Just when you think party season is over...

It's party central again here at the Friesen's neighbours residence. They've been going hard at it again, all. day. long.

Last night they were partying and someone must have called the cops because around 11 PM the police showed up with a couple cars.

Today a neighbour talked to me, he was concerned for our safety, which was kind of comforting.

Tonight I just threw open the laptop mic and recorded life inside my writing space. The window was only open 4 inches, but you get the idea.

This is what it's like here, at our house.

"Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more."  Proverbs 31

Truer than we think.

Exploring Postmodernism

I didn't create a link to this piece when it was published because, well, mainly I'm insecure about it. I mean, writing an introductory piece about post modernism... that's just opening a can of worms.

But some of you have been asking about it.

The piece is here, and if that link fails, you can still read it here.

That is all.

My people, still doin it in New York

Mennonite farmers in New York, are making such a go of it on small farms that they want to expand!

Yep, you can still make it as a farmer. You just gotta watch what your priorities are.

But isn't that how it should be for any of us?

Mennonites outgrowing their land, here.

Wish I were there

Johanna went to Bern today. Nice.

It's 9:54 and I am hungry for Mexican food.

College Life 101

In a recent communication Hillary wrote:

i hate rain.
i hate the cold.
i hate being wet and cold.
i hate homework.
i hate not having any time to do it.
i hate buses.
i hate waiting for buses.
i hate waiting in the rain and cold for buses.
i hate walking into the wind and cold spitting rain that is on the verge of being snow.
i hate burning my tongue on over priced hot chocolate.

Last night I was talking with some of the other parents from church, asking them if their kids away at school had hit the, "I Hate this place" mode yet. And they replied with a rolling of the eyes. Through the tears mode, on past the homesick mode and well into the anger mode, with side trips back through tears and homesick just for old times sake. I guess it is a normal condition.

It sent me back to my first year away at college at 18. I traveled 12 hours west and north, and on the same day, my parents moved 35 hours east. To say I was homesick would be a huge understatement. Not only was I away from home, but my home had up and moved. Except for that dorm room, I was effectively homeless. Gross.

But I was determined. Besides, getting to where my parents lived was a physical impossibility. So I stuck with it, made a few good friends, and began to create a life for myself.

No, it was far, far from easy. But the things I learned then, about myself and life in general, have been a bedrock for my life.

And I am grateful for them.

Now, to let my children lay foundations too.

Sacred Pathways Assessment

Lauralea and I will be at a retreat for a day next week and as preparation we were asked to take a Sacred Pathways Assessment.

"Just as people have different personality temperaments, they also have different spiritual temperaments or preferred ways of approaching God for worship and discipleship. "

The results were interesting. Turns out I'm an Ascetic, go figure.

ASCETICS

Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity

DESCRIPTION “Ascetics want nothing more than to be left alone in prayer. Take away the liturgy, the trappings of religion, the noise of the outside world. Let there be nothing to distract them ”? no pictures, no loud music ”? and leave them alone to pray in silence and simplicity.

Ascetics live a fundamentally internal existence. Even when they are part of a group of people, they might seem to be isolated from the others. ...uncomfortable in an environment that keeps them from ”?listening to the quiet".”? 

“It is in these dark, intense, lonely times that ascetics" souls awaken.”? 

“Ascetics live strict lives of self-denial so that they would be free to contemplate God.”? 

“True ascetics are strict with themselves but treat others with supernatural gentleness.”? 

“...modern ascetics...don"t have time to find a desert to express our faith; inner detachment allows us to find a lonely desert in the midst of the busiest city.”? 

“He (St. Francis) devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold.”? 

CAUTIONS

An ascetic will need to be intentional in seeking out other Christians with whom to fellowship. We need feedback from our brothers and sisters to be able to see ourselves clearly.

 Actually it was very helpful in understanding some things I have been struggling with.

Check it out yourself.

Prince Albert: Some Stats

The Prince Albert Daily Herald reported on some interesting statistics today in the paper. The stats represent P.A. and are five years old already.

-32 per cent of Prince Albertans work in the public sector, be it in health, education or public administration.

-Prince Albert has the highest proportion of aboriginal residents for Saskatchewan cities (nearly 30%)

-the city has very low levels of immigration and visible minority groups.

