Oh, you said you wanted the small car...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
What happens when BBC's Top Gear people take the world's smallest car to work.

and here is the next part, if you want a bit more.

The Art of Christian Listening - Thomas N. Hart

A great tool for Spiritual Direction.

Good insights into discernment processes and how to help with repeated walls directees come up against.

A great resource to have on hand.

Did I miss a memo or something?


whats with all the adults putting on funny Halloween costumes today?

At the bank I dealt with a series of cowgirls.

At the insurance agency I dealt with an old witch, beside whom stood what I can only guess was a "Housewife" in a bathrobe, curlers, and the like. Beside her was a Pumpkin.

It's a little embarrassing being served by such outfits.

And I feel quite undressed with my sweater and black felt coat and red scarf.

Am I missing something? Something fun or exciting ?

I don't know.

Seems weird to me.

When it works, it's sweet.

(Click to enlarge)

The old Internet has it's occasional problems and frustrations, but times like today it really shines.

I needed to have a conversation with a Classmate in my Spiritual Direction course and he lives in Ft. Collins Colorado.  We decided to meet up on Skype, and so we did.

The connection can be chunky at times and though today I lost him completely two times, most of the conversation and video was sweet.

Here's to Tom in Colorado, and Skype and all things internetty nice.

the government should be in Ottawa and not my bedroom

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
My soul patch is starting to grow back and I am hopeful that more deep thoughts will be forthcoming.

In fact, I had a mini-deep thought this morning on the way to work.

Our Canadian government in it's deep wisdom, has within five years made incandescent light bulbs illegal. Their plan is to push everybody to using the energy conserving fluorescent bulbs. My concern is that this will cause a major decrease in our national birth rate. We will go from reproducing our 1.2 children per couple, to just .2 children per couple. Less babies mean less people paying taxes so I can collect my pension.

You see, it's been my experience that fluorescent bulbs don't work well at all with my lamps in the bedroom, mainly because they are on a dimmer switch. This is so that I can read with low light beside my bed, while Lauralea is sleeping soundly.

Alternatively, the low lighting in the room can be used to set a mood, or, to hide just enough wrinkles to make me interesting.

What happens when its all, full bore, all on, harsh fluorescent lighting. Think, your last visit to the indoor swimming pool. Do you want that unflattering lighting in your bedroom, or dinning room, or living room? I think not.

Libidos across the country will be dropping faster than the temperature in January.

And thus our national birthrate will decrease. And I won't get a pension.

Whomever was it who said the Government should stay out of the bedroom may have had a point in this case.

Gillette Fusion Science Fiction

Sunday, October 28, 2007
A long time ago I received a Gillette Fusion razor in the mail, kind of a try before you buy deal I guess, and I stuck it under the sink for emergencies. Well last night the emergency arrived. I had a 2 day growth of facial hair and needed to shave, and the only razors in the house were Lauralea's three blade, 5 in a pac for 99 cents deal. The last time I used one I tore off a swatch of my face which I am partial to.

But I have very sensitive skin, so most razors just don't do a good job of removing hair and leaving the skin on.

So last night I pulled out that Gillette bad boy from the package it was entombed in, lathered up and gave er a whirl.

Wowy wowy wow wow.

It. was. amazing.

I've never enjoyed such a shave, especially on a day two. On a day three I can use somewhat crap razors and get a good cut, but on a day two a smooth cut like that is just a dream. It could make shaving fun again.

Of course, like some corner pusher, now that I've tried it, Gillette will probably demand big bucks from me for every razor i NEED.

But it was one sweet ride while it lasted.

Their website is as cheesy and top heavy as it gets, not like the razor at all.

But I give it a three thumbs up. Give it a try.

An evening prayer

Saturday, October 27, 2007
It's getting late already, but I fell asleep sitting on the couch earlier tonight so maybe that's a fair trade off.

I have been thinking this week, who are the people in my life whom I know are, for lack of a better word, close to God. Who are they today? Where are they?

You know what I mean, those people who are just always well tuned. Connected. In touch with the Almighty.

People who spend time conversing with the Holy One. They really take time to Be with him, and out of that comes wisdom and insight and understanding.

I read about people who meet up with God in the bible and they come away with a glowing countenance.

I read of these people in history books, who similarly come away from times with God just shining.

Those are the people I want to emulate, to be like. They have known God in ways that are just a distant dream to me.

Sometimes it seems so hard to know and be known by God. Yet Paul says he's not very far from each one of us.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

I am on a journey, and the question I need to look at on any given day is, is the journey taking me towards Him, or is it taking me further away from him. If I can answer that question with integrity then it's a good place I'm at.

I just want to want to know him more, and deeper, and truer. For there are depths of relationship with Him that we could spend our whole lives exploring, if we were brave enough, hungry enough.

