off to supper

Another grad celebration as we head out to the restaurant of the grads choice. A Friesen family tradition.

I hope it’s good food tonight. That would be fun.

But yeah, everybody passed, so we are going to celebrate.

Down to two kids this year.

:)

A few more pics and video added

I’ve uploaded a few more images to the set, of Thomas Graduation, and I’m here to say what a crappy time it was to get some decent images in that difficult lighting.

Still, its been a week to remember.

A good week.

Remembering all the times we tried to help the boy. Reading to him, with him. Helping him practice his writing. Sometimes the demands of his education were too great for him and we wondered if he’d clear the grade. But we prayed and we stuck with him, and we were known in the schools and classrooms.

Then he found High School and Algebra and seemed right at home. He even knew what  it was like to have a regular place on the Honour Roll.  Wow.

Lots of memories going through my head during a week like this one.

And this girl, Kyra, who came out from Winnipeg to be his escort this weekend. How cool is that.

Here is the video clip of their presentation at the Grand March.

 

All in all a week to remember. A week to be proud.

Another one is off to make his way in this world.

And may God go with him.

The Grand March

IMG_6892

 

Well, I just uploaded and am still uploading some pics and video of last nights Grand March.

Kyra, the young lady who escorted Thomas, looked beautiful in a flowing, light blue, satinny dress. And Thomas in his new suit (From the wedding) and light blue accents and working cufflinks, cut a dashing figure.

You can find the set of images from the week here. I’ll post more when Flickr starts working again.

The day rolls on

As it turned out, I was here at the office till early this morning getting ready for the funeral this afternoon.

I got home in time to get to bed before 1 am, but by 1:30 I was riding the porcelain train to never never land. That episode took an hour, then back to bed again and 30 minutes later I awoke in a cold soaking sweat and barely enough time to get back on the porcelain ride.

That’s about how my night went. I don’t know what I ate, but baby it was doing alien stuff inside me.

This morning was the three hour Graduation exercise and it was very little of exercise and mostly sitting. The speakers were only ten minutes tops, and they were good, but what took the time were 66 different awards, each presented by some company or group who all wanted their own stage time to make them look like good community citizens. 66 different people called up and introduced so that they could call up the lucky recipient of THEIR award.

Sheesh. Just send the cheque to the kid. That would test their true motives.

As it was I nearly had to race to the church for the funeral I was doing today.

And now, I am exhausted, and kinda hungry, because nothing has touched these lips since the violence of the past night. But I’m scared to eat too… what to do.

To top it off we have to get ready for tonight's engagement. The Grand March where the kids clean up and put on adult clothes and show off and the parent has to dance with the correspondingly opposite child, which means, I don’t have to dance this year, Lauralea does!!!!

I get tired just thinking about it.

I just gotta get some more pictures of Thomas. That ice rink we are in is absolutely the worst for photography. That's why I've been trying to take movies and hope it works.

But it's 4 pm and I have to move along now.

 

cheers.

Graduation Ceremony

Thomas, after 13 years of hard work.

Thomas Graduation Mass

The party begins.

He gets the new hat.

He’s the guy giving the thumbs up walking down the ramp.

a non-regular regular day

I have a funeral to do tomorrow and I'm just having a tough time at it. It doesn't want to come together.

Tonight the Graduation ceremonies begin for Thomas, so we'll be at that. Then more ceremonies in the morning tomorrow, and later on tomorrow evening. So it's going to be a long couple of days.

I may just end up back at the office tonight to try to finish off prep work for the funeral.

 

Oh, and the temperature is heating up. That just makes everything else slow down.

memories of a strange day

Two years ago at 9:45 in the morning while we were driving to Hillary's graduation ceremony, I received a call on my cell phone.

My dad had just died.

That day still reverberates around in my spirit. I still can't really believe it. He was 64.

And I miss him.

So today I'll be on the road for a long while, and I'll be thinking of him and what he gave me, and what I've missed out on because he's been gone.

