder…


IT'S SO HOT OUT THERE RIGHT NOW

About plus 30 C I believe... for May 18th no less.

Sheesh my office is making me sweat.

But lots of the seeding is getting done, and we sure could use a day or two of RAIN.


Tomorrow Lauralea is off to cloudy, wet, cool Victoria BC to visit a friend and later on connect with Johanna for a day or so. And Micah and I shall be left to fend for ourselves here in the field.

Thankfully it looks like the temperature is dropping for the rest of the week or else we'd be doing all our cooking in the church basement where it's much more liveable than our kitchen.

Which is handy that it's so close.

Anyway, I need to check on things for a funeral here tomorrow.

Happy Tuesday.

And if you are anywhere near a slurpee place, drink one for me.

She is so love creative.

Lauralea's work.
She comes up with these great ideas and then spends hours working on them, detail by detail.
She makes them as gifts, to give away.
So they are gifts of love.
Love made of cloth and soft fabric.
So that they can be held and played with and enjoyed by little hands and mouths.
Then washed and loved again.

Baby Bear for a boy

Baby Bear for a Girl

Boys Travel Game Bag - Pockets to fill

Boys Travel Game Bag - Turns into a Village Map to play on


More pictures here.

Poem "The Sleepers" on a night when I am unable to sleep

AS I walked down the waterside
This silent morning, wet and dark;
Before the cocks in farmyards crowed,
Before the dogs began to bark;
Before the hour of five was struck
By old Westminster's mighty clock:
As I walked down the waterside
This morning, in the cold damp air,
I was a hundred women and men
Huddled in rags and sleeping there:
These people have no work, thought I,
And long before their time they die.
That moment, on the waterside,
A lighted car came at a bound;
I looked inside, and saw a score
Of pale and weary men that frowned;
Each man sat in a huddled heap,
Carried to work while fast asleep.
Ten cars rushed down the waterside
Like lighted coffins in the dark;
With twenty dead men in each car,
That must be brought alive by work:
These people work too hard, thought I,
And long before their time they die.



- W.H. Davies
Welsh Poet, Author, Vagabond
(1870 - 1940)

Another day is done here in the field.

The view from my yard.

Upon watching the movie Avatar

Yes Mr. Cameron I loved the colour and creative depths to which you plunged. In fact seeing the delights of another world made my heart skip a beat that indeed in this great cosmos that I believe God had his hand in creating, there must certainly exist different worlds waiting to be explored, possibly after this life.

However,

Showing us on one hand that violence against a culture and people is wrong, and then taking that peaceful culture and make them use the violence force you despise against their enemies, doesn't convice us that nonviolence is the better response. If anything it brings home the point that violence is the only solution and you can maybe win the day with it. At least until they return with bigger ships and bombs.

But it sure was pretty to watch.

Henri Nouwen on writing

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.

Henri Nouwen




via.

The State of the Blog

Well this month marks the eighth year of personal online journaling I've been working at here at randallfriesen.com and while there have been some lovely high's there have also been some post hole digging lows. As I think about it, 8 years is a long time, like going to school from grade one to grade eight or being married eight years or having a baby and eight years later they are in grade three learning times tables. I really never saw it coming, but I am a bit of a stubborn one and I don't give up without a fight. If I'm in, I'm in deal with it. So I seem to be in this blogging thing for the long haul.

The goals of this blog are still mostly the same as they were on day one. To simply live out my life and the stories of my time here on this orb in a way that was honest and real and not voyeuristic or self pitying. That has proven to be much harder than I ever thought it would be. Honestly. When you are going through a dark patch its hard not to slip occasionally into a dab of self pity and wallow. I really never wanted to wallow, and that's the truth. So there have been times I've erred in what to say or not say, as I've tried to be who I am, without too much emotional baggage thrown in.

Honestly.

When I began the blog I had pretty much my own life. I had a wife and four kids (well, I'm still with my first wife so that's a plus.) I had a house and a tired van (The Velvet Fog) and a mortgage and I worked at a church, Gateway Covenant Church. We were embedded in a community in the East Flat in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and we were a part of that community. As a part of that community we had kids in school, we shopped in the local shops and we served and participated in the life of that community.

