If this isn't pastoral care...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's 12:15 am and I'm in the office trying to reinstall windows 2000 on a guys laptop who is off to bible college Saturday.

But it ain't going so well.

The OEM CD-ROM that came with the thing won't run from Dos, and in windows it keeps freezing up.

what to do, what to do.

Go home to bed. Maybe the answer comes while I sleep.

Besides, my first meeting is at 8AM.

I'm goin home.

UPDATE: Ok, it's 1:25am, I figured out the problem, and NOW I'm going home.


Evening Prayers

Read each line, then stop and consider what it means to you.

When ready, move on to the next line.


The LORD is my shepherd, I have everything I need.


He lets me rest in green meadows, he leads me beside peaceful streams.


He renews my strength.


He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.


Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid,


for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.


You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.


You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with  blessings.


Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me, all the days of my life,


and I will live in the house of the LORD,  forever.



Thank You...

To all those of you who helped in some way, with the funeral yesterday.

Your ministry and care was an unselfish act of love for Lionel and Tryntje. Thank you for caring.

your pastor.


In a few moments I go in to conduct a funeral

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In May I remember thinking that this was a funeral that would be accomplished long before we had to do one for Dad. I was wrong.

Funny how life goes that way. You really, really don't know what's around the bend, until you're around the bend yourself.


Anyway, this is the first time since Dad's funeral, that I've worn my suit. Still some graveside dirt on it, hope no one notices.

First time, since Dad's funeral, that I've done a funeral.

Feels all strange and weird and, just weird is all.

Anyway, here we go.


Where have YOU been?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I think that all I've been doing since my last post, has been working.

I can't believe how much there is to do around here, and of course the biggest day this week will be tomorrow. Tomorrow at 2 PM we will gather to celebrate the life of Inspector Lionel Roy.

Feels all weird inside. It's my first, since dad died.

Tonight I'm at the office working on the details.

UPDATE: 11 PM and I am done and heading home.  It's been like running through wet sand today and tonight, but I am done the paperwork.

Just gotta do more interior work. Tomorrow.


A friend is gone.

Saturday, August 26, 2006
A friend from church died tonight. His battle with cancer is done, and the number of his days are completed.

I went out this afternoon to sit with him and his family, at his home. They live out on Christopher Lake, a most beautiful place. And it was always his desire to die at home. It was hard but the family was able to get him home last week.

Tonight, just after seven, the call came. He was gone.
So off I went, and that"s what I did with my Saturday night.

Peace to his memory.

If you are familiar with the group ABBA

Friday, August 25, 2006

You will get a laugh out of this.


As long as we are kicking planets out of the Solar System, why don't we do something about Uranus?

I mean, come on, how embarrassing a name can a planet have? And how many jokes have been told at it's expense?

And look at how easy it is to make it the butt of a good joke. I made one there and see, easy peasy.

Now, what they should have done is taken the now available as a planet title, Pluto, and moved that name over to Uranus. Disney might want to be involved in product placement advertising there. Maybe we could squeeze a little cash out of them, you know, to cover the cost of changing all the signage etc.

Or, if we wanted to change the name to "Uranus-Pluto" they might be more motivated to help us pay for the whole changeover.

Either way its a win win situation. No longer will third grade teachers have to stand in front of their classes and listen to the snickers and murmuring when they introduce the class to our Solar System. And Disney won't loose the planetary name of their favourite dog.

Anyway you look at it, you gotta feel for poor Pluto. That's a serious demotion there. Not easy to bounce back from.

It was a name that became associated with a loveable cartoon dog. Not a chocolate bar, a car, or a laughable body part.

Lets run Uranus up the flag pole and see who prefers that name to the kinder, gentler Pluto. See who salutes.


Taize Service

Hushed silence.


Darkness envelopes us like a large quilt.

63 candles push upward

          into the air.

Standing tall, pointing to the light.

Carrying the weight of the prayers

of the 63

         into the darkness.

Here we pray

        hoping for answers,

trying not to answer for Hope.

And He meets us

        here, in this place where fire, light, and warmth draw us in.

And we pray, in word, in song, in silence,

in hope.

                  And He comes.


New family dynamics lead to new family communications.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


So, during the lunch hour I was at my desk, talking briefly to Hillary on MSN in Saskatoon, helping her with a thing or two. Then Johanna (From Switzerland) clicks in and asks me about her pictures. Next Lauralea come on with some information I has asked her about earlier.

