Cell/Mobile phone help please

The problem with living in the great white north, well besides being unable to get a locally grown pineapple, is the mobile phone or cell phone coverage out here. Since moving from Saskatchewan I've been using the churches mobile phone but because of hoops too big to jump through we will be leaving that phone alone soon and move on to another option. So I've been trying hard to find out which companies actually have coverage here in the field.

There are three networks in Canada, Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Rogers has a barely useable signal here in this place, and Bell has a bit better coverage, but it seems that Telus has the best coverage for here. Then of course each company has it's own phones and rarely can you get the phone you want with the company you want.

I suppose my question of you mobile phone users is, should I go with a regular phone or a smart phone?

I would like the money saving advantages of just a regular mobile, however I have come to realize that a great deal of the work that I do is internet based now. Email and IM have become important tools that sometimes I just need to have working for me. Occasionally out here the Internet connection can get broken and just fail. During the last internet outage I was waiting for a confirmation email that was seriously time sensitive, and the net was down. A smartphone would help that to no longer be a problem. But the commitment is a larger one, and lets face it, I'm cheap. In fact the only reason I am even considering a smartphone is that the church is ready to help out with the monthly fees, and then it can be used for work too.

So to those of you who have experience either way, comment or email me and tell me your preference and why. I'd be curious and you'd be ever so helpful.

Thanks

how small my world has become

Somewhere in the mountains as we were driving and driving and driving back to the field, a new realization began to settle on me, about my writing here and this new space I live in.

You see it's not gone unnoticed by me that the writing in this space has become so sparse and narrow, and I've really become uncomfortable with that. I am censoring myself at every turn and I've started to run out of things that i feel comfortable talking about here mostly because I don't wish to cause offense, because that's not why I'm doing this.

I've always had a kind of a don't crap where you eat policy, here at the old blog. That is to say I tried to not get specific about my work, either its goods or its bads. Because that's just not fair for the place I work, or for me, and it's not helpful. So I would comment on my life things or my kids things or Lauralea and I things, or my house things or local community things or even general church things. But rarely about the local church I worked at.

But in moving here, at least for the time being, most of everything that I am here in this place is about my work here. And since I don't want to talk about things that are related to my work here, I am kinda hooped.

In the olden days I'd talk about my house or my lawn or my yard or the neighbours or the city and on and on. I could talk about these things because they were "my whatever." Now I live in a place, because of my work, and I live in a house owned by the church with a lawn cut by the church (Which is SO VERY NICE!!!). But it kinda removes those topics from my topic bank. You know what I mean? They are no longer mine so i can't justify comments about them.

If I were to throw out a flippant comment about the house being cold or hot, someone would be worried and concerned and may even call someone who may call a meeting to discuss my warmth or coldness. The concern is well intentioned, but I'm not interested in stirring up a whole lot of activity simply because of an off the cuff remark I lay out here. So every post is processed accordingly, and rightly I believe. And that turns this space into a tentative and deeply processed communication tool, rather than a place to explore the things that make me crazy or interested or, whatever I want it to be.

It's really quite a complex thing and I've been wrestling about it a great deal this winter. To quit or to continue, and if I continue, then how can I continue to be authentic here and share my heart, without being a problem.

I'm learning that these are some of the complexities of living in a rural environment, and a fish bowl. It was finely focused for me this past weekend when I was living among 2.5 million people and I was anonymous there and I didn't have to be concerned about what the local culture was. I could be who I was, and am, my culture. It's kind of like cross cultural ministry for me here because I'm coming into a different culture that I am learning. And the curve is steep.

So many people last weekend asked how it was going out here in the field, and a great many people here ask the same question of me. My answer used to be "Well this part is going good and this part is a struggle and that part is so so." Now my answer has become that "God has made it very clear that we are here for this season of life, so it is good." And it is good, just not easy. But whoever said life was easy.

So on weeks like this when I'm tired and cranky and so lonely, it's ok, because He brought us here and it will be well. I just need to figure out how I am to live and write in this space. We'll figure it out.

This week on Twitter 2009-04-29


  • Trying to get ready to travel all day tomorrow. #

  • On the road and yes its snowing. #

  • Through edson maybe jasper for lunch. I need a toilet already. Sheesh. #

  • And, there are the mountains. Sweet. #

  • The sun is shining in the mountains. Beautiful day. #

  • Passing through hope where r a m b o 1 was made #

  • We have arrived and hey the grass is green! And they have real flowers too! #

  • Im not too sure about these lobster flavor chips in this asian market. #

  • Well I'm not to sure about the carrying on about this place being rainy and overcast. It's day two of bright warm sunshine. #

  • Well the birthday girl is out there in Vancouver someplace with her daughter and we need to go for supper in 25 minutes. Anyone seen her? #

  • Days work over, now to celebrate Lauealeas birthday. #

  • In the annual meeting all day. My miracle for the day is that I found a Krispy Kreme so I'm all set. #

  • "kids activity bags are by the main doors. Please return them to the knobs as you leave." an announcement in this churches bulletin today. #

