Goodbyes Come in Waves.

For everything that happens in life, there’s a season… Ecc 3:1

A few surprise Hellos this week.

The O’Boyles after 17 years! Missionaries for YFC who have lived in Cyprus, Dubai, Thailand and Denver – we got to hang out with this fabulous family and have Neil preach at Willow Park before they head back to the homeland. Neil is taking on the role of National Director of British Youth for Christ. Loved this moment of being their last stop before heading home.

Kande our friend from our hometown in UK who lives in Japan was visiting family in Kelowna this week. Kande looks as beautiful as ever! We enjoyed a lovely lunch and catch up.

Jolyon on business in Vancouver popped over to Kelowna. We love you Brother Jo.

And it’s…

Goodbye or an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo to Chloe our 13-year-old student from Korea who has been with us for the school year. She has coped well with the Collins clan and leaves us with a good grasp of the English language, a love for Canada and a slight English accent.


Goodbye to Emily as she heads off on the yellow bus to Watson Lake in the Yukon for a couple of weeks. Emily and a team from our church will be running a youth camp on a reserve, just 3 days North. Love your heart Emily.


DSC09107Goodbye to Jessica as she heads to Green Bay camp on their discipleship training program for 3 weeks (a 20 minute drive over the bridge) Proud of you girl and remember Hawaiian Tropic Oil is not sunscreen.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And now…

Goodbye to my friend Esther. The one who has been by my side here in Kelowna. She’s prayed for me, cried with me and laughed a lot with me. She has understood me (except for my texts) She’s watched my kids overnight when we have needed a getaway. What a gift you have been Mrs. P – Tuesday mornings will never be the same. Seriously – who will laugh so loud at my stories that Starbucks is bought to silence. As for Christmas Eve, I promise that the Collins family will take part in a pajama hunt in honour of the past few years.Your gift of leading us in worship has been beautiful, you and Chad have both been huge cheerleaders of Phil and I in Willow Park, we are so grateful to God!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Praying for you ALL as you head to Texas. You guys will be a gift to your community. Love y’all.



Let us see the richness of ever changing seasons as God weaves these wonderful moments, we embrace them and are thankful. Even the goodbyes or should I say au revoir – until we see each other again.

May you know God’s love and presence this week,

Love, Michelle xo

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” Frederick Buechner.

Matt’s story: ‘Your prayer has been heard’



About my little bro Matt…

He was 19 when he was diagnosed with paranoid Schizophrenia. For those who have known this illness, you know it’s not a quick visit to your local GP and an off the bat diagnosis. No, this came following years of pain, torment, violence, and imprisonment.

We were told these words. ‘Prepare yourselves for him to be institutionalized for the rest of his life’.

The 23 years that have followed have been both stable and tumultuous. As pray-ers we’ve wrestled with how to pray, with the dark feel of mental illness, the spiritual influence that accompanies, and the voices that have called us out.

We have seen God answer many prayers. We’ve fasted; we’ve travailed and cried as the pain of unanswered prayer pushes us to breakthrough for his life. When the time came for hi-security rehab for a while, we prayed and he received the best care. When certain medical intervention was/is needed we pray. When wisdom is needed over meds we pray. We refused to believe what had been spoken and saw the dedication of faithful people praying God’s word. All wrapped in the beauty of a Mom and Dad pouring out unconditional love.

Why do I tell you this? I love to tell God stories. He’s a good, good Father… Love this song. On repeat.

Matt knows God’s love and forgiveness. He has broken free from many addictions. He’s realized the dark influence of occult practices and disposed of anything attached to it. A good friend has been and prayed through his apartment, yes, Matt’s apartment – because he lives independently now. Shopping, cooking, paying his bills. Matt’s an encourager, he has the gift of generosity, he’s a great Dad. He’s currently serving at our old church in Stourbridge – Chawn Hill. Helping to cook meals at Alpha and helping with the Diners club – where a group of guys cook a meal and eat together. There’s the table again.

I tell a snippet of Matt’s story to encourage praying parents, siblings and carers and of course those who are affected by mental illness. Please understand I am not making light of a desperate situation by suggesting a quick fix prayer. I understand the depth of pain. What I do know is that God hears your prayers, every one of them, spoken and not. He sees your desperation. God is committed to answer your prayers. He is committed to show you His heart, He is for you. Remind Him of His promises, stop and listen to Him – He is faithful.

