Sunday, December 30

@ the Bean

It is only shortly after 8 am.  I have already dropped my husband off at the firehall (since the truck is in being fixed, we are sharing a car) and have eaten breakfast (not the best choice - but Pancakes and Sausage from McD's fit the bill) and have drank one large mug of coffee here at my favorite of all coffee places Mountain Bean (affectionately called the Bean).  I used to come here alot when I worked as a Pastor.  A Lot.  I often did my early morning devotional time here.  Which is what I did first - I spent some time in the word - focusing on Psalm 119:11 and also then reading from Steve and Evy Klassen's YOUR EARS WILL HEAR: A Journal for Listening to God.

I know what I love to do.  I love to spend time alone - in a quiet place - and well, in front of a fireplace works real well too! (which I am doing right now, except I can't put my feet up on the hearth!)
I love to just sit in His presence.  And yes, I believe He is as near to me, as present to me here at Mountain Bean, as He is at home in front of my fireplace.  And I also believe He just simply DELIGHTS in the fact that I want to come and sit with him.

Ah ....
O Lord, I love you!

I am so glad that God speaks.  He really does.
You know - I didn't always realize this
Until He got my attention one morning.
And since then - I love to come in his presence and listen for his voice.
I know that God speaks in many different ways - through a small whisper, through a nudging, through others, through his WORD, through sermons/radio/tv
I know that God also speaks directly to me - and he does that often - and as I hear him I write down what I hear, or the picture (vision) he gives me.  I write down.  I describe the picture.  I take note of what it is he is using to get my attention!  I love that often - He starts by using my name.
"Joy ..."

I know that my experience is not one shared by all.
I have sat with friends who think I am a little "loopy" when I talk about God speaking.
I don't share that with everyone as I do not want to flaunt any of that.
I also only share when I feel it will be an encouragement to someone else, to wait and to listen and to chat with God.
God and I chat often - just like when my dad was alive - and he and I talked alot - on the phone, or in person.
Spending time with God - is really that kind of relationship and one I do not take for granted.
I know that many people do not believe HE speaks only because they have never heard him,
Or ever felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit within
Or gotten a God-given word for them from someone else.

Today as I read the journal entry in Your Ears Will Hear - it made me long for others to also hear the voice of God. I love reading Steve's entries - as he has a heart similar to the heart beat of my own.  He KNOWS intimately that God speaks today, and his mission is to help others hear God's voice as well.  (the mission statement of the Mark Center is To lead people to intimate places with God where his voice can be heard.

Steve writes it this way: "People who take time to listen are hearing Gods voice.
I don't have to force anything.  I am absolutely dependent on God.  I can come alongside people with a light heart and a simple faith, banking on the belief that God is alive and active and speaking today.  As people start paying attention, making a little space in their lives and becoming quiet they heart God speaking in many different ways."  (page 100, Your Ears Will Hear)

As I sit here in this coffee shop, away in the back with my chair turned toward the fire, I am thankful.
THANKFUL that - people like Steve are dedicated to leading people in hearing God.
I am thankful that I know personally that God speaks OFTEN.
I am thankful for those of you who have spoken words from God to me.
I am thankful for the WORD which is the living breathing breath of God - and falls fresh upon my heart each time I crack my Bible open!
I am thankful that for all those years, when I was too busy and distracted to stop and listen - that God never gave up and always gently nudged me towards him!
I am thankful for those of you who have had visions and dreams and spoken them to me.
I guess I am just plain THANKFUL that I love a God who is intimately involved in the details of my life!

THANKFUL!

I guess if there is one word (sorry, not possible) ... if there were a few words for you - it would be to just take time.  TAKE TIME.  I know it is harder for my male friends to get this, as most of you are DOERS and don't often just step out of the action for a breath of GOD! BUT I hope you do - all of you reading this - it is my prayer for you - that this new year - 2013 - that it will be a year wherein you fall more and more madly in love with Jesus, that you are aware more than ever of the Holy Spirit within you, and that you would develop such an intimate relationship with God that you can hardly wait to find that cozy chair to cuddle up in and spend time with HIM.

That my friends - is one prayer I have for YOU.
And for me too!





Saturday, December 29

shaking like a leaf

This has been a hard week.  Ya, crazy I know.  Why would Christmas week be hard? Actually I often find Christmas hard - you know, there is the fast and flurried activity leading up to "the" day.  I always want to make Christmas all about the preparation, the waiting, the anticipation of the whole season of advent - but somehow I always end up with the same feeling - you know, the one that is akin to the feeling after a wedding (sorry I realize that not everyone may have experienced an after the wedding feeling but it is something I can relate to).  There is the long wait ... the preparation ... the build up ... THE DAY ... and then the aftermath of emotions!  NOW that being said - first of all let me clarify that Christmas Day - well - absolutely NOTHING can be better than being surrounded by my family - husband, kids and precious grandkids!  Oh man, this Granny's heart was pretty full of happiness!
But the day after - I knew it had hit - as it has for Christmas's before.  For some reason, I didn't anticipate it this year - actually never even thought about it - until Boxing Day - when the house was still and quiet, and my cloud of thoughts hanging over me! But as I mulled over, worked in, journaled through my thoughts I realized something.  I am shaking like a leaf as the opening of our place is drawing near.
Shaking
like
a
leaf.

There ~ I said it.  I put it out there in black and white.  The thought that I have had for a few months now, has just been put into writing for whoever reads this blog to see.

Yes, here I am - 12 years later since God laid this call on my heart.
Thousands of dollars later
4 moves later
2 years later
and I might add a very TIRED husband later
when it is absolutely too late to turn back now (because we are fully committed)
and I am
shaking
in
my
boots.

S-H-A-K-I-N-G

Now that THAT is out there, I want to explain more.
This shaking - I believe (really) is a good thing because it really is all about feeling inadequate, about feeling insufficient for the task ahead, it is about the unknown and all my questions and fears and yes, sometimes doubts.
AND all that - really means that I realize I can do NOTHING in my own strength.  NOTHING.
It is all about Jesus - all about HIS call on our lives - all about what HE is up to at 5839 Henderson.
ALL ABOUT HIM.

I recognize this "shaking" partially.  I remember feeling it right at the beginning, when I first heard God  calling me to this and I remember reading all about Joshua and God over and over and over again kept telling Joshua to go and have courage and be strong because God was with him.   I also was reading about Moses' call to ministry (and boy was THAT a call) and sure enough ~ Moses - I think he was shaking in HIS sandals too!  Why else would he try to convince God that Aaron should go instead.
I remember thinking "Me?  God?  Really?  What do I know about women's retreat ministry - I am a DAYCARE DIRECTOR!" (no, I didn't yell at God, but I did emphasize my side of the conversation!

Over and over - God told me to Go - He would go before.
He told me over and over - "Joy - I have a plan for your future."
He told other people to tell me that "He is going to do something big for Him, through you - so Joy you better fasten your seatbelt cause you are in for a ride."
Yes, I did shake in my boots at the beginning too. I guess I had just not shaken so much!

