I can NOT believe it's been a year since I've written anything on my blog! How very remiss of me! Let's see if I can fill you in a bit.
Rowan is now 6 years old and attending kindergarten. She loves to dance and sing and play with barbies and dolls and stuffed animals. She's learning guitar at school and loving that! She played so much that she came home with a blister on her finger! Poor baby! She calls herself Princess Rowan of the land of Coalhurst...because she's God's princess! I love it! She is sweet and fun and full of life and I love being her Mom! She has her challenging days when I wonder if I'll survive this little spitfire running through my house, but for the most part, she is a complete joy!
Declan is 11 and turning 12 soon! He's into all things video game, and loves to read! Who would have thought?! A few years ago he couldn't read well at all but thanks to some very dedicated teachers, he can't be without his books! He keeps at least 3 in the bathroom at all times which drives me nuts! Not because I'm always stepping on books but because we only have ONE bathroom! Hard to share when he's constantly hogging it because it's a quiet place to read! Declan is becoming more of a man every day, though he tells me he really doesn't want to grow up just yet. I can't say I blame him...being an adult can be scary! I've told him that there's no rush and he can take his time growing up. I think that made him feel better. Declan is an avid fisherman and can hardly wait until spring so he can bring some fish home for supper! His favorite fishing buddy is Rick who has really taken Declan under his wing and shown him the best fishing spots, how to gut a fish (yuck!) and which lures to use for which fish! I had no idea there was so much to know about fishing! I have to say I enjoyed fishing so much last summer that I bought myself a fishing rod too! Even Rowan gets in on the action, but never for very long. Declan has turned into a very wonderful, thoughtful, sincere, HANDSOME young man and I can't believe I'm lucky enough to be his Mom.
As for me...well...I'm still working as an Insurance Sales Agent. I'm now taking courses that will eventually turn into a Chartered Insurance Professional designation. Sound interesting? It really isn't. I'd much rather be doing something involving music but unfortunately that doesn't pay the bills. I still get to play at my church 2 out of 3 Sundays and I sing as often as I can. I have had the pleasure of singing and playing for various women's ministries in Lethbridge and that has been such a wonderful experience! I'm hoping to do more of that in the coming year.
A few hard things have happened this year too.
My friend, Stacy, has been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. I've never seen anyone fight for her life like this woman has fought. She is a single mom of 8 year old Olivia and her whole goal is to watch her beautiful daughter grow up. She knows, however, that her time may be short so she's determined to create some memories with Olivia now. To that end, friends of Stacy have created a group called "Angels for Olivia". A silent auction/birthday party is being held for Stacy on March 24, 2012 to raise money to send Olivia and Stacy on their dream vacation...Disneyworld and New York! I have been witness to people who have never even met Stacy donating air miles to purchase disney passes for her. I look forward to seeing many more acts of kindness toward Stacy and Olivia. I know that God is the only One who can heal Stacy and I pray for a miracle for her, but I think it's so great that so many are working to help Stacy fulfill her wishes...just in case.
Another sad event was that my pastor, who has been the pastor at my church for the last 30 years, chose to leave our congregation this year. I found this really hard because he was more than a pastor to me. He was the guy that would call me when it became known that I was dating and he would ask, "are you maintaining your boundaries?"...LOL!! That still makes me roar! There's no one else in my life who would ever ask me a question like that but I've never been so happy to have a question asked of me. He kept me accountable, and I always knew I was loved. He was sincere, funny, down to earth and so full of love for his congregation. I'm praying for another Pastor to come and lead our church...we don't want to wander the desert for 40 years. And I'm praying extra hard that the Pastor who comes will be someone that is approachable and someone who loves this congregation like my Pastor did. My Pastor poured his life into this church and I'm so grateful to have been one of the many that he loved so well. He's earned his retirement...but I will miss him.
So that's my world in a nutshell. What's new with all of you?!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I can NOT believe it's been a year since I've written anything on my blog! How very remiss of me! Let's see if I can fill you in a bit.
