Secrets in the Dark, A Life In Sermons - Fredrick Buechner

Friday, June 30, 2006
A great book of sermons.

He's a great storyteller and puts a lot of work into his sermons. He does inspire me.

The Ertls have landed

Well, I think that the first comment Toni left in this space was back on July 17, 2003, and he started his own blog on August 19, 2003.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Today Toni, his good wife Chris and his son Ben, came to our house for a visit.

This here Internet thing is quite cool. (Because they live in England.)

Now if we can just find a husband for my sister...

Ben, Thomas, Micah, Lauralea, Chris, and Toni.

You know there is always some nervousness when you meet someone you've only known online and on the phone, but this nervousness melted away quickly as we connected with Toni and Chris.

They are who I thought they would be. Warm, gracious, caring, and sensitive people. And Ben, who I've had only limited contact with, turns out to be easy to connect with, especially on things gaming... :)

So, the internet can be a cool place to meet people.

Don't believe ALL the hype.


Breathe Deeply

It"s Friday morning and, as I look back, it"s the first opportunity I"ve had to sit down and be alone with my thoughts since, since last Thursday.

I"m going to need to carve out some space to process this week.

Maybe next week, hopefully.

Company"s here now...


The Day

Thursday, June 29, 2006
The day went well, thank you for your prayers, flowers, cards and love.

Thank you for being there, really, and for helping so much. Thank you for the place to crash afterwards, and for your generosity. You are a good bunch of people.

During the coffee afterwards I met up with some of my oldest friends, guys I grew up with.
Dale (Pastor of our old church now), Lowell (big Sask. government employee guy), and me.

The Committal service went well too.

(For my records...)
The Service

Some 64 years and 5 months ago, on a farm not far from here, a baby boy entered this world.

His mom and dad named him Reuben Thomas.

He grew into a boy, who with his twin brother would sometimes get into mischief.

He helped work this land as a farmers son, and he watched as his parents followed God faithfully into ministry.

As a boy he decided for himself who he would serve and asked Jesus to come into his life, and that day he became a new creation.

He went off to Bible school and there found the love of his life, this girl, Evie Thiessen.

They married and had four, ahem, wonderful children.

He worked hard to provide for his family

It seemed he was faithful with a few things, so God called him to Ontario, to work for him there.

And it wasn"t easy at all, still he sought to be faithful. He was a servant, a caregiver, a leader.

Illness grew to be a big part of his life, in fact some of you didn"t know him before he was sick.

But sought not to let that define him. He was Reuben Friesen, child of God, husband to Evie, father to Randall, Gaylene, Jeffrey, Robyn, Lauralea and Heidi, grandfather, and friend.

His desire was just to be faithful through each day and what it would bring his way.

He has travelled these years and has seen them through to their completion.

Now he"s gone on ahead of us. And while he"s gone on, we gather here to lay to rest the mortal remains of Reuben Friesen.

That which we saw with our eyes, heard with our ears, and touched with our hands.

1 Peter 1:3,4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you.

He whom we love is not here. Tenderly and reverently we commit that which is mortal to the grave; the body returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit unto God who gave it. For even as we have borne the image of the earthly, we who die in Christ shall bear the image of the heavenly. May the Lord receive him into his peace and raise him up at the last day. Amen.

I heard a voice from heaven saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Blessed indeed, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.

O Lord: support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dad was a man who valued community. It was always his intention that whatever difficulties would arise, we would work through them together.
Even a few weeks ago we assured him that whatever needed to be done we would get done together.

So we thought it fitting that in this last action for dad, or at least the body that contained him these 64 years, we would do what needed to be done together, one last time.

And in this final act of love and community, we want to fill the grave, for him.

The next time this dirt will be moved, may it be when Jesus returns and the graves will open up.

So you are all invited to participate, share the load, and let us complete this farewell.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.


Reuben Thomas Friesen

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Born, January 25, 1942 in Chortitz, (Hague) at home on the farm to Mary and John D. Friesen, the first of twins.

Dad grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and as such he participated in the work that needed to be done on a farm. Daily chores and occasional field work included.

He attended a two-room country school where, according to his report card, he struggled with his grades.

It seemed he also had an occasional struggle with stubbornness. His dad wrote:

“It was a Sunday morning and due to our baby's illness, the boy"s mother was obligated to stay on the farm while I had to preach in the next village. The twins were often full of mischief when left alone. It was decided that the oldest one would go with me to the meeting, but the boy with a strong will of his own had made up his mind not to go. On this morning mother suggested we pray together as a family and leave the matter with the Lord.
At first the oldest found it hard to kneel with the others. After committing all to the lord, no questions were asked; he simply picked up his jacket and took his seat in the Chevy. He found a place in the front pew and listened attentively while his dad delivered the sermon.”?