But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood


I made a mistake

Friday, October 26, 2007
In an effort to adjust to a decrease in child tax credits, etc. etc. etc., we are going through our expenses and re-budgeting.

About a year ago we switched to a cell phone from SaskTel and we moved to a $25  per month plan with them, less than we had with our old company. Well, lately I've been looking at the minutes we've been using with the cell phone, and they range from 10 minutes one month, to 30 in another month. We use it mostly to be reachable to family members and it's great for that. But my plan allows for 150 weekday minutes, evenings and weekends free.

So, obviously I am over minuted.

Then I check my mobility bill and see that they tack on a $6.95 administrative fee, a 411 fee, a 911 fee, and every minute long distance to or from the phone cost an extra .25, and pst and gst taxes. Sheesh, most bills are $35 to $40! For 10 or 20 minutes a month!!

So, if you are still following me, I might as well be buying swamp land in Florida on a monthly basis!

I found out that President's Choice offers me a phone that charges .20 cents a minute, anytime. Thats like $2 for ten minutes, $6 for thirty. Even if you add the extra long distance fees it's still a HUGE savings.

To buy my way out of my contract costs $10 a month for the two year plan, and because I use SaskTel for my home phone and internet, they usually take another $10 off each month so that if I quit them, my costs go up $20 a month.

I feel a bit like I'm in a bad relationship I can't get out of. I can't even say "It's not you, it's me" because it isn't me, it's them!

But of course it is me. I decided to sign with them, I decided to give them a chance. And I made a mistake.

I may have to bite it, suck it up, and learn from my mistake. I just don't want to make another mistake, and get another bad deal.

I think I mostly hate feeling like I've been duped.

But at least I'm learning. Slow but sure, I'm learning.

Hmm, things are picking up it seems!

This came in the morning email:
12 Whitehall , London SW1A 2DY, United Kingdom.
24 October 2007.

Dear Recipient

We congratulate you over your email success in our FREE BRITISH WEB
LOTTERY computer balloting held on 1st October, 2007. This is a
Millennium Scientific Computer Game in which email addresses were
used.It is our promotional lottery program aimed at encouraging
internet users;therefore you do not need to buy ticket to enter for it.

You have been approved for the star prize of £1,000,000.00 GBP(One
million Pound Sterling) To begin the claim process of your prize you
are to contact the delivery department manager of AMTRAK COURIER to
redeem your winning cheque of £1,000,000.00 pounds that had been
deposited in your favor with Amtrak
Courier Delivery Company,please contact Mr. Franklyn White with the
details below:

Telephone: +44 70457 54280
Telephone: +44 70457 54283
Telephone: +44 70457 54285
Fax: +447075020940
Contact Email: click on your reply for security reasons.

I think a new vehicle might be in the works now!!!


Tim's test

The regular reader will remember that September 21 was my last visit to a Tim Horton's, and because of ongoing impatience issues on my part, I haven't been back.

I thought today might be a good time to check on their progress, because I was really thirsty for Tea. So I pulled over into Tims, and it looked hopeful given that the line up wasn't out the door and around the corner.

And, the Canadian Army was lined up for a coffee too, so I was feeling patriotic, national pride something or other.

However, and I use that nicer term in place of a BUT, it turned out to be 17 minutes from the time I got in line, till the moment I received my tea and bagel.

Now, in the grand scheme of things like how long it would take to get a tea and bagel if I had lined up in an African country, 17 minutes isn't bad.

And here is where I use the BUT word again,

But, that's 17 minutes I'll never have back again. So, I'm back to simply going without, and that's ok. Easier on the wallet too.

Today the cheerful part about going to Tims wasn't seeing the Canadian army lined up for their coffee, or the good Tea I eventually got. My line mate a few people down was Paula. It seems we regularly meet at Tims, at least every year or so.

So today I lift an extra large, double double steeped tea to Paula, the Canadian Army, and of course to the hope that Tim Hortons wait times may drop in the new year.


It's Thursday today

Thursday, October 25, 2007
and I am so behind this week.

Doing a service at the care home this afternoon. At the Hospital this morning. Behind on the service for Sunday. Behind behind behind.

And somehow it managed to work out that every night this week is a meeting out.

Just one of those working hard weeks where it just feels like enough doesn't get done.

Soul baby

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I accidentally on purpose shaved off my soul patch they other day when I was shaving in the shower.

And I miss it.

I keep reaching up to play with it when I'm thinking deep thoughts, and it's not there.

Needless to say I haven't been able to think any deep thoughts for a couple of days now.

I wish it would hurry up and grow back. I have things I need to think about.

