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

The Start Experiment.

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A mysterious adventure began today. Or should I say. Started.

But first…

We are into the groove of the 11 week school holidays. Groove, of course meaning – too much sugar, many children playing around my home and yard, wet beach towels strewn and laundry teetering Eiffel high.

In addition, teen 2 went on a mission trip to Heart Lake, nr Lac la Biche. The Heart Lake team were fantastic. Painting garbage cans to brighten up the community, tidying gardens, mowing school fields, house cleaning and putting on a carnival for the local kids. When your teen texts and writes ‘Mom I prayed with the Grandmother (Matriarch) of the reserve’ I feel a cartwheel coming on. (I am becoming my Mother)

I love that our teens can serve other communities in this way.

Oh and a little visit to West Edmonton Mall was a great way to end their trip.

We enjoyed a trip to Vancouver, minus teen 2 (twitch, twitch) where we celebrated Canada Day.

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Josiah and Daddy late night walk back to hotel.

The sun shone by day as fireworks exploded across the sky by night.

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On our way home, I saw my first moose on the Coquihalla – we also saw another unusual sight. A roller blader, going uphill on the Coq, alongside the monster trucks and moose.

Backtrack a couple of weeks, I had read a tweet from Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like, author of ‘Quitter’ and ‘Start’) He invited his half a million followers to join him on an adventure. The invitation was open for 24 hours. There would be 24 chosen, over a 24 day adventure. Ooooo mysterious adventure…I’ll apply. Because, having 4 kids home, visitors from UK, writing assignments and training for a half marathon doesn’t fill my time.

And as I travel the Coquihalla, with its unusal and beautiful scenery. I received this message.

‘The adventure is a go!

Join this secret Facebook group to get the details:

Jon”

Oh yes. I am the chosen one. I am that special little snowflake. Snowy joins both hands and circles them in front of her. ‘Oh yeah. Oh yeah’.

Turns out. There’s 2500 of us special snowflakes (from half a million…errr hello) and Jon Acuff is breaking us down into 24’s, of either location or chosen passion/dream area. Clever ‘cuff.

The idea: choose one risk, dream, passion and START it… that ‘thing’ you have been putting off. The dormant gifts. The secret idea. God given passion which has been doubted, extinguished, set aside.

Yes, the next 24 days. Starting today will breathe life over our chosen dreams, and the answer, once we have acknowledged, chosen and found it, is simple.

Community.

Because it appears we are all fearing, facing challenges, slaying dragons. And that is exactly where we stay if we attempt to do this alone. So along comes secret facebook group with its accountability, partnering and encouraging.

I find starting easy. I LOVE starting things. I have a lot of ideas, of creative flow, of God given inspiration.

I start, and then, enduring has to kick in, that rising again. Doing it.

As my written words seem like worthless whispers and fear flaps its ugly wings.                                                                                                                                              

Here was our (slightly edited) first message from Jon:

Welcome to the Start Experiment.

Do you know what fear, fears?

Fear fears community.

Fear always tries to isolate you and put you on an island as if you’re the only one on the planet bumping into challenges.

But how do you build community in a rapidly disconnecting culture?

That is the question the Start Experiment seeks to answer.

And it starts with an adventure.

You’re a pirate, which island are you going to strike out for?

What will you dare?

What will you risk?

What will you do?

This is an experiment, so expect it to be messy. A counselor told me once that the definition of narcissism is believing you’ll be amazing at something you’ve never done before.

I’ve never done this before and awesome will take a little while. Expect some awkward first.

I believe your risk and the reward it generates is going to be fantastic.

Average is easy because all you have to do is nothing.

It’s time to do something.

It’s time to go on an adventure. Jon.

So that’s me. I’m encouraged. I’m listening to my community scream ‘you can do it.’

Many of these guys they’re off the scale awesome. Energy and enthusiasm sky high. Achievers through the roof. There are those who WILL end trafficking in their chosen destination, there are those who will leave the job they hate, who will write their book, exercise daily, who will combine photography and ministry, who will laugh again, who will start a blog, who will lose weight. I especially like those who are honest enough to say. I don’t know how to dream, but I’m going to find out.

So, readers – community, stay in touch as I pass on the wisdom and stories from this challenge. My challenge involves a lot of writing with equals amounts of laughter.

And finally…today we went to Peachland where my 6 year old, Josiah cried until I ‘let Phil, let him’ jump off the 14ft high dive.

‘How did you feel Josiah’

‘I was a bit scared’, but Daddy shouted ‘Do it. So I did it’.

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Josiah the brave.

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No turning back for Bella. 

Today, what is your dream, goal, passion, waiting for resurrection, waiting for the breath of God. Are you in need of some words of life over it.  Allow this place to become your community and let’s START.

Love, Michelle xoxo