Be The Best.

The Fall – guest blog by Rev. Jake…aka Dad

As many of you know and have read here, my Dad, Jake Friesen, went through two surgeries in Sept and is now recouping at home.  Not one to stay down, he and Mom continue to be wonderfully positive even during some very challenging days.

I bugged Dad last week that his state of medical recovery may have kept him away from some sermons and meetings that he leads.  I suggested that he could write something for this blog and I would share it.

I didn’t expect something this deep, powerful, emotional, wonderful and poignant.  I should have known better.

Here’s my Dad, Rev. Jake Friesen and ‘The Fall’.


The ‘FALL’ (September, 2010)

In the Spring came the Fall, ill-timed and out of season.

A young man, scarcely adult, is cut down in the flower of his dreams.

That is not the end of the story, thank God.

Jesus, the Font of Life, is cut down in Spring.

But death cannot contain Him: He is raised to new life, a life He passes on to all who belong to Him and love Him.

Fall is nature’s way of shutting down, admittedly with a burst of color.

We get older, we shrivel, our bodies stumble, we die.

Yet every fading energy drives us forward to the hope of a renewed body promised us by the One Who created these bodies in the first place.

(Years back, when Max & Chris were little, we were ‘farm-sitting’ in Matsqui and had the boys visit us overnight. We treated them to some male quartet music, including the song, “I’ll have a new body; I’ll have a new life”. Somehow the boys, and specially Chris, latched onto that song, and got very excited about it. Little did we dream he would be applying for that new body so soon…)

We give thanks to the One who allowed The Fall to challenge Him in the Spring-time, so that He might become the Rescuer of all who would be touched by the Fall, whenever in their lifetime…

Christian Friesen

Who’s your BaBa WaWa?

You all know Barbara Walters.

She’s on the View and has hosted many many interview show specials including years on 20/20.

Have you ever noticed how many people cry when they get interviewed by Barbara Walters?

Is it the tough questions?


I think it’s more than that.

Check out (or just take my word for it), this Oprah interview with Barbara Walters from 2004.

There’s a part at the end that is quite revealing:

Barbara: Sometimes it’s okay—and sometimes I can’t drive. Most of the time when I look back on what I’ve done, I think, “Did I do that?” And you know what I say to myself? “Why didn’t I enjoy it more? Was I working too hard to see it?”

Oprah: Because you were just going from one plane to the next.

Barbara: And worrying about the shows and getting them on the air—and then thinking, “Was it right?” What I’m trying to do now, before it’s too late, is to finally smell the roses. I know it’s a cliché, but I want to enjoy it. I want to get rid of the alarm clock every day. I’ve done enough.

Oprah: What you just said in that moment changed me. That resonates with me to the core, big-time. I got it. I’m trying not to cry. Everybody always ends up crying in your interviews.

Barbara: Time is what it’s all about. Look at all those pictures in the hallway. Look at what I accomplished. Yet I was always onto the next thing.

Oprah: Wow, Barbara. That was the most powerful insight you could have given me.

Barbara: Good. Then maybe I’ve changed someone’s life.

Subtle, but plain as day.  Oprah states, ‘everyone always ends up crying in your interviews’.

Why?  My own belief is that people know they are going to be interviewed by (or in this case interview-ing) Ms. Walters and they are already thinking about the deep issues, knowing that they will probably be discussed.

In a way, they are preparing themselves (consciously or subconsciously) to go ‘deep’ on an emotional level.

The reason the title is ‘who is your BaBa WaWa’ is two fold.  Firstly, the beloved Ms. Walters has a wonderfully mockable accent that has been parodied extensively and her name comes becomes Barbara (or BaBa)  WaWa on these sketches (think Saturday Night Live for example).

The second and much more relevant point to this discussion is that I’ve had to learn that I needed to find my Barbara Walters moment from time to time.  A place, a person, a time, a situation.  In other words, planning to meet person a or person b.  Planning to go to this place or that place, knowing ahead of time that those visits would be significant.  That…is a cathartic part of this journey.

And just to be clear, it doesn’t mean I am going on the View any time soon!  I’ll leave that to Bill O’Reilly….

