Happy Candy Day!!!

It's a day off around here and Lauralea is gone all day. She's working at Micah's school, Princess Margaret.

She's heading up some huge school bake sale thing. She baked and crafted last week for the church ladies bake and craft sale, then came home Saturday and jumped right in to the school bake sale. She doesn't seem to hear me when I say let's go buy some baking, repackage it, and sell it!

Anyway, I find myself alone again today, so I ran the errands that needed to be run.

I went up and checked out the new Giant Tiger store here in town. A bit of a Wal-Mart wannabe, if you ask me. But I was in search of cheap candy.

You see, I am the cheap old man who for Halloween, gives out those restaurant mints that come individually packaged that you can buy 100 for 2 bucks kind of deal. Hey, that's what I do. The kid will eat the mint and it will make her candy coated mouth minty fresh, and I care.

But, she who I live with detests this about me. In fact one year when I was in charge of getting the candy, I purchased the aforementioned cheap candy. When I arrived home she rolled her eyes and went and got the pricer chocolatier candy. So the whole deal ended up costing me more money. And I had to eat those nasty mints for months to come.

So today when it was finally my turn to get the candy again, mainly because she was too busy working at the school, I went looking for the cheap stuff.

And there it was, in all of it's individually wrapped cheap goodness.

And I paused and looked at the better candy. Then back to the cheap stuff, then back to the good stuff... you get it.

I stood there and I reflected on 20 years of marriage.

Then in an epifinal moment (If epifinal is a word. If it's not, then I just created it!) I reached past the cheap stuff, and went for the better candy, knowing the girl would smile on me.

I came home and showed her the haul. She didn't say a thing about it.

I think she just gives me the benefit of the doubt.

So, tonight if you come to my house, you'll get a little chocolate bar. But it better be less than 70 of you because I only bought two packages of it.

After that I'm handing out little individual Tums tablets cause that's all the candy type stuff we have left in the house!


250,000 Rubber Bouncing Balls

This is SO cool.


A comercial being made for Sony.


250, 000 colourful Superballs.


A steep hill in San Francisco. 


Makes for some amazing shots.


via. 


 


 


 

Uh, Houston we have a problem....

This can't be good for a Pastor.


 










You fit in with:
Taoism


Your ideals mostly resemble those of the Taoist faith. Spirituality is the most important thing in your life. You strive to live by all of your ideals, and live a very intellectually focused life.

60% spiritual.
0% reason-oriented.









Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

 

I don't know if this is an improvement over the test that called me a complete "Bastardization of the English Lauguage."


Now I'm a Taoist leaning pastor who can't speak a solid word of english.


Thanks Simian.

Evening Prayers

Join me in prayer tonight, as we draw this week to a close and look ahead to the next.


Taken from Universalis.



Psalm 4


Take pity on me, Lord, and listen to my prayer. Alleluia.
When I called out, he heard me, the God of my righteousness.
When I was in trouble, you gave me freedom:
 now, take pity on me and listen to my prayer.


Sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?
 Why do you seek for vain things?
 Why do you run after illusions?
Know that the Lord has done marvellous things
 for those he has chosen.
When I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.


Be vigorous, but do not sin:
 speak in the silence of your heart,
 in your bed, be at rest.
Offer righteousness as a sacrifice,
 and put your trust in the Lord.


Many are saying, Who will give us good things?
Let your face shine on us, Lord,
 let the light of your face be a sign.
You have given me a greater joy
 than the others receive
 from abundance of wheat and of wine.
In peace shall I sleep, Lord, in peace shall I rest:
 firm in the hope you have given me.



Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. Alleluia.


Now, Master, you let your servant go in peace. You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.
A light to bring the Gentiles from darkness; the glory of your people Israel.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,


Amen.


Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. Alleluia.
 
Come to us, Lord, this night, and give us the strength to rise at dawn rejoicing in the resurrection of your Anointed, who lives and reigns for ever and ever, Amen.


May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.



Riding in cars with nerds

Conversation between Hillary and Thomas on the way to school.


H: "Hmm, I wonder how I did on that Algebra competition."


H: "The question was one where you had to start with this number and end with that number using only fours."


T: "It's four plus four divided by four multiplied by..."


H: "Yes but then you need a { } in there and a ! in there too, but I forget what its called but it does this !."


T: "Well then you need to do this % first ......."