For the moments when you ask why.  The real Jesus turns to our questions of why, why this sickness, who is to blame — and he says it like a caress to the aching,“You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here.” (John 9:3 MSG)… “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:5 NLT). Anne Voskamp.

…and if you’ve run out of faith and hope – tell God that too and find a community who will support you. He gives strength to the weary. When the angel spoke to Zechariah he said ‘Do not be afraid; your prayer has been heardLuke 1:13 If you study this word it actually means ‘the prayers that you no longer pray have been heard’. I love that.

Prayer changes things. Answers to prayer reveal God’s love.

Matt’s life is a beautiful testimony of this.

And we are thankful.

Jesus: ‘Remember, what is humanly impossible is possible with God.’ Luke 18:27

‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’ Jeremiah 32:27 

‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that.’Jeremiah 29:11

‘The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Love, Michelle x

(Written with permission – thanks lil’ bro)









Day 25.

Rose of Sharon

It was a year ago today that my Nanny Rose passed away; it’s at times like this I’d love to be with my family, remembering our Rosie and keeping her memory alive.

So last week when I asked my Mom to consider writing some thoughts for my blog, I wasn’t really thinking about the timing of it, and it falls on today and that’s good, you know? Many of you know my Mom, for those who don’t, you can meet her here. Anyone who has met her in person remembers her, that’s for sure…

I asked Mom to share a few thoughts on finding God in difficult times.

‘…So when Shell asked me to write something I thought, ‘not this week’. Then I thought ‘why not this week’? Why not share with others how God is in the midst of our dark places. And how he shows us those diamonds in the dust. How those rainbows appear just at the right time. And how we can cartwheel with joy.

I call them diamonds – that comfort, peace and love which God brings in the midst of the most painful of times. I have seen them repeatedly for many years and will share a few with you.

Starting with the most poignant.

I knew that I needed to go to the chapel of rest to see Mom, but I was struggling. I didn’t want to but I needed to. The phone rang and it was my sister. ‘Have you seen the rainbow Sue?’

I looked out to a glorious rainbow to what seemed to reach from my house to hers.

I went to see Mom shortly afterwards, which took away the pain of the image in my mind of her last moments. On our way home, we saw another rainbow, right over the place where Mom had collapsed. It was as though God was saying ‘It’s OK, she’s with me’.


Way back in 1990 I had this word from God. ‘As you stand firm on my rock, the storms will swirl around you and come against you but I AM YOUR ROCK do not move from me. When you walk forward lean into the storm, lean into the wind, do not be forced back, do not bow down to the pressures that come against you for the victory is mine.’

Strong words, words that were to stand me in good stead in the years that followed.

The storms did come, many of them, but after each and every storm came the rainbow, I love rainbows and I am reminded of God’s promise to me every time.  Of course, it’s not a physical rainbow every time; God speaks to us in different ways. Above all,  he has equipped us with His word and in it we can discover the soundest advice for every situation we face.

Underlined in my bible are many promises – for my family, for each of my children, my grandchildren…for my life.

I stand on those promises. Speak them out. Shout them out. Cry them out.

I speak Gods word into dark situations and I see His answer come. In His time.

God comes into our dark times in so many ways to let us know He is walking beside us.


On New Years Eve 2006, I went to church feeling tired and sad because my Uncle had passed away the night before in hospital. He’d wanted to go, he’d had enough of this life and had prayed many times for God to take him.

We got to the hospital, he’d just gone and there was his bible, open at his favorite scripture. ‘In my Fathers house are many mansions.’ What a blessing to me that was.


Back to New Years Eve morning. It was testimony time so I got up and gave testimony to the wonderful things God had been doing in my family. As I went and sat down I experienced a massive pain in my head. I managed to find the church foyer where I lay on the floor unable to move, I remember friends praying for me at that moment. Days later in the Queen Elizabeth hospital my consultant came to me and said I need to be rejoicing as 50% of people die on the way to hospital after a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage that I had experienced.


Even this last week we had some news that caused us much joy yet attached to it so much pain. In that pain I am praying ‘God, show yourself in this’. As we walked out of our house. I looked up at our Rose of Sharon bush…and there were unexpected fresh blooms. The Rose of Sharon represents Jesus.


These are just a few of many examples of how God speaks to me. Always, someway, somehow. God’s diamonds appear but we have to look for them, to listen for Him in those dark places.’

Thanks Mom – Encouraging words today, and knowing you you’ll keep adding to them as the day goes by!

