Monday, November 28, 2005

Steps 2 and 3

Well, Friday was a memorable day. The final trustee payment went through as did the $2K payment to D's mom. Two big items that are now closed. We have to make one more $2K payment to D's mom, for money that she lent us when D started his new-old job. That will most likely happen when we get the line of credit to pay off the 2nd mortgage. I guess those will be steps 4 & 5, but that is in God's hands to decide. I'm just very thankful to have made it through these 2!

D spoke with the trustee last week and they advised we should have the discharge papers 2 weeks after the payment is processed - step 2B! We need that to proceed with the bank.

And now it's Monday, a new week and new challenges await. We're getting into the Christmas rush and there's lots to do. But I've started my shopping and things are moving along nicely. The weekends are starting to get busier with holiday and family plans. More about that later, now I have to get ready for work and see if I can get into the dentist for an emergency appointment. One of my fillings ( a large front one) fell out in my sleep last night. I am being good and following God's previous guidance by taking better care of my teeth. Previously, I've waited until my teeth cause pain before going, but this time I know it will be serious and I need to take immediate care of it.

More later ...

A Remarkable Sunday Service

We had the most unusual service today at Portico. The passage was from Joshua and Pastor Doug taught on how the Israelites defiled themselves by one person stealing items that had been consecrated to God, and as a result the battle was lost and the Israelites are found fleeing in retreat. Pastor Doug expounds to say that that was the obvious cause of their defeat, but not the only one. They also did not pray or consult God for direction prior to going into battle.

God answers Joshua by instructing the Israelites to cleanse themselves and then come forward into God’s presence. Here is where the service becomes unique. The pastoral team, represented by Pastor Doug, and the church elders proceeded to put the sermon into practice by presenting themselves and the congregation to God in a prayer of confession and forgiveness. It was a beautiful prayer, written out for the congregation to follow. Upon completion of the prayer, they consecrated it by holding communion.

This is the only time I can ever remember the church pastors and elders coming together publicly during the main service to confess and ask forgiveness for corporate sins of the church. It was incredibly moving and inspiring.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One more step

Well, we've accomplished one more step, and there should be another one any day now. We picked up the remaining $2K from the 2nd mortgage last night. The crook tried to weasel out of it, even though he's 2 months overdue in paying it. When he first held back the $2K, we were told by the broker and the lawyer that it was because our carpets need to be replaced, and so if we defaulted on the mortgage, he would have to replace the carpets before selling. Looking back now, I realize that this is crazy, because if we'd defaulted, the bank would have paid him out the way they did the taxes and the condo fees last time. The bank has the biggest iterest in our home and we have huge equity in our home, even with the 2nd mortgage.

Anyway, yesterday the tune changed and now he's trying to tell us he held it back because we were behind in the condo and taxes, but that really wasn't the case either because the bank had paid them. I think we were originally behind 2 condo fees, but again those HAD to be up to date BEFORE they'd give us the 2nd mortgage. Like I said, he's a crook. So, sure enough yesterday, he had us jumping through hoops, proving the mortgage, the condo fees and the taxes were all up to date before he'd sign over the $2K. Now remember, we've been paying interest on these funds that we never even had for 8 months now. And every payment has gone through absolutely fine. And should, heaven forbid, one of our payments at any time bounces, he put it in our contract that it's a $500 fine - on a payment of $301!!! So, once again, I say he's a crook. And that's the price we've paid for not relying in God sooner.

But, thanks to God's grace, we are up to date with all of those things, and we haven't had any problems, so we were able to get that backup within less than an hour. Now we finally have our $2K, which we had borrowed at the time from D's mom. So now she has a cheque and that chapter will be another one closed.

Next step - final payment for the Trustee should go through any day now. I'll have to have D follow up today to see why it hasn't gone through yet.

Thank you Lord, without you we wouldn't have our house and wouldn't be making progress towards our new mission.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Neighbourhood

It's Wednesday morning and I got up a bit earlier than usual, but will still be rushing by the time I have to leave. It's always the same, the more time I have, the more I waste.

