Be The Best.

I do…55 years later.

We used this pic at the 55 years ago today!!

It has been documented a number of times in this blog about how much Chris loved his Grandma and Grandpa (and of course Grandma Medema as well!!)

When Grandma and Grandpa Friesen (my Mom and Dad) had their 50th Wedding Anniversary 5 years ago this summer it was a great time.  Chris was 12 and didn’t want to have anything to do with the public speaking part of the event.  I remember talking with him and telling him he was going to be the logistics man in the church gym and hit the lights on and off when needed etc.  He took his responsibility very seriously and it was a great honour for his Grandma and Grandpa.

Today, September 29, 2010, marks exactly 55 years of marriage for Mom and Dad!

They were going to celebrate with a trip to Vancouver Island, biking some of the Galloping Goose trail and taking in the ocean.  Instead they got a hospital room, a couple of unexpected surgeries and some chemo treatment thrown in for good measure!  (yes, don’t worry…we talk quite openly about this stuff)

I’m sure they have their down times, but they are a brilliant example to me, my sisters, our spouses, entire extended family and beyond about how to be gracious and even thankful during a time of radical life change for them.

Mom and Dad, you continue to provide us with a fantastic example of what true love is all about and we honour you both for that.

Dad told me that he now looks forward to breakfast like never before since leaving the hospital.  I told him he should marry the cook.  He did…a short 55 years go.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

From all of us…and yes, that includes someone special looking down on you tonight too.

Randy, Ingrid, Mom, Dad, Max, Bri and Chris during a ski day a couple of years back.
Mom and Dad at 50th.
Be The Best.


I remember when we had both Max and Chris as young dudes in piano lessons.

One night, they had a piano recital.  They were both scared.  It was sort of comical.  Here’s why.

Brothers are brothers.  That means always a punch or comment or wedgie or attempted wedgie or something.

That’s what brothers do.

Here’s what else brothers do.  They have each others’ backs.

During this piano recital, the fooling around was over for the night..or at least until the ‘stupid’ recital was over.  It was simply, I’m gonna support you and you’re gonna support me and we’ll get through this horrific event of playing this instrument in front of people we don’t know.

Love it.



Chris goes for 'atomic wedgie'...yah, that's Max's head in there somewhere.

Chris and Max ham it up at Disneyland.

Be The Best.

It’s dark, but love shines.

The days of Spring and Summer are now behind us.

For those of us who live in the Vancouver area of the Great White North, we experience those breathtaking summer nights with sunlight reaching to 9:45pm and beyond.

As the days grow shorter and wetter, many of those sunsets that were so powerful to me are now packaged up and waiting to surprise again next Spring.  It had been over a month since I last listened to Love Shines, that powerful and moving song that AC (Auntie Cathy) sang at Chris’ service.

I just listened now and as I did I looked out the window at the total pitch blackness.  The words are Love Shines and Darkness Flees.  Only thing was, it’s still dark outside.  The meaning of the song became even more powerful to me tonight.

Of course.  We can’t escape the physical darkness.  So too in our journey, there will continue to be dark times.  We cannot escape those.  BUT love is shining through that darkness and allowing our lives to continue to be pulsated with light through the love of family, friends, colleagues, lacrosse connections etc etc.  I think our own actions and choices to be involved in changing lives through Chris’ fund and other opportunities (giving is in grieving), also helps to chase the virtual darkness.

This weekend, AC gave me an update on her upcoming album.  She’s going out on a limb.  As an artist, I think it’s the most difficult thing to do to put yourself out there not only as an artist, but also as a business person.  She is self funding her new album driven by the passion of Love Shines and other songs that will help bring hope to many.

You can get involved all the way from pre-ordering the CD to a larger investment that includes a House Concert at your place for friends and family!!  Cool.

What I love about this is the passion, goal setting and desire for change to help propel a dream.

If you haven’t listened in a while, have a listen now online (yes, that’s free!).

If you get excited about the project, check out AC’s website with all the details.

Love Shines and Darkness Flees.

Love it.

