A beautifully still Saturday afternoon


I'm in my office this Holy Saturday afternoon preparing for tomorrow.

My window is open and the +2C breeze is nicely filling my room with spring hope and the silence is deafening here in the field. The only sound in here is the radio playing ClassicFMs yearly Hall Of Fame music which is amazingly appropriate for the day.

Beautiful.
Like a quiet rest point along a busy road.

Herself is surprisingly sick with an inflamed thyroid gland and when she gets sick sick she gets goofy, so illness and bad jokes have settled upon our household. Micah is ill of health too, but his enables him to leave the house when he wishes to. And his is much less, funny.

The radio makes me think of our friends in the UK who are moving through easter weekend as well, and the day makes me think of our children near and far and how fun spring could be for them all growing up as winter receded. I hope they are having a good Easter where they are.

Micah has halfway finished his green peeps and I've long since devoured my white chocolate easter egg of the season, so we may have peaked early. But tomorrow is work and so it is better to peak when one has the chance then to miss the treats altogether.


So here's a hope that your Easter weekend is good one and that you are able to take a bit of time along the way to celebrate what it's all about.

Here's a little Easter Card for you all.



May you have a reason to smile this weekend.
Blessings.




Holy Weekend

How quickly we have gone from last Sundays crowds shouting "Hosanna Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," to tonights anguished prayer in the garden.  It will only get worse in the morning, Christ's death will come tomorrow.

The question needs to be considered, will we follow the crowds or will we follow Christ?







I am the Yoda

Tonight at the board meeting of this little church in the field, we were recording our names and birth dates for official government papers. It came about that the numbers wizard was doing the math in her head and quickly declared me to be the eldest person there.

That was a bit of a sudden surprise, to me at least. There has always been older, wiser people to defer to. Always someone who could bear the weight of the heavy decisions. Always somebody older than I.
And now here I am, the experienced wizened old man. I never saw that coming.

In 28 years of being on these boards, I've never been the eldest, ever. I've always listened for the wisdom and experience from the elder states persons, always. Now it's my turn to step up.

It seemed sudden and real, this shift in perspective, but it was there in my spirit. I am the Yoda, and now I defer to myself.

Wow. I better start acting the part.

on a cold night, remembering


Thinking tonight of times with friends and memories that make me smile.
This was Stradford Upon Avon, taken from a boat in the middle of the River, Avon.

I can still recall the warm sun on my skin, after a deluge of rain.



Adapting to a bright spring

I think it's the nature of the light out there this time of year that makes one think of spring and melting and puddles. From the warmth of inside the house, the light outside feels like its spring happening out there. But of course it isn't.

The sun shining hard on the new pure white snow is actually blinding. Madly so. But going outside and driving or even walking to the office, require my eyes to adjust to squinty slits through which I stumble to work. It's not fun.

Though some scientists seem to have identified the reasons for the late spring here and in the United States and in the UK, it's little comfort to me here in this unbelievably bright spring. So for now the blinds are mostly down in the house and I wear my shades when I'm driving, and I take strong meds for the resulting headaches.

I would love this snow to melt quickly, but the runoff this year might be crazy mad too, and I'm not interested in bailing out my basement while a river runs through it.

So patience is required. And adapting. Even as the ages may be changing.
But we as humans have always been good at adapting, right?

Well maybe not always.


Welcome To Spring


IMG_2306, originally uploaded by RandallFriesen.

What a long day yesterday.
Closed roads, cancelled activities, accidents, and even deaths due to the storm.

I'm glad to be safe and alive and to have all this snow removed from in front of the driveway so I can get out today.

Just be careful out there.

Now is the winter of our discontent

It has been snowing for the last three days, on and off but mostly on, and the wind had been blowing it around the yard and the temperatures have been below normal. So people are getting cranky.

Cranky, depressed, short tempered.

It's noticeable out there. A few more family squabbles, more disgruntled customers, unhappy relationships.

People are booking appointments to talk through personal struggles. And that's good because it means they are wanting to face and deal with their, stuff. But it is community wide. Others are going through it too, trust me.

There has been cold and snow on the ground since mid October. That's five months people. That's enough to depress even the most optimistic sham wow salesman.

So maybe remind one another of that fact, and bear with each other a bit more. Watch out for each other and choose to not hold on to a hurting remark from a friend. Blame it on the weather, at least for a little while.

One day soon the sky will clear and the sun will come forth and the piles and piles of snow will start to melt and your heart will be strangely warmed towards your loved ones and you will see them in a new light and hopefully you will not have done permanent damage to your relationships by then.

