Micah Graduates

Well, after two days of graduation exercises and celebrations, Micah has graduated from grade 12.

It's been good, and because of the choices he's made, it's easy to be proud of him.

This is mostly to let you know that the photos of the occasion can be found here;



For now, I'm done. An emotional funeral in another city, getting the church youth off to their weekend conference, planning for tomorrow morning to be a bit of a Randall Friesen hour, and grad, has made for a long long week.

Night all,
and congratulations Micah.



Micah Graduates Today


I am not sure, but I think that this was the photo we took when it was Micah's first day at school. (Micah, bottom left if you need guiding.)

That was a long long time ago.

A lot of picture books and chapter books read.
A lot of math homework Lauralea did with him.
A lot of interpersonal stresses he and we had to face, and to go back to the school and not run away from tough people challenges.
A lot of changes, two different provinces.
A lot of flashcards run through before supper.
A lot of months of the year to remember.
A lot of shoe laces tied.
A very lot of words spoken and questions asked by him.
A lot of parent teacher interviews where we were told "He finds it hard to focus on the task at hand" or "He's a bit of a daydreamer."
A lot of "He'll do it when he wants it, not before."
A lot of slurpees swallowed.

Yep, a lot of life has been lived in-between then and now.
And today it is his graduation from High School.

There were some days we wondered if we'd see this day.
And now today, here it is, suddenly.

Well congratulations to Micah and his parents for their hard work.
And to the others who will graduate today.


Maybe this is a good reminder for the road ahead.

Thus says the Lord:
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
And ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way lies;
And walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16





A day of emotional surprises

Well, today was an emotional day. A day of personal evaluation and I suppose in some ways, a day of retreat.

Tonight Lauralea and I are in a hotel in Kindersley Sask, over four hours away from our home in the field. We came here to be at a friends memorial service, and what a moving celebration of her life it was. It's always a personal challenge and reflection on your own life when you stack your struggles up against another. Funerals, good funerals of people who have lived well, are always a challenge to me.

Pastor Ron Baker, (http://ronbaker.ca/) my friend and the husband of Jill who passed away suddenly last week, did well today. I was proud of him. The Alliance church here will be a good place for him to be, even as they grieve this deep loss too.


But surprise number one was that some other friends from our old home in Prince Albert, came for the day too, and we got to catch up with them. That was so good.

Surprise number two was that both Lauralea and I had unique situations where people we have never met, identified us by our photos from these blogs we write and came up to us to identify themselves and thank us and encourage us for the things we write here. It was quite moving, emotional even, to be encouraged like that. It's always humbling when that happens, and it hasn't happened for a few years.

Nice surprise number three was that when we realized that we'd be in a town where the Anglican Priest's wife was also someone we'd met long ago online, we made arrangements to meet her and her husband, in real life. So tonight we went over to the Rectory and met Dell and Susan. http://dellssue.blogspot.ca/

What a lovely visit we had with two faithful servants of God. Sharing our stories and seeing where our paths may have crossed in the past, was lots of fun. Hearing how God has led them and worked through them was a great encouragement. We left feeling blessed, and better for having met them.


Yes, it's been a very emotional day. It's also been a really encouraging day. Tomorrow we'll return to the field, ready for all the kids who will descend upon us as they do each Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Thanks for praying.


Ten years old today and I still don't know where to stick my apostrophes.

Yes, this blog is ten years old today.
That's like, forever when you're ten year old.
Which I suppose it is.
Forever I mean.

And on this tenth anniversary, I'm in the office working on preparations for Sunday, and nursing my youth night hangover from last night. :)

I have Classic FM playing on the radio.
My Administrative Assistant is in the next room preparing the information sheet for Sunday.
Herself is in town for a medical consult.
Micah has driven to class today because he has setup for the final Jazz Choir concert tonight, which we'll be at.

And I am thinking of heading into Edmonton where we have an elderly church member who has been admitted to hospital.

So it's a regular day in paradise.

----------------------------------------

I know that blogging is so, yesterday. I know that.
People don't and shouldn't have to go to a website nowadays.
It should be in their stream of information they have coming at them, social networking wise.
I agree with that.

The thing is that I've invested ten years of the good, bad, and the ugly, in writing in this space. So I'm not soon to abandon it for Tumblr or Google+ or, heaven help us, Facebook.