It is just now - it is getting closer.  People ARE emailing - they are asking questions - they are interested.  People already WANT TO COME!! (shake/shake/shake)
God IS in all this and well - He is just really telling me to just keep doing what needs to be done.  I am still fully committed!  WE (my husband and my kids) are!

SO I will pull myself up by my bootstraps.  I will continue to acknowledge those feelings that hang over me and work through them.  Fear can stop us dead in our tracks and Lord, Please - I want NO fear here!  A good friend once wrote to me in an email, shortly after I was hired to pastor. (imagine a church being brave enough to hire someone without seminary!! and only LIFE EXPERIENCE)
She wrote, "God doesn't call the EQUIPPED but he EQUIPS the CALLED!"

That is my confidence.  That is my prayer.  That is my story today ...
I covet your prayers.

As I wrote this, the line from a Rich Mullins song, Hold Me Jesus Cause I'm shaking like a leaf - was running through my head.  So here is the song.  We can always be reminded how powerful God is in our lives - and I am so glad about that!!




Saturday, December 22

Ev's Post



This past Tuesday, my Sweet Grandson Everett John, turned 3.
THREE!
I remember the morning he was born.  We sat and waited ~ anxious to finally see and hear this little guy!  What great joy it was when my sister-in-law Ingrid came up from the OR to our little glassed in waiting place, and brought some pictures.  (Ingrid works in heart surgery, and was on a break, and was allowed to be in the operating room for the c-section.  She was great support to our kids, who, along with us were very anxious for a safe delivery.

Everett John.  John after Great Grandpa Klassen.  Dad would have been so proud!  Mom K. sure was!

So it was that on Tuesday morning, I called Ev and wished him a Happy Birthday.  He was already pumped that finally his much anticipated and talked about special day was THERE!! He told me that he was going to the airport for pancakes.  That is one of his favorite things - to eat chocolate chip pancakes at Stella's at the airport - and watch planes come in.  SO they did this.  And then proceeded on to a fun filled day - an afternoon nap - and a birthday party with the Klassen side.

I had great fun in preparing his gift - Leah and Josh encourage his imagination, and this boy HAS imagination.  I love watching as the toys become much bigger and much more fun than they were originally packaged for.  Who says the silo that comes with the Fisher Price barn isn't a ROCKET!
Often we have to be a part of the play "Okay Granny, you and I are the fire station, and we are sleeping, and (then he gets out of his "bed" and presses the fire alarm on his "fire engine" ride on toy ...
Oh Granny, we have to go to the fire!"  You got it.

So since about October, I have been thinking/collecting/buying some play clothes.  A doctor's outfit and the doctor supplies, a construction outfit with hammer/saw/goggles, a firefighter outfit (turn out gear, coat, two hats - one if he is a captain (different color) and then I asked an amazing seamstress Cathy Wiebe, if she would be able to make me a little blue shirt that was like the guys work shirt - and if she could put crests off Alvin's shirt, onto the sleeves of this one.  She asked if I could bring Alvin's shirt as a pattern to copy from and my goodness, she sewed a shirt that was identical to the guys uniform except this one has velcro under the buttons!


 And the last outfit that went in was a "WOODY" (from Toy Story) outfit complete with a vest that a lady donor from CBS made for me. WELL what joy to see him love the outfits and he had to get into the Woody one, and then get on his horse and "Ev the boy" (as he says) was now "Woody the cowboy".  What fun.


You know, I am learning so much from my little grandson - my THREE year old Grandson.  My Sweet Heart as I call him.  I am learning about embracing life fully.  He loves life.  He plays hard.  I love watching him as he is thinking.  (He is quite the little thinker - nothing passes him by).  I love it when he tells me "Granny - that is so beautiful".  I love it when he laughs!  I love it when he comes and sits on my lap so that I can read.  I love that he already has such a sensitive heart toward things of God.
I love that he is his own little person, and asks "why?" sometimes.  I love that his eyes light up when he sees us and my heart stirs when I hear him yell "Granny".

I am learning how to look at life - and to enjoy the wonder, enjoy the beauty, ask the questions.  I am seeing life through the eyes of my grandchildren and one day will be learning from all of them even more as they begin to talk too!

Everett John - you have taught me so much!  And I am so happy, so incredibly blessed to have you as my grandson.  I remember the days when I prayed for you day after day after day leading up to your birth.  I walked the land in Anola - me and Oreo my dog - and talked out loud to the Lord - asking him to make you strong and healthy.  I remember asking God to give you a tender heart towards him, and to raise you to be a mighty man of God!  I have prayed for your mommy and daddy as they raise you - that they would raise you with incredible love, grace, wisdom and oh sweet one - I see that!  Everett - you melt my heart with your laughter, and your thoughts, and your questions, and your cuddles, and your hugs, and especially when I feel your arms around my neck and hear you say, "Granny I love you so much!"  (melt my hearts over and over).  I love that we can experience life with you - and that soon you will live right close to me.  I love watching you as you sleep - and praying over you.  I love seeing how God is growing you strong, healthy but also spiritually strong too.

You and I have gotten a little thing that we do.  I put my fingers just a little bit apart and say
"How much do I love you?
Do I love you this much? (my fingers just a little apart) to which you say NO and shake your heart and have a huge smile.
Do I love you this much?  (a little bigger gap between) and you reply the same way.
What about this much? (now my hands are about a foot apart)  You shake your head - NO and smile and you are anticipating the rest I can tell)
DO I love you this much?  (by now my hands are stretched out as far as my arms can go) and then you usually smile so big and I say 
HOW MUCH DO I LOVE YOU?
and you say "to the back of the moon!!"
I always say to the moon and back - but I love your interpretation!

One more thing that has become "ours" is when I read the book LOVE YOU FOREVER to you and sing you the song as we read.  Some of the story is a little crazy - so I adapt - and one day when you read it yourself - you will see where.  But the best part is holding you - reading it - and rocking you and singing
I love you Forever, I'll Love you For Always ....

Oh Sweet one!  How I do!! Forever.  For Always.  I will always be your Granny.
ALWAYS.
To the moon and Back.
So Sweet One, this is belated - but heartfelt none the less!  Happy Birthday Everett John.
May God give you an amazing year ahead leading to being 4.
I love you So much!