My Confirmation/Discipleship Crew

confirmcrew

 

What a great winter I’ve had hanging out and teaching them. I’m proud of them, and in as much as it’s allowed for a pastor to love the kids he teaches, I sure love them.

I’m going to miss them when they go off to find their fortunes.

Facial Hair Question

So I’m getting in a bit of a mood to grow some facial hair again and I had an hour while Lauralea was doing something or other and the guys are out, so I put together this little multimedia presentation.

I know there are times when I wish people would ask me if I thought they should have facial hair and I would have to say, “What do you mean, that muskrat beneath your nose? No way!" And she would run away in tears.

So, I invite your opinion. Be brutal, be honest, and in the end I'll do whatever I want anyway.

RANDALL FRIESEN:
FACIAL HAIR OR NOT??

REVIEW ALL THE IMAGES BELOW AND IN THE COMMENTS SECTION INDICATE WHICH ONE I SHOULD GO WITH.












































Number 1


Beard. Little bit of white. Med length.



Number 2


Beard. greater length.






Number 3
Red Skelton Look
Very short beard.



Number 4


Medium beard.




Number 5
English Professor Look


Not to be confused with the mad scientist look.


Goatee.





Number 6


Moustache and Soul patch







Number 7
Windswept, devil may care look


Moustache and Soul patch.


Needs a shave.




Number 8


Moustache and Soul patch


and my Jesus shirt.




Number 9


Moustache and Soul patch


Otherwise clean shaven.



Number 10
Beatnik Look.



Clean shaven. And a poem is on my lips.


The longest day of the year

And I spent most of it at the office trying to get ready for tomorrow. Big confirmation/discipleship grad Sunday tomorrow so I want to get it right. It’ll be a blast, it’s been so much fun working with those kids this year. I’ll miss our Sunday mornings together.

But yeah, longest, warmest day this year. Tomorrow, thankfully, it starts to get darker earlier and stay that way longer. I don’t mind the sun not getting up at 3:30 am. There have been a few nights lately that I’ve seen that sun getting up and I dread it because it means the day is upon us and night is gone.

Yeah I know, I’m weird that way.

And here we are, summer has officially arrived with all its glory.

So enjoy while we still have it.

One Year Ago

Iona Abby

Sunday evening, June 24 2007, at 8:52 pm on the Isle of Iona.

Evening prayers at the Scottish Episcopal Church were completed and the day of worship and prayer was behind us now. It had been a good day of meeting other believers at the Church of Scotland Parish Church and an afternoon of prayer in a corner of this Abbey. It had been a very good day indeed.

We were on our way back to the B&B and after a day of low, dramatic clouds, the sun broke through on the horizon and turned the space between earth and sky a brilliant gold colour.

It was glorious.

This image is the current wallpaper on my computer and in its fullness it demands attention to detail. The carved shapes on the ancient cross. The shadows of the crosses played out on the Abby and the green grass. The lack of people on a very busy Isle. The wind beginning to pick up the waves just a bit. There is so much to be absorbed and experienced.

One year ago we arrived on the Isle for an amazing week.

I don’t think things have been the same since.

Pastor

I’ve never really been one for titles, partly because Jesus said not to go for them, and partly because that’s who I am really. I’m not about separating us into different levels because of our titles for one another.

Some people call me Pastor or Pastor Randall out of deference, and I understand that and why they may do that and I’m usually quick to encourage them to call me by my first name. Other people instruct their children to call me Pastor Randall and I understand that because they are trying to teach their kids how to show respect to those older than themselves. I respect that and I just go with it, no problem.

But there is another use of the title Pastor that is different.

I have a friend and fellow pastor who has become quite accomplished in the Evangelical Covenant circles we run in. He and I have worked together on occasion and in fact we've taken a couple of the same classes together.

At some point in his life there were some changes going on and we talked about them. That led to some discernment things that we talked through and it was an amazing privilege to just walk with him and listen as he discerned how he felt God was leading him.

