Dancing in the Cool Breeze



Aren’t we all feeling a little more Spring like today?  It’s Spring Break over here and Phil and Bella are home from a beautiful time in  Mwanza. I look forward to filling you in on their trip – that’s my next post….in fact I have many blog posts running around in my head and I’m hoping they’ll land into some coherent words soon. If not then thanks for your grace. Creativity has taken a leave of absence but I’m hoping its return is imminent.


I recently read ‘God sets the lonely in families.’ I realize this is more than being alone, a state of being, in fact, being alone can be a gift (INFJ here) This is different, lonely is the emotion brought on by feelings of separation. Loneliness can be devastating, a riot in the brain that brings feelings of being uncared for, not celebrated, unloved.

Let’s backtrack to when loneliness entered – God created Adam and Eve and walked in the cool of the day with them. They were created for His presence, but as we know, sin entered the world and separated us from God. Shame, nakedness and loneliness penetrated the heart and we’ve struggled with this ever since, affecting many of our choices. Hurt and pain can isolate us, as we hide within the fear of rejection and misunderstanding. We deny ourselves grace and we make unhealthy comparisons. All enhancing loneliness on an island of echoes.

Good news.  

Loneliness does not exist within the trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in an adoring relationship. One does not function without the other. God is not alone and God is not lonely. The trinity exalts one another, communing and honoring. It’s a sublime dance. Or as C.S. Lewis put it, ‘in Christianity God is not a static thing… but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you would not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.’

Love cannot work alone. Could it be that we can fight loneliness with this understanding of the trinity?

Acts 3:19 tells us that, ‘upon repentance (of changing our mind, turning away) times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.’ These times of refreshing hints of that time when God walked with Adam in the cool breeze of the day. The work of the cross begins the restoration of paradise within the hearts of Christ’s followers. The garden of our hearts overlaps with the garden of God, and we can walk with him in the garden once more.

Let’s grasp this truth and let’s attempt the outworking of the dance… exalting, honoring, and working together and ‘as we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another.’ Anne Voskamp.


Help me to be aware that you are with me in every moment.

Help me grasp the truth that you desire to walk with me in the cool of the day.

In the valley and mountain. The confusion and fear. The celebration and hope.

Lord, every moment.


We were never meant to be alone – we were created to enter into the divine dance.

Love, Michelle xo

…and Happy Mother’s Day Mom – you dance well.  

Chapter One of the Great Story


“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

When we followed God’s call across the pond. We knew there’d be some sacrifice involved and knew there would be times when that call happens. Last week we heard Phil’s Grandfather (Pop) had deteriorated in health and was in his last days and asked the Lord to grace us with time with him. So we flew on a cramped flight, the Collins clan scattered around the plane.

We spent his last days with him. Talked about his life, about heaven, we prayed, cried, laughed. Pop slept through it all but we know he was listening.  And as Phil sat with his Pop on Monday evening, his final breaths were woven with Phil praying the Lord’s Prayer, until his last breath came with Phil’s ‘Amen.’


We woke yesterday to beautiful skies – reminded that his mercies are new every morning. We enjoyed a drive out to Church Stretton, and a beautiful walk over Carding Mill Valley in the Long Mynd. I love to listen to whisper of God in nature. And as I breathed the wonderful air I invited heaven to speak. The stunning landscape changed with the weather as clouds rolled in, the wind blew and sunshine surprised. CS Lewis wrote ‘grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.’




I looked at my family and rejoiced in the knowledge of a living, loving Christ holding us up.

We reached the top and made our way across heather-covered hills, within moments sheets of rain fell curtain-like around us. The promise of stunning views of the Welsh Hills were wrapped in fog.

I was absorbed by the grey beauty of the valley.


And paused in His presence.

We walked from the hill, down into the valley, into the pain of more loss. Phil’s mom,Val, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Her pilgrimage here on earth over.  As we sat with her and prayed her into Jesus’ presence – the tangible love of God filled the room. Holy. So holy.

How she loved the Lord – feisty and stubborn, beautiful and childlike. A colourful rich soul.

In our disorientated state of grief. With weary heads and bodies, we are thankful for your love, near and far – we love how God uses people to heal people.

We are amazed with the favour of God’s timing. A friend described it as a ‘perfectly orchestrated piece of a very sad song.’

