This was taken last Thursday evening, down the road.
Yesterday it was cold and rainy out, and this morning the rain woke me up again.
I don't mind being woken up by the weather, but yesterday sure had twinges of autumn in it.
Micah is moving home Sunday because his classes start on Monday.

I really don't think I'm ready for fall to begin.
After all, I still have to do the spring cleaning on the garage.

Saturday in the Office a normal thing for me, especially when it's been a full week.

Last week with its funerals and all boards meetings, with its company visiting and weekend milestone parties we got to attend, well that was one crazy week.

This week there are visits and Spiritual Direction offered. A church wiener roast and a wedding anniversary to celebrate. But mostly I think this week has been about restoration and sabbath after last week.

I've been told, by people who love me, that I work too hard. That I put too much into the things that I do. That's a fair judgement I think. There is a part of me that loves the hard seasons. Probably in warped ways, I feel fulfilled when I am busy working.  Again in warped ways (I think) sometimes days off just slow me down and I mentally circle the tower until I can get back to work the next day.

It's also the season of life we are in now. Kids are gone so there is much more time available and I can do with it what I like, and it seems I like work.

But thankfully I really enjoy the days off after a tough and busy season. I really do live into the rest days then.

So today I am in the office, trying to sort out my words for tomorrow. Monday we will rest again. Maybe start to talk about our holiday time, yet to be enjoyed this year.

Aging and life changes and work and rest, constantly seem to need attention. Constantly need adjustments as we go. So you never have it figured out with a sense of finality it seems.

The constant in my life is love. Lauralea and our kids and their kids. Family.  Big loves there.

I love these people I serve and care for here in this field.  I love this place and these people with all their challenges and needs.  The older, tired ones, the sick ones, the driven ones, the young ones, the little ones who come up to me at church wiener roasts and boldly state, "You're my pastor at church, I'm in grade two..."  and the ones too uncertain of things so they write me emails with deep life questions. I love that.

And though I don't want it ever to sound cliche, God. Our connection grows with each year. I love who we are becoming together. I love more and more that we will have eternity to share together. I so look forward to that.

Usually on my birthday I'll take a good chunk of the day for prayer and maybe fasting and He and I will just spend time together. But this year I was able to celebrate it with the most beautiful granddaughters that ever lived (To date!)

But during the day He (God) offered me his blessing on my family if I wanted it. Just like that. Because He loves me.  I thought He had blessed lots already, but my reply was yes, please bless them all. More and more and more.

And when you serve a God of love like that who gives birthday gifts like that, what's not to love?

Turning 53

Well, turning 53 hasn't been too bad so far!
I get to celebrate it with the granddaughters this year and thats gift enough. :)

I Wanna Be A Cowboy

I figured out where my Grandpa Thiessen used to shop for clothes.
The Co-op.

Got me a nice dress shirt there this week.

Awkward Family Photos. Friesen Style.

It happens when I am searching my hard drive for some old photo that I need for some project I am working on that I will stumble upon an old relic of years gone by.

And so it is with this photograph.

To her credit, Lauralea was always the person who would push for us to go to these Sears and Woolco photography shops to get our family photo done well before Christmas. Mainly so that we would have something to send our families who all lived far away.

I usually balked at it, I was a poor model. I don't know how to smile and those times always forced me to face that personal pit of self doubt.

These appointments were fairly complex ordeals. To get us all there and looking at a camera with no cranky looks on our faces. As you can tell, Lauralea was the most enthusiastic of the bunch on this day.

There is a look in Johanna's eyes that appears to be a silent cry for help. A smirk on Hillary's face that indicates that more is afoot than we realize. Thomas is moving in and out of many levels of fear, and Micah seems just disengaged with the whole deal.

As I used to claim back then, my moustache always made me look like I was frowning, even if my lips are smiling beneath it. But my eyes aren't smiling, so it's probably safe to say I'm present mostly in body. The look on the others faces is probably due to me and my strategy of getting them all facing the same direction. (I seem to remember when my own family went for family photos that my dad applied some pretty strong "strategy"to me too. It was't that effective back then. Too bad I couldn't remember that on this day.)  And what was I ever thinking with those glasses?

But the mom who tried hard, to get personalized Christmas gifts for our parents, she is smiling.
She still tries really hard. To get good gifts for people, and to do what she can to get the family in the same place for a few moments of shared life.

I am still shaped by the mood captured on film that day. Maybe with more clarity, a tinge of regret?Maybe with more ideas of how that day could have gone better if I had the wisdom then that I do now. But that's the deal isn't it? We don't have the wisdom and experience of a life lived when we are young. That only comes with age.  We live with what we've got, that's just how it is. But I think it's how we deal with those stories that shapes our future selves.

Families are unique and funny things, bringing out the best and the worst in us.
And that is why we have  Awkward Family Photos