Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God in the details!

The other day my daughter Ashley and Audrey (her/our friend) came out to the house - to stage an area for a mini "photo shoot" for the sake of getting a picture for a poster that we are making for an event.  Audrey came in with totes full of garland, and pretty things.  Then she scoured the place to find just the right thing to put out, for making the room look homey, welcoming, warm, inviting ...
Some books there, a nice pillow here.  A teapot there, some garland here.  She made it look easy - the details looked like they had always been there.  Audrey is going to come and decorate for Christmas - it is part of her gifting, and it brings her much joy!  She asked and I said I would love her help!  Little things - little details.  They made such a difference to warm up the space and make it feel like you would love to come and retreat!

Does God care about the details?  I know that this is a topic that sometimes comes up in a discussion.  Some people think that God is way too important and involved with BIG things to care about little details.  Personally, I love thinking of God as the ultimate parent!  And being a parent myself I think of what I loved about having children.  One thing (of course there are MANY THINGS) that I think of are the many times my kids would come up and just sit on my lap and tell me what was on their heart ... later, when they were older, they didn't sit on my lap but we still had time together.  I loved those times - all the times when they told me details of their lives.  I loved helping them with the details.  I loved spoiling them with little details.  I loved the delight I would see in their eyes, or hear in their voices.  So if I, being the mom I am - delighted in the details of my kids lives - then why wouldn't my heavenly Father be delighted in the details of our lives?  Which is why, I think that He is.
(you have heard me talk about "kisses" before - or about "God-things" .... yep, I think He loves the details!)

You know, one thing that God has impressed on me over the past few years, is that so many women do not feel "precious" in any one's eyes but most of all that they do not realize how precious they are in the eyes of God!  I have seen too many women - young and old - who do not feel validated, or loved, or worth anything.  Too many women who do not see how beautiful they are to God especially.  I believe that God had me working within the church setting (as a pastor for 7.5 years) to show me exactly those things, and to impress on my heart - that our place of retreat needed to be a place where women could come and just be.  They could come and just sit in their jammies for the day if that is what they wanted.  They could come with their daughters, or sisters, or moms.  They could come for a day or a night or perhaps for a weekend!  God also impressed on us, that we needed to offer details within the house, that spoke to the senses of women.  For instance - the color of the rooms, the linen, the art work, the cups that they drank their coffee out of.  Things like the bikes that they could sign out for a ride, or the garden that they could walk around, or the deck they could sit on to watch the birds eat from the feeders.  Details like the music that might be playing, or the comfy chair purchased for them to cozy up in.  Details ... details ... details.  

We have been working on those details.  We have been scouring the Internet and the stores for just the right thing.  We have been ordering chairs, and duvets, and dishes.  Details that we hope will speak to the senses of women and help them to feel absolutely treasured, and treated special.  This is our prayer.  

I have loved the fact that there are women in my life who have prophetic gifting, and whom God has used to speak into the ministry and my life.  I just found out that another fairly new friend of mine (I met her two years ago but feel like I have known her much longer) - well she told me that God had given her something for me.
I asked L if she would mind if I shared it with you all on this blog, and she was fine with that.  When we talked at first - she shared briefly, but later once she got home - she sent me the note she had written on her ipad when God "gave" this word to her.  Here it is: (I have chosen to put "breaks" in it - mostly so that you could read it and just see what God is saying about details.  

Sat. Oct 13
Was praying for you on my ride into city today and Got "God is in the details". 

I had been praying for your purchases/shopping for the retreat house and saw many items that you were shopping for. I'm sure you are asking the Father about all of this, but I felt very impressed for you to wait on The Lord and ask Him specifically about the accessories you buy. wait and listen for His direction. saw you hesitating over some things The Father was moving you to purchase, wondering if that could possibly be right, and buying them anyway, not sure why on earth they would be important. 

He knows exactly who will be under that roof, what will move them, touch them, speak to their heart about how much He cares for them exactly where they are at, what will jog a memory, soften them, melt them. 

He  IS in the details!  a vase, a picture, a comforter, a pillow, a colour, a mug, a candle stick, a bird feeder, an aroma.  

How Gracious Our Father is to use silly earthy things to jolt us, move us, break us, mend us, reach us, engage us. He knows the secret places of our hearts and minds and chooses to make Himself known.  what a wonderful Saviour!

NOW .. you tell me!!  Is God in the details?  I say YES.  Thank you Lord for speaking to me through the word you gave to L.  Thank you for her willingness to share it with me!  To you O Lord - we dedicate our purchases - and our ministry.  To your name be praised O Lord.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

fabric, chairs, tables, benches, spruce trees,coffee times, and cheques in the mail

spruce trees
coffee times
and cheques in the mail!

What do all of those things have in common?  Well - all of these things represent life at 5839 Henderson during the month of October AND we are not done yet!!

Life is moving along.  Alvin and I are in the house.  It is feeling more and more like our house, and until we actually begin to have retreaters come - we can use the whole house for ourselves!  Well - actually, we are not using the upstairs, since our "personal suite" is in the basement.  However, we are enjoying the dining room, and the kitchen space, the great room - etc which are all on the main floor of the house.

