Just an update on a beautiful July friday afternoon.


It's a glorious Friday afternoon in July and I am in my office doing paperwork, reports, and getting ready to give a workshop tomorrow out at Family Camp. I'm not complaining mind you. The temperature in my office, which is the hottest place in the building in summer, is probably a balmy 22 C, which is just right as far as I am concerned. The other reason I'm not complaining is that we start our holidays next week and boy let me tell you that we are in need of a holiday. It's only been during the last week and a half when things have finally stopped for us that I've realized how busy we had been. I tell you these past 10 days have been quite a pleasant shift and I find myself getting more human again.

The camp/bedbugs/Micah stress caused a bit of a jump in the crazy levels, but hopefully things are settled down now and returning to some sense of normal. I'm still hoping and praying that the little blighters didn't make any transfer moves to the house. That would really mess up the summer in so many ways. I don't even want to think about it. We did our best and thats all we can do really.

Now on to this workshop. We are giving some training on Spiritual Direction and showing people what it's like. The best way to do that is to do a real-play situation that shows what a meeting can be like. I have volunteered to be the person seeking direction, and so it could be a little vulnerable, but I think that can also mean it will be good, in a helpful sort of way. People can identify easier if they see someone else in the same place they are, and perhaps get some support or help.


Oh and it looks like the internet might be back on here, after a week of on and off and mostly off or very little speed. That's meant some delayed emails and meetings via skype etc. but as of this afternoon tower radios are being changed and access is returning nicely.



Now if only the stubbornheads in Washington would sort out their issues...



Then the storm came.

The clouds were all wavy underneath this morning as I left for town around 6 am.

It was beautiful. Then the storm came.




Micah's Home


Well at least for a week or so, from camp. He was doing the Senior Counsellor thing at camp this summer, and after one week it sounds like the bugs who live in beds made a showing. A number of the leaders have spots but his were the worst, and though I've seen those kinds of bites before, I've never seen them so abundant.

So camp this week has been postponed till we can get it cleared up. And here on the home front we are on the offensive, giving everything he had with him, the washing and heat treatment. Oh and prayer treatment, lots of that, so that things won't be transferred here.

So the boy is home for the week, and that after the first camp went so well. Mixed moods here, but we and he will make the most of it I suspect.

It is good to see him again, even under the circumstances.

:)


Amy Winehouse, dead

That news has been running through my twitter feed the past few hours and though her death was sudden, it is not a big shock.

It may surprise to know that I was a fan of hers. Her sound, her way with a phrase, drew me back again and again. I knew of her public battles with love and drugs and alcohol, but I also hoped for her, that she might find redemption and help and a future.

But, in the end the 27 year old girl couldn't win at life. Or love.

She wrote:
Over futile odds,
And laughed at by the gods
And now the final frame,
Love is a losing game.

Granddaughter Norah at a BC Lions football game

Lucky twerp.
She's gonna be fun tomorrow.



Tornado watch out tonight


No kidding. It's serious out there.


A prayer for Norway on this terrible morning


Woe to you, destroyer,
you who have not been destroyed!
Woe to you, betrayer,
you who have not been betrayed!
When you stop destroying,
you will be destroyed;
when you stop betraying,
you will be betrayed.

LORD, be gracious to us;
we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.
At the uproar of your army, the peoples flee;
when you rise up, the nations scatter.
Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts;
like a swarm of locusts people pounce on it.

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways are deserted,
no travelers are on the roads.
The treaty is broken,
its witnesses are despised,
no one is respected.


Isaiah 33

Another rainy day in the field.





This would be a beautiful day if the fields were not drowning.

Spend a minute?

Last week saw five straight days where work started very early and didn't end till after 10:30 in the evening.

This week? My soul stands a chance of catching up with me.

What a difference it makes when there is time and focus to complete tasks, to spend time with people, to spend time praying for people, to SPEND time...

Time is this precious commodity that we spend the full amount of each day. We all have 24 hours to spend every day, however we wish.

Living life well is about deciding who or what we will spend it on.

So spend well.


Talkin with Norah

This technology today has made me feel a part of my granddaughters life already. We chat by video regularly and it's really helped us feel like we are a part of her life. When weeks go by that we don't have the contact, it feels like we haven't seen her for a long time and, yep, we miss her.

I wasn't sure how it would be, but it sure is surprising how helpful it is. No we don't get to nuzzle her neck or pinch her cheeks, but we do get to see how she moves and makes noises, make fart noises with her mouth, and laughs out loud. I even got to see her roll over right when she figured that out.