-25% of Prince Albert residents have incomes below the poverty line.

Wow.

Survivor

hmm, seems like they couldn't keep the groups separated by ethnicity. To bad. That would have been very interesting.

G. P. Taylor: Sin, Salvation and Shadowmancer

In front of me on the desk are seven books I am suppose to read for my class. The sad part is that I am suppose to read them, before I can have a go at Bob Smietana's book, G. P. Taylor: Sin, Salvation and Shadowmancer which is out now and getting some good reviews.

Bob is a friend I've been getting to know over at the Evangelical Covenant publishing department. He's been working on this book for a while and it looks like a great read. I can't wait!

From the Back Cover
"G. P. Taylor"s astonishing life has more plot twists than one of his novels.
The bestseller Shadowmancer stormed the literary world, rocketing to top sales on both sides of the Atlantic. Who could have predicted that an English country vicar would have such a hit on his hands? But that"s only one chapter in the roller-coaster life of G. P. Taylor.

Kicked out of school for trying to set fire to a teacher"s desk, Graham Taylor dived head first into London"s punk rock scene in the early 1980s. It"s unlikely that someone savoring a life of sex, drugs, and rock music would end up on a police force, but it happened. Then Taylor topped that surprise by becoming a vicar.

Assigned to a church on the northeast coast of England, Taylor delved into the fascinating history of the region”?tales of smugglers, storms at sea, and people lost on the moors. At the same time, he felt a growing concern about an occult presence in contemporary children"s fiction. These two interests came crashing together as Taylor created his award-winning novels Shadowmancer and Wormwood.

Then, with Shadowmancer topping the New York Times bestseller list and Hollywood beckoning, a near-fatal heart condition almost cost him everything. Filled with unforeseeable twists and turns, G. P. Taylor"s life story, like one of his novels, is a tale that you won"t want to put down."

 

Get the book, here.

How to stop drug based violence in your town?

In May 2004, after accumulating evidence in the West End, police chief James Fealy invited 12 suspected dealers to a meeting at the police station, with a promise that they wouldn't be arrested that night. Encouraged by their "influentials," nine showed up.

In one room, they met with about 30 clergy, social workers and other community members who confronted them with the harm they were doing, implored them to stop dealing, and offered them help. The suspects, however, "were slouching in their seats and one guy even seemed to be dozing off," recalls Don Stevenson, pastor of a local congregation, the First Reformed United Church of Christ. "Their attitude was, 'This is just another program and it will blow over.'"

Then the alleged dealers moved to a second room where they encountered a phalanx of law-enforcement officials: police, a district attorney, an assistant U.S. attorney, and representatives of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and others. Around the room hung poster-size photos of crack houses that had been the dealers' headquarters. In front of each alleged dealer was a binder, laying out the evidence against him or her. There were even arrest warrants, lacking only the signature of a judge.

The law-enforcement officials made an ultimatum: stop dealing or go to jail.

...Rev. Stevenson recalls that the alleged dealers "seemed to be paying a lot more attention."

The West End street drug market closed "overnight" and hasn't reopened in more than two years, says Chief Fealy, who was "shocked" at the success. High Point police say they have since shut down the city's two other major street drug markets, using the same strategy.

Wow.

Read the rest here.»?

Nope no photoshop here.

Hospital Closed to Public

On Sunday, the Victoria Hospital here in Prince Albert closed the fifth floor to any outsiders due to a bad bug loose on the ward. Then yesterday they closed the forth floor, for the same reasons. So I won't be on visitation rounds today.

Then this morning I read that, "In one Australian medical study, doctors self-reported their hand-washing rate at 73 percent, whereas when these same doctors were observed, their actual rate was a paltry 9 percent."

The piece continued: "In its 2000 report “To Err Is Human,”? the Institute of Medicine estimated that anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die each year because of hospital errors ”? more deaths than from either motor-vehicle crashes or breast cancer ”? and that one of the leading errors was the spread of bacterial infections."

Hmm, washing hands is all you need.

The article described a program they established where they give Starbucks coupons to anyone they found washing their hands. This increased the washing to 80%.

Seems like this should be kind of common knowledge to hospital staff. But fear and a lack of recognition of the problem exists.

Still, even here it looks like a chunk of hospital staff are not showing up for their shifts. They are calling in "Sick."