  • Leaving lotusland. Next 13 hours, the road. #

  • We are in salmon arm getting a pizza for the road. I am so tired. #

  • Nearly at banff. Loosing time because the car is failing. I am even more tired. #

  • Finally in calgary, who by the way are loosing by 2 to hawks. Getting supper. #

  • We are home, finally. Now a couple hours rest, I have a meeting early in the morning. Thank you BC, that was so great. #

  • Tonight out of the blue i met our college nurse from 1981. She married a pastor and lives in ont. Wow. #

  • In spite of a nap I think I'm heading to bed early tonight. Blame it on the time zone change yesterday. #

This week on Twitter 2009-04-29


  • Trying to get ready to travel all day tomorrow. #

  • On the road and yes its snowing. #

  • Through edson maybe jasper for lunch. I need a toilet already. Sheesh. #

  • And, there are the mountains. Sweet. #

  • The sun is shining in the mountains. Beautiful day. #

  • Passing through hope where r a m b o 1 was made #

  • We have arrived and hey the grass is green! And they have real flowers too! #

  • Im not too sure about these lobster flavor chips in this asian market. #

  • Well I'm not to sure about the carrying on about this place being rainy and overcast. It's day two of bright warm sunshine. #

  • Well the birthday girl is out there in Vancouver someplace with her daughter and we need to go for supper in 25 minutes. Anyone seen her? #

  • Days work over, now to celebrate Lauealeas birthday. #

  • In the annual meeting all day. My miracle for the day is that I found a Krispy Kreme so I'm all set. #

  • "kids activity bags are by the main doors. Please return them to the knobs as you leave." an announcement in this churches bulletin today. #

  • Leaving lotusland. Next 13 hours, the road. #

  • We are in salmon arm getting a pizza for the road. I am so tired. #

  • Nearly at banff. Loosing time because the car is failing. I am even more tired. #

  • Finally in calgary, who by the way are loosing by 2 to hawks. Getting supper. #

  • We are home, finally. Now a couple hours rest, I have a meeting early in the morning. Thank you BC, that was so great. #

  • Tonight out of the blue i met our college nurse from 1981. She married a pastor and lives in ont. Wow. #

  • In spite of a nap I think I'm heading to bed early tonight. Blame it on the time zone change yesterday. #

Stanley Park Music



I recorded this clip mostly for the audio of the elderly Chinese gentleman playing the erhu right there on the edge.

It was completely surreal, standing there in all that beauty as he played our wedding song...

We stood there a long time, and it was good.

We bought the CD.

Back to the Field

Early this morning we arrived home after about 16 hours on the road, which I don't think we'd do again like that.

But we took our time through Salmon Arm and Sicamous BC to reconnect with memories Lauralea had of her grandparents place. That was fun, and we found a great Ice Cream place with real fresh dairy that her grandpa used to take her to, and we ate enough to make us sick. It was great.

Then in the mountains the car began to act up and we lost a good deal of time with that, but here we are, back in the field, safe though tired. I think Lauralea has gone back to bed.

Sunday after church we spent the day with Nate and Johanna and toured the mainland with stops at her work and Stanley Park and a place to eat fish. It was a great day with them, and we were able to make some good memories that already want to make me feel like going back.

It's lunch now, after a long but productive meeting this morning, so I'm going home for a nap.

I'll leave you with a few more photos I uploaded.
Here is the set of them.

Enjoy.

Ditto

A day for making good memories.

We spent a great day with Nate & Johanna today, seeing where they live and work and make a life for themselves. It's quite inspiring to see meaning created in such a busy crazy place.

We went down to Stanley Park and took pictures of some wonderful vistas.

It was a beautiful day with the kids, one that will be a warm gracefilled memory for me for years to come.

Tomorrow we are on the road again all day. I'll get some pictures up on Tuesday.


Night J&N, and thanks for a great day.

A few pic's from BC

Uploading some pics quickly before church starts.

At the Banquet.

IMG_1677

IMG_1683



And herein lies the beauty and difficulty of this place.

The Beauty? Tulips in April.

The Difficulty? Mowing your lawn in March.

More later.

Lotus Land: An update

I'm sitting in the annual meeting where we are hearing stories of life and work where our collection of churches are at work together, and actually as I sit here in the sanctuary, lo and behold there is a WiFi signal, which means, INTERNET.

It's good to sit here among friends and drink Krispy Kreme coffee and talk and connect and share life together again.

So, some observations on this place?

-The speed signs on the roads seem to be, at best, suggestions. I like suggestions.

-Boy there are a lot of people around here, and multi-cultured too. I've sure missed that over the years. Yesterday I stopped at a local store to get Lauralea's birthday, a mall actually, and it had a whole Asian grocery store that was full of shoppers. It was so cool.

-And while I was at the mall, I went to get some cash and the bank was being robbed. I guess that happens here, probably more so than in The Field where I live now.

-It's been mostly sunny out, well except for this morning a bit. I was looking forward to overcast cloudy days.

-This place is starting to grow on me. Two days ago it was a bit of culture shock, from the field to the city, but now it's looking not so bad. Lots of physical beauty here, lots of cultural variety, lots of fast roads, lots of opportunities, lots of everything it seems.

