Hosehead Has Landed

Well, I have arrived. (Sounds like I landed on the moon!)

Through wind, rain, snow and sleet, I have prevailed.

Lauralea got me to the Bus Terminal from a fast bite at our Church pancake fund raiser. Then I did the bus thing for two hours.

My mom, bless her heart, picked me up from the Bus station and got me to the Airport on time. As it turned out, the fight out was delayed an hour, because of weather. So I got some work done for tomorrow.

Then it was flight time to Calgary, and to their credit WestJet has small TV's to watch while you fly. Not to their credit was that they didn't have them turned on while we sat on the ground another half hour, waiting to be De-iced.

The fight was a little rough, probably because of the weather. But it ended well, with me in one piece, kissing the ground. (Doesn't everyone do that?)

I was most pleased that the car rental guy had stayed up for me, and still had my car waiting. And I was able to find my way out of the airport and out of town to Strathmore, some 45 minutes away, where I am holed up presently.

The trip went well, everything fell nicely into place.

I'm praying that the meetings tomorrow go just as well.

But for now, I've got some more prep work to do. So Good night.


(Now go to bed!)

Nouwen on Emptiness

"We are afraid of emptiness. Spinoza speaks about our "horror vacui," our horrendous fear of vacancy. We like to occupy-fill up-every empty time and space. We want to be occupied. And if we are not occupied we easily become preoccupied; that is, we fill the empty spaces before we have even reached them. We fill them with our worries, saying, "But what if ..."It is very hard to allow emptiness to exist in our lives. Emptiness requires a willingness not to be in control, a willingness to let something new and unexpected happen. It requires trust, surrender, and openness to guidance. God wants to dwell in our emptiness. But as long as we are afraid of God and God's actions in our lives, it is unlikely that we will offer our emptiness to God. Let's pray that we can let go of our fear of God and embrace God as the source of all love."

a Prayer at the end of the day

It's a cold one out there tonight boys and girls. The temperature shows only -13C, but the wind and snow is blowing right through you. And I'm warm here at my table. I set up a small table in Johanna's old room, right in front of the window, so i can look out at the cold and blowing snow, all the while my feet are on a hot air vent. So, I'm nice and warm.

I haven't been talking much lately, for a few reasons I suppose. I've been learning again how a home changes as the kids get older. It's not so much a place for one or two people any more, but a place for three or four or, even six. That dynamic can be difficult to process sometimes. It's been that around here lately. It wears me out.

Lauralea's been going to bed earlier these days, mostly for her health. It's a good thing, and she really has to do it. But I'm having trouble getting the days completed before 10.

For me, there is a sense in which I need to slow down, find the quiet, and start the shut down. I find I also need the house to quiet down too, so I prefer if the kids are in their rooms, at least doing quiet things, by 11. Often, of late, they haven't been.

Probably just a weariness, maybe a low grade depression I'm unwilling to face, I dunno. But more and more I'm seeking the quiet, the silence. And more and more it's taking more and more to get restored.

I fly out tomorrow for some meetings for two days, and I was planning to drive to the airport in Saskatoon, but the forecast is for lots of blowing snow and wind. Maybe I'll just hop a bus, get some reports done while I ride. It takes twice as long as a driving the car, which kills me, but maybe the forced slowdown will be ok.

The meetings will be tough. But around late last week there was a peace that settled on my heart. Peace about things I needed to see peace about. This peace will help us know direction in our work. Even though it's difficult work we will be involved in, the Peace makes it clear that all things will work together for good. I'm trusting that.

And now, it's time for bed.

Pray with me, won't you?

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,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

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.

Give our bodies rest, Lord, to restore them; and let the seeds sown by our labours today grow and yield an eternal harvest.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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

Amen


Guy weekend. So far so good.

Well, Lauralea's been gone for what, 20 hours? And hey, we're all still alive.

Hillary's been doing her thing and me and the guys have been doing ours.

Lat night after supper, the three of us got hooked up online with my brother, and played Call of Duty for an hour and a half. It's fun when you have enough people to have a go at playing in small teams. Which we did.

Then I made my famous guacamole and we threw in The Saint, and enjoyed some more guy time.

By then it was around 11 so off they went to bed and I stayed up working on Sunday some more.

As for now, it looks like the chores are done, so we are off to help my brother move.

Have a good one, fellow-men-who-are the-sole-caregivers-for their-children-this-weekend.

Love the Waterbed

This one goes back a few years, but it still makes me laugh out loud.



(Deep Breath) Here we Go!

