Sunday, November 10, 2013

Conversations that matter (Joy returns to school :)

This week is rather quiet around the retreat house.  I (Joy) left home early Friday morning, kissed my husband good-bye, and left for my destination - Glen Eyrie retreat and conference center - in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO.  I have been hear before in October of 09 when I was part of NewWay Ministries School of Spiritual Direction Class #33.  (or SSD)   (for more info, check out  This ministry is under the direction of Dr. Larry Crabb (or just Larry as we call him this week, which I might add is somehow hard for me to do! lol)

We were asked to bring back our manuals for this week - which is called Next Step. And hidden in the back of my manual, I see my handwriting and these words, written four years ago:  "I come with no expectations other than a strong sense that God had something big in store for me personally and in regards to future ministry."

Seeing those words written four years ago, as well as thinking over some of what we heard the first night of school on Friday night, did a few things (I wrote about this in my personal blog

But I think the overriding thing was that I stood in awe of what God has done in my life, through me, and often I am sure - in spite of me!!  I stand in awe of the healing that has taken place - and the brokenness that I was in, and how God has restore the shattered pieces of my life (and our life as a family following the silent birth of our first born grandchild).   I stood in all as I remembered and recalled the faithfulness of God to us.

The other thing that I stand in amazement at was how God took these last 4 years, and it was full of soul searching, and pain, and forgiveness and change.  It was full of adventure and risk and learning to live fully in what God had in store for me.  It was years full of building, and building and building some more, and in God's timing, seeing this ministry come to the point of starting - 13 years after God gave me the vision for it.

I stand in awe Lord .... I stand in awe of your marvelous works!

So, as I said, I am back at school.  I have come to experience in my life, the fact that we are often in conversations.  Some of it is merely fluffy - not even scratching below the first coat!  I want (and I believe I have already experienced that women/men want) "conversations that matter!"
Our focus this week is on what does it mean to engage in conversations that matter - and to bring the Trinity into our relational world.

I am here, in this beautiful setting, taking it in, asking questions, spending time in "quads" talking and unpacking what we have learned.  I am here being led into worship that is about lament and living.  I am here and involved in meaningful conversation, fully aware of God in our midst.  There is no words to describe the joy within my soul - as I seek, and ask, and listen (and repeat it all) and go off to sleep with thoughts running through my being.

The ministry that I referred to in my quote from SSD 2009 ... that is the ministry God has called us to - Women Refreshed at the Well.  And it is my joy and great delight to anticipate the meaningful conversations that will take place, and have already taken place in our ministry house.
God is at work - to Him be the glory!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happenings around the Well :)

Joy writes:

It has been far too long since I have blogged, and since I am the only one posting here - it means that I need to get going on something!  So I thought I would fill you in on the happenings around here!

God continues to grow us, and stretch us in ways that I really don't think I ever thought about NOR was I prepared for.  Someone the other day said something about my "team" to which I laughed and said "right now, it is a team of 1" as I am the chief cook and bottle washer, and laundry gal, and bed maker (just stripped 5 beds and have a wash going as I type) ...  I love it when I get a hand doing the beds because it just takes that much less time when I don't have to go from one side to the other.
I am definitely stretching with God!  I thank Him for the opportunity to serve Him in this way!
I think we are seeing just merely the tip of something that is going to be really BIG for Him.  Yeah Jesus (usually when I say this with my grandkids, we also clap and cheer and raise our hands in the air! So imagine me doing that!!)

Alvin (husband aka Noah) has been working on (let's see if I can remember) ... more landscaping, putting gravel into the garage (until we pour next  year)  - so now we can park inside!  He has also been working on the 3 season sun room (which will double as a cold room for Christmas baking).  He also made a better walk/stairway in the front.  Never NEVER a dull moment!  Oh and yes, we laid some sod in the garden.  He said I only complained a little!!

I have had the great joy of hosting groups (for the Listening to God training and also the afternoon session) and a big Leadership Group from Eastview Community Church (our home church).  Also, a few single retreaters, as well as just this past weekend, a group of 8 women (4 of which were here in June).  This marked the first "return visit" for four of the women.  It was wonderful to hear some music wafting down from the Sanctuary during their worship time.  I will admit that originally I thought about hosting 5 women at a time, but had never really thought I would be hosting small women's retreats, and leadership retreats (men and women).  Right now, as I type I have a hot pad across my lower back, and my legs are aching right to the toes!  It makes for a long day but really, it is all worth it.  God continues to stretch me!

We have also hosted a Wednesday morning group, and a Wednesday evening group - and we did SACRED SECRETS by Beth Moore.  The morning group was just two others besides myself - so our conversation and time together looked much different than the evening group.  HOWEVER it was a great joy to meet with and study the Word of God together morning AND evening!  It is hard to find the "best" day to do a study.

It is starting to look a lot like winter is very very close!  The trees are pretty bare and the wind howls at times.  (Actually there were a few coyotes outside our house the other night, and they were howling too!)  The other day I asked Audrey (friend) if she would consider decorating again for me - and she said yes!  I love Christmas, and love it even more when someone else decorates the house for me!! And Audrey is very talented!!  She is going to do this while I am away at school ... which is just 5 sleeps away.

Yes, 5 SLEEPS until I get on a plane and head to Next Step School of Spiritual Direction under the leadership of Dr. Larry Crabb and NewWay Ministries.  I can hardly wait - although there is much to do in a short time.  There is NO time for any extras!!  (should have told my tooth that!  yesterday I realized that the crowned tooth is very very wiggly, so I head to the dentist tomorrow morning!)

I had the great joy to speak at Winnipeg Evangelical Free church, at the Coffee Connection.  It was wonderful to meet the women there, and to have a chance to share my story and the call to this ministry, with those in attendance.  As I watched my slide show, I was again in awe of what God has done and is doing, and give Him the glory for it all!  

The thing that is in the near future is "Celebrate Advent at the Well" - which will be a meditative/reflection stations in the house, and then refreshments at the end.  It will be December 15 to the 17th, in the evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Plan to attend - there is no charge!  (There will be an opportunity to "gift" the ministry if you want to.  (We do issue tax receipts for donations).

So things are happening.  At this point, we have limited space for retreats in December.  Perhaps you are looking for a good gift for someone - we would love to sell you a gift certificate!! Give me a call or an email.

That is it for now!!