The article is here.

Jordon's busy...

Looks like Jordon is a part of a new church plant.

Nothing helps the spiritually homeless find home, like a new church. It's in the statistics.

So if you live in Saskatoon and are looking for adventure...

Kara Powell on pastors

Contemporary pastors are expected to have "the entrepreneurial skills of Bill Gates, the counseling skills of Dr. Phil, the organizational abilities of Stephen Covey, the authenticity of Oprah, the compassion of Mother Teresa, the courage of William Wallace, and the humor of Jon Stewart. (Kara Powell, quoted in The Church in Transition)

via.

Wanted: One most excellent guitar player...

So it seems we have another guy heading to the big city for new adventures.

Matt, our worship team guitar player extrordinair is moving on Monday. And last night at our last practice together, some of the others brought cupcakes and apple pie, so we turned it into a party.

Prince Albert seems to be a place to be from, not always a place to go to. But we wish him the best and pray that everything will work out for him there.

So hey, we're looking for a guitar player...

Today we went to a wedding out in the country.



Congratulations Barry and Connie!

It was a real celebration of God's goodness and care. And though it was raining earlier in the day, the afternoon turned out gorgeous.

What a great day. God is good.

I've set some of the pictures up in a Flickr set for Johanna and some of the other relatives. Check them out here.

Happy Birthday Hillary Jane

Yep, today she turns the big one, 18.

She's livin large in Saskatoon. Attending University, and learning the important things of life, like how long to boil pasta, and when the busses run, and so many other things.

As of today she can vote and buy cigarettes, -but still not drink legally.

18 is a big one. I hope she has a great year.

Happy Birthday Hillary.

Now I'm off to find a rose.

Always

Always Fresh

Standin on the corner watchin all the gir...

This afternoon I had to be downtown for an appointment. Since I was early I stood on Bank corner with my headphones in, listening to some tunes, enjoying a beautiful Friday afternoon.

The next thing I know, "Ron" from the Daily Herald was in front of me, asking me if he could interview me. I had time to kill so I agreed.

His question was, had I been watching the new Television season and had I caught any of the new shows. Not a great question for me as I haven't seen that box in over a week. In fact, the only show I partially saw was the new Survivor which was on last week. So I mentioned that one.

"What interests you about it?" he asked.

I referenced the whole different race groups on different teams thing, which I'll be interested to see play out. But I'm sure I mumbled something about race and I'm sure it sounded bad.

He wanted my picture so he complimented me that it was the most coherent answer he had heard all day.

I let him snap away.

So, there will be a little embarrassing blurb in the paper, beside my pic. Hope it doesn't start greater race wars...

I returned to my survey of Bank corner and my music.

And then, a car slowed down, and turned the corner in front of me with a pretty girl in the front seat waving at me. I fought hard to place her, worlds were colliding.

They pulled over and out popped Christy Zacharias and her husband Colin.

Yep, sure enough. Living an hour away, and once a year driving through Prince Albert on their way up north, and we meet.

I mean, what's the chances of that?

We had a cool short visit, and connected a bit. Then they were off and so was I, just a bit late for my appointment.

I think I should stand around on street corners more often.

The Camera doesn't lie?

Well, it does now.

HP has begun marketing to the insecure, "Do you think this dress makes me look fat?" crowd.



Actually I think I would like one of these. Imagine the conversations.

"I always look good when you take my picture." Or, "You're a fantastic photographer. I'll take fifty prints!"


Seems the camera has begun to lie, just a bit.
If it's for real.

Eugene Peterson on living transparent lives

Or, Church done the American way.



The operating biblical metaphor regarding worship is sacrifice. We bring ourselves to the altar and let God do to us what God will...

But this is not the American way. The major American innovation in the congregation is to turn it into a consumer enterprise. Americans have developed a culture of acquisition, an economy that is dependent on wanting and requiring more. We have a huge advertising industry designed to stir up appetites we didn't even know we had. We are insatiable. It didn't take long for some of our colleagues to develop consumer congregations. If we have a nation of consumers, obviously
the quickest and most effective way to get them into our churches is to identify what they want and offer it to them. Satisfy their fantasies, promise them the moon, recast the gospel into consumer terms”?entertainment, satisfaction, excitement and adventure, problem-solving, whatever. We are the world's champion consumers, so why shouldn't we have state-of-the-art consumer churches?

