Wednesday, June 30

What? It's not Friday yet?

Today feels like Friday. It feels like it has been forever since I wrote on this blog... but it is only Wednesday. Where DOES time go?

This week has been full. Let's see - Alvin began working at the Henderson Land. On Monday I went to give him a hand tying rebar. It was a long day - but a good one together. In the morning we realized we could hear a cat meowing. We looked toward the church's parking lot and saw a cat walking back and forth. It wasn't her meowing though. We figured that there must be kittens somewhere and so we went to look. We walked through the long grass and over to the church's air conditioning system which was surrounded by a wire chain link fence. There we saw her... a cute little kitten. Or I should correct that. We only saw her head. She was inside the a.c. system's metal box, and had her head stuck. No paws, just her head.
Alvin had to go to Josh and Leah's and told Josh about it, and there he came, with his friend Brent alongside. They brought Josh's hair clippers set. Alvin figured if they could clip off its hair (cause there was alot) they could perhaps also put some grease or lubricant on her head and push it back through. Brent climbed the fence and went in, and was able to hold her body from underneath while Josh clipped. They then began the process of trying to get her back through the hole - one ear, the next ear, some lubricant, and voila! She was through. They then were able to get her when she finally came out, and took her home. Brent said it was great to be alongside of a fireman when they did a real rescue! The little thing was actually quite fluffy but its little heart was almost beating out of her chest. Now Ashley and Michael are trying to find a home for her, much to the chagrin of their other two cats. If you want a kitten FREE - let me know.

SO that was Monday. By the end of the day - I felt awful. I figured it was my allergies, but when I work up yesterday, I realized I had a major sinus cold on the left side of my head! Thank goodness for Puffs plus lotion tissues! Got a couple nose bleeds to boot! I had told the boys that I would clean the house that they had renovated and had put up for sale, so there I went yesterday - cleaning supplies in hand, and cleaned. I was so thankful this cute little house in Elmwood had central air! It is up for sale now - if you are looking for a starter home - let me know!!

Now, today began after the most restless night ever! I had a massage appointment at 9 and left the house looking forward to the pampering! Then, the day really began in earnest. We got the unnerving information that my mom in law was the victim of a scam... the one where the "grandson" calls and says he is in trouble and needs money now... long story short - no money was given. However she was/is very traumatized! I also had an experience that in hindsight I can laugh about...

Alvin needed me to go to the bank - as we had bought a semi trailer from a guy (to use for storage for our stuff when we move) and we needed some cash. So off to SCU I went for $1500 in 15 nice crisp brand new $100 bills.

I went to McIvor mall to find out what insurance permit we needed to move it from point A to point B (a 20 minute drive, not even) and was walking back to the car, wallet in hand (zipper slightly open) and cell in the other hand, talking with Alvin. (I know, you can hear a story coming on!) So, I am getting into the car, and my wallet drops, upside down, and the slightly opened zipper was opened sufficiently to allow the wind to pick up the $100 bills (yes, ALL of them) and blow them around the parking lot. I immediately said "I have to go" and put my cell on top of my trunk, wallet still laying by my car, and began to chase these bills. Now... this is the weird part, I actually thought of Ellen DeGeneres's show on TV where she surprises someone by putting them in a tank with a wind fan and $100 bills and tells them they can keep whatever they can catch! Well there I was (I am sure it was NOT a pretty sight) running and grabbing, watching them blow, scrunching them in my hand. There was an older man with a cane who was trying to be helpful, and he was - had his cane on a couple other things out of my wallet, and very sweetly encouraged me to put my wallet into the car, and my phone, and the bills I had gathered. Then there was a young guy, likely in his late 20's who was also helping. He said to me "They're all $100's ??" And I figured I needed to explain why I had so much cash (since I likely looked a little suspicious!) Anyhow, there he and I were, on our knees looking under cars. I literally had to reach under and pick them from under tires, etc...

Once I had searched 4 rows of parked cars... I got in my car, my heart also beating near out of my chest (talk about aerobic exercise) and was actually scared to count them. I will be honest... we are building a house, have not got the money yet for our house, so we are in this building limbo and I really do NOT have extra $100's to lose in the wind! So there I was, uncrumpling them and counting. (with fear and trembling) 1 - 2- 3 - 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9- 10- .....
11- 12- 13- 14- 15! Oh Lord - thank you so much! They were all there, and accounted for. It is a big full parking lot. It was a windy day. They were all there. ONLY GOD. So then I called Alvin as he didn't know why I was panicked when I hung up... and began to explain, knowing full well I may get even a little lecture about making sure I put money away. (yes, I have other money stories that are pretty unbelievable too!) and I had to tell him I was feeling bad enough and totally knew yes, I should be more careful. It was very nice to finally hand him over the crumpled, not so crisp bills!

I have told two friends that story, as well as the other parts of my day. One person laughed and said, "Oh Joy, you have another story for your story!" Sometimes I am thinking - does everyone have such an eventful life?

Anyhow - not it is almost 10 pm. I am waiting for Alvin to come home from the land so we can eat supper. Or maybe we will just go to bed and eat the hot chicken Caesar for breakfast.
Gotta keep a sense of humour. Hope the "visual" made you laugh! In hindsight, it is kind of funny! Living and learning... living and learning... 52 and I am continuing to live and learn!

The Winnipeg Free Press runs a section for Random Acts of Kindness, and I have decided that I will write in - and thank the older man (with the cane) and the young guy who helped me. By the time I got up off my knees from under the car - both were gone! I was none - the - less, very thankful! Gotta write to the Free Press.

Sunday, June 27

I am so glad that HE REJOICES OVER ME! He rejoices even when I am not rejoicing over myself! What a wonderful Saviour my God is!

I have been on a very long "on again/off again" journey with my weight. At 52 I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wanting it to be something that does not consume my thoughts. I really want to live in the present!

So, I have decided that I am going to blog my journey to a healthier me/weightloss journey on a different blog, so that it is easier to see for myself, the journey's ups and downs and ups and more ups. I want it to be an encouragement for me and anyone else who is journeying the same thing. Whether it is 5 lbs or like in my case about 50-70 (we'll see when I get closer) it is still a journey!

So, I have picked a verse that just "washes over me" and brings joy. It is so great to know that my Lord delights over me - sings over me! Imagine HE sings over each one of us!!

If you want to follow - please do. If you have something to share about your journey - please share that with me too! It is a journey! With God as my strength!! I know HE REJOICES OVER ME! (and over you too, regardless of what we weigh!)

here is my blog address:

Honestly? MORE rain?

I thought that in the winter, I heard that the Farmer's Almanac called for a "hot dry summer". Perhaps I should have bought one and read it for myself however IF that was truly what it said - I would be totally ripped off now, having spent the money on the almanac and watching the rain pool in our yard.

