Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baptismal and Membership

Our church had 8 new members join tonight - 5 youth through baptism and 3 adult transfers. One of the songs we sang tonight was:

The River
Brian Doerksen, Michael Hansen, Brian Thiessen

To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord I need to meet you there
In these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord I need to meet you there
Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord I need to meet you there
Come and join us, in the river
Come find life beyond compare
He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet you there

©2004 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music
CCLI Song No. 4316864

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blue Christmas - How Do I?

How do I accept when everything inside me is fighting?
How do I accept when I'm locked in memory?
How do I move on when I keep looking back?
How do I heal when I keep re-opening the wound?
How do I find You Lord, when I can't see past the pain?
Find me Lord, please find me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas - post 2-26

I am profoundly sad.

We had as good a Christmas as possible. Martha and Karalee did a wonderful job of Christmas dinner. I helped prepare our traditional blintz breakfast. Alayna and Corey came for that. We started this tradition sometime after we got introduced to blintzes while in New York for Renee's initial transplant.

Our coffee maker broke down and so we make coffee in the bodum, Renee's favourite coffee maker. Every time I pour a coffee I think of Renee, and I regret that I was not there for her on the Thursday before she died. Had I been there for her that day, she might still be with us.

Renee ordered 2 Christmas videos for us, but for some reason, we watched "White Christmas" instead. Kind of a waste of time.

I have been going though some of Renee's fabulous pictures. I'm thinking I should post the best ones to her facebook. I so miss her exhuberance and infectious laugh. You can hear that laugh on her YouTube.

To go to sleep, I watch an episode of "Home Improvement" or "Corner Gas" or "Different Strokes". You get the idea. Something to get my mind off the paralyzing pain. When I wake up during the night, I push the play button on the CD player and listen to a message from Redeemer.

We gave our kids Shopping Spree certificates so we can go shopping with them after Christmas.

Sunday is the big day when Martha's family is gathering at our house for Christmas. We have been wonderfully distracted with the preparations, finally getting around to cleaning up most of the downstairs.

I suppose I should write a Christmas email, but everything feels so useless. After all, it's not like I have anything uplifting to say.

I will post more pictures here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Many Kings

Here is a video link sent by a friend of mine. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Click the title above for more background on this song.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


"There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." by Dwight D Eisenhower

I just watched Criminal Minds "Normal" written by Andrew Wilder and starring Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Shemar Moore, A.J. Cook, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness and Thomas Gibson. "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and..." - H.L. Mencken

There is no more "Normal"

Monday, December 15, 2008

tears streaming down

We are generally not very good, as a society, at creating space for grief. Our culture does not allow very much room for loss. No – ancient near eastern cultures were much better at grieving than we are. Have you ever wondered where you could go with your grief, or who you could turn to... Click here for more
Thanks Emily.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Renee wrote this in Dec 1999


"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised." Hebrews 11:39 NIV

It always amazes me how many believers are hesitant to claim God's promises because they're afraid they'll be disappointed. Perhaps they feel that if they don't expect too much from God, they can avoid the pain of being let down. I've heard it said that real faith is spelled "R-I-S-K". I think there's a lot of truth in that. It takes a lot of courage to trust God to come through for us when our senses aren't giving us any support. But that's exactly what the Lord expects from us. If you look at the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, you see that God approves of those who put their faith in His promises, whether or not they come to pass. The verse above confirms this. And so does Hebrews 11:13: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance." The Scriptures reveal that God holds in high esteem those who live by faith and continue to hold on to God's promises, even through long periods of waiting. The fact is, if we really want to please God and reap the rewards He has in store for us, we're going to have to risk putting our faith and trust in Him, even when it looks like the odds are against us. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

The first verse of Hebrews gives us a Biblical definition of faith: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." And the next verse reveals that it's this kind of faith that God esteems: "This is what the ancients were commended for." (Hebrews 11:1-2) The words "sure" and "certain" make it clear that faith is a confidence in God and His Word, even when we don't see any tangible evidence to justify that faith. And the verse that follows reveals why our believing in what we don't see isn't just "pie in the sky:" "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." (Hebrews 11:3) The Creator of the universe isn't the least bit hindered when our circumstances look "impossible". Making something out of nothing is what our God does best.

Now you need to ask yourself how serious you are about pleasing God. If you're really serious, you aren't going to be able to avoid taking risks with your faith. Yes, you're going to experience some disappointments you might have escaped. But I guarantee you this--you're going to witness some miracles in your life that you would have missed otherwise. Hebrews 11:33 tells us that "through faith" some of God's people "gained what was promised." The bottom line is this--whether or not we receive all the promises we believe God for isn't the issue; the issue is whether or not we are living by faith, trusting God with all our hearts in every circumstance every day of our lives. When we do, along with God's hearty approval, we'll have a peace and joy in our hearts that will enable us to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. Today, my heartfelt prayer for you is that you'll dare to believe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nine months

What takes 9 months?
Grieving. Yesterday was a shitshit day. So was today. Woke up at 4pm. Could not sleep. Could not perform. Could not make decisions.

from GriefShare
Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected

Grief's unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward, you take at least one step back. The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined.
Please don't rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal; it is necessary. "It's been seven years, and I'm still going through it," says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. "I don't know if it's a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, 'Well, it's been a week, a month, a year--Larry, for you it's been seven years. Get a grip. Where's your faith in Christ, for goodness' sake?' I get really angry.
"Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there's going to be an ache that won't quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain."
We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord. Then he left the timing in God's hands.
"Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love" (Psalm 6:2-4).
"I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief" (Psalm 6:6-7 NASB).
Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank you that I don't have to. Comfort me and support me as I lean on You. Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On a Church Sign

From James and Roxanne: Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Memorial Service for Barb (Bastien) Friesen 62

Emmanuel Mennonite
Wife of Martha's cousin Ron, Mother of 3 married sons and grandmother.
Born in Wales, grew up in Kenora, she was a petite dynamic lady, a nurse and a committed Christian who prayed faithfully for us and Renee. We will miss her.

Ps 91 was the Psalm her pastor read to her hours before she passed away. God is portrayed as a mother bird. Barb loved birds. God was with her protecting her with His comfort.

She found Mennonite peace values resonated strongly with her. She cared deeply for her patients at the mental hospital. She loved to read. She was grateful to God. It pained her that cancer would rob her of the joy of growing old with Ron. She wanted so much to live. But she accepted her illness with the hopoe of the Resurrection.

Today we remember Barb. May God bring healing to our lives. Comfort and hope.

Barb's expressions of faith:
Lord, you have always given food, peace, light, timing; today I believe.

Barb asked us to sing "Children of the Heavenly Father"

Barb and her Prayer group were friends for 30 years. Barb loved parties. She knew how to make a good cup tea.

Philipine friend and Barb had so much in common. New to the community in 77 they got to know and appreciate each other. Barb was there for her when her husband had an accident.

Today is the celebration of Barb's life. She taught us how to live. We pray God's love will surround you.