Now this is Television

via. Gavin

"Dave Rae, our very own Spielberg (or maybe Tarantino), put together some videos spoofing "The Office" to introduce each of the weekly themes. They were a big hit with folks in the congregation and it was requested that they be posted somewhere for viewing for those folks who missed a week here or there (or just want to watch them again)."

Eric "the long haired friend of Jesus" Senior Pastor plays himself, (No poser!) and Gavin "Hard Core Associate Pastor" does a great job playing himself too. But the scene stealer is Dave Rae.

Somebody please get this guy his own show.

Sit back and enjoy Real TV.

Here is the original link, and video two, three, four, and five.
a complete evenings entertainment.

Time Passages

Looking east

This time of the year on the prairies always pulls me back to that first Autumn I headed off to college.

A long bus ride across the cold prairies, through the nights and early mornings. The morning sun pink on the horizon, the blue of the deep sky, the green of the grass, and the chill on exposed hands. Standing outside a greyhound bus as it stops for a break.

Funny how memories are locked in there like that, and one cold, pink morning suddenly draw you back in time 25 years.

Autumn on the prairies is the best.

As the rain hides the stars

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


As the rain hides the stars,
as the autumn mist hides the hills,
happenings of my lot
hide the shining of Thy face from me.
Yet, if I may hold Thy hand
in the darkness,
it is enough;
since I know that,
though I may stumble in my going,
Thou dost not fall.


Alistair Maclean


Even posh people need love


The London Review of Books usually has some interesting advertisements.
Well written at least.

Attractive, well appointed lady 48, desirable location. Original features in tact, slim build, all mod cons, well decorated. Positive outlook, south facing, south Manchester. Recently on market, anticipated quick take up. Viewing highly recommended. No nutters please. Strictly classy, strictly classified.
box no. 19/04

Hart on inner healing

Karl Menninger, after decades of work in psychotherapy, lays aside all learned talk both of psychic maladies and of therapeudic techniques, and utters one simple overarching truth: It is unlove that makes people unwell, and it is love and love alone that can make them well again. His contention is buttressed by more general studies and surveys, in which it has been shown that those therapists are most successful in bringing health back to their clients who are best able to convey love. Their theoretical framework may be Freudian, Jungian, Rogerian, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis, or anything else; the most telling factor is still the ability to communicate care, reverence, and hope to the troubled person. This explains in part why some psychotherapists seem to do so little for people even after months and months of appointments, and some complete amateurs are able to make significant difference in a short time.

Thomas Hart, The Art of Christian Listening, p.18

Going, going, ...

Sunday, October 21, 2007
Today in church our part time youth guy Steve, announced that he would be leaving us in a couple of weeks. He's been accepted into the RCMP 6 month training intensive.

He's been working towards this for the past year, jumping through hoops and tests and paperwork and polygraphs and physiological reviews and background checks. He's done well to make it this far. Now the next step is to go live with them for six months. With his family at home.

I suppose there are weirdos and flakes in every profession, but the RCMP sure do make it tough to sneak into their ranks if you are one. That's somewhat comforting.

We will miss him, but it's been a good process of discernment and seems a good fit. We will wish him well, and pray for his 6 months intensive training, and we will probably pray for his family even more.


What surprised me in a kind of out of the blue way, was how 3 or was it 4 different people came up to me afterwards and asked if I was staying around.

I didn't see that coming.

I'm not sure if that is about fear or perhaps even an unhealthy dependence.

I'm thinking that one through though.

Oh, and I told them I wasn't expecting to be on my way any time soon.

Evening Prayer for a Saturday night

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Iona Cross

Christ of the agony
Christ of the bleeding
Christ racked and stretched out on the Tree
I place upon You my own agony
I place upon You my own bleeding heart
I place upon you my own despair.
Take it
Break it
Remake it
Your Tree of Death became the Tree of Life
Give Your Blessing of Life to me.


(Western Isles)



Reason number 329 on why I love her

She can say, "I just wish my boobs would quit" with a straight face.


Reason number 328 on why I love her

Friday, October 19, 2007
This summer and autumn I've been watching Canadian Football League games on the broadband over at tsn.ca. It's often hit and miss, and the image can be quite chunky, but I can make out enough to see.

Lauralea has been bugging me to just get the cable package with TSN in it, but I've been all, no no I don't need it for a couple games I watch in a week.

Then she goes, "It's only five dollars for the month so why not get it?"

Then I go, "Na it's hardly worth it just for football games."

And she's like, "Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on."

And I'm like, "No no no no no no no, costs too much."

And she's like, "It's five bucks for the month you cheap beggar."

(Well that's the way it sounded in my head)

And I'm like, "Hmmm."

So today when I got home, she had called and had the company turn on the TSN for me for five bucks a month.