I smiled as I drove thinking of those simpletons who put ME in general math in grade eleven because I "Couldn't handle" algebra. 


Ah these fertile loins.



Course all I heard was "Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, Blah Blah, Blah Blah Blah Blah."

Let it S*** let it S*** let it S***

Tonight is the kind of night that makes you glad that you don't have to go out.


It's raining and windy and cold out there. The sky is darker than just the normal sun goes down kind of dark. The clouds are low and of course it means only one thing. Snow.


Snow. The first snowfall used to make my spirit light and happy. Gently falling snow that mutes the noise and blankets everything with a clean holy whiteness.


Then why now do I dislike it so.


It's a loaded thing don't you know. It means getting out different, heavier clothes. And if you don't have them, you will need to go buy them. It means getting used to driving differently again, for the next five months. It means covering the windows with plastic and having the furnace on all the time. It means cars that won't start or won't blow warm air. It means wet frozen hands and feet, and kids driving in that slippery mess and, and, and...


I seem to be disliking it more and more as I age and I don't understand that. Why is that?


I would love to love the first snow fall of the season. I wish I could love slippery sidewalks and falling on the ice.


I know it will get better, but for some reason lately the first snowfall just guts me.


So, let it come. Let it snow and let me learn to like it.


It looks like I'm going to get another chance to learn to like it, real soon.


 

Nouwen on the Authority of Compassion


"The Church often wounds us deeply. People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.


There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let's keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion."



Grunt, grunt, grunt...

Well, I gave out a shout for a leaf blower and one did arrive, or at least I had to borrow it from a church friend.


And was it cool.


I think it should be standard operating equipment for men. You should have seen the boys eyes when I got it out of the van. Big eyes and you know what they were thinking, "Wow, what else could we do with that!!!"


So we took turns, giving the lawn a nice comb through. And blowing it at each others faces.


I think it took as long as raking it might have, but boy it was cool. And the lawn was like totally green, no leaves were left on it by this Anal Pastor Dude. That's for sure.


Lauralea announced at supper that it was just a big phallic symbol. We all laughed, even those of us who didn't know what a Phallic Symbol was.


Course it's not a Phallic Symbol. But then how would she know, she's a girl!!

Wilma leaves these mennonites alone...

Ron and Elaine, working with MDS down in Florida, made it through Wilma, for the most part just fine:



"We are all fine here. The storm passed too far to the south to do much damage here. We had about 2 inches of rain, but when I compare the storm to the one we had in Winnipeg in July, well, Wilma (at our location) was no match. We had a few trees with broken limbs, no power for about 6 hours because of the downed limbs but nothing more. All the sites came through with no more than a few tipped Port-a-potties. So we are thankful to get back to a regular day today. We unpacked the office yesterday afternoon and got back on track. Now it is time to unpack our car again and begin the normal routine of Wauchula MDS. Our group from Indiana came early Sunday and spent the night with us in the church, as there were many tornado warnings. The first time when it was okay to sleep in church!
 
So to all of you who have been praying for safety, thank you and praise God for answered prayers. From Wauchula, Ron & Elaine"



On Halloween. Should we, or shouldn't we?

Ok, so rather than post the whole piece over here, I published it on the church website.


Check out the perspective. Kind of refreshing.

Childproofing Church

I'm not sure that's what we want to see happen.


In fact, I'm quite sure it isn't.


link.



Investing in this week

Well, Day Off Monday today.


I got up this morning and headed down to the bank to make a payment. Lauralea came along and we walked over to the Bison Cafe for a coffee. (The most interesting part of the day? Lauralea ordered what I normally have, and I ordered what she normally has. Hmm, significance? i think not.)


We got back home and Micah came home for lunch. I fell asleep on the couch.


I woke up enough to share a sandwich with Lauralea, then she looked at me, eyes half open, and said she was off to bed. I supported her in this decision, and made my way back to the couch and crashed for the rest of the afternoon too.


I think to say we are tired would be the understatement of the, ...month.


So anyway, today we have used our day off to sleep. I am sure this will indeed benefit humankind for the rest of the week. In fact, I'm convinced of it.

One of the best things about death...

is that I won't have to watch the freakin Saskatchewan Roughriders find ways to self destruct anymore.


Sheesh.

"For Theirs Is The Kingdom" Part 2

For Theirs is Kingdom 3

We attended the afternoon performance of  "For Theirs Is The Kingdom."


