Be The Best.

Spring Brake

Let’s stop and think about Spring. Yah, Spring Brake. And yes, I’m going to take every opportunity for every pun and Dad joke I can come up with. 😉

Ok – I drafted this post last weekend and it feels like the world has changed. COVID-19, Coronavirus, country shutdowns, social distancing, self quarantine are all words now firmly embedded into our daily lexicon.

Talk about Spring Brake! Ok, world pandemics aside, Spring will indeed come and I wish everyone a safe passage through the coming weeks and months as we navigate this extremely unique time in world history.

A true Michigan March. Trees about ready to explode.

Normally in March you get that feeling of renewal. Made it through another winter! The birds chirping and trees budding provide a feel of freshness, newness and belief in warmer days ahead.

Cheating a bit..this is June 2019 in Michigan. Beautiful landscapes.

That said, March can be a month where you have harsh weather one minute and sunny skies the next. Looking back at this blog post nine years ago (link below), the feelings come back pretty quick. We were just under one year from Chris’ passing and we were up at Silver Star which is near Vernon, BC about 5 hours from Vancouver through the mountains. A beautiful part of the BC paradise! By the way, for people wondering – why are you explaining where Vernon is – everyone knows that. It’s been amazing to see how much blog traffic comes from the US and countries around the world. Simply put, if people are reading this blog they either knew Chris or our family OR have had a loss in their circle. Either way, you are all welcome and we wish you safe travels on your journey whichever stage you might be at!

Anyhoo – back to the story. My Dad had taken ill from a virus contracted in the hospital of all places post surgery and my sister was also in the hospital in Vernon. We were up for a visit and spent a day on the slopes as we felt we were skiing and boarding for Chris and my Dad (who skied actively into his 80’s). By the way, Reverend Jake, (that’s what I call my Dad!) recovered nicely and is still going strong at 89 years young. More on that later!

Have a look back at this post and a little BC snow experience as the weather moves from winter to spring.

If you ever have a chance to get up there btw, go for it. It’s less crowded than Whistler and you can’t beat it for families. And no, this isn’t a paid endorsement for Silver Star. Just some BC insider experience and Dad knowledge. Be safe. Have fun. And yes, that is what I said to the boys every time they left the house.

A magical little village with houses in the snow. Ski right to your door.

Be The Best.

How to make today great.

Chris and Max jump the California surf (summer 2009)

I slept pretty well, but woke up early…like 4am early.

Is that an oxymoronish statement?  Maybe…but it’s an interesting insight into our world.

I did sleep well, just not all that long.

Today is not necessarily a great day…or is it?

Obviously as we mark one year to the day that we lost Chris there are a lot of emotions flowing through our minds and bodies.  We wish so deeply we could give him a real hug and see him again here on earth.  But we can’t.

But we can continue to make choices.  We can continue to live with a strong purpose.  We can use Chris’ passion to fuel us on our journeys.  We can continue to strive to Be The Best in everything we do.

Here’s three things that can help make today great.

1. Hug someone you love today.  (if you’re at work, make sure this isn’t an awkward moment..!!) 😉

2. Give something away. (not money…I’m talking about a smile, your expertise, a compliment, word of encouragement)

3. Live on purpose with purpose. This is the core of the Be The Best thinking.

Is today going to be hard? Probably…they all are.

Is today going to be great? With every ‘I’m the Captain of my Soul’ ounce of energy I have, I will keep making decisions all day long to make this day as great as possible.  One of the ‘greatest ever’.

(To understand that last paragraph you need to reference the Invictus blogs and The Best Day Ever blog)

Sort of makes saying, ‘Have a Great Day!’ a little deeper doesn’t it?

I THANK all of you for your support reading this blog and your thoughts and prayers throughout this year.

Be The Best.

Be The Best.

I need a laugh…

Not too much is funny right now.

Dad is fighting away in ICU and Grace is a few doors down on the road to recovery.

That being said, the gift of laughter, even on our darkest days has been like rays of sunshine in a dark place.

Maybe Chris knew we needed a little laugh this week too.

I was scrambling for some business cards in an office drawer that I don’t use too much when I noticed a couple of sheets of paper.  I pulled them out and looked at them.  They were photocopies of a picture that Chris had drawn for me when he was about 11 or 12 I think.