As such I was invited to write as often as I wanted for the city paper and I would occasionally be called up for my opinion on some piece any one of the Saskatchewan Newspapers might be writing about. Once in a while a distant relative or friend would call me up and mention that someone on the radio had been reading my blog or it had been mentioned on TV. That was kind of fun. I remember when someone from the church who had previously been very negative about my online writing called me up excitedly and told me how pleased they were that my blog had been read from by their favourite early morning radio host at CKOM. They became strong supporters. Or when my father in law called to tell me my blog was being talked about on the Gormley show. For many, in ways I have yet to understand, it affirmed the work or validated it and thus my time with it was justified.

I think even better than those kinds of things was being approached in malls or at the Calgary airport or other public places and being asked if I was "that guy" who wrote "that piece" that had helped so much. Those kind of moments made it feel like the work was well worth it. It made it feel like Saskatchewan was one big small town where everyone knew each other and you were all regular people who were each moving through life as best you knew how.

It frightened me and stimulated my ego to look at my stats in those days and see that there were 500-600 hits a day, which is in some respects a very small number. But to me each number was a face and a name and an expectation I had to deal with. That provided a few growth bumps along the way but I basically settled it by not looking at the stats any longer. For the most part that quieted things down for me.

Easily the best part of this blogging thing has been the relationships I've made over the years with people who have become dear friends. I was starting to think of listing them, but so many of my friends now were started in this place that I can't risk overlooking someone. Not only were there friends from the town and city and province and nation I lived in, but friends were made abroad. Friends who we would travel across the world to see and be with, and friends who would travel the world to come and see us. These people have become very dear to us and many times I've grieved at the distance between us when a good sit down with them would be just the thing to set life right. Sounds like September will see another good friend travel the globe to come to the field to be with us for a holiday, and we are so looking forward to it. Yep, people on the other end of these internet pipes are the solid real reason I love this space.

Of course there were also those who have been known in the blogosphere as trolls; people who would come on and leave ignorant or hurtful comments. People who would take issue with other people and think that the anonymity of the internet would allow them the privacy to say whatever they wanted and then run away. Most of those comments I was able to catch and delete or I would just trace their ip address and shut down their access to the blog.

But then there were those who would just disagree with my or others opinions, and feel strongly that we were so wrong as to need to be accused and corrected, to the point of verbal violence. I've been called some amazing things and been accused of some great heresies by people I had considered christians. Those moments took any joy I had received right out of the writing process. Much of that came from people I had understood were self declared followers of Jesus. Whether they were or not is not my business I suppose, but dang sometimes it really hurt.

The years progressed, the kids grew up, we got a second vehicle, and there was much to write about. Sex was often a fun topic to toss out there and watch people's reactions, (especially our kids...). I often found that if I would share some deep personal thing I was going through that someone would email and just encourage me that even the sharing of my journey was a help to them because they were in the same patch at that very moment. Not only would letters come from individuals but they would come from spouses who would sneak out to clandestine computers in libraries to email me and tell me that their spouses or teens read my stuff and to keep it up because the ones they cared about were changing and finding hope and God and all that. I really came to see blogging as preaching with my life sort of thing. It wasn't the kind of preaching that was all vocal and about some guy at the front of the room we were all suppose to listen to because he knew more than us. I saw it more as preaching from one among many, preaching with my life and my choices.

And so the day came when I received more hits than at any other time in these eight years. For some reason the stat counter keeps records of these things and that Sunday in October 2008 the numbers were over 900 hits for that day. I resigned from Gateway and Prince Albert and Saskatchewan. A part of our story was that God was calling us to be a part of a rural church in a Field in Alberta, and so in an act of obedience to the One we serve, with a desire to keep preaching with my life and choices, we packed up and moved.

In terms of the blog it hasn't been an easy transition for us.

So much of our life that had been previously shared in this space had been a life that we had created for ourselves in Prince Albert. The work that I did at Gateway was incidental to life, just a small part of it. What I found in moving here was that the place I moved to and the work that I did and the reason we moved and the house we live in and the cars we bought and the friends we are establishing and the community we live in, are all about the work that I do in a church as a pastor. That's not a failure of the people (church) that I serve but more about the nature of moving to a rural community. The result has been that really everything in our lives is a part of what we do in this community. Because of this fishbowl context, I don't yet have a life apart from the community.

