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!


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.

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


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.

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.
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 
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.
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

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  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.

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!!)