These things affect us when we are growing up. Yes he was a pastor"s boy, but he was also a twin to Ernest. He was an older brother to his sisters Johanna and Magdalena. When he was ten, his sister Magdalena died and he saw his parents struggle with that loss.

(And from what we could recall as children, it seemed that when dad was growing up he had to do a lot of walking, always uphill, always in a snowstorm and with bare feet.)

He finished up to grade ten by correspondence. And later on during summers he worked at the coop creamery in the ice cream department.

He left for Steinbach Bible Institute which he attended for three years. In his third year he became ill and didn't graduate. He returned home, very discouraged.

It was at that time at SBI on the volleyball court where he met and eventually married the lovely and talented Evie Thiessen. (She helped write this!)

Reuben and Evie were married September 1 1962 in MacGregor, Manitoba.

During those early years Reuben worked in a mattress factory and they lived in a second floor apartment in Winnipeg. A year later Randall was born.

In 1964 they moved to Saskatoon where he did factory work. Gaylene came along a year later, in 1965.

He loved singing and was involved in the music ministry in their local EMMC church, Westmount Evangelical Church.

Eleven months later, Jeffrey was born. And it was during this time that he began to work at Canadian Linen Supply becoming a supervisor in the business. This was a fond memory for his older children who remember seeing much of Saskatchewan as they were able to travel with him on his routes throughout the province.

Five years after Jeff was born mom and dad realized they weren't done having kids. And in 1971, Robyn was added to the family.

During his work which involved heavy lifting, he managed to hurt his back. This was a difficult time for him as he was in constant pain. Eventually, surgery was required on his back which helped enormously, and life got better again.

He was successful in his field of endeavor, which was sales, winning awards and trips which he enjoyed taking with mom. He loved to travel and see new things.

It was at this time that they experienced a call from the EMMC church in Aylmer Ontario to move there and work with the youth and music. This was a huge challenge to consider and it wasn't taken lightly. After much prayer they felt God clearly leading them in that direction so dad and mom moved in a step of faith.

This was not an easy time for them. Finances were very tight and learning a new town, church, and ministry, was difficult enough, let alone being in Ontario in a down time in the economy. Jobs were so scarce.

Still Dad poured himself into the young people and church community there. He cared for these people who were moving up from Mexico, and had a passion for helping them settle into their new lives in Canada.

Later on when he was selling real-estate in Aylmer, he helped to develop a housing complex for low income people and immigrants, eventually serving as administrator for that development project.

This time of his life also saw him involved more in EMMC board work and ministry. He was quite active in the development and growth of Aylmer Bible School, which he loved.

Not only was he involved in the youth and church choir, but he loved coaching the church baseball team. Golf was also something he enjoyed with his friends. Many times he could be found having coffee at the coffee shop with someone from the community, or driving them around helping them to find a place to live. He loved the fruit that southern Ontario would produce each year and exploring that area of Canada was something he and mom enjoyed doing.

He was beginning to hit his stride in life when in 1997 the diagnosis of a genetic liver disease turned out to be a most difficult for challenge for them.

This diagnosis brought him and his wife back to Saskatoon where the disease progressed and resulted in two liver transplants.

Through these many difficult years he remained positive which was a testament to his faith and outlook on life. It was always amazing to us that each new twist and turn of the disease which brought increased pain or suffering, would be met with the simple; “We'll take each thing as it comes, one at a time.”?

In different ways during those years, he communicated his deep appreciation and thankfulness for his life's partner, Evie. He was always aware of the support of his family and friends and this meant so much to him.

Less and less he could leave the apartment, so he would set his tasks to the work he could do at home. Each day, even though it was difficult, he would take time to read his bible, reading through it five times in these later years.

Near the end, even though unable to get to church, hymn videos and gathier videos were a comfort to him, as he prepared for the future.

Dad's faith in Jesus Christ as his Saviour was the bedrock of his life. He wrote:

“In the early Fifties, I was faced with the question, is your heart black or white. Dealing with the issue of Jesus living in my heart... Well, now was the question, what color was my heart? That night before I went to bed I had asked Jesus to come into my heart. That is when my life was change to a new creation.

My life has not always been a life of living pure and white however Jesus is there to help me along through struggles and times of distress. Faith is something that if you grasp it and hold on to, it will take you through many difficulties, valleys and even hills to climb.”?

These past weeks were increasingly difficult for dad as his body was unable to absorb the precious oxygen, he so desperately needed. Early on the morning of June 23 he was rushed to St. Paul's Hospital.

He was unresponsive for most of the morning, then suddenly he awoke. He struggled through the afternoon with much discomfort and difficulty with breathing. But during that time he joked a bit and we made short term plans which he was looking forward to. Throughout the day the struggle for comfort and oxygen wore him out.

