This is for my friend John who is a band teacher

Lauralea always says that beginner band teachers are the most optimistic people in the world.

And after sitting through four kids in various school bands, I agree.

For John.




via. Marc.

Want to help plant a church in Estonia?

Take a look at this.


3D church planting in Tartu, Estonia from 3D KOGUDUS on Vimeo.


Their website is here.

Here are their considerably powerful stories of coming to faith.

Interesting that if you open that link in the Chrome Browser, an option will pop up at the top telling you that the page is written in Estonian and would you like it translated into english. The translation is a little rough, but I was able to hear their heartbeat in it.

Something to consider?

The better part of life

She sits across from me in her chair, knitting something brown to be given away as a gift to some lucky individual and I sit over from her on the large red couch, doing some correspondence and writing. The Internet radio is playing some beautiful smooth classics from a far away station and we communicate about what our supper will be like over occasional sips of strong tea with cream and sugar in it.

We went from wieners and beans to basa fillets with spices and rice and a salad. Since we kind of muddled through breakfast and lunch by ourselves because we were on different time schedules as a result of being up at different times of the night, we decided a nice dinner is in order. Speaking of the night, it was difficult finding sleep through those eight hours as storm after storm passed by overhead. Every 30 to 40 or maybe even 50 minutes a new storm would assail us. Each with very loud thundering bangs and bright flashing lightning and torrents of rain. I believe it was about 2 am that one storm even brought hail to help be just a little different than the other storms. I recall the power going off about three times in the night, which reminds me I need to purchase a 9 volt battery for Lauralea's clock radio backup so she doesn't need to keep resetting it in the night. All to say it was a very long, fitful, checking on the rain levels kind of night so we allowed ourselves a bit of a sleep in this morning.

Rather than rush about in town with what remained of the day, we are settled in the living room, doing the things we enjoy best. Writing, reading, knitting, tea, good music, planning good meals, each other, and talking about travel and where we might celebrate 25 years of marriage.

A really nice, good day off.


And remember you young ones, these days don't just happen to you, you get to make them happen.

May you make one happen as well, and soon.

The Holy Nativity of Our Lord God

Welcome, all wonders in one night!
Eternity shut in a span,
Summer in winter, day in night,
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great Little One! Whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.


Richard Crashaw (1613?–1649), British poet. In the Holy Nativity of Our Lord God

Canola Blue

I leave the house for my office in the church some thirty steps away after a good visit over coffee and scones with friends, and the wind catches my attention. As I turn away from the gusts my eyes see the yellow through the wall of evergreens we have in front of the house acting as weather barriers, standing guard over our lives.

The yellow Canola is brilliant and draws me over. I know the camera is in my back pocket and I go, looking for the right window, the frame within which I will attempt to capture the right amount of blue and the right amount of yellow. The yellow Canola is up past my knees already so I move into the field only a few steps.

I snap three shots, each with varying amounts of sky. I know I could stand there and keep taking shots of this field. But for today I am disciplined and turn off the camera, tucking it back in my pocket and head back to where I was first going. My office.


Canola Blue

Four kids, four provinces

Another evening, another thunder and lightning storm with lots and lots of water.

Have I mentioned that each of our kids are working in different provinces this summer? Well they are. We took the last one, Micah, to camp earlier this week where he's working as a jr. counsellor for six or so weeks.

So the days we dreamt of in the middle of the late night feedings, and the middle night throwing up with the flu, and the waiting up till they got home, are now upon us.

Yes it's practice because Micah will be home for a few more years, but wow what a wake up call.

After four evenings of just the two of us, well we better pick up a few new hobbies. Funny how you wait and wait, then when it's here, you're not ready for it, and you miss them.

So now we pray for them and txt with them and send them recipes and talk on the phone or skype with them.

Funny how our family is moving on. Funny and odd and, new. Another new thing it seems, to adapt to.


Night from the field.

i couldn't say it any better

Hey people, the internet is a big place with a long memory.
Be a little careful with what images you put up there ok? Some of them can hurt you bad.
And I care about you.