Be The Best.

6 months in.

I wasn’t sure what things would look like at this point in time.

Some days I wasn’t sure what we were going to look like at this point in time.

6 months in.

6 months tomorrow to be exact.

For those of you just joining the journey, we lost our son Chris on March 25, 2010.

Our world stopped and our world changed forever all at the same time.

Change is now a constant in our world.  More constant than before.

Some things we control and some we don’t.

But a few things we’ve learned along the way, that as hard as it is, we can control our next decision.

We can choose how we live with change.

These blog posts have been read over 79,800 times in the past six months.  That will top 80,000 in the next 24 hours.  That is a lot of people checking in with us and being along for the journey.

I know from the blog post titles being read currently there are a number of new readers.  I don’t know who of course, but I can see which blog posts are read.  I only mention that because when I see the summarized stats of people reading and watching the videos from the Eulogy or Easter Sunday I know there are other people on their own journey towards the ‘new normal’.

Every journey is different.

Every journey has challenges…and that is a monumental understatement.

My hope is that for those starting their journeys of change that they remember in the darkest of moments that they DO have the power to make the next decision.

That became so powerful for us.

There were many times when we felt powerless.  Powerless to change what happened.  But then we realized that we do have an incredible power…that is the power to make our next decision.

It’s something that has powered us through 157 blog posts and a lot of decisions…even on the darkest days.

The journey continues.  Be The Best.

Be The Best.

Grandma’s Quilt

You may remember those blogs about quilts.  You can connect here if you haven’t read them already.

Some amazing work by Kim, a part of my incredible marketing team at BCIT.  Amazing work on many levels and we love it.  Anyone who comes over wants to see the quilt.  I love seeing the lacrosse players pick out their numbers or friends and family recognize the jerseys and clothes that were Chris’ favourites.

I want to show you another quilt tonight.  (who knew this was going to become a quilting blog..!)

The Friesen side of the family had a few days together in the summer of ’09 and my Mom (Leona, Grandma) had an idea of making a quilt at that time.  The goal was for each family member to design a square.  It could be stitched or simply designed with coloured pens.  Each square was to represent something about that person.  Most family members completed their squares over the few days with the last few squares added in the weeks following.

What a cool idea.

What do you think Chris drew?  Yah, not that hard to guess…a couple of lacrosse sticks and a beautiful message to Grandma.  “I love you” in his own handwriting.

He loved his Grandma so much.

Each year he looked forward to her canned peaches and would eat a jar at a sitting if we didn’t catch him first!

What a testament to a Grandma’s love.  What a testament to Chris who wasn’t afraid to tell people he loved his Grandma and Grandpa…even as a 16 year old kid at the time.

What an idea to make this quilt.

I saw it completed just a few weeks ago and this video gives you a close up look at this priceless piece of art.

“I love you”.  Powerful.  We love you too Chris.  Always.

Be The Best.

Terry Fox – Into the Wind

Last night, Steve Nash, an NBA MVP and proud British Columbian, brought the story of Terry Fox to an American TV audience in a show called, Into the Wind.

I missed the show, but will definitely be watching for another viewing.

It was all the talk on the sports talk-show on the radio as I battled traffic out of Burnaby today.

He ran a marathon every day.

Are you kidding me?

He ran a marathon every day…with one leg.

For 143 days, he ran that distance as an amputee.

Terry Fox was the epitome of determination.

Terry Fox was the epitome of passion.

Terry Fox epitomized Be The Best.

Jay Triano, the Toronto Raptors head coach and another proud BC boy, knew Terry Fox from Simon Fraser University.  He was quoted in Saturday’s Toronto Star.

“He talked about chasing his dream, a big, big dream,” said Triano. “He showed that you have to set your goals high and even if you don’t achieve them, you can still win.

“That’s with me every day.”

Don’t you love that?

He showed that you have to set your goals high and even if you don’t achieve them, you can still win.

Love it.

I spoke with a good friend who had just finished an Ironman race a few weeks back (3.8k swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run).  He completed in 17 hours.  Wow.  That’s a story by itself.  Absolutely amazing.