We have NOT set a date to open yet.  We ARE still working at finishing up many many things.  Sometimes it feels like we are close - and then we just begin to look around!  If Alvin was retired and just around to do the finishing - then it would be a full time job in itself.  However - he is still working at the firehall, so is doing this finishing in his off time.

The girls and I (my decor team consists of my two daughters, Ashley and Leah, and Audrey who is a friend of Ashley's and NOW a friend of mine, and of the ministry).  I am loving many things about working together on this project.  One of the things that I do not take for granted is the fact that God has included my whole family in this ~ right from the start, the kids were in the know.  And they were supportive.  However I can not say how much they have come to be a huge part of this vision that God has entrusted to me first, and then to Alvin and the kids!  I thank God for that.

So October has been full of coffee visits - and many drop in visits here at 5839.  We have invited people to feel free to stop by and if we are home - I will gladly put the coffee pot on.  Since I just finished my permanent part-time job, I will be home more often!  But there is lots to do!

At the beginning of the month, I met with Jan Regehr from Pineridge Hollow (if you have never been there - you have to go - start off by going for a meal or just for coffee, visit the gift shop and check out the furniture!)

Jan is an amazing person to work with - and so helpful to the girls and I.  I am serious - I am sure that I had the "deer caught in the headlights" look when I walked in there!  But we had fun picking out fabric, taking them home - picking out styles of chairs - and then I went back and placed the order.
Jan has been so supportive, so generous, and so knowledgeable.

THEN I ordered our table and chairs and bench from Urban Barn.  I wanted a reclaimed wood - harvest style table.  Which means that we will have to find a home for our used china cabinet.  (If you want to buy a china cabinet in good shape - let us know).

And then, we had to go and get some trees - which proved to be a bigger affair than we had thought.  But a few hours later - and then some planting time on top of that - they are all in the yard - and hopefully will continue to thrive after the winter puts them to sleep for a while!

There have been many pots of coffee shared around the table.  I have had the great joy of sharing the call to this ministry with may women and men alike.  God just continues to make my hair tingle on my arms when I think of all He has done - and how He continues to work and go before us.  Alvin and I know without a shadow of a doubt that this project - is way bigger than anything we could dream or build.  It is all because of God speaking it to us.  I am thankful - but continue to stand in awe of what He is doing - and how just when we think we have nothing left to give - He continues to give strength and energy!

And - then there have been cheques.  In the past month, I have been blessed to receive three cheques out of the blue - all for the ministry.  A friend once told me that I just need to be faithful in what God has called us to - and to share the vision - and that God will move people to give.  Sometimes when I think of the whole vision - it can be pretty overwhelming.  But God is obviously putting WOMEN REFRESHED AT THE WELL on other people's hearts too!  I praise Him for that.

So we continue on.  If you would drive up tomorrow - you would notice that the big semi trailer that we had our belongings housed in - is gone.  (YES!) And the yard is starting to look neater and tidier.  You would notice that trees are planted along the driveway - the grass is growing - and there are Blue Spruce planted along the part of the house that faces South.  You would see that there is a muddy drive way (hoping it will dry up a bit so that we can get the hot tub delivered soon).  Inside - things are coming together.  Leah, my daughter in law just came and organized my kitchen.  I asked her if she would want to do that, as I know that she loves to organize - and she graciously came.  I thought it would take her forever - but she left just before midnight - and things looked wonderful.  I continue to leave the postit notes on so that I can get used to where things are - and then, I will take them off.

We are moving forward - one day at a time.  Alvin wakes up and asks God what it is he should focus on for the day.  Often the journey can seem overwhelming - but God is giving grace!  We are thankful.  There is still lots to be done - but we are beginning to see that there is an end that is slowing coming into sight!!  An end - that will soon bring about a new beginning!

Here are some pics!
Leah's pick for the winter room

Audrey and Ashley at Pineridge Hollow

fabrics come home

for the library chairs - picked the one on the left (as you see the pic)

Ashley's pic for the AUTUMN Room

The one on the right (as you look at the picture) is the one Audrey chose for the SUMMER room

We love this one for the SANCTUARY

a bird's eye view from the upper story
Leah in the midst of organizing my kitchen!

I can't explain the peace I felt during this evening - and when she left!
I loved that she was willing to organize for me.

Sunsets are just always so beautiful

at the tree farm

picking our trees out

the first one gets dug

securing the 4 trees for the ride home

more fill
more leveling
more burme making
soon there will also be a hot tub!

We continue to covet your prayers for Alvin and I - and our family - as we continue to work around the house - and as we continue to finish many jobs that need to be done!   Alvin and I are also looking forward to the arrival of our 4th little Grandbaby - with the due date being November 8th - this little one can come any time!!  We can hardly wait - and it will mean we will have to take a rest from the work at 5839 to do some more Poppa and Granny Time!  (This is Ashley and Michael's first baby!)  We appreciate your prayers for a safe arrival!