Fifteen.

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Today, January 13th 2014, Emily and Jessica are 15!

Happy Birthday beautiful girls – I remember being 15 and thinking I knew it all. Honestly, really believing it. I was so sure that I could leave school at 16 and rule the world.

I was also reminded on the way to school today that the twins are one year away from driving (*insert nervous laughter*).

Birthdays! On the way to school Jess asked me ‘Why are you so excited about our birthday Mom?’                                        I said this… give or take a few words.

“Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: ‘thank you for being you.’ Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: ‘thanks for what you did, or said, nor accomplished.’ No, we say: ‘Thanks you for being born and being among us.’ On birthdays we celebrate the present. We do not complain about what happened or speculate about what will happen, but we lift someone up and let everyone say, ‘We love you.’…Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and in this spirit we really need to celebrate people’s birthdays every day, by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. These are ways of saying: ‘It’s good that you are alive; it’s good that you are walking with me on this earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice…” Henri Nouwen, Here and Now.

So girls as we enter into this important year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I pray you will know how much you are loved unconditionally, by us and more importantly by God. I pray you will look in the mirror of your soul and see beauty by God’s standards. I pray you will know the knowledge of God singing over you. I pray you will learn to hear His voice – and respond. Know that you are called, unique and gifted. Know that you have God given purpose and destiny. I thank you God for amazing mentors around you both. I thank God that He has entrusted us with you. I thank God for you!

And for me Lord…as you see, this parenting is not ever, I mean, not always easy. Help me to respond not react. To know daily that Emily and Jessica are not ‘teen me’ (phew). Teach me that yolo’s are a gift, and one that I could use a little more often.  That taxi-ing all over town, all the time, to many different friends, is also a gift. Lord, give me wisdom. I will be praying this a lot… Amen. Did I mention wisdom?

Love you girls,

Momma xoxo

Ps. Don’t forget the letter I wrote to here!

Intimate with Strangers.

Yesterday I started the journey of 31 days of writing.

I began by uprooting. Now, let us plant, grow, let roots go deep as we sit and meditate, let’s swing on new branches, both strong and flimsy, let’s eat juicy fruit and learn from other trees as the month progresses…

Day Two.

Check out this link.

‘There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet’

We are created to be relational.

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. … It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:18). The phrase, “Let us make man in our image” reveals an “us-ness” in the very nature of God. The very essence of God is relational, and that essential quality has been imprinted on humans. This capacity for a relationship with God extends to humans, which is why the Genesis story declares that God created Eve for Adam because “it is not good for man to be alone.” Relevant Mag.

This is why I love working in our Hope Centre.

Where us strangers gather, eat, connect.

Become friends. Become family.

IMG_2593Hope Centre Bonding.

But as I write I realize that the Hope Centre is an easy example to use. I’m challenged to bring it home,  relationships I am face to face with daily. My family.

A family of six goes many directions hourly. You can imagine. At the end of the day when we’re all tired, our heads turn downward and we stare at our orchard of apple products.

I’m not going to have a go at social media here – because I love it! But I overdo it which often means my kids do too – something has to give.

face.chat.snap.book.shut.

askmeanything.as.i.tumble.

pheedme.insta.likes.

whatsapp.trod.on.a.pin.

kik.that.click.

Let us begin with our immediate family. Let us not be strangers in our own home.

My family lived around the table. That’s where connection happened. Touch, laughter, tears, eye contact. Friendship.

The table. A perfect place to start…

See you tomorrow!

Love, Michelle xo

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Summer Summary.

A summer of…

Mommy did you see me. Watch me, watch me. Mommy…mommy!  Time me. Catch me.

Of Somersaults and splits. Cartwheels and headstands.
Of Wiggly teeth. Wobbly emotions.

IMG_1637Bella

Of God chasing wonder. Anchored faith. Heart lake community capturing her heart. Junior leaders. Prayers answered. Life friendships forged.

Of too many sleepovers. I give in when those visiting mascara laden, cropped top wearing, fragile ones whisper ‘please Mama Collins’.

Of befriending King David. What did he teach me?
That the opposite of fear isn’t courage, it’s trust.
That friendship is built on a safe place. Envy and jealousy will eat you up and Worship is at the heart of who we should be.
That a heart after god is integrity, love and humility.
That none of us can afford to be complacent with our holiness. Listen to our summer series here.

Of understanding myself like never before, accepting that it can often feel like a burden and envisioning a redeemed version.

Of blog posts that open eyes and offer understanding.
And…understanding that occasionally the posts I throw out fast are the ones heaven throws a flashlight on.

