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Be The Best.

Chris’ new pet.

My little niece Emily (3) had a pet gerbil, or hamster or something like that.

I should really have more details on these things.

All I know is that it was fluffy and sat around in the cage a lot.

As things go, her little pet passed away.

Was she sad?

No, she said, ‘Fluffy’ (not his or her real name, not to protect the hamster/gerbil, but because I just forget what the name was) would be with Chris.

Now that’s beautiful, cute and sort of funny too.

I can image Chris and Dylan up there working hard and then chatting up some young angels when this gerbil thing just sort of appears.  ‘What the whip?’, Chris would say.

And then the head Pet Angel would inform Chris that Emily had made the request.

Chris and his new pet hamster thing. 

Love it.

Do you really have to still clean the cages up in heaven?  Are there cages?

Anyhoo Chris, be good to Emily’s pet…I know you will!

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Be The Best.

CFMA Y2 2012

Acronyms are so warm aren’t they?

Chris hoists BMS teammate Jamie Spagnuolo at Florida tournie.

Tonight is the 2nd annual Christian Friesen Memorial Award presentation.

As a family we are so proud to be associated with the BMS (Burnaby Mountain Selects) program and SFU (Simon Fraser University).

If you’ve read this blog over time you’ve seen many references to both of these organizations.

It’s worth mentioning again the MEGA MAJOR (MM) impact that the BMS camp had on Chris as a young teen.

He saw these university athletes and how hard they worked and it shaped his entire focus on eating habits, studying habits and work-out habits.

In so many ways, the Be The Best thinking started right there…and it didn’t stop.

SFU and the SFU Foundation office have been simply wonderful (understatement) to Ingrid, Max and I.

We are proud to have Chris’ memorial fund help push the dreams of a lacrosse athlete attending SFU.

So if you’ve just joined us, what is BTB (Be The Best)?

Be The Best is a way to live our lives.

It’s using Chris’ passion to fuel us.

It’s making positive decisions about fitness, education and life.

It’s not settling for second best.

To this year’s award winner (still a secret at the time of writing), this award goes way beyond the financial implications.  It’s about carrying the Be The Best banner.  It’s about being associated with a kid who would pound out 200 push-ups a day at 16.  It’s about setting goals, breaking them down into measurable tasks and then working hard.  It’s all of that and more.

We were so proud when Luke Genereaux won the award last year.  He had coached Chris and was one of these young college-age guys that had helped shape Chris’ world.

btw, this is not a commercial for the BMS program, but I guess it might as well be!  If your kid places lacrosse in British Columbia, it’s an amazing program that help takes kids and form them into young men.  To see a number of these players now enter university at SFU and beyond, is super cool.  Jamie, (in picture above) is a great example as he’s in his first of McGill University in Montreal.

You see, at that point it becomes way more than just lacrosse.  This is really about changing lives in a positive way and continuing to make the world a better place…but I think you sort of got that already.

TWITA (That’s what I’m talking about)

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Be The Best.

The picture and the painting.

I wrote about Christmas Day and my trips to the cemetery.

At 9am, a gentle fog floated on the open field.

With so many places closed on Christmas (and rightfully so), I was so thankful for the Township staff and contracted staff who faithfully open the gates and keep the grounds so immaculate for families of loved ones.

In the afternoon a giant ray of sun pushed past a blanket of cloud and lit the late day winter sky with the brush strokes of a master painter.

At just over 21 months, I still can’t say I understand the picture.  I’m not sure if I’m holding the painting upside down or if I’m looking at a portrait or a landscape.

I’m gaining some understanding however that this painting we call life is a combination of brush strokes, paint colour and the elements all combining to form an image we see here and I believe one that will only be fully understood when we see it from the Painter’s perspective.

I’ve written many times about perspective and still am learning.  Remember the TV show featuring painter extraordinaire, Bob Ross.  Love that guy.  Here’s a video of him doing a painting with time-lapse.  Whenever I would watch Bob paint, I would get squeamish at about the 75% complete mark when he would plop down a big blob of paint on the canvas.  No….!!  This will never work.  Moments letter, the ‘blob’ becomes a beautiful tree or something providing depth to the entire scene.

I had never watched Bob Ross in time-lapse before tonight, but that was very interesting.

You saw the potential ‘issues’, but they vanished in seconds as the master painter directed the creation.

Then more quickly than humanly possible, you saw the transformation of a bit of paint on canvas turn into a masterpiece.

I can’t say I understand the painting we’re a part of.

But…I do think I’m gaining some perspective that we’re actually in one and a Master Painter must be continuing the work.

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Be The Best.

Emily in prime time.

If you haven’t picked up on it, I’m trying to use the word prime or prime rib in every Holiday post this year…

So….you may have seen the video of the prime rib from Christmas Eve and my little niece Emily munching away.

