It’s time to Sing your Song.

Happy October!

IMG_0711It’s been a while… because…and that update is in my next post! My friend messaged me yesterday and suggested a little ‘kaizen,’ a Japanese word, loosely meaning small, continuous change that will eventually add up to big change. Kaizen, could be little things such as cutting down sugar, slowly, building up exercise, gradually, small amounts of time aside to read, adding up to books completed. You get the idea.  

For me. Writing small amounts that will affect the habit once more. So today. I’m writing and musing a little…

There are two verses that are dancing around my soul this week.

 

 

 

The first – one of my favourites.

The Lord your God in your midst,

The Mighty One, will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17

The other is the promise of the new song sung from despair in Psalm 40.

I waited patiently for the Lord; 

And He inclined to me,

And heard my cry. 

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,

Out of the miry clay,

And set my feet upon a rock,

And established my steps.

He has put a new song in my mouth—

 

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Here’s a poem I wrote ‘The Song’ Inspired by Psalm 40  

I’m breathing.

This darkness can swallow whole.

It echoes down here.

In the slime.

Wait.

I’m silent.

Surrounded by the mess of me.

I abandon.

Quiet.

I’m inhaling.

A new fragrance as I meander putrid alleys.

Breathe.

I’m hearing.

Faint somethings of a new sound.

Listen.

I’m feeling.

A dancing breeze, blowing in a new choreography.

Move.

I’m touching.

I reach. Wings beneath.

Landing.

I’m listening.

Thunder, wild, declaring.

Ending.

I’m calling.

You hear. You hear.

You rescue. You’re here.

I’m tasting.

Purity.

We sit. We feast.

I’m singing. A new song.

I’m seeing. You. In me.

©Michelle Collins

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Father God, I pray that we hear your song, your song of extreme affection. That we know the true meaning of you rejoicing over us, your dancing and spinning around in joy. Give us ears to hear your love songs, songs of hope and future – and when hear them, that we will believe them. I pray that we will know the beating of your heart. That we respond to the divine romance and our song will join yours. Amen.

You are loved,

Michelle xo

 

Sabbatical thoughts: Part One.

Hello!

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We are on sabbatical! A gift of time given to Phil this Summer, after 7 years at Willow Park. A time to refresh, rest and study for the next season of ministry. If you follow our Monday funday life you’ll know that Phil and I sabbath well and this has transferred into an extended period.

In addition, Phil is studying to provide the church with new resources around the subjects of general anxiety and helping families with loved ones with cancer and dementia. Phil began his time with a 5 day hike along the famous West Coast Trail with our good friend Lyndon who flew in from the UK. A challenging 75 km hike between Port Renfrew and Bamfield on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

June also saw a great visit from Mom, Dion and Charl.

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Em and Jess’ graduation!

…and end of school and awards nights for Josiah and Bella. Into July we see Em return from Watson Lake in the Yukon where the team ran a great youth camp with our Watson family. Ark started this past week with our Josiah heading off for the first time. He loved every minute. You can watch their first week recap here.

I am busy with Pursuit School. We have students applying and I’m currently finalizing curriculum for the school and organising speakers. Go like our Facebook page and cheer us on! It’s not too late to apply, or you might know someone who would like to attend an awesome school of evangelism and mission based out of Willow Park Church in Kelowna.  

As an INFJ and a journaler I often pour out creative expression privately. Over the last months I have resorted to private expression, rather than posting, a few reasons but I do know that we all do our best creative best work when we’re doing it in front of somebody else. So bare with me as I write the mundane, the ordinary and practice taking my voice from private to public, from page to post once more.

July Journal entry

….I woke this morning early. English tea in my oversized starbucks cup (half tsp sugar) followed by coffee in a small cup (no sugar) It’s 8am and I decide to exercise before the forecasted 30+ hits. No make up, scraped hair and podcasts lined up I hit the orchards for my daily 6km loop. I walk uphill, run down around the orchards. I am rejoicing with morning creation, joining into God’s work that I’m called to enjoy and share and develop. Sunbeams dart through the forest trees. I stop. A few minutes later two fawns slow my steps. Sunny (our rusty whoodle) is frozen with excitement. The deer saunter towards us and Sunny can’t contain herself any longer, letting out a strange hunting squeal, they leap away, through the woods. Free.