Given the conditions prevailing in our culture, we have the best and most effective way ever devised for gathering large and prosperous congregations. Americans lead the world in showing how to do it. There's only one thing wrong. This is not the way that God brings us into conformity with the life of Christ. This is not the way that we become less and Jesus becomes more. This is not the way in which our lives become available to others in justice and service. The cultivation of consumer spirituality is the antithesis of a sacrificial, "denying yourself" congregation. A consumer church is an anti-Christ church. It's doing the right thing”?gathering a
congregation”?but doing it in the wrong way. This is not the way to develop a contemplative life, a life in which the Jesus way and the Jesus truth are congruent, where "kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame."



Eugene Peterson

via.

You may have noticed some changes

Congratulations with the bleeding obvious!

You can now see the comments without having to go onto any one post. Just click "Show comments," then "Hide comments."

You can see a "Cloud of Categories" on the side there. The bigger the font, the more entries there are in that category.

When you leave a comment, you can now preview it live, as you write it. This will help those of you who wish to use html code.

If you click on the images surrounded by a thin boarder, they will "Explode" and you can see them in their full goodness.

You can still send a note to  my cell phone, and contact me, or see some others who have voices, many better than mine.

Details. The beauty is in the details.

Hmmm,

it's 10:48 pm, and I'm going home now. But boy am I hungry.

Autumn in Prince Albert

Autumn on Prince Albert

Hanging out in Hospitals

My hospital visiting has seen a dramatic rise in the past week.

We have a lady who, we figured the other morning, has been in the hospital for five months. She has had surgery and now is waiting a place in a long term care home. Gets kinda discouraging sitting and waiting for your next home to be decided for you.

There is an elderly friend who has been admitted for a couple of health reasons. She's chipper and anxious to get home again, and she is a reminder to me that I should do as well when I am 90 years old!

Then we have a fifteen year old guy who's been admitted, for nine days now.  He, somehow managed to hurt an internal organ, after youth meeting one night, and he's been in constant pain, almost since day one. Well, he isn't healing like he should, and the pain and thus lack of any sleep is exhausting him completely. This morning as I went in to see him, they were taking him off to Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital. Hopefully they will have some ideas how to get him well again. This makes everyone nervous because this isn't suppose to happen to young people.

Three people and their stories that I am involved with each day.

North Park Fight Song

I am currently enrolled and taking classes from North Park University, Theological Seminary, so I get the emails from there each morning.

This morning I received a reminder that at 6:30pm tonight there is a Pep rally for our football team, the Vikings. (Mike Holmgren's alma mater)

The email also informed me that I am expected to know and sing the school fight song. (As if I don't have enough homework to do for classes! Sheesh.)

So, um, yeah, I give you, the North Park Fight Song

Hail to the Alma-Mater!

Hail to the Varsity!

Hail to the Blue and Gold, team,

Cheer the Victory!

Go now, you Gold, go now, you Blue,

Fight on to Vict"ry, send that ball through.

Fight for the honor of our dear school,

And show the rest, team, that North Park will rule!

This may take some time.

Identity

Main Entry: iden»?ti»?ty
Pronunciation: I-'den-t&-tE, &-, -'de-n&-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle French identité, from Late Latin identitat-, identitas, probably from Latin identidem repeatedly, contraction of idem et idem, literally, same and same
1 a : sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b : sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : ONENESS

You thought you would wake up and the world would be the same?

Tonight we went for a walk

well, our small group that is, and only the brave ones!

We planned to join in the History of Prince Albert walking tour, and just in time, it started raining.

The walk was very cool. I learned a few new things about this great city I didn't know. I do wish more people knew how great this place is...

Anyway, I took my camera along and snapped off a bunch of "Night time in downtown Prince Albert" pics.

Enjoy.

Night in downtown Prince Albert

On Call

So, instead of being at band practice tonight, or doing my homework, I ended up at the Hospital. I'm on call this week. "Pastor on Call."

He was 71, and he died tonight of liver cancer. His family gathered around him, weeping and looking lost. They called in a pastor because that's what you do after the person is gone, right?