In nursing, Barb went beyond the call of duty. She was never negative. She was always really there for people. Always willing to put in extra work. Always priorized other people's pain.

Sometimes I have been sad or mad with the cracks in life but light has come.

Walking with grief - Do not hurry as you walk with grief.

Circle me me Lord, keep light near, darkness far
peace in, discord out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Candlelight Memorial Service

November 21, 2008 - Annual Candlelight Memorial Service, 7:30pm, Fort Garry United Church 800 Point Road off Pembina at 1st light south of Jubilee underpass
TCF invites all bereaved parents, siblings and extended family members and friends to join us in remembering our children, a bright flame to us in life and in death. Candles will be provided and can be taken home to light in remembrance over the holidays.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Devastating Loss - Get over it already!?

Dear Friends and Family:
Would you would like to know how we feel? Nine months ago we suffered two devastating losses. We are grieving the loss of Renee, and it will take years to recover from that loss. We also experienced devastating pain when our business partners decided to vote us out of our partnership at a time when we were most in need of support. The pain of rejection and betrayal is almost unbearable. That pain continues to be exacerbated by them. Compounded grief compounds the pain. Excruciating pain paralyzes the mind.
We cry from time to time. We don't apologize for our tears since they are not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. They are God's gift to help us express the extent of our loss, and they are part of our recovery.
At times you may see me as angry for no apparent reason. Sometimes I'm not sure why. All I know is that my emotions are intense because of my grief. If I don't make sense to you, please be forgiving and patient with me. If I repeat myself again and again, please accept this as normal.
More than anything else we need your understanding and patient presence. You don't have to know what to say, or even say anything if you don't know how to respond. Your presence and a touch or hug lets us know you care. Please don't wait for us to call you since we are sometimes too tired or tearful to do so.
If we tend to withdraw from you, please don't let us do that. We need you to reach out to us for months to come. But please understand when we don't want to be part of events that cause us to relive the pain. We may need space to grieve and heal for some time.
Pray for us that we would see the meaning of our losses some day and that we would know God's comfort and love. It does help to let us know you are praying for us.
If you have experienced a similar loss, please feel free to share it with us. It will help rather than cause us to feel worse. And don't stop sharing yourself if we cry. It's all right, and any tears you express as we talk are all right too.
These losses are so painful, and right now they feel like the worst thing that could ever happen to us. But I hope we will eventually recover. We cling to that hope, even though we don't always feel like it. I know we will not always feel like we do now. Laughter and joy will emerge again someday.
Thank you for caring about us. Thank you for listening and praying. Your concern comforts us and is a gift for which we will always be thankful.


BLESSED are those who recognize our grief is compounded.
BLESSED are those who allow us to mourn the loss of one dearly loved, without judgement or censure.
BLESSED are those who do not offer the meaningless cliché, "Time Heals", because for a long time the passing of time holds no meaning for us.
BLESSED are those who don't say, "I know just how you feel", but instead say, "I am here for you. I will not tire of your tears or your words of sorrow and regret."
BLESSED are those who have the patience and love to listen to our repetitive obsession with WHY? without offering useless answers or explanations.
BLESSED are those who reaffirm the worth of our deceased beloved by sharing memories of his/her goodness and times of fun, laughter and happiness.
BLESSED are those who lend acceptance to the value of the relationship we shared with the one who died by allowing us to speak of them and 'what might have been'.
BLESSED are those that allow and encourage us to use our loved one's death in a manner that gives our loss and grief meaning and purpose.
BLESSED are those who do not expect us to find "closure", "grief resolution", "recovery" or to "be healed", understanding that these terms define 'grief work in progress' that will take the rest of our life.
BLESSED are community caregivers who direct us bereavement support groups where our anguish is understood, our loss validated and where we are encouraged by the example of others who have traveled this road before us.
BLESSED are long-term survivors who role-model not only can we survive the loss of our child, but, in time, we can thrive… we can regain peace of mind, restored confidence, renewed productivity and a revived zest for living.
Adapted from writings by LaRita Archibald

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This makes me sick

"Actor Evan Handler, says that being a bad cancer patient changed his life. Throughout his leukemia treatment in the mid- and late-1980's, Handler said he was yelled at by doctors, given another patient's IV drugs, and had healthcare workers ignore hygiene protocol during times he was immunosuppressed.
Handler advocates not only leaving doctors who aren't right for you, but writing them a letter telling them why. He urges patients to remain in control, advocate for themselves at all times, or find someone who can do it for you."

We were told to be there for Renee, to be her advocate, and when she needed me the most, I was not there to be her advocate. I was too distracted. How can I ever get over the regret of that?

I so distinctly remember that Thursday morning. I was not able to sleep, so I got up and worked on the computer, doing emails related to the forced buy/sell. Renee knew she had to be at the day hospital at 10am for more of that dangerous chemo, and when she was ready to go, she asked if anyone was coming with her. I was not ready, nor was anyone else, so she went alone. I can still feel those pleading eyes on me, begging me to be there for her.

I keep kicking myself.

She had told us that the doctor wanted to do a scan to see why she was in so much pain. Without me at her side, she had no advocate to make sure that that scan happened. So the scan never happened. It was not till Monday afternoon that they took her down for x-rays. By then it was too late. They admitted her to ICU immediately, but they could not stabilize her. Her lungs were not been working. Her finger oxygen detector said her oxygen level was good. When they did blood gases they found that her co2 levels were way too high and the best medical care in the world could not save her. She went into multiple organ failure and her heart stopped beating 14 hours after that 5:30 am phone call. If there is hell on earth, this is it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Affair Proofing Your Marriage Pastor Delbert
The Brad Pitt of the ancient world lived in the big shot's house. Potiphar's wife wanted sex with him. She grabbed Joseph's cloak and he ran out of the house naked. He ended up in jail charged with attempted rape. What would we do?
God created man and woman and said it is very good. God made everything for us to enjoy.
Outside of marriage sex is destructive.
Heb 13:4 give honour in marriage.
Potiphar's wife had unmet needs - no children. Her emotional drive was unmet. Do not deprive sexual intimacy in a marriage relationship. Potipher was too busy to satisfy his wife. He accused Joseph because the incident created social shame.
Joseph's mother was the youngest wife's son. Joseph grew up with preferantial treatment set to inherit the family empire.
Joseph was deprived in this Egyptian environment. He knew he was responsible to God.
Pornography on the internet is one of the biggest problems today.
2 Tim 2:22 run from lusts.
Do not get emotionally engaged with wrong things. Physical touch can start the sexual drive and take you to places God does not want you to go.
What excuse do you have not to be faithful?
Do not break the covenant of love with God. Jer 31:3 God gave his love to us.
Get back to God - renew your covenant and sign it today.
We get together as a family. When we share in the Lord's table, we are in a covenant relationship as a family of God. This is between God and you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Sparkle Queen's Awsome Home Page

Renee created several web sites in her early teens including The Sparkle Queen and The Butterfly's Paradise. It will take you an hour to read all her original poetry, and other things about herself. She wrote in html code long before I knew what that was. She had several email addresses and corresponded with a lot of people. I know she had another site that contained her other writings, but I have not yet found that page.