Last night was my last cooking session with the kids until after Christmas. Next week is a party night, and I'm helping out with that and then we're off until Christmas. It ended up being a lot of fun and I've said I'll do it again for the next session. I've made some new acquaintances as well. Who knows what friendships lie around the corner? God has been making me more aware of my lack of close everyday friends lately. I have friends, but most of them are more distant and I don't have people to talk to about day to day things. I know that if he's making me aware of something, then it's about to change!

The condo meeting ended up being a real brawl. Some young hot-head and his wife are trying to kick our present management out. It's so ridiculous, but it's also quite scary to see how much influence one couple can gather. Even some people that I've thought of a quite reasonable have been influenced. Thankfully our present management are calm and level-headed. In the end, we had the result we wanted, but I'm sure we're in for more trouble over the next few months.

At the end of the day, I was quite upset. I know that God is leading us towards another path, but there are many people who've lived here for years and this is their home. It's also our home, and has been for 12 years. I don't want to see some young yahoo's come in, upset everything and then move out a year or two later.

With all the emphasis on our neighbourhoods at church, I've been thinking about it more. I really don't know my neighbours here and have not felt God urging me to get to know them better. However, after Monday's meeting I now have more direction. I think there are a few specific families that he's telling me to get to know more, and I definitely know that I have to start praying for our development - actively praying! There are a lot of believers in here, and I know that God is watching over us and protecting us. That was evident in the outcome of the meeting.

With regards to finances, once again God came through and worked out a difficulty. I had faith that he would, but am still amazed at how he works. The last trustee payment is set to go through this week. What a great feeling it will be to have that resolved.

Also, the "crook" who gave us our 2nd mortgage (long story) owes us the $2000 holdback. He should have given us that money October 1st and we still haven't seen it. I've been pushing D to get that resolved, so hopefully I can put that behind us as well. Once the Consumer proposal has been disposed, we can look at redoing our present mortgage and clearing off the 2nd mortgage. That will also be a happy day. Right now we're throwing away $300/month just on interest!!

{To be fair, we got ourselves into the mess in the first place, and we had not choice in the 2nd mortgage if we wanted to keep the house. We knew we'd be making the interest payment each month, and I wouldn't have even minded the holdback except for the way the guy ended up doing business. He knew he had us over a barrel and took advantage of us. He put ridiculous clauses in the contract and sprung the holdback on us at the last minute. I don't like people who do business like that. Be up front and respectful. Yes, the mortgage helped us, but we ended up doing business with a crook}. Another chapter I'll be happy to learn from and put behind us.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Just another Manic Monday

The weekend retreat went well. The retreat center was ok, but not great. The setting was nice and the rooms were comfortable. But they seemed to only have double rooms (2 twin beds). I was lucky enough to have a room to myself, but other places I’ve been to give you the option when booking for single or double rooms. My other major complaint was that there were no locks on any of the rooms. When I’m away on a retreat, I don’t want to have to worry about carrying around my purse all the time. Also, I had a number of valuables with me, such as my iPod and speakers. Not something you want to just leave in an open room for the day.

The food was okay, but not spectacular. Again, other places I’ve been offer really “homemade” food. When you’re out in a nice rural setting, it’s nice to have good old-fashioned home cooking. There food was ok, but a bit processed for my liking.

But, overall the retreat was really great. People were open and got to know each other a bit better. Quite a few people only came up for the Saturday, but we still had a good group.

I picked up some great chicken slippers. They’re ohhh so soft, and really cute. I’ve wanted great big fluffy slippers for a long time, but haven’t been able to find ones that I like for a reasonable price. Walmart, $15. Everyone got a great kick out of them on the retreat.

It’s the condo meeting tonight. Should be interesting. The fees have gone up a LOT over the past year, and maintenance has been slipping. I was talking to J.J. today and she mentioned that there was a group of owners around back, I think B.M. is one of them, who are interested in taking over the Board from Wpond. D and I would be opposed to that. There are things we’re not thrilled about, but still think Wpond at the very worst is the better of 2 evils. We’ve seen what happens when owners get too involved in making the board decisions and it’s not pretty.