I am so glad that we are not farming. However that being said, some of our close friends are farmers and I KNOW that I can feel their discouragement without even talking. There is NOTHING good about cattle walking in muck, or about fields that have been drowned out - or crops that have not had hundreds of dollars worth of spray sprayed on them for disease due to the water.

I just barely finished my run (on my treadmill) and it began to pour. POUR! Sheets and sheets and sheets of rain. A little hail. Some wind. There is water in the ditches, in the low spots on the neighbors yard, and in the middle part where our trees are. Water EVERYWHERE!

And the thing is - we can't do the cement for the floor of the barn/shop that we are waiting to do, and we can't dig the basement if there is a forecast of rain like there has been lately. We don't need cement trucks that are up to their axles in mud... or a basement full of water that has to be pumped out before the guys can work. And we all know - the water is just breeding grounds for mosquitoes. (as if we don't have enough of them) (okay, am I the only person wondering why God created mosquitoes? )

It is all a little crazy. And its all alot wet! Guess there is a reason that it is raining, or does there have to be a reason behind everything? I am not sure there does. Regardless, God knows where we are at - where everyone is at - and well, He is Sovereign.

I learned a long time ago to hold plans very loosely in my hands. Very, very loosely! In the meantime I will put on my ladybug rubber boots if I have to ... carry an umbrella as long as its not lightning... and keep praying and depending on God for a rain-free season during our basement dig when the time comes!

It is hard NOT to get discouraged especially when you know other people are so affected even more than we are. But in the big scheme, being discouraged and anxious just sets you back even farther. Jesus said not to worry - that he knows even about the little birds that fall... so I figure He has my life under control. (even when I doubt). He is SOVEREIGN. I don't understand alot of my life BUT HE IS SOVEREIGN.

Oh, just got a text from my daughter - she says.... "it's supposed to be hot and dry this week " ... Hmmm.... maybe I won't need my ladybug rubber boots after all!

Saturday, June 26

Simply the Best Mommy and Daddy

I am sitting here at our kids house - Josh and Leah. As I look outside, there is a big pond to the right... and puddles in front... the sky has cleared, although a few miscellaneous drops are falling.
I decided once the storm passed, to check my emails on their computer. And, now figure I have time to post.

The house is quiet. Georgi the cat was just meowing at the window. I think she wants to get into her home - in the barn/shop. I have the Angelcare Baby Monitor beside me. My little sweetheart of a grandson is upstairs fast asleep.

Now this is not the first time I have babysat... but this was the very first "babysitting date" marked down on our calendars, way back in winter shortly after Everett was born. You see the kids are out at a wedding... dinner, dancing... like a date! They have had a few other outings, and I know that Grandma Hayes and I are always eager to watch Everett! I was kind of sad though because Poppa is at work, and missing out on this "Ev time" as we affectionately call our times together.

On the way here, I spent some time talking with the Lord - and asked the Lord for a great time together with Everett, and for our nighttime routine to go well. Lately Leah has said that his patterns have been a little mixed up. When I got here, to Josh and Leah's - she had just nursed him, and then he also was getting some barley cereal, and some peas. He was such a happy little guy, and apparently had had a very happy day! After his mommy fed him a little, and then his daddy finished up - it was time for them to go to the reception. Leah had shared with me how she thought his night could go...

Before they left - he got his rounds of kisses. His daddy makes him laugh, as he plays with him, treating him like a little bear cub - making some growling noises. Everett loves this and laughs! His mommy also kisses him good bye a few times, before they both exit - leaving Everett and Granny playing on the floor!

Play time was fun. He loves the toys - the musical ones - the rattling ones - the chewing on ones! Then we did some Jolly Jumper time! I love watching him in that - he jumps and talks!
Then we had a little down time, sitting on the couch, playing with toys in the plastic bucket. Leah had sort of filled me in on time frames, and true to her word - about 1 hour and 20 minutes later, he was looking ready for bed!

Up we went. A diaper change. Change into a cute sleeper! Then I put him into his little baby sleeping bag (which is a great invention, baby slips into it, it snaps at the shoulders, and zips around so that he is kept covered while he sleeps. Then I gave him his little cuddle square, his soother (which he only takes just before he naps) and read him a very little, and proceeded to sing to him. He seemed to like that (just as his mommy had said!). She mentioned that there is this "time zone" when he is then ready to be laid in his crib, and will go to sleep. Timing is everything!

I loved holding him. Touching soft hair. Kissing his cute little cheeks. I loved listening to him as he "la'd" himself to sleep... (sort of sings a little before he is gone to sleep-land)
I sat in the glider rocker and watched him. There is something that totally takes my breath away about watching my little grandson. It is a joy like no other - believe me.

My dad used to have a bumper sticker on his motor home that said "If I knew how much fun my grand kids would have been - I would have had them first!"

Anyhow - at this point, Everett has been sleeping a while - two hours. Leah was not sure if he would treat this as his last nap of the day - or would treat it as his night-time sleep. I just went up to check on him, and give him his soother - he had "schlimned" a little bit. (That is supposed to be my spelling of a German word meaning he made a little noise as if he was going to cry! I am not German, but sometimes there is no other word to describe it!

It is truly a blessing to be a Granny! I love these times of being able to babysit. I also love the times when we can stop by for a little Ev-time. I love watching the kids parent. I was telling Leah that I think there is alot of peer pressure that is placed on young parents - whether intentional or not. There just is. When we were raising our kids - there was NO Internet... or very limited. (First computer was DOS 086 - a real dinosaur) I read a little. I relied on my intuition a lot! I wondered aloud the other day if I was a good mom - and Alvin assured me I was! I figure my kids turned out pretty well rounded - and thank God he perhaps used me a little in that process!

I think what I love the most is when I see how well Leah "knows" Everett. And, has the combination of going with the flow mixed with knowing her son so well that she "gets" his schedule that helps him to be the happiest! It is quite something. I am just so pleased to be a part of his little life! He turned 6 months on the 18th of June, and his big brother Jay would have been 23 months this past Thursday. I keep imagining how much fun they would be together!

I thank God that he is giving Josh and Leah such joy as they parent, and such incredible joy as they watch Everett grow with each month. They are simply the best mommy and daddy. Ya, I know - I am biased. But, what else is new!

Thursday, June 24

thoughts, musings and the odd butterfly?

Well I thought perhaps I should mention why I changed my title of my blog slightly. You may not have even noticed. I added the words "and the odd butterfly" and I KNOW that my kids totally get what I mean!

You see, LATELY they have been laughing at me - because they claim that I "randomly" change the subject, or interject some random comment. And the thing is - I know they are right. It actually is so true! You know, when you do something and KNOW you are doing it!!

I claim that it is part of being in my 50's. Thing is - I used to tease my friend Vi about her personality, because the descriptor of it had to do with her sometimes being distracted by a butterfly flying by! Well - welcome to the life!