Dear Randall,

Congratulations on your acceptance to the Spiritual Direction Certificate degree program! Your student ID number is -------. I am attaching some information. Please read it carefully. You will need to follow the directions provided in these documents to set up your email account and to register to take the orientation course (which is free). You will also be receiving a letter in the mail next week. If there is anything you need, or if you have any questions, please don´t hesitate to call or send me an email.

Congratulations!


An appropriate response at this point would be, What was I thinking????

This could be an interesting ride. Hold on tight, it may get bumpy.

"Workin for the Weekend!!"

Yep, still here. Can't get rid of me that easily.

Feels like alot of living is being done these days. Evenings at church activities, days at, well ditto.

This weekend the female gender of our church participants, (Women to you nethanderals!) are heading off on a retreat. Lauralea is helping give leadership for it.

This means two things. One, she's spending alot of time this week preparing for it, so we see her less.

And two, she will be away this weekend. Given my recent lack of any energy towards anything faintly looking like houshold duty, we may be eating alot of cans of beans, or tuna. Or toast.

And thirdly, a lot of the people/ladies from church will be gone. That means most of the worship team. We will be down to two guitars, played by two guys, maybe one. It's tricky to plan for that, you know?

And fourthly, a rack of important meetings as soon as she gets back, columating in me flying out for meetings for two days.

Did i say two things? Yeah, well deal with it!!

But finally and I do mean finally, I don't begrudge her getting away, except she will be working hard through it, leading, which she doesn't always, ever enjoy.

So yeah, still here, still praying, still effecting lives, one way or another.

In a Zone

Been needing to be still lately, know what I mean?

Just need to be low for a while, get my silence on. The more noise I make the less I'm able to hear, you know?

Things get a little tense, and tight, and you know some serious stuff is gonna go down and is going down in peoples lives, and I'm involved in it. When that happens, I tend to become still, quiet, introspective and kind of in a constant position of prayer.

It's kind of become an automatic response for me. In seasons when I really need to be able to hear God, I withdraw and minimize life down to its basic blocks, so stuff won't get in the way of hearing and communicating, with Him. I need to be really clear on direction stuff.

So I get quiet.

I do try to live in the present, cause I need to be. I need to be present for Lauralea and the kids. I need to be present to do my work. Maybe I'm getting better at that, at least I hope I am, but you can't live both here and there for a long time. This season will last about a week or two more I expect, before it begins lifting.

Besides, the silence and prayer is good. It leads to hope and the answers we need.

Peace and Blessings on you tonight.

New math witchcraft

Ok. take any number, larger than one digit.


Add the individual numbers.


Subtract that total from the original number.


Now take that answer and add those individual digits together.


Your answer?


Nine.

Richard J. Foster on Renewal (2000)

In this regard we must recognize that nothing will fail us like success. To be sure, people are attracted to "success". But this is precisely the problem: they are attracted to success, not to Jesus. And the addictive character of a success mentality effectively hinders any real progress in the spiritual life. With "success" as our constant appeal it becomes impossible for us to become serious about self-denial or the cross-life or the Sahara of the heart or the dark night of the soul or other like matters, without which there simply is no substantial spiritual growth.[...]

Now to the two structures from which renewal is possible though not yet realized. The first of these is the local congregation. Here opportunities abound, the main problem being one of distraction. Pastoral leaders need to keep their focus on the enduring work of the cure of souls and refuse to be distracted by all the religious fads which come their way. They need to help their congregations overcome the inferiority complex that comes from not being "mega", and not being flashy, and not being on TV. Pastors themselves must come to believe that to pour themselves into a hundred or so people growing their souls into Christlikeness is a ministry of immense value.

Wow. I need that today.
(via.)

Bonhoeffer on Church renewal

"The renewal of the church will come from a new type of monasticism which only has in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dark Hope


"I will not answer when they cry for help.
Even though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD.
They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them.
That is why they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way.
They must experience the full terror of the path they have chosen.
For they are simpletons who turn away from me--to death.
They are fools, and their own complacency will destroy them.

But all who listen to me will live in peace and safety, unafraid of harm."


Staying abo v e w a t e r

Feels like this week may be catching up on me.

I misplaced a note that indicated that I am to hold a service at a care home tomorrow, and I have no musician as of yet. Yikes.

Tomorrow I also need to run some errands for the church, and pick up some office supplies that are on sale, sale ending tomorrow. Always watching for a deal.

I'm on call chaplain this week and I was called into the hospital tonight. An elderly lady won't make it through the night. She has no church connection, but for reasons hidden deep within the human psyche, it was important to have a minister come by and say a prayer. This always seems a little bizarre to me. One lives all their life without interest or desire for church or God, then at the end they want to bring Him in like a safety net.

