Wednesday, November 30


my room for the duration of the retreat

it was called Extravagance

nature at its beautifule best!

journaling, drawing, writing, painting

the Mark Centre Chalet

this sign greets all who turn into the driveway
I have a friend.  Its very interesting, because unlike some of my good friends who I have known for years, this friend I only met three years ago, but we became soul sisters immediately.  I realize that was a God thing.  Nadine is very caring, loving, gentle, and breathes life into people, of which I am one.  She did something for me that completely took me off guard.  One of my love languages is "gift giving" and I love gifting people.  However, getting gifts has always been hard.  For instance - at birthdays I never liked the attention of opening up a gift.  Guess I need to get over that hey!!
Anyhow, Nadine gave me a gift like I have never been given before EVER.  She gave me the gift of a weekend away at the Mark Centre in Abbotsford, BC.   I was pretty overwhelmed with this.  And she knew that and gently chided me for that.  I just hope Nadine knows, and I want to say one more time, how much she has blessed me.  Nadine, from the time we met - you blessed me.  And this gift, there are no words to express my thanks.  THANK you from the bottom of my heart.

So last Thursday I flew to Abbotsford, and got into the city at 9:30 am.  I was able to meet with the director of the Mark Centre, Steve (whom Alvin and I first met 8 years ago when we stayed there).  Steve and tMC have been invaluable to us in our journey of building/and beginning WRATW.  Our journeys had some similarities and of course differences.  However, his willingness to take us under his wing and to encourage/pray/mentor us has been amazing.  So, my first cup of coffee for that day was shared at Starbucks with Steve Klassen, catching up on where our ministry's and lives are at.
Then he dropped me off and my retreat unofficially began as I settled into Extravagance and waited till "Come Away" began at 7 pm that night.

While I am still (I am intentionally using the word) SAVOURING the weekend, I am not going to go into any detail except to say that God met me there - in my room, on my walks, in the rooftop, in the great room.  God being God did what He does.  He loves, meets us, speaks into our lives, and shows us great things.  I am thankful.

Savour means:  to enjoy food or an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible:

And that is something I am going to do for a while.  So ask me again later - Hey how was your time away at "COME AWAY" at the Mark Centre and perhaps then I can put the time away into words!!

Wednesday, August 31

today's bike ride ~ INTERRUPTED

I actually like to bike, once I get on the thing (helmet on, water bottle in basket, and my phone in case I need to call in an emergency or stop to take a picture!)  My husband and I laugh because he teased me about us looking like "circus bears" on our bikes.  I think I am more the circus bear. Let me tell you, getting on a bike after more years OFF a bike was scary and I still do not have my confidence!  I have fallen a couple times, drawing blood each time!
ANYHOW back to today.  I knew I needed to bike.  I have been struggling lately - REALLY REALLY struggling with fatigue.  Fatigue like I have not experienced in a long long time!

I have not done a lot of biking this year - mostly because my tire needed a new tube.  My husband got one for me, and got it up and running again.  He is such a sweet man!! And he is such an encourager. He knows that with my fibromyalgia, I need to keep moving.  He also knows that I am much happier when I exercise!  GO FIGURE!!

Today I woke up more tired than before, but I knew that a bike ride would be life giving.  I rode a little farther than usual, thinking of many things with each revolution of the wheels.  On the way back, I came past a place that I always pass.  It has intrigued me.  It is a building and lot that is for sale.  It belongs to our neighbour lady, Ellen.  It used to be their "cottage" and they would use it in summer.  It is an interesting idea, as it is only a few minutes away from where she grew up and still lives which is right by us.   This house is small and old.  There are no shingles left on the roof, just ridges where they used to be!  The outside is barn board.  Windows are still mostly in tact.  However, a couple years ago, there was a house party close by, and they were having a campfire, and ran out of wood to burn, and they thought that ripping apart an old building was an okay thing to do.  Our neighbour was not happy as now it became an eyesore, even if the building wasn't worth anything monetarily- now it looked sad.