No this isn't the good old days of blogging when it was cool and Radio Stations might quote you or newspapers interview you.  But I've got this pile of collected works here, some of which is drivel and some of which is fun, and some of it is even thoughtful, and it's sort of become my contribution to the Internet. So even though there are no longer six hundreds of you here each day, there are still one or two hundred of you here on any given day and if I were writing for you dear reader, that would be enough to keep me writing.

But I'm not sure I write for you.

These days I can see it as maybe a place where my children's children's children may go to see a version of who I am.  Mind you, it is a version of myself and I won't often make myself look bad, even though I can be at times.

I use it as a record too, especially when herself and I will be in the midst of one of those arguments about when we got the new vacuum nozzle, was it when the small potted rosebush died of a lack of water or when the cactus died from undue care and attention. I can easily pull up my version of reality and correct herself.

Mostly though its always been just a version of a life. My life. With its successes and failures and assorted attitudes. Hopefully a thoughtful life, with my sense of humour built in. Hopefully.

So you see, these "Blobs" have many different values.


I think the State of the Blog piece I wrote two years ago when I was eight, still holds up pretty well. You can see my thinking there, if you're interested.

There has been a lot of water underneath this blogging bridge. Many many rich and wonderful relationships have grown up around it, and I'm still reaping the joys of blogging as an old reader and blogger in his own right comes to join me in the work here in the next months.

I know that there are seasons to this blogging stuff and the season I'm in right now is not always a season I appreciate. However there are things to learn and it actually pokes at my insides sometimes when I think that I'd like to blog about this but not that aspect of life. In those times I am challenged and I grow.


So as for the future of my writing here and recording life as I see it, I can't see an end in sight, for now anyway. I think it will continue to ebb and flow as I hit my fifties in a few short years.

But for now, for today, let us eat cake and celebrate.

Or because it's lunch now, perhaps a tuna sandwich.










Norah's Red Sweater

Because its been too long since I've had a Norah update here.

Norah's Red Sweater





Marc Vandersluys is coming to a field near you, (If the field near you is the same one I'm in)


So it's sort of been my heart for these years as I've somehow become a senior pastoral leader in the Evangelical Covenant Church in Canada, that we need to be identifying and calling out young spiritual leaders from among us and to help them and see them raised up to do the work of shepherding/pastoring our churches in Canada.

You see, because we are a relatively small group we must regularly call up pastors from America or from other denominational groups in Canada, and while thats not bad, it would be great to be seeing those people, leaders really, rise up from among us. I think its a next level of maturity for us as a church group in Canada.

So I pray to that end and work to that end and it's been really very cool to see some really quality young people take the next step into ministry from churches in Canada, as God calls them.

Marc & Supper

That's why this winter has been a bit of a surprise as the church here in the field, Malmo Mission Covenant Church, worked through a season of discernment for staff, and as a result of Gods leading, have seen fit to call Marc Vandersluys to minister here in the role of associate pastor, with responsibilities for youth, families, discipleship, and intergenerational sorts of stuff.

It's a surprise because Marc and I first met years ago, as a result of this here blogging enterprise.
He covered his first visit here, and I talked about it here. (Isn't that the beauty of bing an old fart at  blogging?)


I am grateful beyond belief that someone is coming alongside here in the Field work.  I think the last count of people who would consider this church their spiritual home whether they attend once a week, once a year, or once in a while, is over the 200 mark. Again, for a church located in a field, that number never ceases to amaze me.

But I digress. The awesome news is that this summer, Marc and his wife, Dixie and their brood of three will join us here in Alberta, in The Field.

Its such a cool thing. And to think that it started with a form of social media of its day, Blogging.


This here internet is just a great invention.



Micah turns eighteen

As of today, the boy, the man, is eighteen. I guess that means that I don't have to sign his papers any longer, and he can go into bars if he were so inclined.

So many things associated with turning eighteen. Lots of expectations in there too, like what are you going to do with your life, or what are you going to be. Lots of questions that very few people have clear at eighteen.

He was gone by 6:30 am this morning and had to be in Edmonton for the afternoon where his High School choir was in the provincial finals, so we met up with him in town and went out for a celebratory supper.


The best part of the day for him, clearly! was that after supper we went to pick up his new guitar.

In what can only be termed an act of God, or maybe a loving, gracious, act of God, out of a couple of different surprising directions came money. Yes, it was amazing. And clearly a gift from God. There are ways in which you are humbled and moved to your core when Grace steps up to show you love. And He did that for Micah these past couple of weeks.