-I met and spent some time with a Palestinian believer who is speaking here at the meetings. I have to say that it was amazing to listen to him and hear his story of faith. It's really tough over there, and the tensions there, and living within that world, is a real story of God at work, and true discipleship. Amazing.

-I am now the ministerial chairman for the Canadian conference. It's surprising to see me doing that and to consider that we've been a part of this group of people for eleven years. Somewhere and somehow I've moved into the age of being a part of the senior pastoral group; not a young pastor, not an old pastor, but mid pastor somewhere with experience and heart that is somehow respected. Kind of surprised me.

-I found a Krispy Kreme donut place on the way to the church this morning. Most excellent I must say. You'll be pleased to know that I kept my limit to two donuts.

-Yesterday Lauralea turned 46. She's now the older woman that I married 23 years ago. I've actually been with her more years than I've been alone. A shocking but not unpleasant turn of events.

-It's so cool to see Nate & Johanna again, and to see where they have settled down and are making their lives. It staggers my mind to think how they moved into this very crazy world and began to carve for themselves a good life. God is here with them, and it's so fun to see them living life. I will miss them again when we leave.

-The forecast for the trip home is for lots of snow through the mountains. It may take us a lot of extra time to get home, especially through the passes. I hope it will be alright.


That's the report from the lower mainland, in British Columbia Canada.

Road Trip

Tomorrow morning bright and early, Lauralea and I hit the road for 13 hours as we drive through the mountains to the coast.

We are heading to our group of churches annual get together and this year it's down in Surrey BC, which also is near where Johanna and Nate are living. So we will be able to see them too.

And I shall be working. Attending meetings, and doing some Spiritual Direction, as well as getting in on a board meeting. Usually I attend these things alone and I just really focus on work and ministry, early in the morning till late at night. This time it's different because Lauralea is coming along, and maybe we can hang out a bit together.

Anyway, we're already in a bit of tension mode around here. At least we'll have 13 hours sitting beside each other tomorrow.

:)

So, all things work out, we'll see you on the other side of the rockies.


Night.

This week on Twitter 2009-04-22


  • Wow, three large deer just went skipping past my office window. That doesn't happen in the city. Especially in a 6th floor office window! #

  • Up in Whitecourt now. Micah and I are heading to Grand Prairie to get the kids from college. #

  • I had a headache, and the only pills I could find were in my shaving kit. I ate 1 so either my sinuses are clear or I can't get pregnant... #

  • I'm sitting in the dining hall where I spent 4 years in college 22 years ago. The tables are the same. So is the spirit. #

  • Just been walking, these streets have so many memories of our first year of marriage. God is still walking these streets too. #

  • Goodnight internets. From the guys dorm where i spent 3 years. #

  • Oh man it's windy here now. Heading to the graduation service then pack some more, then start for home. #

  • Sitting at the Boston Pizza in Whitecourt, getting supper. Very tired. #

  • Well the kids are home. You can tell because the dishwasher isn't getting filled with dirty dishes, the sink is. Time for a lesson. #

  • Enjoyed my first G&T of the season tonight. Lauralea is a star mixer. :) #

The day began at 5:30...

Tonight we completed a congregational meeting which is kind of a place where we gather to talk about all the things God is doing in and through out work here. Often people come and go from church without any idea of the day to day impact the church is having on the community and that's why these meetings are good. They give us space to tell of Gods goodness and grace to us over and over again.

Tonight was no different, and God is at work here, in and through us.

We're starting to talk about how we can care for our community, how we can take down walls that keep us apart from the world we live in. That's an exciting discussion for me because really our faith isn't worth much unless it changes us and our behaviour.

So now I am exhausted and I'm heading home to bed.

Tomorrow we get ready to go to Surrey BC for some meetings this weekend. Lauralea and I are driving out there and back so that should be fun. What isn't fun is telling Lauralea that I'll be working a lot out there, especially on her birthday. She is less than impressed and I understand that.

But it will be good to see Nate & Johanna again.

Thats all from the field.

Night.

I think it's fair to say I have adapted to this Alberta prairie life

...because today I found a pair of jeans that fit me, at the CO-OP.

For those of you familiar with Canadian prairie life, you will understand what a statement that is.

And Lauralea tried to get me a western shirt as well, but a guy's got to draw a line somewhere.

One day at a time...

.

.

.

.

"... sweet Jesus..."

Pictures from the weekend

Right so last weekend Micah and I headed 6 hours north to where Hillary and Thomas were in school this past year, to collect their things and bring them home.

It was the first time in 22 years that I've been back there, where Lauralea and I met, and uh, got an education.

Here is a set of pictures I took of the shot time there.

Peace River Bible Institute





Great road trip.

Friday night on campus

Tonight I walked the streets of this town where I learned to pray. When I was finishing my final year of college, I spent hours talking to God about what was to be next for me, for us.

Those hours of prayer were spent walking with God. Mile after mile we would walk and talk and spend time together. It was really a desperate time for me as I needed to hear from Him. As I look back on it, the time was formational. It shaped me and postured me before God in ways nothing else ever would.

