Doing the Linux Happy Dance of Joy

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Finally finally finally, after trying on and off for over a week, I am connected to the Internet via WiFi on my laptop, running OpenSuse.

What a bugger to figure out. Turned out I needed the firmware to be in the right file. But first I needed to learn what Firmware was, and how to operate from root.

Anyway, Woo Hoo and do a dance with a 43 year old semi-nerd who just beat the Linux that was beating me.

Sweet Day of Victory.

And the beat goes on

Listening to Minnesota Public Radio this morning and they mentioned news about Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. Their enrolment is down to 170 and they need at least 200 students to make a go of it.

Their president writes:
Third is an area of concern. This year our enrollment fell short for the second year in a row.
The result is that we have exhausted our financial resources. We need to raise $560,000 by June
to show financial stability. Please pray for us concerning this need.
We also have an aggressive campaign underway to enroll 235 students this fall. The numbers
are looking some better largely due to the work of the FORCE team in youth activities and
schools. To keep from falling into financial instability and possible collapse, we must see this
Please pray for us in these needs. We began a prayer campaign last week. Trustees, Staff,
Faculty, and Students have committed to pray in half hour blocks so that someone is praying at
sometime every hour of each day.
Dr. R. Crane

Course this isn't new news. It continues to be played out in many Bible colleges across the land.

We've been there, done that. Now where do we get the shirt?

You know it's an election year when...

Monday, February 26, 2007
When the government of the day asks you what you'd like, then makes it happen within weeks.

A couple of weeks ago there was a major youth consultation made by our provincial Government. They asked what the priorities of the youth would be, and one of those priorities mentioned, was WiFi coverage in our major cities.

Today they announced a million dollar initiative in which the cities of Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, and Moose Jaw would get free WiFi in their downtown business areas.

Now, to be sure I'm not complaining, (think sermon prep in the park,) in fact it's one of the things that I thought should help move a city ahead, in an information age.

And it won"t be high-speed, but it should be enough for you to accomplish a few things while you"re on the road, or having a meeting in an outdoor café, or studying in the park.

Let"s just hope they get it implemented before the next election.


First Sunday in Lent

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Long ago when we were mostly an agricultural society, the rhythms of the year were always before us. Planting, growing, harvesting, storing food away for the off season.

But today we tend to run our lives without those natural rhythms.

The Church Year helps us to restore the rhythm of life to our lives. We have completed the season of Epiphany, and now we move to the season of Lent.

We ate our pancakes on Tuesday, and some of us were involved in an Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday which marked the beginning of Lent. Today marks the First Sunday in Lent.

We are invited to the “observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.”?

This Season of Lent provides us with a framework for Lent. It is not the inner journey of Lent itself. Lent is a time to simplify, to quiet our busy lives, and to look at our spiritual life as well as our relationship with God and with others. The framework can help us in this process by setting this time apart, making it feel different from our regular routines. That is the purpose of such Lenten disciplines as fasting, etc.

Some people jump into the Season of Lent with both feet, denying themselves many things their lives normally would include. They may think that this is very spiritual. However, in their eagerness they are focusing on the season of Lent, and they miss what it really is.

We can become so focused on the season of Lent that we completely neglect the inner and spiritual work of Lent. It becomes all about following the rules of Lent, not about observing a holy Lent.

Perhaps we should be more careful with our decisions about Lent.

I may take on a discipline of fasting, leaving out something in my life that will make a difference, so that I will notice it. I want to be intentional about simplifying my life during these forty days. Creating that emotional and spiritual space that is too often lacking in day to day life. I will also take something on, perhaps reading or listening to music, to help me move inward.

A discipline of fasting does not always involve food. Perhaps it is a fast of TV or even so much TV. It can be anything which will help to simplify your life and remind you that this is a different season, a different time.

You might want to consider doing some reading to help with your inward journey. Perhaps read a devotional book or read through the Psalms or the four Gospels. You might want to come to early prayer at 6:30 Wednesday mornings.

Whatever you do, by taking on or letting go, do so as a means of moving inward, not as an end to itself. And if you slip up, simply begin again. Continue your inner journey regardless of your fast. And remember, Sundays are always feast days, so whatever you gave up you can indulge in a bit on Sundays.

Above all, look to your relationships: with family, friends, others and especially your relationship with God. That is the crux of the matter in observing a Holy Lent: it is about relationship not about fasting.

May you have a Holy Lent, a time set apart, a simpler, quieter time. And may you find your relationships deepened and strengthened through these days of preparation for the Season of Easter."

At least I haven't given up McDonalds for lent

Saturday, February 24, 2007
I think we are finally ready for tomorrow. And it's a good thing cause I. Am. Done for.