And tonight I watched the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Calgary Stampeders, which means the Saskatchewan Roughriders have earned a home playoff game. Sweet.

And so is she.

The foggy glow of a giant yellow M

In a move completely contrary to how I'm feeling these days, I woke up at 6am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. So I did what anyone else would do, I got up and went to work. (you would do that right??)

There is a heavy fog out there this morning and pardon me but do you appreciate how long I've waited to use the following simile? I live on the prairies and fog is like a relative who lives in another country and only shows up now and then to remind us who they are. So here I go; it's a thick as pea soup out there.

I needed a coffee and since I've sworn off Tim's line-ups, my next best choice was a local McDonalds. I like their coffee these days too.

This is where my story takes a turn.

I wasn't hungry at all, but I figured I should at least get something in me. Nothing looked interesting, so I just asked for this Bacon McGriddle thing.


Two buttery, maple syrupy small pancakes with processed cheese and crispy bacon and egg between the two of them.

Let me repeat myself. Wow.

I think I've had one before, but really, this is a heartache waiting to happen.

The heartache will be not being able to eat one of these every day, and not a coronary as you may have guessed.

So I'm at work starting the day.

And it's a good thing because I have a ton of things to get done today.

Hope your day goes well too.

Maybe if things trail off you should sneak off to McD's and ask for the McGriddle.

Tell them the pastor says it's good for your soul, just probably not your heart.

Brad Boydston on worship

Since when was worship focused on God intangible faith? For six days we focus on serving God out in the world and on the seventh we stop doing that in order to focus more directly on serving God himself through worship. The whole "faith in action" campaign, while well intentioned, and while truly addressing the need to get people up and moving, is half-baked theologically. Should we rob God of the praise and adoration due him in order to care for neighbors? We don't have to. The problem isn't so much about what we're doing on Sunday. It's what we're not doing on the other six days. Yes, put faith into action -- but let it be the service that overflows from what we do for God each Sunday.

Yeah. That's a keeper.


Richard II King of England

Thursday, October 18, 2007
My God! This is a wonderful land and a faithless one, for she has exiled, slain, destroyed, and ruined so many kings, so many rulers, so many great men, and she is always diseased and suffering from differences, quarrels, and hatred between her people.

September 21, 1399 Remark made in the tower of London, where he was forced to abdicate ten days later.

It's at the top

I received a message tonight asking where my blogroll was located. I thought I'd take a moment to remind us.

The "Voices" link at the top of the page leads to a list of some of the sites I visit, regularly or occasionally. They are others voices and as such they are people with things to say, as opposed to people with rolls which is why I don't call it a blogroll.


The "Cool Stuff" link has just that, cool links to interestingness.


Mr. Beaver on a Safe God

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis reminds us that the divine-human struggle is neither tidy nor tame, but it is still one we can embrace with confidence.

Susan and Lucy ask Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to describe Aslan (Lewis's representation of Jesus). They ask if Aslan is a man. Mr. Beaver replies.

"Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."


Are you kidding me??

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This is great!!


Chopsticks, Doctors, and a little project

It's late.
Lauralea is already cutting wood, and I should go cut a bit myself.

Today her and I did lunch out, Vietnamese food. It was good. I realized I'm at the place in life where I just don't enjoy good asian food unless I can use chopsticks. Taste's better you know.

We both have been struggling with recent health developments so we were encouraging each other to hang in there. Well, I was encouraging her to hang in there, she was telling me to see the doctor.


Ours is changing again. That's 7 doctors in 10 years. They come here till they meet their quota of time served, then they move on.
I gotta work up the energy to go meet a new doctor again, and all the intimate details of life that goes along with that. I don't look forward to it.

But, time for sleep. Tomorrow morning is coffee with the boys and hospital visits.

Tonight I was working on a little project. Not sure how long I'll keep it up, but I need to remember to do some fun stuff in life too.


So, it kinda wants to rain out there

Autumn Leaves

But I still have to do the raking.

The trick is to rake after the leaves have fallen, and just before the snow flies.

But that is a science akin to witchcraft.

"My Christian daughter says I'm going to hell. What do I do?"

Ah, see, now once and a while "They" get it right.

An unbelieving dad asks the question. I like the answer.

Check it out.

St. Columba

"Columba was unimpressed with the power of the Druids and he often beat them at their own game, crying "Christ is my Druid!" Broichan realized that he was facing a rival, so later, when Columba and the translators were on their way back to Iona, the Arch Druid conjured a great wind to frustrate their setting sail. Columba cried out "Christ is my Druid!" and sailed straight into the storm. The wind suddenly shifted and quickly propelled their craft on its way home. According to Columba's biographer, Adamnan, Columba was granted the gift of healing and prophecy. Water blessed by Columba had curative powers, and he also changed water into wine. When he celebrated the Holy Eucharist, an uncreated light was seen to shine down upon him. He went on many missionary journeys, to Northern Scotland and the Heathen Picts, to Aberdeen and the Orkneys and he even converted King Brude at Iverness. Columba divided his time between the communal life of the monastery and in the solitary life of a hermit. His bed and pillow were made of stone, and he often spent the night in prayer by himself in some solitary corner of the island."