Posted by Michele at 9:00 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Ahhhh....spring! The season of new beginnings! I don't think the new year really starts until the snow starts melting and warm breezes start. I love spring! It's the promise of warmer weather, new plants, leaves on trees and green grass.
I find it so appropriate that what I'm about to tell you happened now...in the spring...because it couldn't have possibly happened at a better time.
Today I witnessed a miracle. I watched a man, who hadn't seen or talked to his daughter in 7 years, chat with her online today. I watched him cry until he could hardly see the screen...he was so excited to say hello to his child. I watched him melt when she told him that she loved him and I heard him plan when he would talk to her again.
This man gave up his child 7 years ago because he had no other options available to him. He has struggled with that decision ever since. I helped him find her on facebook a few months ago and we printed out her picture so that he could look at her every day. He didn't make contact at that time because he didn't know if her Mother would allow it.
I've prayed for this day. I prayed that God would make a way for him to see and talk to his daughter again. I believed without a shadow of a doubt that God would make that happen. Today the Mother of this child called my friend and asked for advice on their daughter. In the conversation, facebook was brought up. When I found out about it I pushed him to send her a friend request, which he did. When she came online, he said "hi" and the conversation began.
It warmed my heart to see him so happy. It blessed me to see such honesty between them and to see her say, "I love you" to this man who has thought about her every minute of every day for 7 years.
I can't imagine what it would be like to have to let go of your child like that. I can't imagine the pain and the guilt he has endured since that day. I can only say that of all the things that were said between them (...and a lot was said...they chatted for an hour!), those three words, "I love you" brought a joy to my friend that made him glow.
Thank You God that You still perform miracles. He thought he'd never see her again, but You knew better. Thank You that we are all precious in Your sight and that You love us so much. We are so undeserving, yet You provide for us. What an amazing night!!!
Posted by Michele at 10:13 PM
Sunday, October 24, 2010
That's right my fine friends...there is a studio in the making at my house! Currently it has a set of electronic drums (My most recent purchase thanks to the haggling power of Rick!), two keyboards, a guitar I have on loan from my Dad (I've learned two chords...I'm pretty proud!), and a little amp. Still needed are 2-3 decent sized amps (one for keyboard, one for drums, one for mics), 2 mics and mic stands, a guitar stand or two, a computer specifically for that space and some really awesome recording software. I'm sure it will take a long while to get this together in the way I would like to see it come together, but God will work miracles and it will be done...of that I have no doubt.
Why build this...is that what you're asking? I believe that God created music for multiple reasons. He created music as a way of communicating our love for Him, as a way of expressing ourselves when words aren't enough, as a way of making a statement and getting a point across, as a way to learn something new or be reminded of something we knew all along but hadn't thought of in a while. Music creates thoughts and feelings that maybe we wouldn't have if the music wasn't there. In all of this, music is one of the tools God uses to heal us. I work out my frustration on my piano, I write songs about pain I've been through, lessons I've learned, and joy overflowing and it helps me heal. Music is therapy in every sense of the word. I have a rare opportunity to create a space where people can heal. A place where musicians of every age, race, color and creed from every walk of life can come and find God in their songs...this includes myself and my children! My daughter sings up a storm and my son LOVES the drums and plays whenever he gets a second to do so!
I've always said that I want my home to be a place where people always feel welcome. Where they feel like they are wanted and appreciated for who they are. I want to be able to give back to my community because they've given so much to me...providing space and stage time for me to play my songs and hone my skills as a musician. I want to create a space for musicians to network, play, jam, bounce around ideas and create music for God's glory. It's not a big space, it's very very cozy, but it's warm and welcoming and God is most definitely there! I'm looking forward to seeing new faces, hearing new music, and working with some talented people. I'm looking forward to watching my children play and sing along with people that will come here. God is moving and I can hardly wait to see where this all goes! In the meantime...feel like jamming? Drop me a line! This is God's space and it's meant to be used....so play on fellow musicians! I'm right behind you!
Posted by Michele at 3:04 PM
Sunday, October 10, 2010
A song we did today in Church...it was amazing and God FILLED that place!
