Saturday, June 30

completely oblivious

This morning, slightly after 8 am, I got on my bike and took a ride. Bike riding normally comes easily to most people.  I have to admit that I am just re-entering the bike riding world.  I got a sweet cruiser type of bike from my kids and husband for mother's day.  A nice baby blue one - with a basket on it.
They say bike riding is something that you never lose.  I got re-introduced to bike riding last summer, when our family all got on bikes at the cottage to go for a ride together.  Well - I promplty fell not even 5 minutes after I got on the thing!  NOT HAPPY.  But I dusted myself off, wimpered a bit at the bleeding scrapes I got, but was determined that I WOULD RIDE!!  The week later I went for another ride by myself, and after riding for about 20 minutes - I fell trying to muster energy to get up a hill.  I felt so stupid but was glad that I was alone, only to get up and once again and brush myself off.  That was when I looked behind me and noticed this older man looking at me - and asking if I was okay.  How do you say yes, for the most part - except for my pride!! lol

Anyhow, with helmut securely on, I venture out on Henderson Hwy - and actually like the feeling of the wind in my hair!

So it was this morning.  At 8 am there was hardly any traffic.  There were a few "hard core" bikers and I felt quite special that they would nod to me/smile/wave as they drove by.  I wondered what they thought seeing me on my baby blue with basket!!

I loved the quiet.  I pedalled and took in the breeze, and the singing birds.  I loved the smells of early morning, and the sight of all the daisies in the fields.  Just a little ahead of me - I noticed someone walking towards me with a dog. I was driving on the shoulder GOING the same way as the traffic and she was walking AGAINST traffic which meant that one of us had to give.  SO, being the "vehicle" I figured I would.   I pulled out far enough in advance.  I pedalled closer to her.  I went by and said hi.
Thing is she NEVER even looked up, we NEVER made eye contact, she was wearing ear plugs.  The thing I noticed even more so however was the dour look on her face.
(I just read that word this morning prior to my ride - and thought it suited her to a T!)

I drove by, and went back onto the shoulder and felt like I had just witnessed an object lesson at her expense.  I could not help but think that she missed something.  NOT THAT I AM SO IMPORTANT but my goodness, to not even look up when someone pulls around you to pass.  I get that she was walking with earphones (so she could not hear me), I get that she likely doesn't LIKE to walk but has to because she has a dog! But what I don't get is that someone does not even lift their eyes up to see!

And it was like God used this to speak to me - about the times when my own stuff blinds me to all that He wants to show me.  When my own stuff PLUGS my ears so that I don't hear Him speaking.  About the times when I just am so preoccupied with my own walk that I am missing out on everything that is moving past me!  It made me sad for her.  BUT it made me sad for those times when I am just so preoccupied with my own self that there is no room for anything else.

I don't want to be so deaf.  I don't want to be so blind.  I don't want to be so preoccupied.
I don't want to miss out on all that God has for me NOW - today - in this moment.  I really want to live life fully - to embrace it fully - and live in the moment - aware of HIS goodness, presence and grace and love around me.  I do not want to be COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS.

O Lord, please help me to walk with an awareness of YOU in every part of my day!  This is my prayer Lord.  Amen.

dour  (dr, dour)
adj. dour·erdour·est
1. Marked by sternness or harshness; forbidding: a dour, self-sacrificing life.
2. Silently ill-humored; gloomy: the proverbially dour New England Puritan.
3. Sternly obstinate; unyielding: a dour determination.

Friday, June 22


The other day I took a picture of our Everett - our sweet little grandson who is 2 1/2.  We actually took him out to the lake with us because we were watching him while his mom, dad and baby Roger went to a wedding.  When we got to the cottage - it was rainy.  Ev really wanted to go on the boat and Poppa was working hard to try to get things done so that we could go out if it got sunny.  Ev had an afternoon nap, and woke up expecting to finally be able to go on the boat since the sun was now shining.
Unfortunately, there were a couple unexpected things - flat tire on the tractor (which pulls the boat into the Lake) and the worst thing was a battery that was not holding a charge.  SAD.  

So after Everett waited (very patiently for a little guy) Poppa told him to come and sit in the boat at least, even if we weren't going to get out into the water!  Everett was really happy with that!  He didn't seem to mind that we weren't going anywhere!