I know we have to live far apart for now, but video calls sure make the distance bearable.

-Here we are using facetime, and sometimes it's just fun to see her Nana's faces in the screen too.









On being lonely

Last evening Lauralea and I spent most of our time connecting with the kids. I think we used Facetime, Skype, and the old fashioned landline, but that's beside the point.

The point is that life is what it is and on any evening the kids can be up or down or anywhere in between. But the quality I notice more and more for them, and for us, and for many I meet with, is this thing of being lonely. Being alone is one of those things that you have to face in life, and learn through. But it's really hard when you are in the middle of it.

It is my belief that we were not made to be alone and that we were created in community, to be a part of community and to find our deepest meaning in life through being with others.

So today I wanted to pull up my thoughts on being alone and what it looks like when we live in community.

You may want to read a piece or two, or save the bookmark for when you are feeling like you are missing something. There might be something helpful in all these words.


Here is Nouwen on The greatest void.

Here is a short piece I wrote when I was trying to help a very lonely abandoned girl.

Here is a poem called Not Understood, by Thomas Bracken.

Here is a piece I wrote on loneliness and what we were created for. Being human shouldn't mean being lonely.

Here is some research I did on community while I was preparing for a retreat. The value of community.

Here is a prayer for you that you can receive for yourself when it's been a tough day.




Forty five thousand, two hundred and eighteen kilometres in three hundred and sixty five days.


In the past year all our travel for meetings or visiting, not including the local driving to the nearby towns and cities, amounts to 45,218 kms.

The circumference of the earth at the equator is 40,076 km.


No wonder I don't feel like going anywhere for holidays.

Violent Beauty

Followed a storm home tonight.

Lots of wind and hail damage, lots more water on the ground too.

And some beauty in the skies.





A tired, sunny Sunday morning in the field

It dawns on me as I prepare for the morning feeling like a truck met me head on in the night, that there will be those present for worship that will have no idea of the week gone by.

The long and good congregational meeting Tuesday night where we all passionately shared future direction ideas, Wednesday night and it's wedding rehearsal and supper, then Thursday morning when we came back to the church to find the basement flooded in places it hasn't flooded for years. Getting that back in shape in time for the Thursday evening wedding rehearsal. Friday's big wedding here, and evening reception and dance in Camrose. Lastly yesterdays second big wedding here and reception and dance in Wetaskiwin.

Some of these people have seen me every day for a week.

:)

So the day will unfold with that broad sense of experience. Some here many times and some not at all.

I'm looking for language that will respect both experiences, as well as those who we will be praying for who head off to camp tomorrow morning, and those who will be giving a brief update on their trip to Haiti. It's a full day today.

So I better be off, the band is starting their practice.


Blessings on your Sunday. May you be able to share it with others who are moving towards the Son.


Wedding Number Two


In which all I had to do was manage to look good.

:)

Not like anyone would notice me, the bride was stunning.


The leaving of the church, from my view.





Wedding day today


Wedding day today.

The couple is ready, I think.
Family has travelled great distances.
The louder communicators in the families have received their own way.
Money has been spent. Flowers purchased, dress hunted down, banquet hall booked.
Choice of chicken or beef settled.
Numerous counseling sessions completed.
Vows chosen.
Service written.
Government paperwork done correctly, I hope.
Routine sense from the couple that maybe they should have eloped.

I will give them one more chance to call it all off, if they want.
Because that is what we do.

Sadly, sometimes I think that if they can make it through planning a wedding that they can do anything in life. But life has it's own way of twisting and turning, full of it's own surprises.

We wish them well and hope for the best. We make ourselves available and offer help when needed, but it is still just an offer that needs to be accepted.

And we enter the day with the memory that Jesus used to go to these things, and they were stressful in his day too, and he did all he could to ease the stress of the day. Even if it was something as dreadful as providing more wine for the party.

He was a good friend.


Now, on with the celebration.



Post Storm Cleanup

Last night till nearly 2 am, Micah and I were managing all that the summer storm had to throw at us, like sopping up water from sealed, closed windows that still were letting water in by the cupful. But this morning there was still more to get in shape.

Getting the Internet back up and running here in the field, took a bit today, and in the process of doing that we discovered a broken, leaking small pipe that I was able to get back up and running like it should be.

But apparently the storm last night left more damage than previously thought. When I got to the church there was water leaking in at two different places. So I did a few small things to get the air moving, and once again the blessed trustees have been called. The gutters were all in place to take the water away from the church building, but this water was way over and above that. I recall standing with Micah at the window, looking at the church and seeing the water gushing off the roof, past the full gutters, and over onto the ground beneath at levels that might equal Niagara falls. It was inspiring.