 ~ love Granny

Friday, December 14

sleep well little ones

sleep well little ones
the sliver of moon hangs in the dark night
with stars shining
and the snow glistening in the nigh light
and you sleep
both of you in your beds
while I listen for the sound of a cry, or a whimper, or a voice calling out
and while I think of our newest one, 
asleep in her little cradle
or in the arms of her mom or dad

sleep well little ones
while i still remember the smile on your face before going to bed
or the feel of your hair as I stroked your head
to bring you some comfort as you were slowing down enough to fall asleep
sleep well little ones
as you dream
as you sleep
as you rest up for the fullness of another day
of playing, and pretending
of sharing and perhaps not wanting to share
of eating breakfast and watching curious george
of the anticipation of another day
and more fun
with your mom and dad
and with one another - two brothers.

sleep well little ones
i look at you both and wonder where time has gone
one of you on the verge of another birthday
i look at you both and you seem so big and grown up next to your little baby cousin Matti
o little ones ... you three are my pride and joy
you are the ones - all of you - who make my heart so full to overflowing
with thankfulness
with joy unending
with love

sleep well my little ones
both here and one a few blocks away at her place with her mom and dad
while you sleep you grow
it is fun to watch the expressions on your faces
or the soft little moans as you sleep
or to be part of the three year old conversation as you unwind enough from the night, to be able to fall asleep

sleep well my little ones
my loves and my life
the ones who are teaching this granny how to love even more
and how to play, and to imagine, and to dream
how to be serious but spend more time being silly
who are teaching me how to make up silly songs, tell silly stories and just be silly for the fun of it

oh how I love to dream as I look into your faces
everett john
roger thomas
and matilda joy
you three make me dream
and imagine
and thank God more
for who you are, and for who you will be

sleep well my little ones
for tomorrow is a new day
and you will need the sleep
so that tomorrow you can grow even more
and experience the newness of the day
and all it has to offer

sleep well my little ones

while the sliver of moon hangs in the dark night
with stars shining
and the snow glistening in the night light
all is quiet
sleep well my little ones
and know that this granny
she loves you more than you know
and will go to sleep myself - with thoughts of you on my heart, and prayers on my lips.

sleep well little ones.
i LOVE you 
to the moon and back!


Thursday, December 13

a few thoughts on being an introvert...

It has been a while since I have posted anything.  It is not because I have nothing of any significance in my life to talk about - because there is always something! (of course, that is my opinion only :)   ) BUT it is more that my life has been a little overflowing and well - I will be honest - it makes me tired.

I have come to realize that we can do all kinds of stuff - for people - for places - for missions - for ourselves.  I am sure that I could be running constantly!  AND let's be honest - there are alot of good causes out there - and good things to get involved in - and well - we all want to be "useful" don't we?

Years ago - I learned the hard way.  I learned alot about what took me to the lowest depths (aka as my long deep depression)  and why.
I realized then (albeit not till after I was in depression)  that I was trying to do too much.  Let's face it - women ARE nurturers.  Women ARE the ones pouring themselves out for their families, their jobs, their friends.  That is just want women do!!  (yes, okay, I am generalizing I know, however most women I know fall into this category).  A pastoral friend once said, that there are "givers" and "takers" in our lives, and I totally get that - givers and takers in our work places, in our churches.  Not good or bad - just a reality, and so therefore we need to watch if we are heavy on the "giving" side!

I have done a number of things lately - and loved it!  I have drank coffee with a number of friends and loved it.  I have run a number or errands, delivered a number of meals, and gotten involved in a number of good mission opportunities.  DON'T GET ME WRONG.  I am not complaining.  I am just saying - that for me - I have come to another "aha" moment.

Here it is.  I realized this week - that my weeks have been full of people.  People I love.  People I am getting to know.  People I used to go to church with and people I go to church with now.  I love people.  REALLY.  Thing is (and this may be a surprise to some) I am an INTROVERT by nature.  (for some reason people are surprised when I say this - and especially since I was a pastor) but I am.
I know it to be true.  I have also done a personality assessment - and yes, it also confirmed this.
I am, by personality an INTROVERT who is married to an EXTROVERT.  This is my realization again this week.  I NEED MY OWN SPACE in order to RENEW/REFUEL/REFRESH.  (so, are you surprised?)

And why did I realize this week- likely because I have had the fullest/most overflowing week yet - it seems that the last few weeks just picked up speed as they went along - and this week - it became too much.  And - you likely would not know the difference if you saw me - but you would know if I happened to share that with you (which I guess I am doing here).  So this week - already on Monday morning - it was the "aha" moment - the moment at which God reminded me that I just really really needed to s-l-o-w  d-o-w-n and breathe!

Ah - breathe in
breathe out
breathe in
breathe out
b-r-e-a-t-h-e

So I have been - breathing - and also intentionally slowing down - and just inhaling more of GOD ... more of the quiet pace when I can stay home and just putter around my kitchen, or clean my office or do a load of laundry.  SO I have been breathing - when I open the Word of God and read the advent scriptures for this third advent week - JOY.  (I am doing an advent series with www.GoodMorningGirls.com)  I breathed deeply when I sat with my two little grandsons and asked Ev about his day, and held Roger on my knee.  I breathed deeply today when I held my little granddaughter Mattie up against my shoulder and could feel her breathing, and hear her little baby sounds.

BREATHE.
I needed that ...
I NEED it even more.
I am so thankful that God does that with me - that he has carried me through the hard times so that I could then learn how to slow down and renew before it gets that hard again.  I am thankful that I learned alot during that time - about who I am - about how HE created me to be that introvert.  I am glad that I learned about how to renew - and when - and why.  I am so glad that even as an introvert - there are so many people in my life - whom I can love and be with - whom I can have coffee with and get to know - and times when I can also minister to others with the gifts and talents that God has given to me.

Being an introvert is not good or bad.  It just IS.
And I know that part of that personality type is that I need to just step away - and to just "be"
And ... this is THAT week.  (thank you Lord that you help me to realize who I am - and also help me to embrace it.  Thank you Lord - that you have made me, and love me but more than anything - that you also are my joy, my peace, my strength and my living water!!)

Friday, November 23

Beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder!

Last night Leah and I went on the Pineridge Hollow Christmas Home Tours 2012.  And as we drove up to each home, we had absolutely no idea what beauty lay within.  If you have never gone - this is what happens.  First you buy a ticket for whatever time of the evening, and which ever day you want.  I think this year they are running from yesterday, the 22nd until the 25th I believe.  Then once you have the tickets you mark your calendar and wait with excitement!!

When you buy your tickets you get a map to the houses.  Last night there were 4 houses to see, and then at the end you finish off at Pineridge Hollow where you can enjoy wine and cheese, and purchase any of the beautiful stuff that you have seen in the homes!

So last night Leah and I pulled up to the first home - actually the home of people we know.  It is always beautiful to see homes, their layouts, and their decor.  The fun thing is that Pineridge Hollow comes in an works their decor magic throughout the home.  Of course not all of the rooms are open for view.  You have to keep some mystery right!!  This year, the tours included "special events" at the homes.  So the first event was a demo on making flambe blueberry tea or Spanish Coffee.  Of course you could "sample".  The second home - was also very beautiful - and it was an event where one of the PH chef's made an appetizer.  (I think, we actually missed the turnoff and by the time we got there, the event was done, just some food was there to taste).  The third home, which belonged to the daughter of the owner of PH - I think this was my favorite.  It was so cozy and a cute layout and home.  Before we went in, we had our pictures taken outside! (it was a blustery night, so I really admire the dedication of the photographer!!)  I loved seeing the rooms all decked out.  The whole house was open for display.
Then we went to the Regehr's home (owner) as it is always a part of the tour.  An amazing beautiful home!  It puts the stuff from Pineridge Hollow at its finest display! At this house, we went into the basement and made centerpieces which we all got to take home.  AND THEN ... back we went to Pineridge Hollow (the store and restaurant itself) for appetizers and shopping for all who desired!