Wow. Nicely done. The actors outdid themselves and the whole production was very very well done.


It's about a family living in early Rome, with Nero at the controls of the empire. The family is separated by the fact that some are Christians, and they are killed for their faith. A very sobering thought to those of us in the Western church, where giving up your live for your faith isn't even a consideration.


They are playing tonight and tomorrow night here in Prince Albert. If you can, you should go see the drama. They will be performing next weekend in Melfort and Saskatoon. Check here for more information.


Here are some photos I got of the day.

And a special "Good Morning" ...

goes out to some friends Ron and Elaine, who just sent me a note.


They are down in Wauchula Florida, working with the Mennonite Disaster Service, helping a town get over Charley.  They have a front row seat to watch the worst storm on record, Wilma, do her worst and I guess they may have more work to do after this week.


Be careful you guys, and enjoy the show.


And thanks for going. You're putting skin on Jesus.

This SCTV moment for my brother, Jeff

We laugh, we cry, we snort drinks through our noses when we get to watching the old bits from SCTV.


So, for my brother Jeff, here's a clip he will love.


 

"For Theirs is the Kingdom"

For those of you in or nearby Prince Albert this weekend, you have a rare opportunity to to view a dynamic and entertaining drama.



Don't miss the Christian presentation "For Theirs is the Kingdom" set to premiere at the St. Mary High School theatre on this Saturday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm AND Sunday at 7:00 pm.  A cast of 45 singers, actors and dancers have worked since the spring to bring this humorous and faith-inspiring story of the early Christians in Rome to the stage. tickets are only $15.00 and can be reserved by phoning: 763-5583, or picked up at Harold's RIGA, Canadian Tire and at the door.  Free passes for Seniors (in nursing homes) are available by calling the phone number.  See you there.


Just so happens Thomas is doing sound for the production, and Micah has his acting debut, playing a slave.


Make plans to catch this masterwork!


The drama group website is here.



Website on the History of Prince Albert

Hey, now here's a site that does a great job on the history of Prince Albert. It seems to be coming out of the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library and has wonderful resources for teaching kids.


If you're into history, check it out. If you're a teacher, it's a must see.


All the material on the website was collected by journalist Keitha Clark. The site was nicely designed by David Krahn.


Check it out.


Thanks Chris

Of failure and weakness. And quilts.

Well, it's after 11 and I'm still at the office. Had a long meeting tonight and it will take a bit of time to wind down, so I'm doing a bit of work while I'm at it.


I wanted this week to be about prayer and reflection, and I have been doing some of that. But it's also been a week about surprises and challenges and interruptions and distractions. Part of me feels a failure because I didn't get as far as I wanted to go, in silence. I should expect that when I plan a season of stillness, but I forgot how crazy it can get.


But, new opportunities present themselves and it's a good discipline to seek to hear God's heart about them. What should you put your hands on, and what should you leave well enough alone. These are the secrets of good ministry. Not, what you can and can't do, but where is God at work and what does he want you to do there, if anything.


I confess it's discouraging how you give yourself to a task or a work, and work hard at it, only to find little effect or result. I realize with this work that I do, that so much of the effect is unseen, or will only spring to life later on, if it's not fallen on stoney ground, or if the weeds don't choke it out.


But, his comfort has been close this week, and it's been unique. Today I've finally been able to put words to his presence these days. It's felt like a thick warm cozy quilt wrapped around my shoulders. A blanket, a covering of presence if you will, that has blessed me deeply. This morning while studying, He was here covering and being with me. That has been a deep blessing, and it followed me all day.


Hey, isn't that what a Mantle is?


... I just googled a definition for mantle. One of the results is: "the cloak as a symbol of authority"


Hmm, cool. But whatever it was, it was Him, and I really enjoyed his "Quilt Like Presence" today.


Now, before you consider me a complete mystic, or airhead, I'm going home to bed. Tomorrow is another day.

One of the prayers I've been carrying around this month

It went from this:



"I am passing on news that Ipe and Deepa had another baby boy last week. Baby is doing well. Deepa is not. She had a C-section. She had continuing bleeding after surgery. She is still in ICU at St. B. with very low blood pressure and on respirator as lungs are full. They have had two code blues over the weekend. Please pray for her and Ipe."


to this:



"The doctor told Ipe yesterday that the next 24 hour would be critical. Deepa's body has not been producing platelets for the past week. If her bone marrow kicks in and begins producing the platelets again that will be positive news. If not that is not good as the longer it takes the less likelihood her body will kick in. The condition is known as DIC..."