And if you add to this that our kids are moving on and we are entering that tricky patch of life where we are just three and soon will be just two, well that feels like the blog has really taken a hit, content-wise. I just peeked at the stats for the first time in a long time and they show the shift too, being down to half of what they used to be. That doesn't trouble me, it more confirms my sense of what we were a part of back there, and reminds me of the new realities and opportunities we face in this new land.

I am working hard to fit in but it just takes time, I know that. And we are working to establish a life of our own, but I've come to understand how much one values belonging to a town or city's own story being written out one day after another by people who are a part of that story. There are not a lot of town politics to take shots at here in the field, kind of thing.

It's a different way of living here in this wide open space that exists inside a fishbowl. There is so much this place has for me, so very much this land wants to give me and bless me with and I am just grappling with ways to receive it. Fumbling about with opportunities that are new to me and ways that seem so different to learn. That fumbling has been reflected in the writing that happens here. Should I write this or that and how will it effect the fishbowl we live in here? How can I not embarrass the field people so they don't have to explain my ignorance to the broader community of the fishbowl. It's an amazing small ecosystem around here.

Perhaps I would do well to post the daily grain prices and the amounts of rain we got last night...

:)

Indeed these are strange times we live in but yesterday as I stood in the yard with the big sky over me and I looked up at the stars there was such an overwhelming sense that God and this place have so much to give me and that those things will come as I learn to live well in this space, on this land. Theoretically that should be reflected in this space too.

As I consider the State of this Blog I go back to my original intent:
"...I really enjoy seeing the Internet redeemed. By that I mean that this can be a place where God reaches people’s hearts, – He communicates with them. And one way that happens is through honest stories. Stories of lives lived out, one day at a time. And that’s all I’m trying to do here."


That's all, really. I'm not after a book deal or a better job. I've already impressed the girl and documented the four offspring enough to make them require counselling. Sometimes I miss the Saskatchewan connection but I don't so miss the numbers of readers. I love the friends and pray for the enemies. I pray for the readers of this space especially as they go through hard times when they loose their way and are hurting because of life and choices and such.

I've been nominated again for the canadianweblogawards.com. This year it looks like three categories for me; Art & Photography, Lifetime Achievement (for weblogs created before January 1, 2005), and Religion, Spirituality, & Philosophy. While those are nice, I think I more appreciate things like a comment left by an old or new friend. An email telling me that something helped them through a rough patch. A visit from an internet friend. Or even the many of you who come here each day and are content enough to read and then continue on with your day, in silence here. I think those things are cool.

The State of this Blog? A bit of a low patch after a higher patch wherein one is constantly learning new ways and things about themselves and struggling to find words that give those feelings legitimacy.


Oh, and thank you to all you readers out there who lovingly take the time to tell me where to stick my apostrophes. I love you too.

:)


Full Circle - May 13 2010, The Field



The beautiful place that I live.

Sunday Morning

Yeah it's been making the rounds on the blogs, but I wanted a copy here to come back to later on.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.




Church has become all this and more, and yes there should be a discussion of it at leadership levels.

But for this Sunday here in Malmo it's just me pickin a few songs and preachin a few words.

:)


Thanks Brad.

Wasn't that a party?

Brownies for cake

The last time we had only three of us for a birthday party was at Johanna's first birthday.

...no wait, Hillary was there, only she was three weeks away from being born.

So this was a first.

More pics here.

Hey, United Kingdom

Anybody in charge over there yet?

"Alfred, I see Birds."

After getting up this morning and changing the sheets and getting the laundry in the washer and getting to the office for nearly an hour already, my wake up alarm on my phone went off.

So, yes I had planned to sleep in till 9 or so this morning, but thanks to the geese honking in the field next to my open window and then the stupid Robins doing the window slam once again I finally gave up sleeping.

Of course they are all silent now once I'm up and busy. Blighters.

Yes on the good side I've already been quite productive for a Saturday morning. But on the bad side I have the growing suspicion that I'm in an Alfred Hitchcock film.

Oh and I'm tired.

I know you will think me crazy for this but...


