Tuesday, December 15


I can hardly believe 
the number on the calendar
today is the fifteenth
where  oh where does time go
second upon second
minute upon minute
hour upon hour
I want to shout STOP
and let me revel in this moment
at this time this day, this month, this year
but I know time ticks on

time was not created to stand still
but to be a marker of moments
hours, days, weeks, years
a marker of milestones
of family, friends, acquaintances
of appointments,
and coffee dates

in my life lately time has marked
advent walk through 
ministry retreaters
Christmas parties
and family birthdays
and everything that belongs to this wonderful season of Christmas

time ticks on
and I find myself attending my grandchildren 's Sunday school program
and my grandson's kindergarten concert
waving like a granny gone mad lol
and sitting misty-eyed
because I am remembering other times
of Christmas pageants and school concerts
and yet it feels like yesterday
when I got to the school an hour before in order to get a good seat

you measure moments
but also sorry and life changing events
we wait for time to pass
then lament where it has gone
It is a respecter of no one
although at times we hear that "time has been good to them"

time teaches us that we need to treasure the gift of today
without trying to rush to the surprise of tomorrow
time ticks
as hair turns grey 
and hands wrinkle
and steps get slower
and yet in one's mind "it seems like yesterday"

my best friend  - my not so best friend :)
you make me frazzled when overbooked
and yet at other times you make me quite content in the moment
fully aware
fully awake
fully alive
to the time around me - 
to sights, sounds, smells 
without you
I'd never know the grace that comes with age
the wrinkles that come with laughter
and the wisdom that comes with living life

without you
id never move out of my cozy house
or comfy pew
or complacent job
or walk in adventures with my husband, my kids and my grandkids

without time
i would never see my grandkids grow
and run and talk
i would never see the beauty that God brings our of ashes
I would never see the forgiveness that happens after its worked through
I would never see the heart heal after broken into a million pieces
I would never venture out in boldness 
and Id never learn to count my blessings

time you are my friend and sometimes you feel like my foe !!
you felt like you were never ending when I was a child
carefree and living a simple and good life
but now as and adult you cause me to reflect backward and sometimes i feel old

you have reached through the good times
but felt like you stood still during the sorry
and yet time
you've grown me
you've defined moments in my life
you have sealed occasions in my memory
and have made me realize in retrospect
the great life God has given me
through my 57years of time

you measure my life
but you are a gift from God
and I am so thankful

- Joy
December 15, 2015

"time has a wonderful way
to show us what really matters"
- Margaret Peters

Thursday, December 3

breath of God

Based on my quiet time with God this morning, as I was lead to read Ezekiel 37 which is about the valley of dry bones.  These are my thoughts.

carried away by the Spirit
he was taken in a matter of no time at all
to a valley
not just any valley
but one of desolation and eat
bones were everywhere
too many to count 
and while standing eyes wide open 
in wonder and astonishment
he head the voice of God
God was right there 
and asked him a very interesting question based on the sight before his eyes

"Son of Man can these bones become living people again?"
everything within in felt like that was impossible
yet, just being there, carried by the Spirit of the LORD 
he knew he was going to see something amazing
he had that feeling

"O Sovereign LORD" he answered 
"You alone know the answer to that."
and then he heard the Sovereign LORD during him to speak a prophetic word
from the lips of this visionary prophet
not just any words, but words that came straight from the mouth of God, to his
"Dry bones listen to the Word of the LORD.  
This is what the Sovereign LORD says, Look I am going to put breath into you
and make you live again.
I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin.
I will put breath into you and you will come to life.
then you will know that I am the LORD."

the prophet stood there briefly
digesting the words given him to speak
And then he spoke clearly and boldly to the dry bones
and before his eyes
the valley resounded with the rattling of not just one
but thousands of bones
what a noise
what a sight
even though scattered
each bone knew where to attach with the other
making up complete skeletons
And before his eyes
muscles and ligaments attached 
and then skin ~ 
full complete bodies
but while complete
they had no breath
But the sovereign LORD told the prophet to speak prophetic words again
calling to the valley
and specifically calling to the bones
"O breath from the four winds
breath into these dead bodies
so they may live again."

and there before the prophet's eyes
that all came to life
before his eyes - they stood
the sight of a mighty army totally taking his breath away
prophetic word revealed
and come to be
the prophet was brought to his knees by it all
and by the realization of the sovereignty of the LORD GOD that he served

"But what does this mean O Sovereign LORD?" 
and the  LORD GOD explained it all message of new life
to a people ini bondage
in exile
and without hope

dry bones
breath of God
new life!
And as I read about the prophet's encounter
I knew it was for me today
my dry bones can come to life
because of the breath of the holy spirit within me

And so I breathe deeply ~ 
waiting for him to fill my being
I choose life!

Tuesday, December 1

Peanuts BlueJays and Woodpeckers

This picture does not do him justice at all!!

The sun is shining
The air is crisp
And the porch beneath my barefoot is cold reminding me that it's December
I dump the container full of peanuts into the bird feeder
and having stripped the wrap off of the seed block, I place it quickly on the prong
Knowing that within minutes my family of feathered friends will be there

I take my seat in the comfort of my home
Fresh cup of coffee in hand - I watch
and there they are in all their beauty.
a living reflection of the Creator
the jays beauty reflected by the shades of blue and sometimes raucous behaviour
the magpie who has found the bird feeder to be an easy snack
huge and powerful he flies in barely stopping to grab a peanut in its shell
he flies in, chasing all the others away merely with his intimidating presence
(and I thought the Blue Jays were big)
the nuthatch who loves to hang upside down and peck away at the block of seeds
and the woodpeckers with their red marked heads and speckled bodies arrive in all sizes.