Hang in there people.
It will get better.



I hope...


Church Fined $10,000 for Fake Kidnapping

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time...
An East Shore church will pay a $10,000 fine, and its youth pastor will do community service for staging a fake “terrorist raid” during a youth group program.

Dauphin County authorities charged Glad Tidings Assembly of God of Lower Swatara Township and youth pastor Andrew Jordan with simple assault and false imprisonment after a grand jury probe.
The mother of a 14-year-old girl who was “kidnapped” and frightened during the March raid triggered the criminal case by calling police.

First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo said this morning that the charges were resolved with a plea deal. He said the church and Jordan entered no contest pleas before Judge Andrew H. Dowling.

Victims were consulted before the agreement was finalized, Chardo said.

“It was an appropriate punishment for what they did. And I’m confident they aren’t going to do it again,” he said.

“They’re not bad people,” Chardo added. “What they did wasn’t malicious. It was just foolhardy.”

During the mock raid, four men — one armed with an unloaded gun — rushed into a youth group meeting, put pillowcases over the heads of the kids and forced them into a van. One teen was injured.

The youth group members didn’t know the raid was fake. Church officials said it was staged to show the children the perils missionaries face overseas.

As an institution, the church couldn’t face a jail term, Chardo said, but the $10,000 fine is the maximum allowed by law.

He said Jordan will be allowed into the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program to avoid a criminal record. He will pay a $500 penalty, serve up to a year of probation and do 50 hours of community service, Chardo said.

Church pastor John Lanza and the congregation’s lawyer, William DeStefano, weren’t immediately available for comment on the outcome of the case.
via.


There is enough

Sometimes you think God's got bigger work to do over there in Africa, feeding the children and keeping people from killing one another, and so you get to thinking that your struggles hardly seem worthy of his time. Then there are days like today.

Some of you will know that Micah, the last one to leave the nest, has a health condition that causes him considerable pain and discomfort, and makes it difficult to consume food, and to speak with a great deal of clarity. This has been a growing problem and was discovered for the most part, when he had braces when he was younger. He's been in a holding pattern since then, waiting for his bones to stop growing. Well it seems that we are near to those days now. Late last year he entered the process that would medically treat him for his condition.

The treatment for his condition isn't covered by any provincial health coverage or any privately available insurance programs so we've been talking to God about what this need looks like. I've not felt a lot of stress about it and that's kinda crazy for me, but its been really good to not feel worry about these things.

The doctors and surgeons have quoted us total costs in numbers that would pay for a brand new minivan with a  modest set of accessories included. Deep breath. To date we are already into this process with numbers that would buy us an older but trustworthy five year old car.

Now comes the fun bit. We are scheduled for tomorrow morning to arrive for the next step in the process, and we have been advised to show up with the sort of cash that would buy a one to two year old, nice sort of vehicle. Then we looked at the due date for our actual yearly car insurance and we discovered that it's due tomorrow as well. Another deep breath.

We've not wanted to use our different borrowing options or lines of credit to cover these needs, so yes we've been talking to God about these things. Yesterday and today Lauralea and I have been meeting and working over the numbers, and to our surprise and delight, when we pool our different accounts and savings,  we are able to cover both bills and still have some left over for the necessities of life for a few weeks. Numbers that are completely beyond our ability and even in some ways, comprehension, are provided for by Himself.

Really, that is so encouraging to me. Yes its years of savings but on this March evening before the payment is due, it's enough.

:)

In a year we'll need another half of a vans worth, but for now let's enjoy that there is enough.

That's just how he used to care for us when the amounts were so much smaller. Years ago when we'd pray in money for the bills or for food, or even for braces for the kids. God would always bring enough, at the right time and in different creative ways. Always providing, always caring, always watching out for us and hearing our little human prayers.

So for now be encouraged with us, there is enough.


Once upon a Saturday night


Tonight sees the end of a long week and it seems somewhat fitting that we lose an hour of time. Feels like in some ways I've been losing ground all week.

Tonight some of our families are in a better place than they were a week ago, and some of our families are in a much worse place. So tonight I'm still praying, just redirecting the targets of the prayers. This week I finally counted the number of people who are in some way, connected with Malmo and I got to about 250. I think I'm starting to realise that with those sorts of numbers there's always going to be something difficult happening somewhere.

This week a good friend died. His funeral will be on Monday and I'll be there. Feels like it happened a month ago already. Another friends wife passed away the same day. So much loss.