It was a fun night out with one of my girls.  Last time I went with Ashley and some friends as Leah and Josh's house was PART of the tour and they needed to be there to host.  Perhaps next year we can go again, the three of us - this year with Matti being born a week ago - it was just a little too soon.

The Christmas decor is almost overwhelming at times.  But absolutely beautiful!  It is amazing what people can think of, dream of, decorate with!  Each home just came alive with CHRISTMAS!

But there is a part of these home tours which I have not mentioned yet, and the part that when I heard - simply knocked my socks off!  As I was working with Jan on our furniture order (at Pineridge Hollow) Jan just nonchalantly mentioned that each year they give the proceeds from the event - to a charity - and she has chosen our ministry, Women Refreshed at the Well.  I was blown away.  I hardly could speak.
Not only was she giving me some amazing deals on furniture - her generosity was extended in this way.  And I was overwhelmed.

Last night as I heard Deb (from PH) speaking at the first house - welcoming people, telling her about the Home Tours and then about the chosen non-profit that will benefit from the proceeds - I could hardly stand there!  It seemed surreal that we were getting that much closer to the opening.  Leah asked me how I felt when I heard Deb speaking.  (Deb told me that I was "hiding" while she spoke) I think in some ways - it made me feel overwhelmed, and sort of scared!  Once again Lord - "you called ME?  REALLY ... Lord give me strength, energy, know how, and ability!"  This is SO NOT about me but about HIM.  Really and Truly.

So last night, as we drove to each house, as we chatted about what we saw and liked, as we talked with other women - we saw beauty in it all.  As I thought of this gift that Jan is giving to us - I see such beauty in her generosity.  It overwhelms me when I realize that other people BELIEVE in what God has called us to!  Absolute affirmation, and confirmation!

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Beauty is all around us.  The other day my little grandson Everett came into the house and looked at our Christmas tree - which was lit up but is not decorated yet and I heard him say, "Granny that is beautiful!"

Oh ... my heart is full of thankfulness, of song, of Beauty!  Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me - bless YOUR holy name!

God's Provision in Unexpected Places


This morning I am just in the midst of my Quiet Time (affectionately known as QT) with my God.
I do may things during my QT.  I (lately) have started off by just focusing on a verse or a passage of Scripture.  I have also been pairing up my QT with reading from a book called YOUR EARS WILL HEAR ~ A Journal for Listening to God, written by Steve & Evy Klassen (founders/directors of The Mark Center in Abbotsford, BC).  I know them, as Alvin and I have had the privilege of booking into The Mark Center, as well as in September I participated in a Listening to God morning session with Steve at our church's (Eastview Community Church) downtown campus One88.  After that Steve came home with me, and spent some time chatting (the three of us) and then talking some more while I drove him to his next location.  SO ... I am really being blessed by YOUR EARS WILL HEAR (which by the way, I have some if you want to purchase one).

ANYHOW back to this morning.  Here is the portion of Scripture that I meditated on:


           Job 11:7

              New International Version (NIV)
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?


Job 11:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Can you find out the deep things of God, or can you by searching find out the limits of the Almighty [explore His depths, ascend to His heights, extend to His breadths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]?

The question that Steve encourages the reader to think of/ponder is this:
When has God provided in unexpected ways?  As you pay attention to how God has been providing for you, focus is on this element of the unexpected.  How is God revealing his character to you as you receive provision from unforseen places?

I have been thinking alot lately - about how God - being God - NO ONE can even begin to fathom the deep things of God!  You know, sometimes my mind goes there, and my finite thinking just makes me overwhelmed.  God - His greatness, His might, His power, His omnipotence, His mysteries, His limits ~ CAN NOT BE FATHOMED!!  Sometimes I have said about something, "it is a mystery only God understands".  There is way more to our relationship with God, way more to the way He moves, acts, blesses, guides us - than we can even ask or imagine!

When I think of how God has provided in unexpected ways - I am continually blown away by the "UNEXPECTED" ... and I love that about my God!  Being a somewhat spontaneous person, I love the surprise element (well, most of the time) and I just have loved the adventure that God has us on - with the building of our house, that we are using for ministry.  I am loving the fact that once God laid this vision on my heart - that HE has also done HIS thing over and over and over again, and that He has brought in the unexpected into this adventure.

Let me list you some of the "unexpected ways" that God has provided thus far:

  • names of people that we needed to connect with
  • volunteers that have come and donated their time and effort
  • unexpected cheques in the mail
  • land purchase with no conditions, no counter offers needed
  • neighbour with dozer who helped do some landscaping
  • some help with reduced costs from 4 different businesses - covering landscaping to mattresses to soil to furniture.  BLESSED!!
  • an architect who designed the retreat center, and we were so "on the same page" that very little changed in the design from start to finish
  • brothers who KNOW codes and gave sound engineering advice
  • a friend who listened to our hearts and designed a landscape plan for us and has informed us that someone is ready to donate the rock needed for the yard
  • opportunities to share my story of this adventure to women's groups
  • last night - the Pineridge Hollow Christmas Home Tours 2012 started, and Jan Regehr has selected Women Refreshed at the Well as their charity of choice and we will received proceeds from the home tours.  (OK that one knocked my socks off)
  • Christian Week story (2009) Manitoba Cooperator (2009) and the MB HERALD (coming next month) all wrote stories about the retreat vision.  (I am one of 2-3 written about in an article in the Herald, but CW and MC were exclusive about the Vision!)
  • more cheques that come unexpected
  • people speaking prophetically in our lives and us seeing how the words they have been given for us/ the dreams and the visions - match fully with this adventure God has us on!   
  • and on and on....
How is God revealing his character to you as you receive provision from unforseen places?  I love thinking about this question Steve asks.  God - He is such an amazing God!!  This is what I think about his character!

I think personally, that God LOVES to surprise us.  If you are a parent, you could think in those terms (although our parenting comes NO WHERE close to what God is as a parent to us)  I loved to give my kids surprises .  Even still as they are older.  Personally, I have been surprised over and over again by how God is in the details of my life, and in the details of this adventure He has called us on!  I think that the unexpected ways show us that God is way bigger, way greater, way more beyond our comprehension - that show us how He loves to guide us.  I love that the unexpected things we encounter are like continued road markers along the path, or like continual "kisses" that help us to remember again that even though we don't SEE him in person, we hear him, and see how he works through people, and circumstances.  Personally I believe there is NOTHING coincidental but that God knows, allows, puts into place at times, ORDAINS things along this journey!

I am seeing that God - MY God - is way bigger than anything I could ever think.  He is blessing us more than we could ever ask or imagine - and I just really stand in awe and thanksgiving.  This is HIS vision - we are merely the vessels through which He is building, through which He is bringing to be - a place where one can "just be" and experience rest, renewal, and refreshment.  WOW .... what a God HE IS.  

also posted on our ministry blog www.womenrefreshed.com


Wednesday, November 21

post partum thoughts from a Granny's heart

Today is November 21st.  It is a week since we welcomed our little granddaughter Matilda Joy into this world - and into our arms.  This time last week I was so incredibly tired.  It had been a very long haul - physically, and emotionally.