I come and listen and think of helpful things to say. Small things mind you, and spoken at the right moment. I read a passage of scripture with them and pray with them, for them.

Usually there is allot of standing and listening involved. Funny thing tonight though. It was my first such work since dad died. Before he died I used to stand there quietly, listening, praying, and my thoughts would invariably turn to the day when I would be them, standing at the side of my dad's deathbed.

Today as I stood there, my thoughts didn't go there. Instead they rushed ahead to when it would be me in the bed. I am the next generation to line up at that crossroad, and follow the direction the roads I've chosen in this life have lead me.

What a new thought. I am next. There are no more.

Hmm.

It's a cool one out there tonight people

I finished some homework around eleven tonight and I felt a bit cooped up, so I grabbed the mp3player and hit the road.

Did some laps around the community, walked along the river, watched the beautiful light show in the northern skies, and got really cold hands.

I think this course will be great simply because it asks me tough personal questions. No one asks me those kinds of questions normally, and it is good to be asked them because I need to look in those places for the answers.

The other side of it is that they poke and open up areas I've long kept to myself, because no  one else is interested in going there. The end result is I've got myself opened up all over the place and I'm accessing places in my life that have been quiet for a long long time.

It's good, very good.

and scary. Very scary.

Right of passage

Here in my non-Jewish life we don't celebrate the coming of age that happens with a Bar Mitzvah. No, instead we celebrate by getting our own domain name.

Welcome to adulthood, thomasfriesen.com.

His mother, lauralea.ca, and I, randallfriesen.com, are very proud of his domain selection, thomasfriesen.com. We think it accurately describes him.

So check out his collection of movies and image creations. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll bookmark him.

 

I think this makes it complete, all the family is running blogs. Lauralea.ca you know, Johanna is blogging from Switzerland, Hillary is now blogging from University in Saskatoon, (But if I link to her I will, "Take my own live in my hands and it won't be worth a thing if I link to her..." Thomasfriesen.com, and micahfriesen.blogspot.com.

Which fulfills the old saying, the family that blogs together, requires highspeed.

I'm not ready for this

 

Good grief it's 4 degrees C out there.

When I left this morning it was 6.

This isn't good at all. I want a loooooooong Autumn.

Please...?

A Rose, Pt. Deux

I have been approached by people in passing asking the question, "What happened to the Rose? Did it get there?"

Well, I am happy to report that a single yellow rose was delivered in the morning, to Johanna's front door. She got the rose.

In fact, when Lauralea was talking to her on the phone, Johanna said we should have ordered it from her town as there was a flower shop right there. We indicated that we had ordered it from her town. So Johanna went to the window to get the name of the Florist across the street and lo and behold, it was the florist we had found online, and called from around the world.

It seems they do deliver, even across the street.

:)

Nouwen on Remaining Faithful

Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures.

But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.

Henri Nouwen

A "Room to think" day.

I was in the Big City today. Had some errands and contacts to make which were very good. What wasn't great was trying to find a bookstore that would carry the texts I need for my classes. Sheesh. You'd think I was asking for the world.

Anyway three Christian bookstores (2 protestant, one catholic) and nothing. Nada. One "Secular" bookstore, nothing.

So here I sit, broken hearted... bookless. And I have papers due on them as of tomorrow.

The other thing I did was hunt down Hillary, at the U of S. Wow, that is some undertaking. It was good to see her, and she looks good too. New haircut and I think all the walking and no meals has tightened up some of her curves a bit. Seems to be an edge worn off from the new reality, which softens her nicely.

We went to lunch at a bit of a nice place, (Which means they didn't serve fries.) and it took her a while to find something edible. But it was good to see her, and to see her doing well.

I checked in on my mom, who just got back from a visit to Manitoba, and got home for our first small group meeting of the year.

Now, about those papers...

On the Edge of Lost

That little creative writing project I did there the other night was really a description of how I was feeling, physically and emotionally. About the pain that sometimes seems to go along with being alive.

It caught me by surprise, because internal strength is what I often would like to portray. But this, this "weakness" seems to be so much a part of who I am these days that it is useless to try to shake it. So, instead, I turn to face it. Not to fight it, but somehow to acknowledge it. To respect it by realizing that it's there.