We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God. Acts 17:28

The Jewish name for God – Yahweh – was not spoken, but breathed. Its correct pronunciation is an attempt to imitate the sound of inhalation and exhalation. We do that every moment: our first and last word as we enter and leave the world…. The one thing we do every moment of our lives is therefore to speak the name of God. This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world (Richard Rohr)

I run on, breathing. I love that in spite of ourselves and our pain, by breathing we are speaking the name of God, taking time with eternity. We see the breath of God in everything – through scripture – throughout nature.

Inhaling I ask the Spirit to take control

Exhaling confession

Inhale forgiveness

Exhale gratitude.

Inhale grace

I see in a blink, a spectrum of light dance through water spraying over the orchards.

I’m reminded of the promise of His presence,

I pray, Emmanuel, be with…

Dear friends who have lost everything to fire,  

Raging forest fires,

A precious newborn who needs miracle,

Good friends traveling for life changing treatment,

Our pastor’s, their families and our church family,

And for you in impossible situations I pray you know your loving Father, who breathed His life into your being, who promises His presence.

Love, Michelle xo

more sabbatical thoughts soon 🙂

 

A Chat with my Blogging Muse.

Day 19.

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A chat…

So, how’s the blogging marathon going Michelle?

Good! I mean good..and hard, and challenging and at times rather tiring.

How does it compare to the actual (half) marathon you just ran?

There are a lot of similarities. The people I am writing alongside – some in it for the fun, others more serious, the unexpected friend popping up to cheer me on, the need for energizing myself along the way. Training too, life itself is my training for writing – reading, experiences, challenges, it all prepares me for the stories I write.

Did you plan the posts in advance?

No, mostly because I decided to join the marathon on the day it began, so I write as the days unfold. I see it like Old Testament manna, enough thoughts and quotes and threads for one-day, then wait see what tomorrow brings.

It’s Day 19. How do you feel today?

Today I feel tiny and a tad fragile, like I want to hide for a while. You know those days, when confidence is hard to find? My INFJ character is reacting to me putting my words out there for 18 days straight, a little too exposed. My pinball machine mind out of control. I’m going to stare out of the window for the day.

Why are you doing this anyway?

A number of reasons. I like a challenge. I am in the midst of a Creative Writing degree and the discipline of writing – consistent and daily is a practice I need to apply and until now I haven’t. Obviously, the idea of writing daily is for practice, editing, improvement. What I didn’t take into account with NaBloPoMo was the challenge of pressing ‘publish’ everyday whether I’m entirely happy with the writing or not – but those who read it are very gracious 😉

Why writing?

Communication and connectedness are my strengths. I love to be able to connect and weave and paint a picture with words. I am startled by beauty and the experience of finding grace everyday. I am predisposed to see the world sacramentally and I love to share these glimpses. I am a hope giver and for me writing is the best avenue for this. My ultimate passion is to tell other peoples stories of hope, of finding hope in tough places.

I am reminded today that to write well I must fully embrace living. Live first, create second. Art is born from life. Joseph Campbell put it like this: I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

Why blogging and not a book?

I started a blog to help my family and friends stay in touch with the Collins in Kelowna. It has evolved over 3 years to more of a devotional and encouragement for people, while still including adventures and observations of our life here and there.

There are four million mommy bloggers alone in North America so I try not take my blog too seriously! I do what I do and enjoy it. There’s the key word in this. ENJOY!

And my book… it’s there pinging around that pinball machine. One day…one day…

Any nugget to leave your lovely readers who have chosen to click onto your blog today?

Yes! Thank you and…

‘Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.’Frederick Buechneur

So that’s me for today, hiding away and that’s okay.

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013