The next day, I wrote a post for this blog.  I wrote it and saved it.  But later, decided to post something different, and let this one sit.  I tossed around whether or not I would actually post it - and I think that now, I will.  You see - having a grandchild - or more-so for our children - when they have a child - we do not take that for granted.  We have learned other things too - and that is that God - He is GOD.  He allows some things to happen that we will NEVER understand EVER.  We have learned that HE (being GOD) does not OWE us anything.  We are NOT ENTITLED to anything!  We have learned that Life is great - full - fun - but also HARD and even in the midst of that - in the midst of the sometimes pain and anguish - that God is still in control (even if we think he isn't) and that God is Sovereign (no matter what)    An aside:  you should check out the latest sermon series at our church's website - it pertains to this too.  Check out www.Eastview.org

I have come to realize that I hate it when all I hear is "oh, this and this happened ~ God is GOOD!"  Or, "so and so was healed ~ God is GOOD!"  OR, "this miracle happened ~ God is GOOD!"  Sorry, this is where it is raw and I kind of put it all out there.  I am really tired of just hearing people exclaim GOD IS GOOD when GOOD THINGS HAPPEN!  You see - the reality of God's goodness is that HE IS GOOD even when life really sucks!  HE IS GOOD when my friend is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  HE IS GOOD when my friends husband loses his job.  AND the reality - HE IS GOOD even when we lost our grandson JAY.  It is those HARD THINGS that we just can not even explain how or why we can/or can not say that, but we KNOW in the hard stuff what we believe - and that is that GOD IS GOOD!  All the time.  No matter what.  Joy or in sorrow.  In sickness or in health.  In prosperity or poor times.  GOD IS GOOD.  (okay, sorry, I just had to say that out loud)   This is really when I appreciate what Delbert said in our sermon on Sunday.


ANYHOW last week I wrote this following post, and today, I have decided to post it.  It is raw.  It is emotional.  Don't read it if you don't want to.   Why am I posting it?  Perhaps just so you can see a window into my being - and see how once again joy and sorrow walk side by side.  
I did not post this last week - because somehow, I just wanted to celebrate our little Matilda Joy's life.  The thing was - in the shadow of the great joy, was the sorrow, crouched down and weeping in the corner.  In the midst of the great joy - was the reality of an incomplete family on this side of heaven.  In the midst of the waiting and the praying and the rejoicing, was the memory of the waiting and the praying and the wailing in grief.  


Here is is .... my journal waiting for my granddaughter to be born:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Today is November 15th, a day and a half since we were blessed with our 4th Grandchild, who happens to be our 1st GrandDAUGHTER.  We knew she was a girl.  Actually, I knew she was a girl before Ash and Mike told us she was a girl.  I don't know if it is a "gift" or not - but I have always been accurate with my "gut" feeling about what a person is carrying.  Accurate almost 100%.  I was wrong with a set of twins, whom I thought was a girl and a boy.  They are both girls.  ANYHOW ... it was hard keeping the secret, and well, I oops once or twice on my blog (which Ashley and Leah detected and Ashley was able to change since she knows my blog password!)  At this point, it doesn't matter!

I can't believe that I have not written yesterday.  Thing is - it was all I could do to have a coherent thought yesterday.  By the time Mattie was born, I had almost been up for 24 hours straight.  I had gotten up quite early (5:30) Monday morning, with a headache.  So, by the time Alvin and I got home yesterday - I had been up for a day and a half straight, and was so very tired.  That was not the only thing though.  I was also very very emotional.  I knew going in to be part of the "coaching" team (along with Michael my son-in-law) that it would be emotional.  My baby was going to be having a baby!!  That is emotional in itself.  I knew it would be hard to see my daughter working through labor and delivery.  Little did I know how emotionally hard it would get.

I am going to share with you a part of my journalling from that day/night and today as well:

Tuesday, November 13 about 3:45 pm:  It's been a long week ~ especially with Ash.  We left home @9:50 for her doctor's appointment and went from there with our hopes up that today will be our babe's b'day.  We are still hoping and praying.  LORD? Please hear our prayers.  Please Lord.  There is anxiety there again.  Please take it Lord.

Wednesday, November 14th at 1:54 am:  I sit here in the coheir - with the two nurses doing their thing.  Mike is asleep in one chair and you are asleep in your bed - briefly waking to breathe through contractions.  They started oxytocin about 15 minutes ago ~ of course it is a little concerning - especially when I hear them talking about things that are "not typical" (not sure what they were referring to, but heard those words).  

O Lord, please help this little one to be born safe and sound.  I would be lying if I said I am not afraid - because I am - anxious. Please Lord - help our little one to be delivered safe and sound.  Please Lord.

It feels like my worry level is up.... Ash, you are such a trooper.  Not sure what other word to use.  I honestly did not know/believe women could be in labor for days, and you have been (since Sunday when you first went into the hospital and got sent home).  My sweet girl ~ bring my sweet granddaughter into this world.  

O Lord, please bring her safely.

journal entry @ 2:15 am:  Ashley is in the washroom, and I can hear Ash is having another contraction in there.  The oxytocin will likely be kicking in soon (to help speed dilation).  O Lord, please - help our girl and help our little girl BOTH to be kept safe and sound during L&D.

To My Sweet Little Granddaughter:  I have been praying for you little one - right from the start.  
Praying for your health, your grow ht, your delivery.  Your birthday - which will be today November 14.  O Sweet One - the nurse just asked your mommy if she knew what you were - and your mommy said "Yes, a girl" to which the nurse replied "She's a stubborn one!"  

journal entry @ 3:01 am:  Dr. is in and going to check.  I have been praying - that things would be progressing and it sounds like things are changing.  O Lord please.  Please ~

and that is when everything started to become a blur!  Shortly after I journalled the above - I put down my pen and listened to the doctor.  She is an amazing doctor!  I was so impressed with her - and I know that Ashley loves her as a doctor.  She had come in and I heard her say to the nurses that things were good"  And then she watched the baby's heart rate on the monitor.  That is when it was obvious something was awry.  Matilda's heartbeat - which was normally in the 140's to 150's was now low - 90.
Within seconds I hear her speaking some orders - we are going to do an emergency c-section now.  Get the team in place and ready.  Let's take her down.  You guys come with us.  BIM BAM BOOM
Nurses were all doing a job - it seemed they had rehearsed this - there was no one out of place or not doing something.  Within literally seconds they had Ashley wheeling down the hall toward the high-risk section and Michael and I were chasing behind.

I will be honest.  Just prior to the activity I was anxious.  But this change in plans - this emergency brought absolute terror to my being.  I sent Alvin a text.  He was in the front lobby of the hospital with Michael's mom, dad, sister and brother.  I think my text said "they are doing emergency c-section.  Pray"

I was scared to death that this little one was going to die.  And when I went to talk with Alvin and I saw the horror/anxiety on Alvin's face, and behind him noticed Jeannette and Phoebe (mom, and sister) ALL I could think of was "O God, NO, please no"

As I sat with Michael I had no words - just NO words.  Then I remembered the look of him, with his head in his hands, not uttering a single word or sound .... that is what he looked like when he came to the hospital when we lost our firstborn grandson Jay.  

