In the Summertime.

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Hello! It’s been a while… summer livin’ and all. I’m excited today to introduce a fresh new look to my blog (thank you lovely Bethany from our For the Love launch team) On the subject of For the Love by Jen Hatmaker – don’t forget to pre order here… review coming soon.

For the next week or so I am joining up with Blogging 101 on WordPress to give us writers a blogging boost. Assignments and changes on the blog everyday for a few weeks. Today is finding a new theme – I’m such a good student. Thanks WordPress!

For those new around here the reason I write my blog? I love stories and putting faith words to life. My favourite posts are those that give you a glimpse of life of this British family pastoring and adventuring in Kelowna, BC alongside offering words of encouragement to you on your journey, ‘bringing God colours into the mundane and miraculous.’

The blogging world is saturated with blogs of this same genre particularly in North America – and I don’t even offer recipes! So I could ask, is it worth it? But we don’t all read every blog. We read a blog we are interested in, and that we have connection with – and for me that’s enough, so I blog on! Oh and it helps because I am working on a Creative Writing degree.

The biggest comments I have are those of thank you for the encouragement and also apologies for not ‘actually’ commenting on the blog itself. Ah yes the whole commenting thing! I’m told I should leave the blog with a question to encourage you to comment. I’m learning…

Family news. You might remember I mentioned we were waiting to hear from Canadian government that Phil is ‘the man for the job’ we were pleased to hear a YES from them and now wait to be invited to apply for Permanent Residence soon!

We enjoyed a week on Kitsilano beach, catching beautiful sunsets, absorbing vitamin sea and enjoying the beauty of Vancouver. They tell me it rains there but I don’t believe them.

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Bella and I enjoyed a girly 24 hours and went to see Taylor Swift in concert. That girl can sing and dance for hours! Taylor is pretty special too.

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As I wrote on my last post – summer is busy with visitors and camps. Jess has been away for almost a month and returns this weekend. Emily and Bella are currently at the Ark, Emily cooking and Bella having the time of her life, although I’m sure the kitchen is fun too! That leaves Josiah to watch movies and play games with his lovely cousin Charlotte. We all head to family camp at Green Bay next week where Phil will be teaching for the week.

Nanny Sue and Dion are in town, making Kelowna their home for a month!

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So, there’s a little catch up.

I was challenged to publish something on my blog that I haven’t done before so here is a poem I wrote – rewritten from one of my favorite Psalms. My lecturer did challenge me on attempting to rewrite something famous that couldn’t be improved upon but I offer my reflection anyway!

The Invite.

Spoken and silent needs, you know them well,

Your voice settles my soul.

I roll in verdant meadows, in carefree rest.

Stagnant sea, parts to a grace oasis,

I drink in the life of silent streams.

In deep valleys, you whisper echoes,

on weathered trails and sunless paths.

I’m invited! Your guest to sit and feast.

To face my enemies, who watch and mock,

my head spins again under their scorn.

I’m invited! My saporous spread.

I’m invited! My paradise picnic.

Your healing oil cascades over my head,

fresh fragrance flows, I carry your balm.

My darling, ever-present Companion,

You have pursued me well, I will abide,

where the feast never ends. It never ends.

 

Time to hear from you…

Describe your summer so far in a few words…

and/or

What can I pray for you?

Thanks for reading!

Love, Michelle.

 

 

Hiking and Hiding.

Love this time of year… can you smell the lilacs from our garden?

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Time for a catch up.

Baptism… Phil and I were privileged to baptize Emily on Easter Sunday. What a joy to see her say yes to Jesus and own her faith. I just love the model of our youth work.  When we arrived in 2010, the twins were 11 and entering into Juice at youth – it was here they were placed into a care group and allocated care group leaders. These same leaders have been with them through their teen years, supporting mentoring, praying – having a lot of fun, adventures and endless YOLO nights. It was no surprise to see one of her leaders sitting on the steps of the baptism pool cheering her on and the others wait to pour out some love and prayers. It’s no surprise – but I acknowledge the awesome blessing that it is. Our youth pastor Joel and his family, our youth staff and interns need our prayers daily as they give so much week in week out to hundreds of youth in our city.

Immigration…the process continues, we are now proving to Canadian government that Phil is the right man for the job!

For the Love…. I am so excited to be part of a launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book ‘For the Love’ which is released in August. EVERY LINE brings a ‘yes’ or an ‘amen’ or ‘I wish id have written that’!!! Watch this space over the next months for a review, endless quotes and no doubt a giveaway when the book is released, preorder here.

Until then here’s a few lines to be going on with.

‘Be Kind. Be You. Love Jesus. That’s about it. Everything else will fall into place’

‘If folks don’t recognize God is good by watching His people, then we have tragically derailed’

‘You know that person who does great things for you and says those things that make you feel so good? Try that on others’!

Spring… has sprung and Phil is starting to work on the veggie garden. We are enjoying a weekly hike on Phil’s day off, choosing a different mountain each week. Our Pastor Gary spoke of life on the mountain this week, you can watch it on the The Abbey Facebook page, our Mountain Monday gives us the view and focus to get back down to the valley for real life.

IMG_1392Hiking on Okanagan Mountain – deer, crane, coyote… and the Ogopogo – can you see it?

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Also, I really like hiking and I really, really like my husband.

On Hiding… I will leave you with this thought. Prompted by the 5 minute Friday word prompt ‘HIDE’.

Hiding often comes easy to me, how about you? I am an INFJ character and often overthinking and sensitivity and the familiar villain of fear can cause me to withdraw into my world where I find encouragement in scripture and in God’s presence, and that alone. Yes, my life is hidden with Christ in God and I live that but as you know one of favorite lines is ‘Created for Community’. I think the enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to isolate us in loneliness – hiding away in a world of silence and unreality. This needs us to make a change – stepping out, being vulnerable and honest, inviting people into our imperfect house and world.

I love the idea of community where are arms are wide open, where judgment is abandoned and encouragement is the norm. Community allows light into the dark places, I’m running after true community.

Jen writes ‘and as we witness this beautiful community, we aren’t just observing vulnerability but rather chains breaking, darkness receding, victory rising… when enough bright places are created, the dark has nowhere else to hide.

To do this we have to be seen.

Love, Michelle x