Tuesday, February 28

A Taxi ride with Adam

I met him last night
He drives a taxi
And my workplace taxies us home when we come home after 9
So today was my day to ride.

He pulled up the loop in front of my workplace
And within 30 seconds I was in the car
Buckled into my seatbelt
There was something different about him -
in comparison to other taxi drivers that I have driven with before
Perhaps it was his big smile
Or his friendly greeting on a brisk cold night
For me ~
It was the end of a work day - almost a twelve hour work day at that
And it would have been so easy to just hunker down in the back seat of the taxi and not talk
But his smile, and his cordial hello encouraged talking

So, we talked.
How has your day been?
When is your shift over?
Discussion of how much harder taxi driving is on the weekend when the bars are in full swing
And people are loaded, and often act irrationally
How long has he been driving?
Where was he from?
Where did he meet his wife?
How long has he been in Canada?
He had an amazing grasp of English.

Do you have children?
What are their ages?  Names?
They both had Arabic names.
In english they names mean:  COUNSELOR and the other meant GOD is SOVEREIGN.

"Christian?" I asked.
"No Muslim"
"But not like Ben Laden" he said
More discussion about B.L. and his evil ways.

Right about then, I got to my daughter and son-in-law's house, where my car was parked.
Meter turned off
Taxi slip filled out and given
I opened the door.
"What is your name?"
"Adam" (another big smile)
"My name is Joy."
"Adam - thanks for the ride, it was nice meeting and talking with you."

End of taxi ride.  End of conversation.
However NOT the end of my thoughts.

or the one whom I don't even find out their name.

The ones whom we think may do menial jobs
But this doesn't mean we should treat them any less
than how WE would love to be treated.

The ones whom we rush by
without a word of greeting
because well, WE are in a hurry
or because perhaps we don't think we have the time to even crack a smile

The ones whom we don't speak to
Because just their presence intimidates us
Let alone their prestige associated with their job
or their bank account
or their academic degrees
afterall - who are we to talk to such people!

The words of Jesus speak to me, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind and your soul and love your neighbour as yourself."
(let's not get caught up on the word NEIGHBOR) but instead let us life life in LOVE.  Let us live life intentionally so that others can see the LOVE, MERCY and GRACE of Jesus Christ, in all we do!
And in all we say!

My mom was a great role model to me of this.  Of living a gentle life.  And yet a life that spoke louder than words!!  A life that just oozed the love of Jesus out onto others.  I really want to live like that.  A life of reckless abandon to Jesus!!  All of HIM.

I want to share a song that I heard a couple weeks ago, and has spoken deeply into my being!
It is by the SIDEWALK PROPHETS and it is called LIVE LIKE THAT.  May it also resonate with you!  This has become my new lifeSONG

O Lord, help me to live intentionally and on purpose
Help me to live so that I can speak a word of encouragement
Or share a smile
Or a hug
to someone who needs it.
O Lord, help me to be sensitive to your nudging
so that I don't miss out any opportunity
to put hands and feet to my faith
Help me to make a difference in another person's life - even if it is just for a moment.
Help me to extend love, and mercy and grace to others
Just the way you have given it to me.
Lord, may I live all out for you!  Live with reckless abandon for you Jesus.
And when I am gone - may you be the fragrance that I leave behind.
Help me Lord, to live like that!  Amen.

Sunday, February 26

status update

This past week I have worked a fair bit again.  I have worked early - gotten home late - worked Saturday. I love working but I find that when I am not at work - I am just tired.  PLAIN TIRED.  The kind that just wants to put their feet up and stay home and not do a thing kind of tired.  I am actually wishing my husband would put his feet up too - but the house that is being built - the house that is going to house us AND the ministry Women Refreshed at the Well (www.womenrefreshed.com)  - this house is constantly in our thoughts and well, we just want to get it done.  SO ... there is no rest for the weary at times.
ANYHOW ... I am not complaining here - it is just the preface to this blogpost.

My "status" bar on facebook said "UPDATE STATUS"  "What's on your mind" .. and so I thought I would update my "status" here, on my blog.  My thoughts feel like they are whirling and swirling around in my head and my heart.  I will let you in on a few that have come up - thoughts, questions, observations over this past week.

