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Be The Best.

An intro to two.

I’m going to intro you to a couple of people that I don’t know.

But..with the world of social media, the web CAN be an amazing place to connect on the journey of the new normal.

The first is Steve Ewen.

I’ve never met him.

He’s a reporter with the Vancouver Province and he’s battling cancer.  It’s a tough battle.  He’s called his blog, ‘I’m sad and mad about getting cancer’.  Actually no…he hasn’t.  His blog is called, Crush the Tumour with Humour.

It’s some amazing stories of someone going through a very tough fight but remaining positive and using humour to negotiate the new normal he and his wife find themselves living.  If I can figure it out, I’ll add it to my ‘links’ section, but here’s a quick direct link if you want to check it out.  Here’s an excerpt from today:

The bad news is that the new stitches in my back has led to our surgeon, Dr. Robert Lee, limiting my arm movements for the next two weeks. The really bad news, at least for the people at G.F. Strong and the general public around King Ed and Laurel in Vancouver, is that they’ve given me a power wheelchair.
Oh. Mercy. Think of the havoc I can cause with a motor and wheels?

Keep rockin it Steve!

The second link is from Gillian Berg, the Mission mom who lost her husband and father of their four children at Christmas.  Her writing is deep, spiritual and an amazing work of strength and vulnerability rolled into one.  An excerpt from her latest:

Last night, as my daughter asked for help, begged for prayers that would take her fear away, the fear that something else might happen, the fear that she is still in danger, I realized again that like the work needed to heal the physical wounds, there was going to be gruelling work needed to heal the emotional ones.

We, each one of us, will have to choose to stand slowly, painfully upon the limbs of our broken dreams; to endure the attacks of relentless discouragement of working towards something new; to fight for something better, something healthier.

To Steve and Gillian I would say, we all haven’t chosen our situations.  It happened.  Life happens. There is no big answer to the ‘why’ question….at least not one that may be evident in this lifetime.  We”ll simply stand with you on your journey of the new normal as so many have and are standing with us.  This is a link to the first time the term ‘the new normal’ entered our lexicon.  It’s been a fixture ever since.

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Be The Best.

Seeing through listening.

I had a very unique experience on Saturday.

AC (Auntie Cathy, aka Cathy AJ Hardy) was in the remote Mission studio of Philip Janz doing some vocal tracks for her upcoming release.

She invited me to drop by and Philip was gracious to let me take a few pics  and shoot a little vid.

Philip is a very accomplished musician and producer in the gospel genre and beyond with awards he probably won’t tell you about, but you can read about them on the web!

I love music and the process of creating.

What makes Philip so unique is the ability to really understand music from a musical perspective and also be a technical master.  Watching him work was very interesting.  He was a blend of technician, music coach, manager and orchestra leader.  He knew what small part he wanted recorded and/or changed and then had a vision of how that would affect the whole piece.  You need a lot of vision and skill to do that as well as get the best from the musician or vocalist you are working with.

It was as if Philip was seeing everything through his ears if that makes any sense.  The part I like most in the vid is seeing him twirl his pen as he listens to Cathy lay down a vocal track.  He’s feeling every note and nuance making decisions on timing, pitch and understanding of how he’ll use that piece of the puzzle to help Cathy tell her story.  Very cool.

Talk about Be The Best.

Oh yah…AC is coming out with a new album.  That is VERY COOL too.  There are some fun songs.  There are some DEEP songs.  There are some songs sung with Chris is mind.

I loved what I heard…and I can’t wait.

Here’s a very little sneak peek inside the work of a master producer and a pretty cool musician…(yah, that’s high praise coming from an older brother…)

The other thing to watch for in the vid is the emotion that comes through music.  Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?  Is it possible to be feeling the deepest emotions of loss yet feel the powerful strength of hope for the future? Yup.

You can catch all the updates on Cathy’s updated website and her blog.

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Be The Best.

Concerted effort.

AC is at it again…and that’s a good thing…a very good thing!

Saturday, Nov 13 marks the 3rd of 3 consecutive weekend concerts.

The world style music blended with ancient melodies and true passion…it’s a great thing and it’s catching on!

Check out this link for a review and info on Saturday’s concert.

Excerpt:

We may sometimes think the Valley somewhat lacking in good live music – after all it’s not Commercial Drive, Vancouver. Indeed places to find good music  – original expressions of the varied kind are few and far between. Where are the musicians?

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Be The Best. Christian Friesen

Hamming it up.