Holy Holy Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Highest Praises Honor and Glory
Be unto Your name
Be unto Your name
Posted by Michele at 7:44 PM
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I`ve had the absolute pleasure of spending some time with some very special people over the last few weeks. These are people who have taught me how to remain hopeful in hopeless situations, and how to set a goal and stick to it, regardless of how hard it is to achieve that goal.
It all started with a sermon series Pastor Barry started at our church. It`s based on a program called ``Celebrating Recovery``. It made me start thinking about the 12 steps used in AA and how really, that applies to everyone...not just addicts. I started going through the 12 steps myself using Barry`s sermons as a guide. I was praying one day in the middle of doing one of the steps and realized that I would really like to encourage people recovering from addictions...any addictions.
It wasn`t long after that I met Rick. Rick is a recovering addict and addiction counselor, for a local recovery house. He also holds down a job as a cattleman for City Packers and is father to a wonderful little girl. Rick introduced me to the recovery house that he`s involved with and it changed my thinking completely.
Addiction has not been far from me my whole life. Through my childhood I watched my Uncle struggle with alcohol addiction. I married two men who both struggle with their own addictions...and I have a few of my own as well. I`m addicted to smoking currently, and I consider myself a recovering addict from sexual addiction... shocked? ...not many people know that about me. It`s true though. I`ve dealt with issues surrounding sex for a long time. I thought I was worth so little that the only way guys would pay attention was if I let them do things I knew were not appropriate. Sick, isn`t it? I got to the point where I got to like the thrill, the conquest as it were. Who was the next guy going to be...how would I catch him...it was almost like a game. It wasn`t right and it wasn't healthy...in fact it was very very dangerous. Now I look back and wonder what I was thinking. I knew it wasn't what God wanted from me, but at that point in my life, I was too far gone to care. When I married John I put that life aside and I haven't looked back. I found my way back to God and realized that as His child, I am forgiven and washed clean by His blood. I don't have to live that life. To God, I am precious, and that's all that matters.
Anyway, I was introduced to a group of people at this local recovery house. These are people with all kinds of addictions, and they`re not afraid to tell you what they`re struggling against. Many have lived on the streets and in shelters at some point...that`s how low things can get. These are guys that are using every ounce of willpower they have, along with intense faith in God, to claw their way out of the situations they`ve put themselves in. Some will succeed, some will fail, but either way, I feel priviledged to have met them. I realized how judgemental I can be about people struggling. Who`s to say that the person I see on the street corner isn`t a recovering addict trying to get back on his feet like the guys I met at the recovery house?
We all have things we struggle with. You may or may not label them ``addiction``. I think the lesson here is not to judge those who are struggling...instead, take that little bit of time out of your day to offer encouragement. They appreciate it and they really look forward to that human contact when everyone else has given up on them. I am blessed to have family and friends who don`t judge me for the things I struggle with. They pray for me, they love me in spite of my faults, they encourage me to stay strong and keep my eyes on my Jesus...how amazing! So many people don`t have that kind of support. If you get the chance to...buy someone a cup of coffee...ask how their day went. You don`t need to do much...it`s those little things that mean the most and can make the difference between an addict staying an addict, or staying sober.
Posted by Michele at 12:25 PM
Friday, October 1, 2010
It's been three months since my last post. OI VEY!! I can't believe all the stuff that's happened in that time. Here's an update for you...
John moved out and has his own place in town. The kids see him twice a week and that seems to be working for now. We are on good terms and talk almost every day.
Declan is in grade 4 and doing really well. He's your typical 10 year old...snarky...eating everything in sight...a little crazy...and totally wonderful. I wouldn't trade him for all the tea in China! He often tries to be the man of the house. I keep telling him that all I want is for him to be a kid...but what does a Mom know, right?
Rowan is another story altogether. She's had a really tough time dealing with her Dad leaving. She went through a really tough phase where she was violent to other kids and very angry at home. She's now in counselling and in a fantastic Christian daycare/preschool and doing great! Her manners have come back and there's been way less fighting at school. I'm really proud of her...she's come a long way.