My kids laugh and so do I. Thing is, while I know it happens at times - I also explain that I have to say the thoughts as I get opportunity otherwise, like the butterfly, they may just be ...

Being in my 50's has its laughter as well as its not so funny moments! The last two years have changed me - and some of that is not due to my age, but to our journey in loving and grieving.
I am SO NOT the same person. And, that is okay. I am actually coming to appreciate and like the new me - the person who no longer just sits back and gets bullied... or the person who speaks up with my opinion even if someone makes me feel like I have nothing to offer. I am also the one who looks inside myself often and deeply. I realize that I have alot to offer and it is because of who God has made me to be, and what He has gifted me with.

I am in my 50's and realize that I have lost my filters somewhere along the way. Which means that sometimes I will respond (still I believe in kindness and love) and may also not just "think" of challenging someone, but will actually verbalize it if needed.

You see - I think I have spent alot of time just hanging back - and yes, sometimes at the mercy of others, which in retrospect was not always helpful for me, nor for the person getting away with things. So, I have decided to live life fully - to seize the day - to embrace who God has made me to be, and to try to operate and live my life out of the fullness HE gives, and less on my own strength.

And in between there - in those moments, well humor me a little - and let me chase some butterflies!! (which is likely what I just did with this post!) hmmmm....
now where did that butterfly go!

Live fully - and live in the day God has given you - with no regrets! Love you!

Wednesday, June 23


I don't think it is any coincidence that I woke up this morning to this tune. Then an hour later I heard it again. HOMESICK, by Mercy Me.

I have been "homesick" alot lately... perhaps it is because I was at the funeral of an older man whom we got to know through McIvor, and who we also worked with (we were youth leaders briefly overlapping with he and his wife; and he used to always tease me about watching me when I had to sing in German! And later when I was in ministry, I worked with him on some committees). The funeral was a celebration of life. He wasn't really all that old... actually my dad was three years younger when God called him home. Jake reminded me ALOT of my dad.

I sat at the funeral and of course my thoughts gathered...
Actually, my thoughts have gathered alot in the past years, since losing my mom, and then my dad a year later, and then my dad in law, then our little Jay.
When my mom went home to glory, I felt like I was no longer afraid of dying.
I have to say that since our little Jay went to Heaven, I have thought of Heaven alot!

Of course though, I do love living... and sitting in a funeral service, as I did on Monday, makes me think alot about living and about dying. I guess that is always the tension in our lives, especially as we get older. I love being here with and for my husband and my kids and my grandson. I love being a friend and having friends. I love letting God use me for his glory and letting him make me more like him! I do LOVE life!! But, I do think of Heaven still...

I have been thinking alot about heaven again, as I am nearing our little Jay's 2nd birthday. And I often think of what it will be like hugging my little grandson Jay Benjamin again... and whether he spends his time running with my mom and dad and dad in law! And whether my dad sings "choo-chums" to Jay.

I have read a book called 90 Minutes in Heaven... and whether you believe it or not - I have to say that it gives me a sweet feeling about what Heaven may be like when I get there. It is this "push-pull" feeling... wanting to be here for a long time with my family but also longing to hug my family who are with Jesus again...

So it was that this song by Mercy Me (who also wrote the hit song I CAN ONLY IMAGINE) touched my heart twice this morning within the 1.5 hours of being awake. So, I share the words with you...

by Mercy Me

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

Tuesday, June 22

"trying to save his children"

The "broken wing" dance of the Kildeer!

I love creation and the lessons that I learn. (the way the leaves rustle in the wind, the bunnies that are ALL over our yard these days, the way the fox in our yard runs with his tail straight out behind him, the bluejays that have become God's direct "kiss" to me, the fuzzy caterpillars and on and on) However, I have to admit that I was a very S-L-O-W learner this past weekend. Let me explain.

On Saturday, Alvin and I went to the Henderson Land. We were working around there (okay, ALVIN was working, I was sitting and reading as there was nothing for me to do yet!) When we got there and walked up onto the area that he has already readied for the shop foundation, we saw and heard a kildeer.

I have (in my lifetime) seen hundreds of kildeers running ahead of me as I walked, especially on Springfield Road. I have seen them on our Henderson Hwy. land too but not so close to us, and not on the pad that Alvin had laid out. The three hours we were there on Saturday, we watched as the Kildeer would do the "broken wing dance". This was the first time I actually saw it like this. I ahd heard about it, and told my kids about it, but to see it was quite something. The wing would go up and out at this weird angle and the Kildeer would flop around and move like it was very wounded. As we would walk closer, he/she would keep flopping and moving farther away. (distraction technique to take us AWAY from his nest).

It seemed when we went closer to one side, the activity got more pronounced. It went on, along with his calling, for the whole time we were there. At one point I said to Alvin "can't believe he would spend the whole time trying to get us moving" to which Alvin replied "but what he is doing is worth it - he is trying to save his children".
The next day, we spent a few hours hanging out there again. This time there were two kildeers walking/calling/doing the broken wing dance. One of them would come very closer to us and call and try to lure us away. He was incessantly committed to sticking close by and chirping. I grabbed my camera and tried to get a couple shots. Shortly after, Michael and Ashley came by and so as the guys did a bit of work, Ash and I sat on lawnchairs on the pad and read/talked for a couple hours. I explained to Ashley how the Kildeer was pretty worked up. We wondered where the nest may be. We figured it was in the tall grass on the other side of the foundation. And then I spotted them.

Up close they are a little more obvious - but how disguised these eggs are amongst the stone!

EGGS. Right there, only a mere feet from us. No wonder he/she was so uptight! In fact at one point, we were amazed that Alvin's size 12's didn't trample them! (that would have been so sad!)

So, Ash and I got some wood pieces and set up a bit of a guard around them - more for our sake than theirs. And, we moved our lawnchairs into a far off side. That seemed to bring some relief too. No wonder they were so uptight! It was even more of an eye opener when I looked back on the pics I had taken, and saw that she was standing right over the eggs!

Look real close - you will notice she is standing with her feet on either side of her eggs!

They were just so blended in. (I really don't think they had been there the day before though, so sometime between the two visits, they were laid). AMAZING. simply and truly amazing! Creation at its finest!

So since then, I have thought about what I have learned. And I realized that the kildeer wasn't just wasting time trying to lure us, but that instead he/she had good reason to be anxious. And, as Alvin said the day before "he was just trying to save his children". Ah.... yes. Nature teaches us what we already know, and feel ourselves.