When I looked at the pictures I took and have put here - they made me smile.  

Have you ever thought about the time you spend just WAITING.
Let's see, looking back at just today:
I waited for the alarm clock to go off after I hit it once (securing me 7 more minutes before I had to get up out of bed.)
I waited for water to boil for Alvin's porridge (although I could not wait for the whole thing, so I had to turn the almost boiling water off and let him do it himself when he got up)
I waited at the end of our driveway for it to be clear to turn onto Henderson Hwy.
I waited for a few lights on the way to work.
I waited outside of my co-worker's house - as I was picking her up to take her to work this morning.
I waited at Tim Horton's
I waited for ...  well, you see.
We spend alot of time WAITING.

Sometimes I daydream while I wait. (at lights for instance)
Sometimes I get impatient.
Sometimes I just love people watching.
Sometimes I sing
Sometimes I look at my time, and worry that I have waited too long!

When I looked at the picture of our little grandson, it reminded me about how God has asked me/made me wait.  Not just once in my life.  Not twice.  Not even OFTEN.  He has had me waiting ALOT.
Sometimes the wait is short.  Sometimes it is like it takes forever.  Sometimes I actually forget I am waiting and just carry on with life - and then realize hey - the wait is over!!
It was like that when God entrusted me with the vision for Women refreshed at the Well back in 2000.
Yep - it was 8.5 years before He said - "get the ball rolling now"


Back in 2004 I had a friend who asked me why I just didn't get going - and look for a place to start the ministry in.  (No, it wasn't time)
Back in 2007 I began to feel that God was doing something and beginning to shake me up. (still wasn't time)
Then in 2008 - He said that it was the time.

In some ways - 4 years later - we are still waiting on some things - but we are seeing the progress.
Waiting is hard at times.
But when I believe that God is IN the waiting - it is usually much easier to wait patiently.

Lately, as I have been in the beginning pages of a book title Your Ears Will Hear by Steve and Evy Klassen, executive directors of The Mark Center as well as an online email devotional - I was reminded about God who sees us!!  EL ROI.  It is actually a God thing I think that within the last few days - a devotional on the same thing has come to my attention.  El Roi.  I realize today, and over my lifetime - I have come to realize that God DOES see me.  He cares about me.  He loves it when I come to Him with my praises, my thanks, my chatter, my love for him.  But the thing that I love is that HE SEES ME and loves me - quirky, messy, impatient, all of it!! He sees and loves ME.
When I am impatient in my waiting - HE is patient with me.

So, like our little Ev - I will carry on, doing what I can do for Him, and trying to patiently wait along this journey.  It is a journey - that is for sure!  I can wait some more - because I know at the end of the waiting - I will see where HE has been so present in my life.  And that alone makes the WAITING such an exciting part of this journey!  

Tuesday, June 5

Guest Post - 54 Things about Mom/Joy

This is Ashley writing on Mom's blog - I posted this on my blog, but since it's all about Mom/Joy on her birthday I thought I'd post it on her blog too. 

Today is Mom's birthday! And if you follow her blog you'll know that for her kids birthdays lately she's been writing as many things about them as the age they are turning. So, Leah & I decided that this year, we'd do the same for our wonderful Mom. Right now she's enjoying a day full of surprises and things we planned to celebrate her and who she is and how much we love her.

Here are some things you may or may not know about our wonderful Mom...