God's array of beauty
in feathers, beaks and calls
Ive heard the Jay as he sits on the feeder looking towards the window and calling a specific call
which whether its his intent or not ~ when I hear it I know the peanuts are all gone
(the woman at Birds Unlimited did warn me about rationing the peanuts with the Jays!)

And then last but not least the cute little chickadees who (as my grandkids say) sing "chicka dee dee dee) when they are around

I watch them on this quiet sunny morning
and I realize that God's giving me many teachable moments through my feathered friends
If I believe the Bible is true - which I do
I believe what it says when Jesus uses the examples of the birds of the air
they are not worried about their lives because He cares for them SO how much more does he care for me!
Sometimes I forget that
and live my life as if I am in control
as if I have to make all the decisions alone
in my physical life I know i live recklessly and willfully rebellious often
Even though the Holy Spirit within me makes me aware of His presence and nudging
Oh how often I must quench the Spirit
Lord forgive me.

As I watch the birds eating for their sustenance and fuel
i realize the times i eat because I feel empty but its often not because of physical and real hunger
He has remained me today that He cares about ti all
each breath
each drink
each morsel of food
And has told me that He alone can fill that void
that I try filling with sweet things other than Him

I know that all the sweets in the world (or in my cupboard)
can't fill me up
He is the Living Bread
He is the Living Water

I sat and watch the Blue Jays as they shake the peanuts to see perhaps if the shell contains one peanut or two
They pick up and drop and pick another
and sometimes shake it far back into their fullest and pick up one more peanut
Often they come to the feeder one after another like I have watched the planes at Chicago airport come in one, then another and another
This is God's Blue jay runway outside my window.

Oh and I just realize all the peanuts are gone
And i decide to and dump another container fools that I can continue to enjoy the teachable moments
of this hour
of this day
of my life

And then - like the kisses that God often places into my life as a reminder that HE is GOD and HE is HERE ... he sends the biggest woodpecker ever at the feeder.
The beautiful pileated woodpecker,

This is the Scripture the LORD led me to today:

Matthew 6:24-34New Living Translation (NLT)

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Grateful!  May You also enjoy some teachable moments throughout your day!

Monday, November 2

butterflies and other randomness

I keep thinking that I should change the name of my blog - but then it makes me smile as I remember when my son said "hello country mouse" to me and smiled while he said "Mom I knew you would love blogging"... and I do, but lately I have had no time it seems.  I wonder how many of my thoughts remain in my head and heart.  And I guess that's okay.    I realize that this middle aged - hmmm perhaps leaning a little farther past middle aged (unless I am going to live to be 114) is growing older (and I hope more and more kind, gentle, loving and gracious!) but some things do not change - I have thoughts, musings and I chase a few butterflies!!  (perhaps some of you smile because you know me, or you do this yourself)  You know you are in the middle of speaking and something catches your eye and there goes the thought and onto another one.  It is often that I see my kids just look at each other and smile.

So I figure I will just put a few of those random thoughts that I am having today - out there.  Maybe there are still a lot of butterflies!!

Here goes.