Hillary says it better;

here's the thing girls, listen up all you ladies out there,
this is a lesson it has taken me many years to learn, and now i share it with you.
the way you dress says something about you. the way you dance in what you're dressed in says something about you. if you want a man to love and value you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated, then dress like you want to be loved and valued. looking cheap and easy will get you someone who wants a cheap and easy date, not the kind of guy you really want. if you want to be valued you have to dress like you value yourself, dress like you are a treasure to behold, one that has to be discovered, one that involves mystery. if you bare it all there is no treasure. if you give it away it is worthless. but if you value yourself, you will cover it up a little, and you will attract the kind of men who want someone to value.
also, if you put a higher price on yourself, other people will think you are worth more too. if you put a half price, take me i'm free sticker on yourself, then those looking for value will pass you by, and those who want a cheap joy will scoop you right up.
just a thought.
unless you value yourself, and show it with your clothes and actions, how can you ever hope to find someone to share your life with who values you at all?

via hillary

A Public Service Announcement: Vote Early, Vote Often

This just came in the mail;

Today is the day and we need your vote! Wetaskiwin minor football teams have the opportunity of a lifetime!! Our project to improve the “hogbarn” – the existing change and storage rooms for all the kids playing football in Wetaskiwin – has been chosen as a finalist in the Kraft Celebration Tour Contest. If we win, we get $25,000 from Kraft to improve the “hogbarn” and TSN will do a one hour live broadcast of Sportscenter here in Wetaskiwin in late August. If we get to host the nationally televised event it would great exposure for our community and great for business!

This is a great opportunity for us to upgrade one of our facilities and gain some national exposure, but we cannot do it without your help. To win we have to get more online votes than the project from Fort McLeod, Alberta. The voting takes place between 10am TODAY and 10am TOMORROW at www.TSN.ca/kraftcelebrationtour So please have everyone you know get online and vote for Wetaskiwin. And remember, you can vote more then once!

Sincerely,

Alan Greene
Executive Director
Wetaskiwin & District Chamber of Commerce

Summer Storm in the Field


fieldweather, originally uploaded by RandallFriesen.


As you can see on the map, the weather is pretty bad right where we live. Just south and a bit east of Wetaskiwin is where The Field is located and we are about to see lots more of the bad weather go through here.

As I sit blogging in the dark (on my battery run macbook) the thunder is shaking the house and the rain is dumping from the skies in buckets. The church parking lot is now a swiftly flowing river and I'm a little nervous about this place.

All the drain spouts are running the water away and the sump pump is working it's little heart out, but if we loose the electricity for much longer than its occasionally gone out tonight, we'll loose the sump pump, and that isn't good at all.

Last summer it was dry as dry could be, and this summer it's full stream ahead, especially across these Canadian prairies.

Like Lauralea always says,

...When you move to a new place and go away for a while, you'll know it's home if you look forward to getting back there.

Based on that then, we're home. And glad to be here.

About two weeks and we had planed to go see my mom and Lauralea's mom and dad and that's about all. What did happen was more like, my mom went to Manitoba to be with her dying brother, so we went to her place in Saskatoon, then up to Prince Albert for a day of Chiropractor and dental work.  Then we headed down to the in laws for a few days. We decided to drive into MacGregor Manitoba to at least see my mom for a day or so. It was good because Thomas was able to catch up with us there for a while, and so did my brother and his family. It was also really great to see some uncles and aunts of mine who I haven't seen for a while. In the meantime mom needed a ride into Winnipeg, so in 12 hours we drove her into the city, hit the forks, and drove back to Saskatchewan.

Then we began to retrace our steps, getting back to mom's apartment in Saskatoon and caught up with Hillary who is in town for the summer. Then yesterday we got up at 5 am and headed to Prince Albert for another day of dental work, (Three fillings and two cleanings, thanks again Linea!) Then we got in the car and drove back to the sweet silence of the field.

Some surprises included but for the most part a good time away.

I am pleased with how good it feels to be back here. Walking back into this space felt really good.

Since there are three more days of vacation, we'll be chillin around here mostly and I'll get some of the pictures posted. And since Lauralea and I didn't share the same bed the whole of two weeks, it gives us an excuse just to stay at home. As if we ever needed an excuse…

Out of reach

While we've been on the road these days the only real access we've had to the net is email and a bit of a facebook app on my phone. I haven't been responding or commenting, sorry if you've been waiting for something.