Anyway, I may be asked to do that funeral this week too, which is where I was at, saying this week may be catching up on me.

I should probably start by getting myself into bed. Tomorrow is only 6 hours away.

SaskTel does it again

When we first moved here from Winnipeg, i went down to the local provincial phone company and asked for a similar setup as we had in Winnipeg. This consisted of an answering machine on the phone line that would take messages for me.

I remember the lady looked at me with a blank stare as I described to her what I wanted. Then a bit of an incredulous look crossed her face and she repeated after me in disbelief, ?An answering machine built into the phone line???

?I've never heard of such a thing, course we don't have that.?

Thus was I introduced to SaskTel.

Well, sometime later we caught up to the rest of the free world and got it installed on the church system.

Last week, for whatever reason, they upgraded the system. Except now it's all in French. It answers in French, takes messages in French, and the instructions are in French.

In the spirit of Victor Meldrew my response was ?I Don't Believe it!!?

So, tonight I got a French speaking friend to help me get the answering message right, but all the instructions are still in French, and I can't seem to change it to English!!

It's 11:30 and I've spent the last half hour trying to understand the French instructions. All they keep repeating to me is au revoir. I think that means goodbye.


Learning French one word at a time, with the help of SaskTel, this is Randall Friesen saying; Je ne le crois pas.

Bonne nuit.

My Day, in point form.

Well, I made it home late last night.


I attended Hope church in Strathmore in the morning and worshipped with Johanna and some friends. It's a wonderful thing when you can take time to worship with  people you know, but are not able to worship with regularly.


I drove hard through the day and got to mom and dads for supper. It's good to see them these days. Life isn't easy, and, ... yeah, life isn't easy. So it was good to hang with them a bit.


I arrived in Prince Albert after nine sometime. Marc, bless his heart, picked me up from the car rental agency and got me home.


So, from then till now it was the guys and I alone because Lauralea and Hillary were doing a spa weekend away.


I remember falling into bed exhausted, and the morning came too early when the phone started ringing by 8:20. After the second and third calls I got up and figured since the guys were sleeping I might as well do some work. Got a couple of hours done.


Played games with the guys all afternoon and now the girls are back home.


That all got kinda point formish, sorry, but i am tired and calling it a day/weekend/week.


nite.

Meetings completed, fires burning, evening with Johanna commencing

Fire can be a dangerous thing, in fact, when fire seems out of control, most people wisely run from it as fast as they can, physically speaking.


There are times in our lives when the temperature grows to what we think are unreasonable limits. A fire seems to burn around us and we spend time looking for the quick escape. The heat of our situation seems to increase to unbelievable new limits, and we sometimes faint from fear.


But, what if the fire wasn't meant to kill us, only to purify us, to burn away the dross of our lives. What if the fire could be for those good reasons, would we have the courage to learn to live within the fire, and not flee from it? Could we let it burn the things that hold us back? The things that limit us?


It is a completely natural reaction to not want to live in the fire. Maybe it's a supernatural reaction to choose to try to live within the fire. I have learned in my relatively short time on this planet, that sometimes when you need to live in a very hot spot for a while, it's not something to fear, in terms of your demise. Actually it can be exactly the place you need to be living, and the fire has it's purpose too.


Oh yes it's hot and it hurts like crazy, but it will not kill you. Not if you posture yourself before God in willingness, allowing the fire to burn what it needs to burn. It does hurt more if we thrash about and some parts of our lives gets singed. But if we let the fire burn, and watch what it's burning in our lives, we might be surprised to see what's being taken out.


You might be encouraged even.


I guess that's my thought coming out of two days of hard meetings.


Tonight I'm hanging with Johanna.


Nite.


and burn baby burn. 

Of cow piss and snow and prayer

Well, I arrived in Alberta, safe and sound.

I don't know what was harder, driving in the near whiteout/blizzard conditions, or when I passed the semi hauling cattle, one of the cows on the top level started peeing out the side, spraying the whole front of the car. Barely had time to turn on the wipers... snow, cow pee, major wind storm. Yeah.

Well, I stopped in Kindersley and had lunch with a friend, Ron Baker. It was good to see him again. He's pastoring the Alliance church there. He has a good heart and lots of experience, its just not always easy, like life you know?

And, the further west I drove, the less snow there was. By the time I got to the Alberta border, there was no snow. None. Prince Albert has snow, even as late as this morning it was snowing hard. But here, none, nope, no snow. Now that's a good thing. Almost makes up for the cow piss.