What a beautiful gorgeous day it is here in the field.

Overcast, cool, may rain or snow. Its just the kind of day I love. I wish there were more of them.

Ok, you may leave your smart remarks now.


Abiding Radio

I've been listening to this audio site lately called Abiding Radio.

They present themselves as a "

"...a unique internet radio ministry of Brookside Baptist Church located in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA. This ministry provides conservative Christian music exclusively.
- Providing a mix of instrumental and vocal music from various artists all selected to be sacred, God-honoring and conservative."



"Sacred, God-honoring and conservative" makes me just a bit nervous, (equating conservative with God-honoring) but they play stuff my grandparents would have loved. I've had it on occasionally in my office and sometimes an old hymn will come on that takes me back to good memories as a kid and I find myself singing along because I know the words.

You should check it out. It may scratch where you itch.

http://www.abidingradio.com/main_page.html

Blessing the land

I've always done that wherever we've lived. I've walked the land or yard or apartment and I've asked for and pronounced the blessing on the land or space we've lived in.

It's been my experience that places and land can hold memories of previous blessings and cursings and occasionally I've been called over to bless a dark place that's been used for evil violent purposes and ever since those events, the space feels heavy or dark to the owners. Or sometimes a new home will not feel at peace and the new owners find themselves under tension and heaviness until something can be done about it spiritually.

You can notice distinct shifts in not only the atmosphere of the place, but actual shifts in what grows on the land and what animals behave differently when the blessing is there. I recall being on the Isle of Iona and the oddest thing would happen with the song birds. They would come right up to you and land within easy access of humans. They would even walk or hop alongside as I would walk. I've never seen that before. Odd.

The snow has kept me from walking this place all winter and so I was anxious to get walking and when I walk I pray. So last week I began the rhythm of walking and praying and blessing the land once again. I didn't do it because I felt any heaviness or anything, I just do it as a matter of fact, a discipline of discipleship if you will.

Interestingly all spring I've been watching for the deer to return to the yard but there has been nothing and given what I saw in previous years and what I've been seeing in the fields, I thought there would be deer around. Through the winter we saw some evidence of coyotes and foxes and possibly a large cat hunting through the yard, but very little deer activity.

Then late last week I started walking and blessing again, not making any connection between the two. Within two days the deer had returned to the yard. As I stood at the window watching these majestic animals, God poked my heart and drew a line from that moment, back two days to the prayer of blessing, and I smiled.

I'm telling that story now because ten deer just waltzed past my office window and are currently mowing my front lawn.

Deer

You should give it a try, see what the blessing brings.

At least its moisture.


Winter day on the May prairies.



Today I returned a jacket to Old Navy

Me: "I need to return this jacket I picked up earlier this week."

Young blond girl behind the counter: "Any reason for the return?"

Me: "I'm... middleaged."

Young blond girl behind the counter: giggle giggle.

Me: "Exactly."

Young blond girl behind the counter:
More giggling.

She didn't even try to convince me differently to keep the sale.
It's hard getting clothes you like and can wear without looking like you're trying to look young when you're middle aged.

I suppose it only gets worse.

Prairie rain clouds.



Prairie rain clouds.

MiniMalmo






A Picasso or a Garfunkel

Well, I made it back from Calgary in about two hours which just speaks to the fun the five and a half hours getting there was all about. Conference speakers were good and the theme of Hospitality was really cool to explore from different aspects.

Anyway, as it turned out, the birthday gift I got Lauralea last weekend got cancelled for last night. It was two tickets to see Simon & Garfunkel in concert. Apparently Art is having some throat troubles and can't reach the higher notes so they had to postpone the concert here till July. I easily forget that Mr. Garfunkel is 68 years old and I seem to have him trapped in the age in which he did his recordings, forgetting that they are years and years older. The songs and him.

So Lauralea had hinted strongly that the birthday gift shelf is empty and there better be something there soon. At least she's hinted clearly about the exact restaurant she wants to go to, which makes it easier for me to figure out. We'll tackle that this afternoon I think. Then perhaps a movie, though I don't know of anything I want to see these days. Feel out of the loop with movies here in the field.

Post lunch lull


Not Greg (who is speaking) but the timing.

I think I just heard someone snoring.