You see, we would also do what it took to save our kids! From the time they were babies to the ages they are now - in their twenties. Alvin and I would give whatever we had to - for our kids.
When we lost our little Jay, both of us said we would have given our lives for his little life!
But on the bigger scheme of things - that is exactly what Jesus did for us.
Except it cost him WAY more (I am not trying at all to compare us to him)
Jesus swet "great drops of blood falling down to the ground" while talking to his Father in the Garden. And, Jesus went to the cross for me. For you.
He wasn't just "trying" to save us. He DID SAVE US!
And we have the choice whether to accept that gift of salvation or not!
Hmmm.... creation declares the glory of God.
We need to live our lives with eyes wide open, and take in those teachable moments wherein we see God's creation, his glory and then ~
we can revel in his grace and mercy as we soak it all in.
I hope that we will be able to see the eggs hatch.
Hopefully no animal will kill them, or steal them before that time.
We will be careful not to stress them out any more now that we are aware of their presence.
And, as we watch ~
we will be reminded that Jesus watches over us - and gave HIS life for His children.
Creation continues to teach me and to affirm His amazing love!

Sunday, June 20

Happy Father's Day

I am "ABBA's child" ~ created, loved, forgiven, covered by grace ... I am a child of the King - Father God.

I am the daughter of my earthly dad ~ Gerald Henry Thomas. I was 39 when my Dad "went home" to be with our Heavenly Father.

I am the daugher-in-law of John H. Klassen. Dad K. "went home" to be with the Lord - 4 years ago. I miss my dads alot.

I am married to a wonderful man who is the Dad to our kids: Joshua and Leah, Ashley and Michael. Two by blood, two by marriage! Alvin is a great dad... I love that the kids love him so much, and want to celebrate Alvin, and love to be with him! Tonight we went to Cherry Hill for supper and then back to our place for coffee. Poppa got to celebrate with Everett! What joy to watch and to experience with our grandson!

We also got to celebrate Father's Day with our son Joshua Gerald - as he celebrated with his son Everett John. (Of course you notice that Josh is named after Poppa Thomas, and Everett is named after Great Granda Klassen. Wow... my heart is so blessed!

It has been a good day - we began the day with breakfast with good friends/family Kim and Kevin. Us girls bought breakfast for our men. It was a good time catching up on what is new in our lives. Then off we went to the land for a few hours.

June 20, 2010 - Sunday - Happy Father's Day! I am so thankful.

Friday, June 18

random thoughts late on a friday night

disclaimer: Okay, if you want to read this - I will promise you that it is all over the place. That happens with me - its just that I don't always write it down ... I have kept some things unwritten. You know, one doesn't like to be "too vulnerable" now do we! Or "too transparent"... (ya right, since when!) My thoughts are all over the place - perhaps its because it is almost 1 am... I should be in bed. I just thought I would share them. Perhaps something I write in this post will jog something in your life - or will cause you to make a change in how you respond to someone you perhaps have been shunning - or perhaps my thoughts will be similar to some of yours - or maybe you just want to have a cup of coffee and share your heart - I am open to that too!! Regardless, I warn you - this post is a little scattered... and "real".

Friday night. It was late as I drove home - and dark. The rain was pounding on my windshield. And as I drove - I wept. I wept at what has been, and what is no longer. It has been an interesting day. Began with a wonderful coffee at a dear friends house. The day was full. I have been thinking alot lately about friendships. About assumptions. About expectations. I realize that when I was in ministry, I assumed I needed to care for others. I loved doing that - and I believe I can still care for people - you don't need a title to do that! (thank you God!)

When we lost our grandson and began our walk through grief. I assumed that others would care for us. There were a few surprises along the way. And hurt (besides the obvious loss) I think mainly because it was too painful for others to step into our pain. I think I get it. I think this has helped me and will help me in the future to step into other peoples pain. I think this will have an "avenue" within our women's ministry God is bringing to fruition.

When I gave my notice as a pastor, I wasn't prepared for what would happen... and for what would not happen. Yes, that is a very vague statement. You can read between the lines, and I will gladly have coffee with you and share my story. I knew that I needed to resign. God made that very very clear. But, like I said - parts of the journey since - I wasn't expecting. There was some pretty great hurt that I had to keep pushing back and trying to focus on the times of great joy within ministry. Guess hurt and pain is to be expected even within church right? Afterall the church IS full of broken people - and full of "human" beings.

I think it was on the Spiderman movie I heard this said (think the saying went something like this) "with great power comes great responsibility". Yep - I agree. I agree that "pastoring" is one of those positions that can have both great power but more so great responsibility - to minister in the way God intended.

I have come to realize that the title "pastor" opened up "doors" ... I also realize that with the title comes great responsibility. (unfortunately I have also seen where there is a fine line between the "power" and "abuse of the power"... yep even within christian ministry this can happen). I have wondered over the past year - how many people expected more from me when I was in the position. I have wondered how many people felt uncared for. I have wondered how many people came and went and were never followed up. I also hope that there are people who perhaps God allowed me to touch their lives and share His love with. I know there were people whom I had the privilege of praying with. There were those who I was able to bring a meal to - or to visit in the hospital.

(O Lord - I hope I ministered the way you wanted me to pastor. I hope that people felt your love, your grace, your mercy and could smell your fragrance through my life. That is my prayer.)

There are many things I miss. Mostly I miss people. I miss visitation. I miss the kids hugs (although today I got to care for two kids who continue to call me "pastor Joy"). I miss being part of the "caring" that happens within the ministry of a church. I assumed that is what my pastoral role was about... and decided that would be how I functioned within my role. I would care for, love on, pray for, walk alongside, encourage, support, listen, cry with, laugh with and be there for whomever God brought to mind, to heart, into my office or across the prayer line. I assumed that this was what I was to do... and with God's help, I believe I did my best.

So why have I been thinking about this lately. Mainly because I have felt like "1 of a congregation of 500" and I just can't do that... and all of a sudden - I understand those who I knew "were falling through the cracks" so to speak. I know - I know. This is vague. This is full of perhaps confusing sentences. All that being said, I know we are not to forsake the "meeting together of saints" "or gathering of believers"... HOWEVER I am realizing that happens around the table over cups of coffee, in a living room at a friends house, or around a campfire. If I am told that I am one of 500, it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. It makes me feel well, like 1 of 500. But if I can share my heart over a cup of coffee or hold the hand of a friend while we pray... if I can make a meal for someone who needs it, or open the word and discuss it with a friend, then I am gathering with believers.

All I know is - living my life has to look the same at 10 pm Wednesday as it does 10 am Sunday morning. All I know is that living a life for Jesus Christ is not just sitting in a pew for an hour a week - even if it is the best speaker the church has ever heard. All I know is that "worship" is more than just singing two hymns and 3 choruses or vice versa. Worship is about living fully and bringing honor and glory to God - and coming before Him in awe and reverence.
All I know is that in the past almost 2 years, I have been stretched, challenged and changed.
All I know is that with out Jesus as Lord of my life, and without the Holy Spirit leading within... I would be nothing.