  • the kids and I gave Alvin a gift that will go on giving ... it is an ice fishing shack.  He loves it.  It is a place where he will be able to go to fish whether it be with the kids, grandkids, friends or alone if he wants and perhaps even with me!!  I loved seeing their faces as we drove up to where they had it parked.  It was made by them for him.  Love:  in the gift of an ice shack!
  • Alvin continues to amaze me with his gifts/talents/love for people/ability to just do anything he puts his mind to
  • beef tenderloin barbecued and shared with our kids for a birthday meal - priceless
  • there is nothing sweeter than our Grandsons
  • Caregroup on Thursday made me realize what a special gift these men and women are to Alvin and I.  We have only been a part of it for a year - but we feel like we are family.  Amazing.
  • I sat on my purse and accidentally called my daughter a couple times during the ride in the car.  This at least made us laugh.  I can hear them saying "Oh Mom, only you."
  • the Fisher Price ZOO was one of the best investments I have made in toys.  To see Everett light up when he sees it - warms my heart.  
  • I am convinced that every time I hear my grandson say GRANNY ... melts my heart a little more
  • sometimes at the end of the day I am just too pooped to write in my journal, which really means that I have to carve out some space when I am able to sit and write without falling asleep
  • I really want to get up early to begin my day with God ~ so why is it such a struggle
  • sometimes I wish God had made me with an aversion to chocolate and every other sweet thing that just seems to call my name!
  • driving to work early - when there is hardly a car on the road for the drive in to the city - makes for good thinking time
  • I miss my sisters but I am thankful for those times when we connect
  • Tim Horton's new coffee size - seriously who needs this much at one time?  My coffee would really be cold by the time I got to the end of it
  • a smile goes a long way
  • there are many hands going into the build of the retreat house.  We are very thankful
  • will I ever get rid of my weight
  • Birthday's ... we all have them. Why does it feel like I am not getting older.  And yet - each day I am sure I see more wrinkles.  
  • Olive Garden is a wonderful place to celebrate with friends
  • one morning I had to try to start my car three times with my remote.  I was just going to run out and start it manually when the lights came on.  Even cars have a hard time getting up
  • I am snoring more and more - sometimes I even wake myself up.  Other times - Alvin wakes me up just to tell me I am snoring.  (not that it helps much)
  • My little grandson Roger makes sweet baby sounds when he is sleeping.  What joy it is to hold him, hear him and watch him as he snuggles and sleeps
  • Beth Moore is an amazing Bible Study teacher.
  • I am wanting to memorize James (the book in the bible) but I am stalled in the first chapter.  
  • Musical cards make me laugh - especially the ones by Hoops and YoYo
  • it is almost 6 years since my near death experience in hospital.
  • almost 6 years since my hysterectomy and I am still having hot flashes!  REALLY?I 
  • I love working for Canadian Blood Services and believe fully in what it does!  Especially since I saw first hand how it made a difference in the life of Mom K.
  • I am missing my parents and in-laws.  Sometimes I just want to talk to my MOM.
  • my husband is on holidays till the end of March.  The City of Winnipeg has a great vacation plan.
  • I can hardly wait to head to Florida with our kids and grandchildren.  Florida holds so many wonderful memories for us as a family.  It will be the first Florida experience for my son-in-law and of course my grandbabes!!
  • I am very thankful for the friends who make me laugh - the friends who challenge me - and the friends whom it is okay to spill my guts with, and perhaps even some tears.
  • I am almost 54 ... will this be the year I dump the weight.  I am so frustrated and discouraged with that.
  • I am working on getting my certificate in SoulCare but my progress has been slow!  Gotta step it up.
  • I really want to write my book.  Maybe this will be the year.  If nothing else - I want to write it for my kids
  • I have learned 3 cords on my new guitar, thanks to my daughter teaching me.  One day - perhaps I can play along with Josh and Ashley on their guitars!
  • I sometimes get worried that I won't be able to do what God has called me to with the ministry.  I realize I need to figure out time for ourselves as a couple and as a family - and also my own "retreat" time, especially since our home and our ministry are going to be in one place
  • Ryan the teenager at the clinic yesterday just completed 40 months of treatment for cancer and he said he knew if he could go through that - he could go through anything. All I could think was WOW.
  • God does not give us more than we can stand up under.  Some times though it feels like we are almost at our breaking points.  But He knows that.  AND He carries us
  • I wonder how God chooses to heal some, but not others.
  • I am thankful that God does redeem brokenness
  • I am so thankful that God blessed me with the kids that I have!  Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael make this mom feel so blessed!!