On the morning of June 24 held safely in the arms of his best friend Evie, he slipped the bonds of earth and was gone.

He was an ordinary man through whom God did some extraordinary things.


To say I am exhausted would be a complete understatement.

Monday, June 26, 2006
I think I got here to the office around 9:30 this morning. I thought it would be a better place to accomplish a ton of work. I was right.

About a billion phone calls were made, buns were arranged for, 300 times I just stopped and wept, 100 of those times I was on the phone with someone so I just pretended I was taking a long time to talk slowly so they wouldn"t know I was crying, two million words were typed, and after it all, it doesn"t look like a lot of work was done.


I miss him already.

I know I know, he"s better off and blah blah blah, but I miss him. He was my dad you know.
(Here we go again, where"s my kleenex...)

I worked so hard so that tomorrow I could just work at getting my family to Saskatoon in 6 pieces, and be present with them through this time.

The only official thing I have to do is the Committal Service, and it"s the only thing I want to do. Somewhere in the genetic code it"s written that a son"s gotta take care of his dad"s going. And I want to do that well. I am totally scared that I will start to ball on the first word, but we will see.

The other thing we are doing is that we are laying dad to rest. We will be taking responsibility to fill the grave, as a final act of love and community. So we will bring shovels and care for the body that held him all these 64 years.

When we cross your mind, would you send one up for us.
We"re gonna need it.



Friesen, Reuben

FRIESEN -Reuben Friesen went home to be with his Lord on Saturday, June 24, 2006. He is lovingly remembered by wife Eva; children Randall (Lauralea) Friesen, Gaylene Friesen, Jeffrey (Heidi) Friesen, Robyn Friesen, grandchildren Johanna, Hillary, Thomas, Micah; brother Ernest (Rose) Friesen; sister Joh (Dirk) Vankuik. He was predeceased by his parents. A public viewing will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 8:00 pm with the Celebration of Life service to be held on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 10:00 am. Both services will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 107 McWillie Ave., Saskatoon, Sk. Reuben will be laid to rest in the Chortitz Cemetery. Arrangements are in care of MARTENS WARMAN FUNERAL HOME (934-4888)

Saskatoon StarPhoenix obituaries


Reuben T. Friesen January 25, 1942, 7:00am - June 24, 2006, 9:40am

Sunday, June 25, 2006
My dad died yesterday morning, after a long struggle with illness.

He fought the disease with courage and faith, and in the end he died in the arms of his best friend, my mom.

He"s traveled so far in these ten years and the journey"s been so hard.

He"s finally arrived at his destination.

I"m glad we had Friday together.


Grad 2006. The Grand March.

Saturday, June 24, 2006
Well, the third part of Grad went off without a major hitch tonight. If these guys really understood what these women go through to get the Glory on, well they might appreciate it more.

It took three of them a while to get the hair and dress and shoes right, while us three guys stood around and gawked in wonder. Amazing.

And thus the transformation is complete.

Too many times Hillary and I have not got along, we are both very stubborn people. I am so glad there are a few nights like tonight. They help.

Happy Graduation Hillary. Hope you have a wonderful life.

The Dress

Nervous Escort brings flowers

Hillary's Graduation

There are more pictures, here.


Well, this day of Graduation continues to roll on.

This morning, for over two hours, we endured or enjoyed the ceremony and awards part of the weekend. Of course it was mandatory attendance for the boys, who were deeply impressed. But you need to take the time in life, no matter how long the service is, to celebrate your accomplishments.

I sat there thinking back on all the memories. Helping her learn her spelling words, encouraging her to write larger so at least her teachers could read her writing, buying flash cards so she could memorize the times tables, parent teacher/interviews where the teachers would croon over her, and on and on.

It seemed to take so long, but was over so fast.

Anyway, here are some more images for you to follow along with.
Hillary's Graduation

Tonight's the Grand March where the gown will make an appearance.

But before that we will have a family celebration supper at home. Just to stop and mark the space and time Hillary has reached.

Keep praying for us, ok?


Dying Sucks.

Friday, June 23, 2006
Not the actual moment of death, for that is a Holy moment. A transition of all things from this life in which we see only dimly, into a reality that is even more pure than anything ever experienced in this world.

No, it"s the walk to the door that is the troubling thing.

People stand around your bed, watching you struggle with this battle which everyone knows you will loose.

All dignity is lost as you struggle to do things you"ve been doing since you were three years old. Now you need help with everything. Absolutely everything.

You make a joke now and then to cut the tension, to try and lighten the mood. After all, you've been thinking deeply about this day for a long long time. While others have denied, you have faced it, with a calm peace.

You wonder if you"ve taken care of everything. In a urgent moment of recall, you remind your family of important papers that will need their attention.