  • my husband knows so many random things.  I will admit that sometimes I google (the odd time)  to see if he is right and he is.  How does he know these random things?  He just does.  For instance - about geese.  About their test flights as little ones learn how things go.  Or about how they "gather" together ... or why geese don't soar like the eagle we saw in our yard
  • my foot has been bothering me.  I think I broke something in August - and so I am left with some pain and some weird "clicking"... thing is, I made myself a 100 day challenge and I am exercising in some way every day.  Perhaps this has increased the wear and tear on my feet and thus the issues lately.  
  • apparently JetDry mixed with water and dish soap make for some beautifully streakfree windows.  Unfortunately ours are not streakfree and I think I missed the cut off to get someone to come and clean
  • my friend Meggie is my most spontaneous friend.  I love being able to text and say "have you eaten supper" and then to be able to meet.  Her visits are life-giving.
  • when I was writing about the streakfree windows that I don't have lol my auto correct kept trying to change it to just the word streak which reminded me of the time some of the boys on our Grade 11-12 Quebec Ontario School Tour went streaking after they snuck out ... NOTE:  I did not see this, I just heard lol
  • today is grey and soon the snow will fly.  I hope we do have the el nino inspired winter that the Farmer's Almanac is predicting for Manitoba
  • yesterday one of our pastor's (Pastor Dave Ens) talked about fear which included his fear of the flexed arm hang when he was a kid in school and the Fitness testing was coming up.  I realized I feared anything like that ... I loved playing baseball and soccer but I hated having to do the sit-ups, or the running ... hmm some things don't change!!
  • I am a MARY ... love to sit at the feet of Jesus.  
  • I have learned (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to become also a MARTHA and just realized that when I serve people - it is a gift that I can give them.  
  • when I go to a party I like to find one person to talk to and sit in the corner.  I do not like big things with tons of people 
  • I really don't like talking on the phone ... neither does my husband.  However ministry has forced me to do call backs and phone calls.  But just shooting the breeze on the phone - its hard for me
  • I am an introvert 
  • I love being a mom and a granny.  I had a granny ... my mom was called granny ... I am a 3rd generation granny!  :)
  • I find it hard to keep rules at times - especially with my grandkids 
  • Alvin made me learn how to drive a standard on Portage Avenue.  After trying for the third time to get through a light intersection - I think he was regretting it
  • I have never skied but I wish I had learned. 
  • Most of my wardrobe has some form of black in it
  • I love salty things.  I also love sweet things.  Sometimes I love them at the same time *sigh
  • I love working out when it is finished!!
  • my only regret in life is not going into Education and becoming a Kindergarten teacher.  Instead I went into daycare.  Not comparison in pay or holidays!!  But it was good.
  • my first dog was a little apricot coloured Pomeranian my dad bought me - and his name was Tippy.  Tippy met his fate when he lived on my brother-in-laws farm while we were building
  • I love to sing but realize that lately I love listening more than singing myself.  
  • Alvin and I have been known to laugh until the tears roll down our cheeks and we are almost peeing our pants.  Sometimes the thing that set us off isn't even funny.  
  • raising our kids in the country was truly one of the best things I think we could have done for them
  • my sweet friend Maxine inspired me to pray for my kids before they got on the bus every day ... that morphed into praying whenever we left from one another.  
  • my first 20 years of life I was raised in a Brethren church.  The thing I cherish the most is that we broke bread (Lord's Supper) every Sunday.  I miss that
  • my husband eats best when I am cooking for retreaters!!
  • I love to knit.  My first project was a big sweater for my husband.
  • I loved to bike but then didn't bike from the time I was about 14 until I was about 53 ... 
  • my husband kids me about looking like a circus bear on my bike lol
  • the first time I went biking again - I promptly wiped out
  • the big beautiful eyes of my grandchildren will melt this heart any time
  • while I love the idea of sleeping in past 7, I realize that I hate it when I wake up at 9 and feel like I have wasted the day (um, sounds like my husband's thoughts)
  • my friend Josie and I bought t-shirts from a little store in Beausejour.  They had a dog on them, and he was smiling.  There were flowers.  It said Love is Beausejour Manitoba.  WHAT WERE THEY THINKING ... a dog? flowers?  And what were WE thinking when we not only bought them but WORE them.  Sheesh
  • my first paying job was working at Smitty's Restaurant in Garden City Mall.  Still remember the ugly burnt orange with white puffy sleeves uniform - looked kind of like a little swiss girl. 
  • I was a daycare founder/director, in the field for 25 years
  • I was a pastor in our home church for 7 and a half years.
  • I worked for Canadian Blood services for two years 
  • Out of all my jobs - I miss CBS the most!
  • at our church, I have a look alike apparently.  Cory and I have been mistaken many many times for one another.  
  • I was the one that picked the color for the barn, and the navy color for the house.  Never before was a color decision so poured over
  • I love the sound of water - fountains, oceans, rivers.  It is like a soothing balm.
  • when I go to the Forks in the summer, the smells, the sounds, make me feel like I am on holidays somewhere
  • the fountain in the SCU on Lagimodiere has not been on the last many times I have been there. but it always smells like a pool!
  • we need a new hot tub cover
  • being asked to be with Michael and Ashley while Ash was in labour with Matilda was a real gift for me.  
  • the song from my childhood that I have sung to all my kids is called "The birdies in the treetop"
  • God speaks to me - and I love listening!
  • I like to be spontaneous and the ministry schedule has clipped my wings a lot in the spontaneity department!
  • the best thing is to be all together with our family - kids and grandkids - whether it is just in one of our houses, or better yet - away on a holiday.  We travel real well together.
  • we did a mission trip with Josh, Leah and Ashley joining us - in 2006 to the Dominican Republic
  • we have two sponsored kids - one in the DR and one in Indonesia.  (World Vision and Compassion)
  • I love bold fresh black coffee but sometimes I take it with cream as a treat
  • my kids make me laugh out loud
  • so do my grandkids
  • there are very few people who still greet me with a kiss on the lips - this btw was a THOMAS thing.  
  • I am thankful for my friends who speak into my life
  • ministry makes me tired at times but it also is the place that brings life and where I know I am called
  • I hate it if someone makes me feel stupid.  Ya, you don't want to do that.
  • my favourite book is the Bible.  I just can't decide on the version right now.
  • I hate wearing socks.  My daughter seemed to get the same thing ... so did my grandkids.
  • I love watching the bluejays and other birds that come to the feeders.  
  • God speaks to me in so many ways through creation!  Thank you LORD.
  • chocolate - love it
  • favorite pie:  chocolate pie and also rhubarb ... oh and lemon meringue .  (oh boy now I am craving
  • white wine or red?  I used to like Red - then switched to white and now I think I prefer red again
  • don't like winter ... but it is coming 
  • we just turned the clocks back except for the one in an upstairs room because I forgot to ever turn it ahead!! 
  • I just signed up for a painting class at our church - should be fun and interesting
  • working on the theme for the advent walk through here - 3rd annual
Well ... that's enough randomness I guess - NOT THAT ANYONE HAS TO READ THIS but perhaps you did!  Hope you had a cup of coffee with it!  TTFN  (ta ta for now!)


Wednesday, September 16

I almost fell off my chair!!

I am convinced that God must smile when He gets to show off His power, His might, His love to us
especially when we are least expecting it!!