It feels like He has "stripped away" alot in my life, and has continued to show me that HE has to be Lord... I don't get it all - never will - but I will trust him. I don't understand why many of my "friends" I had when I was in pastoral ministry - never call, or return calls, or why it feels strained with some of them. I guess you realize that sometimes people no longer want to be friends when you are out of the position. That to me has been a very hard realization.
Maybe all this is just like I said - the stripping away - perhaps was necessary for God to show me what I would need when I begin to provide retreat space for women!

Stripping away. Refining me. Skimming off the dross so to speak. Doing what HE needs to do, to make me what HE desires me to be... almost two years later - He is still stripping off... whittling down... and washing away the stuff with my tears! Go figure! I am (even at 52) still a "work in process!" (now doesn't that just make you want to smile!)

It is all about you Jesus... all about you. (I was just impressed again with Psalm 139)

I never know what will cause me to go through these periods of deep reflection. Sometimes there is something that instigates it - or stirs it up. I realize that while I am "changing" - there is still alot of the process left! (O Lord, continue to be my strength in all ways!)

Just thought of a song that I used to sing when I was in a band...

"I will serve thee,
because I love thee
You have given life to me.
I was nothing before you found me
You have given life to me.
Heart aches
broken pieces
ruined lives are why you died on Calvary
your touch
is what I longed for
you have given life to me."

Thursday, June 17


Today I went to Selkirk to the municipal office - "planning and permit board" of the R.M. of Ste. Clements, with my chequebook in my purse. I walked out of there $726 dollars lighter (sigh) and with a bright yellow sign to be posted in clear view. THE PERMIT! We finally got the permit to begin the barn! YOOHOOOOOO!! We are very excited!

From there - I went to the RM office to get our "civic address" number. Only to be told that I needed to take the little slip and go to the sign place and order our sign. Our "civic address" is 5839 Henderson Hwy!! Our sign will be made within the next two weeks and then we can put it at the end of the driveway!

Alvin is at work but I know without seeing him, that he is breathing much easier now. Sure, we originally thought that we would build the shop last fall... and would begin the house now. But God had other plans... actually quite a few different plans than ours, and I know enough that it is much easier to "go with His flow" than try to make things happen in our own strength!

So I think that Alvin and I will be laying some rebar on Saturday - and doing some preliminary work on the foundation of the shop. We feel a little under the wire in some regards, as we have to be out of our house by August 1st - which at this point is just 45 sleeps away. (even less because we will not be sleeping in our house on the last night before possession!). It seems Alvin has found a semi trailer (retired trailer) to buy so that we can store our stuff in it. I am a little worried about Alvin's stuff in our current shop... there is a lot of it! That is why we want the shop's exterior done so that at least we can put stuff in there too! (sigh.....)

Anyway - the first permit is in our hands. The next permit for the house - that is in the works. I am not sure how much that one will cost. Dieter at the planning office told me that "just the plumbing part of the permit - for the shop it was the basic one, but for your house - you have something like 19 drains in there!" Yep...

God knows all this. He knows that we are NOT made of money and we want to be wise stewards with the money we did get from the sale of our house and land. He knows. I am so glad that we are just following God on HIS plan for this ministry.... HIS PLAN.

Now, if I can just convince my heart not to beat so fast, and my emotions not to get anxious at times... but on second thought - how else would we celebrate the permit!!

Wednesday, June 16

going to write

When my mom passed away, I began to write my story. A story about a young woman - who lives life - a good life - and is influenced by one of the greatest women she knows. I wrote quite a few pages. They are tucked away in a box.

When my dad passed away a few years later, as I went through his stuff, picking out what was important to me - I took pages that he had written and had edited. I thought again of my story, as I thought of how my life was influenced by a father who loved me with all he had. I took out the story I had begun a year before, and wrote a few more pages, started a few chapters about my young life... and once again tucked them away in a box.

About two and a half years ago, I began to write this blog. Not sure what all was in my head when I began it, but something in me was "satisfied" with being able to write, and express some of my thoughts. My blog has been a place to "talk out loud as I process my thoughts" and it has been good. Like my son said, "Mom, I knew you would love blogging".

About a year and a half ago, I began to think that perhaps I did have a story to tell. I could write it. I did have things to say about the journey of an ordinary woman! I began to think of what I would call my story. I knew I wanted to write it, but was not really sure how to do it exactly.

About 8 months ago, I got an email from someone who said she finally just had to write and tell me something that was laid on her heart. She went on to say that she thought I should write my story. She was talking especially of our grief walk. She said she felt that writing my story could be cathartic. (when I looked that up it means a purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions). Hearing from her - and re-reading over her email affirmed what I believed in my heart that I wanted to do. To write my story.

I am going to begin - and Lord willing, would love to have a manuscript done by this time next year. (is that what your first draft is called?)

I have looked into publishers through the Internet. But honestly, I do not have a hot clue what to do...

I have read books by people who "self-published" (I think that was the word) and there again, some were done real well - and others, not so well.

I just know that I want to write. I want to leave my story in written form, especially for my family. Would anyone else care to read it? Not sure... but then again I have been encouraged by those who read my blog, so just maybe I have something worth while to say!

Time will tell. All I know is that I am just an ordinary woman but I believe each of us has a story that God sings over!

Guess I better get writing!

Tuesday, June 15

a pretty steep learning curve!

Last weekend, the plans for our "build" accompanied us to the cottage. And as you can see - Alvin poured over them just a little! I am still in awe of all that this man of mine knows... and all that he can do. God has generously gifted Alvin!

And then there is me. Who would have thought that I would become involved in this build in more than just as a spectator! You have to know that I -
I am learning a lot. I have met with Denise at Huron Windows. I have bought magazines and looked at pamphlets. I have driven by houses and taken some pictures of colors I liked on the front siding! I have talked with the municipality about our business license. Today I talked with Manitoba Conservation about our septic system, and have a message in for the Environmental Officer to call. Sounds like a steep learning curve - and it is.... believe me... it's a VERY STEEP LEARNING CURVE!! Actually - I am beginning to enjoy it! Go figure.

We are chomping at the bit to get going... hoping to finally get the building permit (Lord willing tomorrow) to begin on the barn/shop. The planning office does have our stamped house plans in their possession now. (we owe our brother Rick BIG TIME on this one!)

Today Alvin spoke with the plan inspector (or whatever he is called) and now we have found out that in order to make our basement a "walk-out" with a door - that means we would have to bring in HUGE amounts of fill and the house would be very very high... so we are thinking of taking OUT the door on the one side (there are other ways into the lower level without this door anyhow) and then it would solve some of the issue that arose today.

It is quite something - I will be honest. I am so amazed at how complex and complicated this whole journey has been. Today I was thinking - so what happens if "this" doesn't work - or what happens if "that" doesn't work ~ but then I thought... "NO, this is the Lord's Vision and HE is in control, and we are only the vessels he is using to bring it to it will all work." I still stick to my latest mantra "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!"

Lately, we have been holding the "plans" very loosely in our hands. Very VERY loosely!
It is in the second half of June. We have not begun YET. But soon, Lord willing, very very soon.