Been here at the office a long time. Around noon Micah called to ask if he could have a sprite for lunch. I said yes. Then around 6 I MSN'ed the boys off to McDonalds to scrounge some supper. Now I'm going to go scrounge a bit myself.

I think this proves one thing, that I would make a real crappy single-parent.

(Lauralea is at the ladies retreat all weekend.)

So I'm grateful that I made good choices, or my spouse didn't die or turn into an axe murder, or God blessed me, or I that I'm scared of her, whatever the reasons I'm still married.

On days like this, I'm glad that I am still married to the mother of my kids, and that she's a stay at home mom. A Hinterland Who's Who of parenting.



P.S. Hey, tomorrow's the First Sunday in Lent. Why not celebrate by getting yourself off to a church!


April 13, 2036

There"s a 1 in 45,000 chance that you should just stay home from work that day.

That"s the day, it has been estimated, that the asteroid Apophis has a one in forty-five thousand chance of hitting the earth, with a power 65,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Apophis, named after an Egyptian demon, the deification of darkness and chaos, will first pass near earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. It will pass within 30,000 km (18,600 mi) of the Earth, very briefly appearing as bright as 3rd magnitude star. To give you a sense of how close this is, we have geosynchronous communication satellites at 35,786 km. This asteroid will come closer to earth than those satellites.

We should get a better sense at that time if we are in sever danger, or just a close call.

1 in 45,000. Hmm. Some Internet numbers please...

There"s a 1 in 13,983,816 million chance of winning the lotto 649 here in Canada, still millions of people play it.
Dying from flesh-eating bacteria disease is 1 in 1 million
Being struck by lightening is 1 in 240,000

Kinda makes 1 in 45,000 a better bet.

Anyway, “They”? say that a direct hit on an urban area could unleash more destruction than Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake combined.

And a hit in the ocean would provide the sickest wave any narly surfer dude has ever ridden.

Boy, you go away for a week and the world falls apart.

In Germany, Soccer success = babies

Friday, February 23, 2007
Last summer's mix of sun, beer and excitement during the football World Cup appears to have produced a massive hormone rush in German bedrooms, gardens and back alleys. Nine months on, birth clinics across the country that hosted the tournament are reporting a much-needed baby boom...

The football World Cup from June 9 to July 9 last year appears to have sparked a baby boom in the host country Germany, where hospitals are reporting a marked rise in imminent births nine months after the tournament, remembered here as a month-long fairy-tale of sunshine, parties and soccer success.

Pia Schmidt from Verna had been trying to get pregnant for two years and reckons that Germany's 1-0 victory over Poland, a nail-biting encounter decided in injury time, cracked it. "I can remember it exactly," Pia, 27, told Hessischer Rundfunk. "We had a barbecue, had invited friends and everyone was in a good mood." Her husband Sascha said: "And when Germany won, my wife and I went on celebrating after the game."

Their daughter Farina was born five weeks early on February 11 and has been celebrated as Germany's first World Cup baby. The others are due to follow from the end of February onwards.

I love it!

I really don't think Canadians would celebrate this much if Canada won a world hockey series.

For the whole story, click here.

I'm home.

After 12 hours, including an hour break in Saskatoon, the normally 7 hour trip is done.

I have had enough adrenalin shooting through my pipes to restart my heart at least nine times.

For the first 6 or 7 hours it was amazingly bad. Snow covered hi ways, snow covered sky, and snow covered cars and trucks in front of me.

A couple of times I thought I should really write down alot of information that people might need if I were not to make it to my 44th year. Things like my password collection, and where I hide the batteries.

Anyway, I'm home. Thankfully.
Tomorrow we're back at it.

oh, and thanks for your prayers and checkin up on me. And for your msg of concern H.P.
I love ya too.

(A pic from my phone. When it cleared a moment and I could snap it.)

The word of the day is...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crapity crapity crap crap crap.

In seven hours i hit the road for the better part of the day.

I will have to drive through this.

And I'm not looking forward to it.


Did the Ikea thing late today

And I got a picture frame, for some art we own.

and some batteries, for all the boys electronic crap.

and a new coffee press, cause Lauralea wore out the old one.

and a small round black bistro table, that Lauralea has been wanting forever. (SCORE! Major kudo points here!!)
and 12 small stackable glasses to replace the ones we broke.

and 12 large stackable glasses to (See above.)


and the 6 dollar, 10 meatball combo for supper.


The first 7 items made me feel like a total yuppie.

The last made me feel like a cheap old fart.

It. Isn't Fun.

Have you ever been sitting in an important meeting where millions of dollars was in discussion and people's jobs were on the line and your son txt messaged you that he had an accident with the family vehicle?

I have.