No amount of looking the other way or pretending, or pushing it down inside will do anymore. For Pete's sake, I'm 43 now, and I should be able to look at myself as I am, without flinching. :)

I'm learning to be aware of what's going on inside me. What my limits are, and where feelings are coming from. I hate like crazy to say it, but I think I'm becoming in tune with myself. More self aware. This is a good thing.

I am not afraid or frightened. I am, pleased that I can feel inside. I am a fairly sensitive individual, and I can easily pick up on other peoples stuff. But I've never been able to really feel, or sense, me. Yet these days, here I am, better able to recognize when I've had enough. When I need to rest or work. When I need to pray, or be still. It's a balance. Balancing life.

Yes, I am tired. Emotionally. But I can see that better than I used to be able to see that. It used to be a big painful blur, an awkward flailing about, a heavy depression. But like the once blind man said, now I can see.

And honestly, I'm not too sure what to do about the weariness. How it can be eased or helped, how I can get emotional rest. But it doesn't feel heavy. That is very good.

This living on the edge of lostness is just a description of how it sometimes feels. I don't fear falling, I think. And it's probably just for a season or so. As I learn about myself and who and what I am, I realize I am growing, discovering more of who I am inside. This makes living on the edge, a gift. Not always easy, but not always hard either.

If that makes any sense at all.

From the edge.

University help wanted. (UPDATED LIST)

On Wednesday I need to be in the big city for some meetings. And as it happens, Hillary has a few classroom needs.

If you have extra of the following and want to contribute towards her University education, give me a call or email before Wednesday night and I'll bring it in when I go.

Thank you for your support!!

:)

She writes:

K here is my list:
- Twisted whistler etching needle
- 3 sided hallow scraper
- Curved Burnisher
- Wood cut tools, 3 different ones (they are little chisels, and wood gouging tools)
- Utility knife or exacto knife with sharp blades
- Wooden spoon
- Nitrile disposal gloves (optional)
- Wet/Dry sandpaper (fine grit) 500 min
- 3M green scouring pad
- Mylar or clear acetate (minimum 2 sheets)
- Newsprint pad 18" x 24" minimum
- Painters masking tape (blue)
- Variety of brushes and nibs ( numerous sizes and quality, do not have to be new)
- ruler (optional)
- white porcelain plate or bowl (optional)
- 2 boxes of kleenex (minimum)
- Omni Chrome 108-9 water-soluble pencil& pencil sharpener
- regular HB pencil
- Mactac clear
- Apron or lab coat (optional)
- Scissors

he also had patience and sanity on the list, but I"m not sure if anyone has either, so I will just have to show up without them. :)

so. ya. If anyone has any of those things and wants to get rid of them then send them here. I think I will have to end up buying most of the stuff, but if there was one thing that I could really use second hand would be the brushes, and nibs because they are expensive and I don"t want to buy a set of brushes new or used and then only use them for 8 months.

Nine Eleven

How does it happen that five years ago after the towers fell, you could read handmade signs held by people around the world saying "Today we are all New Yorkers."

And five years later no one wants that association.

Down the drain

 

I reach in, turning the shower faucet on, hotter and hotter. The pain in my chest is deep and exquisite. I had sneezed earlier and a new, unknown pain shot through my chest like a nasty surprise.

I get into the shower, and the overheated water hits my skin. A muffled yell escapes my mouth. Then it turns to a groan, and exits my mouth again and again.

The pain in my chest is making this sound leave my mouth involuntarily. Lauralea checks on me, but its ok. It's better now, not so sharp.

I lean against the shower wall, letting the water hit me hard, steady. Willing it to wash away the pain of my body, the pain of the day.

In my mind I revisit the pain of the day, of the week. Images flash before my eyes of the ones I know and love who have lost their way. A groan leaves my mouth. Another image shoots through and the groan deepens. The physical pain has mixed with the heart pain and somehow becomes one.

Night time is the worst for this sort of thing, it always is. I am tired and I don't always want the images to go away, I want their stories to change. I remind God again of them, and me. And the pain eases, or maybe I am somehow sustained to walk through the images easier.

I want life to be better, and I guess by better I mean with less pain. I know that isn't possible, at least for this life. Pain is a part of being alive, it's a part of being a human. Even if you have faith, you are still human, and pain is a part of the human quest. Any Christians tell you otherwise, they're lying to you through their teeth. Pain is as much a part of being human, as is having skin.