These opportunities to meet and talk and pray continued occasionally, as we only met each other a few times a year.  But at some point along the journey, he began to call me Pastor.

He began to call me by the name of the gift I brought to him.

This was very interesting to me and caught me by surprise. But I understood it. He didn't need another friend. He didn't require a preacher, a doctor, a politician. He needed a pastor. And I brought that gift to him.

This is not an easy thing for today's Everyman to admit, that they need pastoring, shepherding. And it's always struck me as interesting.

pastorwords You see, some people want a pastor, but they don't want to be pastored. The one requires little vulnerability while the other is quite vulnerable. Some people will never allow another to care for them as a pastor should or could, simply because it requires a level of vulnerability that they just never could be open to.

Some people allow me to shepherd them while others don't. Some people take years to build up the trust required to let another care for them. While others just can't risk it.

There are people who grant me access to their hearts and have ears to hear when there is something that needs to be said. Others don't want to hear what they don't want to hear. Walls are built up, even before I come across their path, and those walls are designed to keep out people and God.

This vulnerability of entrusting another human being with the core of who we are is so profound, it can actually help change who we are deep inside. It can be very healing if the experience is good or so damaging if the trusted one proves to lack integrity.

Submission to one another is a powerful approach to life and it allows us to face who we are, through another's eyes. If we are willing to live in that level of vulnerability, we can receive the gifts God brings to us, through others, which for us can mean healthier ways to live, closer connections to God and people, and just a good life.

 

Pastor.

 

More and more that is what I think I bring to the party. The gifts and resources of a pastor. And for those of you who easily get that word confused with that of CEO or COO, by pastor I mean Shepherd. Listener, discern-er, pray-er, caregiver, watchman.

So I guess I too am being changed by a certain vulnerability to others as they speak into my life and I listen and have ears to hear.

One of my prayers for you is that you too have a "Pastor" in your life who you can trust and be vulnerable with. No, they don't have to pastor a church or be formally trained to be a "pastor."  But someone you can trust with your insides, who will pray for you and watch out for you and say the tough things that need to be said once and a while.

 

A pastor in that sense of the word will help your life change for the better more than the self help books and Anthony Robbins types out there.

 

Pastor.

Not just for Sunday mornings any more.

Ya-Hoo isn't there any longer

Executives, General managers and officers are leaving Yahoo like rats abandoning a sinking ship. Every day a new name and face steps up and says they are out of there.

This week Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, both of Flickr fame chose to leave the firm. They are the faces of the bunch that I know the best, mainly because I've followed them from the early flickr days.

And as I said, each new day brings a new name of someone leaving.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a spreadsheet of the bigger names leaving, provided by TechCrunch.

Right now Yahoo must be a most miserable place to be working, company morale wise.

THIS JUST IN

In a txt message to me from Thomas:

"so i graduated, passed all my classes."

Last exam was this morning, and another one is out of the gates and into the world.

Way to go Thomas.

I think I'll let you buy me a celebratory dinner with that new plastic you own...

Just a reminder...

That when you send a message to my mobile in that little box on the right, it doesn't record who you are and that if you wish a response that is timely and directed at you, you will need to include your name.

This also means you can send nasty notes to me and for the most part I won't track you because it takes too much work.

:)

The Writing Life

I’ve learned a great deal about writers and the writing life when I have taken time to watch Book Television. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.)

Especially the program called “The Writing Life” in which different authors, many somewhat introverted just like me, tell how, where and when they write and how they deal with the difficulties of writing.

Anyway, now you know another deep dark secret about me, yes I watch Book Television.

But the other writing life visual that I enjoy is seeing where writers like to do their writing. What stimulates them, what hides them away, what does their writing space look like.

And last night as I was thinking about this again I remembered a post Jordon had done about the places writers write. He had caught an article in The Guardian which showed the writing places of some better known writers.

I went back and found the link and looked again at the places people write.