54 Things about Mom
1.Mom is the best mom - to all 4 of her kids, Josh, Leah, Ashley & Michael. She loves her kids and her 'in law" kids equally!
2.Mom has been married to her high school sweetheart for 34 years this fall. She can still remember meeting Dad at MBCI.
3. Mom is a faithful friend. She has so many friends from all different times in her life, and she loves to catch up with them over coffee. She has had her same best friend Josie since they were teenagers.
4.Mom and Josie lived together in a house beside MBCI when they were only in Grade 11. This spot was a popular hangout especially for Dad and Uncle Al.
5. Mom loves both sets of her parents and had friendships with them. When Mom lost both of her parents in her 30's it was much too soon. She carries a lot of the same endearing qualities and characteristics as Granny and Poppa.
6. Mom puts others before herself. She is always willing to give a ride, buy a meal, bake for someone, give money to those in need, give up her time to help out etc.
7. Mom founded a daycare - Sugar-n-Spice and was the Director of the daycare for 25 years. While working there she worked along side many family members - Poppa co-founded & directed with her, Auntie Ruth was the assistant director, Granny & Grandma cooked in the kitchen, as did Auntie Gail. Dad and Grandpa were always there to help fix things and build things, and Uncle Rick worked in one of the rooms as a daycare worker. It was quite the family effort!
8. Mom left the daycare when she felt called very clearly by God to pursue a vision he had given her - to start a retreat for women. It was a hard choice to leave a career of 25 years, but Mom trusts God and followed what he was calling her too.
9. After leaving the daycare, God surprised Mom by opening up a calling for her to serve at McIvor church. She started helping first with reception, then was an interim Pastor of Church Ministries, and was then given a permanent position as the Pastor of Church Ministries. She served there for 7 years, and built many valuable relationships. She was effective in her areas of ministry, and was even able to preach a few times!
10. In 2008 Mom decided to get the ball rolling on the retreat house vision. Since then, it has taken a lot of trust in God, time and effort, finances and flexibility to work on this project!
11. When God gave Mom the vision for the retreat house, he gave her the specifics as well, the name - Women Refreshed at the Well; the number of bedrooms - 5, and other specifics.
12. Mom heard God speak audibly one day in our house in Anola. Talking about it still makes her arm hair stand on it's end!
13. Mom and Dad moved to Anola, into a house that Dad built when she was pregnant with Ashley. They lived there for 26 years, where they farmed and built relationships with their neighbours.
14. Mom loves going for walks. Her favorite places to walk were on Springfield Road in Anola, in the back 40 in Anola, and at the lake. Mom & Dad have started going for walks along Henderson now as well.
15. Mom relearned how to ride a bike last year, and showed her perseverance when she got right back up after a couple of falls the first time we rode bikes together at the lake last year. We got her a bike for Mother's Day this year, complete with a basket!
16. Mom LOVES being a granny to all 3 grandsons, and is already faithfully praying and loving on the grandbaby that's on the way!
17. Mom is a woman after God's heart. She loves spending time in prayer and reading her bible. She loves to learn and study under people like Beth Moore and Larry Crabb, and she is constantly seeking to know more about God.
18. Mom loves to sing and worship. She is not afraid to raise her hands in worship and to weep. She loves to sing!
19.Mom loves singing to Everett and Roger. She is known for her song "The birdies in the treetop sing their song, the angels chant their chorus all day long. The flowers in the garden blend their hue. So why  shouldn't I, why shouldn't you, praise him too!" Everett loves when Mom sings that song to him.
20. Mom was in a band when she was a teenager. She played the triangle! The band was called "God's Children" but they changed it to, "Some of God's Children" because they didn't want anyone assuming they thought they were the only children of God's!
21. Mom also plays the organ, and as a kid I (Ashley) remember her playing once and awhile on Saturdays.
22. Mom almost died once. When she was in the hospital with a very bad infection. Auntie Heather worked at the same hospital, and had a feeling from God that she should go visit mom. When she got here, Mom's lips were blue and she was extremely, dangerously low on Oxygen levels. Auntie Heather alerted the nurses and they were able to resolve the issue. We are so glad Auntie Heather followed that nudging!
23.Mom is the middle child - she has two older sisters, Maryann & Heather, and two younger adopted brothers, Bryan and Tim. When Mom is with her sisters, there is a lot of laughter!
24. Mom loves to laugh! She laughs a lot with her family and her friends. Sometimes her and Dad get going about a joke and they both end up crying since they are laughing so hard!!
25. Mom loves to shorten words, which we tease her for. We tease her when she says "I'm a DSR at CBS" even though that is what she is! She is a good sport with our teasing!
26. Mom loves her job at Canadian Blood Services. She has already made some great friends there that she loves to work with. She is a friendly face for those who come to donate.

27. Mom is a generous gift-giver. She loves to buy special things for those she loves and tends to go all out on holidays! Mom's care-packages are over the top and she loves to show up with a surprise treat or  bunch of flowers. The stockings at Christmas are the sizes of big garbage bags...seriously!
28. Traditions are very important to Mom. Every Christmas she likes to try to make rice pudding and every New Years Day she makes New Years cookies.