Be The Best.

The gang rolls in.

After a number of weeks of renovations, the ping pong ‘arena’ recently re-opened in the basement.

That means some ping pong must be played.

Tonight we had some of the old Brookswood gang over.  Great to see Allan, Beau, Cam and Marshall.

I don’t know if I’m just getting shorter…but these guys are definitely getting taller as we approach the 1/3 mark of their grad year.

Of course we think about what this grad year would have been like with Chris…for Chris and for us.  Looking forward to the future.  US colleges? SFU? Lacrosse scholarships?

Those questions will never be answered…and it’s hard.

That being said, it’s fantastic to hear the thoughts, dreams and plans of these young men and others like them as they prepare for their next steps.  Not that everything is clear yet.  My goodness…I had no idea what to do after Grade 12…but you start making decisions, see where that leads and make another decision and keep moving forward.

To everyone I would encourage you that things start with dreams.  Action (ie simple decisions) turn dreams into goals and goals into measurable tasks…usually on a daily and most certainly weekly basis.

Allan picked up his Chris Friesen memorial lacrosse shafts tonight and you see me and the guys in the pics below.  Thanks to Max for being the photographer tonight!

Remember…it’s ok to not know where you’re exactly going.  You just want to keep your feet moving.

THAT is advice that we are aiming to live every single day.

Great to see part of the Gang tonight!

Allan, Marshall, me, Beau and Cam.

Be The Best.

Stair Into Space

I’m looking at a painting tonight that I was given last month.

It’s a watercolour showing a wooden pathway through a forest leading to a glorious sunrise or sunset.  You really can’t tell which one it is.

It’s called ‘into the light’ and reflects an image from Long Beach on Vancouver Island.

I love that picture.

Over the past number of months, the creation of music…sort of whatever was flowing in my mind at the time…has been a great way to express those things that there are no words for.

One of those songs I called ‘stair into space’.  The original title was ‘stare into space’, but when I saw this painting I changed the title.

I can see Chris’ journey and our journey as depicted through this watercolour.  We’re ALL on a journey constantly moving forward and moving towards the light with every step.

Maybe different stairways, maybe different pathways.  We may take some detours and will most certainly have many decision points along the way.  That being said, the movement is in the direction of the light.

Stair into space.  Here’s the link:

Stair Into Space

Be The Best.

Money buys happiness?

Sort of.


It may be how you spend the money you have.

I’ve thought a lot about happiness in the past 7 months.  What has made us happy in the past?  What do we most cherish now that Chris continues with us in spirit only?  How do we be happy now?  Is it realistic even?  (answer: yes…another blog or book on this one!)

The Province Paper had an interesting article today entitled, ‘Ten Ways to Buy Happiness’.


I expected a quick read, but found myself absorbed by the UBC Prof, Elizabeth Dunn’s comments.

Here are five ways money can buy happiness according to the Province article referring to Dunn’s paper.

1. Buy many small lovely things rather than one big one
4. Buy experiences, not things
5. Spend on others, not yourself
7. Delay, delay, delay consumption
8. Happiness is in the details
Many small, lovely things….like COFFEE!  Ingrid and I calculated a number of years ago how much we were spending at that place that makes coffee and rhymes with Moonshucks.  It was a lot.  Then we had another thought.  We devised a coffee budget that allotted for that expense and simply skipped a dinner or two out each month.  Done deal.  For us, the coffee time provided that 15-20 minute ‘quick connect’ with busy schedules and allowed us to maximize family time while still being connected.  It was always more that coffee…it was a connection.  I get this point…and love it as I’ve learned to love the long pour americano…with room.  Find a good barista, grab your spouse or friend and try one!
Buying experiences, not things.  Wow.  How much has this meant to us?  The world.  Literally.  I have my wife to thank for a few times where I would have been a bit more budget conscious, but the experiences we had as a family are so priceless I would have gladly paid 10x more.  (Don’t tell that to the zipline people, whale watching people, travel agents, flight centres, or hotel folks either!)
I remember one trip that we took to Victoria and decided to go whale watching.  I still can hear the sound of those great beasts breathing and pulsing through the water as we waited in quiet and intense anticipation on a still kodiak boat floating several hundred metres in front of an approaching pod.  Seeing the excitement and pure joy on Max and Chris’ faces will be something we will have forever.  Experiences…not stuff.  Totally get it.
Anyways, a great article and very interesting.  Can money buy happiness?
I think the Prof’s co-authored study title says it best I think. “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right”.
You can read more by following the link below.
Be The Best.