She also wrote the first LifeLight website.

Click on the above links - I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nothing more to say

Today it is 1 year since we traveled to Vancouver after confirmation of the leukemia relapse diagnosis, and 8 months since the day Renee died. One year ago Renee wrote in her diary, "There is nothing more to say"
Raymond & Martha Dueck

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New York City AGAIN!

Why do we keep doing that to ourselves? It seems we could not drive past New York without going into that wonderful city again. Guess what we did first? We went to Renee's favorite restaurant. Did we meet Renee there? Maybe? But we did NOT see her. The seat she sat in is empty.
Then we met with Trinity asst Pastor James Leonard for coffee, and then with Dr O'Reilley and then with Chaplain Jane Mather. They were all so good to talk to. So healing.

After that we went to Central Park for photo therapy and supper at The Boathouse Restaurant. Then off to PHL to catch the morning flight. When we got to MSP, NWA put us on this prop job and 2/3 of the way to GFK they decided they needed to turn around and take us all back to MSP just because a little light in the cockpit was ON! We got home at 10pm.

Now it's back to work!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halifax and Cape Breton Island

We finally arrived in Halifax. So good to see and spend time with Kara again. I had missed her so!
We went to the park close to her place and then drove to Fortress Louisburg, the largest historic reconstruction in North America. When the British conquored the fort they hired demolition experts to blow up miles of fortified walls and 100s of buildings, to make sure the French would never again rebuild it. In the 60s the Cndn gov't decided to spend megamillions rebuilding 1/6 of it. So a few people would come and admire the rebuilding job.

Cape Breton is the world's premier Celtic region, and they had their concluding concert featuring Rita McNeil on Saturday. We tried to get tickets, but they were VERY sold out. So we had a nice meal instead. Sunday we drove to a small start up church in Glace Bay for the service and saw the Marconi historic site before heading back to Halifax. Our final supper with Kara was at Thai restaurant. Renee was there in spirit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seek First the Kingdom

Glace Bay Lighthouse Church.
Silence is hard. It is easier to work than to trust God.
A man found a treasure, buried it, and bought the field. So he could own the treasure. He did not steal it.
Some people say I know for sure that there is no God. Others say I know everything about God. Both are arrogant.
The man bought the whole field because he thought the whole field is full of the treasures of God. That's how we should be. Open your Bible and discover God's field of treasures.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RI Narringasett, MA Hyannis

From NJ we headed out to RI and visited 3 of 4 locations Renee's FaceBook shows as places she has been to. I wish I knew exactly where she was. On the beach at Narringasett, they are building a memorial circle, and anyone can place engraved bricks into the circle. What should this one say?
Renee Dueck
YWAM Tour 05
That might work. Max 2 lines 11 characters per line.

Today we retraced more of Renee's trip, and had lunch in Hyannis, Mass, and stopped in Plymouth and Boston. Click here for more pics.
We went to Acapulcos Mexican restaurant with Robert, Maria, & Patrick. So good to see them again. They went to the SCIDS conference in Wintergreen Virginia. Twas a good experience for them. I showed them how to start blogging. should find them.

Tomorrow we'd like to get to Halifax. kinda tired of moving in and out of hotels every day. The Sheraton we are in charges extra for internet in the room, so I'm sitting in the lobby because it's free here!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday - Canadian Thanksgiving

We got invited to a Canadian Thanksgiving meal with our long time email friend Marleen and her husband in West Milford. This is truly beautiful country. See more pics here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Silent Grief

I'm sitting under the trees at this table blogging and doing emails during a break in this great conference. About a dozen people from around the U.S and this one couple from Canada. We are learning that it is OK to be raw. To say things similar to what King David said to and about God when you go through agony, pain, and grief.

After this is done we plan to drive to Halifax, visiting frinds along the way in NJ and NY and Boston. The aim is to celebrate thanksgiving with Karalee next Sunday. We plan to be home on the 22nd.
This leaf landed in a hard place. More Pictures here
Martha's pictures are better than mine.. click here

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Root Canal

I called this morning and asked for an appointment. They fit me in at 12:15 with Dr Brant Toy. I was afraid of the pain. But Dr Toy is very skilled and the only time I felt a teeny bit of pain, was when he started to scrape the nerves out of the root canal. As soon as he noticed me tensing up, he injected freezing right into the canal and there was NO MORE pain. It took about one hour. An hour after the procedure, the freezing was out, and again no more pain. These people really do their best to make an unpleasant situation as pleasant as possible. They have soft lighting and soft music. Everything is so nice, it is easy to relax. So next time you need a root canal, I invite you to enjoy it!

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Grief Observed

by C. S. Lewis
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear... At other times like being drunk or concussed. there is sort of an invisible blanket between me and the world. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting... no one told me about the laziness of grief... I loathe the slightest effort. Not only writing, but even reading is too much. Even shaving... what does it matter how I look...
Meanwhile where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms... when you are happy... you feel welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate... what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and the sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside... after that, silence.
Is God a clown who whips away your bowl of soup one moment to replace it with another the next?

Monday, September 29, 2008


desiderata - by max ehrmann

Pat Boone did a very nice version of this. Does anyone have a link to that?

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

Thanks for the visit

Gil and Andrea came for the weekend from Blind River, to grace us with their love and care. They are traveling to Calgary to visit their daughters and stayed with us for 2 nights. They are a retired pastor couple that we have learned to love during their brief stay. They were the 3rd couple to stay with us as a result of finding our names in Mennonite Your Way. This is the 1st year (in more than 10 years) we have had any response from the listing!
We spent Saturday with them on the Prairie Dog Central. That was fun! The trip included a visit to Oak Hammock Marsh.

From Guideposts

Prayer doesn't work. God works. And God works when people pray. - from the book "Six Prayers God Always Answers"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly" Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Renee's Book

Well - she is finally here! is here to write Renee's story. It is going to be hard to re-live through all the pain and agony of Renee's passing. Renee wanted to impact the world and mobilize the church through the arts. How can a book do that? We don't know. Pray for us and Emily. Are we doing the right thing? Who knows?

Today was LifeLight Golf day. About a hundred golfers got together to golf for BiblesForToday! The weather was perfect and we raised funds and awareness to impact the world around us.
I'm looking for an Executive Assistant to help me organize my life. Several very good applicant are hoping to be selected. May God give me wisdom to choose the right one!
We are praying for Earl and Ramona. Please pray with us for them.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

SLC Utah

On the way to the airport yesterday, I called my parents and told them we were heading to Utah. Where? dad wanted to know. Salt Lake City. Well, Bernie and Caroline are there. Gloria will send the info. I sent a text to Bernie and we agreed to meet for supper at 6pm. WOW! Bernie and Caroline were there to visit Katie and they did not know we would be there and we did not know they had gone there. So here we are at supper at Ruth's Chris Steak House in SLC!