Through many up's and down's, to this:



"Exciting news!!!!!  Deepa is coming home tomorrow!!!!!  She is still going to have an oxygen tank available as she needs it, however the tube is out and she is coming home.Please continue to pray for her recovery and just for the adjustment of being at home - for Deepa as well as for Ipe.  The boys are doing well.  Ryan is a cute cuddly little boy and Ray is as happy as can be. Thanks again."


Ipe and Deepa are dear friends of ours who moved to Canada from India. They started attending the church we were in in Winnipeg.


I am so grateful to God who has enabled Deepa to walk with her guys for some time more. May she continue to recover and enjoy a long blessed life on this earth.


Thank you Father.

The Story of Port

Tonight the weather is a bit cooler, and I had been praying a bit and thinking about some friends in the UK. It kind of put me in a mood for some good port. I went to the old desk we have and rummaged around in it and found the half empty bottle. I believe the last time it was opened was last year, probably around the same time.


Every autumn, when the weather begins to change and snow threatens, I remember our introduction to port, and those who introduced us.


Lauralea and I were in London meeting with the brothers and sisters from the London Mennonite Center. We were there to encourage and help them with a large community/church project they were undertaking.


After a day of painting and working in a community space where the church met, we headed to the center where we were staying to get washed up. That night we were invited to the home of one of the church elders, Fred and Helen Yocum's, for supper.


If memory serves it was a cool overcast night, and Lauralea and I caught the Northern Line to get over to the Woodgreen tube station before 6pm. We arrived at the station and as we took the stairs to street level, the cool moist air was a shock to the system. The walk to their home was 8 or 10 blocks away and I recall we enjoyed it. The evening was already dark and you could see inside the attached homes, families arriving from work and getting the tables set with things to eat.


Presently we arrived and were warmly welcomed into their home. And as with all our hosts during our visit to the UK, we were offered a bit of wine or cordial or cider when we arrived. Since we were closer to Rome than our homeland, we adopted the phrase "When in Rome..." That seemed to serve us well during our stay, and we gratefully accepted.


Supper was a wonderful mix of telling our stories and sharing our faith, along with the amazing stew that was served.  I recall the warmth of their table and the closeness we felt to them. There we were, relative strangers from across the world, and our hearts were united by Spirit.


Oh, and the desert. We were most definitely united by the desert. It was a simple purchased pound cake with a side of the most incredible awe inspiring, mouth watering vanilla Ice Cream it has ever been my pleasure to experience. And I say experience because indeed it was not simply a taste, but an experience in and of itself. From that day to this I have denied referring to any such locally purchased item as Ice Cream. This stuff is only Ice Chemicals. But I digress.


As supper began to draw to a close, around 10:30 or some such unbelievable time, we were invited into the front room to make ourselves more comfortable, which we did. It was at that time that we were introduced to the pleasures of Port. It was described to us as a fortified wine which originated in Portugal. Historically it was to be enjoyed after an evening meal. I thought the meal was history making enough, but this just topped it off nicely.


I enjoyed a glass and the conversation went on to matters of church structure and relationships within the church and community. It was such an encouragement to share that time with them, and the wonderful hospitality they gifted us with. We talked until late into the night.


I believe it was 12:00am when we crawled into Helen's old Morris Minor and she drove us over to the center where we were staying for the nights.


And now, whenever the autumn is changing into it's coldest part, I think about that port. And I go to the cupboard and pull it down and have a small glass of it. And whenever I drink a drop of Port, I think of that night and the fond memories of friends and fine food and the fellowship. And it's all good.

Taking a couple of days to pray

Usually during the summer I take a couple of days for prayer and fasting, kind of get away and focus just on that for a bit. That didn't happen this summer, so I was going to take some time to do that work this week. As it turns out, Lauralea is sick and well, things conspired against me. So I won't be getting away to do this work this week.


But,


I am going to focus on prayer and a bit of fasting this week. There are some things I need to be praying about, so I will be in prayer. I had been planning on opening it up to some of your needs as well. So here's the deal. Click over to my contact page, and simply fill in the first name slot, and in the comments section just leave a bit of what you would like prayer for.