And I multitasked, talking with the three at the same time.

A few moments later and I saw Thomas click in, then Micah did too. So I invited the whole clan to talk in the same conversation.

There we were, six of us talking at each other again, just like old times.


We talked about a few things, then we had to start going our own ways again.

It was nice to be a family in the same room again, if only virtually.


I'm Back in the Saddle again...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Well, it's nearly 9:30pm and my first day back at work is drawing to a close. I'm done and heading for home.

It's been a long day, but its good to be back. 

I really didn't think I could say that a month ago.


An Update on the Locals

Well, I think that we made it through a bit of a bumpy patch there. Saying goodbye to the girls turned out to be harder than i thought. Though it's nice to have their rooms empty and have the entire floor just to Lauralea and I, I still go into their rooms and think, and miss them.

Johanna seems to have landed hard on her heart in Switzerland. Being "Forced" into relationships with different people can be a real tough thing. It can make you or break you. So far it's making her. She has two weeks learning the parenting approach of parents she will Au Pair for, then she's on her own with two little girls - one potty training and both speaking fast french.

Hillary is ensconced in her shared apartment in Saskatoon, getting ready for University to start. The learning curve is steep there in the big city. Last nite she called us from her cell phone, after leaving my mom's house and getting on the wrong bus, for an hour, then finding the right bus, then getting off at the wrong stop, then walking for a looong while, all after dark. (She watched to many CSI Shows which didn't help, but would she listen?...) She seems to be settling in nicely though. She's worked very hard to be there, so I know she will do well there.  I just told her to buy a city map. That will help her with the learning curve.

Thomas, as I just announced, now has his drivers license. This means his mother won't have to drive him to school next week, and I won't have to drive him and Micah to Youth meetings at the church. Sweet. He's ready for grade eleven, but is grade eleven ready for him? We'll see.

And Micah. Heading into grade seven, we are trying to instill in him a new life's motto, "I Shall Not Be Late." Good grief we only live across the street from the school and he's always late. What's that about, besides bad parenting.

And as for Lauralea and I?

New life calls for new things. We went out yesterday and purchased a new shower curtain for OUR bathroom. We got a set of curtains for our GUEST ROOM. And for the first time ever, I believe, we bought sheets for our bed. (I think we are still  using some from our wedding!) Nice new good sheets. Life is taking a turn, that's for sure.

I'll now return you to your regularly scheduled randallfriesen.com.

Whatever regular is any more.


So this is what it feels like ...

to have a child pass their driving test on the first try!

Nice one Thomas. Your life will never be the same.


Here we go again.

Well, today I am back in the office, trying to get back into work mode.

It's always a little tricky after a break, to get things going in the same direction again, but this year it isn't to bad. I have been working from home for a while already, so at least my head is in gear. :)

First thing to be done is mowing through all the phone messages waiting for me here. That took a while.

Then I had to get the networking router working again. Seems to slack off when I'm not around to yell at it.

Then there were 9 faxes waiting in the fax machine, mail to open and deal with, and email to respond to.

And finally, I had to get the photocopier to start speaking in English again, rather than the Chinese it had slipped into.

Some days I give my head a shake.

It's good to be back.


To everything, turn, turn, turn,

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tonight is the last Saturday night before Sunday that I have off. Tomorrow is my second and last Sunday off.

I feel like I have a treasure here. The mere option of going to any church I wish, makes me lightheaded. I mean, most Sundays out of the year I can"t choose which church to be a part of, but tomorrow I can. As it goes anyway, Lauralea and I will probably hit the little St. Georges Anglican just down the block. Some of our friends pastor there, and it"s always a treat to sit in a different service and worship God with different words and songs.

This weekend we are getting ready to send off our second daughter, Hillary. She is moving to Saskatoon for University which starts in a couple of weeks. I guess Monday we will load up the van with her stuff and move her down there. It"s only an hour and a half away, but still, it"s away.

I think we are all, (mostly her) looking forward to it. She needs to move out and on with her life, and we need to get on with ours. Tonight Lauralea and I got her some groceries for the first while.

And, with her too, so many things have fallen into place nicely. From being accepted to funding to grants and scholarships to a place to live, it all seems too easy. Today she finished her last day at Rona, her first and only job she"s had for a few years.

So, in one week, two girls gone. To say the hormonal balance in the home will shift dramatically is a complete understatement. But I am looking forward to being able to go to the washroom wearing whatever I have on, at any time of the day or night.