Michael was taken to gown.  I was not able to join them at this point.  I went to get my camera for him to take into the room, and I was pretty tearful at this point.  I looked around the abandoned room.  Just mere minutes before, the "baby mix" was playing ... now everything was eerily quiet and askew.

Coming back - I saw Michael was done gowning up and now waiting.  I prayed with Michael, bravely trying to pray without losing my composure - as that would not have been helpful for him going into the OR.  I knew that he was feeling/thinking/experiencing pretty much the same thoughts/feelings/memories.  I didn't need to ask him.  We didn't need to talk.  I prayed together - it was short and sweet.  My heart cry:  Please Lord - we pray for a safe delivery.  Safety for our little granddaughter.  Please Lord - help her to come out screaming!  Michael went into the OR to be present with Ashley for the delivery of his little girl.

Before I walked out, the nurse that helped get things in order for the c-section assured me that the baby's heartbeat had recovered.  I shared some of our story with her - about losing our Jay.  About the fear of losing this one too.  I wept silently as I walked.  She had tried to assure me, but I needed to hear that she was born safely and soundly.  I could not help but think "you can not assure me of anything FOR sure ..."

We sat in the front lobby.  I cried a bit more.  Phoebe didn't say "let's pray" she just started praying. I was not the only anxious one in that circle of chairs at 3:55 am.  I also knew that Josh who was at work, and Leah, who was pacing at home, waiting for news - were also praying.  Phoebe prayed and just before she said AMEN, my phone beeped - with a text.  I looked at it when we were done praying and it was from Michael and said "She is screaming!"

More beautiful words could never have been heard by anyone - nor such beautiful screaming.
We thanked God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



a "p.s" written about the above post:  I have watched our little Matti over the past week.  I am so thankful.  I have watched our little Everett and Roger over the past week - and my heart is even more thankful.  I have been blessed with 4 Grandchildren - 1 in Heaven, and 3 here with us.  Last week - we were thankful.  But once again, I could not help but say - "why Lord, Why didn't you answer our prayers for Jay?  Why"  I have been thinking a lot about that.  About how some families breeze through Labor and Delivery without ever giving it a thought.  But it was in our minds and hearts from beginning until the end.  Joy and Sorrow just continue to walk closely.  We are thankful for all of our grandchildren - and grateful to be able to cuddle, hold and love the three that we have here, this side of Heaven.  And know that one day - we will also get to hold our Jay!  Till then, we say, God you are Sovereign.  God, you are Good.  God, we are thankful.  








Friday, November 16

Announcing our Matti (yes, I know I am late with this)

YES I AM LATE WITH THIS!!!  
I had to wait till all the kids friends were told! But here it is now - 

Our hearts overflow with praise to God!
He has given us a GrandDAUGHTER to love, to hold, to teach, to read to, to kiss boo-boos
to sing with, to laugh with, to bake with, to watch grow Lord willing from babyhood till WE her poppa and granny are old and grey!!

She is absolutely beautiful.  Fearfully and wonderfully made!
She is our 1st GrandDAUGHTER, and our 4th Grandchild.
She is the 1st child for our "baby" daughter Ashley and son-in-law Michael Thiessen.
She is a new cousin for Jay (who is in Heaven) and Everett (who thinks she is cute) and Roger (who will grow up with a cousin born in the same year as he is!)

She is Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice as the nursery rhyme goes.  But most of all - she is a gift from God!  We praise Him!

Meet our little bundle of sweetness:
Matilda Joy (Matti)
born 3:58 AM on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
weighing 8 lbs 3 ounces 
(almost identical to her mom, who was 2 ounces bigger)
and she is 20 inches long.

Mom, Dad and Matilda Joy are all doing well!!  
They are very very very HAPPY.
And Poppa and Granny - we are celebrating too!

Here is our little one - BRING ON THE PINK!!















"fearfully and wonderfully made"
To God be the Glory!
Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for the grandchildren He has given us!


Saturday, November 10

Snow Day Thoughts


It seems that today, at least in Manitoba, is supposed to be a snow day!  Apparently a big snow storm, what is known as a "colorado low" is supposed to dump record breaking snow on us.  Right now, it is just lightly falling.  However, we believe that what they say - will be true, since it is more than a "chance".  So, we will just stick close to home (unless of course Ashley calls to say it is "baby delivery time" which (let me tell you) will be music to this Granny's ears!  With Alvin home, I have NO DOUBT that I would get to the hospital IN TIME as the work truck is a 4x4.  (I am so excited as my daughter and son-in-law have asked me to join them in the room for L&D).

But, with no phone call yet - we wait.  And we will work through some of the stuff in the house.  We are still moving in, so to speak.  We are still unpacking boxes, still furnishing, still finishing trims, etc.   A snow day is a perfect day to just stay warm, and work, and stop for coffee along the way.  A restful day, a day of solitude in some ways.  Just Alvin and I working together at different projects.  

It is quiet in here right now.  And I am thankful.  Sometimes (actually alot of times) I just love the "quiet" of this place.  The outside scene of serenity, just adds to this inner feel.  It is like God is laying his hand on my shoulder, ever so gently, and saying "shhhh.... enjoy .... be still.  As you work, see my fingerprints all over your day.  Feel my presence beside you.  Shhhhh.... enjoy!"

So, I am going to.  My cup of coffee beside me.  The fireplace switched on and glowing.  A chair beside it to sit in, and my bible and journal. A quiet start to our snow day!  

Enjoy!!  And maybe later you can make some snow angels!


ps 
I got this e-devotional from INSIGHT FOR LIVING and it just seemed timely for today.  So, I am sharing it.
I am also posting this same post on our ministry blog, as it seems to fit both my personal blog and the ministry one (www.womenrefreshed.com)



November 10, 2012
The Benefits of Solitude
by Charles R. Swindoll
Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who
take refuge in Him. 
Proverbs 30:5
The Scriptures are replete with references to the value of waiting before the Lord and spending time with Him. When we do, the debris we have gathered during the hurried, busy hours of our day gets filtered out, not unlike the silt that settles where a river widens.

With the debris out of the way, we are able to see things more clearly and feel God's nudgings more sensitively.

David frequently underscored the benefits of solitude. I am certain he first became acquainted with this discipline as he kept his father's sheep. Later, during those tumultuous years when King Saul was borderline insane and pursuing him out of jealousy, David found his time with God not only a needed refuge but his means of survival.

God still longs to speak to waiting hearts . . . hearts that are quiet before Him.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Wednesday, November 7

gentle healer






Have you ever prayed for healing?
for yourself
or for someone you love.
I have.

When I was so sick in 1995, and then when I was sick again in 1996 (the time that my sister found me in what we think was the nick of time) ... I prayed Psalm 103 over and over and over again.

Bless the Lord, O my soul ...
.... who heals all your diseases...

