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Be The Best.

Frenchy, Grease and Being The Best!

Ingrid and I made it out to Mission tonight to see our niece,  Brianna Hardy, star as Frenchy in Heritage Park Secondary School’s production of Grease.

From a fantastic performance of ‘Summer Nights’ to a stunning full cast performance of “Born to Hand Jive” to the memorable “You’re the One That I Want”, it was an amazing evening.

We’ve got to know Mathea (who played Sandy) in the past few weeks and both Mathea and Brianna were first-class.  Given the events of the past few weeks having a strong focus can be very difficult, but these two found a way.  We’re very proud of both of you.

Our congrats to the full cast and crew including the stellar leadership of Director Beverley Holmes and the Music Direction by Jodi Amaya.

My point tonight is about being the best in whatever you’re doing.  These high school students gave it their all tonight.  That is all that can be asked. (Come on Canucks…pay attention!!!)

I know our Brookswood Secondary friends also recently put on Grease.  We were unable to see it, but have heard great reports as well.

Whether it’s a school play, sports, homework, relationships or our jobs, it’s seemingly very evident when you encounter a group of people working as a team to Be The Best.

Congrats to Brianna, Mathea and the entire HPSS gang tonight.  You were.

Shows are running April 21-24 at 8pm – Clarke Theatre, Mission

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Be The Best.

Boise or bust.

We went on an epic road trip as a family in the summer of 2004.  We drove 10.5 hours the first day and ended up in Boise, Idaho for night.

We found a Super 8 or something and fell into bed.

This photo was taken the next morning which came too soon.  I just love this picture.  It says it all.  Chris not wanting to have anything to do with the morning and Max chomping down some cereal in a sleep filled haze.  As per the Christmas Tree vid (2009), Randy taking pictures and Ingrid somewhere asking where her help was…!

Those road trips were epic.  Got yours planned for the summer?

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Be The Best.

A little therapy…from birds.

Last Sunday I brought you a tour of Langley via bike.  Today, it’s a walking tour.  I had something different planned, but this morning was so peaceful, I put together a few images from our walk this morning.

Getting outside even for a short 30 minute walk, has been a great way to help our thoughts process.  It felt like the birds themselves were encouraging us this morning.  Listen closely…you’ll hear them.

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Be The Best.

Legacy of sight

As was mentioned at the funeral, we made a family decision to donate Chris’ corneas.

This is not the easiest post to write and perhaps not to read either, but I promised to be forthcoming as we journeyed forward so here goes.

We received a letter late this week from the Eye Bank of British Columbia.  We’ve received a number of ‘business’ letters including condolences, but when you read it in print it always hits you…’the recent loss of your son Christian’.  After three weeks it feels like he should still be coming home even though we know that will not happen in this world.

The letter continues, ‘I hope there is some comfort to you and your family in knowing that your generosity has dramatically improved the lives of corneal transplant recipients.  These individuals are very grateful to you and your family for this Legacy of Sight’.

I love that.  The Legacy of Sight.  These are the eyes of a champion.  As much as Chris’ corneas will physically guide a recipient for years and decades to come, the spirit of Chris and the principled life he lived can help guide us all on our journey.

The letter ends, ‘With gratitude, I thank you for reaching out in the midst of your sorrow to help others’.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is a gift that gives back as much as it gives.

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Be The Best.

Love is Shining on iTunes

AC and Indie

I sort of feel famous now.  My sister has a song on iTunes.  That qualifies right?

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE that song, Love Shines – (listen to it now, without downloading).

To those of you who already downloaded, THANK YOU.

For those of you who’ve waited, the iTunes connection is now active as of about 8pm tonight. You may see a message about the song not being available in the Canadian iTunes store, but it will still download, we (as in Ingrid) just downloaded!

If you haven’t heard, Cathy AJ Hardy (aka Auntie Cathy) is donating net proceeds of this song to the Chris Friesen Memorial Award.

So just as soon as I figure out how to load a song from iTunes onto my Sony Walkman WM-F202 I am going to download it too.

I’m also looking for the 8 track link.  (If you’re under 30, go ask some ‘old’ person around you what I’m talking about…)

Have a great weekend.  Remember: 10% what we did…90% what we’re gonna do!!

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Be The Best.

Fresh air – fresh thinking?

I don’t know, maybe our mothers had it right when they told us to ‘go play outside’!

Ingrid and I have found that simple activities like walking are helping us process our thoughts as well as get some exercise at the same time.