Tonite we dine with the Bride and her family. Renee's friend Jacqui is getting married to Stuart tomorrow!

Martha is reading The Shack and I'm reading Playing for Pizza. Eventually we hope to drive around and see some of the sights, but we are here till Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

6 months TODAY

We thought about sending an email to our list, but then - y0u probably get too many anyway, and I have nothing new to say. I'd love to have more emails from you though.

Kara has enrolled at Dalhausie University in Halifax and we are planning to fly out on Thursday. Alayna went to Greece and is coming back early - Thursday afternoon - but not on time to see Kara off at the airport. Justin is working at Subway on Corydon Ave.

Martha shared on her blog of the agony and pain that is still a daily companion. I spoke to someone who said that the new normal might set in soon. That got me thinking - I'd rather lose 2 arms and 2 legs than a daughter. The pain of that loss would go with me for the rest of my life. How much more pain is in the loss of a daughter and friend.

After Halifax we go to Salt Lake City for Renee's friend Jacqui's wedding. Back in Winnipeg for a while and Toronto for some business, then to PA for October 10 - 12, 2008 for a SilentGrief conference.

At the same time I am trying to find an Executive Assistant that can help me set up the new R&D shop for Innovaat at St Adolphe, purchase property, I need to renovate/upgrade the property, finish the development of the Biomass Energy System, check up in Morris, and Steinbach once a week, write blogs.....

Thanks, Mark, for that box of books on grieving. They look like they could have a very positive impact. I just need to find out if my brain works well enough actually read a book from cover to cover.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

FAITHFULNESS - Fruit that is never out of season

Pastor - Delbert Enns

Give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Heb 13:4
How to remain faithful...

1. Make a commitment to God's Standard
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. Ps 119:9 Drink water from your own well - share your love only with your wife. Prov 5:15 - no sex outside of marriage

2. Magnify the consequences of your affair.
A man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. Pr0v 6:22 Sexual sin = emotional damage.
...Sleeping with another man's wife will cost you your life. Prov 6:22 You always pay the piper.
It is never too late to ask God and the ones you have sinned against for forgiveness.

3. Maintain your marriage. Say "I loveYou" often.
A man should fulfil his duty as a husband, a wife should fulfil her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs. 1 Cor 7:3
Read the book "His Needs- Her Needs" by Willard Harley
The 5 top needs for men:
1. Sexual Fulfilment
2. Recreational Companionship
3. Attractive Spouse
4. Domestic Support
5. Men need admiration
The 5 top needs for women:
1. Affection, hugs, kisses
2. Conversation
3. Honesty and Openness
4. Financial Support
5. Family Commitment
These lists are not even parallel.

4. Manage, guard your mind
Temptations come from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. James 1:14
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead persue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Tim 2:22
Read Scripture everyday. Fill your mind with positive things. Surrender all to God. Confess your sins Ps 51:1-4
The pathway to purity:
1. Acknowledge sin
2. End the sinful relationship immediately
3. Avaid all contact with that person from now on.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jason!

If you were still with us, you'd be 30 years old today! Who knows what you'd be doing? Married with kids, working to put bread on the table, perhaps inventing all kinds of new things already, or would you be a missionary to Cambodia, China, Africa?
But those dreams were dashed 9 months after you were born. Instead, you are dancing a jig with your wonderful sister, Renee, and older brother Kris.
Your parents are left to mourn the whatifs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good news

Caleb Dueck didn't expect his picture to be chosen as a finalist in .... Click here

Monday, July 28, 2008

Katelyn in the Free Press

Woman's promising life cut short

Katelyn Friesen wore a long, princess-like silk gown with pink flowers in her hair and smiled brightly in a family photo taken after her Grade 12 graduation last month.
The photo was posted in an album Friesen named Here Comes the Rest of Our Lives on the networking-site Facebook.... Read More

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another story

We are home safe and sound. The Free Press carried another story in which Renee was mentioned.
Today was Roger's birthday. Not a happy one.
We had dinner with Roger, Anita, and Katelyn 2 weeks ago at a nice restaurant on Corydon. Kara and Katelyn sat at a table by themselves, happily chatting as only young ladies can. I wish I had taken a picture. Memo to self: Take more pictures.
This morning we got up early, and drove 220km from Stratford to Barrie to attend church with Kelvin and Esther. Then they invited us to their home for a quick lunch, and then off to the airport - one hour away. When we got out of the car, I forgot my cell phone in the Jeep. By the time I noticed it was missing, the Jeep had been taken for servicing. They found the phone just in time for me to get it, before we had to scurry off to security. Talk about the hurrier I go the behinder I get!
When we got to Winnipeg, there was a message from Loni, telling us that her grandfather had fallen and broken his neck. He had survived the night. I tried calling back to her and Tim & Elsie, but there was no answer. Pray for that family!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pain and Death

Friday morning Kara's dear friend Katelyn died when her car failed to negotiate a turn in the road. Please pray for her family and loved ones. Her parents are among our best friends. Her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Riverton. This is the 3rd trauma for them in the last 3 months.
We are in Ontario and had planned to travel as far as Quebec. We will be returning home Sunday night.
Today it is 5 months since Renee died. We are in Stratford at the Shakespeare Festival. We spent a weekend here with Renee in June '05, 10days before her first disgnosis for AML leukemia.
The pain of searing loss still hits us with giant waves. On Thursday, a week ago, we attended a meeting of Compassionate Friends. It is a support group for parents that have lost children. It is good to be able to share the pain with others without fear of judgement.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This day SUCKS

Katelyn Friesen, 18, one of Kara's best friends died this morning. She came home at 10:30 p.m. and lost control of her car.
Her parents, Roger and Anita, are among our closest friends. We'd love to go hug them. But we are in Stratford ON on the way to Quebec. Naturally, will try to rebook our flight and get home ASAP.
We were just coming into Aylmer to visit Taunti Truta, my mom's sister, when we got the call. While we were there, Uncle Isaac was transferred to hospital, comatose and with a lung infection. He has lived a long and fruitful life. My sister Rose showed up before we left. She came to stay there for a week.
Yesterday we visited Aunt Esther in hospital. She was happy to see us, and very thankful for all her wonderful friends. They take turns at her bedside so she is almost never alone.
For super we took Tomoko out to the Aberfoyle Mill Country Restaurant. Very nice and very enjoyable!
Last night we stayed with a Mennonite Your Way couple. We were the 1st visitors they had had since they signed up for it.
Tonight we attended the production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Loss History