The difference with those who have faith, is that God has promised to go with us, through the pain. Tonight the pain is real, and I'm not sure I want to know what it would be like if He didn't go with me through it.

Suddenly I realize the water is rushing down my face, and the groaning has stopped. Pain is pain, it will come and hopefully, it will go.

As for tonight, it just hurts.

Christopher Lake

Just got home from an evening at the lake. We were visiting some friends from church.

The season is definitely changing. They sky is getting darker much earlier in the evening. And the evenings are getting cooler, cool enough for a jacket.

And at the lake the bears are out, looking for some pre-winter meals.

Was a good visit, on a perfectly clear night.

Thoughts on a Saturday morning.

This morning I am sitting in my New Homework Room with the curtain drawn and the window closed because my neighbours and their most extended families, are in their back yard yelling and hollering and fighting, and now they have turned on some most offensive country music.

:)

I didn't want this post to even mention that. I wanted it to be about a beautiful warm sunny autumn Saturday morning.

It's mornings like this that make me want to go for a long walk, or find a farmers market and purchase some fresh produce and take it home and make an amazing lunch.

It's days like this that make me pine for the times of having the weekend off, after a week of hard work. It was enjoyable, being able to do whatever you wanted to do on your well deserved day off. I've always been one of those people who feels like you gotta work hard, then take a well deserved weekend off. And enjoy it.

But here I am, doing some work on the laptop, listening to a drunken country music fight next door, and I'm heading off to the office because I need to prepare some more for tomorrow, and meet with someone.

That's probably more realistic than the other.

So you grab your moments while you can.

The party next door got me up early and I made some coffee while the family was still in bed.

(Good grief, now they are playing REO Speedwagon. Things are taking a turn.)

I turned on NPR and listened to some good radio. I sat down and read some good writing on the net, interacting and being challenged by it.

The coffee and bread and cheese was perfect, in the morning sun.

And so I'm off to the day. Trying to hold onto that image of the morning, rather than the conflict that goes on next door.

Eugene Peterson on being a relevant Pastor

From his book "Working the Angles."

"American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names remain on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn't the remotest connection with what the church's pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.

A few of us are angry about it. We are angry because we have been deserted.. It is bitterly disappointing to enter a room full of people whom you have every reason to expect share the quest and commitments of pastoral work and find within ten minutes that they most definitely do not. They talk of
images and statistics. They drop names. They discuss influence and status.

Matters of God and the soul and Scripture are not grist for their mills. The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper's concerns-how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.

Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast-food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists.

The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor's responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades."

via.

Some things never change.

It is unfortunate that as you grow older, some things refuse to change. Here I sit with most of the class assignments from my summer week intensive still to be completed! All this work, and my next course begins next week. Sheesh.

My one main excuse has been that I really have had no place to do the homework. When I do it at the office, I usually end up answering phones, or visiting with nice, well meaning people who drop by for a chat. If I do it at the city library, whenever I need to take a break because nature calls, I must pack up all my belongings, including the laptop, and take it all with me. The sign make it very clear, they are not responsible for theft of personal items.

There is much traffic in the kitchen when I try there, and the big chair in the living room, where I have done my work to date, just doesn't work. Balancing the computer on my lap, reading and resourcing two books at a time, well, you get the picture.

So, with the goal in mind of creating a quiet semi-private space to work in, I took to Hillary's bedroom to fix it up to use. Let me tell you, allot of living was done in the past 8 years in this room. I scraped, de-molded, washed, rinsed, de-taped, de-stickytaced, filled holes, sanded, primed and painted the space. I have been at it hard and heavy, and tonight it is finished.

I moved a small table in, beneath the window, on which I put the notebook. I got an old chair to sit on, and as I type, I'm looking out into the dark, quiet back yard.

It's beautiful.

Occasionally a breeze will flow through the window, and a huge moon can be seen clearly (I also cleaned the windows!), moving though the tree tops. It's a very inspiring place and I hope that helps, because honesty, I need all the inspiration I can get.

So, even as I christen this space with this first post, I also realize that I'm out of excuses, and I need to get the homework done, now.

Sigh. "I hate homework. Why do I always have homework."

Nope. Some things just refuse to change.



