Beloved: Do you believe it?

Hi family, friends and readers from around the world. Thanks for reading! Here’s a snapshot of my week and some words of truth about YOU.

A week of being celebrated as a mother of this brood.


Check out the best answers from the boy.

Summer snow.


We relocated the Robin’s nest as it didn’t appear to be the best place. Robin had other ideas and built another bigger and better nest, same area, slightly higher. (On a similar note, our immigration situation is ongoing. Thanks for prayers!)


And our cutest new addition. Cloudy.


A word I am carrying is ‘You are Beloved of the Lord’. Scripture is full of us children of God being addressed as Beloved of the Lord.

e.g“God’s beloved; God’s permanent residence. Encircled by God all day long, within whom God is at home.” Debt 33:12

Today I’m cheering each of you with this message. So, take a couple of minutes to hear this truth about YOU.

What does it mean to know I am ‘Beloved of the Lord?

It means I know who I am as a child of God. Knit together in my mother’s womb. Created with imagination and care. A piece of art, a poem. I am loved, favored. This is not some wishful thinking. Nor is it some delusion of grandeur. This is the truth of who I am as God’s child.

Henri Nouwen in his book Life of the Beloved writes:

“When we claim and constantly reclaim the truth of being the chosen ones, we soon discover within ourselves a deep desire to reveal to others their own chosenness. Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosenness of others. That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well. In the house of God there are many mansions. There is a place for everyone – a unique, special place. Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes, we are able to recognize the preciousness of others and their unique places in God’s heart.”

Love. these. Words.

Do you believe you are created for his purpose and his plans? That you are significant? That you have a God given voice, with words of a significant contribution to those around you, which is unique and only you can offer.

The person next to you cannot do what you do. Ah that person next to you. That one so easily triggers inadequacy – insecurity. Envy even…

I believe when we know our belovedness – these feelings will begin to disappear. Bob Sorge says this. ‘We need to find ourselves in Christ, when we learn the secret of living for an audience of one. Envy will no longer be an issue.’

God has named you, it’s time to let the thoughts God has of you define you, His thoughts are infinitely more important than what others think of you.

‘Let us live our lives you were exactly who Jesus thinks we are’. BG.

This truth is found in scripture, it’s found by being in his presence living aware of creator God, mindful of him. It’s no quick fix or 3 steps to ‘belovedness’ – let us allow ‘belovedness’ invade all we think, say, do.

Lets work together to break through oppression and lies about ourselves that life has forced, breaking off the stuff that keeps us down. For some of us it’s not breaking off it’s allowing God in. His embrace will break the anguish in you.

Or as Henri put it, “First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.”

Praying this truth over you today,


Michelle x

Preparing Him room.


Hi all.

We have just completed another wonderful Living Nativity at our church. When thousands enter into what is the ‘Kelowna tradition’ and experience the nativity, Bethlehem village, live mannequins and yum treats. 7000 people attended over the 12 shows. 2500 bibles were given. We were able to pray for 577 prayer requests on our prayer tree.








What a wonderful opportunity to invite our community into God’s story!

 ‘The thrill of hope’

I’m trying to be clever and think of something different to write about, a different advent angle.

Because everything I read says the same thing.

Over and over.

The same message.

It tells me to stop, to breathe, to wait to wonder, to look, to yearn, to anticipate.

That there is hope, there is light.

And the more I read the more I realize of course the message is loud.

It’s the clearest it has ever been.

It is the most wonderful time of the year!

So I will join the advent people because there is no place I’d rather be.

The candle lighters, the life declarers, the hope bringers.

Because I believe that God sent his only son as a babe and He made his home on earth and it all fell into place.

All of this – advent is about a bigger picture. This time. This waiting.

It’s about our eyes being opened spiritually, our ears hearing a new sound.

‘The weary world rejoices’

How many of us are weary in the waiting, the wondering and worrying?

Let us use this time of advent to focus on our dark and say Emmanuel – I cannot do this. Let us invite Him into the places where decay has spread beyond hidden messes in our heart.

Advent is not the ‘same old same old’.  Advent is a time of change.

Let us spend advent looking at the areas in our lives to be redeemed, recognizing what is holding us in its power.

Take a moment to pray…

‘Emmanuel. God with us. With me. What do you want to say to me?’