It"s all good, but there also seems to be some grieving going on around here. And it seems to be coming from the boys mostly. It"s interesting but I had never thought about their response to the girls leaving. The air around this place has been decidedly heavy this week. I suppose that"s kinda good too.

So yeah, hard to believe that for the first time in 19 years, we will have no little girls living with us.

End of an era.

Beginning of another.

Getting Google eyed. Updated. Again.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Well, it"s 2 am and the neighbours have been hard at it for the past seven hours. My naive question of the night is -how long does it take the average person to pass out from too much beer?

The police have been by once already and they keep at it. Not just drinking, but getting in their cars, nearly causing major accidents in front of their house, and driving out and back for more supplies.

So instead of sleeping, I"m sitting here thinking of where Johanna is over the Arctic Ocean right now, wondering how she is doing out there on her own.

I google earth-ed the airports she will be at in a few hours. Amsterdam"s Schiphol Airport, which looks huge and she only has an hour to get to her next gate, and then Geneva"s Airport, which looks a lot more quaint and doable.

In about three hours she will have arrived.
In three hours I hope to be sound asleep.

UPDATE: At 9:30 the neighbours were STILL going at it, loudly.

And Johanna just called safe and sound. Apparently its all a bit overwhelming, but the people seem nice, the little girls are french speaking chatterboxes, and she's very very tired.

As am I.

UPDATE AGAIN: It's 2:15pm and the neighbours are still going at it!!!! One more night like last night and, and,

... I dunno, JUST AND!

and, she's gone.


Switzerland, here we go

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
My first contact with anything Swiss was a television program on each week called “George.”? It was; “...The story of a single Canadian man, younger woman, a young boy and last but not least, George, their hell-raising, yet adorable Saint Bernard. They move to Switzerland to take up residence in the Swiss Alps with their nanny Frau Gerber...”?

I remember George the dog, and I remember the determined Frau Gerber, a classic large German speaking woman who ruled the house with a iron fist and a big heart.

I remember even at that age how taken I was with the beauty of the place. I watched the program partly for the story, but mostly for the scenery.

My second encounter with things Swiss was in grade three or four, our class went to the Saskatoon City Library to view a travelog on, wait for it, Switzerland. There on the big screen I saw more refined images of the country, and I was really smitten.

The beauty of the mountains, especially the Matterhorn, was a bit intoxicating to my young head. And I left the place in a bit of a daze. Such places existed on the face of the earth? It was like a whole new door opened up to me then. I promised myself that I would see such sights in person one day.

Well, my third and most recent Switzerlandism is my daughter, Johanna. She has been contracted to become an au pair in a Swiss town for a Swiss family for the next year. She leaves tomorrow.

It"s hard to believe she will see some of the sights I only saw in pictures and movies. She will spend the next year tasting new food, smelling new smells, and seeing amazing things. She will meet new people, make new friends, and create deep relationships which may last a lifetime. She will gain an education and an experience and her eyes will be opened like they haven"t been to date.

She will learn more, grow more, change more, and it will be good.

And, she will fulfill a dream I"ve carried for a lot of years.

Cool how that works.


Only in Saskatchewan

Monday, August 14, 2006
Tonight as I was running an errand for Lauralea, I was in the Superstore rounding a corner and I nearly bumped into a guy.

He stared at me a moment or two and I could see the insides at work.

“Hey,”? he asked, “Are you Randall Friesen?”?

“Yep I am”? was my deep thoughtful response.

Then he said the words that blow me away whenever this happens.

“I read your blog!”?

Then Doug introduced me to his wife Tara and their two boys.
They were just in town doing their shopping.

I suppose I"ll never be famous enough that we will have to go to Africa to have our babies, (mainly because we"re done having babies, but you get the point.)

But its cool to put faces to comments and other blogs I check out, out there.

His name is Doug Robertson, and he blogs from Tisdale Sask.

You remember Doug, he was the guy who wanted to see a picture of the rat warning sign I got in Chicago. (Ahh, now you remember!)

Holidays, Day before we go home.

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Well, day whatever has come to a close and tomorrow we are on our way home.

(This little four month old Shitzu has been learning how to pee outside, so we"ve been wearing our shoes around the house.)