I would add, that we have faced the worst of situations as a family and in them we have seen the best of God. Be encouraged to look for Him in the places you find yourselves today, He so loves to speak to us.

Verses to encourage you:

O Lord, in you I have found a safe place. Let me never be ashamed. Set me free, because You do what is right and good. Turn Your ear to me, and be quick to save me. Be my rock of strength, a strong place to keep me safe. For You are my rock and my safe place. For the honor of Your name, lead me and show me the way.’ Psalm 31:1-3

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.’ Psalm 18:6

Moses spoke to the people: ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.’ Exodus 14:13

Finally, be blessed by this song… Your word unfailing. Your promise unshaken. All my hope is in You

What diamonds have you seen this week?

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013


Day 5. 


I woke to white this morning. I was shocked – didn’t the children just go back to school? The snow didn’t stick around. I drove my car. The school stayed open. Life carried on.

I am not tuned into Winter that’s for sure – they tell me it’s 49 days until Christmas. Seriously?

My thoughts for today…

Our blood carries a distinct sound frequency. Years ago Harvard researchers were excited to discover that proteins in our DNA make sounds. Not only did they hear sounds from the protein in DNA but an organized, melodious song.

There’s more.

Inside of every person is a unique melodious song.

You are no accident, God went so much further than creating light, mountains, oceans.

He sang your DNA into being, and what’s more he continues to sing.

DNA mosaic

‘For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs’ Zeph 3:17

This verse speaks of singing, joy, God himself shouting with emotional excitement!

Gods heart song is YOU!

You were in Christ before the foundations of the world. Your destiny is in Him, I know that what happened to you after you were born distorts this song, walking in pain and hurt is not your destiny.

You are not what was done to you but who you were created to be. 

Jesus died on the cross. His blood speaks. It restores your song, and when you invite Jesus into your life, restoration and transformation takes place.

Imagine how this could change our lives. Comprehending this truth for ourself. Seeing others as a unique song.

Stuart Mitchell, composer says ‘We are sung musically into form. We are all part of a symphony, a choreography of a score. But we bring love to the game. That is our essence, our participation and our ultimate goal’.  This quote came from a website from the UK where you can send samples, pay 500 pounds and receive your unique DNA song. Who knew?

I can offer another option where the sounds of your song are played. The word of God. Why not pick up a bible, read some verses and hear a new song and if you don’t know where to start – message me, and if you don’t have a bible you can download the YouVersion bible from the app store for free!

Why not start with these:

Psalm 139:14 ‘You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.’

Job 33:4 ‘The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’

Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’ The Voice version adds ‘Never forget that’

Jeremiah 31:3 ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’

How will YOU hear your song? Will you listen? How will your song be played? Who will hear?

Excited to share this today!

See you tomorrow.

Love, Michelle xo

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Saturday Soup 4: Wear Love.

This week was birthday week for the Collins men.

I whisked Phil away for a night to the Sparkling Hills Resort in Vernon (of course a night feels like a week in parenting years.)

Seriously, what’s not to love about Sparkling Hills?



Beautiful food, stunning views and cleansing spas.

Coolness of waterfalls. Warmth of fireplaces. 3.5 million Swarovski crystals in virtually every element of the property, many crystals have a permanent coating know as AB, this gives off the rainbow effect as they emanate light and color every where you turn.


Rainbows of living colour.

Hiding in our own Aurora Borealis.

A tiny glimpse of paradise? 

Allow me to share a couple of things I learned:

*European hour doesn’t mean you have to be European to attend. ‘Oh, Hi pastor Phil’

*Just because there’s a gorgeous bath for two in the window… Doesn’t mean the windows are tinted.

You’re welcome.

I love to celebrate birthdays. Henri Nouwen wrote this.

‘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 earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice. This is the day that God has made for us to be and to be together.’

As we return from Sparkling Hills to foggy trails we celebrate Josiah’s 7th birthday.


Energyplex noise, so many toys, and a bunch of handsome boys!


And yes… ‘Show me the boy at 7 and I will show you the man’.

In 2024, lookout for the man who is a great friend. Understands women.  Who has no fear. Continually questions …and is the best hugger. Yep. Josiah will be that man.

Back to that permanent coat to reflect color…

I’ve been meditating on this verse.

‘So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.’ Colossians 3:14

Don’t you think by choosing to wear this new wardrobe we reflect God and his promises?

Have a great week.

Wear love, it looks good on you 😉

Michelle xoxo