Last Sunday in church I talked about transparency and reflecting Jesus in our lives and I probably should have been ready to be tested in that area, but I wasn't. I was blindsided pretty good and a full storm bore down and tried to make me feel like I shouldn't be as transparent or caring as I try to be. That sort of thing has been happening to pastors down through the ages, even as far back as Paul. So it's to be expected. It just takes the wind out of the sails. You have to deal with it and keep choosing life and truth and keep choosing to care, because that's the only way forward.

... and then it's Saturday.

Saturday night after a long week.
Saturday night and I am praying, for you and more specifically for my kids.

They are all doing pretty well in their lives, very encouraging and challenging to me. They do make me smile. The good news in a week of challenges came from one of them. It seems I'm going to be a papa again.

After a week like this, that keeps a grin on my face.

Remember to move your clocks forward tonight, and get over to your local church in the morning.

Night

This thing that I do

Because of the work that I do, Sunday night ended up being a night of very little sleep. I tried to rest but mostly just hovered near the top of my sleepability, never going deep, never falling into it with deep pleasure. Then Monday, my normal day off, ended up being more of the same, work stuff. I ended up at the office because I might as well be there if I was going to work.

By late afternoon the work was lifting and things were starting to return to a semi sort of normal. Lauralea and I in an effort to temporarily leave the world behind, got in the car and headed to town to find a bit of supper. We returned in the early evening and I retreated to the shack to see what was on in the radio world. That's when I heard that my friend had passed away.

What a day.
Add to that a late evening painful bout with an occasional health issue I live with, and I was ready for bed early.

For other reasons than the previous night, it was another night of sleeping near the surface, and when my alarm went off at 5:30 am, I was already semi conscious. Even at that dizzy hour, the heaviness still lingered. I opened my prayer page and saw the verse that had been assigned for today.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."    -Matthew 11:28

Hmmm.

I lay back on my pillow and thought of all the heaviness of the past few days. The pain, the loss, not just for me but for others as well. Thought of the work that I do and how sometimes it's just too hard to do. I thought about the cost of practicing what I preach and what vulnerability had cost me this time.

I burrowed deeper into my pillow and in the darkness again looked to God with his perfect timing and good words, and I received them for myself. I txted Marc and asked him to lead early prayer with the guys, and I drifted off to sleep for a couple of more hours.

My plan this day has been simply to stay near Jesus. Yes meetings have come and I've been working, but just staying intentionally near Jesus and resting in him, is my goal.

Shortly after I got to the office, a call came that a friends wife had died in the night. Sigh.

God knows these things. The beginnings, the endings.
I choose this day to receive from him the kind of rest he offers. I choose to come to him.
Again.


VE6LO ...SK

Word comes tonight that a friend has completed his journey on this side of glory.
Lyndy was the guy who invited me to the local Ham Radio Club and when I got there for the monthly breakfast, he made room for me. He made room for me in the group and on the air and in his life, and for that I'll always be thankful.
VE6LO was his callsign, and when I would check in to the net, his friendly voice would recognize me and welcome me to the net by identifying me as the Voice Of Randall. (My callsign is VE6VOR)

Lyndy was warm and welcoming and helpful. He got me set up with a permanent mobile 2 meter unit because, he said, he had so many of them laying around. I treasure that radio now and think of him when I use it.

Word came last week that he had been given a short time to live, and so I contacted him on the phone and we had a good chat. Then he was admitted to the hospital and I was able to spend some precious time with him last Wednesday morning. We talked about life and he shared some things with me that were personal, about his life and faith. He was trying to encourage me even as I was trying to encourage him. We prayed before I parted and he wanted to pray a blessing on me too, which I gladly received. He prayed like a man who knew what he was doing, and his prayer washed over me in deep gracious ways.

I told him last visit that I'd come and see him again and he smiled and looked forward to that. My seeing him will change now from tomorrow morning, to a bit further down the road. But I do look forward to another good conversation with VE6LO.


For now I have a few fun reminders of a visit we had last September at his place. His antenna farm is a thing of beauty, and he wanted to climb it again, just to show me he could do it. It's probably the last picture around of him in his tower.





Here are a few pictures from our afternoon at VE6LO land.





And so that's that then. VE6LO is a silent key and I only knew him a year.
At least I had the chance to know him a bit. I am pleased for that.

Peace to his memory.


UPDATE: Lyndy's story click here. 

Friday Film

Keeping Up Appearances: The New Vicar

Because sometimes it can be like this.