Lately, well actually for the last almost 2 years, we have been praying for healing for a friend.
And it seemed like she was healed for a time.
Or perhaps it was just a short remission.
We are praying again.
fervently
praying
for
a
miracle

fervently praying
for
healing

Sometimes it is hard to pray
I know that I want my friend to live
to be able to enjoy life again
without chemo
without pain
without lack of energy
but I also know that God loves her ever more
and that sometimes He chooses to heal people by taking them to be with him.
and that
is really too hard to think of right now

I just heard a song, by Selah called Gentle Healer.
and I could not help thinking about my friend.
In fact - as I lay my head upon the pillow shortly,
I think I will still be thinking about her
her family
and our friendship
and
I
will
be
praying
fervently.


Gentle Healer 
Selah & Amy Perry


The gentle healer came into our town today
He touched my eyes and the darkness left to stay
But more than the blindness
He took their sins away
The gentle healer came into our town today

The gentle healer came into our town today
He spoke one word that was all he had to say
And one who had dies just rose up straight away
The gentle healer came into our town today

Oh he seems like just an ordinary man
With dirty feet and rough but gentle hands
But the words he says are hard to understand
Yet he seems like just an ordinary man

The gentle healer He left our town today
I just looked around and found he'd gone away
Some folks from town who followed him they say
The gentle healer is the truth, the life, the way
The gentle healer it the truth, the life, the way 


Tuesday, November 6

really, do I have to write another cheque?

We have been in the house now, for over a month.  It is feeling more and more like "home" but I have to admit that there was something hard about moving in.  That really sounds dumb I know.  But hey, this is my blog - and that is what I feel!! LOL.  I have been trying to figure that out, and well - I think there was something quite safe in staying in the loft.  Even though it had been the third place we had called "home" in the 2 years.  I had actually become quite comfortable living with just a few things.  I had actually come to enjoy the simplicity of loft living!  I also did not want to move into our house until it was totally finished.  But I gave in.  You know, it was just easier on Alvin if we moved in, and then he could putter around the house - working on things, and the funny thing is - he LOVES to know I am home and around.  I guess that is just about being married and comfortable with one another - even just knowing the other is home.

So, we have been finishing stuff.  I told one person that sometimes the "TO FINISH" list seems longer than the "TO BUILD" list did!  I will say that we are not great on the finishing part.  It just feels like it is taking forever - and well - maybe to others, it has taken forever, but that is our story.  Who knows how long Noah took anyhow?

We are now furnishing things.  That is fun - but then again - it is time consuming, as I investigate everything thoroughly on the internet first - and then purchase and order it either to go to Pembina, N.D. or to our place on Henderson.  Jan from Pineridge Hollow has been such a wonderful help in furniture selection for the retreat portion of the house.  (Our furniture from Anola has all gone into our private suite in the lower level).

Thing is - these are MAJOR decisions to be made by a woman who was not used to makeing such major and costly decisions. WHAT DOES A COUNTRY MOUSE KNOW ABOUT FURNITURE!!  And, with every decision, there has to be a credit card, and eventually a bill payment has to be made.  We are furnishing way more rooms than I have ever in my life had to furnish all at once.  While it is fun picking colors/fabrics, etc - it is nerve wracking.  (Not good when you find out that the chair you picked does NOT fit into the space it needs to fit into!)

I have now finished working, except for the odd casual shift.  I am not even sure how long I will do that even.  I loved working because it helped out financially.  Let's face it - we are NOT made out of money - and well, who wants a huge line of credit to pay off?  Sometimes, this has added some stress.  Okay sometimes it has added a LOT of stress.  Financial stress is never good is it?

Today I popped 3 cheques in the mail - and on Sunday I dropped another one off.   I still stress over them.  I still drop them in the mail with some fear and trembling!  I would love to NOT have to write another cheque - seriously.

Soon we will be done furnishing.  (I can hardly wait, as the cheque book is coming to its last!)
Soon we will be ready to do some test runs.
Soon we will be ready to take our first paying retreater!
Honestly, it will be nice to bring in some income finally and to be mailing out less payments.  We are a non-profit registered organization - but the bottom line is, we still have to cover our expenses, so the daily rates have to do that.

As I was checking out the color of a duvet cover that was delivered today (and unfortunatley will have to be returned) and I was thinking of the choices we have been making.  (we are really having some trouble with SPRING!)  And I was reminded again of the prophetic word that was recently spoken to me.   It said nothing about the cheques I was one after anohter after another HOWEVER it did encourage me in the furnshing the rooms, and the special details.  God is in the details!  (see post, October 31 @ www.womenrefreshed.com for the complete "word" )

Really, it is fun.  But we are tired.  It has taken up every waking thought - and often the sleeping ones too.  We just really want to get it done - and get going - so that we can settle into a more normal pattern of daily living.  But then again, what is normal anyhow?  I hope that normal means I am not going to be writing any more big cheques but I also hope that we continue to live fully in each moment! Actually, "normal" may equal "status quo" living, and well, I don't ever want to just live status quo - so I am eager to live outwardly and see what Jesus is going to do with all this, and with us!

Sorry, I realize that this likely makes no sense other than some ramblings from a tired woman married to an ever more worn out man! (and dreaming of a nice holiday in the new year, Lord Willing)  It may sound like I am whining ... and really, I don't mean to.  I just feel like this is a "sigh" or two!

The thing is - God continues to give joy, and strength and courage at times when we need it AND he is also laying this vision of His on the hearts of others. And THAT my friend - is pretty exciting - and stirs up these weary bones!!

Night!  (and hey, if you are the praying kind, I would love it for you to keep us in your prayers.  God calls us to things and he does equip us for the journey.  We feel His leading and guiding, but right now we ARE just feeling like it has been a LONG time.  So we covet your prayers for joy and energy and strength and grace for each day!!  God is good!)






Monday, November 5

intrigue & curiosity surround the story!

intrigue and curiosity

Whenever Alvin and I go to Pineridge Hollow, or Sunnyside or even when I go to get my hair cut in Anola - we usually go past this house.   The other day - I decided to take a picture.  I am not sure WHY it intrigues me so much - but it does.  It is an unfinished, boarded up, abandoned house.  A house that was going to be some one's home - but it never got finished by the looks of it.

It intrigues me.  Actually it intrigues me a lot!  I can't help but wonder WHY it did not get finished.  Or why it was never lived in OR if it was lived in - has not been for a while.  We had some friends who once began a house - and it was planned way bigger and more expensive than they ever anticipated.  They trudged on - and used up their money - and the bank would not advance them more until certain things were done - and they just kept getting more and more over their heads.  Alvin had done some work for them right at the beginning - and he was pretty nervous FOR them.  They didn't seem to even see the "writing on the wall".  Oblivious it seemed.  Unfortunately, they ended up not finishing - and selling - and divorcing.  A sad story.

I guess I look at this house - and wonder if it was someone who was building, and their spouse died.  Or perhaps they ran out of money and just walked away from it all.  Or maybe they ended up divorcing and instead of paying out one half - they just refused and no one got the unfinished house.  You can see how my mind wonders about the story of this place.

Over the last couple months, it has started to go downhill more and more quickly.  The deck is falling down off the front.  Someone has cut the grass in front - I am thinking perhaps because if someone ever dropped a match, or there was a lightning strike - the long grass would have burned quickly toward the house.