Tonight I got back out on these streets and God was right there, like we never even skipped a beat. I was praying and he was telling me a few things, about the kids. Things that give me hope, showing me how I could pray for them better, with insight.

It feels like old times again except now we have four kids plus one, and I have bags beneath my eyes, and twenty some years as a pastor.

If my young self could have seen me now, I think he'd be pleased with how things have turned out.

Indeed.

And 22 years later

I'm on the campus where that kiss originated.
I'm sad to say that the bench is gone, but I took a picture of the place it once sat.

Micah and I are here to pick up the two kids and their stuff, and as it happens the school is honouring my uncle Marvin for his years of service to the school, this grad weekend. So we will attend the graduation tomorrow and then head home.

Lots of memories here, including the invisible bench. It is surprising the stray random memories that hit me as I round a corner or see a space that hasn't changed at all. Suddenly I'm taken back 26 years and I can see the faces and hear again the voices.

Kinda like an emotional rollercoaster, and I don't normally like rollercoasters, but this is good for my soul.

I'm glad I can be here again, after 22 years.

Peace. Hope your weekend is good.


From PRBI in northern Alberta.

Kissing Lauralea

26 years ago tonight on a campus park bench was the first time our lips met, and it was good.

That junior year in college I was the class president and Lauralea was the chairperson of the decoration committee. The main task of the Junior class was to pull off an amazing grad banquet, so there were committees for everything, and being the class pres, I had to meet with them regularly. That work with Lauralea really cemented our friendship, and it brought everything nicely into focus for that chilly dark April evening there on that park bench.

Earlier that night I had been ready at the girls dorm door, waiting to pick her up for the banquet. Nervously waiting, shivering in the cool early evening breeze, and she came out of the door in a blue twirl, showing off the dress she had made for the occasion. She looked beautiful there on the step in that dress. Her shoulder length hair pinned back on one side, smiling with her mouth and her eyes. The light blue dress with the tiny white dots, shoulders visible through the clear material which she thought would be so risqué there at that prairie school. She wore those tiny five inch black heels that would lift her to the hight of 5' 3". She looked amazing there, I'm sure I smiled.

After a year of working together in committees and growing as friends, we headed off to the graduation banquet to celebrate the accomplishment. I remember as we entered the gym and separated to begin to fulfill our different responsibilities for the night, that it was ok, good even, that we could be together even when we were apart.

I remember that after the supper and speaker, I gave her a yellow carnation that I had purchased earlier that afternoon, because a carnation didn't say it all like a rose would have. It said I care and I'm glad we're friends and you look amazing. It was enough. It was good.

The Banquet was a success and we helped organize the cleanup. Before too long the place was like a gym again. Decorations and tables gone. The punch fountain we had worked so hard to find and rent, was safely boxed up again, and we as a class decided to get changed and meet at a teachers house to celebrate our victory. Curfew was extended because classes were over and we were into grad weekend now.

I dropped her at her dorm and ran to mine and changed quickly. I remember that the realization of the accomplishment was settling in. We had done this huge thing that had kept me up many nights and working hard all year, it was now done. I slumped to the bed and took a deep breath. Still to this day that happens to me when I accomplish something that has made big demands of me for a long time. I slump down into the cavity of the space the task had taken up and ask, now what?

I began to wander down to the park bench where Lauralea and I were going to meet, then walk over together. I arrived before she did and sat there and pondered the year, the accomplishment, the hard work. And I though of us, her and I, and the fact that we would need to separate soon.

She came bouncing around the corner, she was always so full of life and mischief. I plodded along, she bounced. That's how we were and that's what I've always loved about her.

She sat down beside me sensing my thoughts and drawing them out of me like an expert counselor. Telling her my feelings and fears was easy and she listened and pointed to God in the process, in my life. I'm not sure but maybe that was when she became my pastor, in a good way I mean. But we talked and it was good and I became lighter and lighter and I turned towards her face and leaned in and kissed her warm lips.

And there on that park bench nothing else mattered, not the past, not the future, nothing. Except her and me and our lips touching.

To this day the brush of our lips makes me shiver, and comforts me, and causes my spirit to be at peace. It's the best place to be, even after 26 years, kissing her on that park bench on a dark night in April.

...then we got up, hand in hand and walked into life together.


Where the bench was.



"Children with brightest smiles have successful marriages"

"Children with the brightest smiles in family photographs are more than three times likely to have a successful marriage than those who frown, according to research."

Crap, I'm doomed. I never smiled.
According to scientists, even photos taken of family outings when the child is as young as five can show a glimpse of the future. The researchers asked almost 650 adults for pictures taken during their final year school and rate the brightness of their smiles. The scientists, from DePauw University in Indiana, also asked the volunteers, between 21 and 87, whether they had ever been divorced, and subsequently matched their answers with the data on their smiles.

"Smile intensity predicted whether or not participants divorced at some point in their lives," the researchers said, adding: "The less intensely participants smiled, the more likely they would be divorced later in life."
It found that those with the weakest smiles were more than three times as likely to have been through a divorce, according to the journal Motivation and Emotion.