Today's email from encourages us to write a loss history.
1977 Oct 01 - Kristin died age 3
1978 Jun 30 - Leona died age 29
1979 Apr 16 - Jason died age 9 months
1990 Dueck Builder Mart receivership
1995 sold ProfitMaster Canada shares for peanuts
2005 Jun 24 - Renee diagnosed with leukemia
2005 Sep 04 - Renee in ICU
2007 June - business partners start talking about splitting the business
2007 Oct 24 - Renee relapse
2007 Nov 01 - Renee starts chemo at MSKCC New York
2007 Nov 12 - vitriolic emails from partners
2007 Nov 20 - agreement for me to buy out partners
2007 Nov 23 - partners away to meet with their advisors. Assure me I don't need a lawyer. All is amicable.
2007 Nov 26 - meeting with advisors - partners not sure they want to sell their shares
2007 Nov 28 - meeting - assurance by partners "not meeting with outside lawyers"
2007 Dec 20 - receive 100 page email while in Florida with Alayna, and Karalee (Renee, Martha stuck in NYC, Justin in Wpg). The email is drafted by powerful antagonistic outside lawyers and includes documents signed by my partners and their wives, giving me 5 business days to raise funds to buy out some of their shares, or they will kick me out and steal my shares under an obscure clause in the Shareholders Agreement. I have no lawyer to act on my behalf. I call a lawyer friend, who agrees to take my case. I tell him I'm in shock, 1st from Renee's potentially fatal illness, and the shock of seeing the signed documents from my partners, threatening to steal my shares in the business, we had worked so hard to build for 11 years.
Martha advised me to "just let them steal the business", and be with Renee and her in NYC as much as possible. The lawyers recommended that I allow them to "protect" my interests.
2008 Jan 10 - I tried to get my partners to agree to let negotiate an amicable deal. That was a no go with them. "There is a well proscribed process underway to reach closure – it just needs to be followed" I met with my lawyer for the 1st time and told him that I'm in no position to fight this in the courts, and the ONLY thing I can do under the circumstances is to capitulate. "I might be sorry later"

This is too painful to continue today - more more painful stuff later.

God, I didn't realize how much my past losses were affecting me now. Use this exercise to help me recognize and come to terms with each loss on my list. Amen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Some pursue happiness.. others create it
Happiness increases the more you spread it around
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. - Joseph Addison
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. - Helen Keller
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. - James Barrie
Imitate the sundial's ways - Count only the pleasant days. - German Proverb

Friday, July 11, 2008

Scatter Joy

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. Mother Teresa
Time spent laughing is time spent with God.
One joy scatters a hundred griefs.
If you tickle yourself, you can laugh when you like.
Unshared joy is an unlighted candle.
And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

37 years together

It seems like such a short time ago.
My mother-in-law said she had never seen anyone as excited as this bridegroom was on the morning before the wedding of these 2 virgins. I'm still excited to be with my LOVE!

Henry advised us that "the ship that won't be sunk, can't be sunk"

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Virgil, who lost his wife, says, "When you go to a funeral, you hear people say, 'Oh, he's holding up so well.' I don't think that's true. I think the person in grief doesn't know what's going on. That's the state I was in." Maybe you can relate to how Virgil felt.

When you are in shock and you feel powerless to cope and unable to think straight, understand that you don't have to at that moment. Yet because of this, it is wise not to make any major changes in your life or decide on any important issues until your shock has subsided.


Did nothing much today. Had Larry and Carl over to get the network working here at home. Now it seems to work. Thanks guys. Went for a walk at Bird's Hill this evening. Check it out on Martha's facebook at

James was here the other day to get some other computer issues fixed. He writes a daily encouragement blog at

We met Henry & Martha in Walhala ND for supper and a performance of Les Miserables at Frost Fire. Terrific show! We saw it twice on Broadway during the last 12 months, and this performance rivalled that one. Go if you can! Only 2 hours from Winnipeg. Well worth the trip!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Four Months- 3 years June 26


Martha writes:

Yesterday it was four months since Renee's passing - promotion to glory - I don't know what word to use - eight months since we went to Vancouver - October 25 was the day that Renee got the word that she had relapsed -three years since she was first diagnosed with leukemia. Somehow by the grace of God we have made it though another day, another month.

One of our coping strategies is to... read more at...


It is hard to know what to say to you. Your life goes on, while ours is in limbo. We go through the motions, but everything seems so futile. So many things have gone wrong. The things I need to do don't get done, and I waste all kinds of time doing things I don't need to do. Like checking my empty email box 20 times a day. Like calling people who don't return my calls. Like forgetting to call the people that I should call.

But then you don't want to listen to my whining. So is there anything good to say?

Several writers have expressed interest in writing Renee's story. A TV producer wants to make a documentary and a movie of Renee's life. Is that a good idea? We'd love to have Renee's friends write about different segments of Renee's life. She was a multi-faceted diamond and it would be wonderful to include chapters from every facet of Renee's life. Please respond to us if you are interested in contributing a chapter or two.

We have friends that come to comfort us, hug us and show us they care in so many ways. We have a wonderful church family and a caring pastor. We have a God who loves us so much that He sent his only Son to take our pain and sin on himself and suffer and die for us. What a demonstration of LOVE! We listen to messages downloaded from and we read emails from

Don and Joyce and the wonderful team in Morris are a bright light in my darkness. Thanks for your commitment to make the best of a difficult situation. Our trip to Regina Farm Show last week was a good diversion for a few days. To visit with Florence, Renee's friend and mentor Rhonda, and James and Roxanne were highlights of the trip. We missed the Joy Smith Gala Dinner featuring Troy Westwood and honouring Cindy Klassen and Jennifer Jones.

We plan to attend a SCIDS conference in the US at the end of July. Thought we might fly to Toronto and drive down from there, back up to Quebec and then to Ottawa and before returning home.

We are meeting for lunch with Twylla and Arden. They have lost 2 babies. Now they have a healthy 1-year-old boy.

Many people who have gone through the loss of child, have told us that for them it took from 3 - 7 years before life gets back to the new "normal". In the meantime, the brain does not function well, memory is poor, and nothing matters anymore, hence there is little reason to get up in the morning. When friends ask to meet for breakfast, that?s helpful. But that doesn't fix the swimming pool, the pool table, assemble the pictures, send thankyou cards, get the new sign ordered, get my home office organized, the new van shopped for, the new R&D shop acquired, the new office equipped, the BEST system running, the CAD operator hired, the cell phones fixed, the new house designed, the cottage fixed. What's the point? The PAIN of searing loss goes on and on and on and.........


Please donate in Renee's memory to We'll send you a DVD

Monday, June 16, 2008

I cried on Father's Day

Men are not supposed to cry - that's not manly! I wore this shirt Renee gave me for my birthday 2006. I had not been able to wear it since she died. I miss her so! Maybe I can wear this once a year.

Father's Day was quiet at our house - for lunch Kara, Martha, and I to The Forks Beach - sat at home all afternoon - tried to buy Corner Gas season 4, but everyone was closed or didn't cary it. Rented Mr Bean for a few feeble laughs.

Today picked up 3 check blanks at SCU. I accomplished that ONE thing. Now want to help Martha with deck staining.