....  those are just a few thoughts.  Guess you can see where my head and heart have been this past week.  Swirls/Whirls ... thoughts!!  That is my status update for today.

Sunday, February 19

Teachable moments with my Son over warmed up pizza

Last Monday, when my son Josh was the only one here working in the house - he broke for lunch and we were able to have it together.  We talked over warmed up home made pizza and iced tea.  We talked about all kinds of things.  I don't get a chance to have lunch or coffee only with my son.  And that is okay - I love having time with Josh, Leah and the boys.  However I miss those days of when he was a teenager and I would pick him up for lunch, or make a coffee date with him, just to talk and catch up on things that we wouldn't likely think of talking about when everyone is together.  I often get these 1:1 times with the girls, but not often with my boys.  SO back to Monday lunch.  I really treasured this time with h

While we were talking, he was sharing how he had been trying to get up early in the day - about 6 am - when things were still quiet.  When Ev was still asleep.  Josh was trying to get into the habit of early morning QT.  I shared how that is my desire to.  I also shared with him, how often when I went to bed asking the Lord to wake me - that He usually does.  And then it is up to me if I obediently respond by climbing out of the warm and cozy bed!

Such it was this morning - actually 2.25 hours ago, that I climbed out of bed, and decided it was a good time for my quiet time (aka QT).  I turned on a little light so as not to wake up Alvin.  (rare moment when I crawl out of bed before this man!)  I made the coffee and poured myself a cup.  I went to my favorite reading chair - got the heating pad - my laptop desk - a highlighter and pen - my journal - my Bible and my Beth Moore study.  (oh and for a while I used a little book lite attached onto the side of the books.

James - a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ - to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations - Greetings:  Consider it pure joy .....
(I have decided, regardless of how long it may take - that I want to memorize the book of James.  Can I do it?  I think YES!)

I love any Beth Moore study.  I love how she takes us into the scripture and makes us search it!
I will admit - I was a week behind.  I was working so much last week - and not feeling well at all - and the study did not happen.  (and I missed the session at Eastview because I was away on mobile with work)  So here I am trying to catch up first - so that I can then go into the week that is due this Wednesday.

These past couple hours - I studies from James 1:19 to the end.  And many things impacted me.  Things I have read and perhaps known.  I think the Lord just loves to make things stick out for us in new ways!

What really impacted me again this morning was about being not just HEARERS of the Word, but DOERS!  He talks about putting away all filth and evil and IMPLANTING the message within us.  IMPLANTING!!  Because why?  Because the message implanted within us is able to save our souls. The word save in Greek is sozo which means to save, deliver, make whole, preserve from danger, loss or destruction.  I love the part about "making whole" ...

Then verse 25 spoke to me too, which is where the not only hearing but doing comes into play.  Beth writes:  "Squeeze in the palm of your hand the verses we're studying today, Sister, because they are the keys to flourishing life, bone-deep transformation, and divine blessing.  What James will teach us is the difference between talking about living in victory over things like self centeredness, addiction, seduction and temptation and actually doing it!"  (James member book, page 77) (my thought was:  Is this why I still struggle with some things like food strongholds? )  James talks alot about self deception.

Beth also said this in the member book:  "Self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being changed."  "The Word of God, however, is meant to do more than penetrate.  It's meant to activate!! It can bore holes through obstacles.  it can tumble defenses.  It can plant wandering feet of clay in places of divine purpose.  It can sanctify the sin sick and steady the aimless and confused.  It can light a blazing torch in a black hole.  Simply put, the Word was meant to work.  And, through it we were meant to bear fruit!" (member study book, page 78-79)

This all takes me back to my conversation with Josh - and our discussion about quiet times.  I believe that having my time with my Lord is absolutely important to walking in obedience and helping me to store the Word in my heart and also to be a doer, not just one who reads it and walks away.  It is my prayer that God will give me this desire - to serve him with all my heart.  To study his Word.  To be able to memorize it (with this almost 54 year old memory).

