I am SO tired tonight

I am keenly aware that I don't sew 500 shirts for North American Walmart shoppers on any given day, and I don't have to watch while my wheat sits in the field in water, loosing it's value with each passing day, and I don't dig ditches for a living or toil in physical labour, but boy I am tired today.

So much to get going, so much to be on top of. So many calls to make and visits to try to fit in. So many arrangements to try and set up with others in distant towns and cities. Then so many emails to write and read and answer.

But lest I begin to wallow, and trust me, you don't want to see me wallowing, we need to celebrate that today we got the PreTeen Wednesday afternoon program up and running and we got the youth Wednesday night supper and bible study up and running. I think it went ok and nobody died, which was my only requirement for success.

So I am tired and tomorrow is already Thursday, and Thursday will have enough trouble of its own as I try to get on top of Sunday.

So tonight with that sense of victory though exhausted, I'm heading to bed.

Good night and sweet dreams.

The field is busy tonight

The temperature is a balmy 18C out there tonight as I crawl into bed and the windows are wide open as we hope for a breeze to air out the house. The rumble of farm equipment out in the field continues through the night as the farmers work hard to bring in the harvest. The deadlines of winter weather are on the minds of everyone, so people are working hard to try and get as much crop off as possible while the weather allows them to.

This is their years work, their livelihood, and you don't know how much income you'll have in a year, until all the work is done and you've brought in the crops so you have something to sell.

When the weather is beautiful like it is tonight, they work in the fields as late in the night as they can. When you work like that, it gets easier to make mistakes, and mistakes made around big equipment like they use can be deadly.

So while they are out there tonight, I'm in here praying for them. Praying for safety and wakefulness. Praying for the equipment to operate well and hold together. Praying for the rain in the forecast early tomorrow to hold off and not arrive. Praying that God would provide for them no matter what the harvest is like. Praying for their spouses, some who help in the fields and others who keep them supplied with food and encouragement And all of them who put their lives on hold for these weeks and months of difficult, lonely, hard work.

Praying.

May God be gracious, and may the Lord have mercy.

Night.

It's Sunday, but Monday's coming

It's early for these parts, and I'm at the office early trying to get ready for the day. I think most of the things I need to have a part in are ready, but I feel heavy, so I'm here.

I feel heavy, carrying some things in my spirit that have added up this week. Things that are just rather large things people are going through, or I know they will be going through. Life isn't easy, you know that my children, but people continue to face them even after thousands of years of human development. If evolution is all the rage for explaining the world I don't know why we don't evolve out of those difficult parts of life as humans, but we don't seem to. So here I am at the office early on a Sunday morning, praying for these people and their stories.

The past two days have been warm and dry again so the harvest has begun. It's really very late this year and I know the farmers have been getting a bit stir crazy waiting. But the combines are out there in force now. Lauralea and I saw many of them out there late last night as we returned to the field. I know many will have been going through the night, it was so warm out. But today rain is forecast and we surely don't need it, so I'm here praying about that need too.

And for whatever reason this morning my head is stuffed up and the front of my face feels ten pounds heavier than usual. I guess I feel really tired and the days have been catching up with me. We've had another full weekend, and so it goes. Today is a full morning with my Jr. High class, and then the service, and then we are having a potluck lunch to celebrate an upcoming wedding, and then I need to drive out to camp to get Micah who's been at a youth retreat this weekend. I'll get to my afternoon nap probably by bedtime.


And so it goes.

People are starting to arrive so I should be done here and get at it.

So blessings on your day, and why not offer up a prayer for your pastor this day wherever you live and worship.

Marsh Bay Resort

Some of you have been asking where was it that Lauralea was last week, so I was going to do a little commercial here for the resort. Then last night an email came in from Sylvia, Lauralea's sister, which helps correct some of my mistakes. She writes:


Wes & I own a cottage/camping resort. The main focus is family vacations but we do have fishing and hunting. The group of fishermen were not American, they were from Ontario - mostly the Hanover area. We provided them with an American Plan weekend - accomodation and meals - but they were Canadian...

Thanks much,
Sylvia

Thanks Sylvia for the update and for the picture of Lauralea on the quad. That was worth the week of self cooking alone.

The place looks amazing and Lauralea keeps talking of the beauty there. So you should check it out for your next family vacation or your corporate team building exercises or even taking your RV Trailer there and parking it for the year. I hear the RV people are as friendly and helpful as you'll find anywhere.

So check it out, www.marshbayresort.com


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"Multitasking is a lie - your brain needs a break"

Technology writer Andy Ihnatko, writes in his latest piece;

About a month ago, Terry Gross conducted a hugely interesting interview with New York Times' technology journalist Matt Richtel on NPR's "Fresh Air." He’s spent much of this past year talking to scientists and writing about the neurological effects of spending so much time immersed in our computers, phones, and other Little Friends Who Go "Pinnng!"
...
So as you might imagine, when Richtel suggested that tech devices have a significant impact not just on what we think, but on our ability to think, that caught my attention. (Until an email came in. Then I decided to flip over to Twitter for just a second. But after that, I went right back to the episode.)