Click here for more pictures

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time for an update

Well - some of the web files were finally downloaded but the site still looks awful. I tried to get in to do some repairs but the ftp doesn't seem to work. My desktop does not get the innovaat emails addressed to me, only everything else. So I need to run the laptop to get the innovaat emails. Kara likes to run a laptop and a desktop, Martha likes her laptop, and Alayna needs the desktop, and Justin would like his desktop. That means we need 7 ports on the router. We have 4. Bought a new wireless router, tried to install it, but it wouldn't work. Not enough energy to try to find a geek to come in to get it working. So we have to swap cables on the back of the router. Very inconvenient.
This week - Monday started with a breakfast meeting with the realtor for the new development I'm trying to sell in Teulon, a meeting with the plc supplier, and a trip to Morris to see how the new shift schedule is working. They are on track to do 3 bins a day on Monday! WOW! With practice they should get to 5. On the way back, stopped at various places looking for an R&D property to buy. Some good possibilities. Had a friend along for the ride. Got a call and email from one of my former partners. That opened the wounds again - could not sleep well. Listen to messages from to fall asleep again. Same message 4 times during the night.
Today - thought I might get some things done at home. Prepared 20 Memorial DVD's and had Alayna mail some of them. Got a call from a friend to meet for lunch. It was, in his words, a "God Moment" of sharing my frustrations, pain, and regrets of the past 8 months. Need to get some more grief counselling to deal with all the pain. Greg sent me 2 links - center - bereavement. In the afternoon I finished cleaning the motorhome and then went to meet a lawyer to talk about the development agreement for Royal Teulon. Evening birthday party meal for Jessie's birthday. Martha went to Christian Women's Club after that. Kara is watching endless shows online. She has a part time job at CanadInns Polo Park.
Tomorrow - breakfast with the LifeLight guys, auction in Grunthal where the balance of the cows will be sold. Stop in Steinbach? Shop for shop?
Thursday - golfing with EMC in Steinbach - home for supper - likely too tired for anything
Friday - open for breakfast - meeting with video producer for lunch to talk about making a movie of Renee's life and vision. Friday night car auction preview E St Paul Community Center
Saturday - Paul and Mildred's retirement auction
We've been trying to find a Christian writer to write Renee's story and we are currently in contact with 2 possible writers. How do you pick one?
Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Agony, Fear, Hope, Peace

This video may be the most gripping video you have ever seen. Renee shares her fear, her dread of the diagnosis of leukemia, with symbolic, dramatic shots of what it may mean. Her feet, dedicated to sharing the gospel of peace are showing signs of infection, her bed - empty - a prophesy of what she knows is coming, her calendar - a month late, a month since she felt she knew what the diagnosis was, a symbol of how time on earth is slipping away, her calendar has stopped. The video ends with a shot of the tattoo on her ankle, the symbol of the word hope in the language of Cambodia, the people who experienced the Killing Fields. Renee had the hope of eternal life, and hope that others would respond to her passion for the poor and oppressed, and pick up where she left off. The hope that someday she would be re-united for eternity with all her friends and family in the presence of Jesus Christ, the One she loved, and lived for.

After 3 months of agonizing about whether or not to post this video, I have come to the conclusion that Renee recorded it, because she wanted to share her feelings with us. She also wanted to say something about the hope she had. In spite of the fear she says she has hope. She knew she had a 20% chance of surviving this relapse of leukemia, 80% chance that this would be her last statement to us. If you need a good cry, click Here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Renee on Photogenic

Renee's commentary on Photogenic, a movie script she wrote, starred in, and helped produce with Director Katie Loewen. Kara served as an extra, during her visit with Renee in 2007. Click on the title to see Photogenic, the video.


They took away my Executive Assistant, fired my bookkeeper/accountant, took away my R&D team, my marketing team, cramed all my files into a few boxes and kicked me out of my office, took away my patents, erased my name from the website, took 1/2 the business from Morris, deleted my links from the web, promised to send me the links, still waiting, I get nothing done.
They tied up my time when I should have been paying close attention to Renee, so I didn't, and so she died. I miss her so. I closed her bank accounts. Gave away her car, her clothes, her boots, her computer, her camera, her ... OH THE PAIN
I feel like I've been hit with a baseball bat, my brains are splattered, my arms and legs ripped off with a hack saw, my guts, mushed.
I am making copies of the DVD Karalee edited. But who even wants one? Not many requests. Will anyone watch them?
I get nothing useful done. I had a meeting with the leadership team in Morris. We need to shift team members from BMS to bins. We need to retrain. It will take a while to get everything up and running again.
I need to make decisions about cows. Had 240 last spring. Now 100? They died. The vet was never called. Hay quality was never checked. I was never called till the Animal Health officer called to yell at me. The cows starved to death. On all the hay they could eat. Bad hay I assume. The hay supplier says it was good. Wants to get paid a premium price. The trucker charged an arm and a leg to haul it. Can't decide how much to pay either one. I need to move the cows. Sell them. Keep them till fall. Don't know which or where. My decision maker has been blasted to smithereens.
Can't remember a thing from one minute to the next. Forgot the guy that wanted to see the motorhome. Forgot to email people. Forgot to meet for breakfast. Forget to return calls.
My computer from the office is dead. No one will help me with that. From legions of people at my beck and call - now people don't even return phone calls. Shit.
My emails inbox blew up. I lost a bunch of emails. They are on the laptop. But it's a mess to import all those to this computer. My former computer tech is not allowed to talk to me.
I'm not supposed to complain 'cause that would make my former partners look bad. I'm supposed to change the company logo. Takes useless time. I need to find a new shop to do R&D, hire people to work in it, find people to go to the marketplace to find out what needs to be invented.
Monday I tried to find some eggs for breakfast. Even the 24 hr Wal-Mart was closed! Finally found some expensive eggs at 7-11. I never go there. Met a friend there who happened to be visiting his daughter in Winnipeg. He had come to Wpg for the weekend and bought a paper at 7-11. We got to talking. He said he'd pray for us. He has a brother who lost his son in a snorkling accident years ago. Took the father 3 years to get life back to almost normal. No wonder we still feel like pulp! 3 months after.
So nice to have friends come over to visit. What a comfort friends are. Sunday night, Renee's friend, Lynn came over. Wow! How nice to be able to spend time with her. To feel close to Renee through her. Next week Krista and Monique are coming. We sure look forward to that. Today Janice came for supper. Fellowship. Sharing, renewing.
Next week we have several other friends who have indicated that they would like to come visit. Sure look forward to that. Sitting at home feeling miserable is no fun. We need the distractions wherever we can get them.
I doubt anyone will read this far, but if you have, you are a friend indeed, and we'd like to cook a meal for you. Please come ASAP. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Renee in the Reader's Digest