UPDATE: For Johanna and any others who wish, here are a few pics of the room, after all the work!!

A New Day in Education

Today starts a new day in the educational history of my family.

My great grandfather was a farmer and a school teacher, yet his education was quite limited.

My grandfather was a farmer and pastor, and his education was also quite limited. Though he was able to take some correspondence courses which helped with his work.

My father was able to get as far as grade ten, and he would later on take night courses to upgrade and eventually became a real estate agent and a properties manager.

I graduated with a four year degree from college. I continue to upgrade and take courses that help me with my work.

Today a Friesen enters University. Hillary starts her classes in a few hours. (That is if she gets the right busses!!) And as such she pioneers a new part of the Friesen history.

Ah yes, what a day indeed. Hopefully she can get a good education, and a great paying job so that I can go live with her when I am old and cranky.

I think that's fair.

Psalm 19. Just Because.

The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.

The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight to life.

Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep me from deliberate sins! Don't let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

A Single Rose

The night air is turning cool here on the prairies. We sleep with the windows wide open, so the single digit cold air is still welcomed here.

I can tell it's September because the other night, late into the chill, Lauralea got up and pulled down the big quilt. She loves this part of the year, so I think she's trying to hurry it along. Tonight I'm writing from a refreshingly cool bedroom.

Today is our eldest child's birthday. Johanna has officially turned 19, and if she lived in Saskatchewan, she could now drink legally, which certainly doesn't seem to be a problem in Switzerland.

We had two girls born with nearly a year between them. And I was surprised how much I enjoyed having little girls in my life, they were fun, mostly.

I would load them into the car when their mom needed a break, and off we would go for a Saturday morning, exploring the countryside.

After a couple of years I would pick them up and take them out for lunch at McDonalds. They were trustworthy girls. I could seat them at a table and go off to order lunch for us. Of course I kept one eye on them, but they always sat still, without going exploring. I could trust them, and I liked that allot.

Some kids you could never take out without them being a huge problem and taking the fun out of things, but not these girls.

I loved being their dad, I was always so proud of them. I wanted to do something for them that only their dad would do for them. Some kind of father/daughter connection thing.

So, early on in their little lives, I started buying them a rose on their birthday. Just one, and a variety of colors.

Every year, on their birthday, I would come home with a single rose for them. It was something I wanted to do, as long as I could.

Cause daughters grow up, and things change. Relationships ebb and flow, but I wanted them to know that, even if life got hard, or they considered me a problem father (which they have, and still do...occasionally) that they could know someplace inside that I still loved them.

You do your best, but life isn't easy all the time. Occasionally they have hated me with such a depth that you wonder, I wonder, who we will be to each other when this is all over.

Still, every year through thick or thin, I go in search of a single rose.

This year the search was much more difficult, because Johanna is living in Switzerland. 7000 km's is a long way to get a single rose to travel well.

So, off we go to the Internet. Lauralea's highschool french comes in nicely at this point. She found a florist right in the next town, who delivers to Cernier, and they have a phone number posted on the site.

It took Lauralea a day to screw up her courage and think through some of the words she would need to use. But this morning (Our time) with the flower shop ready to close in an hour for the evening, we placed our call.

I am here to tell you I was completely amazed as Lauralea spoke clear french to the shopkeeper. Well, clear enough to order what I hope was a single rose, delivered tomorrow, to Johanna, living in Cernier, Switzerland.

She was speaking french like a sailor, a french sailor mind you, but it rolled off her tongue like an old hand. She's been holding out on me that's for sure.

And all that to say, I think that one single rose has been ordered for Johanna, in Switzerland, and in the from space it should say, love dad.

Now, I think I'll time this to be posted just before lunch her time, so the surprise isn't spoiled when she reads this post.

Happy Birthday Johanna.

Love Dad.

okgo

These guys have been around for a few years, and they do make me smile.

Have a look at this. 4 guys, 6 treadmills, and one huge, fun imagination.

And it's ok to smile.

 

 

"For ten points, on this day in 1962..."

I noticed today as I was typing a letter, that the date is September 1, 2006.

September 1.

44 years ago right now, in the small town of MacGregor Manitoba, my mom and dad were getting married.

It's good to remember that.

I'm just not sure how to mark the day.