So today has been about those things mostly.

Another wedding rehearsal here tonight, and I have some more work to do for the wedding tomorrow.

But first to town and back.


Remember two summers ago when we were so desperate for rain??




Prairie Summer Storms

Today was a very long day that began with the phone ringing me out of my sleep and so I was up and out the door early, till late late tonight. It’s because we are having weddings here this weekend and there is much to be done.

As I showered and prepared to crawl into bed after getting home tonight, I noticed the wind picking up and some distant booming that came closer, quickly. Within minutes it was a full blown, heavy thunder, lighting, and lots of water coming out of the sky type of storm. It reminded me of the storms we used to have down in Southern Manitoba, after a hot, humid summer day.

I’d never experienced storms like we had there. Violent boom after boom after boom, and continuous lightning that would make night into day. The wind would blow radio towers to the ground and mow down whole fields of wheat, and the water would flood the low spots, of which there were many. And they always came at night, after everyone had somehow found sleep, in spite of the stifling heat. In shock and awe we would gather in the living room and ooh and awe with each new flash of light, then cringe and wait for the booming thunder to come. They are good memories now.


A storm in a field is a much more lonely thing than a storm in town or the city. In those places there is a sense that we are all in it together, us against the weather. That together we could overcome anything the weather could throw at us. You would be comforted by seeing the neighbours sitting in their front rooms, watching the same show you were watching out their large front windows.

But here in the field, there is a sense of just us, against the weather. You start a rotation past all the windows to check for leaks, cleaning up where it has blown in. The storm increases in its ferociousness, flashing and banging, and there is no one across the road looking into the sky to offer you a sense that we are in this together. I start to worry because with the new streams rushing through the front yard, the sump pump should have started by now, and it’s not.

Micah gets up, the noise had brought him up, and he provides the sense of camaraderie as Lauralea is blissfully dead to the world, hearing nothing in her sleep. We find windows that were closed tight that have somehow leaked water through, that’s how hard the water hit tonight. We watch and wipe and wait, still listening for the pump to kick in.

Then the weather moves on as quickly as it came, calm returns and the rain slows. The streams flowing through my front yard sound like little mountain streams and the booming grows distant as the storm moves towards Camrose.

Micah is tired, so he’s off to bed. We’ve done all we can do for now to push back the watery menace. As he’s heading down the stairs we suddenly hear the sump pump go on with its comforting hum.

We should be ok tonight.


iPad & Jam


or shall I say, A jam?


iPad Garageband - Guitar Jam Improvisation






Haiti team arrives at Edmonton Airport

Yup, they made it home, as you can see:




Sounds like a great week there.
More to follow, later.

It's a real stormy night out there tonight


With the wind blowing so harshly out there tonight, and the trees moving in the wind and the rain hitting the glass, it reminds me of when we were on the Scottish Isle of Iona.

There the storms and wind and waves were so loud that if you found yourself in the midst of the great outdoors, you had to yell to be heard two feet away.



It's loud like that here tonight.

Yes, we're moving.

Ah ha, hows that for a teaser?
(I should get work in that nasty television business where they say "The World Has Ended, Story at Eleven" stuff, and you're left wondering if you should bother going into work tomorrow, so you stay up late and find out that WORLD is just an acronym for Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases, and they've closed up shop.)

No, we are not leaving The Field.

For a long time now I've experienced growing frustration with Flickr.com. Pictures not showing up, slow to load, site pages so busy because the thinking seems to be that the more words you put there, the more information you communicate. More and more the site seems to take away from the images presented. The social aspect of it is quite nice, friends and family follow one another with ease. But even that is getting more and more difficult to do, and it's users are mostly North American.

(If you are into worldwide social feedback, aminus3.com is a good daily picture site you should check out.)

But I wanted to do more with my pics, with less going on all around them, visually. So I am in the process of moving over to Smugmug.com.  I have set up my own photo site with all my pictures on the web, at abigfield.com.

My intent is to make it more of a place to explore, at least for me, than a repository of images taken and stored.

You (Toni :)) should notice an increase in speed of the pages here that have images posted on them. And the images will be larger because that is very easy with smugmug.

So, yes I am moving, my pictures over to abigfield.com.

Check it out sometime.


Haiti team is off

Early Friday morning we got Micah to the airport for the trip.



They arrived early this morning the team leaders sent out this message when they were able to:
"hi we made it safe and sound. It's hot and there are no words to describe this country… see you in a week…"
How to change your worldview in seven days.