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Be The Best.

‘Happy’ Birthday

Family Pics, October 2007

Words are funny…sometimes not ‘ha ha’ funny.

Happy Birthday.  That’s the greeting.

I remember my birthday back in October.

Good day.  VERY tough day.

Ingrid’s birthday is today.

She’s had a good day, but a tough day too.

The birthday wishes have been wonderful.

Max found the perfect card for his Mom.

It says:

Mom,

Some years are better than others,

and this past one

has been especially difficult for you

and for all of us who love you.

I understand

that you may not feel

like a big birthday celebration

but I want you to know

that today and every day

I quietly celebrate you.

I celebrate your faith,

your courage,

and your grace.

You are beautiful, Mom.

I am honored to be your child.

And I wish you a birthday

filled with quiet comforts,

loving gestures,

and sweet, sweet blessings.

——————

Those words combined with Max’s handwritten comments almost distracted Ingrid totally from my present of gift cards from the gas station.  (…now you don’t think I’m THAT dumb do you?…WAIT…don’t answer that.)

Here’s something else that’s a little fun.

I put this card in front of me to write this post and realized that MOM upside down is WOW.

I’ll tell you something.

When this Mom’s life got turned upside down this past year…she was WOW.

Incredibly gracious.

Incredibly kind.

Incredibly loving.

Incredibly considerate.

Incredibly broken but somehow strong as we’ve moved together along this path of our new world.

‘Happy’ Birthday.

Yes.  I’m happy to celebrate who you are and what you mean to our sons, our families, our workplace, our friends and all the other people you’ve connected with on this journey.

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Be The Best.

It’s the moments…

Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.

Interesting.

I thought the curved wall going downstairs was a little bare.  I mumbled something to Ingrid about wouldn’t it be cool to have a saying written in text on the wall for something different.

Within a few weeks she had researched, ordered and received this vinyl lettering and most importantly picked out this phrase which I hadn’t seen until it went up on the wall.

I love it.  I think about it every time I head downstairs.

Are milestones important?  Birthdays? Yes. Anniversaries? Yes. Other stuff? (you know what I’m talking about…) Yes.

But really, what’s most important?  It truly is the moments.

As we look back at all of our very treasured memories with Chris and Max as they grew up, so many of the amazing times were simply moments that happened!  Whether it was a three year old Chris climbing a ladder to see his Dad on the roof (true), or the moments of victory at a lacrosse game or the fun and silly times of picking out a Christmas tree, those moments are like gold.

The one thing you need to make moments happen is time.

I remember as young father thinking about how many Dads didn’t get to know their kids because they were so busy or work schedules that were hard to control etc etc.

I am a very busy Dude, but family was ALWAYS first.  Therefore, we made sure we had THOUSANDS of moments.

Those moments are what continue to feed us and help us on our way.

As I was watching that Disneyland video last night I was getting choked up myself.  Those moments were so pure, poignant and unanticipated.  I think that is truly what makes them special.

Anyhoo…another smart decision by that good wife of mine!

Rock your weekend.

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Be The Best.

The circle of life…I mean gingerbread.

Ethan eats gingerbread, Max eats Ethan.

Do you really need an explanation?

It’s the circle of life.  The smaller species eats gingerbread, which in turn becomes prey for the larger cousin…I mean species.

Ok, there was a bit of encouragement from the part of the photographer, but I love this pic.

Ingrid had a great idea that we’d have teams building gingerbread houses.  What could go wrong?

Editorial comment:  We tried this once with our Marketing group at BCIT.  Wow.  One group built a gingerbread brothel…but I digress.  Ladies of the evening built out of gingerbread…yah, what could go wrong indeed!? (excellent creative skills…just need some guidance from time to time…) 😉

We had no such incidents at our most recent building event.

These were great houses and Ethan and Max built the one you see above.

It was a fun way to add a positive memory and experience to our Christmas gathering.

That wife of mine…always the good ideas!

As the calendar flies so quickly away from Christmas into the New Year, these houses will become a fun memory of Christmas 2010.

We couldn’t go a minute without thinking of Chris.  He would have loved this event too and probably somehow worked a lacrosse theme into his gingerbread house.

The new normal includes great memories of the past with Chris and everyone else and new experiences too…maybe that IS the circle of life after all.

Gingerbread Street.
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Be The Best.

Vince Gill, friends and the bigger family.

I had heard this Vince Gill song a bunch of times.

In fact I think we own the Vince Gill Christmas CD.