I will admit that I was thinking that my man and I needed to have a talk. I have been praying that as a family - we will come out of this build "intact" meaning that I know there will be some intense times as a family - perhaps some long days - toss in some high summer temps and some mosquitoes - and being that my husband is very used to working long days...
As the wife and mom, I am concerned that we will be good at setting boundaries regarding the build ~ and that we will NOT expect our kids to work the same long hours, and that we will not put pressures on ourselves for deadlines. YEP, I was thinking that Alvin and I needed to have a talk together. But God took care of that too - and during our convertible drive to Thunder Bay a month ago, Alvin and I did a lot of talking and before I could raise it - he said that he was not going to put a "deadline" on the build - and did not want to add pressure! And when it is done - it is done. You have to know that I was so glad to hear him say that...
I am thinking that by this time next week - perhaps we will be pouring the shop floor... or who knows, maybe there will be another "delay" beyond our control!

Sometimes I just have to laugh... it is the best answer for our delays! God knows.... He knows the timeline totally. He is in control of HIS vision... totally in control. I believe that!

Today, I got the following devotional in my inbox... it seemed timely. It is from Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I get a devotional daily. Today it really spoke into my life... you will probably be able to figure out which part and why! Here is is - perhaps part or all of it will touch you the same way it touched me.

- Amy Carroll

"'But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go.'" I Samuel 26:11 (NIV)

He had the perfect opportunity not once, but twice, yet he waited. Twice David faced a tempting decision. Should he kill the vulnerable king or wait on God's timing? David chose to wait while seemingly living out "Plan B."

David spent years waiting between the time he was anointed as the king of all Israel to the time when he officially wore the title. They were years spent in fields with sheep, in the palace as the reigning king's musician, and in caves on the run from Saul's murderous rage. However, the Psalms record for us that David never lost faith. Instead of despairing that "Plan A" would never surface and come to fruition, David declared, "But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints" (Psalm 52:8-9, NIV).

He trusted that God would never waste one moment, circumstance or trial. He steadfastly believed that each incident could be used to bring about God's promise that had been given years before. He held fast to the hope that he would someday be king without taking matters into his own hands.

That day finally came. After lamenting Saul and Jonathan's deaths, David inquired of the Lord, followed His directions and declared himself as king. David was ready to step into God's perfect plan in God's perfect timing. He never looked back to the fields and caves, but rather walked forward into his destiny with all the experience and wisdom God had given him through the many steps it took to get there.

I've had to make similar decisions as I've asked myself these questions: Do I wait for God's promise to be fulfilled in His time or do I work to make something happen in my own strength? While I'm waiting to walk in the fullness of what I believe He's called me to, will I trust Him to use each step along the way for my good and His glory? When it's finally time to move into a new season of promises fulfilled, will I walk forward into that exciting new place or will I look back over my shoulder and choose to stay where it's safe and known?

These are the decisions that have been facing me this year. Over a year ago, I heard God whisper a calling and a promise into my heart. I could look back and see how all my education, previous jobs and experiences have been building blocks for this dream. At times, some of those places have seemed like "Plan B," but they never were. Each step of obedience has brought me to this new place.

In February, I had to make a decision to stay in my job or leave for something new. It's a job that I have been called to in the past, but this time God said "no." He brought me to the realization that choosing this job over the calling would be to choose "Plan B" and furthermore, it would be disobedience. God always calls His children to walk on the "Plan A" path. There may be discomfort, waiting, and trials on this path, but obedience is always "Plan A" and where the blessings lie!

Dear Lord, help me to always walk in Your "Plan A" even when it's hard. I want to make choices in Your perfect timing that lead me forward with You instead of simply staying where it's safe. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, June 14

Joy overflowing...

The latest acquisition from a friend - was this carrier. Everett loves it!

Doing some tummy time - okay, those blue blue BLUE eyes... he is such a cutie!
His eyes are just like his auntie Ashley's when she was little, there are similarities!
funny how genetics within a family line work!

one of our favorite family things to do - having a walk'n talk!

Everett and Mommy in the Baby Bjorn carrier! He loves this too!
Actually, he loves everything it seems!
The sunglasses - they are so cute, and he doesn't seem to mind them at all!
Just checking out creation!

cool dudes

Today was Monday. I got back on the treadmill. I cleaned. I talked with my sister. I answered emails. Talked with my daughter. Texted a little. Chased a few calves back into the fence. Tonight we walked the property and spent a couple hours with the young couple who bought our house! And then we topped the evening off with some supper together and coffee with two good friends who drove out for coffee!!

It was a good day. A FULL day.. but oh so good. And, the thing is.... my heart is just overflowing with joy from spending the WHOLE weekend with our kids and grandson... for the second weekend in a row! There is something special about weekends at the cottage. And let me tell you - I just can not get enough of our little Everett!

He gets FULL attention! All eyes are on him! We ooh and ahhh at the things he does. His giggling makes us giggle. His jumping makes us laugh. We all get a chance to spend time with him - and well okay, sometimes we have to beat off "Poppa" who would hold him all the time if we let him! This past weekend Great Grandma Klassen spent the weekend with us at the cottage - and it was so good for her to also spend the time with him.

I love the cottage... it is a whole different life for two and a half days! It is a good chance to talk - to laugh (till tears roll) - to make meals together and to wash dishes together. It is a good chance to fellowship around a good cup of coffee (or two or three...) It is a time to walk together - to go boating - swimming (apparently the water was quite cold this weekend!) - or to just sit and watch a good movie together. I love spending time with our kids and our grandson. It is something I do not take for granted. I love that our kids WANT to spend time with us... and have told us that!

Even though Josh and Leah have their own cottage now - the fact that they are renting it out - means that we still get to have them stay in their bedroom in our cottage still (whenever theirs is rented. (Like two weekends ago when they had their first rental). So - that weekend I got to see Ev first thing when he woke up - and last thing before he went to bed...and got to hear him when he woke briefly during the night.

I do not know what I would do without my family. I love my kids... and Alvin and I feel extremely blessed. We love our grandsons - and love spending the time watching our little Everett grow. He will be 6 months this week. Where does the time go. It seems especially over the past month - we have seen such changes in his little personality! Oh the joy he brings.

I love watching Ashley and Michael in their early years of marriage. Michael continues to be called Mikey... (Spikey even). I also love watching Josh and Leah "parent" their little guy. I love how their eyes sparkle when they talk to Everett. I love how Josh loves being a daddy! He already lays on the floor and plays with Everett and makes him laugh! (reminds me of Alvin when Josh was little!) I love how Leah "knows" her son so well - that she knows what he needs and when he needs it. I have not seen such a good mom... in fact I mentioned to Alvin that I don't even know if I was that good, to which Alvin told me I was! (insert a happy face here). Watching my kids makes me so glad to be their mom! And so proud of them! Man, I love them all!