You know how some people look at food and go, ooh and aah, or some people look at new houses and go ooh and aah? For that matter, you can fill in your own blank over what makes you go ooh and aah. But that’s what I do when I look at these writing rooms. I ooh and aah and wish and dream.

 

Raymond Briggs. A bit too cluttered for me, but the breathtaking view…

 

Martin Amis. A quiet private space with leaves covering the windowed ceiling.

 

Colm Toibin. Cave like, surrounded by books with a clear writing space and good lamp.

 

Yeah. Lots to ooh and aah over, and dream and think about.

Keep Calm and Carry On

 

Words to live by.

Rainy days and Thursdays…

I don’t know what it is about rainy cloudy days that make me breath deeply again, but there is something fresh and new and hopeful and even alive in them.

So this morning as I run around to my various meetings and coffees and funeral arrangements, my spirit feels at ease. It’s good.

And though I could probably use a nap, this day is going to be relentless. Tonight is Micah’s “Grad” supper and whatever else happens at a grade eight graduation.

Anyway, I gotta get going now. A grieving family awaits.

Cash is flowing like a river: UPDATED

So at the supper table today Thomas announced, kind of quickly and quietly, that he now has a Visa credit card. It arrived today.

Ahem, WHAT?

This boy who can’t remember to take out the trash, or has to do his laundry at one in the morning because he can’t remember to do it during normal human hours, is now the proud owner of plastic?

Sheesh, I wasn’t allowed to have one till I was like 28 years old, after I already had two children and a solid full time job.

What gives? What are the people down at Visa Central smoking in between cold calls over the supper hour?

He says it will give him a chance to build a good credit reading. True enough. But it will also give him a chance to build a very bad credit rating, this boy with the memory.

So, is visa so desperate for customers that they are now getting cards to high school students? With nice high limits? Get em hooked on credit early and they’ll be yours for life.

To be fair, Thomas has always done well with his cash and has saved a good chunk of change for his future. This just smells a little of Visa robbing the cradle. I mean, don’t you even need a job to get a card??

Times. They are a changing.

Maybe my first grandchild will be accepted on his fifth birthday. If so, he’s buying dinner.

UPDATE:

Well so my “FAMILY” tells me that I “MISHEARD” Thomas at supper and that he said he had “JUST APPLIED FOR A CARD AND WAS GOING TO PICK IT UP LATER ON THIS WEEK”

I think they’re all wrong on this one, every last one of them. I think they are living in denial, not wanting to face the fact that Thomas is growing up now and has a credit card.

That’s what I think anyway.

And what’s so wrong with it anyway, I mean look how Shauna turned out and she had a card when she was just a baby!

This could be the best thing ever for the boy, this “Almost having a card but not quite…”

 

:)

“Gee you look like garbage today. Why is that?”

Um yeah, for those of you with that question, let me answer you.

7 pm Tuesday attend our counsel meeting. We had a good meeting and for once in a long while, we laughed a lot.

11:30 pm Going home. Stop in for some McNuggets because I’m really hungry.

12:30 am off to bed.

1:30 am Sleep, finally.

3:00 am  Taxi full of very drunk, loud, fighting people stops next door and they begin to party outside.

6:30 am alarm goes off

7:00 am I wake up, wash, dress and race out the door. Neighbours still at it.

7:15 am ish  get to early prayer time.

9:00 am So. Tired. Room. Spinning.

10:30 am  Meeting.

12:00 pm lunch appointment.

1:00 pm meet with my Intern

2:30 pm meet with Bible Society Salesman guy.

Present.

Tired. Waiting. Tired. Fuzzy.

Computer Conundrum

So, ever since three days ago, this Dell Inspiron 6000 I use starts up fine and boots through to Windows XP nicely.

Then, an hour later, just about to the minute, it just freezes up solid and will beep once if I press any keys trying to regain control.  I have to hold down the power button to kill it.

 

Any ideas or guesses?

That long distance feeling

You know that for all the wonderful goodness this Internet thing has provided in terms of connection and relationship, it still lacks the reality of a face to face.