Going well.

I am growing weary, but my spirit is full, and I am deeply encouraged.

I never took the time to think about what goes into closing down an institution, but it"s huge. There are days it feels like delicate brain surgery, then there are days when it"s just numb, and you walk through what you need to walk through.

I"ve been meeting with people, all kinds of people who work here. And they are moving through levels of grief and loss. Each new day brings a different struggle and a new kind of pain.

Without question there is a deep sense among them all, that they were called here, and that it was a privilege to serve God in these simple, humble ways.

But that"s what discipleship is anyway, isn"t it?»? Serving others?»? Serving the living God, serving our fellow earthlings, serving, caring, helping, meeting needs.

Isn"t that what our leader taught us to do, and be?

Indeed, these people exemplify humble service. It"s been deeply inspiring to listen to their stories these past days. And I come away with my spirit renewed and my hope alive like it hasn"t been for a long time.

Tomorrow I start my journey home, and Saturday I start prepping for Sunday. The First Sunday in Lent.

At least my Spirit feels in good shape, even if I crash Sunday afternoon and don"t wake up till the next day!


Ash Wednesday today

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Ash Wednesday today And lent begins.

We start the slow walk towards the cross, and all that it means for us.

We consider our own lives and our own choices. We dare look inside ourselves and see what is there.

And we move to the place of prayer, to confess and to name our sins.

And we repent, to confess and receive forgiveness for the things that we do or the things that we do not do.

We turn in new directions journeying towards the hope of the cross.

40 days.

Let us begin the inner journey, towards forgiveness and healing and life.

Let us go to the cross.


Of Poets and Logicians II

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
"Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion . . . "

I needed to remember this today.

Glad it was around.

kicking a hole in the darkness...

...till it bleeds daylight.»?

Well, I have arrived safe and sound at Strathmore Alberta, home of Covenant Bible College.
And as the casual reader last week may be aware, it seems that this present model of ministry and disciple making is just not going to make it. So we are closing down.

I am here simply to listen and to pray with people, to sit with them and mourn a bit with them. And so far it's been busy work. Lots of opportunity to care.

And again how impressed am I with the caliber of people here. From the cooks to the handyman to the money people and faculty, they are without a doubt a solid, good bunch of people that God has led here for such a time as this.

And it seems we are finishing strong, doing well what we"ve been doing for some 66 years and that is making disciples of Christ. This class is learning and growing, hungry for change in their own lives.

Which is another reason we may ask why? Why are we finishing at the top of our game? Why can"t we make this work? Why.

While I am struggling to use the language, “This is God"s will,”? I am confident of the fact that he knows the front from the back, the beginning from the ending of our time, and that he is able to make all grace abound to us.

And so he shall. He"s in the business of making old things new, and dead things come back to life.

I don"t know what this looks like in three years, but I do know that He will still be God and we will be people with eternity in our hearts. There will probably be another way that has arisen for us to disciple our kids, and we will look back at this season as an important time in the process of making good things better. And better things excellent.



Time to clean the windows

Sunday, February 18, 2007
When I was a lad...

I remember the old Dos Shell that was the starting point for launching programs on the computer. How lame was that? You looked for .exe files and when you clicked on those, a program would launch.
I remember Dos upgrades and the first windows Microsoft launched. As if that wasn't enough, even back then I had a keen awareness of "The Man," so when I discovered Geo works, I was smitten. Love at first sight.

But then came better versions of windows, and software that ran on windows, like it was suppose to.

The next challenge was keeping the thing safe from outsiders. Virus software had to be learned, then there was the spy/ad stuff that you had to watch out for.

But honestly, the looks of Windows just tires me out, completely boring. So last fall I tweaked things around here a bit and came up with a screen that looks like this. (Click to enlarge)

But now it's changing to something called Vista, and I'm nervous.

Some of the digital rights stuff makes me uncomfortable. The cost and demands it places on a system also mean spending money on new machines, and I still quite love that little 666mhz Windows 98 HP sitting in the kitchen corner that we still use every day.

So, I've been flirting with Linux lately. You know, trying this little thing or that. Boot DVD's that load an operating system onto your ram and can give you a feel for the real thing.

And I've been getting my courage up, doing a bit of reading on dual boot systems.

Well, last Thursday evening while at the Airport to pick up Hillary, I wandered into the duty free store to snoop. And they had "Linux Format" in the magazine rack. Its a UK publication, and the beauty of it was that it contained a disk with with a full OpenSuse 10.2 operating system on it. Synchronicity indeed.

I grabbed it and last night was my first chance to install.

Nervous but sure I had covered every eventuality I went ahead and installed it.