A second experiment, which included pictures taken of people as young as five, backed up the conclusion.
The researchers believe that those who are generally happier are therefore more likely to try to work through difficulties in relationships and marriages. They also believe that those who are happy types may marry companions who reflect their own sunny disposition.

Very interesting indeed.

You can read the whole piece over at the Telegraph.

This week on Twitter 2009-04-15


  • At ikea for lunch wondering what a lingon berry is. #

  • I could easily go back to the office & work. Instead I'm waiting for time to progress & I can shower & go to bed. Life can be stupid sometim #

  • Oh wow, the windows are open and it SMELLS LIKE CAMP OUT THERE!! The trees smell amazing, and, wow, just smells like camping in the woods! #

  • Off to the service in the city. I'm doing some preaching there this morning. I've been given 4 minutes and a large theme, forgiveness. :) #

  • Christ is Risen... #

  • Raining out there tonight. Suppose to be 20 cms of snow by tomorrow. Sheesh. #

This week on Twitter 2009-04-15


  • At ikea for lunch wondering what a lingon berry is. #

  • I could easily go back to the office & work. Instead I'm waiting for time to progress & I can shower & go to bed. Life can be stupid sometim #

  • Oh wow, the windows are open and it SMELLS LIKE CAMP OUT THERE!! The trees smell amazing, and, wow, just smells like camping in the woods! #

  • Off to the service in the city. I'm doing some preaching there this morning. I've been given 4 minutes and a large theme, forgiveness. :) #

  • Christ is Risen... #

  • Raining out there tonight. Suppose to be 20 cms of snow by tomorrow. Sheesh. #

Honestly

sometimes I make myself crazy.

It just feels like I'm waiting these days.
Waiting for something but I don't know what.
Waiting for the next, or the arrival, or departure.
I don't know what, but it just feels like I'm waiting.
Waiting.

And when I'm waiting I just get impatient, and that gets me in a lousy head space.

Think, waiting in a long lineup and when you get to the front you find out you are in the wrong line.
Waiting.

So anger is there, and frustration. I mean there are only so many little things you can do to keep yourself occupied while you wait, before you freak on the next guy in line.
Or mutter, or grunt.
Waiting.


I think life is mostly about waiting. Waiting for the right job or spouse or whatever. And you do stuff today so that you are present in this space and time. That's just healthy, for the most part.
I get that.

But this is a most unique feeling, like my insides want to crawl out and freak.
Waiting.

Waiting for what I don't know, for whenever it arrives.
But I should know it's arrival because my insides should be at peace again.

Good Bye Corner Gas

Tonight we watched the last episode of Corner Gas, and it really ended like it always ran, funny, and faithful to the characters and their lives. Good job Brent Butt and cast. You gave us plenty of laughs with a good many inside jokes to laugh at too. Thanks for that.

One of the guys in the church I work at grew up in the same town as Brent Butt, the shows creator and Executive Producer. He was in the grade above Brent and has told me about Brent's reputation and the town they grew up in, Tisdale Sk. Which makes more of the shows quirks make sense.

Anyway, that Monday night appointment is now over, and we will miss the characters and humor.

A really good run Brent. Thanks.

And thanks for making Saskatchewan look so good.

Easter 2009

was a good season this year. We kept busy and that was helpful as we figure out what the new way of living is these days.

Thursday evening was our local Maundy Thursday service. It's easily my favourite gathering of the year. It's an intimate gathering and we share scripture together and we share communion together and pray and sing for an hour.

Good Friday we attended the service in town that a number of churches celebrate together. I shared a part of the preaching duties, and it was a good time, and filled to overflowing with people.

Today was our Easter service, and of course there were plenty of visitors today too. Either family visitors or those who attend church regularly, on Christmas and Easter... But it was a good time in worship today. Preaching the good news is always, always good.

Then for lunch we went to some friends home and ate with their family and a few friends. After lunch, Micah and I and the father and son from the family headed outside to do some Skeet shooting. Turns out, I'm not that good, but Micah, well he isn't bad at all. And good grief how loud is a 12 gauge shotgun, and the kick, wow.

Around five we got back home and as I settled deeply into the couch for a long awaited nap, the phone rang and some of Lauralea's relatives were in the area with their trailer and so came over for a visit and the night.

So right now is the first time all day I've had time to sit down and write.


Yeah, and I am tired, so I'm off to bed.
Not a bad weekend after all I'd say.

The Great Malmo Easter Egg Hunt 2009

Lauralea may have just started something that may have to be continued next year, that is if there isn't two feet of snow on the ground. Today after church she hosted an Easter Egg hunt in our back yard for the kids from church.

We found egg shaped packages of play-doh that she dispersed on the back lawn, and there you go, non-candy easter eggs for young kids.

IMG_1389

Yeah, the kids had fun, but so did the parents, and she did too.

IMG_1394

So she might have started something here.
IMG_1405

By late in the day she was already planning next years hunt.

I wonder if that's the first Easter Egg hunt in the 110 year old history of the church here?