Anyway, seems like a lot of sudden deaths these days in our life and friends lives. Lots of bittersweet life being lived out here.

We'll talk more later.

For now I'm going to email this in.


Night.

Blogging during the sermon

We are in small town Sask this Sunday morning of our holidays and we have gathered with 14 others in this rural church to worship God.

These small town churches scattered across the prairies are places of simple corporate worship sometimes like stepping back in time.

The young pastor is nervous as he leads us, but he is doing his best to be faithful to his recent seminary training.

The music is a collection of old hymns and a few choruses from the 1970s accompanied by a hundred year old piano. The words of the choruses are projected on the wall with an overhead projector and the only audio amplification for the leader is one mic they set the volume for at the beginning of the service and leave alone.

But the 17 gathered worshipers rise to the occasion and sing with gusto so that the songs echo around this small brown panel clad room.

The sermon is good especially given the difficult context and though I don't know his training I'm feeling like we need to help our seminaries train our pastors for places like this. Somehow feels like his well prepared message is made for a different crowd.

I also feel again this responsibility to prepare and preach well. May God forgive us as pastors for not doing the hard work necessary to be able to preach well.


Service is over now.
I always wanted to do this but usually I'm busy working Sunday mornings.

God was here in this little prairie church this morning.

Frederick Buechner's Alphabet of Grace

I'm reading Frederick Buechner's "Alphabet of Grace" again because the book needs to go back to it's owner and just soaking in it inspires me.
Buechners writing never fails to encourage me in the mundane things of life, helping me see that there are greater things at work than just the regular somewhat boring events of any given day.

His "Alphabet of Grace" was from a series of lectures he gave which inspired him to explore different forms of writing.

Anyway, one of the many good quotes:
"Prince Oblonsky, newly awake and sitting on the edge of the sofa in his study, asks "What's to be done?" And the answer that life gives is: live in the needs of the day. What's to be done? Do what you need most to do this day and what is most needed of you. Where your feet take you today is who you are. Guide thou my feet. O Thou invisible, manifest thyself, clack-clack, in this visible day."

Alphabet Of Grace - Frederick Buechner

This is the kind of book you want to simply soak in.

It is classic Buechner who, as I understand it, created this book from a series of lectures he gave which inspired him to explore different forms of writing.

One of the many good quotes:
"Prince Oblonsky, newly awake and sitting on the edge of the sofa in his study, asks "What's to be done?" And the answer that life gives is: live in the needs of the day. What's to be done? Do what you need most to do this day and what is most needed of you. Where your feet take you today is who you are. Guide thou my feet. O Thou invisible, manifest thyself, clack-clack, in this visible day."

First half better than the second.

3.5 out of 5

Can you help pray?

Word caught up with us this week as we have been traveling, of tragedy back home.

The greatest fear of any farm family, the sudden accidental death of a child, has hit the community.

If you're the praying sort, please pray for this hurting family. They have lost their 18 month old boy.

Thanks.

Big rectangle province, here we come

Well, the last full service is done and we are preparing for two weeks off from the work here. I was doing the math and it seems we've been here 20 months and we had one week off last summer (Just how it worked itself out mostly by our choice). So we are in need of this break.

I hope it's enough, you know?

Living away from family simply makes our vacations about reconnecting with the homeland and people. That's just how things are with the life we lead. The last time we went away on a holiday without travelling to visit someone was to Scotland back in 2007 I believe. The church sent us then and it was quite revealing to us about how we choose our rest times. We do need to grow up in that area. But for now we are glad for the adage that a change is as good as a rest.

So we are changing the routine of these two weeks.

House sitters are in place and the road is open before us. Off to the big rectangle province to see the rain and mosquitos and a few relatives.

Pictures to follow.

Riders beat Montreal in double overtime. 54 - 51


What an amazing game it was.

The Riders look like a solid team now, with lots of heart.

Hopefully a fun year.
And who knows, the Grey Cup is being played right down the road this year, in Edmonton.