The past day the temperature dropped considerably and become quite enjoyable. Lauralea and I went for a few walks and for tea in an old tired café downtown. St. Luke"s, the church we looked at a year ago, is still for sale and looks like its changed very little. We seem to have very little vision these days, as we looked at it when we walked past.

I"ve been in contact with Prince Albert each day, for a number of different reasons, people related stuff. We"ll need to do some work when we get back tomorrow.

But yeah, the quiet town has been a bit of sweet relief, and the new Bakery here is twice as good as it use to be.

But mostly its good to get away from P.A, and walk a lot in the quiet and cool of the evening. I really do enjoy that. It"s like a good medicine.

Good night, and be blessed.



Holidays, Day Five.

Friday, August 11, 2006
We all went out for lunch today for Chinese food. This is something that you might not understand about the prairies.

The Canadian prairies are famous for each town along the highway having its own Chinese family move in and set up a restaurant of Asian delicacies. Usually they are a place of some good food.

Well today we went for some Chinese. Food that is.

They seem to have adapted to the Saskatchewan way of things nicely. Not only was there good food, but it was set up in a truly Saskatchewan style. "All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet! $6.95"

The thing that really reminded me I was in small town Sask. was the sign above the food table;

"You will be charged .25 extra for each food item left on your plate!"

I was motivated indeed.

Holidays, Day Three.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Well, it's only the morning yet but things are progressing.

I spent a good chunk of time with a friend from church this morning. He's in the hospital, quite sick with cancer, and he won't see another snowfall. We had a good time, and we talked of transitions and preparations. May God watch over him till we meet again.

Now I'm at the office doing some office things that need doing. (I'm typing this while I'm waiting for the printer to print, etc.) Yeah, I know, office on holidays? Somebody needs a piece of information that no one knows were it might be, except for moi.

Hopefully by noon we will be out of here.

Day three, halfway gone.

UPDATE: So, a few of us decided to head down to Lauralea"s mom and dad"s place.

This is where, theoretically, the new Satellite radio changes the road trip from one of boredom to one of amusement and entertainment, causing the hours to float away on the wings of musical blissfulness.


She likes the songs of the 50"s and 60"s.
I like the songs of the 70"s and some 80"s.

Therein lay the struggle.

Surprisingly, we found unanimity with the Bluegrass channel.

Yes, yes, I know. I can hear the collective groan out there. But the thing I think I like about it, is the harmonies. It"s music that"s made with beautiful vocal and guitar harmonies.

That"s also one reason why I like so much of the 70"s stuff. The bands back then used their voices to harmonize. Think Boston and “More than a Feeling,”? or mostly anything by ELO, or ABBA.

How many couples can say that they found common ground, in bluegrass?

Holidays, Day Two.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Well, day two found the car in the garage to get fixed, (Rad fan shot) and I and my boys doing yard work.

There were some things that hadn"t even been done in spring when I usually do them, but due to the busy schedule (with a “Sh”?) the fell by the wayside. Today we worked pretty hard and got a lot done, which feels good. Course we could have been done earlier if one of the parties haden"t spent over an hour complaining that he really didn"t like yard work as it required so much hard work. I remember hating it too, seems only fair to pass the joy along.

Anyway, lots of sweat sweated, hard work got the blood circulated around, and a good sense of accomplishment. To bad the temperature was so hot today. I think my face is a little red today too.

Anyway, the car is back, the yard is mowed and weeded and cleaned and more, I am exhausted and my head is red.

Not bad for day two.

Holidays, Day one.

Monday, August 07, 2006
Of course, you know the first agenda item for our yearly vacation is our yearly vacational fight. Seems every year Lauralea and I have a knock down, drag out mis-communication, right during our break which adds oh so much fun to the holidays.

I think we have this one figured out, so it shouldn"t go much past now, but hey, why every year at the same time?

Anyway, that"s life I suppose.

Bring on two weeks of... difference.

Finally, coming to a house near you

Sunday, August 06, 2006
The Barna Group shows that millions of adults are trying out new forms of spiritual community and worship, with many abandoning the traditional forms altogether.

“The house church now appears to have reached ”?critical mass" in the United States,”? commented Barna. “Analysts typically find that once a new tool or institution reaches 15% market penetration, and has evidenced a consistent or growing level of affirmation for at least six years, that entity shifts from fad to trend status. At that point, it becomes a permanent fixture in our society. Today, house churches are moving from the appraisal phase into the acceptance phase. We anticipate house church attendance during any given week to double in the coming decade, and a growing proportion of house church attenders to adopt the house church as their primary faith community. That continued growth and public awareness will firmly establish the house church as a significant means of faith experience and expression among Americans.”?