There are a couple of you out there with whom I would love and maybe even crave a good sit down and drink some strong dark tea with sugar and cream or perhaps a very dark pint, and check how you are doing.

This emailing back and forth is immediate and easily done, but there is nothing that can replace a face to face. And some of your faces I need to see again.

So, until Firefox develops an extension that allows me to travel over space and time, I shall make every effort to be satisfied with that long distance feeling.

But know that you are missed, and cared for from a distance.

Worship in the GPAA

Sometimes when you work in a church, there are seasons that make you go, “Why am I here again?”

And sometimes there are seasons like we are in right now.

It’s just a really good place to be at these days. God is showing up in profound ways, and the connection is good. The music sings easily and the words and prayers are felt deeply, within the spirit of the place.

And I notice that when that is happening on a regular basis, it become a place that people want to be at, and not leave easily. And so they don’t. They linger and visit and find another excuse to get another cup of coffee and they share life together.

It’s really what I’ve prayed for for a long long time.

So we might as well enjoy these days, because like I said, “Somedays…."

 

Feel free to drop in if you live in the Greater Prince Albert Area.

Wind and rain and boxers

I awoke this morning with the vague memory that, oh yeah it had rained hard in the night. And oh yeah there was lightening and much thunder and gale force winds.

And as the fog cleared from my mind, I also remember getting up in the midst of the storm and wanting to check the downspouts that hopefully were moving the water away from the house. And so in my exhausted, 4am mind, I put Lauraleas short rain jacket over my head, slipped on some shoes and wondered out in my pinstriped boxers and took care of business.

One night Lauralea is just going to get woken up with me calling from the police station asking her to come down and get me cause I've been arrested for indecent exposure.

I gotta start thinking clearly at 4 am, that's all there is to it.

 

 

 

Â

Fathers Day

dadblue I don’t have a dad any longer, but I do have the memory of a dad. So today I’m thinking of that, of him, and I’m thankful for the memory, the good memory and good legacy he left me.

And I’m thinking of being a dad. I’ve got kids and I love being a dad, doing the dad stuff.

So today I'm just cool with the memory of a good dad, and of being a dad myself.

Life is good.

And a good legacy is important to me. So I work hard at providing that for my kids.

Anyway, don't forget to remember.

:)

Free Books (UPDATED: Now with allowed rather than aloud!!)



During the big party downtown in Prince Albert today, Lauralea and I wandered past the Library display where they were selling old books. Seems we hit it with perfect timing. It was near the end of the day and they really didn't wish to haul all the books back to the Library, so they started giving people bags and telling them to take the books away free - no casual browsing allowed, you had to just take them home and read them there!

:)

Lauralea's eyes got bigger than her whole head and she went to town. I became her bag holder.

And I found a delightful book; Immortal poetry of the English language.



So yeah, I brought home one book, and Lauralea brought home about 10,000 books.

Lauralea shouldn't be allowed within ten feed of any sign with those two words in it. There otta be a law.

Bugging Thomas at work.

The apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree.

IMG_6449

Bugging Thomas at work.
IMG_6436

Thoughts while attending the funeral of a thirteen year old boy

Loss. Sadness.

He died from a tiny germ, caught at a hospital he was in for a simple, safe procedure.

Please, no more "God needed a Angel" songs. No more "I'm getting my
wings" language, please. I can't see how that helps.

He attended preschool at our church, with Micah. Micah has been in his class since then, in fact he's been at our house a couple of times for birthday parties.

When I die I want the people who know me to speak the truth, even if its tough. Its good to be in a community when you die, so there are people who know your name and your story, and can speak about you with insight and authority.

Life is completely unfair. If you want fair go study math.

Thirteen is a hard time of life at the best of times, let alone to having to face the death of a classmate.

Serious note to self: If I don't know the person who's funeral I'm officiating at, I better not guess at his personality and miss the real person.