It could be tiny spark of wonder, the newest of realizations, or the wonder of transformation. He wants to answer you.

 O come, O come Emmanuel’

Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness,

send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to you coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

—Henri J.M. Nouwen.

‘Let every heart prepare Him room’

 Love, Michelle xo



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!

Sadness and Joy Kiss.

Day 16.


I crash out wordless, exhausted and toasty warm and convince myself that it’s OK to post a picture of my roaring fire and that will be enough for a blog for today…

And while it is OK to have a wordless day. I start to think…and as I sit, my mind weaves around stories, quotes and people and I find a loose thread I like – and here I am.

…I remembered an interview with Rick Warren who described life as a series of problems. Either you are in one now or you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into one.

That God is more interested in our character than our comfort…Yay.

And rather than hills and valleys, back and forth, he describes life as two rails on a rail-track and at all times you have something good and bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

Then Henri Nouwen* writes that life is a time “in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.” We all have our own experiences of those moments. Those joy moments that we will know will pass. I think of my babes hugging and squeezing and fitting me perfect and then in the blink it’s a different fit,  I spend lovely time with far away friends on Skype and then say goodbye once more, I smile over the pictures of loved ones now gone and hold memories over those I can’t reach out to anymore.

Nouwen suggests that these experiences of sadness and joy create longing in us, “making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.” and “We were made for something more, something beyond today, and loneliness whispers to us of Jesus and an ultimate union in heaven.”

Until then, we do life together – the reason we were created.

*from Nouwen, Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life


Street Art in Tel Aviv. National Geographic.

My day began with this story:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’  The origin of this letter is unknown.

See you tomorrow,

Bless YOU!

Love, Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Saturday Soup: Two

IMG_2832 My favourite artist. Kelowna.

Family: I took this sunset pic on the way to see ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ with the little people. Not exactly on the way but kids are used to my sunset snapping detours.

Reading: This letter to Miley from Sinead resulting in bloggers, news and all things media passing their opinions. Miley responds by retweeting Sinead’s posts from 3 years ago on Sinead’s struggle mentally, and compared her to Amanda Bynes who is currently in a psychiatric hospital. Sinead is now on her 3rd letter. Stating she will support Miley when she is having a breakdown. The well meaning start, ends with lawyers.

And Miley and Sinead are in the spotlight.

I have 3 girls who have grown up with Hannah Montana and have no doubt watched Robert Thicke thrusting and Miley’s twerking.

Because of letters I have written,  my children can make informed choices.

Because of the letter, present in my home, they know of a value system that is different.

So, how about – in addition to writing to celebs, let’s write letters to our own kids on how to cope with this stuff.

Better still – talk to them. Uncomfortable words. Face to face. 

From Miley to Henri Nouwen. It is my soup after all…

Thinking: ‘The human, ordinary yet divine gesture of breaking bread. A gesture of hospitality, friendship, care, and the desire to be together. Taking a loaf of bread, blessing it, breaking it, and giving it to those seated around the table signifies unity, community, and peace. God becomes most present when we are most human.’ I have focused on the following thoughts of Nouwen a lot this week. Especially as I eat toast with my friends in the Hope Centre.

A most ordinary act in which I believe that God is most present.

Quote: ‘Wow, Michelle, did you make these oustanding cookies’ ‘Yes, a secret recipe. I have only shared it with Costco’.  Made me smile…

Thankful: The reason we are planted in this beautiful country is Willow Park Church, Kelowna.

I know, I know – you think it is for the lakes, ski hills, mountains, the beaches and all round beauty.

But seriously.

A church where:

The voices of hundreds of young adults worshipping at Pursuit can be heard merging with the voices of the Friday morning hymn sing in the Hope Centre.

The stories of our Encounter God retreat merge with Phil’s storytelling at the Seniors Hoedown.

The joyful screams of children at Jam & Thrive merge with the whoops of women at Take a Break.

The cars through hoops of fire merge with the battered bikes outside the Hope Centre.

The quiet prayers of the faithful 7am prayer group merge with the cry of city pastors agreeing in prayer.

Rich and diverse – a church that can’t be defined. 

A church whose sounds touch heaven. 

Verse: That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. Ephesians 2:19

Us. Community.

And finally, if nothing else. Sing-along to this!

Enjoy your weekend, find your place,

Michelle xo

PS: New website launch today at Willow Park Church. Click it out here!