It has been a full couple of weeks lately.  I am working along with a team of sweet sweet women (family and friends who are considered family ) on some ministry stuff.  Now, I will admit - I am prone to worry at times - especially when it involves money!!  While we were talking, I shared this with the planning group who were all quick to tell me that this idea is HIS - the ministry is HIS and HE will do what He does best - and that is being involved in our lives, in the ministry, and providing for us.  

On the weekend when I was doing my QT with Him - while reading in 2 Corinthians where Paul is talking to the church there about giving and about ministry.  At one point he tell them that "as a result of your ministry they will give glory to God and they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you."  I was so deeply impacted that these verses on giving/on ministry, on God's grace, on our testimony was there that day because this girl (me)  needed to read that.  I finished my quiet time with prayer written in my journal giving God my angst regarding this ministry idea we are planning.  (a fundraising banquet)

It is all about Him.  This ministry we always try to hold loosely with upturned hands.
Alvin and I have seriously I don't think EVER in this way been on the same page in such a profound way.  He was the one that at one time before opening the ministry - felt that success was going to be measured by $$
On the way to HMI camp the one night he told me that God had impressed on him that we should not advertise on radio etc as he feels God is bringing those who need to come through word and mouth/social media Facebook and that instead we need to develop and pray about our donor base.  It is just a little overwhelming when I think of all God is showing me these days.  HE TOTALLY OVERWHELMS THIS COUNTRY MOUSE!!  And yet, every time HE does, I am always so surprised!!  I am so glad that He is so involved in my life!  Where would we be - where would our family be - where would our ministry be - without GOD!!

ANYHOW so here is the part that almost made me fall off my chair.  
Every Tuesday night is a concert of prayer at our church, Eastview Community Church.  It has been going for almost a year straight - right through summer.  I was not able to go since early June - for one reason or another - and my soul was missing it so much. (SO INCREDIBLY MUCH)  Last night I was able to go and in the morning - Alvin strongly encouraged me to go.  Now he sometimes comes too - but I know that prayer is definitely an area of gifting God has given to me.  SO I looked forward to going all day - and my heart was so joyful at the thought of meeting with the others to pray and listen on behalf of others.

Well, yesterday we also booked the even idea - Thursday, November 5th and knowing that means I have to give a deposit - so I will be honest - the anxiety was up a notch or too.  Nothing like a little angst to make you get on your knees again.

So last night I got there - and sat down.  As I was sitting there - in stillness, listening, praying - I was silently conversing with the LORD and my thoughts were such:

"okay LORD I felt like I needed to share about the ministry - about board members - about the banquet - about the finical concern - about sponsors, about donors . And I need to have a clear sign from you LORD because I don't want to sound like my request for prayer is soliciting for money ... so I will wait for a sign.  But then again God - you are so big - so powerful - that I know you could just get someone to pray for the ministry and these concerns if you want to.  So I will wait and see what I feel you are saying to me about it all."  I almost felt a little cheeky saying that - almost a little like I was trying to tease God into a response!  I knew God can do the impossible but still.

Well ... about half an hour later - Tania  begins to pray and she began with how she has felt an overwhelming sense to pray for me and for the ministry.  Well she prayed for every single component of my thoughts PLUS more ..

Then her brother Mark E prayed for prophetic gifting for me (I will have to tell you that story sometime, but it was also so on the dot) and then Mark's wife Allison prayed for strength and health and no pain with my FMS ...

I am not sure if I was sitting there with my mouth open or not - I felt like I was!!  God - He was really showing off to me - and I was totally dumbstruck!  I was totally blown away by God.  I can't help but think He had this huge smile too - like  He was saying - "well, you wanted me to show you didn't you!!"

I just actually got off the phone with Tania as she had to leave last night before it was totally over - I had shared with the rest about what God had done and wanted to tell her too.  She said she had very briefly talked with her friend Nikki who is on the board and had  told her we were having a banquet - but that was all. She told me that she just knew that God was saying she had to pray aloud for me and the ministry.  SO she did.

Oh man - over and over again God shows His power and might to me.  Over and over and over again.
I know HE is a God who wants to be involved in my life - right down to the details.

The other day, as I had told you ~ during my QT as I had prayed - I ended the journal entry by saying "LORD please blow my socks off once again."  Well seems like he stepped it up a notch!! Glad I was hanging onto my chair!  


Tuesday, August 11

Listen up - Moses is speaking!

These days, I am working through the Life Journal Bible reading plan put together by Pastor Wayne Codeiro (who we had the great privilege of sitting under his teaching one Sunday while we were in Hawaii)  I have started on this plan before - but this year - I am bound and determined to read through the Bible once again.  I have to admit - Leviticus ... not so fun reading ... but now I am in Deuteronomy and it is getting better.  Reading it through the S.O.A.P approach makes me read, observe, apply ...
ANYHOW ... today I was reading in the beginning chapters of Deuteronomy.  These are the chapters where Moses is speaking to the people and giving them the last big talk (BIG talk) before they cross into the promised land - leaving Moses behind.  (I have wondered how Moses felt - the sadness but that is for another post, not this one).
This chapter holds some of the verses that I love!!  Here they are:
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] And you must love the Lordyour God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Moses is telling them - LISTEN UP!!  UNDERSTAND what I am telling you!  He is telling them to see the LORD as Sovereign!  To love Him with ALL their heart, soul, and strength.  To commit not just a bit - but WHOLE heartedly.  To tell their children !  Even to write them on the doorposts so that they will never forget!  After all - you go in and out of a door several times a day!!  What a good way to remember.
And this portion made me think.  And as usual, I have more thoughts than actual answers.  My thoughts take me into a place of contemplation ... and a place of wondering what my response is.  
Here are some of my thoughts:
Do I really love my LORD with all my heart?  With all my soul?  With all my strength?  If so ... what does that look like in my every day life?
I want to commit wholeheartedly.  My "word" for 2014 was "abandoned" as in I want to be totally abandoned to Jesus!!  Do I live a wholehearted commitment to Jesus?  And what does that look like in my life?
Do I talk to my children about the LORD?  To my grand children?  Is living for Jesus part of my every day in - day out conversation?  Do my children know that I am in a relationship with Jesus Christ?  Do I recount the faithfulness of God to me, to Alvin and I, to our family, to my parents, to my grandparents.  (My grandparents were first generation to love Jesus as LORD of their lives)