I stopped at the place, and took a drink of water, and then I began to hear God speaking to me.
I grabbed my camera and took some pictures, and just listened to what He was saying.
God knows I have been in a funk again.  A funk that has affected the way I eat, the way I don't eat, the way I feel, and definitely the way I get into a slump in my journey to get healthy.   I know, as I have often posted on a different blog, that my struggle with my weight has been a struggle more or less all my life, but especially in the past while.  A tooth and nail struggle.  A struggle that involves self worth, or a lack of it.   It is bigger than what I eat - bigger than calories - bigger than the scale.
It has been a journey of working with God on the healing of my self worth.  Funny, I didn't realize this was an issue, but it is.  It was hard to separate my weight and the fight to lose weight, from my self worth and acceptance.  It was especially since being at school in Colorado Springs back in November 2013 that God blew it out of the water for me, and I began inviting Him into the complicated part of the journey.  I know God is sovereign and I know that He is the One that gives me my worth, but I also know I am human, and it is easier said than done, even WITH God.
O He has taught me so much over the past three years! It has been such a journey, and a tough one!  
It is getting easier.  

Anyhow today, I took my camera as He talking.  Now if I had been at home, I would have quickly grabbed a pen and written down as I heard him, but I was biking!!  So this is the gest of what God said.
"Joy you are intrigued by the house, you always seem to look at in, take it in, with wonder and intrigue wondering what all has happened in the place, imagining it filled with life.  Take a look at it.  It is worn, and old but it is beautiful.


However, it has seen the harshness of life, the weather, and lately it has fallen prey to vandalism.  Originally the house had everything it needed.  It was built complete.  But now it stands, with a portion ripped off and burned.  
The door is missing.  You can look into it and imagine what it was like in its prime.  Insulation is still in some of the walls.

It looks like it isn't worth anything, and yet to your neighbour it is worth the world.  To her, it is still beautiful.  To you, it is beautiful, that is why it makes you always stop and look, and today, it has made you take pictures.  Joy - this is my lesson for you.  You have been fearfully and wonderfully made.  You were made complete.  You have withstood hardships of life, along with the most beautiful joys.  Rain has fallen.  The sun has beat down upon you.  And you have perhaps allowed things in your life to compromise what you have.  I know your struggle with weight.  I know you keep giving it to me and then just giving into temptations that are not helpful in your weight struggle.  However Joy, you are complete and your are beautiful.  No age, no weather, no situations have changed that.  
When I see you, I see you complete because of me.  I see you beautiful.  I love you, do you not get that?  I see your beauty.  I alone will give you your worth.  Seek me first Joy."

Like I said, I did not write it down, but that is how I remember the time that I stood there ...
somehow it felt like time stood still.  I am sure the cars that whizzed by wondered what in the world I was doing.  But it was me and God ...

After about five minutes, I got back on my bike, and drove the rest of the way home thinking about how God interrupted my bike ride, and I am so glad He did. 
Like the most loving parent, He used a teachable moment in my life, to remind me again of my worth, and how much He loves me.

Bike ride interrupted ....
Lord, please do that any time you need to get my attention.  
and Lord ... thanks, I needed this today.

Monday, August 29

The end of the month already?

Today is the 29th of August.  Once again I am startled at the way time has a way of passing so quickly.  I know, I know.  Everyone says that.  And it is so true.

One time I was complaining about not having enough time to get things done.  To this, my brother in law Ray looked at me and said, "you have the same amount of time that everyone has."  I have thought of that often.  He was teasing me as only Ray can.  However, what he said is so true.  We all have the same amount of time don't we.   I have to admit that these days, it feels like I just want to sleep.  I am often so tired. *sigh

This past weekend, I had a mom with her three adult daughters.  Her and I chatted a bit, as she was up earlier than her girls.  That made sense to the both of us.  They were young moms - with busy households.  As we stood chatting in the kitchen, over her freshly brewed cup of coffee, she shared with me about living with cancer, and what she had already gone through, and knowing that the cancer was still in her body, although currently in remission.  She shared her journey with me, different aspects of it, over the course of the time they spent retreating.  I was honored to be able to hear her story.  I realized that as I had prayed for the four of them, I had no knowledge of what was happening in any of their lives.  