On either side of this place - there are homes.  Sometimes I think that if I saw someone walking on the road, I would stop and ask them.  I would ask them about the "story" ...
Does that make me nosy?  Or just plain curious?  Not sure - either/or/both!

As I drove past it - I realize that we all have a story - and perhaps parts or all of our stories cause intrigue for another person.  I realize that we all have a story - and what we see/or others see is part of an even bigger story - that God knows - start to finish.

I have a story.
A story about how I - a sinner saved by grace - fell in love with the true lover of my soul - Jesus Christ.
It is a story about amazing grace - as there was nothing I could ever do - to earn my way into heaven.
Nothing.
Except allowing Jesus to become Lord of my life - and walking in a relationship with him.

It is a story about an ordinary woman - whom God has called and equipped for his purposes.
A story about a woman who is a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a co-worker, and ex-pastor, an ex daycare founder/director, and currently a vision caster and ministry starter.

I often want to write my story - which is full of God moments along a journey that has taken me from the highest highs of joy ~  to the deepest darkest lows of grief.  A story about hearing the voice of God!  And of enjoying the times that he has spoken into my life!

We all have a story - that is just how God made us.  One day, I am going to write my story.
So that my kids, and grandkids, and great grandchildren can find out a little bit about me - and my relationship with the Almighty!  That in itself is a story all of its own.

One day I will write it.
It may not go public
perhaps just written on a laptop and stored away.
But whether it is published or not - doesn't diminish the fact that we all have one.
A
STORY.


ps
hey - if you live close to either Elmhurst or Pineridge Golf Courses and know the story - I would love to hear it.

Sunday, November 4

24 things to celebrate about Michael


Ev is sitting close to Uncle Mikey during present opening

Josh lighting the 24 candles that Ev helped put on the cake

the torch is lit!!

and then he gets to blow out the candles!!




Sometimes I am "a day late and a dollar short" as the saying goes.  For sure this time, I AM a day late.  However, that does not mean that I don't have 24 things about our Michael.  And, actually, I just realized - we celebrated 1 day early!!  SO that means today is his REAL birthday and I .... I AM ON TIME!!!  (SMILE)

Happy Birthday Michael - our "son" whom we love more and more as time goes by!  We have celebrated 6 birthdays with you now!  And, like I have done for the past year - I have written as many things about the "birthday boy/girl" as their celebrated years.  So today - I want to share 24 things about our Michael.

 1)  I actually watched Michael grow up a little.  The first time I met him "formally" where I was introduced, was when I was over visiting with his mom Jeannette (whom we affectionately call JT)
and Michael was cozied up in his bed already.   I believe it was the summer of 2002.  He was so polite!!

 2)  I remember the first day that Michael came out to the farm.  It was the same day that Ashley had confided in me that they "liked" one another.

 3)  Michael was born in Africa.  His parents were missionaries in Burkina Faso.  From what I have gathered - Michael was a great gift to his Mom and Dad.  AND STILL IS.  The African rythmn is deep within his being!!  He hears the music - and he drums to the beat!!

 4)  One of the favorite pictures that I remember seeing, is of Michael - as he played in a mud puddle.  He was curious then.  Still curious now, although doesn't play in mud puddles!!

5)  Michael is the best drummer that I know, and have heard.  Just yesterday he said he wondered how he was going to be able to play when the baby was born.  To which Ashley assured him that there would be times when the baby wasn't sleeping - and he could beat on those drums.

 6)  In his last drum concert (first and only one I went to) Michael played along with his drum teacher, to the song WIPE OUT!  I was so proud of him!

 7)  Currently Michael uses his gifts and talents to drum in two bands, as well as two worship teams, one at their old church (McIvor M.B.) and one at their new church (Kilcona Alliance).  He LOVES to play!

 8) Michael helped out on two mission trips - one with Calvin Christian School and the other with McIvor Ave. M.B. youth group.  Both times the mission trips were to Mexico

 9)  Michael graduated from Calvin Christian School.

10)  Michael LOVES cars!!  Need I say more?

11)  The first car that Michael fixed up was an older stationwagon.  It really was his pride and joy I think.

12)  Michael has had the same two best friends for a very very LONG time.  Even though they don't see each other alot - they are always there for him!  Michael is a faithful friend.

13)  Michael is very easy going and laid back.  Hard to find a more gentler person!

14)  Michael came out to the farm and Alvin and he "worked" on his car together, but we had been given the heads up that at some point soon Michael would likely ask for Ashley's hand in marriage.  We had gotten the heads up from Josh, who strongly encouraged Alvin to go easy on Michael.

15)  Michael is very gracious.  I had to eat humble pie when, the first meal I made for Michael was not fully cooked yet.  And he still ate it.  It was lasagna.  I was cooking it when I found out he had to go back to the city early.  So, yep, the lasagna noodles were still not fully cooked.  Not CRUNCHY but well, still had a bite to them!

16)  Michael proposed to Ashley in Cuba.  We were going as a family - and well - we decided to take Michael along.  Originally I think he was going to propose at the end so as not to "take away" from our family vacation.  However - we encouraged him to propose right off the start so that he could relax.

17) Michael and I had our first mom/son coffee and chat in March 2008.  I just had to find out a little more about what made this guy tick in relation to my daughter!!  It was a good coffee date!

18)  Michael LOVES to build.  He is a young "BOB the builder" as Everett would sing the song!  He was a framer before he got married.  Lately he has worked for Blue Jay Family Works (our business) and has not only framed - but has learned many many more tricks to the trade!  We are thankful for his help - especially with our build.

19)  Michael LOVES family.  And we LOVE HIM!!

20)  Michael also loves cats!!  He and Ashley own 2.

21)  In our family we affectionately call Michael  -  "Mikey".  That shortened version of his name I believe started when we were away in Cuba.  Ev always calls Michael - "Uncle Mikey".

22)  I always tease Michael that I am going to give him a mother/son kiss on the lips!  (yes, some of us have been known to be lip-kissers).  So last night - when I was leaving from Josh and Leah's I had my hands full and told the kids they were all getting kisses!!  So Michael warmed up to that idea and actually kissed me too!!  NO not lip kisses but still!!

23)  Michael is going to be a great dad!!  He is just waiting to hold this little one that is coming SOON.
I know that there are some anxieties - after all who is totally prepared to being a dad??  But he will be a good one.  Everett thinks he is such a great Uncle - I can see this when he asks if Uncle Mikey is coming and when he likes to just be with Uncle Mikey for a book - or to play with toys.

24)  Michael is a younger brother to his brother Donovan and his sister Phoebe.  He is now a younger brother to Josh and Leah.  HOWEVER a younger brother could not be more loving or more LOVED.  He is a gift to our family!

Michael dear Son, you are a gift to us - to Ashley first - and to us as a family.  You seem to accept our quirks - and just love us.  You have learned, or should I say ARE LEARNING to work alongside of your Father in law - which is not always an easy task!!  You are so willing to help me out too!!  We prayed for you before you knew it - and we thank God for you.  On this - your special day - your birthday - we just want to tell you that!!

Happy Birthday dear one.  
Happy Birthday.
This "mom" loves you!!

love 
Mom K