What are my thoughts in response?  I am so thankful that Jesus knows that I am so human - and often so negligent in my relationship with Him.  YET He still loves me so completely and unconditionally.  And covers me with such amazing grace.  WOW ...   In my every day, my thoughts are often on the LORD. He affects the decisions I make, the answers I give, the actions I take.  HE affects my relationship with others - family, friends, and acquaintances as well as new friends I meet through our ministry.  
I know that I want to be totally abandoned/totally and wholeheartedly committed to the most amazing Saviour Jesus.  I also know that sometimes I just run ahead on my own - as if I can handle life just fine.  (NOT)  Commitment is often hard - as sometimes you may not feel like doing/being/participating - but I have come to see that following Jesus - HE never lets you down.  My life is a continual giving up and giving over to Him.  Continual!  It's about laying it all down before HIM ... often many times during the day.  I am so glad He is good with that!  
Do I tell my kids, my grandkids.  YES!  I thank God that Alvin and I raised our kids in a God-loving home.  We may have done a ton of things wrong as parents - but we kept God as head of our home - and that was RIGHT :)   Over the last 15 years especially we as a family have seen over and over how God is at work in our lives - in mine, in Alvin's, in our marriage, in our kids, and I see how the grandkids hearts are already in tune with Jesus.  Over the last 15 years, we have walked through such extreme lows and such amazing mountaintop experiences and a whole lot of dusty road miles!  Seriously - there have been such hard times that we were face down often.  But always in hindsight - we see the plan that has unfolded and while we don't understand parts - we continue to believe He is Sovereign and in control.  Living our life in ministry now - has given us a new boldness, a new awareness of where the LORD leads you if you are willing to go on that adventure with Him.  Yep - an adventure for sure!  This is one reason that I really want to write my story - as I want to put in print even some of what the LORD has been up to in our lives - so that my grandkids can see HIS faithfulness to the generations!
I often wonder if I had been in the tribes of people - going from Egypt to the promised land - but wandering around for 40 years in the wilderness ... would I have been so rebellious - so heart hardened - so disobedient?  I will never know will I.  However, I know that sometimes this gal wanders around a lot - in her own wilderness, and one thing I know for sure - that walking WITH the LORD is way better than running some other way, or refusing to follow.
LORD GOD - you are my God and your are the ONLY ONE.  Help me to love you with all I have - my heart, soul, and strength.  Show me the times I am half-hearted.  Help me to be fully committed to YOU and to be a woman of faith for my kids, my grandkids and those who may come to know me.  May my life be a living testament to your faithfulness, your love, and your grace.  May all who enter through the doors to my home know that YOU are LORD of my/our life.  Amen.

Saturday, July 11

unexpected gifts

This morning as I was waiting for retreaters to come, my daughter-in-law ran in and dropped off my coffee order, and also a beautiful polkadotted bag with tissue coming out of it.  She said, "and this is for you."  I was puzzled and she said, "its from Jenn, it came to Josh at the firehall last night."

Jenn and I go back to 2009 when we decided to get the basement room repainted as we were putting our house on the market and I am not sure if it had ever been painted.  Jenn works with the fire dept. and had gotten to know the boys (husband and son).  She also was painting as a side job, so she came to do this small job for us.  I made coffee for a coffee break, and we had our first chat!  I remember that.  You know, sometimes women firefighters can be intimidating!!  (never thought, maybe it was intimidating talking to an ex-pastor LOL)  ANYHOW that day, we became friends too.

Jenn has blessed me before - as she had at one time also sent another gift to me via Josh (my son).  I look at it every time I walk into our "sanctuary".  I guess I have just realized that she is a generous person!

When I got the gift this morning - each a musical note - and each one with a different saying ...
"Sing like no one's listening"   "Dance like no one's watching" "Work like you don't need the money" and "Love like you've never been hurt"  - I unwrapped each one - again surprised at the gift - and then it hit me ...  little did Jenn know that her generosity to this gal was more than the gift she wrapped!

Let me explain.