I realize that raising children is a huge responsibility... and not to be taken for granted. I also realize the importance of prayer in parenting. Sometimes I wonder how we did it - but we did. I guess we just did the best that we could! And let me tell you - I thank God for my kids... even though we didn't "raise" all four (two by marriage) I am still a very very proud mom! And in regards to our grandSONS... well, let me tell you, this granny's heart is overflowing!

Thursday, June 10

Lunch for 2

Lunch for 2 ~
today was a special day
I got to make lunch
on an ordinary week day
for a sister (through marriage)
and I was really looking forward to it

I got up early
to the smell of coffee already brewing
(gotta love the automatic setting)
but the smell of the fresh bold coffee
was soon overtaken by the smell of hamburger soup

slicing, dicing
hamburger, a bit of macaroni
carrots, zucchini, leeks
onions, tomatoes, celery
peppers, black beans and kidney beans too

a few spices
a little sugar
and a good long time cooking in the roaster in the oven

my oh my, it smelled good
even if I do say so myself!

artistically arranged the fresh unripened mozzarella
sliced and placed on top of tomatoes off the vine
a little basil leaf
and drizzled with balsamic creme
my new found favorite!

water with lemon
waiting with a little ice
in crystal stemmed glasses

fresh coffee
and cheesecake with blackberries
to wrap up the meal

the table was set
the food was prepped
the soup hot and ready to dish
lunchtime music playing from the CD player
table set for two
two women taking time out of a day
to sit together
to talk together
to laugh together
to share fellowship over a simply done meal

table set for two
good china with delicate little blue flowers with raised centers
I don't often get to use all this at lunch!

it felt like
a tea party waiting to happen

I thank God for the privilege
of preparing a special meal for a sister

I thank God for the privilege
of sharing the same birthday month with her
we often joke about celebrating together
but never seem to do it

so this year we did!

I thank God
for the gift of having time at home,
to enjoy these special lunches

I thank God for good food,
and good coffee
and even better conversation

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
12:30 pm

Lunch for 2

Tuesday, June 8

turning 52 and loving it!

They say that people, when they get older, should exercise their minds. Okay... I hate suduku!! I am also not great at putting puzzles together (Alvin will tell me how I sometimes wedge pieces in where they don't belong!). So I thought I would (in honor of my 52 birthday on June 5th) write down 52 things about ME! Read if you want - otherwise just consider it a mental exercise on my part!

1. I was born at dawn on June 5, 1958, and my mom was apparently wanting to call me Dawn... I think my sisters named me, but will have to confirm that with them.
2. My name is Joy. Not Joys (Oma used to call me that) or Joyce (which I get most often) just JOY... not short for anything.
3. I love my first name - but was never excited about my second name till lately. My second name is Esther
4. I am a middle child (even though I was the "baby" for a period of time). I have two older sisters and two younger brothers whom I love dearly.
5. I went from Kindergarten to Grade 3 (end) at Lansdowne School
6. The address of my first home was 1190 Inkster Blvd., I remember my first phone number. It was JU9-6076
7. I was a cheerleader from grade 6 - grade 10 and absolutely loved it. (yep, I bet you can't believe that!)
8. My first pet was an apricot colored pomeranian named Tippy. My last pet was my faithful old dog Oreo who just passed away a couple months ago. I miss him alot!
9. I asked Jesus to forgive my sin and be Lord of my life January, 1966. I was almost 8 AND I did know what I was doing! (contrary to some people who discredit young children coming to know the Lord)
10. I was baptized in stormy Lake Winnipeg in August, 1969 by Uncle Bill Orr during the Missionary Camp at Faith Bible Camp
11. I was "raised" at FBC (which my dad began in 1954) and spent every summer there right up to the year I got married. My heart holds many memories of life on Elk Island!
12. I fell off the dock at the cottage, and into the Lake when I was about 4. My dad said he waited for me to surface and then grabbed my overalls and pulled me out.
13. I moved to Peterborough when I was in Grade 8 and to this day it holds a wonderful memory in my heart.
14. I loved putting on plays/dramas with my friends. However, when I charged a 10 cent admission, my mom was not happy and I think she made me give the money back.
15. I had a birthday party and invited 9 girls and 2 boys. One was sick, and only one boy came. All the girls wanted to sit on his knee. His name was Billy Romantica... ironic my kids think!
16. I remember when Jeannie's bakery delivered cakes to the house, and when the milkman also delivered BEEP juice.
17. My father sold the very first "autoboggans" in Canada for H.C.Paul. Dad used to go on many sales trips, and mail me letters with stick people illustrations. I cherish them to this day.
18. Apparently (my sister Heather says) I was sick and could not go to the Santa Claus Parade, so my parents bought their first t.v. so I could watch the parade on t.v. (she is implying that I was spoiled?)
19. My first tricycle got driven over by an older cousin.
20. I got hit with a swing on our swing set and have a little scar on my face by my nose
21. I brought balloons into the car and my brothers were batting them around and my mom had an accident! My brother Brian was just talking about that!
22. I went to Awana Kids Clubs. My sisters ran it. I attended church with my parents right up until the Sunday before I got married. It was Arlington St. Gospel Chapel, which is now Oxford Bible Church. Sweet memories.
23. I have been encouraged to write a book .... and that is a goal that I hope to accomplish, at least the first manuscript by this time next year. I have thought I may call it ... An ordinary life!
24. My earliest friend's name was Emi. The longest friend I have had that I am still bff with is Josie. We met in Grade 4, lived together in the city during our grade 11 year. She introduced me to Alvin.
25. I took piano lessons and then organ lessons, but I never liked to perform. Instead I loved to play when everyone was in bed, and I could put it on quiet.
26. I sang in a band until Grade 11.... I played (get this) the triangle, and the chord organ (for some instrumentals) and sometimes the tambourine. I was a vocal.
27. I had my first kiss at age 12, across from my house in Beausejour, on the merry go round. The boy, now grown - still lives in Beausejour!
28. I got asked to go with someone to their grad, but being that I was only in Grade 9 - I declined. This happened one more time, and I declined the other person. Hmmm.... guess I was popular afterall!
29. I loved to snowmobile and was a model in a safety video that was made by Polaris
30. I was never good at sports! Although I loved to play baseball!
31. When I was 5 I knew I wanted to become a kindergarten teacher. In stead after grade 12 I began working in daycare... thought it was sort of the same! Boy was I wrong!! This is my one regret.
32. I am double jointed in my arms - yep, I bet you will look next time you see me. My arms actually look pretty weird, they don't hang straight at my sides.
33. I met Alvin the first day of Grade 11 - 1974 and something within me knew that he was the one I would one day marry. By the time we got married, we had dated for almost 4 years! Alvin says I put the pressure on to get married.... whatever!!
34. I loved paid pastoral ministry! Especially the care giving aspect. I had the privilege of performing two marriage ceremonies for good friends.
35. I bought a suede fringe jacket which I loved, and really would like to find another one!
36. My dad performed our wedding ceremony. Alvin and I renewed our vows in a ceremony in Sept, 2003 which our friend Pastor Terence performed, using the same traditional vows!
37. Dad drove me to our wedding by horse and buggy. Alvin and I drove away together after the ceremony. When Alvin was learning to drive the buggy, he almost lost his thumb!
38. We lived the first year of our married life in the big high rise apartments on Whellams Lane
39. I graduated with "so-so" marks, yet when I went back to school as a mature student - I got mostly A's.
40. God gave us the desire of our hearts in the form of our son Joshua Gerald, and our daughter Ashley Marie. We are now doubly blessed with our daughter in law Leah Michelle and Michael John Thiessen. We began praying for our children's spouses when they were babes!
41. I love my husband. He is my love, my best friend, and the one who knows how I tick and still loves me!! This year we celebrate 32 years of marriage. He is truly (absolutlely no joking) a jack of all trades AND a master of all of them!
42. Being a Granny is something beyond words. God gave us our little Jay Benjamin but took him before we could watch him grow. God blessed us again with a second grandson, our little Everett John whom we just can not get enough of as we watch him grow!
43. I have never walked such deep deep grief as that which has happened since our little Grandson Jay was born silently. We experience great joy with Everett but the great sorrow is very real daily as well.
44. I love to knit, read, walk, listen to music, and spend time with my family.
45. I love baseball games!! (watching them that is!)
46. I am a sister.... an auntie....a neighbor....a friend. God has richly blessed me by the love of others!
47. I love doing mission trips, and have had the privilege of working with teams in the Dominican Republic twice, and Thailand once.... and Lord willing, somewhere in 2011.
48. I am a journaller. I have journalled since about 1990. I have told my children that when I die, they can read them if they want, as long as they remember that I was very human... I loved their dad a lot... and struggled with things over and over and over in my life!! To this my husband said, "well you mean you wrote things in there that looked like you didn't love me!!" I would not be the woman I am without the love of my man! But let's face it - marriage is hard work, and I am sure there were times when he wanted to say a few things about me!! enough said!
49. I worked as an Early Childhood Educator/Daycare founder/director - from 1976 until Dec. 31 of 2001 when God called me out. 25 years of childcare. Have not looked back for a moment.
50. Worked as a pastor for 7 years in a paid pastoral position. Again God called me out. This has been a much harder career in some respects. And, pastoring does not stop even if the paycheck does. I love that God uses us!
51. God laid the vision for retreat ministry on my heart in 2000. 10 years later - He is bringing it to fruition.
52. In my life I have driven a small go cart car, a paddle boat, the Pelican (okay, my dad let me steer this big boat). I have driven a lawn tractor. I have driven standard MOST of my life, not drive automatic. I have driven a motor home, my son's huge truck, snowmobiles. I have driven Alvin's big tractors on a major highway for an hour! I did not like this experience!