She taught me a few more things.  Just before we sat down you can hear her saying, ‘I want to see, I want to see’, as her Mom was filming on the iPad with the big visible screen.  You can see as the height of the camera drops, revealing a different perspective…a different viewpoint.

Emily’s Mom Selena, told me a very cool story about just that; perspective and the ‘view’ of a child.

The name Chris (not our Chris) had come up in a conversation and Emily had piped up quite matter-of-factly stating, ‘My Chris is in heaven’.

Yes he is Emily…yes he is.

And then she went on playing.

I love the eyes of a child both literally and how they ‘see’ what many of us miss.

It’s a different perspective on many levels.

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Be The Best.

Stockings and mantels

Last year we put out four stockings.

This is not 'the' stocking...just 'a' stocking.

We just had to have one for Chris too.

This year we put out five.

No, we are not adopting a child or adding a pet…that I’m aware of.

We (meaning my Better Half) put out the four stockings at home but this is the first Christmas we have a memorial location for Chris at The Wall or Chris’ Wall as we call it, nestled below the massive cedars that protect the group of memorial walls.

There’s a little stocking on our tree that we’ve had for years.  It’s a decoration.  Chris would have surely helped with putting this on the tree with his Mom as he and Max did each year.

That little stocking now adorns Chris’ marker at his Wall.

That might sound sad and it is sad but not ‘just sad’ as we know Chris is always with us.  It is amazing to see a place like the cemetery so colourful on these grey late fall days.  People are remembering their loved ones with flowers, Christmas ornaments and angel figurines.

And on one special marker (yes, read mantel), there’s a little red cloth stocking.

We luv ya kid, every minute of every day.

That’s what your stocking is full of on Christmas and every day of the year.

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Be The Best.

Lamb lollipops and changing lives

Ever had one of those lamb lollipop things?  They are popular at networking events with the idea being that you can eat them standing up, maybe balance a glass of wine and still mingle with people.

I’m not that coordinated.

So, some context.

Ingrid and I were invited to the Simon Fraser University’s ‘President’s Reception’, because of our connection with Chris’ fund.  We weren’t able to attend the event last year so with a bit of apprehension of the unknown we headed to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Gastown.

I expected to hear a few words from the President.  I expected to perhaps eat some appetizer type foods.  I expected to hear a few speeches.  I did not expect to be so incredibly moved and inspired.

So…with my hands full, I spied a stand-up table at the edge of the room where one other couple was also doing the balancing act.  I made a simple comment asking if we might join them and a conversation ensued.

The people we met by ‘random circumstance’ (or not) were a Professor and his wife who is a retired Professor herself.

We talked about SFU and their relationship to the donor event.

They of course asked about our connection which led to a conversation about Chris.

The Professor (names protected) talked about a long time friend of his and how his friend’s memorial fund had built up over 20 years and was now helping students on a yearly basis, stating that every dollar counts.

We couldn’t agree more.  To see Chris’ fund payout for the first time last year was amazing and we’re very excited about challenging a young man once again in January when the 2nd gift will be ready for disbursement.

If the evening had ended there, that would already have been more than I expected, but it didn’t.

Our Professor couple went home, read some more about Chris and the next day connected themselves with the fund financially.

Are you kidding me?

You have to be in our situation to really understand what that means, but for a couple, on a completely random and chance meeting, to think enough about what Chris’ fund will mean to future SFU students and citizens was amazing and humbling for us.

I have left that experience again inspired about Being The Best.

Deep heartfelt kindness from total strangers.

A deep understanding of how small decisions have major impacts with time.

For me, it provided another dose of energy as we recognize how impactful our words and actions can be.

And the lamb lollipops….perfect…I went back for seconds.

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Be The Best.

No one loses today.

Blue Bombers Logo used from 1963-1994
Image via Wikipedia

Now that statement is wrong on a number of levels.

One team will win the Grey Cup and one team will not.

There has been loss for both football teams and that’s where it gets tricky.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost an assistant coach, Mr. Richard Harris earlier this season (July 2011).  By all counts he could be tough as a coach but a gentle giant…a father figure of sorts for the players. (newstory here)

The Lions of course lost Dylan Reichelt longtime game day assistant and son of Bill Reichelt, trainer extraordinaire.  Many Lions’ helmets will have DR stickers on them today.

So how does this all work?

Here’s what I’m thinking.

With Mr. Harris already up in heaven I think he has given a big welcoming bear hug to Dylan.  He may have asked Dylan who that guy was with him and why he’s carrying around a funny looking stick.  Oh that’s Chris, Dylan would say, my good bud from Langley…plays that strange field lacrosse game.  That would of course get Chris fired up and a good natured broohaha would occur, which is probably what we’re seeing/hearing with the current wind and rain storm outside my window at 5am this morning.