Of my new fave place in Vancouver. Kitsilano. Rock pool exploring and sushi on the beach. Mesmerizing sunsets and flexible people.

photoSunset on Kitsilano Beach

Of training for the Kelowna Wine Country half. September 7th is.next.week. Why didn’t you tell me we’re nearly at the end of August?

2846420a0aab11e3aaa822000a1fb0dd_7Cheered on by these views during training

Of family visiting. Respite and insight, acceptance and grace. Mom and D loving Kelowna, establishing friendships, praying with locals on street corners, encouraging at the hope centre, worshipping with the young adults.

Image 3Mom and D – a colourful couple. 

Of Green Bay bible camp. We enjoyed our week there and met some great people, the campers loved Phil’s speaking.
It was here I saw daily miracles in her. I saw a new freedom – restoring the years. Swinging high, star gazing, losing fears.

Of our new car. Everyday I drive this car I thank God for his goodness. For the prayers of a six year old and for those who listened to the whisper.

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So, as we draw to a close and the Collins clan squeeze the last drops of summer in Seattle.
I am thankful.
I know that all good gifts come from my Father in heaven.

IMG_2527Seattle from the top of space needle. Photo creds. Emily Collins.

This is my summer highlight reel.
And we know not to compare our behind the scenes with others highlight reels don’t we friends?! I will take you behind the scenes soon enough, just need to spend some time there – on my own…

Now, let me know some of your summer highlights.

I can hear September revving up.
I am not ready… but I will be next week.
Embrace the remaining summer days.

Love, Michelle xoxo

On Dr. Martens and Friendship.

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I chatted to my friend this week in the UK.
She said she keeps up with my blog and I said I’d give her a mention.
Who knew that five minute Friday would be the word ‘Friend’ so I have 5 minutes to write – no editing no backtracking *cough*.
Remember:
When we were in school together…and you spelt your name with a ‘y’. So cool.
We topped and tailed in my little single bed. A lot.
When my side the friendship talked the other into taking a day off school. Hmmm.
When I required big scrunched hair, you were my scruncher – diffuser and all.
When you saw my home as yours. My family as yours. That was good.
When we decided to say yes to the Jesus who invaded our lives with love and freedom.
Our mature years (late teens) – of even bigger hair and such sensible clothes, Benny Hinn and dwelling in four dwellings.
And then the wandering and wondering and meeting up again.
And all those babies.
And now…
Your eldest sits his leaving exams and my littlest sits his weekly spellings.
Your eldest says ‘Mom, I want physics and psychology and art.’
And my littlest goes to bed asking ‘Is it OK if I just tell God  He’s cool because of His superpowers.’ We’re doing a great job!

You’re more than my mate Kayt, your my sis.

Nearly 3 years ago, I stepped off a plane and had to start friend making again. And that’s been hard. It takes time doesn’t it?
Time. Energy. Effort. Courage…there’s that word again.
We are all meant to be friends with someone. We cannot do this life alone.

Jesus loves friendship.

I spent my Thursday at the Hope Centre.
I chatted with my biker tattooed bro with his UK imported Dr. Martens. I let him know his boots were having a major fashion moment in the UK. That kids, teens and Moms alike were wearing them with pride. The boot, designed after a ski injury back in the 60’s has made its air cushioned sole through decades of punks and skinheads to style mags and catwalks.
(I was the 9 year old skinhead down the Lye with waist long hair and docs) Seriously.

My Hope Centre friend. He told me he wasn’t sure if he fit in there because he was so different. ‘I mean, just look at me’ he said.
I told him everyone in the Hope Centre was different so he would fit in just fine.
As he was leaving he came up to me and said
‘Hey, English. I had a great morning.’

I could say its because of the Patti’s sandwiches or my excellent coffee or Esther’s hospitable skills. But I think it’s more than that.
You see there’s something that connects us all.
Whether homeless, happy, frantic, fed. We are made for connection.
For friendship. For community.
Whether living life together day by day, a weekly visit to the Hope Centre or friendship across the pond.

Friendship, is gift to be treasured and not taken for granted.

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(not the boots HC bro was wearing, the boots I would wear;)

My prayer is that you will find courage to allow yourself to find and to be a friend.

Yes courage.

‘The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage literally had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has actually changed, and today, courage is synonymous with being heroic or performing brave deeds.
Heroics and bravery are important, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we and about our experiences (good and bad) is the ultimate act of courage. Heroics is often about putting your life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting your vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary’ Thoughts of Brene Brown.

And finally…
Back to my mate kayt. She wears docs.

Have a great weekend friends!
Love,  Michelle. xoxo

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” CS Lewis.

Five Minute Friday