Install went sweet, no problem. Partitioned without a hickup. I chose the KDE interface and was able to get the 3d stuff working on it. I think I still need to tweak some of how it looks as it resembles a bit of a chunky look and feel to it. I prefer fine lines and not so much the chunky cartoonish look and feel to some of it. I'm hoping that will be fixed with updated drivers for the video, etc.

And I'm still fighting with a way to access the Internet via WiFi. That battle isn't being won easily, yet.

So yeah, look at me, I'm dual booting it. Woohoo.

But Linux does require one to think differently than you did with Windows. The structure and where things are requires you to relearn it, in Linux. And that might be the steep curve for me. Too steep to travel? We'll see. Once I get an internet connection then I can go to town on it.

I am excited by what these opportunities could mean for people who want options when it comes to an ever shrinking world of windows. And the cost! No more payments to Redmond. No licensing fees, no buying new software, because its free.

I'm not a Bill Blamer, I just like to keep my options open. And these options look wide open.

What's next, a triple boot?

Bring it on baby.

Just Life. In the deep end.


This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we"d be held.


I'm not one of those "Here's my song made just for this occasion in my life, and so here let me tell you all the lyrics," kind of guy.

But that's a chorus of a song that well describes my sense of being.

Held, by Natalie Grant (Warning: an emotionally charged song about the loss of a child.)

Yeah, the same sense has been going through my spirit these past days. That yes, I'm bone tired, but I am held, and held well.

I'm full of these emotions and senses and dead ends. But there is an inner clarity, like time is slowing down enough for me to know what to do next, and where to go and what to say.

As though a thick quilt envelopes me as I go. Comfort, safety, blessing. It's all there in the clarity.

So it's heavy, but my spirit is light and free.

This is a great strength to me as I prepare for this week.

May God be with you these days, even as He is here, with me.

To Everything, Turn Turn Turn

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Was it Charlie Brown who said there would be weeks like this? Doesn't matter, because this has been a week indeed. The weight of it steadily increasing till today when I reacted like any hormonally charged, over emotional pregnant woman would.

I was at the office, trying to put together the words I need to speak tomorrow, and nothing was coming. As I was thinking about the week and listening and praying, I needed to look up a verse so I was on the computer. I clicked a file that was the audio of my dad's funeral, and listened to my own words telling the story of my dad's life. I don't think I heard 4 words before I was gone. Gone, as in weeping or crying or blubbering or whatever it is that men do, I was doing it. And I was doing it full bore. Thankfully I had the privacy of my office, cause there was no stopping me.

The week's been bad that way, and I'm not completely sure what set it off. I suspect it was the surprising news of Covenant Bible College closing.
After working so hard as a board member, praying so often, travelling so many miles, to discover that it all wasn't enough. That really surprised me.

We were making the changes, adapting, shifting, listening to God and going where he led us. The disciples we were shaping were, and are an amazing bunch, lots of good fruit. But still we are closing.

Then, somewhere in the week I had one night where I just dreamt of extended family members dying. It was like a nightmare and I would wake up in a cold sweat, only to fall asleep and experience a similar dream. On and on it went all night long. I awoke exhausted.

Another night I kept waking up, clear as a bell, unable to return to sleep. I would get up and walk through the house, waiting, listening, watching, and not sleeping.

I've been preparing for next week too. I'm heading to Strathmore to be with CBC friends and co-workers. To give some "Pastoral care," though at this rate they may be giving me more than I them.

And here I am, on a sad overcast Saturday afternoon, tired to the bone.

Yep, life isn't fair and momma said there would be weeks like this, and things will get better, and don't put all your eggs in one basket, and (fit your own banal cliche in here).

It'll be ok and good even.
But even as I'm getting ready for tomorrow morning, I'm thinking these thoughts. They are true.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God"s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Indeed. And Amen.

We were in Saskatoon today

Thursday, February 15, 2007
for a few appointments.

Meeting little Emma was one of them.

What a sweetheart.

As are her parents, Jerry and Becky.

I think I almost convinced Lauralea that we should get another one of our own.


Covenant Bible College Closes

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
"After 66 years of rich and creative ministry Covenant Bible College will discontinue its program in any form and on all campuses effective May 31st, 2007. While the college worked hard to respond to declining enrollment over the past couple of years, due to mounting operating debt, an insufficient number of student applications and donations, it became clear it would not be possible to continue the ministry beyond the current class. This was a very difficult decision to make, and arrived at only after much prayer and dialogue."

More here.

Letter from Acting President Paul Lessard

The CBC Message Board

This is where my head and heart have been this week.

I'll be heading to Strathmore early Monday morning.

Urgent: VD Surprises needed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It dawns on me as I sit here in Council Meeting, that today's date is February 13, 2007. This means that tomorrow is February 14, historically known as the St. Valentines Day Massacre.