Refresh 07

As Mark mentioned in the last post, I am doing some talking this year at Refresh.

Refresh is held in Winnipeg on the weekend of November 9-11 and is a gathering of young people. Single or married, children or not, people in school or work, or both. Just late teenish, or 20ish, or 30ish, somethings getting on with life.

I want to explore the idea that God is a community, why aren't we?

We are a people who pride ourselves on our ability to be independent rather than interdependent. What would it look like to reorient ourselves to Gods idea.

I think it could be alot of fun.

Of course the weekend always is fun. Lots to do and good people to meet. Opportunity for personal growth and maybe make a new friend along the way.

So if you are free that weekend and want to do something enjoyable, you are invited.

It's $75 registration, unless you live 6 or more hours away, then it's cheaper. And that money covers the weekend, food too.

Check out more information and online registration here.

I'll see you in Winnipeg in November.

Just humming along

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Hmmm, where am I...

I'm still here, plugging away.

Meeting with people, doing emails, trying to find sleep at night.

It's not a bad place right now, things are ok.

Some of the people around me are doing good, and some aren't doing so good.

Some of my friends lives are being turned around. Some should be back from world travels.

No big surprises for us, just contented moving forward in a direction.

Trying to stir some inner interest to paint our kitchen.

Moving my office at church around so I can see out the door into the church, just to know who's coming and going around here, especially when I'm the only staff around.

Gotta get the leaves raked too, before the S _ _ _ arrives and I have to shovel the leaves.

And still kinda watching the horizon for a new vehicle. Don't really want to go through a winter with the one we have.

And the Spiritual Direction stuff is taking off a bit. It means meeting with people and having good talks. It means motion towards God in their lives, and I like being in on that.

So it's a good place right now, and I'm glad for that.

sittin, drinkin eggnog in the middle of the night

Saturday, October 13, 2007
It's 1:14 am and I'm still up.

Oh, I've already been to bed, for nearly an hour, but I couldn't sleep. So I got up and walked around the house.

Now I'm sitting here writing this, and watching "Escape to the Country" on BBC Canada, drinking some Egg Nog. (Yep, it's out there already and I only have a couple of months to drink my year's supply of dairy.)

I'm going to be bugger all tired tomorrow and I know that, but my body doesn't seem to realize it.

Spent some time praying for the kids, and some of you, but now I'm out of ideas.

. . . . . . .

Hmmm, she just found the couple a lovely place in the country with three garages and outbuildings for 270,000 pounds! What a deal!

Is everybody in the UK that rich? Cause the people on these shows always have tons of cash to buy houses with...

Well, i should try to get to sleep again. I don't want to go to the Holly Cole concert tomorrow night and end up sleeping through it. I hate when i do that, mostly with movies. Pay 25 bucks to see a movie with Lauralea, and fall asleep.

oup, she just found the couple a lovely home in Lincolnshire for 295,000. Looks dead lovely. Old, lots of character. I bet they take that one. A husband and wife, both accountants, and no kids. He's into small sports cars, she's into gardening, hardcore it looks like, if her garden says anything about her.

Anyway, my eggnog is gone so I might as well go lay in bed some more.


Donovan Leitch on Pop

"Pop is the perfect religious vehicle. It's as if God had come down to earth and seen all the ugliness that was being created and chosen pop to be the great force for love and beauty."

1968 Rock 'n' Roll Babylon

From Speed Queen to Kenmore in 20 years flat

I knew the day would come, eventually. I mean you can only rewire and cajole and coax a dryer so many years, before the heating element breaks down.

And we've had it for 20 years, and it was an old thing even then, so i don't suppose I should begrudge the element for giving way.

But I have rebuilt that thing a couple of times in these 20 years. I've replaced the motor, and multiple burned out wires, lights, fuses and wire clips. I know the in's and out's of it, and I always knew that if the heating elements ever let go, it may mean a new machine.

Well it died a week ago, to the day.

It doesn't look like replacement elements are even available any longer. So I went looking at a used machine to replace the old one. They seem to run from $150 to $250, for an old, sometimes 20 year old machine itself. So we looked around for new.

Wow. $1300 seemed the top end for a dryer, and $350 for a low end. Guess what we did.

But I don't know, those old beasts would run and run and run forever. I'm a little nervous about a new one. Light metal, easily popped together with plugs rather than screws, little wiring, and it took all of 35 minutes to build.