Lately I have been struggling.  Struggling may sound like a bad word.  I don't see it that way at all - as it is in this struggle or wrestle that I am finding out more about myself - and more about how God has called and how He is working in my life. I have shared with some close prayer warriors in my life - that God has me so far out on a proverbial limb - that I am afraid I am going to fall off.   Allow me to explain a little:

You see ... yes, He called me to this ministry back in 2000 with 10 or so words.  "Open a place where women can go to just be."  He called me out of a 25 year career.  THEN thinking I was going to "open a place" He took that, put it on the back burner, and called me into full-time pastoral ministry.
During that 7.5 year time of pastoring we lost our firstborn grand baby Jay.  THEN as clearly as He called me into ministry, He called me OUT of ministry.  We left our home church of 32 years and found a new home to worship at.  We sold our home.  Moved 3 times during the course of two years as we built the ministry house which we own, and live in the basement of.  During that time, we lost our last remaining parent to cancer.  We also had during that time prior to our grand opening - two more grandsons, and one granddaughter.  This time frame - 13 years to the time we opened, and then 2 years since - we have grown in so many ways.  We are older/wiser/more joy filled/and yes financially poorer!  But we have learned so much!
We have learned that "success" is not measured by how financially viable we are.  We have learned that our eyes are opened in a new way to God around us.  We have learned that God sends people our way - and we can provide this place for them - but we see how He provides the peace in this place.
I can not manufacture the overwhelming sense of "calm" "serenity" "peace" ... sure I can play music, and use warm colours of paint, and keep candles lit - but folks, regardless of what you call it - it is GOD that fills this place with the "thing" that you sense as you walk in.

ANYHOW back to the story ... lol .... yes, the limb that I am clinging to feeling like I am going to fall off.  I have found out something which has totally taken a weight off my chest.  I knew I was called to this.  Never been surer of something in my life.  HOWEVER I have struggled with how hard it is.  Terribly Hard for a few reasons.  At least once a week God hears me say again "God ... I think you have the wrong person for this - I just can't do it any more ....."  Usually within half an hour He hears me again "LORD I know you have the right person - I just really need you to give me strength here."
The thing that I have found out is that in my OWN strength - I can NOT do this.  HOWEVER in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT I CAN!"   Part of the struggle for me over past couple years (since I left Canadian Blood Services job) was the fact that I am not bringing in an income yet.  Oh the ministry is - don't get me wrong.  However I am not yet making a wage.  Now, that being said, my husband has never put a guilt trip on me for not bringing in any money.  Never has - pretty sure he never will.  HOWEVER I feel like somehow I need to contribute financially as he is working so incredibly hard.
The "wage earner" thing has been heavy on my mind as I have adopted the title of what someone called me "a full-time volunteer".  NOW PLEASE - I AM NOT COMPLAINING (lest you read this an think I am)  The things that the LORD gives me through blessing from people who come - far outweigh any salary I would make.  But lets face it - I am human, and I know that making some income would make me feel more like I was contributing.  Enough said.

Now the other thing - is that I have been thinking a lot about my relationship with the LORD.  I have been reading a book by Angela Thomas called Do You Think I'm Beautiful.  She refers to our relationship with the LORD as that of a dance together.   Dr. Larry Crabb (when I studied under him) also referred to our relationship with Jesus as a dance.   NOW lately I have been at my niece's social, and a week ago, at her dance.  I did not get up to dance even though my toes were tapping.  You see ... I want to dance - but I feel so incredibly inhibited.  WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?  Perhaps my conservative Brethren background (although my parents did, contrary to other christian parents I knew, let me go to some dances).  I loved to dance and I did.  Somewhere along the line - all of a sudden, I lost that freedom, and I am inhibited.  YESTERDAY I actually googled and read an article on "Dancing before the LORD" and I have decided that I need to begin to dance with HIM on a regular basis.  That is my first desire - and then well, maybe He will take the inhibition and I can begin to slow dance again with my husband!

And the other thing that the LORD has been working on with me - is loving and extending grace.  (blogged about "grace" the other day).  I think I love well - I love my family - I love my friends - I love my life.  But that has not meant that I have not struggled from time to time with loving someone who has hurt me.  That has been a wrestle that I can thank God He helped me overcome ...
loving when you have been hurt is not easy - but it is possible!  I know that - and what freedom that gives when you realize true forgiveness has happened and has been overcome with love and grace.

So I have been thinking of those three things .... working, and loving with grace, and dancing.  And along comes the unexpected gift from Jenn.  A reminder to work like I don't need the money!  (in other words - give it all you've got - work with excellence because that alone is important and enough) ~ and the reminder to dance like no one is watching!  Believe me - that is how I dance and will dance - with only the eyes of the Almighty watching this girl dance!!  AND last but not least the lesson from a while ago - Love like you've never been hurt.  That is something that I can say - I can finally do.

If you know me well enough - you know that I look for God's fingerprints all over my life.  WHY?  because for one thing - I know they are there!  God in each moment of each day.  Sometimes He surprises me - sometimes He makes me fall before him in awe and often He takes my breath away.  You will know that I don't believe anything is an accident - or a coincidence.  My dad used to say - "People think answers to prayer are just coincidence but you will find that if you stop praying - coincidences stop happening.    I often call them "God-things" when they happen.   I know that sometimes God uses people without any knowledge on their part .. just because He is God, and He can.  I think that what happened today - the unexpected gift from Jenn - was a "God thing".

The only thing that He hasn't worked on me about lately is the singing part ... the last one:  Sing like no one's listening.  Hmm... maybe HE is telling me something.  Guess I should go sing a few notes!

Bottom line:  remember that unexpected things are really blessings in disguise!

Thursday, July 9

HE asks me if I get it?


It’s all about grace
my amazing grace
full, overflowing
amazing grace!
That’s it - in a tight little nutshell

how do I live in it?

This morning, the LORD challenged me with those thoughts
asking me if I get it fully
if I live in it?
and if I reach out because of it?
and more so, do I extend it to others.