Rather than leave vague requests for God to bless your aunt annie, twice removed...  try to specify what you would like prayer for.


And you don't have to fill in all the identifying blanks, God knows where you live. Just a first name and the need, and you will be prayed for.


How does that sound. Free prayer.


Have a good one.


Nite.

A most profitable day

The Bess

Today I was in Saskatoon all day. In the morning I met with three different pastor friends, and it was good. You spend time sharing your lives with one another, and you get inspired or challenged. You listen some more and you can hear the heartbeat of Jesus coming through. It's a unique goodness that makes me want to be a better man and pastor.


Then this afternoon I was in the hospital visiting some of our people. The last one I was going to visit had been released this morning, so I took the free moment to grab some pics.


What a beautiful day.

Compline -evening prayer

I am alone typing tonight, and the only sound I hear is three stuffy snoring noses, sleeping deeply. Everybody is sick, except me thankfully. Tomorrow I'm off to Saskatoon to check on some people we have in the Hospital there. I'm also meeting with some of you, which I'm also looking forward to.


Tonight I'm thinking of these sick people I live with. I'm thinking of my daughter who is miles away. I'm thinking about some of you who are in seasons of life that are less than easy.


I'm thinking about the families who have someone who works at the mill. I'm thinking about the thousands of broken families in East Asia.


So much pain in this world, how do they make it without hope?


 


Pray with me tonight won't you...



Psalm 16
I have said to the Lord ?You are my Lord, in you alone is all my good?.
As for the holy and noble men of the land, in them is all my delight.
But for those who run to alien gods, their sorrows are many.
I will not share in their libations of blood. I will not speak their names.


You, Lord, are my inheritance and my cup. You control my destiny,
the lot marked out for me is of the best, my inheritance is all I could ask for.
I will bless the Lord who gave me understanding; even in the night my heart will teach me wisdom.
I will hold the Lord for ever in my sight: with him at my side I can never be shaken.
Thus it is that my heart rejoices, heart and soul together; while my body rests in calm hope.


You will not leave my soul in the underworld. You will not let your chosen one see decay.
You will show me the paths of life, the fullness of joy before your face, and delights at your right hand until the end of time.


 



Take pity on me, Lord, and listen to my prayer. Alleluia.


Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
You have redeemed us, Lord, God of faithfulness.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.


Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. Alleluia.
Now, Master, you let your servant go in peace.
You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.
A light to bring the Gentiles from darkness; the glory of your people Israel.


Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. Alleluia.


Come to us, Lord, this night, and give us the strength to rise at dawn rejoicing in the resurrection of your Anointed, who lives and reigns for ever and ever,


Amen.


Taken from Universalis

Weyerhauser burning it's bridges. Updated.

You may have already heard the news that Weyerhauser is pulling out of Prince Albert early in the new year.


Now, in the past Weyerhauser has been a reasonably good corporate citizen. They have contributed plenty of cash to worthwhile groups in the city. I understand they have donated a lot to youth organizations, I think they even contributed to a youth program we were running a while ago.


But early on today I received the news that on October 1, Weyerhauser pulled the insurance coverage for their workers. That's some four days before they released the news to their employees. I suspect many of them are not even aware of it yet.


I don't know if this effects all levels of employees, or just a small group. But it seems a bitter shot at the workers families. There should be better ways to lay off 700 people.


And for all those people out there still thinking this whole "shut the mill down" thing is a trick Weyerhauser is employing for bargaining purposes, I think it's pretty clear. They are burning their bridges behind them.


Update:


I returned to "my sources" and they confirmed a change in the Insurance companies. Either Weyerhauser shifted its position, or the Insurance company was withholding payouts on it's own. Possibly till they clarified their position re:Weyerhauser.


So get the teeth and glasses done now folks, while you still can!

Euthanasia only option with Katrina?

It would seem that the Hospitals and those who worked in them, felt they had very few options as Katrina moved ashore.


Reading the accounts is like reading fiction. It's amazing.



"Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.


With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.



The doctor said: "I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right.


"I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul."



"[We] did everything humanly possible to save these patients," the doctor King identified as holding the syringes to be used for the injections told CNN. "The government totally abandoned us to die. In the houses, in the streets, in the hospitals. ... Maybe a lot of us made mistakes, but we made the best decisions we could at the time."


 


You can read the story from the Daily Mail, and now CNN and World Net Daily.