I found a job!!! FINALLY I am working! I started my career as an Insurance Agent for AMA in August. I am in training until October 18th and then I'll be able to sell insurance. The exams and training have been tough but the people are great and I really enjoy the work so far. The money is exactly what I need to stay on budget...God saved the day again!!!!
We have really been blessed with amazing support from all over the place! Our church has helped with school supplies, babysitting and all kinds of other stuff. The pastor at our church is working on starting an adopt a family program where solid Christian families in our church adopt a single parent and kids and do things with them once a month or so. This gives the kids a chance to connect with another family and just have a place to go do fun stuff. I'm really looking forward to that.
Thank you thank you thank you to all of you who have kept us in your prayers this summer. Every prayer was heard and answered and we are so grateful! We have been covered in God's peace and grace and we really are doing well. I've been singing TONS and I have also been doing some public speaking which has been a challenge! Who knew that this was what God had in store for me!
My lifesong is stronger now than it's been in a long time. I'm so happy and so blessed.
The verse I've hung onto this summer?... "My children are taught in the Lord, great shall be their peace" Isaiah 54:13
Posted by Michele at 4:19 AM
Saturday, May 29, 2010
It's been a long time since I've written here. A lot of things have happened. I hardly know where to begin...
There's been a lot of tough stuff going on. In March I lost my job at Sun Life. To date, I am still unemployed...that's so depressing. It's been nearly impossible to find anything but in some ways I think God planned it that way. I think He knew that the kids needed me to be home for a while and so He's making that happen whether I want it or not!
John moves out this weekend. That part is tough. The kids are doing okay at this point thanks to the prayers of many friends and family. God is holding them in the palm of His hand and for that I am so grateful. They are feeling the strain of the move, but are not reacting too badly to it at this point. I know there will be fallout sooner or later with them and I've put structure in place to deal with that. As for me...well...I find myself crying at stupid times of the day and night. I feel overwhelmed, scared, angry, sad, and yet sometimes I'm peaceful, even joyful, it's just weird. I know God has a purpose in all of this. I don't know what it is but I believe that He works all things for the good of those who love Him.
Prayer requests...(thank you in advance to those who pray...what would we do without the prayer support of our friends, family, and even family in Christ that we haven't met yet? My heartfelt love and thanks go to each and every one of you!)
1. The kids...please continue to pray a covering of protection over my children. I can't save them from all hurt...they are hurting...but please pray that this would be a fairly smooth transition for them. Also pray that their relationship with their Dad continues to grow stronger everyday...they need that.
2. John...I just can't do this yet so please prayer family, I need your help. Please pray for John as he moves into a new place, as he works (he's got two jobs now), and as we figure out support, custody and visitation with the kids. Pray for patience, understanding, empathy, grace, and the ability to communicate effectively and maintain a relationship for the sake of the kids. This is so important and a huge concern for me. Pray for healing as well...mind, body and soul.
3. For me...please pray for my parenting skills! I ask for a relationship with my children that has open communication, tons of love and understanding on both sides. I'm not the most patient of people...please pray that my ability to be patient and calm grows! Please pray for peace and clarity of mind...that I will be certain of my path and that the right doors will open at the right time relating to a job, childcare, as well as school (I'm trying to get into University to complete a bachelor of nursing degree).
4. For my family and friends...the trouble with separation is that it doesn't just affect the immediate family, it affects parents, brothers, sisters, neices, nephews, extended family, and friends. The backlash hits everyone and it can be so painful. Please pray for them as they mourn this separation...because that's what this is...a time of mourning.
I'm so grateful to all the people who have offered their help, prayers, and suggestions. Thank you to all those who have helped me to laugh, cry, vent, and stay sane! To my parents, who are the greatest gift from God I have ever known, I would be in such a dark place right now if it wasn't for you. God spoke to you and you listened and I'm so grateful. I'm blessed, truly, to have the family that I have. Each one of you is precious to me and I love you all.
Posted by Michele at 4:28 AM