The boy had the loves and passions and desires of a thirteen year old. The age between being a child and a man. Changing, unwilling to forget the things of childhood, yet finding them insufficient for becoming a man.

Life can be damn hard sometimes.

She says it better than I.

Scotland & England Redux

I FINALLY sat down tonight and hacked away, uploading hundreds of megs of images from our trip, nearly a year ago, to Scotland and England.

It probably won't interest many of you, but some of you may want to call your lawyers and have them send us letters threatening damages if we don't get your pictures off the net.

:)

Sure brought back memories and feelings and scent's and tastes.



Enjoy. We did.


Non-flash version here.

Suddenly

off to Saskatoon for a Covenant Pastors family members funeral.

These days happen.

Watching WWDC 2008

Pretty exciting, and the only Apple thing I own is an iPod Touch.

Big day in Cupertino.

I'm following here.
And here.
And here.

Band of Brothers

to me is one of the best series on the war.
If there can be a "Best" that is.

It tells the stories, real stories of some of the battles. And it seems to face the great pain and loss of it too.

But it always causes my eyes to get wet and my heart full when I watch it.

The whole series is on the History Channel today.

A good place

The church Lauralea and I are a part of has certainly had it's moments and bumpy places, but I gotta say we are in a good place right now.

The music and worship is going to good, new places, the preaching is pretty not bad these days, at least its helpful and challenging, and the interaction and inclusion is getting better and better.

The new generation is stepping up, mostly because the previous generation has moved onward and thus is moving out of the way, and that's alright too. Thats how it should be.

New people are becoming open to ministry, and we are training new leaders. The days ahead look shinny and bright. I almost need shades.

Now, if we can keep walking this road, making good decisions that lead us to life and a future. It will be ok.

It's good to be a part of a story that sees the sick made well, the dead come alive, and the lost found again. I mean, we have our off days, but for now it's just a good season.

So enjoy.

The Best James Bond movie ever

We watched my favourite tonight, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" with George Lazenby.

Easily the best bond movie out there.

Action, adventure, endless chases, Telly Savalas, a pretty and independent girl, a bad guy who is a good guy really, a guy goes through a snowbower, James gets married, James gets widowed, James weeps, its all in there baby.

One of the finer pieces of cinematic history, certainly ranks up there with Gone with the Wind.

Looking Closely

Sometimes you get a broad view of a great vista and you drink it in.

Lately, around here at least, there are few broad vistas that capture my attention. But the beauty I have seen is in looking closely, at the details of life.

Why an individual responds the way they do. Why a heart feels the way it does. What motivates an individual. It's all amazing in the fine, small details of the heart.

If you take the time to look closely, you will see amazing beauty. But it does take time.
You can't just look quickly and move on to the next thing, the next heart. No, it requires a luxuriously long look, the kind of extravagance that people need, if they will be loved and cared for in ways that allow them to feel safe. You need to take a long look and then you will see the intricate details of creation. The curve of a heart in love. The colour of a spirit when grieving. It's all there to be seen, if the one looking will look deeply and patiently enough.

Tonight I captured some tiny flowers on the small berry bushes in the back yard, and our lilacs which this year are looking and smelling glorious.

But if you are going to see the real beauty, you've got to get down on the level they are at, and look closely at them. Then you see things as they are.

Lilacs

THE METHODIST COVENANT PRAYER

I am no longer my own, but Thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt,
rank me with whom Thou wilt;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for Thee
or laid aside for Thee;
let me be exalted for Thee,
or brought low for Thee;
let me be full, let me be empty;
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and heartily yield all things
to Thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am Thine.
So be it.
And the covenant
which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

A sad day

We just received news, that a 14 year old boy in Micah's class died this morning.

Because of a sudden illness, he has been struggling for his life for a couple of weeks now. This morning his young body could struggle no longer, and he passed away.

It's a small school and this community is very tight, so we received the news quickly. Maybe as you think of him, pray for his family and friends and the school community. They need comfort now, in places only God can reach.