My roommate this time around is Wayne. The RCMP guy from BC. (I wonder if he's packin heat? I should ask him. I wonder if I'd sleep better knowing my roommate had a gun under his pillow. I wonder if they still say "Packin Heat?" I wonder too much)
Wayne is pretty much into Survivor, and it's about to start, so we're gonna watch now.

And between the cow piss and lunch, I was prayin, for this weekend, for God's presence, and for you. God was there.

May he be with you tonight too.

Nite.

On the road, again.

If you think of me on Thursday, send up a notice of my motion please. I'm headed to Alberta for Board meetings and I'm feelin sick to my gut. Don't need to get sick now, that's for sure.


I'll get to see Johanna between meetings, that will be nice. But the work will be tough I imagine.


So when you think of me, remind God that I can't get along without him.


And if you want a little prayer action headed your way, just send me a little love on the cell phone and tell me what you need prayed for. I'll pray while I drive. And yes, I do pray with my eyes open.


G'nite.

Spiritual Growth Spurts

There are seasons of our lives in which we feel we are spectators of the most boring soap opera ever created. We move through time feeling completely unaffected by it. The days are somewhat blah, and even our connection with God seems strangely silent. Oh, there are moments of clarity and connection, but generally we don't perceive movement in our lives. At least movement that has any lasting value.

Time is a tricky thing. When you watch a clock, you see no movement, no change. But if you look away for a time, then return to the clock, you do indeed see movement. You do see change, and you perk up a bit because it's nearly quitting time!

Growth is a lot like that watched clock.

We don't always have a clarity that we are changing or growing. We watch the growth indicators of our lives and don't see the thing moving. Then we get discouraged and loose heart.

My observation about my own life has been that its the smallest things that make the biggest impact on me.

Yes, formal education and seminars etc. are valued and have a part to play in my growth. But truthfully? It's usually a small moment in my life that causes me the greatest growth.

Someone speaks a word into my life. ?You do that very well.?

Or while listening to a song on my mp3 player my spirit is suddenly taken to other places and something deep within me is shifted.

Or I'll have a dream that refreshes my understanding of something.

I read an idea in a book that makes me think about things differently.

A need is met through an individual.

You get a new insight from time spent with a Counselor.

These small moments are like things that shape who we are. They shape us well, like the illustrations given, or they shape us negatively, like when someone breaks our trust and we withdraw from them and from life.

They are like bumps in our lives that change the future for us. Our trajectory, our direction is shifted just subtly and we don't see it's effect till we're down the road a ways.

I went over a bump last year that I thought was a small thing. Turns out it was bigger than I thought.

If you recall, one morning during prayer I had just a small picture go through my mind of what my spirit looked like. My opinion was that my spirit was kind of like a basement dungeony place where Jesus went in to clean and clear up. Kind of set up shop in me.
This new image was that my spirit was a place of ?Hills and valleys, streams and forests. A place where God moves into, if we let him. And his presence in the space begins to turn it green and makes it come alive, producing all kinds of fruit.

He might be over in this area creating a shady green valley with a brook running through it. Or he might be over there creating a building structure in which we will house memories of close intimate times.

He may be at work rooting out some nasty weeds or some underbrush that has taken over an area that He wants to turn into a lovely park.?


That simple image is changing my perception of who I am. Its amazing how it works, yet it does.

Perhaps we simply need to relax and let God change us by using these bumps or seemingly small shifts that, down the road, will make a huge difference in our lives.

And maybe we need to look at other people in our lives a bit, take our eyes off ourselves. Get busy being involved in life and living.

Then when you look back at yourself, you will observe change and growth that you couldn't see when you were staring at the clock.

A memory like a steel sieve

There are ways in which Lauralea and I are good for each other. For instance, she helps me to be present. Sometimes I am present in body, but absent in spirit, or mind. She notices and calls me to the present.

Another way is that she seems to really like cooking, and I seem to really enjoy eating. See, like two bookends!

And she has this usually loveable quality of forgetting things, kind of just not aware of her current surroundings. This causes her to forget where her car keys are, or her wallet, watch, scarf, mitts, messages, etc. Usually I am around and I have space designated in my brain that stores that kind of data. I know the paper is in my inside coat pocket. I know the cell phone is on and is in my outer coat pocket. I know I saw her put a can of MountainFizz pop in her coat pocket to take to the last church meeting, just in case.

Well, she forgot about the can of pop. Apparently she arrived home without it being in her pocket any longer, and I'm not sure she was consciously aware of this... change.