On another note, I did up the budget today, and tried to allot funds more realistically, including funds designated for food and gas. This month, as with every month, will be tight and we need to stick to the budget. With God’s help and guidance, it can be done. I’ve also sent it to D and let him know what I can pay out of the regular budget and what he will need to account for out of his Paypal funds. Hopefully this will help us keep on track too.

Oh well, work day is over now and time to head home, make dinner, then head out for our meeting. Another day done, and another day closer to Christmas….

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Week In Review

I know, I know, I haven’t written in a while. Not too much has happened over the past week – just the usual busy stuff. Money went haywire, but seems to be back in control now. Same old problem, thinking we have funds and spending without keeping track, only to find out that we’ve now overspent and are in trouble.

I know that God has instructed me that I need to make a more defined budget, including all items including food, gas, etc. As it is right now, I keep track of the bills and payments that I need to make, and then whatever is left over can be used for the daily stuff. But this isn’t working, because as soon as we get paid, we’re buying the things we need and then there isn’t enough at the end of the day.

This weekend is the Alpha retreat. Last Saturday’s Alpha was a really good discussion. I like being part of a more advanced group, it’s just odd being the only female in the group. I’m looking forward to getting away for the weekend and spending time alone with God. A nice quiet weekend to refresh and refocus. I hope that there will be a fair amount of quiet, alone time built in, but am a bit nervous as I really don’t know many of the other women in the program. I’m also not sure if I’ll have a room to myself or will be sharing with someone else. There are pros and cons to both, but I think overall I’d prefer a private room. But then again, it might be nice to bond with another woman. I haven’t done that for a while, probably not since I went away with L. on our Alpha retreat. So, God, I leave it in your hands – I know that you know what is best for me, and for anyone else as well.

I had some good news about L. this week She’s found a new job and is working right next door – in my old building for CGI. Now we’ll be able to get together for lunch occasionally. I really want to hook her up with J, since they go to the same church and now work in the same building. I think they’d get along well together.

Friday was R’s birthday, as well as D’s Mom’s. We took K out for dinner on Friday, as R was out at a youth group event for the evening. Saturday the whole family went to see Chicken Little (R’s choice) and then out for dinner afterwards. All in all, I think R had a good birthday, but it was a little sad for us as both kids are now officially teens. No more babies at home :-(

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Ok, now normally I use Halloween as a chance to be out and about in my neighbourhood. I know there's this big controversy and everything among Christians about it being the devil's day and all that. And certainly I am very sensitive to allowing influences from the spirit realm into our lives and the easy danger that can be. But when it comes to Halloween, I remember all the innocent fun I had with my brothers when I was a kid. As far as I am concerned, our kids have lost too much already. They can't play outside after school with the carefree attitude that we had, our world is much too dangerous for that these days. So, I say let them have what fun they can while they're young.

That said, this year I find myself suddenly so busy, and D ended up having to work both Sunday night and pulling a 12 hour shift on Monday, so he certainly wasn't around to help. J was going to a friend's house, as usual. Which left me, R and "the dog" on our own for the evening. Alone with a house to decorate, candies to buy, candies to shell out - and we normally get 100-150 kids coming around in the space of about 1-1/2 hours, as well as R to take around for his own trick or treating.

Have I intorduced you to "the dog" yet? I don't think so. He's a great big hulking thing - a cross between a german shepherd and a great dane. He looks like a shepherd, but has the dane deep chest and huge clunky feet. And he doesn't slope down in the back the way a shepherd does. Add to that doberman/rotti coloring on his face. You know, the black face with brown spots above the eyes? Overall he has a laid-back dane personality. A real pillow dog - until the doorbell rings, that is. Then he's a full blooded shepherd, guarding his flock from intruders.

So, that said, you can possibly see my dilema. Do I take R out trick or treating, and not give out candy myself and have the dog a nervous wreck by the time I get home, or do I make R stay home with me? The big question!