I think it's a Kenmore, so we'll see if we can get 20 years out of that one too.

I'm not sure how I managed to schedule this

...but tomorrow morning I'm leading worship, giving the talk, and teaching the youth class.

I'll be at the office today.

for Faith

Friday, October 12, 2007

Almighty and eternal God:
our eyes cannot see you,
our hands cannot touch you.
You are beyond the understanding of our minds.


Yet you have breathed your Spirit
into our spirits.
You have formed our minds to seek you,
inclined our hearts to love you,
called us to be heirs of your eternal kingdom.
Give us faith to lay hold of things unseen,
to live as those who see the invisible God.


Bring us at the last
to those things beyond our seeing,
beyond our hearing,
beyond our imagining,
to the vision of your glory
when we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.








Surprised by joy

Thursday, October 11, 2007
A couple weeks ago at our small group meeting the people were engrossed in some deep conversation or another, and my eyes were captured by a picture on the far wall. It was Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night over the Rhone."

As I said it captured my attention and at a distance I watched it unfold before me. It became like a small movie and the town lights reflected in the water almost began to shimmer. The clear cool night sky with the Big Dipper shining brightly, the two older people walking home after a full night, and the soft breeze blowing all served to capture my spirit unlike anything "art like" has ever done before.

It was a strange moment when a painting captured my heart. I can't even explain it properly, but it feels like joy. Deep inside there, even now when I see it my heart feels full, and good and alive.

Now when we go to the small group gathering I always sit where I can see it, and I do stare at it catching new things I hadn't seen before. It's like we have this secret relationship, this picture and I. It makes me smile whenever I see it, and I still don't completely know why.

Van Gogh was quite proud of the piece which he had painted in Arles in 1888 that depicted stars reflecting in the Rhone River. And I have always felt a bit of an affinity for him.

Vincent was a preachers boy who was a quiet child with little if any attention spent on art or artistic interests.

He got work in the Hague gallery which transferred him around a good deal. He was on his way to becoming an art dealer when he suddenly lost interest in the work.

He redirected his life towards ministry preparation, to evangelize the poor. But eventually his frustration and inability to progress in school saw him leave to go and care for miners and their families. He ended up in Borinage working at the evangelization of the destitute miners. He found he was able to identify with them, their lifestyles and families quite well, but it was very frustrating work for him.

He was with them a while, then left the ministry to "work to leave something of importance behind for mankind." His brother Theo pressured him to become an artist, and he did.

His mind was sick, and he struggled so deeply with mental illness not understood in those days.

Vincent viewed his life as horribly wasted, and himself an impossible failure. On July 27, 1890 Van Gogh attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He survived, but died two days later from the wound.

His brother's widow collected the majority of Vincent's work. She took the collection to Holland and dedicated herself to getting the now deceased Vincent the recognition he deserved. She published his work and Vincent became famous nearly instantly. His reputation has been growing ever since.

During his lifetime, he sold only one painting.

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul...
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand
What you tried to say, to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they did not know how --
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you
But still, your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do--
But I could've told you, Vincent:
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you.

Now I think I know
What you tried to say, to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they're not listening still--
Perhaps they never will.

Don McLean

October Snow

I was in a local business this afternoon, and the clerk was singing "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all they way."

Good grief Charlie Brown.


Support your local Italian restaurant

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I was in Saskatoon today for some appointments I had booked. It was a beautiful day to be in the city.

As I was driving through the downtown I turned a corner in front of Johns and nearly ran into the Mayor of the city. Well, I didn't nearly hit him, although I could have if the mood was right. But he's done some good things for the city so I figured live and let live.

I found a smallish Italian restaurant for a lite lunch, and as my lunch appointment dropped out on me, I was free to go where I liked.

Now, everybody should have a small Italian restaurant in their little black book to visit occasionally.

I mean the kind of place that's still owned by an Italian family. The kind of place where you can be sitting in the dining room and hear them yelling in the kitchen. That's the kind of place I mean.

Good food. Not the kind of "Pasta" you get at some box restaurants. And good passion, for doing things well with a work ethic equal to any German family.

A place where they've been doing this for 30 years so they know their way around a pizza and a bowl of pasta, and the son or daughter has taken over for the old man who still won't get the heck out of the kitchen even at the age of 73.

You find one of those places you don't take it for granted. You keep it in your back pocket for when you're in a mood for some amazing pasta, or you want to impress a date.

Then order the spaghetti and start slurping up one end of it.
If you're a lucky dog your world will collide with the love of your life.

Everybody needs a local Italian restaurant nearby. Support yours today.

Mr. Blue Sky, Why?