A Beautiful Little Girl

WE OPENED our mailbag not long ago to find a letter from longtime subscriber Raymond Dueck of Arborg, Man. "Thank God for Reader's Digest!" Mr. Dueck wrote. "It saved our little daughter's life."
In our January 1984 issue, in "News From the World of Medicine," we carried an item about a new treatment for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Syndrome (SCIDS), a rare and lethal immune-system disease that leaves its victims unable to resist infection. Infants who have SCIDS and are not kept in sterile environments usually die within the first year of life. The item reported that Dr. Richard O'Reilly and his team at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had developed a procedure that led to successful transplantation of bone marrow from an unmatched donor. (Bone marrow manufactures cells essential to the immune system.)
"My wife, Martha, and I had had two children who died of complications related to SCIDS," Mr. Dueck wrote. "When Martha became pregnant a third time, we read every article we could regarding SCIDS. Then the January 1984 issue of the Digest brought us the welcome news about the bone-mar-row transplant, and our anxiety level went way down.
"Renee was born in March, and shortly after her birth we were told that she too had SCIDS. We had already decided that in the eventuality of that diagnosis, we would go to the New York centre. We flew to New York in May for further tests. When those confirmed SCIDS, we arranged to admit Renee in June 1984.
"During the night of July 26-27 she received bone marrow donated by her mother.
"Today Renee is the healthiest, liveliest, most beautiful little girl anyone ever saw!"
A beloved child's health has been restored. And we at Reader's Digest are gratified to have been of service.
We know from this and many other letters that our articles often have an impact on your lives in a variety of ways - that you have found in them the resolve to quit smoking, the inspiration to make it through a family crisis, the chance to get involved in an issue of the day. Whenever we have been useful to you, we are delighted to hear about it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Renee in Singapore with the Snake

Why don't you come over to the dark side

Third Sunday in Lent

Pain and suffering are part and parcel of our planet, and Christians are not exempt.
-Philip Yancey

ONE OF THE MAIN QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK me about prayer is why every prayer is not answered. That seems to fly in the face of what Jesus says and does. And this is one of the Lenten surrenders we can make. We can work to surrender our doubts about prayer.

Consistently, we associate Jesus with answered prayers. Jesus' teachings on prayer are straightforward and simple: "Ask and you shall receive; knock and it shall be opened to you." Jesus wants us to have a kind of sublime confidence. He often says that healings are more likely when people's faith is strong. Jesus makes us feel that God is always listening.

This confidence is especially keen before the raising of Lazarus. Jesus says, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me." Lazarus has not yet been raised, but Jesus already knows that his prayer has been heard and answered. And Jesus wants us to know that the Father's generous response is not just for him, but also for us.

At the same time the Scriptures caution us against overconfidence in prayer. When Jesus struggles with Satan in the wilderness, Satan taunts Jesus into using prayer as a kind of magic bullet. He seems to want to distort Jesus' intimacy with God. "If your God is so terrific, and you're so close to him, why don't you just turn a few stones into bread? Why don't you jump off a high place and see if he'll save you? Why don't you come over to the dark side, where it's so much more fun?"

And Jesus replies that we should not test the Lord our God.

One of the deepest surrenders we are called to make (I'd hardly call it small) is when we must accept the death of someone we love.

Lieutenant Colonel Ken Brown, a chaplain with the United States Army 101st Airborne Division, serving in Iraq, has some insights on this theme. He wrote an entry in his war diary on April 9, 2003. He was commenting on soldiers who come face-to-face with death for the first time, when they see their comrades wounded or killed.

Some of these soldiers came to Chaplain Brown to talk about death.

"I had a young man come to me a couple of weeks ago . . . he talked to me about, if he had just been a couple of seconds sooner at a certain location, he could probably have prevented this or that." Soldiers feel guilty, Chaplain Brown says, because they didn't or couldn't prevent a buddy from dying. They feel guilty that they are still alive.

When soldiers actually see death, Brown says, their priorities change. He doesn't try to tell them that all this can be so easily explained. In the same way I think all of us feel a real anxiety about the things we can't seem to prevent through our prayer.

But Chaplain Brown tells his soldiers about a philosopher named Boethius, from the fourth century, who made a famous remark. When we come up against an evil, when God doesn't seem to be in charge, God is writing straight with crooked lines.

How do we reconcile this with the statement of Jesus, "I know, Father, that you always hear me"?

Jesus tells us to believe in a God of enormous power who surrounds us with his love. But sometimes it seems to us that this all-powerful God is not listening, is not responsive to our prayers. What then?

This experience-of sustained, unanswered prayer-is well known in the spiritual life. Sometimes it is called darkness. Sometimes it is called aridity, or dryness in prayer. It comes when we're not sure God is listening, when we think God doesn't care about us, when the outcomes we want are not forthcoming. This is a great test of faith.

The path leads both to the raising of Lazarus and to the Garden of Gethsemane. As Philip Yancey writes, "Pain and suffering are part and parcel of our planet, and Christians are not exempt." When we face this undesirable reality, when we accept that there will be pain and suffering in spite of our prayers, we accept God's wisdom as higher than our own. We trust that God is writing straight with crooked lines.

Even so, we continue to believe and to pray. We have faith that where our knowledge fails, God's knowledge does not.

This is an old map, one that has been folded and refolded many times, so creased it seems about to fall apart. Yet it leads us to hidden treasure, a deeper reliance on God. Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wish You Well

Thank you to all my former team members in Arborg for a beautiful card and a donation in memory of Renee sent to . Renee loved butterflies!

"May your new ideas be as numerous, creative & colourful as these Butterflies on the Wing. Wishing you every success in your future endeavors!"

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I found this story today

Hello, readers! My name is Renee Amaryah Lalani Dueck. I am twelve and in Grade 7 at Mennville Christian School. This is a story I have written to tell you about me.
December 17, 1996 7:49:24 AM

What Is My Personality Like?

I would not really call myself quiet and shy, but when I am around people I do not know I can become quite quiet. So sometimes I have problems meeting new people. Once I have met a person though, I am very friendly, and I really enjoy being with my friends. I also enjoy laughing and talking a lot.
If there were one thing I could change about my personality, I would up my level of patience. It needs it badly.

What Do I Look Like?

I have golden brown hair with just a tint of red in it. It’s cut at jaw length, with a part on my left side and the ends curled under, except that the right side never stays so.
People say I look like my Dad. I have brown eyes like him, long arms, and a Dueck nose and chin. Some people have also said that I look like my Aunt Gloria Dueck.

What Are My Interests?

Some of my favorite hobbies are toll painting and T-shirt painting. I also enjoy baking. Right now I have a small business going. I bake muffins and squares and things to sell at Vidir Machine, where my dad works.
I also have several collections. I collect erasers, stamps, coins, key chains and bottles. I have stamps from Canada, US, Brazil, Pakistan, England, Paraguay, China, Japan, France, Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, Lesotho and Russia. In all I have about 130 stamps. I only have four bottles in my bottle collection, but that is because I just started it. Some of my favorite things to doing my leisure time are reading, writing and riding my horse. I especially like to read historical fiction and books about horses. My favorite authors are Lorriane Snelling, Patricia M. St. John, Hilda Stahl, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Robin Jones Gunn. I think the best book I have ever read is Treasures of the Snow.
Cats are my favorite animals. In my whole life I have had 19 cats. The most playful cat I have ever had was Butterball II. Butterball I was the only cat who was hit by a car. The others have either run away, been squished under the garage door, or died for various other reasons. One white cat named Pearl strangled herself on a frayed lawn chair. The cat I have now is Edelweiss. She is the moodiest cat I have ever had, but she is actually quite cute. I do not think She will ever stop being cute, even when she is an old grandmother, with no ears, no hair and half a tail.