There were a few things that she said that impacted me greatly.  One was how she felt jipped when she did not get taken to heaven, as the veil between her and heaven seemed to have gotten very thin.  
But she realized that God was not done with her yet, here on earth.  However the fear about death was not there.  I saw a brave christian woman who was embracing all that God had for her still to do in this life.  That spoke to me.  The other thing that she mentioned was that she realized the need to live fully in each moment TODAY.  Oh man, I really got that, as I have realized in life that too often I have felt like "... when I do this, then ..." and sometimes I have postponed joy because of something I was looking ahead to.  LIVE EACH DAY AS IF IT IS THE LAST.  
I have seen that quote often.  And I have also realized with sadness, that I have really squandered time.  

Time is the same for each one of us.  24 hours.  7 days in a week.  12 months in a  year.
We don't know the days that God has ordained for us before even one of them came to be (from my favorite Psalm 139).  We do know however that God gives us each day as a gift.  And we have so much to live for - and so much joy can come from each day we have.  I think this mom just underlined that once again for me.  

I want to live fully - to live all out for HIM.  I want to see him all over my day.  I want to make each day count for Jesus.  I want to live like this day is my last.  
This post isn't long, but it is just a little bit of my heart today.  In the very early hours of the 29th day of this 8th month of 2016.

Lord, I want to live for you - fully.  I want to quit putting off what I know you want me to do today.  To do now.  I have squandered too much time - waiting for tomorrow.  I want to live fully in the gift of today, and I thank you for that.  I thank you for people who enter into my life who teach me in quiet moments of conversation.  O LORD I want to live fully for you.  Help me to do that Lord.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 7



i am a jar of clay
a one of a kind
cracked, broken but redeemed
light shines through the cracks
could be broken again
that is always known
and yet not held in fear.

i am a priceless vessel
made uniquely by the great Potter
fragile and yet i do not want to just sit on the shelf
looked at and collecting dust
i want to be used
poured into
poured through
poured out
not saved for special occasions but rather treasured but used.

the Potter shapes
pours into and out of
His touch creates and makes beautiful.

from dust you came
to dust you'll return
a reminder of being ordinary
made extraordinary
yet strong
of the earth ~ which He also created.

But now O Lord, you are our Father
We are the clay and you are the Potter!
we are all the work of your hand.  (Isaiah 45:9)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us!  (2 Cor)

i am nothing
HE is everything
potter and clay
made and lovingly created to be
a vessel
made for His glory, His grace and His love
grace and mercy molded together
He inhabits this clay vessel
Come! Lord Jesus Come!
Come! Holy Spirit Come!

"We can't love God's way without being filled with Him.
If we try it on our own, we end up exhausted and burnt out!"

quote from Heidi Baker, Reckless Devotion

Wednesday, March 30

The song of my heart

The Song of my Heart

Day upon day.
Today turns into yesterday
     and life moves on.
Dead buds are coming to life.
Snow piles melt ~
     leaving brown grass that delights with the warmth of the sun.
Ladybugs flit on window panes
     and flies awake and come out of hiding.

Furry blossoms are on the pussy willows
     taking me back to my childhood
     and yet years later still mystified at how furry these little buds are.
Simple things bring joy!
The pink of the morning sky
     and blazing orange of the sunset.
The cockiness of the big crow that flies down and grabs the biscuits I threw out for him
     and the beautiful blue apparel of the blue jays taking the peanuts at the feeder.

The season of winter has passed its baton to spring.
And spring ~ having teased us with above normal days 
     only to thrust us back into the throes of winter
     with brisk winds and snow. *sigh (where is that shovel?)

Having been quick to shed the remnants of winter,
     suddenly we throw our hands in the air 
          and promise that spring really is just around the corner
                 (as if we really have any say in the whole matter!)