Jim Mitchell, my very good friend, mentor and colleague at BCIT (now retired…way too young I might add), was like a big brother to me.  Which meant we had lots of laughs and played lots of sports etc.  There was the odd wrestling match or other show of strength.

These sports stories would often become part of dinner conversation.  One night I asked Chris if he would draw a picture of me beating up Jim….just for fun.  I was half joking, but Chris got out his pencil and went to work.

He created the masterpiece you see below.

I laughed so hard then and I laughed again this week when this picture resurfaced.

At the time I quickly made 20 copies because I knew Jim would probably just rip them up as he found them.

Chris loved Jim too.  When Jim saw either of the boys he would stretch out his hand and get them to slap it as hard as they could and say…“That’s all you got??” And then repeat until their hands would sting so hard they would stop.  As Chris got older he loved those interactions, and I think I even saw Jim wince once…..

(but he’ll probably deny it)

Jim, you’re a great friend and I think Chris wanted us to have a little laugh this week…even if it was at your expense.  You gotta admit, I look pretty good in this picture.

Be The Best.

55, 65 and 80

There was a great story in yesterday’s Province Newspaper about Zoe and Bob Longshaw.  They’ve been married 65 years and the story of their relationship reads like a slice of history.  It’s a great story and I’ve linked it here.

It reminded me of another couple I know who’ve been married over 50 years…I think 55 this September if my memory serves.  (If it doesn’t I’m sure my sisters will correct me in short order.)  Their names are Jake and Leona Friesen…aka my Mom and Dad.

They were down over Christmas and I had shot some video at Blackie Spit which I had written about at that time, but only put the video clips into a little movie this weekend.

The occasion?  A bit of Valentine’s Day and a bit of a birthday…an 80th birthday to be exact.



You’ve given your family and so many others a great example of long-lasting relationships.

As has been said many times here, Max and Chris LOVED going to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  We are so thankful for all the fantastic memories together.

So with that quick intro, here’s a little peek at a relationship that has stood the test of time.

Be The Best.

Guest blog – Rev Jake..aka Grandpa

I’ve asked my Dad if he wanted to jot a few thoughts down for the blog from time to time.  I think it’s a beautiful tribute to his grandson and Faith in general.  Keep rockin it Dad!  Heavy…and good.  Thanks.


Unspeakable! This word occurs only three times in the New Testament, and could also be rendered as indescribable (NKJ), or inexpressible.

I was thinking of this word as I thought of Chris.

All of the words spoken or sung or written since that dark day of March 25, 2010 cannot adequately express what is in our hearts: there is something inexpressible here.

The raw emotions, the feelings, the conflicting thoughts cry out for resolution, but there is no resolution.

The thoughts of our hearts end with questions rather than periods; they are questions that have no answers.

The trauma of all that happened has left us dangling in space.

We are on the wrong side of the door of a mystery, of something inexpressible.

A human life is inexpressible.

Chris’s life was and is inexpressible.

The Christ-gift that came at Christmas is declared to be God’s unspeakable gift.

(2 Corinthians 9: 15)

This Christ, the ultimate Creator of life, declares all of our lives invaluable.

The Christ presides over Chris’ life even now, in a divine continuum, even while we mourn Chris’ departure from us.

The indescribable Christ weeps with us now in our pain, and desires to lead us through the valley of the shadow until we too shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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…

Be The Best.

Nature, naturally.

These past two weekends have both involved trips to Vernon to see Dad and Mom.

One of the side benefits is driving through some of the most beautiful country in the world…even if I’m a little biased.

This weekend was extra special in that Ingrid and I were able to take in a little time with friends as well.

Whenever we were out with Max and Chris in nature, we’d like to remind them of how small we are compared to the mountains, lakes and oceans.  It was a good chance to gain perspective and think about those things that were bigger than us.

This weekend as I looked again at the rolling hills and mountains and lakes, I was reminded at how small I am in the scheme of things and that the amazing art is rarely just created by happen chance.  Usually there is an Artist involved.

Some of the most interesting pieces of art and music are ones where I listen over and over again or view time and time again, only to find something new…something different.

Perhaps that is part of the painting of our lives.   We have yet to see all that is in the work.