Pray for us, especially Phil, as we enter into a week of funerals and travel once more across the world to our other home, community and life.

We grieve with hope – knowing there’s no real end.

‘Til heaven – Nanny Val and Pop.

Love, Michelle xo


Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Sunday Soup.

Day 24.

Less of my words today but a hearty combination of pics and links for your Sunday.

Yesterday, I woke too early to a text from Emily asking to be picked up from her KCC ‘all nighter’.  I threw my coat on over my PJ’s in true Rutland Style. Had I not had to leave the house in -5 and de-ice my car I would have missed this.

de iceGive Thanks

had to stop the car on my way to pick up groceries to enjoy my favourite artist enjoying a pastel moment. ‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.’ C. S. Lewis.

IMG_3658Go Slow

Links I’ve enjoyed this week.

Josiah loves Kid president and his advice on 20 things we should say more often.

Oh Dove.

Grant (yourself) Grace.

We all love this. Sing. Sing. Sing!

Be God-Struck

I’ll end with a story we have all heard before.

One day, father was doing some work and his son came and asked, “Daddy, may I ask you a question?” Father said, “Yeah sure, what it is?” So his son asked, “Dad, how much do you make an hour?” Father got bit upset and said, “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” Son said, “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” So, father told him “I make Rs. 500 per hour.”

“Oh”, the little boy replied, with his head down. Looking up, he said, “Dad, may I please borrow Rs. 300?” The father furiously said, “if the only reason you asked about my pay is so that you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or other nonsense, then march yourself to your room and go to bed. Think why you are being so selfish. I work hard every day and do not like this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think, “May be there was something he really needed to buy with that Rs. 300 and he really didn’t ask for money very often!” The man went to the door of little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep, son?” He asked. “No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy. “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier”, said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you, Here’s the Rs.300 you asked for”.

The little boy sat straight up, smiling “oh thank you dad!” Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled some crumpled up notes. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at his father.

“Why do you want money if you already had some?” the father grumbled. “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy I have Rs. 500 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you”. Father was dumbstruck.

With this reminder, my children have all of me today.

…and if my house feels dusty, it doesn’t matter because look! So pretty.

IMG_3661Dust, magnified 22 million times. pic. twitter.com/QVmzDBY3I8

 Go slow. Be God-struck. Grant grace. Live Truth. Give Thanks. Love well.

Re–joice. Share Whatever Is Good. Anne Voskamp.

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013

A Quacking Mess.


I like my ducks in row – lined up and looking lovely. So when I go down the road of vulnerability (new word alert…) of Encounter God retreats and counselling – those ducks start fighting, crapping and generally going haywire.

Thankfully, I continue to live my calling amongst the quacking mess.

In my last post I talked about vulnerability, some were concerned that a little too much dirty laundry might not be useful for someone in ‘my position.’

The Encounter God weekend was good. It led me to feeling bare, wide open.

It left me feeling…vulnerable.

But isn’t that exactly what you were shouting from the rooftops last week?!

Yes, I still am. But this week from a different posture – on my face.

Where silent hurts are finally given a voice, taking new form in words.

Only this time they are clothed in love, grace and redemption.

Encounter God retreat. The word retreat was used to draw us. It wasn’t a retreat that you might be imagining. There were no spas or treatments!

The weekend consisted of 8 sessions.

  1. Spiritual warfare
  2. Darkness to light (There is no neutral ground in the universe, every square inch, every spilt second is claimed by God and counterclaims by Satan. C.S. Lewis)
  3. From impure to pure.
  4. The Cross
  5. Destructive Attitudes and Actions
  6. Inner Healing
  7. Generational Healing
  8. Holy Spirit.

No retreat..lots of surrender.

Each session was taught then we would spilt into our ‘triads’ (a term I’ve only ever associated with Jackie Pullinger…)

In our triad, following each session, we would work through a list of areas of possible struggle, sin, behaviour. Confessing to one another and praying a praying a prayer forgiveness.

My group were relieved to not to have to say after a short while  ‘so, there’s no judgement here, right?’

We were reminded of the truth of the cross as we meditated on scenes from the Passion of the Christ, kneeling at the cross and taking communion.

Tears flowed as we were reminded of the sacrifice made. Reminded that we do not have to walk around with our collection of hurts. God has given us a way to get healed and clear the junk from our lives. We have grace through the Blood of Jesus. His mercy endures forever, and His victory is sure. We can exchange our hurts and even the consequences of things over which we had no control at the Cross.