Dusty sills and siding. (yes, that needs to be washed down)
Mud mixed in puddles of melted snow on the gravel driveway.   
     (calling out to the grandkids to see who can walk through it without losing a boot!)
Bird seed gathered and scattered on the deck from feeding during the winter
     ~ keeps "Chippy" running back and forth in delight
Chippy - the cute yet pesky little rodent!
"Alvin why do we have seeds squirrled away in the motor of our car?"
"Joy you have to stop feeding them on the deck!"
Poor Chippy doesn't realize there is a contract out on his life!  
     (its a good thing my sweet man isn't as quick at shooting Chippy 
     as Chippy is at running away and hiding!)

The sun warms up the house so much that the heat doesn't click on all day.
The windows are open and the freshness of spring comes in like a literal "breath of fresh air"
     moving the germs that have gathered over the winter
     when windows are tightly latched for fear of freezing open!!

Slush pants and rubber boots are the apparel of choice for the grandkids.
And I wear my crocs (the ones that my little grandson picked out for me for Christmas)
     and my toes welcome spring and the "no socks" time of year.
The new shoe scrubber at the front door has mud by it,
     having already cleaned a little shoe or two that went off the path and into the mud 
     (perhaps to quench an irresistible urge to see how deep the puddle was!)

Spring sings.
     My heart overflows!
Creation cries out
     with the rustle of bare grey branches, 
     shaking off dead leaves that have clung on with dear life all winter,
     in order to make way for shiny new leaves to come 
     in every hue of green imaginable.
The birds fly and call out 
     Jays sing and chickadees flit about
Creation is coming to life in a symphony of praise to the Creator.

And my heart sings
     with a fresh awakening
     coming out of a winter into glorious spring!
New life!
God you are so incredibly good.
Have I told you lately how much I love you!

Sunday, March 27

If I had been Mary ... Resurrection Day thoughts

This morning, I sat by the window with my coffee cup, waiting for the sun to rise, hoping I would see it, but knowing that in itself would be perhaps not something I would see due to the overcast skies.
But I hoped.  I turned my Bible to John 20.  I have realized that is my favourite portion of Scripture for the Resurrection story.  HE IS RISEN!!

I couldn't help but put myself into the story, imagining Mary's thoughts, and Peter and John's thoughts, and imagining what the empty tomb or the angels or Jesus himself looked like ...
These are my thoughts!

Early Morning on the First Day of the Week

The sun rises on the other side of the clouds
a small glimmer of pink barely peeps through
I know that once again, 
somewhere it is shining in full glory for someone taking it in
I know - as creation does what God ordained it to do -
that whether I see it or not
the sun has risen
today, it holds special meaning
over and above my love for sunrises
it signifies "on the morning of the first day..."
Mary while it was still dark went to the tomb.

I can imagine her
walking, stepping along 
her feet not wanting to go to the tomb of the one whom she loved
Perhaps the sound of the birds pre-dawn chittering
overpowered the sound of her footsteps on the cobblestone path
her heart broken
her thoughts many
she arrives and stops, unable to comprehend the sight
the stone has been rolled away
in panic, she runs, not stopping to take a breath, 
until arriving where Peter and John are staying
and in between crying gasps she tells them
that they have taken Jesus body away!

O Mary, Peter and John
what did you think
were you awakened with news that only played on top
of your already shattered hearts?
Yet, you need to see for yourselves
in order to make sense of it all
and in no time at all you were out the door running
Peter in the lead until John, with an extra burst of speed, ran by and got to the tomb first.

O how you two loved Jesus
even though you were messy, broken and doubting
you loved him
with all your hearts
the Teacher
your greatest friend in all the world
He had transformed your lives in three short years
and now He is Gone!
you watched him breathe his last
be taken down
and as you cast glimpses over your shoulder, you led his mom away to your home
and began to try to put pieces together
Jesus, it made no sense.
And then this - 
to top it all off - as Mary has said
your body is
John peeks in through the opening
and Mary's words are true
Your body IS gone
they have truly taken away our LORD

then Peter, arriving slightly after John
gets closer
and goes into the empty tomb
his eyes accustoming to the dimness 
can it be?
they also took off his linen strips 
and his face covering
was also laying there, on its own
gently folded
and apart from the rest.