Ok, let's try the cute animal test

Ok, well in a failed attempt to get past the whole "Snoopy" thing, I mistakenly took a test to discover what kind of cute animal I am.


Wait for it.... I'm a....


 



You Are A: Lamb!

lambPeaceful and gentle, lambs have been used in religious imagery for millennia. Lambs are baby sheep, an animal tended by shephards since the dawn of history. As a lamb, you tend to stay together in a flock and graze on grassy land. Lambs don't mind being led and tend not to go off on their own.

You were almost a: Pony or a Bear Cub
You are least like a: Squirrel or a ChipmunkWhat Cute Animal Are You?


What kind of a peanut am I?

So, Toni took this test see, and I thought, well le'me try that. So i did.


Turns out Toni is a "Snoopy." And it turns out I too am a


 


Snoopy
You are Snoopy!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


 I don't really see myself as the life of the party. So the test is clearly flawed.


:)


So, what Peanuts character are you?

Good Thanksgiving

We had a good thanksgiving with family this year. Johanna showed up and we all went to my folks place in Saskatoon.


On the way we stopped in at the Chortitza Cemetery, just to remember and be thankful for those who have gone on ahead. I forgot the flowers so I made a bit of a stook out of some wheat that lay nearby, missed by the harvesters. I thought how many times Grandpa had probably worked those fields...


Yeah, good day with the family. Don't know how many more of those we will enjoy, so we made the most of yesterday.


Oh, and yeah, the locals found a frog at the Cemetery. Boys catching, girls recording the event.


The Kids


 


 


 


 


 

The colour of thankfulness

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in these Canadian parts, so I'm thinking thankful thoughts. Mixed in somewhere with all those memories of things I have to be grateful for, is the memory of one thanksgiving that effected me deeper than most.

Her name was Arlene and she was a young girl trying to create a life for herself and her baby son, in the heart of Winnipeg. She had come to church with a friend, and though she was quiet, she was fun to be with. She had been raised by people who went to church, but she had kinda never fit in to their church, so she just took to staying away.

She and her big baby boy started to attend the church we were creating there in Winnipeg, but it wasn't easy to get there so she would often miss a gathering.

She never had much money but she worked hard looking after her son. She also felt a great responsibility for her sister who struggled with addictions. It was hard, but Arlene tried to look after her too.

I remember one Thanksgiving weekend. We hadn't seen Arlene for a couple of weeks and I got a call from a friend of her's who was worried about her. She said Arlene was all out of food and her sister was hanging around, probably a bit to much. She asked if we could help her.

I couldn't call Arlene because she couldn't afford a phone, but the friend was trustworthy. I decided to go and get some groceries and take them down to her apartment.

It was an overcast blustery Friday afternoon in Winnipeg as I arrived at her beat up, run down apartment door. It didn't lock any longer so anyone could enter, and I did. As I made my way down into the dark basement hallway the first thing to meet me was the smell. It was the smell of hard living and lost humanity.

The walls were dirty and broken and above the noise of the televisions you could hear babies crying and people fighting. I stood there a minute, letting it all sink in.

Hoisting up the bags of food I had brought, I moved down the hall, looking for her door, hoping she would be home. I found her door and knocked.

There was no response, so I knocked again, firmer this time.

"Who's there?" I heard from the other side of the door. Her response was meek and nervous. I assured her it was I and she peeked through the door, opened just a crack.

When she saw my face, her's lit up with a smile and she swung the door open fully, welcoming me in.

Her apartment was very modest, but well cared for given her circumstances. The little guy was learning to walk and he waddled up to me with just a big diaper on and a soother in his mouth with a grin behind it.

She saw the packages and asked what it was all about. I explained they were for her, and as I spoke those words I saw life begin to return to her eyes.

They got big and wide and teary.

She took the bags from my drooping arms with such gratitude and started talking faster than her mouth could keep up. She had been down to nothing. Nothing but a few crackers. She was trying to pace them out, only giving them to the boy when he cried a lot. As for herself, she hadn't eaten for two days, but she would be ok now that there was something to eat again.

She started unpacking the bags and putting the food away, cooing over each new thing. And I went into the tired living room with the little guy and helped them get a better signal on that beat up old TV that was in there.

After a few minutes, I got up to go so they could get on with the often overlooked simple pleasure of eating. And I knew they would be ok this thanksgiving.