The actual dawning realization, is that if we don't wish to see the St. Valentines Day Massacre re-enacted, I need to come up with a Valentines Day Surprise, (Hereby referred to as the VD Surprise).

So, for me and the three guys who read this space, we need some good ideas for VD Surprises.

What are your ideas, insights, and experiences with VD Surprises?

What impressed you, changed your mind, melted your heart?

Just in terms of VD Surprises?

Common, give us a hint here, we are desperate men.

Longer work day cutting into family time: study

"As work hours rise, family time falls."

That's the key conclusion of a study released Tuesday that shows workers spent an average of 45 minutes less time with family members in 2005 than they did 20 years earlier.

Hmm, looks like a quite extensive study has been completed telling us what we probably already knew was happening. That we are spending less time with our families, and more time working.

When you consider that a person becomes more like those they hang out with, it always makes me ask who are those I love hanging out with?

You can check out the whole article here.

My Daughters

Monday, February 12, 2007

Johanna and Hillary, at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

I had a dream Saturday night that Johanna and Hillary were in Paris and they were fighting, like they did when they were 9 and 8 years old.
Glad it was just a dream.
This has been a part of life that I've had some difficulty adapting to, this being a parent with kids who have left home. I'm not missing them terribly, nor do I wish they were still here. But they've always been around. Lauralea and I were together for a couple of years before the kids started coming, so most of our lives have been spent together as a family.

We're still family, just more of a dispersed one.

It feels strange. I still catch myself occasionally walking through an empty house at night, surprised with the truth that they are gone, out creating lives of their own.

But at times when I'm weirded out by their absence, I am encouraged and at peace because of how well they are doing on their own. They are becoming amazing well rounded young women, and I don't mean that physically.

I am very proud of our kids and how they are living their lives and making choices. They are making opportunities for themselves that I never would have had imagined. They are smart, bright people with their feet firmly grounded in reality. No, they are not perfect, so they can still have room to grow. But they seem to have priorities in place to help them make the best decisions possible.

They are an impressive bunch, and I like them.


Enough said.



Saturday, February 10, 2007
I"ve been on call all week and it"s been quiet, which is just the way I like it to be since my own dad died last summer. I haven"t looked forward to being in the on-call rotation since then.

Anyway the phone rang today and I was called to the hospital. And while I was there caring for the family, the individual died.

I still know how to care for these people, and indeed I know the things to say. I usually know when to be there and when to be gone. These things I know in my brain.

But my heart isn"t there. My heart is yelling for me to be someplace, anyplace else. My brain yells back that maybe I can sympathize a bit because I"ve been there. Today my heart lost, mostly because of the demands of the day.

I checked it out, and I"ve done this on call rotation for nine years. Maybe it"s not lazy to not do this any more. Maybe nine years is enough.

Enough of telling parents their child has died. Enough of sitting with weeping orphaned teenagers. Enough of holding stillborn babies. Enough of telling nine year olds that their parents are both dead. Enough of sitting with widows who"s husband went out to shovel the driveway. Enough of telling husbands that their wives won"t be coming home. Enough of it.

I think sometimes all I see is the underside of life. The brokenness of it all. Lets face it, I don"t get called for the “Good deaths,”? the people who pass from this life to the next, well.

So maybe it is ok that it is enough.
For now anyway.

This may just be me but...

What creative genius was it who thought, “Hmm, wouldn"t it be wonderful if our hair could smell of fruit?”? And went on to change the scent of shampoo to that of fruit. Not just any good fruit either but rotting fruit.

Then, somebody else though it would be wonderful if our cleaning supplies would smell of fruit too. I mean, you don"t like the look of a dirty table with fruit smeared all over the place left over from supper? Well just clean it with dishsoap that smells like, like watermelon and muskmelon, yeah that would be lovely right?


If I wanted my dishes smelling of fruit, I wouldn"t wash them.
If I wanted my head to smell of rotting fruit I wouldn"t hesitate to pour coconut milk on my head, or take out some apple and melon and banana and mash em up in a bowl and let it sit on the counter for 5 days, then soak my head in it. I think then I would get close to some of the shampoos I tested at the store today.

At least they haven"t yet come up with shampoo that smells of apple and cinnamon.
I think that could send me round the bend for sure.

The Weekend in Paris

Friday, February 09, 2007
You've got to be kidding me.

The girls (Johanna living in Switzerland for the year, and Hillary visiting her for the week) just franticly msn'ed me with the news that they were going to Paris for the weekend.

It was a quick decision and they are going along with Johanna's employer's wife and staying with relatives.

All they had time for was to tell me this bit of information. And off they went.