Dang, 14 is too young.

The Verse Book of a Homely Woman

Within my House

First, there's the entrance, narrow, and so small,
The hat-stand seems to fill the tiny hall;
That staircase, too, has such an awkward bend,
The carpet rucks, and rises up on end!
Then, all the rooms are cramped and close together;
And there's a musty smell in rainy weather.
Yes, and it makes the daily work go hard
To have the only tap across a yard.
These creaking doors, these draughts, this battered paint,
Would try, I think, the temper of a saint,

How often had I railed against these things,
With envies, and with bitter murmurings
For spacious rooms, and sunny garden plots!
Until one day,
Washing the breakfast dishes, so I think,
I paused a moment in my work to pray;
And then and there
All life seemed suddenly made new and fair;
For, like the Psalmist's dove among the pots
(Those endless pots, that filled the tiny sink!),
My spirit found her wings.

"Lord" (thus I prayed), "it matters not at all
That my poor home is ill-arranged and small:
I, not the house, am straitened; Lord, 'tis I!
Enlarge my foolish heart, that by-and-by
I may look up with such a radiant face
Thou shalt have glory even in this place.
And when I trip, or stumble unawares
In carrying water up these awkward stairs,
Then keep me sweet, and teach me day by day
To tread with patience Thy appointed way.
As for the house . . . . Lord, let it be my part
To walk within it with a perfect heart."





THE VERSE-BOOK OF A HOMELY WOMAN
BY FAY INCHFAWN
[Elizabeth Rebecca Ward]

Morning Prayer

O Lord, grant that my heart may be truly cleansed and filled with Thy Holy Spirit, and that I may arise to serve Thee, and lie down to sleep in entire confidence in Thee, and submission to Thy will, ready for life or for death. Let me live for the day, not overcharged with worldly cares, but feeling that my treasure is not here, and desiring truly to be joined to Thee in Thy heavenly kingdom, and to those who are already gone to Thee. O Lord, save me from sin, and guide me with Thy Spirit, and keep me in faithful obedience to Thee, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.

Rev. Thomas Arnold (1795-1842)

A little summer afternoon music

Stuck in my office today and the spring sun looks inviting out there.
How about a little summer music.



What it means for me to Follow Christ.

When listening for direction from God in life, there is always this fine balance between our own desires and his.

On the one side are people saying whatever your deepest desires are, those are how God has shaped you and made you. If you pursue them you will be pursuing and fulfilling His good will.

On the other side are those who say it doesn't matter what you like, you just suck it up and take all your cues from Him.

Of course I dramatize both sides in order to make my point, but it is still sometimes hard to hear which way to go.

I think in my life it's been rare that unique dreams or desires of mine have been achieved.

I had plans for secular work. And I'm not there.
Ok, then, I had plans to only work with a certain style of churches. And I'm not there.
Alrighty then, I would like to work in churches in certain parts of the world. And I'm not there.
Ok then, my training and experience says I should work in certain kinds of churches. But guess what, I'm not there.

Who would have guessed I would be living in northern Saskatchewan, serving a 60 year old church, in another denomination of churches. Not me, that's for sure.

But my prayer has always been Ok Lord, you know where I live and how I will do in any given place. If you lead me, I will follow.

And he has led, and I have followed.

And, except for my occasional outbursts at Him about wanting to do something my way or else, it's always me apologizing. Why? Because He alone speaks the words of Life to me. He alone holds out the hope of peace and joy inside me. He alone is the Lord of my life, and that means I serve Him, he does not serve me.

And I realize that I try to go back on my "Where you lead I will follow" prayer. And I try to make deals with him and try to nag and whine and convince him. But the truth is that if he could be so easily bought off by me, I don't know that I would respect Him.

:)

I was made for Him. He wasn't made for me.

So I try to live in that place of submission, with contentment. I try to be faithful or at least obedient. I do try, and many times I fail, and that's where he is good with me, cause he likes me.