Inner healing came. In this session we were asked to wait and listen. To see what the Lord highlighted and the area of soul sickness He wanted to heal. Many in the room were reminded of distant pains – wounds, abuse, hurts. Words and events that had defined and shaped us since childhood. When reminded of these, we were encouraged to invite Christ into those scenes.

We know the past hasn’t changed. The past has passed.

For some, there was an instant redemption of that dark place, others, the beginning of a transforming, healing process.

Jesus my redeemer. Name above all names.

So, we journeyed on into our worlds, some in cars, me on a Greyhound. My first greyhound journey – it was here I was reminded that this is not just a quick fix weekend, it is a daily choice to apply these truths.

I like what this does for a church community who take this journey together, beyond Sunday morning niceties to real raw living.

My kind of church.

 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world ” Matthew 5:8 MSG.

And finally.

Did you know swans belong to the duck family? They are protected by royalty…


Have a great week,

Throw me some bread in the comments,

Love, Michelle xo


We have enjoyed the company of our friends, Searchlight Theatre Company this week as they have toured the Okanagan region with shows, mainly ‘Questioning Aslan’ a wonderful production, inspired by the life of C.S. Lewis which promises to ask questions of faith and belief that provoke, challenge and inspire. Check out their website here.

Phil and I get our first night away in (too) many years this week sans the children – let me hear a cheer. We are heading down to Vancouver to hang out with Coldplay on Friday night.

I have heard a few stories this week of surprises, of life and hope.

And we all need some of that right?

Here are a few of them condensed.

First of all, meet Analia Bouter, Doctors told her that her baby was stillborn when she gave birth in Argentina’s northern Chaco province on April 3. But when she and her husband wanted to see their baby again and pried open the coffin inside the refrigerated morgue, they found the baby breathing. They knelt down and thanked God for the miracle and named her Luz Milagros – miracles! One week on baby is still holding on, pray for her, and the family. The five hospital staff said ‘there is no explanation for this’

I also read about the Indian boy who lost his mother in 1986 and has found her 25 years later from his home in Tasmania – using satellite images.

Saroo was only five years old and working with his brother sweeping trains. He fell asleep one night, woke alone and stepped onto a different train – after falling asleep again, little Saroo woke fourteen hours later in Calcutta – a life of sleeping rough and  begging followed until he was taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple from Tasmania. Saroo knew nothing of his background – his identity – his town. But the desire grew stronger to find out. There were scattered memories with some more prominent – waterfalls and dams. Saroo worked out that 14 hours from Calcutta gave him a rough distance of 1,200 km enabling him to zoom in on Google earth – finding his waterfall. He retuned to Khandwa, and eventually found his home – and his mother.


As you have probably worked out by now – Hope is one of my favorite verbs.

Here are some lines from my post in 2010 ‘Gracias Senor’ about the Chilean miners trapped underground and those who set up Camp Hope above ground.

I love hope, not wishful thinking hope but a confident expectation kind of hope.

I am currently residing in Camp Hope. Praying and believing for one who has experienced an explosion around her young life, trapped, blinded by the dark and awaiting rescue.

Camp Hope will be my home for as long as it takes – until I see the Phoenix.

We all have our role in the camp, some keep spirits high, some cry, some keep order and some can’t find words…‘the moment we get tired in waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groansRomans 8:28

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark’

This week, I caught a glimpse of the Phoenix when I received an email from the one we are holding out hope for saying ‘Shell, I feel like I am coming out of darkness’


You know, ‘all season’ camping is hard work –  those tent pegs have to be driven deep.

But we camp all the same and will continue to do so.

And then there’s Jacob in Old Testament.

On reaching Jacob they told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt. Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them” Genesis 45:26

Far surpassing any news he could have expected – in fact – the King James bible says he fainted. Of course he did! He had concluded that Joseph was dead – therefore he was unable to conceive any alternative.

God loves to break in far beyond our imagination, far beyond our expectations and our conclusions and surprise us.

‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’

Today let’s allow our imagination to run wild and find our faith extreme.

For those for whom we can’t imagine a positive outcome.

For those we have drawn our own final conclusions.

… and let’s just see if new hope is birthed.

Let’s see some milagros!