Before we had Thanksgiving dinner, my young nephew Ethan came over and whispered to me that he would like to say a few jokes before I said grace.

He’s too young to know, but his timing was perfect.  Not the timing of his jokes mind you…a career in stand-up may be a little ways away, but I knew what I wanted to say before we started dinner and Ethan’s jokes were a perfect counterbalance to how I was feeling at that moment.

After the comedy act, I stated as best as I could to the 15 of us around the table that it is not unusual for families to have set an extra place for a lost loved one.  We didn’t do that and the answer why is very simple.

Chris remains with each of us at all times wherever we are…together or separated.

Max helped me out and said grace and for his continued strength I am proud and grateful.

Now, that smoked ham was awesome and a lot of fun.

Here’s a few pics.

Maple Glazed Ham ready for the smoker...shameless product placement...!
Stick a fork in it! The finished product after 2 hours of smoke and 5 hours of heat. Unreal.

 

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Be The Best.

Love Shines Live

Some blog posts write themselves.

This is one of them.

You’ve got to see this little vid AC shot on the weekend.

It’s a live rendition of Love Shines on the back porch of her home.

LOVE IT.  Enjoy.

The last line of her intro on YouTube states, ‘this is a song about love shining no matter what’.  See what I mean about a blog post writing itself?

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Be The Best.

AC and Friends in Concert – June 26

If  you are ready to hear ‘Love Shines’ in concert with some amazing musicians, mark Saturday, June 26th on your calendar.  Tickets are $15 at the door.  Full details on AC’s website.

What you won’t hear from Cathy unless you pull it out of her is that Gemma (Cathy and Karin Dart) won the award for CLASSICAL/TRADITIONAL SONG OF THE YEAR at the 2009 GMA’s. That is the Gospel Music Association of Canada.  Their music is different.  Their music is cool.  They touch lives.  If you’ve never heard a harp live before, you have to come and hear Karin.  It is really cool.  Yah..that’s right.  Harps are cool.  (you can find people playing Iron Maiden on the harp on youtube…Karin won’t be)

I put together a little video for the CMA’s last October.  If you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance.  That last bit about singing in the shower was a required question from the organizers…don’t blame me… 😉

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Be The Best.

Ping Pong and $20,000.

It was quite a day.  Firstly, Ingrid played ping pong tonight after some pizza and watching a little NBA action.  That doesn’t usually happen, but Beau and Cooper (more of Chris’ gang from Brookswood) were over and she was right in there.  Max captured the action on camera.  Good games by all.

Earlier this afternoon we got some amazing news from Simon Fraser University.  The CHRIS FRIESEN MEMORIAL AWARD FUND has reached and surpassed the $20,000 goal!!!  This is amazing news as it means Chris’ fund is now set for life and will continue to provide opportunity for lacrosse playing SFU students for decades to come.  THANK YOU ALL!  What an amazing accomplishment.  This is WITHOUT, the dollars raised from the lacrosse sticks and AC’s incredible donation of proceeds from Love Shines which are still to be added and will continue to help the fund grow.  Wow.  We are humbled, excited and are looking forward to making the first presentation of the Chris Friesen Memorial Award in January 2011. From wristbands to cheques to thoughts and prayers you have all contributed to making this award a legacy fund.  We are incredibly amazed at the support and generosity.  THANK YOU!!!

Now, let’s get back to some ping pong!

Beau powers a serve while Randy does something...
Cooper pounds a return while Max thinks about how Lost ended.
Look at that concentration.

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Be The Best.

Taize, singing bowls and AC at the Abbey.

You remember AC right? Ya, that’s Auntie Cathy to some and just ‘sis’ to me!

Those songs from Chris’ funeral were amazing and I love listening to Love Shines.  If you didn’t hear it, you can now, with all the cards we received as a backdrop. (video below)

Anyhoo…Cathy plays about once per year at the Westminster Abbey in Mission.  If you’ve never been to the Abbey, it’s worth a visit.  This ‘service’ is different than anything you’ve ever experienced.  The acoustics are unbelievable and the setting is amazing.  For full details on the what, where, when, how, check out her blog post. Brent, Cathy’s husband, recently returned from India on business and brought Cath a 100 year old ‘singing bowl’.  She’ll be using it that night.

For me personally, that service is very intense with the silence and music, but Ingrid and I have snuck in for a song or two along with a walk on the beautiful grounds.  If you want to do something completely different from the usual, the Abbey is the place to be this coming Saturday, May 29th from 8-9pm.

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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!!