Interior British Columbia - Sept 2010

Be The Best.

Trucker hats, running shoes and walking the new normal.

First, a thank-you to all of you for the thoughts and prayers and support for my Dad going into surgery today.

The Docs were pleased with how things went and Dad (Jake) will be spending the next 5 days or so in the hospital getting stronger.

He was already joking with the nurses with some bad puns tonight…hmmm…wonder where I get that from…

So what do you do before surgery?  Go for a walk of course and get some exercise even if you haven’t eaten in 2 days.  Of course you do….if your name is Jake Friesen.

We had a great walk today and I realized that Dad was wearing the trucker hat Ingrid and I had given him from Chris.  This was Chris’ favourite hat at the time of his passing and his Grandpa was the logical person to wear it.  If you haven’t yet, you can see Chris trying it on Grandpa last New Years and the related blog post.

I also was wearing my hand-me-up sneakers from Chris that I wrote about the other week.

So here we were having a little stroll and Chris was with us as Dad prepared for his fight with cancer and surgery later that day.

Couldn’t imagine a better Be The Best moment.

And as I put at the end of the little video, anytime is a good time.

In other words, anytime is a GOOD time…ie, even though our family is together here to support Dad through his battle (and Mom with hers), we can still have fun, laugh and get a little exercise.

The other meaning of course is that ANYTIME is a good time to go for a walk, have a chat, build a relationship, play tennis, go skiing, go hiking, play scrabble, have dinner with family, play ping-pong or anything else you can think of.

I loved that Chris joined us today too.  Love ya kid.

Be The Best.

Bikin’ and Bloggin’

If you ever have the chance to get up to Siverstar Mountain in Vernon (British Columbia’s Interior about 4 hours from Vancouver)….JUST DO IT.

Whether it’s winter or summer, we’ve had some great times up there and most importantly, fantastic memories.

Yesterday I went biking on Silverstar with my Dad.  You can go pretty hard core biking up there in summer.  Shin guards, full face helmets, etc etc, but you can also choose gentler rides down the mountain after being whisked to the top via the chair lift.  We went for the more mellow routes, but with some mountain construction work going on some of the paths were re-routed to more challenging pathways.  Anyhoo….my Dad was rockin it at 79.  No problem.  Pretty cool to watch him go and pretty cool to be with him.

Here’s a few video highlights of the adventure.  The point of this whole thing?  Take every opportunity to have an adventure and make a memory.

Be The Best.

Look close, ‘giving’ is a part of ‘grieving’.

Chris' Grandma and Grandpa above Okanagan Lake

Vernon is a picturesque 70 minute drive from Kamloops.  Ingrid and I blitzed up there on Saturday to have lunch with my sister, AC (Cathy AJ Hardy) who had some weekend concerts in the Okanagan and also my parents who live in Vernon.  In honour of Mother’s Day (yes, I know it’s next week!), we took Mom out to the restaurant at Gray Monk Winery just south of Vernon.  Editorial: Great food, service and wine. Go.

Do these people look like they’re in their upper 70’s or late 50’s? It’s hard to tell!

Chris and Max loved going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  When they moved to Vernon, the adventures would usually be week long summer jaunts that included hiking, biking, swimming and the now famous, ‘midnight snack’!  Another highlight was word games which Mom and Dad still play daily.  Scrabble and Boggle were constants or should I say consonants.

I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about the noun GRIEF and the VERB GRIEVE this week.  Grieve is an ‘action word’ if we remember our high school English teachers.  Then I saw something very interesting.  The word GIVE lives inside the word GRIEVE.  We have been blown away by people giving to us during this time.  I write this post from the Boomer family home in Kamloops where they’ve been so incredibly wonderful to us.  (when Langley plays Kamloops today at 1130 in the semi’s we are really going to be in a pickle!!)  From the lacrosse families to my brother-in-law in Vernon (Steve Wulff) who made me speechless yesterday when re presented Ingrid and I with a pencil drawing of Chris…the GIVING has been incredible.

Let me also tell you that our ability to GIVE has been helping us.  A simple act like taking family for lunch or providing support to others has been incredibly helpful for us as well as we continue to find the ‘new normal’.

Is GIVING part of GRIEVING?  Yes…it’s there in black and white.