I am 52.... I love my Lord and Saviour - He has been my all in all. I love my husband, whom I believe is a gift from God, way back when I was 16. I love my children - 4 of them... Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael. We laugh and laugh and laugh together. We also cry together, talk, reason, dream, plan.... My kids are the best! I love being a Granny to my little boys Jay and Everett. Getting to watch Everett grow has brought new joy to this Granny's heart. There is nothing sweeter than to hold him while he snuggles! I love my friends. There are many of you who are truly like family to me! I love my siblings, my nieces, my nephews... I have been blessed by a mom and dad in law - as well as my parents whom God chose to take way before I was ready to let them go! One uncle said that I am "the best of my mom and the best of my dad put together." To me, this is a very hard thing to live up to. My parents were not perfect - but they were wonderful!

I, Joy Esther Thomas Klassen (no I didn't keep Thomas legally in my name, but wish I had) am 52. I am a lover of Life! I stick up for the underdog - have a heart for the down and out, and give every person a chance! I am a woman who is struggling with stuff that women struggle with... yep, the whole weight thing! I am a woman who loves to sit with the Lord, and to listen to him speak. (And He does, believe me). I do not struggle with the body of Christ, but I do struggle with the way we humans have made the "church" become. I don't think Jesus likes some of the ways we have distorted things. I am tired of complacency. I want to experience LESS legalism when it comes to faith related things, and more grace! I love to spend time in worship of Him... and believe that our worship is 24/7 NOT just one hour on a Sunday morning. I love to have fellowship around a good cup of coffee! I love sitting around a campfire chatting!

There are many more things about me than the 52 I outlined... that was a mental exercise for me since let's face it - I am getting old!!

You just have to laugh out loud!
I am 52.... and I am thankful for you - dear reader - dear friend.
Enjoy life!
Even at 52, this gal is learning new things... including how to let Go and just dance!

love you all!

Thursday, June 3

sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

today I spent at the lake
the air smells fresh, clean - summery!
the sky was blue
the clouds were white
the birds sang
a small bush rabbit hopped across my path
and a chipmunk stood on his back legs, almost like he was frozen
until I got close and he scurried away
today I walked the road
me and my grandson Everett
he was in his stroller
and I was pushing it
I could peek through the see through window of the carriage hood
he was content
and so was I
sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

fireflies & junebugs

“Fireflies” photo: gail shumway/getty images

The night is late
I park in the driveway, turn off the car
Stepping out I am aware of the beauty of the night around me

Stars shine brightly
The sky making a dark blue background
Little lights shine
now you see them, now you don't

I love fireflies
there is just something whimsical about them

Frogs sing a symphony of praise
loving the swollen ditches
God had a sense of humour when he created the frog!
or so I think

there is a tapping sound
bugs hitting glass
June Bugs

they have been flying for about a week already
big clumsy
rather ugly bugs
actually remind me of the cockroaches we encountered in Thailand

Gotta wonder about the June Bug's purpose
they come alive at nigh
coming out in droves
seemingly only to fly into windows and end "belly-up" on the front porch

personally I am not a lover of the Junebug
but God created them

from the birds' first notes at 5 am

to the sight of the firefly at 11 pm

I can't help but think


Our God is an AWESOME creator!

Tuesday, June 1


Psalm 46:10 (one of my favorite verses from the Bible)


(Hillsong United)

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are king over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

Today as I drove, I listened to this song over and over again. (on a CD) The words spoke to me - deeply. Of course, it is based on the words that God spoke aloud to me back in the early 90's. I still get shivers when I think of that morning.... the booming voice that said "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!"

Seem that these days - I am reminded again, and again... that I need to be still. You figure that would be easy when one is unemployed. (some people do wonder what I do all day at home!)

These words are a healing ointment for my soul today...

(the picture at the top is not mine, but is off the internet)
(tried to access the blog that used it, but couldn't get it... so I changed it slightly and used it. Hope that is okay)