Anyway, it was fun.

Nice one L.

Nineteen

Today, somewhere out there in Alberta, we think in Jasper, our son turned nineteen.

Thomas was in Jasper with a few friends from college for the past couple of days, and so we didn't get to talk with him. We did txt him and he sent a question about baking apple crisp, ?? Yeah, that's what we said. But maybe his phone ran out of cash and he couldn't talk back.

It's hard to believe he is already 19. Amazing really.

Anyway, he's out there somewhere in Alberta, and we're here thinking of him.
Hopefully he had a great day.

Holy Saturday

Tonight if you are a follower of Jesus, all seems dark, all is lost. The future is very bleak, not at all what you had expected. And the past, those miracles, did they really happen? Was he who he said he was? Why would he string you along?

Tonight it just seems hopeless.

I can't begin to imagine the sense of loss they must have felt.


Then again, I can't imagine their absolute joy when they discover that Jesus is alive.

What a weekend. From the depths of dispair to the heights of joy.

txt from Thomas

"I'm on the side of a mountain -thomas"

I think they were off to Jasper this weekend.
I hope he, like his sisters before him, has begun to find that there are amazing things to be seen and experienced out there.

Life is just opening up.

Wow, a beautiful day in the field

After the morning mist in the fields, the sun came out during the service this morning and turned the day into the first gorgeous day this year. You can see some pictures of the day here.

IMG_1296

Then by this evening I discovered that when you live in a field you can see storms rolling in from afar. Yep, thunderstorms came moving in from the north, and headed southeast of us. Really dramatic and beautiful.



You can see one or two of the evening skies here.

The Field, Good Friday April 10, 2009

What a beautiful day here today.

ToNight

Tonight we know the meal, the passover arranged by our leader, Jesus.

Tonight the announcement that one of us would betray him, could it be me?

Tonight after the long meal we sing a hymn and move to the garden to pray, to be together.

Tonight our leader Jesus is in anguish, he's troubled. He asks us to pray for him.

Tonight he is wrestling some unseen battle.

Three times he asks to do it his own way, to not have to die.

Yet in the end he lays down his own will, and drinks deeply of his fathers cup,

the cup of death.

Tonight there is sudden violence and his betrayer is here.

Tonight he begins to drink the cup

that tomorrow he will fully consume.


Tonight if he chose his own way, and ran away,

I would be lost.

On Work, Easter, Traditions and Blessings

Yeah, it's quiet.

I'm finding myself at awkward places these days that cause me to be exhausted at the end of the days. It's like being in a new world. In the old world you would just know what to do and how to behave in most any given circumstances, knowing people and places and traditions and processes. In the new world you have to think carefully through each new situation.

I mean, that surely isn't the case for everything. "Trust your strengths and gifts and calling. Trust who you are and who the people are and what you do, you're not a newbie at this stuff Friesen." But then there are times like this Easter Season when there are public opportunities to screw up, to misjudge and misinterpret, and I go into cautious review mode to make sure the work I'm doing is helpful to the Kingdom and not a distraction. That kind of constant awareness of what I am doing is exhausting.

There are also some things here at the Church in The Field that we are attempting and we just need to do them well because doing them well will lay the foundation for much good ministry down the road. So I'm working hard on those things, to see them succeed. It's important and though it's not work like moving this pile of lumber from this pile to that pile, it sure gets to be hard work.

That's me this Easter season. At least with my work.

With my family, well that's kind of a different matter.

The problem with good traditions seems to be that when you can't experience them, you get lost a bit and loose your way for a time. Until new ones can take their place. Our Easter traditions are being laid down this year because they don't fit the shrunken family, or the wide open expanses out here in The Field. The kids won't be home, well certainly except for Micah, and that will be a big shift, really our first Easter without the bulk of them being here. Extended family won't be nearby to hang with and I'll be working at the community Good Friday service as opposed to attending as a family. Yeah, just normal changes of traditions that come with life.


But the ground is warming up and you can begin to smell the birch trees as they come back to life again. The snow is going and spring is on its way, and tonight we will gather to remember Christ's last night. It's all about perspective isn't it?

So just in case I don't get back on here much this weekend, I hope your Easter is about life and hope and a future and if Jesus is in that mix someplace than I think it will be about all those things as well.


Blessings on each of you who drop by this place.

Design changes the world

Does it?

Wether we design a structure or service, program or process, house or church, does design change the world or does the information the design carries change the world?

We've talked about this before, and for me it's not just about the data, design also comes into play.

Some places are designed for worship so when you try to eat there, it doesn't work well. Some processes evoke worship when you enter the process, aside from even hearing or processing the data.

This 6 minute video amazes me. No its not "Thee" answer for the future of newspapers, but wow does it change the game plan when design is rethought.




Any observations?