With a smile from ear to ear she hugged me, thanking me again and again, and the little guy waved at me, soother still firmly planted in his mouth.

I passed through the smell and noise and dark, and pushed the door open into the cold blustery wind and I realized with new appreciation just how thankful I actually was.

It was the day I learned about true gratitude.

Decision making and the will of God

Coffee at the Bison

I first met Dejan when we were at a Covenant pastors function of some kind. He was a youth pastor at a church in Alberta and as it turned out, he grew up a block away from where I am now living.


I remember upon first meeting him that there was an openness to his heart and we easily struck up a relationship. He was always ready to take some time to chat, and the talks usually got deep, quickly.


I recall early on in our relationship, he was questioning the work he was doing as a youth pastor. My adage has always been hey, if God's not called you, then don't go there, but if God has called you, then do it with all your heart. He wasn't sure he had heard God say anything about youth pastoring.


I remember exploring different opportunities he had, and different directions he thought might be tempting to try. He talked of maybe being a teacher, and when he talked about it his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. His speech became energized and his arms began moving. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out and encourage him to maybe explore what it would mean to become a teacher.


Shortly after, he resigned the church, packed up his wife and moved to Saskatoon where he enrolled in university taking education training.


Last spring he graduated, with honors, and this Autumn saw him accepted into his first school. He's teaching grades six, seven and eight and a bit of ten.


I just had coffee with him and asked him if it was worth it.


"No question," he said. It's hard work, but he loves to get up in the morning. He enjoys teaching and he's good at it. The school he works at is very supportive and his co-workers are great to work with.


His wife is expecting their first child in December, and they've found a church they really love.


All in all a great story. And sometimes you just need to hear a good story.

um yes, speaking of digital. Updated.

In much to short a time frame, I will be in the Doctor's arguing the value of a digital exam.

The last time I felt this tense was when I used to go to the dentistry college to get work done on my teeth.


And I'm quite sure being tense won't help the situation at all.


Update:


Well, that wasn't so bad.


As for the "digital" it seemed my age and the returned blood tests didn't really require one so he gave me an option. Hmm, let me think a moment, let some strange man probe me, or not, ... Hmmm, I CHOOSE NOT!!!


All the tests came back ok. Cholesterol - ok, kidneys - ok, cancer - ok, ulcers - ok, blood pressure -within the safe range. etc. etc. etc.  It's all good baby.


He said if I wanted to I could loose a bit of weight around the middle, as that will get harder to loose as I age. To which I concurred. 


And he figured the heartburn was stress related. Keep taking the Rolaids when needed. Cut down on the big stress stuff.


So, all in all it's good.


I think Lauralea is relieved, and ticked. My eating habits frustrate her to no end. She, (and I) both figured my Cholesterol would be over the moon, and I'd have to start eating her special bread (Brown) and drinking her special milk (Skim).


But hey, go figure.


I should be around to torment your internet experience a while longer, -well unless I win a hundred thousand dollars and in the celebratory cheer, get run over by a little old lady...

This is very weird...

Usually Thursday nights I'm out at a meeting or something. But tonight I ended up getting to remain at home.


Then Lauralea started doing her hair because she was going out, and Thomas and Micah announce they are off to play practice, and Hillary is at work tonight.


Here I sit with the remote control and nobody to complain!


Wow. This is a new feeling for me.


I think I like it.

What I learned on my time away

Though my mind is a little hazy because of the long journey home late last night, I've been reflecting on things. You know, the inside things.


As a pastor there are always things that need to be done. You may think the pastor only works one hour a week, but really, there is just a lot of different things he or she does. I've been busy helping with a lot of things this year.


This has also made it kind of a stressful year.


Doing a lot of "stuff" isn't always great -for a pastor. I mean it's great for Donald Trump or Billy Gates. But when a pastor gets to doing a lot of different things, all at the same time, well he can loose his focus. And when he loses his focus, he forgets what he is suppose to be doing.


It dawned on me that this was the same problem that had happened for the early pastors. There were more and more needs in the early church, which the apostles gave themselves to. They were important things like making sure the widows had food to eat. But that work began to grow and increase to the point where they realized they had forgotten to do the things they were suppose to do. Things like taking time to connect with God, and teaching other people the secrets of God. They realized the problem, and called up some others who could use their abilities to do these "other things."  In the end the widows got cared for in fine fashion, and they were pleased, and the pastors got back to doing the things they were suppose to be doing, things like praying and teaching. So the church grew and expanded and many others found God.