Well, I decided on neither. I decided to take a novel approach and bribe my son to forgo his trick or treating delight for this year. Instead, I offered him a trip to our local Walmart and $20 in hand to spend at his leasure. Whamo - a hit.

So, on Monday night I loaded the dog, R and myself into our minivan, drove off to the bank for funds, then to our local dog park so that the dog could have a nice run and get all his pent up energy out. We all donned our halloween finest - orange shirts all around - yes even the dog has an orange t-shirt. A couple of years ago Old Navy used to sell doggie t-shirts. They've discontinued them sadly, but they were the only canine garment I could find that would fit. So the dog has his orange "canine university" t-shirt and his green "12 dogs of Christmas" t-shirt. But I digress. Anyway, we took the dog for a run, then headed off to Walmart for an evening of fun browsing and shopping.

It ended up being a hit. R had a great time picking out some toys, we grabbed a bite afterwards and all in all it was a fun time spent with my son. And, I've heard from a couple of other mom's with sons around the same age, that the idea was a hit with them too. Maybe I've started a trend??!??

Friday, October 28, 2005


As I reflect on what I’ve just posted, it becomes very clear that there was no mention of any worship or devotions throughout the week. Guess the enemy was successful this week. Now I’m starting to understand why my spirit’s being encouraged to maintain this blog. Maybe if I’d written earlier, I’d have noticed the lack of God in my week. Oh well, I obviously need to adjust my focus, no wonder I’m feeling frazzled this week …

Week's journey

Well, I haven’t written for about a week, but it’s been a very busy week – with incredible ups and downs.

Friday and Saturday I attended a Willow Creek small groups seminat. Our church is so committed to this cause that they offered to sponsor anyone presently involved in small groups to attend. Since I am involved with Alpha, I qualified. Overall it was a great conference, and most of the information was useful. I looked at it as training for the “big assignment”. There was a lot of good information around interacting with your neighborhood, workplace and neighbours.

But it was a bit ironic that here I am attending workshops about how great small groups can be and how committed the members are to each other, and there I am attending alone. Sure, I am getting to know people at our church and I talked to those I knew periodically, but overall it was an incredibly lonely experience. Go figure, eh?

And then when I came home, I was unbearably depressed. Guess I took it out on D, so we weren’t talking for a couple of days. Great ending to what really was a good conference. I had to force myself to attend church on Sunday. D was mad at me, and expressed it by not going to church. Thank goodness I had R with me, or it would have been another lonely experience.

It could be that God is telling me something. I need to explore this more. I have a great husband and great kids, but good friends are in short supply. That’s not to say I don’t have friends, because I have a couple of long-term friends who know me very well, but we really don’t get together very often. I don’t have many people outside the home to share day-to-day events and struggles with. And then I have co-workers, but they aren’t Christians and I do have to interact with them at work, so they come with their own limitations.

So, that was the conference ….

The rest of the week has just been busy. It’s month end at work, so the days have been packed. I have to admit that by around 3:30 I’m exhausted these days. And then the nights are busy too. Here’s an overview of my week so far:

Monday –     Bought supplies for the cooking night at lunch, and then bought the groceries after work. Came home, made dinner
Tuesday –     Business lunch with bosses & a colleague, pick R up from his tutoring class, rush home to change, head out to church for 1st cooking night, home around 9:00 pm
Wed. -     Regular lunch with K, home to change then out to Forex seminar with D, then out for a dinner date afterwards, home around 10:30
Thurs. -      Staff Lunch meeting, the more meetings in afternoon, pick up R from tutoring class, then was supposed to meet I. for dinner, but she cancelled. Had already arranged for D to take R to typing, so had the rest of the night off at home
Fri -      ????