And the fight, the constant fight these bodies go through just to live. They have been trained for years to fight to live, and now their training comes into play. They just don"t quit, even at the pain and great discomfort of the individual, they just don"t quit.

And in the end it is the one who is leaving who fights alone. No one can fight for them, they must fight alone. The others can go home to safe beds and life knowing in some part of themselves that it is not yet their turn to go. This dying is a lonely business, an individual journey we all walk through by ourselves.

"O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then Lord, in your mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, one God forever."


It's 3:20 am

Thursday, June 22, 2006
the sky is lighting up and I'm still awake.

They have taken dad to the hospital, by ambulance.

He's not good at all.


Happy Grad Hillary

Hillary's Graduation

Well, here we go.

Graduation weekend for Hillary Jane.

You can view all the pic's for now, here.


Graduation 2.0

I just realized, again, it"s 7:30 and I"m at the office already.

I"ve been doing that too much lately. Waking up, unable to sleep more, getting up and basically heading out the door to work.

Makes for extra time to get things done, just feels gross.

Anyway, tonight starts Hillary"s Graduation with a Grad Mass. So watch for pictures.

Gonna be a busy weekend.


Ever just wanna dig a deep hole?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Maybe it's just a guy thing but it's the second or third cool thing to do when you get to a nice beach, dig a deep hole.

Well boys, it's been done before.

Over forty years ago, researchers in the Soviet Union began an ambitious drilling project whose goal was to penetrate the Earth's upper crust and sample the warm, mysterious area where the crust and mantle intermingle...

The Russian researchers were also surprised at how quickly the temperatures rose as the borehole deepened, which is the factor that ultimately halted the project's progress. Despite the scientists' efforts to combat the heat by refrigerating the drilling mud before pumping it down, at twelve kilometers the drill began to approach its maximum heat tolerance. At that depth researchers had estimated that they would encounter rocks at 100»?C (212»?F), but the actual temperature was about 180»?C (356»?F)”? much higher than anticipated. At that level of heat and pressure, the rocks began to act more like a plastic than a solid, and the hole had a tendency to flow closed whenever the drill bit was pulled out for replacement. Forward progress became impossible without some technological breakthroughs and major renovations of the equipment on hand, so drilling stopped on the SG-3 branch. If the hole had reached the initial goal of 15,000 meters, temperatures would have reached a projected 300»?C (572»?F).

When drilling stopped in 1994, the hole was over seven miles deep (12,262 meters), making it by far the deepest hole ever drilled by humankind.

Read all about it.



Well, it"s a few moments after 6 am and I am at the office waiting for those who will pray with me.

Most of the year we meet in darkness to pray an wait on God, but spring and summer mean it is light out as we move towards the church for our 6:30 appointment.

This makes a radical difference in peoples moods and even their attendance.

Each week we gather and it"s something like a “Light Watch”? as we progress through the winter. It"s dark each week, and we long for the season of light. Then week by week it gets a little brighter out, till the day arrives that it"s light out before we even get out of bed at 5:30.

Today I realized it"s Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year.

It means that this is the day that produces the most light for us out of the whole year. That means that the sun was up with the birds today, long before I awoke.

But it also means that the sun will now start taking longer and longer to get up in the morning. It means that after this day it starts getting darker and darker again.

I always thought this was a gype, just as summer was getting going, the days get shorter again.

Still the rhythms of life and the rhythms of prayer continue around us, and in us.

Seasons of life. Always different seasons of life to travel through.

I guess we will attempt to take the warm, light filled seasons while they are upon us. Lord knows there are often too many cold dark days to struggle through.

Have a nice Summer Solstice.



Google Earth 4 Beta

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Yep, it's out and it's better.




Brooding: persistently or morbidly thoughtful

How do I introduce this topic...

Lately I have been growing in my understanding of myself and how I respond in different situations. I am realizing that there are ways in which I am made, and that"s just how I am made. It isn"t right or wrong, it"s just how I am. (Of course the outworking of how I am made can easily result in right or wrong things happening.)

For instance, I am finally growing to understand that perhaps I am a individual of few words. I don"t talk a lot. I don"t talk to think things through, or to process data. Most of that goes on in my head. However, because I am not always communicating out loud, some individuals (read: My Family) take my lack of words to be an indication that I am upset or angry or something that I"m not. Quiet, for them, equals anger. In my case at least.

The other thing I"m trying to understand about myself is that I just don"t bounce back quickly after an emotional shock to the system. Some people in my family can pretty much take a shot or be in a context where a lot of emotional crap is flying, and very quickly afterward, get up and have everything be good again. I can"t.

For me, I feel a lack integrity if I respond outwardly without taking the time to process the events. After such an event, it"s still playing through my head and I"m not present because I"m busy processing things. Usually I think through where I failed, how the event unfolded and my failure in it, and further responses to it. I can"t do that all in an hour or two.