This week on Twitter 2009-04-08


  • The birds are singing and the sun is shinning and the smoke from my burning barrel is wafting in my open office window. Beautiful Day. #

  • 42x34, why cant i find you oh pants that fit. #

  • Da Bears are getting Jay Cutler from Denver... wonder if that will be good or bad. #

  • It's 12:25 and I'm just in from a meeting and I'm hungry. Wonder if Lauralea would mind being awakened by me asking what's to eat... #

  • Tonight we are off to a local community school fundraiser, Bingo. I hope to win a turkey... #

  • Drinking Tea while NK changes the rules with a missile that can reach the continent where I live. #

  • Wow, a beautiful day in the field and I'm in the office. #

This week on Twitter 2009-04-08


  • The birds are singing and the sun is shinning and the smoke from my burning barrel is wafting in my open office window. Beautiful Day. #

  • 42x34, why cant i find you oh pants that fit. #

  • Da Bears are getting Jay Cutler from Denver... wonder if that will be good or bad. #

  • It's 12:25 and I'm just in from a meeting and I'm hungry. Wonder if Lauralea would mind being awakened by me asking what's to eat... #

  • Tonight we are off to a local community school fundraiser, Bingo. I hope to win a turkey... #

  • Drinking Tea while NK changes the rules with a missile that can reach the continent where I live. #

  • Wow, a beautiful day in the field and I'm in the office. #

Yesterday I bought a gun

Well, sort of.

I mean I'm not that guy (who lives just southwest of here by they way). I don't expect I'll ever own a full, human killing gun mainly because I don't really want one. I know that people can be careful with the guns they own, but I've also been on the helping end of too many incidents with people, kids really, being involved in accidents with guns. No, I'm not a real gun shooter.

But here in this big space, well there's room to do some target shooting and lets face it, I've wanted a pellet gun since I was a kid. So yesterday while we were in town I purchased one of the more powerful pellet guns you can get without a permit and a process.

Aside from the target practice, I also bought it for the rodents.
Neighbours have volunteered to come by with large real guns to help with any problems we may have with unwanted hordes of small infestations, and they will still be my backup plan, but I got a pellet gun that will take down small and mid-sized beasts of the field, if needed.

It should be enough for mice and gophers, possibly snakes but that might be challenging. And it might even help move along larger skunks, which last year were a bit of a problem in this area. We also see the occasional stray dogs that come over from Hobima, sometimes they move in packs and get a little aggressive. I doubt this will kill them, but if needed it can help move them along.

But I think mostly it will be for target practice, can on a fence post kind of thing.
I'm honestly not too sure about my ability to kill an animal.


next up, a big belt buckle??

Under the B 5.

So last night we went to a community fundraiser for Micah's school, which turned out to be Bingo. Basically a fun family evening of playing Bingo and eating pie and coffee and chatting with the neighbours.

The prizes were Turkeys and Hams and little chocolate bunnies, and I tried a little harder when Turkeys were on the line because well really who wants to win a ham. But alas no meat was won at our table.

The evening wasn't completely prize-less however. After the Bingo came the, whoever has a "______" come up and get a bunny, kind of game and that's when my lucky Jet's jersey came into play. I won for, "Who is wearing a hockey jersey." I took home the little chocolate bunny.

I was willing to trade for a Turkey, but no one seemed too interested in that.

God knows where we live.

The Church building
You know when I first saw this place out here in the field, I honestly wondered how they survive, I mean how do they keep meeting for a hundred years when the nearest neighbour to the church is over a mile away. Where do they come from, and why.

Well, tonight I'm just leaving the office after a long hardworking board meeting, of which the average age was probably in the 30's, and I am just encouraged once again about this place and it's future. They want to do well and they work hard to do the right things for the right reasons, and if they follow through with some of the things we worked hard on tonight, I think that really sets the stage nicely for a solid future and a church that is about the spiritual health of the community in which it lives.

It's really amazing to me that a place like this has a future, but there are a lot of people living on farms in these hills, who need connections and relationship. And like we talked tonight, it's the relationships that will attract people and build people. The goal here is not a big church building or a big group of people who will do what you convince them to do. The goal is to help people become reconciled to Christ, that they might find peace and hope and a future.

This place is on the way to being a light in this community that could burn for another hundred years.

April in Malmo

This morning on my way to a meeting, the fog was surprisingly thick and when it does that, well the light just becomes amazing.

So I stopped for a few shots.

IMG_1138

You can see a few more, here.

IMG_1133

Helping Micah get ready for his learners exam

over here you can get it when you are 14 years old it seems, so he is studying.

Tonight we took the online practice exams, and I got %80!

Which, is a fail. 24 out of 30 right.

Small comfort but most of my wrong answers had to do with questions about Alberta's graduated drivers license program, which I really don't know about.

The boy got 60%, 18 out of 30 right.

More studying I guess.

Well, that was short lived

No red convertible.
Instead I received this letter from Mr. Strapp indicating he has withdrawn from our agreement due to some personal problems at home.

Here is his letter to me.
Cher M. Friesen

Je regrette vivement de vous informer que mon expérience de l'Internet a été moins que satisfaisante et, par conséquent, je suis d'annuler le paiement à l'achat de randallfriesen.com et de tous les droits de votre histoire et votre vie, réel ou imaginaire.