Duh…you say.  We all knew that already.  You’re right, we all did, but what we’ve found is that even the simple tasks can become complicated as your brain and body go through the shock of loss.  NOTE:  I’m not a doctor!  These thoughts are simply first hand accounts as we take this journey…enough of a disclaimer?  😉

In any event, Cathy (yes, that’s AC) and Brent took us for a walk…or should I say their beautiful black lab, Indie, took us all for a walk.  I need to mention that Brent said it was a short uphill stroll followed by a walk through alpine meadows…he also mentioned something about a Starbucks at the top.

Straight uphill, 60 seconds of alpine and then straight downhill later, we never did find the Starbucks…but we’re not that bitter.

Thanks you guys…that hike was fantastic…just what we needed that day.  Here’s a few video bits from the experience near Stave Lake (Mission, BC) last Sunday afternoon, April 4, 2010.

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Be The Best.

Regular wrist model not available…

Guess, what? The Leadership Group (student group) at Brookswood Secondary led by Ms. McLeod has orchestrated the creation of wristbands in support of the Christian Friesen Memorial Award.  This is sooooo cool!  I called the top wrist model in Langley, but she was not available.  Thus, you get my wrist.  Sorry.  However, wrist models aside, these bands are very cool. The blue one reads, “Hit the Gym Son.”  The red one is imprinted with, “Never Stop Smiling.”

Regular wrist model not available.

Both of them also have Chris’ name on them.  The Brookswood gang is selling them for a whopping one dollar so they are affordable for students and it’s a great fundraiser.  GREAT IDEA dudes!  We thank you.  For my BCIT gang, they’ll be available through MarCom, and I’m going to twist my friend Gloria’s arm to see if she’ll have some down at the gym office at BCIT.  For our lacrosse friends, we’ll figure out a way to get them to you if you’d like to have one and support the cause.  Only 1,000 were made and they will go fast.

I’ll check if we can have some available for people at the Intermediate A home opener on the 25th and the Junior A home opener on the 27th.  That’s lacrosse by the way…but you knew that by now, right? Stay tuned for more info on these lacrosse games in the days ahead cause they’ll be doing something a little special.

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Be The Best.

The New Normal

I was at the bank the other day dealing with Chris’ account.  It’s one of many things you have to ‘take care of’.

My bank rep was very understanding and kind.

She shared with me a story of loss in her own family and then described how she had processed and proceeded to the future.  She called it THE NEW NORMAL.

I really like that term.  Nothing will ever be the same.  There is no such thing as normal.  Every day for the rest of our lives we will remember.  However, we need to continue living…and more than that we need to continue to live with purpose, desire and a sense of urgency to help shape the world (through people) in a positive way.

Chris at Field Nationals (Sept '09)

Short-term, that means we’ll focus on the Chris Friesen Memorial Award and providing young lacrosse playing SFU students a chance to concentrate more on their sport and studies through this fund…with the purpose of challenging them to make the world a better place.

Their challenge will be to Be The Best.

We’re not sure what the future holds exactly, but we choose to live with purpose.

That’s our new normal.

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Be The Best.

What’s in the cereal?

Caption, "Free gift inside to anyone named Chris and turning 12 today."

Firstly, let me say that going through the loss of a teenager is brutal.  People have called us strong and positive and we ARE aiming to make positive decisions and we will.  But the underlying fact that we’ve lost our child will of course never go away.  One major thing that is helping us however, is that we did not have many regrets about how we lived.  It’s not that we didn’t have busy work lives and professional lives, but we made sure we had fun and spent a lot of time together. Take Chris’ 12th birthday. We modified his morning cereal box to include a message about a ‘free gift’.Chris and his cereal.

We then inserted a ‘gift card’ telling him about a new bike waiting for him.  He would be devastated to think I would ever show these pictures, but if you stick around, I’ll show you some more!

So we have a very simple act that parents have repeated thousands of times the world over…buying a bike for their kid.  The only change we made was to turn a simple act into an event.  It didn’t cost a lot of money.  It really didn’t take that much time….but what it did do was create a memory and experience.  These were the experiences that Max, Chris, Ingrid and I would laugh about and in fact during Ingrid’s birthday dinner on March 22, we laughed many times sharing stories about family activities, adventures and misadventures.

My point (yes, I’ll get there eventually) is that creating memories and experiences doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  The payoff, however, is simply priceless.

Memory created.
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Be The Best.

Bike Tour, Masters and what we do next.

A little bike tour of Langley serves as a backdrop for today’s blog.  It’s hard to put into words…we know we must move forward and focus on positive change.  That is balanced by the immense loss and simple longing to have our son with us.