I hear Him speak to me 
and write down the words as He talks
I sit back
silencing the many thoughts about many things on this day
and focus on this one question to me
HIS question
“do you get it?”

While I believe that I do -
I cannot help but be reminded of the reactions I’ve had -
the thoughts in response to situation,
perhaps even a laugh or two at a story at the expense of another
(often not present as the story is being told)
what does grace have to do with my every day?
absolutely everything!
and grace

His grace covers me -
but it also needs to flow through me
regardless of how people make me feel
i need to respond in and with grace
Regardless of how people may hurt my feelings with words or actions
I need to respond in and with grace
Regardless of broken promises, unfulfilled commitments
underserved ridicule or laughter at my expense
perceived or unperceived
Always Grace!!

Grace - as Jesus showed us - it is undeserved.
My grace is undeserved yet fully given
no strings attached
given out of the greatest most unconditional love ever ... through Jesus dying for my sin

It’s all about grace
my life
my reason for being
my hope for eternity with Jesus
my faith is grounded and alive because of His grace
I am redeemed
and because of that I stand amazed by grace
that I (such as I am)
have this life - this promise - this relationship with Jesus

It’s all about grace
as I see others
talk with others
pray for others
interact with others
in all situations
in all circumstances - good and bad ...
Grace prevails

As He asked me this morning “do you get it”
I stop
I revel in the feeling of tangible grace wash over me, into me, through me
and whisper with a voice of awe
Yes LORD yes ..  I get it.

Thursday, July 2



the grandkids blow with small puffs into their wands that are dripping with soapy water
screaming with glee
as bubbles form
and let loose
blowing across their yard
some breaking immediately with a quiet pop
some piggyback onto another one
and some fly away into the distance
never to be seen again

such are my th0ts

the th0ts  in my head
whirl and spin
sometimes bumping into each other
and once in a while pirouetting

i marvel at them
and other times i am left breathless
and often exhausted

there are many th0ts
some eloquent
or they would be if given voice
well, kind of messy
as if perhaps discarded ?

mixed with messy

old ones from years gone by
some in fact, are defining moments
that have been stored away in my mind and heart

other th0ts are merely not true
but they sometimes take a life of their own
and i sometimes live as if they were
th0ts about me as a child
a teen
a young adult
a young wife
a mom
a working woman
oh there are so many th0ts there 

some feel like they should be buried
and i often wonder why they keep coming to the surface
others feel like they were yesterday
and they bring joy as i recall them
th0ts on marriage
truthful th0ts
some shared
some journal led
some remain unspoken
and others unwritten
except in the indelible ink of my memory and mind
the unwritten ones
especially about marriage and love
are full of intrigue and warm fuzzes
lest perhaps some may think my marriage has been perfect
or without drama
i would hate to burst your bubbles with my th0ts


all mine
old ones
new ones
happy ones
sad ones
exciting ones

i sit
i watch
i think
i think a lot actually
my th0tcome
and go
and sometimes come around again
some stay

and those th0ts
are all mine


Sunday, June 7

57 reasons I love my life!

Well ... my birthday was yesterday.  I turned 57.  Yes.  57.
I realize that "years ago" when I was young (LOL) I thought that 57 was old!
Now believe me, it doesn't seem so old!
Where does time go.

I thought perhaps I would share 57 points on what I love about my life!!

  1. Jesus
  2. my husband of almost 37 married years, and almost 41 years since we started dating
  3. my children and their spouses, who I also refer to as my kids:  In the order they came into our family:  Joshua (son) Ashley (daughter) Leah (d-i-l) and Michael (s-i-l)  
  4. My grandchildren:  Jay, who is in Heaven since July 2008; Everett, Roger and Matilda. You bring me so much joy.
  5. my parents:  Gerald Henry Thomas and Verna Mildred Elsie (Ladell) Thomas aka DOLLY
  6. My siblings and their families:  Mary-Ann and Nelson; Heather and Greg, Tim and Jody, Brian; Angie; Elleanore and Ray; Neil and Ingrid; Ruth and Todd; Rick and Corinna
  7. My nieces and nephews:  (in order of birth) Keri (in Heaven), Mel and husband Grant,   Gord and wife Janice; Amanda and soon to be husband Dan, Samantha and husband Blake, Cassandra and boyfriend Mark; Joel; Rachel, Adrian, Daniel T.,  Miranda, Jonathan, Daniel, Sarah, Nicholas.  
  8. My friends - you know who you are, and the place you hold in my life.  Some of you have been in my life a very very long time!!  
  9. my church - so blessed by our pastors!!  Eastview Community Church - we love being a part of this community.
  10. my care group
  11. The ministry that God has called me to - Women Refreshed at the Well.  We have yet to see what God is all up to here with this ministry
  12. my Bible (just bought myself a new one!!)
  13. journalling
  14. music
  15. where we live - close to the city - but in the country
  16. songbirds that sing
  17. flowers that are growing
  18. the sound of leaves rustling
  19. blue clouds
  20. bluejays
  21. sound of coyotes howling
  22. frogs croaking
  23. sunrises
  24. sunsets
  25. falling start
  26. northernlights
  27. late night hot tubbing
  28. early morning hot tubbing
  29. exercising under Richard's expertise
  30. sound of my grandkids laughter
  31. hugs
  32. kisses
  33. having my family together
  34. reading books
  35. knitting prayer shawls
  36. good bold Red Lake Coffee
  37. crackling fires
  38. chocolate
  39. red wine
  40. laughing till tears run
  41. cold pillows while I sleep
  42. watching first snow fall
  43. walking
  44. hearing the Blue Jays call
  45. watching eagles soar
  46. music
  47. sitting by the ocean
  48. travelling
  49. feeling sand between my toes
  50. cottage time
  51. riding in the convertible
  52. getting cards in the mail
  53. coffee with friends
  54. watching a good movie
  55. sharing my story with others (God is amazing!!)
  56. napping in the sun
  57. ministry:  Women Refreshed at the Well, and other ministry as God sees fit for me
yes, I could likely go on - however for now - these are the 57 reasons that I came up with and I am thankful to God for ... there are way more - I just wrote them as they came to mind.