Some call this sulking, and sometimes it"s nothing more than nursing a wound. But the thing people who bounce back quickly don"t understand is how it can take some people extra time to process such things.

And I"m not sure if that lack of ability to bounce back quickly is the quality of a sick or ill individual physically, spiritually, or emotionally, or if it is simply a quality of being a more reflective individual. I think it can be both. I"m just trying to get to the place where it"s ok if it takes some time to work things through, inside.

Problems arise when the “Quick Processor”? is done thinking and getting on with things, and grows impatient with the “Slow Processor,”? who is quietly processing data in the corner. Then, when the “Slow Processor”? gets done and is ready to move on, or talk about it, the “Quick Processor”? is long past that point in their lives.


Life seems to be one long process of figuring things out.


The Future is here. Nearly.

Monday, June 19, 2006
So you take a paint brush, digitize it, plug it into a computer and there you go. Digital painting.

Those people down at MIT are amazing.

This video clip will make you go, Wow.

Then you will say, “I want one.”?



Happy Father's Day to me

Sunday, June 18, 2006
You"ve Never Been Unloved

you are my child, and i am proud,
that you are so bold
and shy,

so quiet,

and caring.

that you fearlessly attempt things
i would never touch.

that you love and hate with all your heart-

on the days you love,

everything is brighter.

on the days you hate,

all is blackness

and the world is plunged into


we wonder on a road all our days,
unsure of the direction.

when the road dips, or turns sharply

we are surprised

caught unaware, we crash and cry
and wonder why.

and i stop to help you up, but
you reject my hand

the hate in your eyes owns you.

the fear i see in them is your fear of yourself
what is happening to you.

i hide the fear in my own eyes.

i want you to know that
something in your changing life
is sure

i offer you help again

you push away.

you prefer to sit in your own blood,

broken, bruised.

and i must let you sit there
for this is your road.

still, i love you.

so i sit beside you
and wait
and pray.


Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 17, 2006


P.A. Street Fair

This afternoon, Lauralea, Micah, and I headed downtown for the annual Prince Albert Street Fair.
I took the camera, so you can see some of the fun and rain of the day.

Prince Albert Street Fair


Girls are evil??

Ok, "They" only let me take General Math in High School, so i don't really know.

help me out on this, (Esp. you and you).


Lions 45, Roughriders 28

I just don't know if I have the emotional reserves to cheer for the Riders this year.

Just don't know...


Thunderclouds and Peace

Friday, June 16, 2006
This morning I drove out to Christopher Lake to meet with a friend fighting cancer. He hasn"t been able to be in church for a while, so I took communion to him and his wife.

It"s always cool how a regular kitchen table can so easily turn into a holy place and a holy moment carved out of the pain and struggle that illness brings. We share the simple juice and bread together, and I anoint him with oil, and prayer.

Christopher LakeI had brought my camera along so afterwards I went down to the dock just as a thunderstorm was rolling in for some quick shots.

And I remembered that one of my best buddies growing up, who is now pastoring our childhood church was heading to my mom and dad"s place to share the Lord"s Table with them this day too.



Henri Nouwen on love

"Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.

Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we "do" love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts."

Henri Nouwen


Radio 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006
I"m sitting here in my living room just listening to the radio. I tuned in 70's on Seven and the Doobie Brothers/ Listen to the Music is cranking out loud. I"ve been doing this late in the evenings for the past week, right here in Prince Albert. Over a hundred channels of radio, hitting my house.

Yep. Satellite Radio.

Now, you gotta know that I am a radio freq from way back. Ever since I earned that small transistor radio from my folks for keeping my room clean for a week... but that"s another post.

Moving to Prince Albert meant six radio stations to choose from and one was french, two were top forty, one talk, one country and one CBC. My radio style was getting cramped.

We used the computer as a radio receiver and rebroadcast the signal throughout the yard and house, except when the computer link would drop or offer very poor quality.

I became aware of Satellite radio quite a few year ago, but it was available only in the states. I was tempted to get a grey market system and run it up here, but I didn"t bother.

Then it came to Canada earlier this year, and Lauralea started encouraging me to check it out again.

Na, costs, etc, bla bla bla.

Finally last week we stepped up, and wow baby...

I usually use the TV as a distraction or to chill down by, but apart from a hockey game or two, I"m forgetting TV altogether. I"ve been listening to the radio again, like the old days. And I"m loving it.

All kinds of types of music, which is just the kind I like. And talk radio and news and comedy and sports. All the NFL games and now all the CFL games too. Old Time radio shows, Discovery Radio, Disney radio, CNN, CNBC, BBC, NPR, Public radio, Christian radio, Broadway tunes, Rat Pack tunes, Classical Music, Country, Jazz till the cows come home, CBC 3, BBC 1, and on and on. It"s a radio guy"s dream come true.