Ping Pong…it’s a sport.

I take some razzing at work because I like to play Ping Pong.  Yah…capital letters.

It’s a sport.

Some call it an activity, pastime, club; but that is totally incorrect.

Last year I had the opportunity to play a police officer from Berlin during the Police and Fire Games held in Vancouver.  The Ping Pong tournament was held at BCIT.  You can see some footage below.  She kicked me…hard.

In any event, I love to play.

Chris loved Ping Pong too, but it was played slightly differently.  Sure, he would play with his Dad from time to time, but when his buddies came over, the real Pong started.  They took off their shirts and up to 6 of them would run around the table taking turns hitting the ball.  In short order, someone would miss.  The guy at the other end of the table who had taken the victorious shot was then given a chance to smash a ball as hard as he could into the other guy’s bare chest or back.

Ever been around 16 or 17 year old males?  This is actually pretty normal.

They would laugh, smash balls at each other, admire the welts they had made and do it again.

It’s called male bonding and I loved to see that gang have a great time…as long as their parents weren’t worried about where the welts were coming from!

In any event, my nephew Steve, when he was up in September surprised me with a birthday gift.  It was a sandpaper Ping Pong bat custom designed with a Be The Best logo and a CF2 on the other side.

How cool is that!

I’d play with it, but don’t want to take a chance of wrecking it, so I’ve settled for a little online Ping Pong as pictured below.

Remember…Ping Pong is a sport.

Be The Best.

Elephant Boy.

November 2006.

A family get together.

The cousins doing their cousin thing…having fun and goofing around.

Chris had this knack of peeling a mandarin orange in such a way that it became an elephant trunk.

Try it if you dare.

That kid could make anyone laugh…and feel comfortable and safe and secure and loved.

He had a skill for that too.

Bri, Chris, Jess, Jonathan, Pera and Max ready for some ice cream.

Be The Best.

Close shave.

When the boys were growing up and entering those very early teen years, I told them both that I wanted to be there on their first shave.  Max was ok with that, Chris decided to have his first shave on his own…cause he liked to play outside the edges from time to time.  This was December 2006.

Although I was sad to miss the first shave, I insisted I join on the second and of course brought the camera.  We got a lot of laughs over that situation in the months and years that followed.

I am writing this post with a smile on my face as I remember this shave and another father/son moment that I will have forever.

I think you might have missed a spot...

Be The Best.

Blackie Spit

I don’t know who Blackie is.

I don’t know why he or she spit.

I do know they named a place after it and it’s in Crescent Beach near White Rock.  That’s the name: Blackie Spit.

We had never walked that far down the beach, but we did today.

I love the Fall.  The colours, the crisp air, the light.

There was  a big flowering bush we found again today.  All the flowers are gone at this time of year, but we still knew it was the one….at the very entrance of Blackie Spit that we hadn’t ventured past before.  Chris and Max had posed for pictures there dutifully with grandparents and parents on an outing when they were 10ish and 8ish we were guessing.

Today we walked past that bush to a path we had not been on before.  A new trail.  A new road.  A new adventure even.  And many more lay ahead.

Be The Best.

Feeling quilty.

I’ve gone a week or two without a blog post about quilts.

That won’t do.

I found these pics today from August 2009.  We were having a Friesen family reunion and this was the time where my Mom had the idea to make a family quilt.  You can see that finished product here.

Anyways, I loved these pics of Chris making his square as well as a great shot of him and his cousins fooling around.

These times are so exceptionally treasured.


Chris checks out Bri's quilting square.



Johnathan, Chris, Bri, Pera, Max, Jessica - Summer '09