Till this morning.

Off I went to start the van because it got cold overnight. It was -23C and chilly. When I opened the van door, my mind could not make sense of the winter wonderland my eyes beheld.

There were ice crystals and ice chunks everywhere. It was amazing. Where did all the ice come from? Was it all broken glass from a window? Nope they were ok.

Sparkling ice was everywhere, on the dashboard, the steering wheel, seats, ceiling, floor, in the vents, doorhandles, ...E V E R Y W H E R E ! ! !

And finally, finally I saw a torn apart pop can, the top half missing. And in an instant I knew what it was and what had happened.

She had not realized or remembered she had taken a can of pop to church. And it had fallen out of her blissfully unaware pocket, to sit in hiding till the temperature dropped when it would explode into a fountain of frozen freakin Mountain Fizz.

So, I cleaned as best I could, in -23C temperature, thinking how pleasant it will be in summer, without air conditioning and the windows won't work, and the temperature is +35C...

I was already beginning to stick to the steering wheel, and I could smell the minty freshness of Mountain Fizz blowing refreshingly through the air vents.

But its ok, bookends her and I. She balances me out nicely.
Besides, today she's making KeyLime pie.

I feel the warmth of forgiveness rising already from deep within my heart.
Or maybe its my stomach.

Superblow 40

Well, Steelers won in spite of themselves, and with a wee bit of help from the refs, they were able to overcome.


And for the record, the boys stuck with my highs and lows, throughout the game!  But I'm not sure what happened about God's support. Maybe he was still in church. Or better yet, he probably was hanging with the poor. He does that you know. So it would make sense that the SuperBowl would be the last place he would be. With the most expensive seats going for over 10 grand each, and the cheapest for $700, I doubt anybody in that place could be considered poor.


The highlight of the game? We got to see the Superbowl commercials in Canada!


The ABC station out of Detroit was broadcasting the whole game, even the commercials. Normally Canada doesn't see the commercials because the Canadian stations broadcast their own commercials over the Superbowl ones. But for whatever reason, today they allowed the commercials to be broadcast here in Canada. And there were some sweet ones indeed.


I loved the "Streaker" lamb one. Oh, and the magic fridge one too. Also, the cell phone with built in theft deterrent, that was sweet. (The Pepsi airport one, and the Ameriquest one with the monkeys)


So, another one for the books.
Now, for spring training. Only five months away.

Good to go

Yes, the Guacamole is made and is in good shape. The chips are ready too, and the ginger ale is good to go. Now, bring on SuperBowl 40.

Just for the record, I'm cheering for the SeaHawks to take it tomorrow. Mostly because they've never won it before, and they have played amazing football this year. It doesn't hurt that coach Holmgren is a good Covenant boy. (So you can guess which team God will be cheering for!)

And again, I expect to be watching it alone, in my basement. How sad is that?

Well, I should clarify, I expect to be watching the game alone, after all the guacamole and chips are cleaned out.

Now for your Superbowl trivia moment. This is the first Superbowl in history in which the both coaches have mustaches. There's one for the record books.

C'mon Hawks, bring it home for the first time ever!

Just another Saturday at work

Well, I've spent the day writing an article I promised to someone a while ago. Today I finally finished off writing that, and a few other things.

Last night Lauralea and I were out again, for the fourth night in a row, and I'm getting to forget what the boys look like. Maybe tomorrow afternoon before THE GAME, we can go get some golfing or bowling in. We need to reconnect.

Tomorrow morning is one of those tricky pastoral mornings. We have a lot planed that we want to do, in terms of worship. So I haven't worked hard on a sermon because we really might not have time for it. While this is ok with me, it's not always ok with everybody. So, kinda catch 22.

Think I'll start towards home now. See what we can redeem of the day.

All that just to say nothing.

Well, tonight I'm just sitting here listening to some very very smooth Jazz. (Click to listen).

It's been another long week. Been busy, but good busy you know? And I can't seem to shake this flu/cold thing. Feels like it may be making a repeat appearance.

Tonight we were at some church friends for supper. Very very good food and friendship. He's been trying out making his own wine, and he's progressing well!

Then later on tonight I had a phone meeting to work on the agenda for our Covenant Bible College Board meetings I'll be at next weekend. Saves lots of cash meeting on the phone.

Anyway, today I had a dentist appointment, and turns out I've got like 6 cavities. Six.

My brother's probably had like 6 in his entire life, but me? Noooo.

And my kids never seem to get them. What is that about?

I guess all that to say I've got nothing to say.

So, goodnight.