Je ne peux pas commencer à vous parler de la douleur ce qui a causé personnellement moi et ma famille. Mon épouse du demi-frère Maurice qui est un mime a nous rendre visite, et ce jour, il a été en ligne sur mon ordinateur, à la recherche de YouTube les vidéos de Marcel Marceau, quand il a vu mon nouveau site web dans le navigateur de l'histoire, et il est allé là-bas, et sauve-moi le ciel, il a vu ma conversation avec Mme Gigi String.

Il est ensuite allé directement à ma femme pour lui dire que j'étais avec elle infidèle avec quelques Gigi sur Internet. Cela m'a mis à l'abri de sa boîte de verre, il a vécu dans de trop nombreuses années maintenant. Avec un peu de chance, il devrait être sorti de l'hôpital dans une semaine ou deux, et de son audition devrait revenir un jour.

Je suis heureuse que ce est venu sur la place publique et que maintenant je suis libre de mon épouse, le demi-frère, Maurice, qui est un mime. Il ne sera pas de retour ici à nouveau très bientôt.

J'ai réparé ma relation avec ma femme en lui disant que Gigi String est un nouveau type de fil dentaire que j'ai commandé pour sa ligne, pour notre 7ème anniversaire de mariage.

Maintenant, avec ma vie est revenue à la normale, je suis en train de prendre une longue marche de cet après-midi, sous l'Arc de Triomphe. Peut-être que je vais mettre un peu de fromage et de vin et une baguette de pain. Maintenant, où est mon chapeau.

Veuillez agréer;
Jaques Strapp

Please allow me to interpret his french.

He wrote;
Dear Mr. Friesen

I deeply regret to inform you that my experience of the Internet has been less than satisfactory and, therefore, I cancel the payment for the purchase of randallfriesen.com and all rights to your story and your life, real or imagined.

I can not begin to tell you about the pain this has caused me personally and my family. My wife's half-brother Maurice who is a mime came to visit us, and he has been online on my computer, searching for YouTube videos of Marcel Marceau, when he saw my new web site in the browser history, and he went over there and save me the sky, he saw my conversation with Ms. Gigi String.

He then went directly to my wife to tell her that I was with her unfaithful with Gigi on the Internet. This caused me to set him free from the glass box he has been living in for too many years now. With any luck, he should be discharged from hospital in a week or two, and his hearing will return one day.

I am glad that this came out in the open and now I'm free of my wife's half-brother, Maurice, who is a mime. He will not be back here again very soon.

I repaired my relationship with my wife saying that Gigi String is a new type of dental floss that I ordered for her online for our 7th wedding anniversary.

Now, with my life is back to normal, I am taking a long walk this afternoon, under the Arc de Triomphe. Maybe I'll put in a little cheese and wine and a baguette. Now where is my hat.

Sincerely yours,

Jaques Strapp

So I guess that tomorrow it will be just me again.

Sigh. A red convertible would look nice in these fields.

La femme de la famille à venir visiter

Eh bien, ma première femme m'a informé que son demi-frère Maurice est venu pour une visite. Maurice est un mime.

Tout ce qu'il a fait tous les jours est la prétention d'être coincé dans une boîte de verre et je suis prévu pour l'aider à échapper à la boîte. À moins que ce qu'il a fait la dernière fois il est venu pour une visite.

J'ai résolu le problème de lui être coincé dans un verre en boîte de sortir mon fusil de chasse et de mettre à sa tête, de proposer de tirer le verre de façon à ce qu'il puisse s'enfuir.

C'est alors que Maurice trouve sa voix une fois de plus. Il n'a pas été le même depuis.

Je comprends, il travaille maintenant dans un centre d'appel ShamWows de vente par téléphone.

Un autre jour au paradis gel.

Oh mon Dieu, je ne peux pas croire qu'il est froid là-bas, dans ma ville de Paris en ce moment.

Good Grief, il est 17 ° C
Courant: Clair
Vent: N à 18 km / h
Humidité: 31%

Il suffit de gel de ce que vous avez besoin de mai pour l'avenir.

Mieux vaut rester à l'intérieur et rester au chaud. Faites attention là-bas aujourd'hui.

Bonjour

Bonjour mes amis.

Permettez-moi de vous parler de ma philosophie de vie.
Un peu de vin, et une baguette de pain avec du fromage brie certains et un bon ami à le partager avec, c'est la recette d'une bonne vie.

Oh, et Dancing with the Stars, qui est également nécessaire.

Et bien sûr, un chapeau, un grand chapeau. J'ai oublié celui-là, mais il est sérieux nécessaire.

Je parlerai plus de ma vie à la philosophie dans les jours à venir, mais pour l'instant, retour au vin et de pain et un chapeau.

Sold my domain to a Mr. Strapp

He purchased the rights to my story, so I'm off to buy a small red european convertible.

Naked Chef cooks for world leaders

He's a chef I've been a fan of for a few years now, and I follow him on Twitter, but today he's cooking for the worlds hob knobs in London.

That's one gig where you don't want to serve the slightly off oysters. Could lead to world chaos and wars.

Jamie's got some pics here.

Check out the menu.
What a feast.