With our small financial gift for his birthday, he had just enough to get the guitar he's had his eyes on. So after supper we went to the shop and he plunked down fifties and twenties and bought the biggest purchase of his eighteen years.

It is a sweet guitar. Good sound and easy to play. Maybe I'll get to borrow his like he's borrowed mine for the past eight years.

Anyway, at least for his eighteenth birthday he knows God loves him.

Maybe that's the best gift of all.






Grace is trying...

It feels like Grace is trying to break through to me.

Moments when my heart is carried away by the gentle softness of a piece of music that is like a soft cloud in which to find rest.

Times when I hear my granddaughter call papa, or dance with her new red sweater on, grinning from ear to ear.

When I hear and see my kids doing well, in spite of the hardships life will throw at you, and they make deliberate decisions to choose life.

Feels like Grace is pushing in at me, trying to draw me to a few healing moments of rest.

When Lauralea and I have made it through another very busy difficult patch and we are so tired from the stresses of life and I want to be angry about why things can be so tough sometimes, and instead inside I find Grace waiting for me.

When I'm near to breaking from the things on my list and I get to be a part of a baby dedication and the little girl sleeps peacefully in her moms arms and I put my hand on her and ask for God to bless her and protect her little life even as it grows into a big life, and God is there in the Holy. Blessing, watching, pushing Grace on me.


Or in the seven years of prayers for a little baby of ones own and the news comes that a little Chinese girl is waiting and in need of love and a safe life and a mom and dad and that somehow all those prayers have been focused on this little girl who will be here for a friend in two months. There is Grace there, pressing in.

Even in the thousands of prayers answered last Sunday as we voted to bring in some help for the church work here, and after two years of work to see a good answer from a quality individual who will move here soon and help with the work. There is deep Grace there.


I am trying to rest in the Grace, but then tears come and that's just, awkward.
It is a healing time, I know, even as new wounds are being torn in different parts of the heart that were always strong and safe.

It will be ok because Grace cares about me. Grace is trying to reach through to me, to love and heal and strengthen my weak limbs.

Because Grace cares, I have hope.
It will be ok I know, because Grace cares.


Grace cares for you too.
Can you see it?



On Pastoring and being the dad of adult kids

This week seems to be about helping friends get new things started, supporting the community after last weeks news on the local school closure, walking with a few people who have had tough surprises hit them, Youth today and tonight, getting things ready for worship on Sunday which will be full, and heading off to the Canadian Covenant AGM tomorrow which thankfully, will be in Edmonton till Saturday night.

It's also a week of discernment as we had a young couple here on the weekend who we were meeting and they were meeting us for the first time to try and hear if God is leading them to come here and work with us as an Assistant Pastor.

It was a good weekend in the meeting them department, and people are indicating that it was a good connection, so we will see if we have help coming down the line. It sure would be a great help, especially for weeks like these.

It made me reflect on my own life as a pastor and to look back on all the people who poured life and effort into me and how that has shaped me over these years into the pastor and man that I am.

It makes me think too about the kind of person I am becoming right now. The little daily things that shape a soul, those need to be tended to and cared for, because before you know it, you wind up ten or twenty years down the road looking back and not liking who you've become. Thats a tough one. Don't want to end up there.

God is still out here, in the field I mean. He still, in amazing ways, shows up in the moments and hours of greatest need. Even after seemingly quiet times, he's here and moving and loving in grace and power.


I got our taxes done on Monday, (our Canadian deadline I think,) and it dawned on me that our last little tax credit Micah, turns eighteen next week. The last one, an adult, at least where the law is concerned.

That's kind of a big deal, him being our last one out of the gate and all. I mean yes it's a big deal for him, but after next week, all our children will be adults. (again, at least in the eyes of the law...)

That kind of makes me an old man, married to a retired stay at home mom.
:)

We'll have to sort that one out and see who we are without children present and needing that sort of attention. But it is a bit of a wake up call. Feels almost what it felt like when I was young and trying to see what I would do with my life.

Anyway, Birthday first, then graduation at the end of the month, then, who knows what then.


But for this week, there is much to do and much to be done. Mostly people to pastor and care for. And after nearly four years here, its delightful that more and more of them are allowing me the chance to care for them, as a pastor.


The youth will be rumbling in here soon, I best get back to work.

From the Field.