I told them in Caps to TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!
I hope they heard me.

Paris for the weekend. Wow. Nice.

Unbelievable even.

It's the kinds of things that dreams are made of.


Middle of Friday afternoon and you need just a small pick me up to make it till quitting time?

You need to watch this. (It'll open in a new window.)
And laugh out loud.

(Just make sure the blond in the office doesn't see it. Might tick them off.)

And if you liked that one, here's a non-make-fun-of-blondes one.


lightness comes

Thursday, February 08, 2007
It"s late I know, but things are stirring and we need to be about the business of talking to God about these things. Certainly not because he doesn"t know about them already, but in our talking to God about them, we invite his presence and efforts in them.

It"s like a “Let thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”? kind of invitation. And for whatever reason, it seems important that we invite him into our “Things.”? It seems to give him room or permission to act in ways he wasn"t able to act before we asked.

So here I am talking to him.

As I said, a couple of things are stirring inside. Usually that happens when God wants me praying about some thing. Different names or situations will repeatedly come to my mind and there will be a kind of weight there. As I bring them before God in prayer the weight eases and lightness comes.


The WMBI radio stream I"m listening to just started to play a song about prayer. Que the Twilight Zone music!!

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry, everything to God in Prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in Prayer.

And you know if you ever want somebody to pray for you just shoot me a note by email or to my cell and I"ll have you covered.

Hey, it"s just a part of the randallfriesen experience.


Anna Nicole Smith

1967 - 2007

I couldn't think there would be a day in which I would publish a post with the title this one has, but here it is.
I wasn't a fan, nor did I follow her life closely, but it seemed that every time she was in the news it was because of another bad decision she had made.

Seems to be a really sad story on how not to live a life.

Switzerland will never be the same

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tonight Hillary is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. How totally weird is that for us, her parents.

Weirder still, is that thanks to the Internet I can still keep an eye on her, sort of. You can track flights online, so I've been watching the little plane on my screen cross the Atlantic, with a tiny tiny version of her in the small plane on the screen. Gives me some small comfort on this cold night of great distances and time zones.

She's off to visit her sister Johanna in Switzerland for a week.

May they have a wonderful visit.

May they leave Switzerland better than they found it.

May they be better off individually, for their time together.

May they have much patience with one another.

May God be with them both.

Please God.



Doug Wildman who, together with his wife Ingrid, is the editor of our Canadian Conference rag, The Messenger, just made it considerably more difficult for me to ever hold down another pastorate in the Conference.
Now, I'm not looking to go anywhere, and it's true I did say go ahead and use whatever pictures you can use from my Flickr account, but boy did he have to take me so literally?
So, into every persons mailbox and into everyone's hands went this image:

I guess I'll have to continue to let God be my job placement officer.

Anyway, Doug's doing some GOOD THINGS too. He's raising money to build wells in Haiti. You should check out his blog, and maybe next time you take a drink from the tap, think about how a couple of your bucks in Haiti would make a world of difference for some thirsty people.

Mission Accomplished. Teachers Appreciated.

I had been checking the weather ever since I left home this morning at 6am. The temperature got progressively worse from -31 then till -33 at 10:00 am when I arrived to be the Recess Supervisor over at PMS.

By the time I arrived the principal had made the executive decision for an indoor recess this morning. I wasn't sure how to take this sudden change. Would I have to shift my plans to rule the yard with an iron fist?

Turns out nope.

Behind every good Recess Supervisor is a team of eager short people who are the recess helpers. They put on huge X-vests, just so that everyone knows who the are (And not that I'm bitter, but why couldn't a Recess Supervisor get an X-Vest too?)

Anyway these short X-Vested Recess Helpers did most of the work. Keeping the kids in their rooms, busy playing games, helping with activities etc. Mostly all I did was walk through the halls slowly, with my hands in my back pockets, looking quite foreboding. Well, until one very short person with a round face came up to me and asked if I was the Recess Supervisor. I roared YES, and off they ran into their little room.

I circulated through the halls about three times. On one rotation, I caught a couple of boys thinking about pulling some switches on the wall and snuck up right behind them and cleared my throat which was enough to take three years off their lives. They ran off down the hall.

And, after fifteen minutes of my Iron Fisted Reign, the bell rang and I was off duty.

I'm proud to say that no one died on my watch.

Guess I'm going to school this morning

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
You gotta know that when I start every post with a reference to the weather that it is starting to effect the quality of my life here. And man this morning it was cold enough to freeze my giblets off.

So this is Wednesday, the day of my Recess Supervision over at PMS. The regular reader of will remember that this week is teacher appreciation week and so this morning I get to go appreciate the teachers.