He told me how mental the process was.  It was sheer will and determination to put one foot in front of the other and keep going in the marathon after a grueling swim and an intense bike ride.


I can’t imagine how Terry Fox did it for 143 days.

Some people ask us how we do it.

One foot in front of the other one, one step at a time.

Terry showed us the way.

He showed us how to win.

Be The Best.

Go ahead and smoke.

A friend of mine works for a company that produces smokers.  You know, those things that cook food and you add smoke to flavour the food along the way.

I knew as much about smoking food as I do about mechanics.  Those who know me well, understand that this means ‘tres petit’.

Anyhoo, my friend Mike wanted a few vids about smoking food, so I said sure.

Here’s what I didn’t expect.  How fun it was and how much it brought the guys together…(guys love standing around something that is cooking and smoking and half-burning with some sort of beverage in their hand)…it’s that old ancient fire thing that we guys love.

When the pork was ready, the pulled pork sandwiches and smoked corn on the cob was incredible.

A successful first smoke, but here’s what I love about the process.  How it unites friends and family and brought people together.

When I said grace, I asked God to be with Chris as well as he joined us in spirit for some amazing food, family and friendship.

That is something he always loved.

Be The Best.

I met a kid.

My work at the BC Institute of Technology is fun in that I have the opportunity to connect with the next generation of world changers.

Our students tend to be focused on where they want to go and what they want to do.

I met a student yesterday by complete happenchance and just loved his story.

He was a first year student in the Marketing Pro Sales option and had worked for Future Shop for a few years post High School.

His sister had come to BCIT and she told him it was a lot of hard work but worth it in the end.  A very good explanation.

So what did this kid do?  Get scared about the impending work load?  Party hard cause there was going to be a lot of work in the future?  Run away?

I loved his response.  He told me that last January he purposely took a second job to crank his working hours to over 60 per week.  Not really for the money.  It was to PREPARE himself mentally and physically for the workload he knew was coming.

Why?  He knew the payoff would be worth it in the end.  From my years of experience, I’ll tell him one thing. Yup, it will.  It will be well worth it in the end.

I loved that interaction and that story.  It was a Be The Best moment from out of the blue.

I met another kid once who set goals and then worked hard to achieve them.  You’ve met him too, even though for some of you it may have only been through this blog.

Chris knew that goals in your brain or even written down were useless if they weren’t brought to life with hard work and then more hard work.

Be The Best.

Rock your Saturday.

Be The Best.

Hair Bald Steve

My nephew Steve and his wonderful wife Meggan are up in the Vancouver area and it’s great to see them.

As you might remember, they stayed with us during the time around the funeral and Steve did an amazing job on working with me to get that eulogy video complete for Chris’ funeral.

When they left for home it was a hard good-bye.

We saw them down in San Diego and it’s been too long since then, but it’s great to connect.

Chris loved Steve as did/does Max.

When the boys were younger, Steve was the cool 20 something Dude who could do no wrong.

When he had a shaved head for a while (yah, and not the kind that I have where I make mine ‘fashionable’ because of being follicly challenged…), the boys called him Hair Bald Steve.

It was a great name and it stuck.

It was great to see Hair Bald Steve in action and it just continues to prove the strength and bond of family regardless of the usual miles in between.

We have some physical separation with Chris these days too, but we know he’s with us always, in our thoughts, in his spirit and sometimes in our trucker hats and running shoes.

Be The Best.

This is my family.

My two sons.

My wife.


This is our family.

The pictures from this family photo shoot two years ago have become more precious than gold.

They captured the essence of who our family was.

As Chris was still in a major growth period he was mad that he was so small (his opinion!) in these pictures.

We all had a laugh and talked about the next round of family photos a few years in the future.

Ingrid and I just loved these pictures.

It was money well spent.

In fact it was money well invested.

Have you taken your family’s picture lately?

For us, the pictures (both professional and personal) have been a priceless connection to our son and will continue to provide connections forever.