Thank you LORD for forgiving me - for being my Saviour.  You are my number ONE.
I love you ...
My life is in YOUR hands.
Thank you for these few reasons - you have richly blessed me.
I love you - and thank you for my life.

Friday, May 22

Do you think I'm beautiful?

Do you think I am beautiful?  This is a book, and a Bible study that is written by Angela Thomas.  I have decided to finally read the book, and do the study.  I need to.  This is a question that I wrestle with - lately, I am wrestling with it a lot.  

I have chosen to do this study as I realize I have once again been struggling with things in my life.  My weight.  My eating.  My self-worth.  It is all tied up together in a not so neat little ball of stuff.  Messy.  Ugly.  Unwanted stuff.
How do I unravel the big messy ball?  Or do I just try getting rid of it - by throwing it out - or pushing it back into a corner or a closet - hopefully never to resurface again.  Not likely.  I am not sticking my head in the sand.  I know that life is messy and that life is hard.  I just somehow thought I had perhaps moved past this stuff.  The stuff that makes me reflect and wonder and sometimes weep - but often feel paralyzed as if knowing the answers would free me to become more of me - or more of what I want to be.  Hmmm... LIFE.  Gotta love it.

My journey - a good journey but often a hard one.  My lettering on the wall into our private suite says “there is joy in the journey.”  As I am running the stairs some weeks as part of my work-out, I see the “there is joy in the journey” and smile through my sometimes gritted teeth lol.  My journal says Life is a journey not a destination.  I feel like I know all the things I need to know - I have all the answers - I have read the books - given the advice yada yada ... oh sigh **

This is a journey.  I knew it would not be an easy one.  Journeying with Jesus doesn’t mean life would be easy ... and well, why am I surprised.  I do believe however, that without HIM, I would be more of a mess than I am!  So with that, I am thankful for his grace and mercy and care in my life.  I know that He wants me whole and healthy - body soul, mind and spirit.  I know that the struggles in my life that affect my day to day - eating and weight issues - are intricately webbed within one another.  The spiritual - is the main part of me and one that is greatly affected by the other and also greatly affects the other.  When my life is right with the LORD, things fall into place. 

Sometimes I struggle and wonder why at this age of almost 57 (in two weeks) do I still struggle with the same old, same old??  Seriously??  WHY?

Hmmm... there is so much for me to learn, and I hope some of it I will have learned on this side of heaven in the years ahead.  I want to keep learning until the day God takes me home to be with Him.  

It is no secret - I am pretty open with this - that I have struggled with feeling beautiful.  I have a hard time being convinced of that.  I struggle with the good compliments.  I look in the mirror and see the flaws that are becoming more obvious as I age ..
I want women to see first and foremost how beautiful they are in the eyes of GOD (instead of wanting to feel beautiful in the eyes of their spouse/significant other/world) and yet I have been shown (and have come completely undone in the process) that THIS girl doesn’t truly believe it for myself.  Hmmm...  seems I have to learn the lessons before I can help others learn them.  O LORD help me ... please help me believe it for myself.

Did something happen in my past?  Did I feel “less than” ... did someone hurt or offend me?  Was I made to feel ugly?  REALLY ... whether I say yes or no - does it matter?  In the long run - does it really matter if I can put my finger on something - as if making me see when and why would help me get on with life now and begin to feel beautiful?  Would blaming something or someone make me feel like I can start believing and stop listening to the lies that echo in my head alot?

Perhaps I haven’t really come to know who I am because I have been scared to try to figure that out for whatever reason?  I haven’t known the heart of the woman inside of me.  I really want that to change.  I want to change.  I want to believe that I AM truly beautiful in God’s eyes and that is all that matters... regardless of how often or how my husband affirms my beauty (or not).  It is only a bonus coming from him, because all that really matters is that I know that HE loves me most, and intimately, and thinks I am absolutely beautiful!  

I want that.  I want to believe it.
I want to put an end to the lies I have believed all my life.
The self doubt.  The self condemnation.  The  put downs.
Because it is just that - lies!!  Lies that satan, the deceiver want me to believe so that I stay insignificant and feeling useless and like a failure and that my self-worth stays low.

I want to be a strong woman - an overcomer, a strong believer - and I know it is the Lord who will help me through this - so that I can become not only a woman who believes I am beautiful in HIS eyes - regardless of the rest of the world around me - but also become a woman who is courageous and alive!!  It is in Him that I see how beautiful and how much worth I have.  

YES ...  this is what I want.
O Lord - my love, my life ... my strength.
Please help me as I get to know my heart and how it is so enveloped by yours.
I want to feel beautiful.  I want to believe it all the time - with all my heart, and I can only do it in your strength.  Please LORD.  I need you.