He's been doing some thinking along the same lines that I have, except he writes it better, and he's begun to apply strategies to his life and mind to help with growing bad computer habits.

Check out the whole article here. If you're on the computer, phone, ipod, etc. a great deal it may be time to do a bit of a self check to see if you are getting the best out of the digital age.

Now here's something to see

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So Lauralea went on an adventure to Northern Ontario where her sister and brother in law now own a resort.

Check out the pictures Lauralea got, here.






She is home

...and I'm excited because we are getting chicken for supper and I'm not making it!

I mean I'm glad she's home for other reasons as well, but I'm starting to think that I don't like cooking.

Normal is returning.

What I did while Lauralea was away

And I didn't even throw out everything that was past its best by date.

The kind of messages I like to get

"Just sat next to a guy and pastor out for coffee and some light counselling. Made me think of you and your gentle, warm approach to people. Thanks for all you do."

Kind of make days like this seem worthwhile.

The weekend caught up with me

I think the events of Sunday, including the nocturnal trips to the toilet, have caught up with me. Today was quite a blah day with a queasy stomach moving around and around.

By mid afternoon I headed to bed and heard not a thing for two hours. Then I got up and tried to reheat a frozen lasagna which took 90 minutes longer than the instructions indicated it should. Turned out wet and not very good at all.

Tomorrow are a couple of tough meetings but should be ok because God is still God and knows what he's doing.

And then Wednesday night Lauralea comes home, and not a moment too soon. We've missed her and I can't do this alone.

Now to sleep. I'm alcaseltzer-ed up, pill popped up, and ready to sleep.


Night.

Some days it's fun being a pastor


I know I'm the pastor and all that but boy I had some fun this morning.

I was able to get back into the classroom doing confirmation/discipleship with a fresh crop of Jr. Highs. So fun to lead a discussion and discover interesting things together rather than having a nice lecture from some old fart who knows it all. I can be an old fart sometimes, I know, but this morning wasn't it.

And worship was good for me. I was running at about 60 or 70% this morning after a rough night but the worship was sweet and good and renewing for me. The sermon was a simple thing that I felt really a bit unready for.  God was just there giving a good living example of being the body of Christ together. There were things to pray for and worship for and well it was a good day. Helpful, refreshing, healing even.

No, it's not always that way for me, or anyone else I suppose, so I'll take days like this and hold them close.


To sum up

Drove to the city today to fight traffic and mad crowds at outlet stores and Walmart? CHECK.

Found shoes for Micah at Walmart? CHECK.

Found winter sweaters for both of us? FAIL.

Found cheap good TShirts for me? CHECK.

Found a few cheap XBox 360 games? CHECK and Bonus!

Got to Apple Store to pick up items? FAIL. No stock.

Got Micah a hair cut? CHECK and bonus, it actually looks good.

Found myself a purple dress shirt for ten bucks? CHECK.

Fed the boy and myself a good chicken supper? CHECK.

Finished my Bible Study for the jr high Sunday School class tomorrow morning? CHECK.

Finished sermon prep for tomorrow morning? CHECK.

Printed off service for musicians for tomorrow? CHECK.

DVD burned and ready for sermon illustration tomorrow? CHECK.

Responding to a Txt from Thomas asking to bring guest to the field next weekend? CHECK.

Talked with Hillary who was lonely on the phone tonight? CHECK.

Ironed two shirts for tomorrow so I have an option? CHECK.

Watched half hour of the Hamilton/BC football game? CHECK.

Brushed my teeth, rinsed mouth with oldskool original Listerine? CHECK.

Shaved and showered? CHECK.

In bed writing emails? CHECK.

In bed writing blog post about my day and all I got done? CHECK.

Saying good night to the Internets and going to sleep? CHE C K . . .

Every night...

After I brush my teeth and shower and I crawl into bed, I am deeply grateful for this place and it's people.

For those who have gone before, and for those yet to come, and my place in that line, I have a deep sense of gratitude.

And though it isn't always easy for reasons that are often my own, I'm thankful that it was God who led us here to be who he made us to be, but to be it here in this field.

Most every night as I lay down my head, listening to the sounds of the trees moving or the coyotes howling, I am deeply grateful indeed.


Night, from the field.

I had forgotten

I had forgotten how quiet it can be out here in the field when you are alone here. I'm almost never out here by myself so today with Lauralea out in Ontario and Micah at school, the silence is everywhere.

Well, except for that moment while while I was on the toilet and in the greater distance heard a radio station playing top forty country tunes, and then some metal clanging and banging. When I walked out to get the mail I saw that the highways lawnmower tractor had broken down in the gravel right in front of the church.