I want to love him fully - 
and well this - 
is all a part of loving Jesus with all my heart,
 my soul
 my mind 
and my strength.  
To God be the glory!

Saturday, February 18

lesson learned in the ER

I believe that we can use our experiences to learn from, and that is what happened as I laid in a bed in the emergency area of Concordia Hospital very early Friday morning.  First of all, I realize that I actually drove myself to emergency.  I asked God out loud, "please Lord, help me to get there."  Everything was painful - but especially trying to take a breath!  I just couldn't.  And I couldn't get a good position - not sitting, not walking, not laying.  Pain and shortness of breath.  Those words alone will get you into emerg very quickly.

It was on my right side.  The same rib that I noticed was sore a couple days before.  I had gone to sleep with the electric heating pad on my sore rib area.  I went to bed early, only to wake up shortly after 1 am unable to take a breath, and unable to find a good sleeping position.  Being home alone meant that I needed to drive myself in, and so I did.

Anyhow I got there - and they took me in when they saw I could not breath.  Even though I said it was not my heart, and not radiating any where else - they still hooked me up with the sticky things and did an EKG.  Took blood work.  Put an IV in.  The nurse, Heather, was such a sweetie.  Very efficient and friendly too!  The Doctor checked me over and ordered a muscle relaxant after he was convinced that it was nothing else - and perhaps WAS the fibromyalgia.  The oxygen in my nose helped me breathe.  And soon, the pain went from a 9-10 to a 6.   It felt so much better.  The ER was full of people there for various reasons:  a guy with abdominal pain - most likely gall bladder.  A young woman with abdominal pain.  Another middle aged woman who had some bouts of confusion during the course of the night, while out with friends.  A woman with abdominal pain, most likely flu related.  And then in came an older woman - early 90's.  She came in by ambulance.  Here is where my "lesson" came into place.  I saw them bring her in, and could not help but hear the conversation.  She woke up with a little anxiety.  Perhaps had a bit of erratic heart palpitations.  She did have a pacemaker put in within last year.  But just had a check up and all was well.  Called the ambulance because she was anxious.  Maybe she got more anxious just thinking about it.  (hmmm.... is that what happened with me too?  somehow there is this feeling of security when you are in a hospital.)

Her kids came - son and daughter-in-law and chatted with her abit (this was about 3 am) and then they left when they were told that all seemed to be fine - but they would keep her there till the morning.

My lesson ...  I want to be around for a long time yet.  I no longer have parents to take care of - to visit - to worry about.  That often makes me sad.  However, as I see friends who are taking care of parents, some of whom have Alzheimer's, I am thankful that my parents did remain clear till the end.
But what will my end be?  I don't know that.  I do know that Alvin and I pledged "in sickness and in health - till death do us part" in our vows.  But as I laid there - mostly awake (cat napped a couple times but was so worried about snoring!).  I realized that I do not want to be a worry to my kids.  I do not want to be in and out of hospital.  All of a sudden I realized how important it REALLY is to get my health to be the best I can.  Or like my reminder on my phone says:  REMEMBER WHY.
Remember why??  For my grand kids.  For my kids.  I want to be healthy enough to sit on the floor to play AND to be able to get up from there!  I want to be able to walk - to push strollers - to pull wagons - to climb at the playground.  I would even love to be able to dance at my grand kids weddings DV
(Lord willing).

I think the trip to the ER was my "lesson" about taking each day - and making good choices in what I do/eat/make choices about.  Yes, I am going to be 54 this June - but I still have alot of life ahead of me!!

Funny how it took a hospital blue gown, an IV and a little old lady to drive that one home.
Which is what I did at 6 - I drove home - feeling much better - being able to breath - but also very aware of what I learned at 3 am on a Friday morning.  May the Lord help me to apply it to my life and live FULLY for Him as a result.