Last night I asked my wife, who by the way, is the organizer of this endeavour, just what i should do out there. "Do I just pull up in the Velvet Fog and walk to the middle of the playground and begin to assert myself? And won't they think I'm just some dirty old man with my huge overcoat pulled up over my ears and call the cops?" I asked.

"Well, yes, basically," She replied, "But first check in with the office, tell them you're around, so you don't get arrested." kind of thing.

I am not really ready for this. I don't know what to do.

I mean, I've been the guy to tell the parent their child is dead. I've been the guy who tells a 10 year old that both his parents have been killed. I'm the guy who sits with the girl who found her dad dead from a suicide. Those things unfortunately, I've done. And though I hate doing them with a passion deep to my core, I know how to do it.

But this?

"I need training" I told her. "It's unfair that you don't train us how to do this task so that we don't emotionally disturb a child and scar them for the rest of their lives."

"Can I play a game with them?" I ask.


"Like snowball fight or king of the snow hill kinds of games?"



"No, you can't throw snowballs, it's against the rules."

"Really? When did that change, I didn't get that memo."

"Yes you did, it came in a parents newsletter."

"I don't read those."

"I know."

"What should I do if they throw snowballs or don't listen to me?"

"Put them on the fence for a time out."

"What if I forget them there on the fence till after recess and it scars them for life and they grow up to be a serial killer or film critic or something? How will I live with myself? You guys should have a training program or something."

Then I asked her if she wanted to take my time slot, and she laughed at me. Really. Right there in our bedroom as I was getting into bed, she laughed.

Guess I'm going to school this morning.

A different day today

Well it feels like winter is back with a vengeance, and this time it's personal.

Snow last night and cold cold this morning. The car was dead, but the van got going. Eventually I got the car running too, so hopefully thats it for car troubles for the day.

Today we're going out to the funeral. It will be in a smaller city about an hour away. I think they have some family around there.

With the cold you ask yourself what kind of a day is this to say goodbye to your daughter. But thankfully the sky is so big and blue today. It reminds me of the freedom she now knows which she hasn't known for most of her life.

May God be close to the family today, and comfort them with the peace that only he can offer.

Superblow 41

Sunday, February 04, 2007
Ok, I don't know what was worse about the unSuperbowl Game today. Maybe it was the announcers who missed announcing the plays until three plays later, or that they took turns taking shots at each other.

Or that the Bears quarterback Grossman, didn't even seem to show up to play.

Maybe it was the half-time show with Prince and that "cleaning lady" scarf thing he had going on on his head. I dunno.

No, I do know.

Last year Seattle, the team I was cheering for through to the finals, went on to the Superbowl, and lost. This year the Bears did the same thing to me. Yes, that's right I'm taking this personally.

But it doesn't really matter, right? I mean in the grand scheme of things, it's just a game. Heck, that was what the Colts coach even said before the game. They asked coach Tony Dungy what he would say to the team before they went out to play the game. And he said he would tell them that it's just a game, so go and play.
It's just a game.

But then he knows some of life's priorities already, doesn't he.

It was only 16 months ago that they found his 18 year old son dead from a suicide.

Indeed, it's just a game.

The day does take a turn

Saturday, February 03, 2007
Life and the rhythms of life seem to progress, often at a ruthless rate of speed.
And then there are days like today when time seems to slow right down, stand still even.

Micah's friend called to tell Micah that his sister had just died.

This family, newly moved from Ontario with two kids, a 14 year old girl and a younger boy, have been settling into life here in Prince Albert. The life and energy of the family focused on care for the eldest child. They have lived their lives within the reality that this day may come.

But that's the catch. It may come. Not that it will for sure, but it could, maybe, one day end like this.
And no parent wants to live down that road, so we try to make deals with the benevolent heavenly deal maker. We beg and plead for the lives of our children. And for whatever the reason, sometimes they make it and sometimes they just don't.
For this family today time has stopped, and having stopped, it mercilessly drags on. The day never seeming to end.

So, Lauralea and I went out and found the best roses this town has to offer, and we went over and introduced ourselves to them. They are generous gracious people. They seem to have walked this road well, making decisions not to be embittered by the fight.

We hugged them and shed a few tears with them as fellow parents, even if we couldn't do it as good friends.
Micah's over there right now, keeping his friend busy with a game or two.

So, tonight our hearts are over there in that home two streets over. Our prayers are going up on their behalf, and maybe it's good for us to pray as the day closes. Simply being aware of the way a life can be lived and end.

So pray with me, won't you? Even if you're not used to it, give it a try.
Be present, O merciful God,
and protect us through the silent hours of this night,
so that we who are wearied
by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
may rest upon your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who wake, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick,
give rest to the weary,
sustain the dying,
calm the suffering,
and pity the distressed;
all for your love"s sake, O Christ our Redeemer.