And now we’re into a busy weekend, but really now – I need to rush off to work, so more updates later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Financial Rumblings

Today's kind of a limbo day. Nothing much happening so far. R has his after school program, then we're both helping out with the kids tonight. It's a family fun night this week. I start the cooking lessons next week. Praying for guidance on what to have the kids make. I start off with the older kids next week and I have a 40 minute session.
Payday today. I've already taken out my tithe, and we're pretty much on track for the budget. I have to get off post-dates for the last 2 installments to the Trustee this week, and then the proposal will be over. Hard to believe we've actually made it to the end. I remember back to when things were in such turmoil and I heard God urging me to admit the problem and get help. That seemed like such a huge step. It seemed wrong to admit we just couldn't do it, without being forced by some creditor. Seems funny now, but at the time it was terrifying. And I also had to convince D that we should admit our problem and seek help. It's been a rocky road, but God's faithfulness has shone through. With his help, we're actually tithing now, and slowly getting into better shape.
I remember when we first met with the Trustee and he went over how a proposal works. One of the things he warned us about was that once signed and accepted we would be responsible and could not change or alter the agreement or amount to be paid. He warned that if either of us lost our jobs or took a decrease in pay, it would be very difficult and we would still be bound by the agreement. Well, sure enough, D's salary has been all over the map. Only God's faithfulness has seen us through that! And now that we've come through it, D now has steady, secure employment.
It's a corner I'm more than happy to turn, but it's certainly a milestone we need to remember. How God guided us and brought us through it all. And not without us making mistakes and bad decisions, but he remained faithful. Now I've got money saved in our work stock fund, and we're starting to build up a bit of savings. The house has increased in value and our mortgage has slowly gone down. Once the trustee discharges our proposal, we're talking to the bank about clearing up the 2nd mortgage we had to do earlier this year. Get that done and hopefully start setting the financing for the new house in motion. That will be the next step in determining God's will. If I'm right and he's pointing us to the new neighborhood, it will certainly take his intervention to get us there. And the doors have already started opening. When D talked to the bank last week, they said that our credit is actually not that bad, despite the fact that they're the ones who we had the most difficulty with over the past year. They seemed quite willing to discuss options once we have the discharge papers. Obviously God's hand again.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Prayer for the week

Jesus, all for Jesus
All I am, and have, and ever hope to be …

My prayer for the week

… All of my ambitions, hopes and plans,
I surrender these, unto your hands …

Oh, so very hard to do

… For it’s only in your will, that I am free …

The wonderful reward for obedience

Special thanks to Robin Mark for providing lyrics to my innermost heart’s soundtrack. Check him out here -


Wow, all of a sudden my week just filled up!! My police check came through, rather quickly actually. So Tuesday nights I will start teaching cooking at the Kids Club – young kids youth club.

Thursday nights, R’s typing class has started and that runs for 10 weeks, so I have to take him there, and then if I hurry I can make it home just in time for the new CSI.

Saturday morning’s I’ve started back with Alpha, now at PCC, so that takes up the whole morning, from about 8:00 to noon. It feels good to be back at Alpha, although it’s a little strange to feel like an outsider coming in. But everyone has been very welcoming and I feel that this IS where God wants me to be. More about that later …

Sunday’s of course it’s church in the mornings, but J is now attending a neighboring Anglican church, and our church has started offering a bible study during the early service for R. So we’re off to the early service, quite a feat in itself! We leave at 9, drop J off at her church, and then off to our service/program. Pick up J, go home for some brunch. Then it’s off across the city for R’s basketball club.

All in all, it’s much busier that I’ve been for some time. The only person who’s busier is R, who also has his after school tutoring program on Tuesday & Thursday. And he also helps out at Kids Club as a student helper.

Now about Alpha …

As you may know, I’ve had a tough time lately discerning where Alpha fit into God’s plan for me over the past little while. When I took on the Property role, which I do feel God led me to do, it really didn’t leave time for me to devote to Alpha. And then the program just fell apart. Realistically Glen E. wasn’t equipped to offer Alpha during that period. I had felt for some time that it was wrong to encourage new believers if we didn’t have the church structure for them to continue growing. Sure the church was still active, but offered no supplemental programs and was going through such transition that it really wasn’t a healthy environment for brand new Christians.