29. Mom is very nostalgic. She tends to keep special little things tucked a tin of ginger that was her Mom's!
30. Mom LOVES the beach. She loves feeling the sand in between her toes, loves the warmth of the wind, loves the sound of the waves, and loves looking at palm trees. Vacations to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Cuba, and Thailand have been real highlights for Mom. She says that when she thinks of paradise, she thinks of tropical beaches. Mom believes that heaven will be full of palm trees!

31. Mom holds possessions loosely, figuratively and literally. We kids tease Mom about losing things (especially in her car!)...but in all honesty, it is a beautiful thing that she doesn't hold on too tightly to her possessions. She is always willing to give and to share and tends to forget if she's loaned things out.

32. Mom has a fear of deep water. She almost drowned when she was a child at Faith Bible Camp. Even though she loves the beach and likes being in the boat, you won't ever catch her water-skiing behind the boat!
33. Mom isn't afraid to try new things and isn't afraid to embrace new ideas. She is always willing to grow and be teachable. She has a very open mind and tends jump right in to new things. She's quite an  artistic, free-spirited woman!

34. Mom likes to "fly by the seat of her pants" as she puts it. She likes to improvise and think on the spot. Leaving things to the last minute doesn't seem to bother her too much. That being said, deep down  with the important stuff, she likes to "have all her ducks in a row." :)

35. Mom loves to travel, especially with her family. Last year she travelled to Alaska with Dad and some friends. She'd also love to go to Europe and Israel one day.
36. Mom spent her early years, teen years, and adult years being involved at Faith Bible Camp. Her Mom and Dad were instrumental in starting it up and running it. Mom was the secretary for the camp for a number of years.

37. Mom loves to read. She loves fiction and non-fiction. Often she has a bunch of books on the go, with lots underlined and written in the margins!

38. Mom is a writer. She writes on her blog, she journals, she wants to write an autobiography, I think she's even written some fiction stuff!

39. Mom loves to get pedicures and massages. One quality that we loves about her is that she knows how to kick back and relax.
40. Although Mom loves people, she is an introvert. She likes to have peace and quiet and needs her space sometimes.

41. Mom likes to have baths!

42. Mom used to be a cheerleader! She also used to run track and play baseball!

43. Mom is a fearless cook and welcoming host. Mom can whip up something out of nothing, bake without proper ingredients, invite people in spur of the moment, and make everyone feel happy and relaxed. Mom lives her life with such warmth; people are drawn to her because of her gentle and peaceful spirit.

44. Mom doesn't sweat the small stuff. She cares about people, not things. When she has people over, she is focused on THEM not herself.
45. Mom is a hard worker...sometimes she works a little too hard!

46. Mom is still VERY much in love with the man of her dreams. Mom loves Dad and Dad loves Mom. It is very clear to see that they are best friends.
47. Mom hates going to the dentist!

48. Mom has compassion and love for those that others would consider unlovable. When Mom was working at McIvor church she befriended a homeless man that often came to the church during the week. His name is Barry, and she would go out of her way to show him love and kindness.

49. Mom LOVES coffee! There is always a full pot of coffee on at her place.

50. Mom has a signature smell - her perfume "Karma" from Lush. 

51. Mom has had the privilege of performing the marriages of a few couples that she loves! The most recent one was for Kara, the daughter of two of Mom & Dad's best friends, Al & Janet. 

52. Heard of a new gum? Chances are Mom has it in her purse! We like to tease her about the fact that she is so quick to try the new kinds, but us kids have been known to help ourselves to a piece or 2 of that gum.. :)
53. When Mom was a kid she was helping her Mom bake, and she leaned over the bowl while the hand mixer was going. Mom had long brown hair, and her hair got caught up in the beaters, and the mixer went right up to her head. But Granny was very patient, and took the time to untangle all of Mom's hair. Mom has that same patience that Granny has!

54. Mom is so loved. By Dad, her husband of almost 34 years (in September), her 4 kids: Josh, Leah, Ashley & Michael, her grandsons: Jay, Everett, & Roger and even her grand baby on the way. :)