Only thing was, aside from the chorus, I hadn’t really ever listened to the words.

I received an email from someone thinking about us with the song attached.

I listened intently and then looked up the lyrics which I’ve put in below.

Vince Gill is an amazing artist.

His voice is full of feeling, emotion and passion.

When I understood what the song was actually about, it was that much more powerful.

Yes…Christmas is all about family and I love the last line as well.

We’re all part of a bigger family…he states, ‘we’re all children of the King of Kings’.

What I’ve loved (really!), so much about the past 9 months is people reaching out to us from all walks of life.  All religious backgrounds.  All cultures.

When you look at the big picture, we, as in the human race, are all brothers and sisters and truly children of the King of Kings.

Has Christmas been easy?

Nope.

Has knowing that we are connected to a bigger family, literally and figuratively, helped us?

Yup.

Here’s those lyrics.

———————–

It Won’t Be The Same This Year – Vince Gill

It’s time to pack our bags and hit the highway,
And head on out for Christmas holiday,
I’ll fall apart when I pull in the driveway,
It’s my first time home since brother passed away,
His favorite time of year was always Christmas,
We’ll reminisce about the days gone by,
Oh how I wish that he was still here with us,
My memories with him will never die,
(Bridge)

But when the stockings are hung,
And silent night has been sung,
And Christmas is finally here,
It won’t be the same this year,

Losing my big brother hurt so badly,
It’s help me learn what Christmas really means,
There’s nothing more important than your family,
We’re all the children of the King of Kings,
(Bridge)

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Be The Best.

Merry Chris-Max.

I’ve used that greeting for years.

No, we didn’t name the boys so we could have this built-in family pun every Christmas season…it just sort of worked out.

As I write this, we’ve had Ingrid’s side of the family over for dinner tonight.

The Ethanator was intently tracking Santa’s flight across the world via Norad’s Santa Tracking system.

Hey, if you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to check this out.

He’s right on target to visit British Columbia in the next few hours!

Ethan reminded me that we had forgotten to make name cards for the places at the table.  I asked if he could handle it and this sharp Grade 2’er took charge and wrote all the names down.  He then showed me the tag he had made for Chris.  Of course Chris needed a tag too.  I told him to add it to my plate.  It was very cool.

I mentioned at Thanksgiving that we didn’t set an extra place for Chris, but rather toasted him and acknowledged that he was with us always.  Tonight we did the same and raised our glasses and told Chris we loved him.

Then Ethan told some reindeer jokes.

Hey, did you know what the wettest animal in the world is?  Duh.  Raindeer.

That’s how it goes.

I love the eyes of a child.  Poignant. Pure. Powerful…and just plain Funny.

Merry Chris-Max to all.

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Be The Best.

Be The Best. Newspaper style.

We got home from work a little earlier than usual the other day.

It was just in time to see our young community newspaper carrier hoofing it up the rather steep grade of our road, getting those papers to the front doors along the street.  I liked his approach.  Not walking across lawns, bringing the paper all the way to the front doors, etc.

Ingrid suggested I should give him a Christmas tip.  Great idea.

As he came up the driveway I asked him how long he had been doing the route.  Since November he said. Great timing, I replied,….just before Christmas!  I asked how many times he delivered the paper.  Tuesdays, Fridays but in the Christmas break, Sundays too as he would be covering for someone else.

I asked him if he liked working hard.  Yes, he said.

You can’t fake sincerity.   I gave him his whopping $2 Christmas tip and his eyes lit up but he stayed professional…for a 10 year old kid.

I told him my name was Mr. Friesen and shook his hand.  He told me his name and we concluded the business transaction.

I then went into the garage and finished getting stuff from the car with the biggest lump in my throat remembering the paper routes the boys had and helping them out and all the ‘fun’ that happens when you have a paper route.  Paper routes are a fantastic way to work, but better yet, a fantastic way to learn about dealing with people.

What my young paperboy is learning is that working hard is good.  And working hard can get you noticed.  Combine working hard with quality and consistency and you’ve got a Be The Best formula that will carry you for the rest of your life.

I remember when the boys would get a few bucks as tips.  It would make their day and week.  It allowed us as parents to tie the concepts of hard work to being rewarded.  It was a great learning experience.

Whether our paperboy headed down to the local convenience store to buy some gum and a slurpee or just kept the money and put it in his piggy bank, I know it sparked a thought in his mind about equating work with reward…you could see those wheels turning.

That’s a priceless Be The Best learning moment.