But the funny thing about being back at Alpha is that I started last Saturday, and don’t I get a personal letter that week for B.D. The timing was quite ironic, or should I say “divine”???

Also, just as I’m getting back into Alpha, Pastor D. last Sunday said the church would cover the cost for any church member who’s involved in leading a small group to attend the Willow Creek conference and the church would cover the cost. I thought about it, since I was interested but certainly don’t have the money now for the conference. On Saturday I talked to my Alpha Coordinator to see what his reaction was. Both his and D’s were quite positive, so I’ve registered for the conf. this weekend. It will mean changing my day off from November but I don’t anticipate that being a problem. T is quite amenable with stuff like that.
Given the fact that I am certain God is calling me to use this time to prepare for the mission field he is preparing, and the fact that he’s gifting me with the ability to attend, it is quite exciting. I am looking forward to the conference. The hardest part was deciding which supplemental groups God wanted me to take. I would have liked more time to pray about it, but I know that God chose for me. If I’ve picked the wrong one, he’ll work it out.

Glen E. …

Sadly, Glen E. formally closed its doors last week. Although I knew it was coming, it has been very sad. I’ve been contemplating on it all week. Glen E., while having its faults, was very good to me and I grew a lot there. I have lots of happy memories and God used it greatly to help me grow. I wouldn’t be where I am now had Glen E. not been there.

Call to action

It’s Monday morning and we had a great message yesterday. All about milestones and the importance of documenting them. I took it as God’s urging me to continue with my blog record. Pastor Doug spoke about how important it is to document what God is doing so that we can look back, and also so that future generations can look back and learn how great God is through our personal experience, unhindered by our fickle memory.

Pastor Doug is doing a series on the first few chapters of Joshua and Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land. Interesting that this was my area of focus with my personal devotions for most of the early part of this year. Last week’s message was all about how as faith walkers we need to be ready to go when called. That God calls us to be prepared, and then asks us to step out in faith when it seems the most unlikely time. Example was that Joshua was called to lead the Israelites across the Jordan when it was at its highest and mightiest, even though that river was pretty much passable during the dry seasons.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Finding the location

With regards to location, I’ll go back to the beginning. About two years ago, my husband and I found our dream home. We’ve been married 17 years this fall, and one of our ongoing hobbies has been going to new developments and looking at potential floor plans.  We tend to be rather picky and there is always some major change or just those one of two things that “aren’t quite right”. Well, to our utter amazement, one day we were browsing and found “the perfect plan”. In shock we looked at each other, then back at the plan, then in unison asked each other “so what would you change???” … Nothing!!! Oh, there’s upgrades we’d like, but nothing about the house that “just isn’t quite right”

So we asked ourselves, what is the catch?? The catch is that the builder does not build in our area. We were back visiting the city we lived in when we were first married. Not a commutable distance for either of us. Trust me, we’ve looked at it from every angle, taken into account the fact that now we work out in the west end, not downtown like before, but there is just no way the distance is reasonable.

For the past 2 years we’ve been following the builder and his developments. Finally this spring they announced a new development was starting. It still requires a move out of Toronto, but the distance is now commutable.
The purpose of this blog is to track my journey as I prepare for the mission field that God is preparing for me. See, he's given me a vision. I believe that he's preparing a neighbourhood - a brand new neighbourhood, the utilities are just going in - and that is to be my mission field. Time frame for this to happen is Fall 2007, 2 years from now.
So, I have 2 years to prepare. Seems like a long time, but there is a lot to do, both practically and spiritually. Finances need to be put into order, our current home needs lots of cosmetic work, and I need to grow in faith and confidence, esp. when it comes to sharing my faith with others.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Getting started

Okay, so here's my first attempt. Trust me, it'll get better as I go along. It's very early Saturday morning - 6:05, and I've been up since 4 am, mucking about. Right now, I'm just testing things out to see how things over here look, work, etc.
I'm off to get some sleep, busy day coming up and I thnk I've accomplished what I wanted to do so far. More later ....