Monday, February 6


Today I went to church. Two weeks in a row I have gone alone, as my sweet husband was working day shift.  I love going to church. L.O.V.E. it.   It is quite something because after I resigned, Alvin and I did not attend anywhere for about a year.  We needed to walk a journey toward wholeness and healing.  Yes, we missed the friends we had left there.  But we did not want to just go to church and sit lifeless in the pews.  I was not afraid that my heart would grow cold, because we still remained in contact with some good friends who we fellowshiped with.  (Where two or three are gathered, Jesus is in our midst he said)
However, after about a year, and after sitting in the pews in some miscellaneous churches "soaking" in the presence of God, my heart began to yearn for the fellowship of a church family.  (Remember, we had been in our previous church for 32 years for me, and a few more added on that for Alvin).  It was a very hard but very necessary decision.

I understand what God has done in our lives.  How he brought us to Eastview.  That in itself makes me smile, how he did that.  It was a blessing to be invited into a caregroup within a month of attending.  It was love at first sight with this group!  We have felt cared for, nurtured, blessed, encouraged, challenged. We realized a month or two ago, that we feel so much at home here.  Yes, we still have many many many people to get to know.  But we feel at home.  So it is, that I can go alone to church when Alvin is working.  I thank God for being able to do that.  I don't take that for granted.

Last week, and this week again, we sang a song that resonated deeply within my heart.  I grabbed a pen to write down some of the words that touched me.

... Everlasting
the cry of my heart
is to bring You praise
O my soul cries out

In my heart and my soul
I give you control
consume me from the inside out Lord

Consumer me from the inside out Lord!

In the past few weeks, especially while being challenged with the Transformed preaching series, I have asked the Lord to do several things such as "Stir me"   "Shake me"  
I don't want to just sit still.  I do not want to grow comfortable or stagnant.  I want to be stirred.  I said I want to be shaken (although part of me says, Please Lord, NOT too much shaking!)  In my mind, I get this picture of a person mixing drinks and putting the ingredients, the ice in a SHAKER and then while they HOLD TIGHTLY they shake the stuff.  The shaking, to my knowledge, makes the drink good.
(I am not an expertise on this at all, I am just surmising!)  So Lord, stir and shake me.  
And Consume me from the inside out!  What does that mean?
I think I want that.

What are your thoughts?  Post a comment!  Love to hear from you.

Here is the song that blessed me this morning:

Friday, February 3

Desperate! (more about TRANSFORMATION)

It has been a while since I have blogged.  Can't quite figure out why - but I think it has to do with time.  Working shifts - I love it but I hate it but I love it!  (confused you didn't I?)  Love the variety, but often the days are early, and the nights are long, and I have found that I have not written as much as I want to.  Oh well.  Here I am today.  And I am glad that for a few minutes anyhow - my thoughts are in the same place ... right here with me, sitting on a soft chair, with a warm heating pad on my back.  It is time to write.

I have written on this blog, as well as on my other blog (www.zephaniah4verse17.blogspot.com) that I have been touched/blessed/inspired/encouraged/challenged by the sermon series that Pastor Dave and Pastor Delbert have been speaking on.  If you want to watch them - just go to www.eastview.org and find them there.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take in some good sermons and be challenged too.  ANYHOW back to my thoughts today:

Delbert spoke on Transforming Our Minds and one of his opening remarks was "God is calling us to be transformed in our formation."

He wants us to be transformed so that we can live a fulfilled life! He talked about how we often live vicariously through someone else's experiences.  Also that we have a natural tendency to drift toward something more.  That we should not be afraid of the unknown.  That there should be no more "I shoulds".

We read one of my favorite Psalms.  Psalm 63.  I love that one.

A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah.
 1 O God, you are my God;
      I earnestly search for you.
   My soul thirsts for you;
      my whole body longs for you
   in this parched and weary land
      where there is no water.
 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
      and gazed upon your power and glory.
 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
      how I praise you!
 4 I will praise you as long as I live,
      lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
 5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
      I will praise you with songs of joy.
 6 I lie awake thinking of you,
      meditating on you through the night.
 7 Because you are my helper,
      I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
 8 I cling to you;
      your strong right hand holds me securely.