But yes as I was pondering, the solitude.

For me it's not an oppressive thing. In fact it seems to have an opposite effect, opening up before me, creating energizing space for me to enter into and just be myself. I don't have to contort myself to be something I'm not, or try to fit other peoples expectations of me. I simply can be me. That energizes me and heals me in ways that just being quiet in a loud room, can't.

It's good for me right now. Getting the Autumn program with it's small groups and Sunday School and Youth Programs and sermons and on and on, getting it all up and running has taken lots of good energy this year.  Small free moments are stolen for quick calls and emails and connections, so the allotted time given each one of us is quickly filled up.

Days like this give me a chance to exhale again, and inhale space and energy and hope and, well, life I suppose.

So I'm here in my office getting it done. Emails, calls, the report for the Deacon meeting tonight. Then service plans for the weekend and Sunday. Then getting my class prepped for and looking at that sermon series again.

But on days like today it all doesn't feel so overwhelming. I can do this.

I also need to take some more time praying for this place. The harvest is being delayed as the cold, wet weather lingers on. The pressures on the farmers starts to show as they putter around running out of putter-y things to do. And they wait and wait and wait to work.

One year it's drought, the next it's rain, then cold, then infestations and disease. For all the cherries to line up in a row seems such a rare occurrence. They are a relatively humble bunch for they can do only what they can do, and the rest is out of their hands.

And I can do only what I can do, so I pray. The rest is out of my hands.

Coincidence? I really doubt it.

Well, we are back home now and getting ready for bed, and by we I mean Micah and I. Mrs. Friesen is off to help her sister who runs a sort of wilderness/northern hunting camp in Northern Ontario, and this week they are having a group of American hunters to the camp and Lauralea is going over to help with hosting and cooking etc. The interesting thing is that the flight is at Midnight tonight, so we got her to the Edmonton airport safe and sound and now it's Micah and I for a week.

The day started early with the guys early prayer, and then Lauralea and I made a Calgary Airport run to take a friend to catch her flight on her way back home. Rachel was someone who was a silent reader of this space, and one day she decided to throw out an invitation that turned out to be somewhat of a miracle of coincidence, if you believe in that sort of thing. (You should go check out the amazingness of it, here.)

Anyway, over the past three years we've kept up a writing/prayer relationship and she decided to come visit Canada, and us. So for the past three days she's been here with us, and what a great time we've had together.

Anyway this morning she continued on her journey and so we took some pictures, and brought her to the airport.

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And now, I'm off to bed still enjoying the miraculous grace of God through a friend from the other side of the world.

And yes, I already miss the Mrs.

Saying things

Some think that rivers of words pouring through a mouth are great things and that there needs to be the words always flowing, always pouring out of the mans mouth, running all over the place, even onto the floor and underfoot.

I think that the gift of having something to say that is of value anyway, comes from a place deep inside. Pithy or thoughtful.

What does one do when the deep insides are simply still?

There is no great pain or deep sorrow there, no sense of loss or entitlement. Simply a good day that was had and you can add that to a good week.

Oh there is much much work going on, externally and internally, with deadlines and time frames and such.

But inside, just quiet.

And when it is quiet internally, it should be quiet externally.

Unless one has something to prove.

Bedtime. Need a lullaby to help you drift off to sleep?

Well here you go. One of my favourites.

Pull the sheets up under your chin my children, and shut off the light.

Now hit play and close your eyes and dream of happier days.




Nite.

Why Walmart should pay me commission

It happened again today. I ran into Walmart for clock batteries and ink for the printer, (Which by the way they don't even stock Kodak ink any more, grumble grumble) and in the electronics section a lady stepped into my path, faced me, and with her finger up and in my face, asked me "Do you work here???"

To which I gladly replied "No" and I rushed past her.

I get this all the time, this thinking I work in retail. Do I look like a retail guy?

Anyway, I was two rows over looking for ink and a tall elderly man asked for my opinion on two different flat screen TVs. One of them was a Sony Bravia and the other was a no name variety.  He asked in a way that made me quite willing to offer my opinion on the matter. I told him of our purchase of a TV a year ago and my experience of discerning the different qualities and then I settled on the Sony set. Of the two, the Sony was miles ahead. Then we talked about the changes in Television design he had known over the years and we had a right nice chat.

I told him that I don't work at Walmart but that had been my experience with televisions. He was surprised to hear that I wasn't employed by them, or by Sony for that matter, and based on my experience he would choose the Sony.

The last I saw of him he was walking towards the cashiers with a 22 inch Sony under his arm.

Again, aside from the blue shirt I had on today I don't get why my face says RETAIL, but it does.

But my real lesson today was that as a shopper, by the way I phrase my questions and my approach, I can actually help someone be willing to assist me in my search.

And that's a very cool lesson to remember.


But Walmart still owes me commission.