Anyhoo…I could see Richard giving Chris a big bear hug too and then deciding where they were going to watch the game.  Richard and Dylan, a little newer to the experience, may be concerned about the roof on BC Place and not seeing that well.  Chris, with now 20 months of experience would show them where to sit and how to see everything.

They’ll see two football teams playing for the Grey Cup.

They’ll see two football teams playing for people they loved.

They’ll see two football teams both winning, because no one loses today.

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Be The Best.

Who makes us what we are?

Now there’s a heavy question for your weekend.

If you haven’t read the latest few comments on this blog, take a look.  They are both from teachers of Dylan and Chris.

Our families have a huge influence on who we are.  How we’re raised, the home culture, values etc.

When I think of Chris, I can’t help but think of all the amazing influence outside the home that helped to shape him.  Teachers, coaches, trainers.

I was reading Dylan’s obituary today…(hard to even type that).  There are a few lines that so accurately describe him.

Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

Yes.  That is exactly Dylan.

Dylan comes from a great family and has been shaped by them of course, with the continual positive influence of teachers, coaches and mentors over time.

For all teachers and coaches…please know that your legacy reaches far beyond the achievement of a grade or success at a sport.  It shapes young men and women who in turn provide positive influence in their circles and beyond.  We continue to see that in Chris’ legacy as people all over are aiming to Be The Best.  We love it.

As we grieve for Dylan and his family, we know that the legacy of laughter, caring, acceptance, kindness and excellence will live forever.

Here is Dylan’s obituary in full with a link to the memorial site.

REICHELT, Dylan James February 4, 1993 – November 12, 2011

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our son Dylan James Reichelt, who died in a car accident on Saturday, November 12th, 2011. Dylan is survived by his parents, Bill and Cathy, sisters, Keri and Keira, twin brother, Jesse, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Born and raised in Langley, Dylan had a passion for golf, hockey, Iron Maiden, Manchester City FC, working out, refereeing, fishing, boating, video games, wakeboarding, wake surfing, steak, and Caesar salad.

He attended Murrayville Elementary, graduated from Brookswood Secondary in June 2011 and was in his first year of a business degree at Kwantlen University. Dylan enjoyed all forms of athletics, playing baseball, golf, soccer, ice hockey, street hockey with the boys, tennis in the park and he was always game to go to the gym. He enjoyed being a referee for Langley Minor Hockey and “”Gatorade”” boy for the BC Lions Home Games.

He was ranked #1 in points with the Maple leaf golf tour in BC and had been invited to the MJT National Tour Championships in Orlando, Florida, along with his best friend and brother, Jesse. Dylan was charismatic, genuine, optimistic and never shy or awkward. He enjoyed life and excelled at anything he set his hand to. He was quick with a grin and a smart remark and was loved by everyone he met.

A celebration of Dylan’s life will be held on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 11:00 am at the Christian Life Assembly, 21277 – 56th Avenue, Langley. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to RBC, account #00608-003-5018650 in support of the Dylan Reichelt Memorial Fund.

Condolences may be offered at www.hendersonslangleyfunerals.com

Arrangements under the direction of Henderson’s Langley Funeral Home, Langley, BC.

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Be The Best.

You gotta hear this one…

Ok, you gotta read this one, but you get the point.

I talked to a someone today who is leaving for a new job, a new adventure…following dreams, but very concrete dreams.

In our conversation it came out that I had said something about writing goals down a few years ago that caused some reflection.

That reflection became thoughts which became action in the form of goals being written down.

Those goals turned into visible reminders and invisible ones too that propelled further action in terms of a definable action plan which is really a series of small decisions that push one forward creating energy and momentum as you go.

We never know the impact our words and actions have on others.  Ever.

I saw what happened when we wrote goals down as a family…yes, every New Year’s Eve.  It was a tradition, but a very important one.

I saw how those goals helped each of us focus and achieve.

I used the question, ‘Are we doers or viewers?’ many times with the boys.

ie, Are we going to watch life go by or be actively engaged and help others along the way.

Seeing the impact Chris continues to have shows how much you can influence…even in a short 17 years.

We still see a stream of comments on his Facebook page and we know his words and actions are still inspiring many today, young and old….er.

I know it’s not quite New Year’s…but if you have goals that you’ve thought about in your head for a long time but that’s where they’ve stayed, I’d challenge you to write them down.

You’ll be amazed at the results.

Be The Best.

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Be The Best.

Clouds

I’ve had several conversations about clouds in the past months.

Some with others, some with myself.

I can’t look at the sky without thinking about Chris and I can’t look at clouds without thinking of silver linings on the most darkest of skies.

We all have our journeys…and many times life does not go in a straight line.

For those experiencing loss of any kind, my encouragement is to look up at the sky.  It may seem dark, but if you look closely, you may also see a silver lining.

Plus, I needed to work these pictures into a blog post of a near sunset sky earlier this year in BC’s amazing Interior…!

Have a great day.