Now I know not everybody will understand this, but for people who enjoy good radio, (drool drool) she is a sweet deal.

And the radios now. Amazing. And on sale. The one we got can be used in the home or car. It transmits a solid signal on any FM frequency you want, so I can listen anywhere in the house and yard. It constantly is recording so I can pause it and go back to it and pick up where it left off. I can also go back for the past 45 minutes and listen to any or all of the songs already played. Tivo for Radio. S W E E T.
It also always displays the song and group being played, and includes a full feature remote control. My new hobby is to chill on the couch, with the remote and listen to a good song, while scanning the other channels for the next cool tune.

Radio Heaven.

I gotta go. Tonight I"m going to sleep listening to the old Jack Benny radio show.



Pregnant !!!

Ok Dixie, where are you when you are needed?

"Qiao Yubo, who is pregnant with at least five babies, walks with her husband, right, in Songyuan, in China"s northeast Jilin province, Sunday. Qiao, who is 1.67 metres tall (five foot five), has a waistline measurement of 1.75 metres (five foot seven) five months into her pregnancy. Qiao"s excessive bulk is causing difficulties in getting around, with taxi drivers too afraid to take her in their cars. Her clothing is all custom-made and she eats up to seven meals a day."

UPDATE: Well, thanks to Peggy's persistence or curiosity, we have an update. Turns out the whole thing was a hoax, or rather, more of a sad story of hurting people.

Super-sized belly ends a prank
By Jessie Tao (
Updated: 2006-06-15 17:23

As people are widely concerned about the health of Qiao Yubo and her five babies in her phenomenally big belly, the super pregnant woman confessed Wednesday to the local reporters and doctors that the whole thing was made up.

...However, when a hospital in the capital city of Changchun offered a free medical check-up, the woman and her husband taken flee from a window, thus unfolding the true story behind, reported Jinlin News.

When the doctors finally found her in a washing room in her sister's house, Qiao knelt down, cried out, and told them she was not carrying quintuplets, Mr Li, chief of the hospital, told the newspaper.

Calming down, Qiao pulled out the staff she had been cramming into her belly, including three bed quilts, a dozen sweaters, shirt, cushions, hats and so on, Li said.

... Qiao had been pregnant twice before, once with twins and the other with multiples, but had miscarriages both times. Fearing the second miscarriage might be a hard blow to her husband, Qiao hold back the truth.

Qiao became pregnant again a month after her second miscarriage, which gave her an idea -- to make up a belly with clothes and other staff before the belly got really big so that her husband would get the truth. She then filled something inside every day, and her belly grew accordingly, Li was told by Qiao.

She has been pregnant for three months in fact, Li said.

Surprisingly enough, even Qiao's husband had no idea Qiao was having a fake belly until the arrival of the hospital staff, and he was the first to inform of media of the quintuplets.

Wow. Tough story.


Harry Lehotsky

When we lived and worked in Winnipeg I got to know and appreciate Harry Lehotsky. He was this New York kid who felt a call from God, to the West side of Winnipeg. He came and his strategy was simple, love the people.

I knew, from time spent with him, that his life was less than easy. But God was in Harry"s love and work, and began to bless the West side of Winnipeg.

This year Harry has been doing some writing for the local paper. He continues to try to see the place and people changed by the love of God.

But most recently, as in weeks ago, Harry was diagnosed with cancer. It"s an aggressive form of it and things don"t look great.

Today Lauralea gave me a heads up on an interview done with him on Sounds Like Canada.

The guy is still so gracious, pouring out his life there in Winnipeg with his wife and kids.

So today I am thinking about and praying for Harry, his wife Virginia, and their three sons, Matthew, Brandon, and Jared.

Lord, have mercy.

UPDATE: Thanks for your emails. Harry's life is a challenge. and encouragement.


Oilers 4, Hurricanes 3.

Getty ImagesWow, what a game last night. The Oilers played hard and Fernando Pisani was the man of the night. You knew it was going to be a good one when Edmonton scored 14 seconds into the game.

Then in overtime, Fernando scored the winner. Sweet.

This might turn into a contest after all.


Us 1. Crows 0.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

So, this spring Micah and I put up his birdhouse. Actually, we were just standing it on a post while we painted around it, and forgot about it. Till one morning we saw little happy singing birds pushing twigs into the hole, and making a home out of it.

Since then we have enjoyed happy bird singing nearly every day, and we feel pretty good about ourselves, helping out a small bird family making their way in this world.

The only problem is CROWS.

Now we have some nasty crows around here. They have lived in the area in the past, building nests in the trees nearby. This year they have taken notice of these small juicy morsels, and have attempted on numerous occasions, to grab themselves a quick lunch.