John, having regained his composure and thoughts
ventures into the tomb
and the emptiness of the tomb 
and sight of the folded linen shroud
cements the facts in his heat
that Jesus body has not been stolen
but somehow, not entirely understanding
he believes
that His Lord has risen!

the men turn and go back home
leaving their friend Mary with her thoughts
with the linen strips
and the empty tomb 
I can just imagine
Mary wept
no doubt with big tears that ran from her eyes, down her cheeks
and fell onto her dusty feet

and as if one more glimpse would help
she inches closer, stopover 
and gasps as she sees what appeared to be angels
at the head and feet of where her Lord's body had laid
and they speak to her
"woman, why are you crying?"
And as if its normal to have an early morning conversation with angels, 
she replies
"They've taken away my Lord and I don't know where they have laid him."
And she turns to leave
more distraught than when she first came
only to see yet one more person blocking her way
the gardener perhaps
but once again this man speaks to her
what is it about that voice?
"Woman why are you crying
Who are you looking for?"

perhaps this man, the gardener
held the key for this mystery.

Oh He held the key alright
not only to where Jesus was
but the keys to hell
having conquered death, hell and the grave
He stands there
and with that gentle voice that immediately draws her
He calls her by name

the rest is but a blur I can imagine
Mary recognizes the voice of the Teacher
the voice of the Shepherd
This is Jesus
 Realizing that she wants to hold him
and feel the beat of his heart
and his loving arms and strength
she runs over to him
But Jesus explains why she must not hold him yet

Then with overflowing joy in her heart
and a new found spring in her step
she runs to tell the disciples
NOT a dead wrapped body
but one that was flesh and blood ALIVE
the real Jesus
HE is risen and I've seen Him!!

I can only imagine how her life changed that day
only imagine
and I know that I will see Him too
in all of His glory
my Saviour
and my Lord
I will behold Him!
The best is yet to come!

Sunday, January 31

Hunger & Thirst

Hunger & Thirst

"I am the Living Bread"
"I am the Living Water"

Be satisfied
Live.  Live eternally! Live

The road is long, rough and dusty
Sweat rolls down my cheeks and onto my neck
One foot in front of another
Step.  Step.  Step.

Lips parched
Mouth dry

Between hunger and thirst
My being is finding it hard to distinguish between the two
It just knows it's in need of sustenance

As the green trees are lush because of the water
So my being feels like it needs to be fed and watered
Not thrown a few crumbs... but fed real food
And to be able to drink from an overflowing well.

"I am" He says - Living Bread.
"I am Living Water!"
Whoever believes will never hunger or thirst again ~ EVER.

O LORD GOD, it seems so simple.
Why would I not choose to keep eating and drinking from you
And yet often ~ I revert to the crumbs of fast food and sips of other drink
that only temporarily feeds and quenches the empty hunger and thirst of my soul.

"I am the Living Bread.

"I am the Living Water.


Plodding along step by step
I realize that I often stop short and sell out to the quick and easy
because I get tired, or bored or just sell myself short.
Your Way O LORD isn't always easy
I know that, so why do I keep getting sidetracked
I am a seasoned traveller
Walking this route with you for the last 50 years
And yet, I still get taken by surprise.
You have carried me.
I've walekd hand in hand through mountains and valleys
You've fed me.
You've quenched my thirst.
You've given me the pull up when I've landed face down.

I know YOU are life
Yet like being on a diet, sometimes I treat you the same way -
and try other things while knowing nothing else fills, quenches or satisfies my soul

You are my bread.
you are my water
You are sweet to the taste
fully satisfying
fully quenching

Remind me Holy One
to keep eating
to keep drinking
from YOU!!

I love you Lord.
written in journal Jan. 8th, 2016
while in Huatulco, Mexico