As the next few days are forecasting rain and maybe some of that "S" word stuff around here, here's a gooder from the Electric Light Orchestra, Mr. Blue Sky.

You'll have your feet tapping momentarily.
And enjoy the harmonies and the heights they achieve with that female singer.


Missed it by that much

The election's been called for November 7.

I called November 5.

I think Mr. Calvert called it for the 5th just to prove me wrong.


Anyway, the horse race is on.

When I was four years old

I used to play cowboys and indians and cops and robbers with the four year old boy from this house.

One morning we sat on his front steps and ate the little wiener hors d” oeuvres left over from his parents party the night before.

Reflecting on it now I think they gave the wieners to us early that morning because they were heavily headached.

Ah, good times.

l o v e

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I had a meeting a couple of weeks ago at the University of Saskatchewan with a friend. We were chatting over coffee talking about life and it's complexities.

He's not a person who's had a particularly easy go of it in life. In fact he and most of his friends would say that he's become quite a complex individual indeed.

Lately he's been smitten by a young lass and they've been together for 8 or 9 months. As a result, he is changing.

He worries less, he's less anxious, doesn't sweat the small stuff and most of it these days is small stuff. He enjoys life and, well, it's all so much better.

We talked briefly about this change in him and after thinking a bit he responded with, "Turns out I'm not that complex after all, I'm just a boy who needed to be loved."


I suspect there are a great many people in this world who are less complex than they seem.

They're just boys and girls who need to be loved.

it's the simple things in life

Monday, October 08, 2007
I may have posted on this before but it's just a cool thing.
This may be the best toilet seat view I've ever seen.

View from the mens toilet. While Seated.

It's in the men's washroom on the third floor of the Canmore Inn and Suites.

You can just sit there and take care of business and enjoy the amazing view.

You know, just in case you wanted to know.

So, next time you are in Canmore Alberta, stop in at the Inn and Suites, go up to the third floor and to the men's washroom, last stall.

Sorry ladies. you'll have to just enjoy the picture.

Thanksgiving Monday

Kind of a quiet day around these parts today. Lauralea is clearing room in the freezer because someone is bringing over a bit of venison for us. Yep, it's deer hunting season in Saskatchewan again. I love that stuff.

Micah and I are watching football on TV and I'm catching up with some blogs I don't get around to much any more.

Thomas is at work today, making time and a half, so he likes that.

And I think I'm getting in the mood for some Nachos. But since Lauralea is stuck in the freezer upside down, I may have to get them myself.


Hope your thanksgiving was memorable for all the right reasons.

Stay in the (time) zone

Saturday, October 06, 2007
Google now tells you the time. Anyplace you need.
Next time you do a web search, type "time" followed by a city, state, or country and Google will return the time for your desired location. If you enter a location with multiple time zones, we'll display results for all applicable time zones; or, if you enter a location in multiple states or countries, we'll show all locations with a similar name so you can choose between them. Finally, if you have left your watch and/or cell phone at home (which happens all the time around here) and don't have the time to type very much, just enter "time" and you'll see how late you're running!

Finally, no more family arguments about what time is it in Argentina.

giving thanks

This weekend, at least up here in Canada, it's Thanksgiving.

And on this rainy Saturday afternoon as the wet leaves fall to the ground, I'm thinking about my daughters. Johanna is off in Seattle this weekend with her Nate, and Hillary is up at School, hopefully at her roommates place for the weekend.

And my family is coming up from Saskatoon for lunch tomorrow and I'm thankful for them. And that my dad has gone on ahead, and I will celebrate with him yet again.

And that I have food and shelter, and I don't have to march in the streets and shed blood for freedom.

There is so much to be grateful for.
It's good to have someone to express my gratitude to.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest - come!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home!

What is earth but God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield?
Wheat and tares therein are sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
Ripening with a wondrous power,
Till the final Harvest-hour;
Grant, O Lord of life, that we
Holy grain and pure may be.

Come, then, Lord of Mercy, come,
Bid us sing the Harvest-home!
Let thy saints be gathered in!
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
All upon the golden floor
Praising thee forevermore;
Come, with thousand angels, come;
Bid us sing thy Harvest-home.

Henry Alford

Take a moment, think about it, and say, "Thanks."

Marriage. A Question.

I was just having a conversation with a friend and we were talking about marriage. We tried to answer the question "When are you married?"

Is it when you share a closet? Is it when you first have sex? Is it when you commit to the other individual? Is it when there is a public declaration of your commitment witnessed by a community?

I was thinking it's a mix of a few of those steps that make a marriage begin. And for me a number of those things happened on the same day. But a growing portion of the world seems to be stretching those different steps out over time.

So my question is how did you know, or how will you know you are married?

Humour is allowed. Encouraged even.