And living in His desires for me isn't a bad thing, in fact it's kinda cool. Because he knows how I am made and wired, He also knows where and how I will best enjoy life. I can trust him with my future, because He love me and knows me.

I gotta say that this strategy of "Where you lead I will follow" has led me to some crazy places with some cool friends and family and partner and experiences and grace. I actually cringe when I think of what would have happened to me if I had always gotten my own way.

Yes indeed, I cringe!

I would be married to so and so, living in such and such, doing God knows what, and on the weekends doing more of it, only not loving any of it.

Really. I cringe...

Worship Practice Invite

I have heard the call of the masses,
to gather, to worship, to praise, to practice.

Well, at least I have heard from D****, M**, and J**** who love practice as much as to give their lives for unto it.

So, it is for them we gather tonight and kick it old school.



And, I suspect that they will need to be taken down a notch or two by an old ping pong master.
I am ready to do that work, grasshoppers.


So, tonight we shall gather, my children, and practice.
And in practicing, we will come face to face with the master.



PR.

Fifteen Feet of Separation

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about a Buddhist couple who chose to live their lives never being separated by more than fifteen feet. They shared food, books, bed, and the rest of their daily existence never far apart.

It struck me that that is a level of committed intimacy that most of us couldn't handle, and I wondered how we would be different with each other, having shared that level of intimacy on a daily basis.

I think it would be an interesting, deepening challenge to attempt. Even for a day.

Like this couple did:

Walking at Little Red

Walking at Little Red

Today Lauralea and I stole some time and headed out to Little Red park and did some hiking and talking. It was a beautiful day, and here is the proof.

French Invasion

This afternoon when we pulled into the grocery store to get some milk and potatoes for supper, I thought the large, strange Benz mobile home parked behind us, had French plates on it.

Yeah, french, as in France.

So we got out and walked around it on our way to the store, and sure enough, French plates (tags) front and rear. And we thought what in the world...

How do you get a large, European mobile home, complete with a french poodle, to the middle of the prairies?

Or maybe a better question would be, Why?

The designer of the Pringles chip container, dies and guess what...

COLLEGE HILL - Dr. Fredric J. Baur was so proud of having designed the container for Pringles potato crisps that he asked his family to bury him in one.

His children honored his request. Part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can - along with a regular urn containing the rest - in his grave at Arlington Memorial Gardens in Springfield Township.

Dr. Baur, a retired organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Procter & Gamble, died May 4 at Vitas Hospice. The College Hill resident was 89.

via.


I knew you couldn't guess it.

The tree right outside my office window

Tree

The breeze has been blowing lately and it fills my office with the most wonderful scent.

This is a good place to be.

Sometimes it happens that you are able to stop your forward momentum just enough to look back and you see just how far you've come.

That's how it was for me in church this morning.

I looked out over the congregation as they came forward to share in communion and saw how far we've come. We have learned new ways of being healthy and have broken cycles of bad decisions that have ruled us in the past.

We are a community that really does care, for one another and for the world beyond our own walls.

The previous generation is moving into a time of decline and the next one has taken over the leadership and is determined to give good servant leadership and make good decisions for the church.

Many have received the opportunity to get healthier, emotionally and spiritually. And they have been transformed in personal ways that produce fruit and life for them. Even as I celebrate those who have moved towards health and life, I grieve over those who push against it. But there are less and less of them now.

They really have changed, and on mornings like today I look out with some sense of wonder.

I am full of gratitude for the individual stories of change, and how those individual stories have merged together to create this community dynamic, that gives losers and failures another chance. We have learned much of Grace and are acting less with dis-grace.

Are we perfect? No, not yet. I suppose we are all one big bad decision away from a real mess. But as we keep making the right small decisions along the way, it gets harder and harder to make the one really bad one that will mess up our lives so badly again. Moving towards health and grace.

This morning as I watched them I saw how far we've come, and I was thankful, and overwhelmed.

This is a good place to be.