In peace, we will lie down and sleep;
For you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.

Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
For the night is at hand and the day is now past.

As the night-watch looks for the morning,
So do we look for you, O Christ.

The Lord bless us and watch over us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us
and be gracious to us;
the Lord look kindly on us
and give us peace.


and amen.

Sirius-ly Though

I've been loving the Sirius Satellite Radio this week, let me tell you.

As we head into this violent Bears crushing Colts weekend otherwise known as Superbowl Weekend, it has been a pleasure indeed to be able to listen to sports radio. And with Sirius, I have options of ESPN Radio, ESPN News, Hardcore Sports, Sirius Sports Action, and a few others. But the one I've been loving this week has been Sirius NFL Radio.

They've been down in Miami all week, bringing the interviews and news and updates and, well all things superbowl. It's been great.

And now, fully BS-ed with all the sporting clichés like

You win as a team, you lose as a team.
Turnovers will be the key.
The intangibles will be the key.
It"s gonna be a war out there.
It's going to be a battle of the titans.
On any given day any team is capable of beating another team.
Good teams get better down the stretch.
They have to play with their ears pinned back.
And my personal favourite, The road to the Super Bowl goes through Miami.

Well Duh.

Anyway, here in the Great White North where Sports Radio hasn't been invented yet, God said Let there be Satellite Radio, and it was and it was so good. Just another one of those things I'm thankful for.

Now bring on The Game, the Match of Titans, the Bowl of Supers, the Game of the Year, let's get this party started. Lets see the Bears take it to the Colts, cause that's what a bear does to a baby horse.

Lets get out the snacks and party foods and have friends over and grunt and adjust ourselves have an evening to remember.

Course, again this year I think I'll be watching the game alone.

This is what the LORD says:

Friday, February 02, 2007

"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.


Goin back to school

Yesterday the lovely ( reminded me that next week is teacher appreciation week at ole PMS. And no I'm not talking about a school for hormonally challenged angry/sad/could care less, young women. I'm talking about Princess Margaret School, the grade school our children have attended, and yes sometimes the acronym did fit.

Anyway, Lauralea is high up in the PTA at PMS and since it's TAW they try to do nice things for the teachers. So next week the parents are taking over recess supervision duties.

The opportunity to finally be the boss of the school ground quickly overtook me and I offered to do one day of recess. I asked if I would get a badge, which was what I really wanted. She replied no.

"Then how will the kids know to do what I tell them to do?" I begged? And she made up some drivel about the kids seeing my hulking foreboding figure and imagining them doing whatever I asked them to do.

She doesn't understand, I was this tall in grade school and nobody listened to me. I mean maybe it was because I couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, but they didn't respect my size then and I doubt they will now.

And what does she know of size anyway. She of the 4 foot, 10 inch height who wears size five shoes with four inch heels on them. She's able to look into the kids eyes and smile and laugh with them and they will follow her anywhere. Badge-less.

Maybe I can buy off a tough little group of enforcers with marbles who will do my bidding for me and assist me in my domination of the PMS playground for those 15 minutes.

15 minutes of absolute power. Mmmmmmmwwwwaahhhhhhhhh.

So next Wednesday at 10:15 if you're driving past PMS, honk if you love world domination.

Nothing to see here so just move along

Thursday, February 01, 2007
...Unless you're a total geek then there's something to see here.

Tonight I took Toni's advice and downloaded the ISO of Mandriva One, see how far Linux has come in the past few years.

Well, its come along way.

I ran it off of my DVD drive, so it wasn't a complete installation. But boy I had fun with some of the bells and whistles.

It said I needed a driver to run the properly recognized wifi card built into my laptop, which I couldn't get while i was running the system. But it easily recognized my usb drive I shoved in for the test.

Open office easily handled anything created in Wordperfect I threw at it. It also opened Word documents and it's own format created in Windows.

Open office also opened the Impress (think powerpoint) document I had made last week.

I don't feel confident enough yet to do a dual install on this dell laptop I have, or else I would try it.

And I'm not sure it would do everything I need it to do right now, but I was impressed.

And the eyecandy. The 3d graphics and squinching and turning the corners of the desktop to find a new clean one was just sweet.

It seemed to work too. From the media players to the office software, there were lots of sweet details. And i love the details.

Some images for you?

(Click to enlarge)

"Star" menu

Just turn the corner to the next desktop.

Impress runs my presentations. Including my mistakes.

3D squinchability.

And it handled my Wordperfect and Word documents with ease.

During the short time I had with it I was impressed.

But getting things done day by day would be a real test. I gotta work up the nerve to try that.
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