What Have I Done?

As a family we travel lots. I have traveled from Victoria to Halifax and from Anchorage to Chihuahua City, Mexico. I have been to all the provinces and territories except North west Territories and Newfoundland. I have been to most of the states too.
I have taken lessons in both piano and swimming. I am in Grade 3, piano and in Level 7, swimming. I have also taken lessons in horse care. I’m in Unit 1, Lighthorse and Pony 4-H.
Every year since I was eight, I have been to Beaver Creek Bible Camp. I do not plan to miss a year whether I go as a Camper or as a staff member.
What Would I Like to Do?

One of the things I would really like to do is travel to Europe. I would like to go to Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
I would like to learn horse jumping, and maybe how to play another instrument, either the violin or the flute.
Some of the things I would like to do when I am older are to be an author, a teacher, a missionary.

What Is My Family Like?

My Mom’s name is Martha and my dad’s name is Raymond. They have been married 25 years, as of July 10,1996. On June 2, 1974, three years after they were married, they had a son named Andre Kristin Davis. They called him Kris. He had SCIDS (Severe Combined Immune Deficiencies Syndrome). He died when he was three.
Jason Ivan Michael was born on August 7, 1978. He too had SCIDS and died at the age of 8 Months after an unsuccessful Bone Marrow Transplant in the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.
Some time after that, My parents applied for adoption, and Justin became a part of their lives on August 29 when he was 19 days old. My mom knew that I was already on the way, but she still wanted Justin. When I was born seven months later, the case worker was furious.
I followed in my older brothers' footsteps and also was born with SCIDS. Two months subsequent to my birth, my parents read an article in the Reader’s Digest about how doctors in New York knew how to do bone marrow transplants in babies. Doctor Shroeder would have sent me to Seattle, and none of the other doctors would have objected, but my mom and dad wanted me sent to New York.
There I had a Bone Marrow transplant on July 26. I got GHV (Graft-versus-Host) after the transplant, but thankfully I got better. I think though in the long run, it was God who saved me, not any doctor. After me, came my sisters Alayna, born November 10, 1986,and Karalee, born December 2, 1988. That’s my story.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Left to Blossom"

Renee worked on a video entiltled "Left to Blossom" last fall. It has been nominated for the prestigeous BC Film Industry Leo Awards. If you will be in Vancouver on May 18, we'd like to invite you to see it. See details below.

Renee also wrote the script and helped produce a short video entitled "Photogenic". She wrote and performed in a powerful reading entitled "Earth, Fire, Water, Wind". Karalee edited the Memorial Services to produce a powerful DVD in Renee's Memory. Feel free to request a copy of each. Donations in her memory are appreciated at

We will continue to miss our beautiful Renee, and we appreciate your continued expressions of sympathy for our devastating loss. We find healing in Jesus' tender embrace, in the assurance of life eternal, and in knowing that you remember and care. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.


"Left to Blossom" info


hello raymond and martha

i have contacted you because there has been some interesting news about "left to blossom", the final film we made with Renee through cap college. it has been nominated for best student production at the leo awards film festival. the leo awards are high and above the most respected and prestigious awards show for films in british columbia, one of the best in canada. so naturally being selected is a great honour and we just wanted to let you know. obviously without renee's help we never would have been able to properly maintain the enormous production we embarked upon.

the greatest accolade for the project, however, is not the nomination at the leo awards. it was hearing the eulogy that martha wrote for renee was titled "left to blossom". that was an extremely moving moment for myself and other makers of the film. particularly steve, who came up with the title and was always unsure about it, hearing that certainly solidified that the project was everything it could be. we were blessed to have had renee on our crew.

thomas affolter


Heath Affolter sent a message to the members of Lynn's Embrace.
Subject: Left to Blossom screening

Hey friends,

So I've found out the date and time of when "Left to Blossom" will be screening in the Leo Film Festival.

Sunday, May 18
Pacific Cinematheque - 1131 Howe St. Vancouver

Tickets are $9.50 for adults, $8.00 for students, and we get to see all the student films that are nominated for Best Student Production at the Leos. It'll be great. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at

Alright, let me know if there are any questions, please tell as many people as possible, and please come and I'll see you there!


Renee's blog at

Martha's blog

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Birthday from Mom

How to make a wonderful life! Love Yourself... Take Chances... Make do...
Know that there aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow... It's what you do with time... Make a wonderful life... The kind of life you deserve.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Home again? or not

I guess it's time to update my blog. Don't know if anyone ever reads it, but I suppose it is as much a journalling therapy as it is informative. Then again it's not a journal in the sense that you would share your innermost secrets with your journal.
Read Martha's blog she has some profound insights on her blog. I read them to be inspired and I read my own to be bored.

We left NYC on Monday. Kara and Alayna were scheduled to leave on NWA at 11:30 and arrive in Winnipeg by 3:30. That was not to be. The rain in NYC delayed the flight enough that they missed the connecting flight and did not arrive in YWG till 8:30 or so.
Martha and I packed the van in the rain - it was full to the roof when we were done - and started driving. We found a very nice brand new Hampton Inn somewhere in PA and then took a leasurely drive to Cleveland, where we had time for some more retail therapy, and a nice dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, before I dropped Martha off at the airport for the flight home. I drove the rest of the way by my lonely self, and arrived home Wednesday at midnight.

Martha and Kara left for Vancouver on the 8:30 pm flight Wednesday, so they were gone by the time I got home. Kara had auditions at Capilano College and at Langara College Thursday and Friday. She is hoping to get accepted at Langara.

This evening Martha and Kara went to Gordie's place for a party. Martha can be reached on Renee's cell at 778-868-3195. She'd love to hear from you. She misses Renee terribly. Nothing in Vancouver seems right without Renee!

Justin finally got his SUBWAY manager's car last night. He finds it stressful to manage a store that has had a revolving door for managers. It's a real busy store with long lineups for lunch, but it looks like he's getting the place cleaned up and organized for greater efficiencies. He got a letter of commendation already for increased sales since he started there.

He seems to have a knack for dealing with staff and motivating them to do their best.

I was in Morris today to review the plant and the plans for the future. It seems that we are losing the BMS business, but the bins business is terrific this year, and so we hope to double our bin production over the next 3 months.

At home I have a big job cleaning up all the stuff I unloaded from the van, framing all of Renee's pictures, and doing the bookkeeping until I find someone that can do that for me. So I'm home alone and would love to go out for coffee with someone.