So some of my thoughts on these sermons?
They are many?
Like - am I DESPERATE for more of the Lord Jesus?
What does "DESPERATE" for him look like in my life?
Are there other thoughts that crowd out my longing for Jesus?
What are the things that hold me back?  Are there natural cravings that interfere?
Why was I created?  Other than to bring HIM the glory?  What is his purpose for me?
How do I perceive my God?
Am I continually allowing God to change my heart?

I think I have been desperate often ...
Desperate for his touch on my life
Desperate to hear his voice
Desperate to see and experience his presence in my life daily.
Usually being "desperate" has a negative connotation but in this way, O Lord, make me desperate for you.
I just really want to continue to thirst after him.
Lord - help me to be desperate for YOU.

There are often things that crowd Jesus out of my day.  Not that He ever leaves me... NO
But often I fill my day with a tight schedule or distracting things and do not make/take the time to just read the Word, or be still and spend some QT with him.
Lord, help me to get rid of distractions.
Lord, help me to always make my QT with you central to the rest of my day.
Because it is through this time with you, that I receive my refueling and refreshment for my day.

What holds me back from living fully?
I am not feeling so great sometimes because of my excess weight (but that is in process of decrease!!)  so I look forward to feeling lighter and having more energy.
Sometimes fear holds me back.  The "what if's?" will kill ya!
Sometimes I have to wait until God convinces Alvin and I both of something.  There are times when I think he plays it too safe ... and I would jump off with both feet and perhaps too soon.  So I am glad  that together we can figure out what God is calling us to, and when.
Sometimes I just get "held back" because I am not sure I can do it.
Or not sure we have the money to do it.  That is the reality for many things right?  Finances.

Natural cravings?
oh yes ...  and it has only been in the past month that I have truly started to work through how the natural cravings have such a huge affect on the spiritual!
I want to crave GOD more than anything that is in the category of "natural cravings"
Imagine if I craved God naturally before things like french fries, cheesecake or chocolate covered anything!!
O Lord help me to crave YOU!!

I am thankful that my earthly father and father-in-law were men who I had healthy father-daughter relationships with.  I do not take that for granted.  As a little girl, I remember sitting on my dad's knee and he would hug me, or sing to me, or tell me a story.  I remember going to him as an adult woman, and hearing him pray for me and my family.  I am thankful that my dad in law was a man who I trusted, loved and respected and valued his input in my life.  I think because of these relationships, I have a very easy time of seeing God as my Father, and feeling loved and secure in HIM.  I do know that He is a God of grace but also a righteous God.

What was I created for?  For his honor and glory (ultimately).  That is the "Sunday School" answer right?  I also know taht to be the truth, and want to live a life that brings him the praise!  His purpose for me?  I think I am watching it unfold.  Loving the Lord, and following him, especially since the 90's, has been an exciting adventure.  There is no other way to explain it.  An adventure that is likely much like a rollercoaster ride at Disney!  Weaving through/sometimes up/sometimes down/sometiems fast/sometimes slow/sometimes upsdie down!!  A fasten your seatbelt advetnture!

I still get shivers when I think of what God has called me to.  SHIVERS.
I still wonder if he is absolutly sure that I can do this.
I still weep when I recall parts of the story, or read journal entries that point to God's fingerprints all over my life, and all over this ministry He has entrusted us.
I still get shivers when I realize how much more He needs to transform me! But that he is still choosing to use me and entrust things to me!
S-H-I-V-E-R-S and G-O-O-S-E-B-U-M-P-S!

I want to live fully.
Me the one who is scared stiff of roller coasters and yet feels like I have been riding the biggest coaster of my life!
I want to live

Lord make me desperate for you, so that my life can be a sweet fragrance to you, and that ultimately when people see/hear/watch me/us ~ that they would only see you Jesus.  ONLY YOU!

Just when I finished writing my thoughts, the words of a song which I absolutley LOVE came across my heart.  I have not heard this sung for a long long LONG time.  It is called "My Tribute" and written by Andre Crouch.  May the words bless your heart, as they do mine.

I also posted on my other blog  "The Journey"