I need to let others do what they do well, and get out of their way. I also need to remember the things I'm suppose to be doing, and do them well.


I may be simple of mind, but this excites me.


The things that bog me down and tire me out, are often the exact things I should be letting other people do.


And the things that I love to do, the reasons I entered into the work, are the things I should be giving my time to.


The more I do the stuff I shouldn't be doing, the more tired and unproductive this place gets to be. The more cranky I become. The more I want to be done.


But when God draws me back to the place of my calling: to pray with people, to teach what I know and have seen, to encourage and love, then there rests in me a sense of fulfillment.


This isn't really rocket science you know, but there are days I have to give my head a shake. I am truly amazed at how easily we become blinded to our own lives and choices. I'm glad there is a way back to clarity, back to God, and he grants the vision to see again what is really there.

Thanks for playing along at home

randallfriesen.com has a large number of lurkers out there, who are lovingly referred to as "The silent in the land." But this weekend some of you stepped up and really kept my cell phone buzzing. I received over 40 messages from where you all live.


It was cool.


I think Alison from Northamptonshire was the first to check in. Then came Yellowknife, and St. Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba, followed by Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kansas, Montreal, Yorkton, Ottawa, Kindersley, and Summerland BC. Later on Brad from California and Karen from East Asia checked in.


Prince Albert was well represented, but Saskatoon outdid P.A. in terms of numbers. Actually, I believe that after Saskatoon, Prince Albert and the UK were tied for calls.


I think the winner for the longest distance away must have been Phil. He checked in from Australia.


And then there was the whole, "I have to leave the phone on during the night so the kids can reach us if they need to" thing. This seemed a good plan till three in the morning when Ian from Reading, UK checked in.


I awoke in a groggy daze to look at the msg. "Ian, from Reading UK." Ah Ian, you got me good.


I smiled, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Home. Again.

Canmore 2

Well, the pastors and spouse retreat went great. The trip there and back, well that seemed long. We arrived home this morning somewhere between 1am and 2am.


The connections with people are amazing. we are somehow able to pick up our relationships where we left off the last time we saw each other. And this year there were some 78 people in attendance.


The sights in Canmore were a real treat. Just walking through town can be inspirational.


So, check out some of the pictures we took in Canmore.

Let's have some fun shall we...

As the next couple days will be spent driving and sitting in long meetings, let's do a little experiment, shall we? Let's find out who you all are!


I want to invite you, heck even encourage you to use the form at the bottom of this post, and type in your city or town, province or state, country, and as much of your name as you are comfortable with!


Depending on the turnout we'll see about making a map or some such thing. Or we'll have a contest between the provinces, or countries.


So, go ahead. I don't care if this is your first visit here or you come daily, or twice daily, or you're the guy who comes 37 times a day.  Just enter once, and lets see how things develop.


Have fun with it and remember, you're not doing this just for you, this is a science experiment!


And I think it will make my week a bit more interesting too.


Blessings on you all.




 

Four ways to know it's Autumn

Autumn in Prince Albert 6

The individual who has lived around these parts for neigh unto eight years now, can easily spot Autumn on its way by these easy, early indicators.


4. The leaves seem to be changing into a bright orange colour. Go figure!


3. You find yourself wearing your jacket more and more.


2. Lauralea is stealing more and more of the blankets in the middle of the night.


1. I'm getting ready to travel to Alberta tomorrow and I don't know if I should pack for summer or winter!


Every Autumn we head to the pastor and spouse retreat, this year it's in Canmore. I just checked the weather there and the forecast for tomorrow is +4 and snow.


Sheesh. What's that about?


Autumn in Canada.

Coolest use of the technology? It's Botswana Baby

This is SO cool!


National Geographic has set up a camera at a watering hole in the heart of Botswana.


They feed the video and audio up to a satellite, shoot it round the world, back onto the internet and bob's your uncle, right into our homes.


The audio is amazing and, though I've only been watching the feed at night there, it's very very cool.


You need realplayer to view it, and you need to go there right now and take a serious, mouth fall open look at the wonders of technology today.


(Probably Jordon Cooper shouldn't view it, just in case there might be a croc in the picture, and the lord knows we don't want to stress that heart out any more than it has been already...)


via.


Update:


I just saw an elephant taking a bath, live, IN AFRICA!!