A Chat with my Blogging Muse.

Delicious Autumn!



Thankfully my muse arrived for a chat…

So, Michelle, where have you been?

I could ask you the same question!

What happened to blogging everyday in October?

I had all good intentions until day six and realized the goal was unrealistic. We had a Phil’s 50th birthday to celebrate (I’m 44 – have I mentioned that?) The celebration began with an open house at our place for two days when 200 lovely church members dropped by to wish the main man a happy birthday. Great to connect with so many Willow Park people. Many cups of tea later we drove up to Sparkling Hill (on our own!) The celebrations continued with a week of fun times with friends and family. We quickly moved on to celebrate Josiah’s 9th birthday. Josiah did wonder why Phil was getting all the attention – after all 9 is a great age…


AND during all the celebrations I had a 3000-word essay to complete.

So I did write everyday – I just didn’t blog everyday.

Remind us again of why you write…

Communication and connectedness are my strengths. I love to be able to 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 carry hope and for me writing is the best avenue for this. My ultimate passion is to tell other peoples stories of hope and of finding true faith in tough places.

I am reminded again today that to write well I must fully embrace living.

Live first, create second. Art is born from life.


How is your creative writing degree?

It moves slowly, but doesn’t stop and that’s the main thing!

I have learned that writers need to be readers. That I can’t be a writer if I’m not a reader – writers teach us how to write – or how not to.

What are you reading?

I am currently reading for an essay I am writing.

‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed, ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer, ‘Walden’ by Thoreau and ‘Walking Home: The Poets Journey’ by Simon Armitage. Lots of creative non-fiction – I find myself on the pathways of the Pacific Crest Trail, the raw beauty of Alaska or crying with Chris McCandless mother on a green abandoned bus on the Stampede Trail. I have yet to join the poet on the Pennine Way.

Have you had time for anything else?!

Of course…

As you know my passion is our Hope Centre, we are currently re-imagining what this ministry looks like. Realizing what we are not as much as anything else, focusing on what we can do well and how we can best serve our wider community.

We just held another Encounter God – the God given vision to see a community transformed, made whole and living out a listening life is happening in our church.

This past week we attended the Hope International Development Agency Film Premiere and Dinner with our life long friend Lowell Sheppard who is Asia Pacific Director for HOPE. I was moved by the story of Chan whose life was changed by the provision of a water well though HOPE. She has seen the health of her family improve; her children attend education and food security in growing and selling vegetables. All through the gift of clean water. Her words ‘we now have everything we need’ on are on repeat in my mind.

Last night we met with a group of our adults who are passionate about prayer. It was a moment when God was smiling. A moment to mark as we discussed prayer rooms, a week of constant prayer in January and 21 day focused time of prayer and fasting. Watch this space!

What are you excited about?

Christmas of course! It’s the first time since we moved to Canada that we’ll be in Stourbridge (our hometown) for Christmas. I CANNOT WAIT to spend time with my loved ones.

So that’s me! Thanks for reading.

Praying that you’ll know God’s wrap around presence, protection and peace over your life.

Stay in touch,

Love, Michelle x

Into the Wild.




The first time I visited Mwanza I was in a car accident. Phil and I were ‘just good friends’ and we were with the loveliest team – from Stourbridge, San Rafael and Coventry…

We entered the Serengeti with the roof up; Phil and I cozy on the front seat, team cameras ready, wind blowing in our hair.

Our guide decided we would like to see the ostriches. A whole herd of the odd looking birds with their skinny legs, big body and black feathers, those wings might not do much but those legs can run – not my favorite.

As our guide took off the path, and accelerated faster… the thrill quickly turned to threat as the jeep hit an area of water and we began to aquaplane.

Slow motion gliding ensued until the driver with no control let go, as did the truck – we spun and rolled – sending us in different directions.

I will spare the gory details but the scene was a mess – I lay motionless on the ground, with a potential broken back, a friend trapped under the vehicle, another broken collarbone. Detail spared.

Help was scarce – the first help came in the form of a man on a bike – then a packet of twenty cigarettes – perfect timing for us who had given up smoking to start again.

Help was eventually found in the form of a dump truck where we were loaded up, with me on the roof of the flipped truck as my stretcher. We were admitted to a nearby hospital where Phil took X-rays, a friend was operated on and the Masai nursed us on a maternity ward. We were thankful to be transported out of the area the next day by MAF (love you forever MAF) after the village had cleared an unused airstrip for us.

Fast-forward 18 years.

I woke on Wednesday at 4.30am to torrential rain. A storm of storms – lightening illuminating the whole house – thunder shaking the foundations – rain, rain, rain. It lasted for hours.

What’s more, it was our day off…and the team were excited to see the Serengeti!

My worst kind of traveling weather. Ugh.

As the morning progressed and our guide was late picking us up (TIA)

I began to feel more and more anxious about the trip, memories were flooding, images, fear, anxiety.

I began to pace up and down the living room.

‘Breathe Michelle Breathe.’

‘Jesus – me and you – we can do this.’

Cheryl sat reading her bible ‘read something to me’ I asked. As the word began to sink in – the presence of God arrived in freedom and healing. The trauma attached to the accident still evident and needing a freedom only God can bring. The team gathered. I had not orchestrated this moment, but God clearly had.

My bible was open to Isaiah 43.

‘Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you…’

You’re mine

When our life is entrusted to the ultimate healer… it means healing is constant and a process.

I have personally seen God’s healing in many ways – sometimes through personal prayer and reading God’s word – many times through counselling and therapy – and often through the Spirit of God orchestrating ‘a moment’ – and the beauty of those moments all woven together.

The enemy of our souls likes nothing more than to keep us bound in trauma, past experiences and old habits.

The lover of our soul changes that.

How He loves us!

So, in my new found freedom. I honestly felt immediately different – if only it were always like that eh?

I sat fearless in the front of the jeep for a new Safari experience.

Where we saw everything we wanted to see.

Where we were first at the scene for the best.

I told Stephen our guide – you need to know we will see a rainbow today and I spoke to him of God’s promise over our lives and what that means. Of course we did – and this rainbow was over us and ahead of us for miles.


We woke early and opted for a 6am adventure…

‘Oh and Stephen. You need to know that today we will see the lion, not just any lion – but a male adult’.

He smiled.

‘There are no guarantees’ he said.

I smiled.

We were first on the scene for breakfast time in the wild, females and cubs feasting – jackals scurrying and scavenging hyenas laughing.



We sat for a long time in awe at the scene – just feet away, nature in its glory.

Then… as promised.

Silence descended upon the scene. As did redemption.

As the King had the last laugh.



Thank you for joining me on my musings from Mwanza!

Be blessed,

Love, Michelle

See below for more Serengeti pics…