They like to land on the fence beside the little house, and wait patiently for lunch to stick it"s head out.

And We. Will. Have. None. Of. That.

So I picked up a slingshot and we have it positioned beside the back door. If we even see a crow on the yard, out we go to take shots at it. It flies to the treetops, but that doesn"t stop our defenses. We continue to shoot at them, still within range. They fly further, still not far enough for our skilled shots. Finally they fly off to other things which catch their attention.

Slowly they are learning that we will not be trifled with.

Tonight as I came home, there was a crow sitting on the fence, waiting. I ran in and got the slingshot and fired at it again and again till it flew off in fear. I waited, just to see if it was circling back on me. All was quiet.

I approached the trees where they sometimes hide. Nothing there either. The crows were gone and the little birds live to sing another day.

Then, just as I turn around to go back into the house, from the midst of the trees, the joyful, happy sound of the relieved little bird filled the air. Seems he had been hiding in the trees, unable to get home, till the big black crow was gone.

And he was grateful.

Us 1. Crows 0.


MediaPlayer 11

Windows Media Player 11 Beta is out now. While I don"t usually download a Beta onto my laptop, I thought I could trust this one.

A bit sleeker, nicer looking, black background. But I"m still learning it.

So far? I like it. It was worth every penny.


Do what you can, while you can.

Monday, June 12, 2006
The day started with a phone call from the Hospital. Seems a friend who had come nicely through surgery had taken a bad turn. By this morning she was very sick, the doctor was doubtful she would make the day.

I went and sat with her as the family met with the Doctor. I held her hand as I prayed - not for her health, but for God"s sovereignty in her life, and death.

Having fought so many health battles in her life, she has become tired of it all. She lost her voice years ago from a cancer that gave her only a month to live and I know she longs to sing again. Her desire is for the fight to be done so that she can reach home.

I don"t begrudge her this desire to be finished here. So I prayed silently that God might be sovereign in her death as he has been in her life.

I kept near the phone all day, just in case.

By tonight I hadn"t heard anything, so after nine I headed back to the hospital to check up on her. She was still there. Her body having been trained for years to fight, unconsciously continued to battle. The breathing labored, hard. The tubes going into her arms, coaxing her back to the assumed land of the living.

I sat with her and said a quiet prayer, again for God"s will.

Then I left, pausing in front of the large window beside the elevator to bask in an amazing pink and blue sunset.

Days like these make me remember to stop and enjoy what I have, while I still can.

UPDATE: This morning I went to check up on her and as I touched her arm her eyes opened and she whispered something to me. I leaned in and asked her to repeat it, she whispered into my ear, "I'm Back."

Arnold has nothing on this lady.


Nearing the Destination

Yesterday morning my internal bladder alarm clock woke me at 6:10 am, and I"m proud to say I was up and in the car driving home by 6:30am. (Hey, it"s a guy thing...)

It was a tricky morning, driving through the rain and cold and keeping my eyes open. But I pulled into Saskatoon by 12:20 and headed over to my folks to hang out with them a while.

I notice dad is getting more and more sick, with each visit. I know parts of him are getting ready to go, he just doesn"t know the date of the journey yet. But it will become clearer as the days progress.

I am glad he is still able to be at home, and I hope the oxygen he is on will sustain him for a long while yet, but one day he will have to go to the hospital and then the final leg of the journey will be at hand.

I don"t know that I am walking through these days of farewell in a good way. I mean I really don"t know how to do this. As a son I feel I"m missing it, as a father I feel like I"m not able to help my kids through these things either.

Then I realize that there"s just Randy grieving over the loss of a Dad, A dad who"s going away for a time, who I"ll see again, but who I must say good bye to for now.

And the Reverend part of me sees the stages of grief at work within me, like anger and sadness, deal makin, depression and acceptance. And I know what is happening in me.

But I"m still just a boy trying to learn to say goodbye to his dad.

I know he reads this space, so I try to keep it not so personal, but these are the things I"m struggling through these days.

May God grant us a closeness and awareness of his very presence these days. For we know that the destination is sweet and good. It is only the journey that is sometimes long and difficult.

May God be with us.


I smell burnt toast...

Saturday, June 10, 2006
Yeah, I"m tired.

I have two headaches, one on top of the other.

So naturally I took twice as many Tylenol, 4 es.

I can"t believe how I feel physically, from mental and emotional work.

Originally I was going to drive home tonight, and preach tomorrow morning.

I am so glad I changed that. Even if I got home I wouldn"t have anything profound to say, except blerb, bla, blub, goodnight folks.

Tomorrow early I begin my journey home.

That"s way way better.



Board Meetings

Friday, June 09, 2006

Then comes the next five minutes.


The World Cup ...

Starts today!

And I am in meetings all day, and night.

A little pity over here please.