Read the rest, here.

It"s my birthday today.

Saturday, August 05, 2006
I woke up early to relieve myself. (I think it"s my bodies gift to me...) Then decided to go back to bed and try for a bit of a birthday sleep in. I lay there till the doorbell started ringing, and ringing. It wasn"t a special gift, it was someone from the community wanting to, I dunno now what he wanted.

So I got up and headed off to the office in the rain, stopping in at Tim Hortons for a treat; a sesame bagel and extra large steeped tea, double double. Now I have this bagel to eat and the “Treat”? turns out to be that my tea is actually coffee, double double. Sugar in coffee has the same effect on me as when I get throwup in my mouth.

Oh well, things are bound to pick up. At least its nicely cloudy!

UPDATE: See, I told you things would pick up!


Chicago, by sight

Thursday, August 03, 2006
I took over a thousand pics while i was in Chicago. I was there working on my Certificate towards Spiritual Direction, which North Park is offering right now.

Anyway, here are a few of the images that caught my eye.

Downtown Chicago

Music Mashups

Where you take two songs and put them together to create one new song that really moves.

Often when this is done, both songs sound like crap.
But here is one that I think really does kinda work.

Green Day and Oasis, together in the same song.

And now for something completely different.

Two buffalo are standing on the range when a passing motorist sees them.

He says to his wife, “Those are the mangiest, scroungiest, most moth-eaten miserable beasts I"ve ever seen.”?

So one buffalo says to the other: “I think I just heard a discouraging word.”?

Brought to you by Freda Marshall.

More on Solitude

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
“In silence you leave the things of the world for the things of God. In solitude you leave the things of God for God alone.”?

That quote was told to us by John Weborg on the first Sunday of the Spiritual Direction course I took last week. It was a day of silence, and if we wanted, solitude.

The rule for the day, for that"s what it was, simply a rule and not a law, was a rule of silence. We did not have to talk or communicate with others, all day long. And from that vantage point we could move into times of solitude, and I did. Tentatively at first, but more and more as the day went on. Like a child receiving a wonderful Christmas gift and all day long she returns to it to see if it"s still there and if its all true, so did I return again and again to the place of solitude.

I confess its one of the ways I am made, that this solitude with Christ was a gift to me. It certainly isn"t for everyone, indeed there are different languages and ways to communicate with Jesus. But for me it was like a piece of the puzzle had finally fallen into place. I felt as though I had found home.

The week was about discernment, about listening. Listening to God, listening to ones self, listening to others, and listening to the world. This listening is something one may practice and shape, and it is an amazing gift to offer.

Consider what it means to be listened to. How deeply moving was it to talk with Jesus and for him to hear you. Whether you were a woman or a leper, a child or a slave, He would stop to listen, to look at you, and to place his hand on yours. You would be heard, maybe for one of the few times in your life, you would be heard.

We all want to be listened to, we all want to be heard. And it is given to us to listen, in Christ"s name.

May we learn the gift of using our two ears twice as much as our one mouth.

This course is going to be a good one.


This Day In History

On this day in 1876, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was killed in what is now Deadwood, South Dakota. He was playing poker when he was shot in the back of the head by a young Jack McCall, at 4:15 p.m. at the No. 10 Saloon. He died with a Smith and Wesson revolver in his holster and holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights.

We went on a family vacation once to South Dakota.

I remember Deadwood, and I remember that story.

Russian Quote

"In silence you leave the things of the world for the things of God.
In solitude you leave the things of God for God alone."

"A change is as good as a rest to a blind man."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Last week as I regularly read this space on a University computer with only Internet Explorer on it, I nearly died of embarrassment each time I did.

(It seems that 77% of randallfriesen.com readers prefer IE to Firefox which makes me say, “What are you people thinking out there! Check out firefox!)

IE showed the banner image one and a half times, and as I learned clearly last week, I am an Enneagram 1 perfectionist. Thus this frustrated me greatly.

So after a week of frustration I talked to Marc and he graciously let me take his template and tweak it a bit. So there we go.

August 1st, and we have a new look.

If something around here doesn"t seem to work, le"me know.

What's on your radio?

This is cool. A map showing what songs are being currently played on the radio.

Check it out at yes.com
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