Spiritual Direction

For whatever reasons, it seems that Spiritual Direction has been on the radar of a number of different people and organizations lately. It's coming up in conversations I'm having with people about leadership, and in peoples personal development stories. Interesting to me is that I'm not initiating those discussions.

Part of me is afraid it will be seen as a bit of a fad thing, a place to go to get "Fixed." Or worse yet, it may be seen as something you need because the fellow in the next office has his own Spiritual Director. Like in the 1970's when everybody had their own therapist.

I suppose that is just me being pessimistic though. A confluence seems to be happening, at least in my life, as more and more people ask me about it.

As for a simple reminder of what it looks like for me, I'm stealing this statement for now.
"Spiritual direction is a ministry of listening, discernment, and prayer in a confidential setting of encouragement and compassion. Through this ministry one finds a spiritual companion who can listen to the stories of one's life and help discern the presence and work of God's Spirit. Though we believe God is always calling us and leading us, sometimes we need a "soul friend" to help us to recognize God's voice and respond to his presence. This companion intentionally sets aside the concerns of his or her own life to listen and attend to the experience of God in the life of the other. The ministry of spiritual direction is the ministry of being such a listener and friend. The goal of spiritual direction is that those who enter into direction would grow closer to God and become more the persons God created us to be in Jesus Christ."


If looking at your interior life seems like something that might be a help to you, I have some spots open.

Give me a call.


Free quality TV and Radio, online

Friday, October 05, 2007
Now here's a cool thing.
Open Media Network runs a quality Video and Audio viewing site that:
...provides free Internet TV and related services to audiences seeking high-quality, educational videos and socially conscientious programming. It gives viewers easy TV Guide®-like access to previously hard-to-find content created by noncommercial networks, educational institutions, non-profits and community-based organizations. Based on the most efficient video delivery technologies available today, OMN is thus enabled to provide its standard free video downloads and free audio downloads in HD- or DVD-quality format. It also lets viewers take their personal OMN libraries mobile or to their living room TVs through TiVo®. Anyone with a public service mission can provide content. Primary content areas currently include: 1) public affairs/service, 2) education, 3) health, 4) arts & culture.

I downloaded the software and from first look it seems a good free deal, if you're not into reruns of Rosanne or whatever.

It's a great start for quality television and radio on the net. Let's see how it progresses.

Smell ya later

This morning in remembrance of my youth, I pulled out an old bottle of Brut and splashed it all over my face.

As I progress through the day there are sudden memories of my younger years when I was 15 or 16 and I had discovered aftershave which was just one of the benefits of this manly activity of shaving each morning.

I have since come to understand this Manly Activity as somewhat of a curse what with my sensitive skin and all. But when I put on some Brut I still have pleasent memories of younger days and less responsibilities.

So here's to this amazing gift of scent and the memories it instantly evokes.

It's 11:30pm

Thursday, October 04, 2007
and it's already -2C out there.

It's coming.

If this is Thursday it must be Prince Albert

Well, the leadership development weekend I was at on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was followed by our Pastors and spouse retreat on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The views in Canmore were stunning as usual, and the speakers had to work hard to keep our attention from wandering out the wall of windows.

The view from our meeting room And yeah, the speakers were very good this year. Bill Clark, a covenant pastor and leader shared his story of burnout and depression and his journey "back" to a healthier place. He had a great sense of humour and wasn't preachy or "Guest Speaker-ish" if you know what I mean.

The other speaker was Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle. A very good, articulate speaker. The discussions we had were helpful on a number of levels, and his experience in ministry was such a help to us. A very gracious fellow with a good sense of humour and a great brown polyester sports jacket.

In the mountains I had opportunity to listen again to a couple of individuals as we met for spiritual direction, which for me is always energizing. This whole Spiritual Direction thing for us as a group of churches seems to be just hitting it's stride and taking off. I think that bodes well for us.

And Lauralea and I had an afternoon to go on a hike and talk, a lot. It hasn't been easy for us as we have transitioned back into our somewhat more separated lives, at least more separated than when we were together this summer.  It was good to be together a lot this summer, and now that we can't spend as much time together we have to ramp up the communication a whole lot more than we have.

In the mountains But after six days away, two trips back and forth to Alberta, nearly hitting a hare, a dead porcupine, one just dead skunk, a rather large deer just off the road, and mowing over the fresh remains of one dead smelly skunk, it's good to be home.

I'm just a bit fuzzy on which day it is.

for harvest

God of faithfulness,
your generous love supplies us
with the fruits of the earth in their seasons.
Give us grace to be thankful for your gifts,
to use them wisely,
and to share our plenty with others;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Sunrise at Kingsfold Retreat Centre

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's hard to take a bad picture with that as the view.

Copyright Randall Friesen. Powered by Blogger.