We made it to CBC in Strathmore Alberta, and I am safely installed in dorm number 2. I have managed to find a highspeed link here and am using it for good!

Yesterday, as I went to the car rental agency, they didn't have the auto I had ordered so they had upgraded me to a Touring 300. A bit of a tank, but one sweet Midnight Blue ride.

I felt my status rising as I drove all day.

I picked up a friend, Arden Gustafson in Saskatoon and we had a great drive out, through the rain.

But our general consensus was that we looked good driving in that car to Alberta.

And after all, that's what it's all about anyway, isn't it?


Going and coming

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Well, after the early morning prayer time, or maybe because of early prayer time, the rest of the day seems a blur.

A meeting with Marc, a funeral, and 29 different pieces of email sent out trying to prepare for board meetings this weekend.

Yeah, that"s right. The fourth trip in four months.

There is much work to do, and we are getting it done, so it"s not a waste of time at least.

Anyway, that"s where I"m at these days. Most of it"s fulfilling, some of it"s just filling, and sometimes I"m just full of it.

Anyway, guess who"s coming to town... Toni and Chris and Ben. Yep, all the way from the United Kingdom. They should be here in a few weeks.

So we were thinking, some of you have wanted to meet them, and us for that matter. If we came to Saskatoon for an evening and hit a bar or restaurant, would you want to hang out and connect a bit? You call it, yes/no, up to you.

And, anybody have any rich relatives who own a hotel or motel thing in Prince Albert that they would like to give us a cheap rate on? That"d be cool too.

Looks like summer is getting underway here in the great white north.

Gonna be cool to share it with a few friends.



Prospective Marauders ease into fundamentals

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
By Brad Brown

Prince Albert Daily Herald
Tuesday, June 6, 2006

For the 77 students attending St. Mary High School"s weeklong spring football camp, the first day was a positive one. The strange part was that they"re all rookies.
“How many of you think you"re going to like football?”? Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby asked at the end of Monday"s workout, drawing a chorus of cheers from the gridiron hopefuls who are to help revive St. Mary"s football program after an 18-year absence.
The enthusiasm was welcome considering Monday"s activity consisted mainly of the most basic of football drills ”? among them form tackling, stance drills, cone drills, agility drills, and light throwing and catching.
St. Mary will field a junior team made of Grade 9s and 10s, and a senior team of Grade 11s and 12s in nine-man leagues in the fall.
Derek Skomorowski is one of those hoping to earn a spot on the senior team.
“I really liked the hitting, even the slow stuff with no equipment we were doing today,”? the Grade 11 student said, adding it"s “definitely”? something he thinks he"ll enjoy.
It wasn"t all easy for Skomorowski, who hopes to play on the team"s defensive line, but he says he"s not deterred in the least.
“It was very tiring,”? he said. “Lots of work, lots more than I expected.”?
The two teams won"t be selected until fall, but Hundeby likes what he sees so far. “They"re all learning from square one ... but there are some very good natural athletes in this group,”? he said. “It"s just a matter of turning these volleyball and basketball players into football players.”?
Players were fitted for equipment after Monday"s practice and will engage in much of the same today, except with pads and a bit more contact.
Hundeby hopes to have a better idea by today where potential players fit in so he can run three or four offensive patterns and some basic defensive coverage before a Friday scrimmage.
“We"re just going to drill the fundamentals into them time and time again,”? he said. “They"re all learning from ground zero, so we don"t want to overwhelm them.”?


So, this is where Thomas has been after school till 7, each day this week
It's also why we had to go buy cleats on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Hope he does well at it, and enjoys it.

4 as art

Sunday, June 04, 2006
Think you are not artistic at all?

If you have a website, you may already be an artist.

Websites as graphs is a cool site that translates websites into graphics.


Check it out.


It's Friday, but Sunday's comin...

Friday, June 02, 2006
Well, to say it"s been “A Week”? would be an understatement.

Spent a day in meetings, here and in Saskatoon, part of which was interviewing potential candidates for a teaching/discipling position in an organization I"m on the board of. As a side bar, let me say how amazed and encouraged I have been this week by the caliber of young, Godly men and women who are already in leadership in the church. The future looks so bright, I"ll need shades...

Been back and forth to the hospital a whole bunch of times as we have some people in there not doing great.

Spent a good chunk of time with a friend who lives right on Christopher Lake, as he and his wife struggle with cancer.

Getting ready for Board Meeting next weekend.

Then I was called about doing this funeral. And after meeting with the family, it"s been made clear to me that the gentleman had no time for faith in his life. Thus I"m glad that"s all in bigger hands than my own.

I was up late working on that one, but I think it"s ready now.

Now to this Sunday"s plans. It"s Pentecost Sunday, and for us we are having communion too.

I think we should have a bit of a party!

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