God-wink – An event or personal experience, often identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it is seen as a sign of divine intervention, especially when perceived as the answer to a prayer.


This past March we had to make the difficult decision to put down our Golden Retriever-Labrador Retriever cross due to severe epilepsy that wasn’t responding to medication. We had had him since Olivia was two years old and she was about to turn 10 years old. Her cousins bought Tika for her after Mikail passed away and Tika was a true therapy dog for Olivia. After Tika passed away we all couldn’t imagine having another dog, yet we could also see that Olivia missed having a special furry friend to be her companion and keeper of secrets. We didn’t realize how much comfort Tika brought Olivia, until he was gone.

In November we started looking at different animal shelters for options, but couldn’t find what we were looking for. Then I learned that friends of ours had a litter of cocka-poos on November 4th (my friend Sunny’s birthday) and this checked almost all of our boxes. I’d follow their growth on social media and fell in love with little ‘Kevin’. He was just so sweet and looked completely different than the others in the litter. The one criteria that we couldn’t budge on was a big deal, so I just loved him from afar, knowing God would provide Olivia with a little companion at the right time, and Kevin would go to the home perfect for him.

Weeks passed and I had truly surrendered it, when I received an unexpected message from our friends, making ‘Kevin’ available to us. Eeeeek. We could take him home at the end of December if we wanted! Coincident? I think not. God-wink? I think so. An astonishing answer to prayer. What makes this extra special is that ‘Kevin’, who is now ‘Oakley’, was born on November 4th–Sunny’s birthday and we would pick him up on December 31st–the day that Sunny passed away. Sunny had a dog–Itsy– who brought her joy and comfort for many, many years, so it just feels like such an incredible God-wink, having ‘Oakley’ join our family today. I love seeing a new little sparkle in Olivia’s eye.

Gifts Unexpected

Those first difficult years after Mikail passed away, we lived in southern Ontario, and often on those days where the pain and sadness would feel like it was too much, I’d look out the kitchen window and a red cardinal would have landed on the birdhouse just off the deck.

This kept happening and eventually I looked up the symbolism of a red cardinal and found that sometimes people have said that they generally appear when a grieving person needs or misses the person they lost—a messenger of comfort and hope. Does this hold actual truth? I don’t think it matters. What matters is that for me it was a gift during a time when I needed it so much.

When we moved back to Northern Alberta I knew that my visitor wouldn’t be coming to see me anymore because cardinals don’t fly this far north. However, my friend Sunny, who had a cardinal visit her deck for years after her Mama passed away, would send me a picture of the cardinals visit each time it came, sharing her gift with me. What a beautiful gesture.

When designing the cover of the A Thrill of Hope devotional I tried to find a way to incorporate a cardinal into the cover design–a small way to share my unexpected gift of comfort with you, the reader.

A Thrill of Hope

Seven years ago we were deep in the throngs of grief. We were coming up to the first Christmas after Mikail passed away and I was dreading the Christmas season. It was supposed to be joyful–filled with family, laughter and fun. I didn’t feel joy, our family was incomplete and I had no energy for laughter or fun. I knew that the only way to get through it would be to cling to God. I was weary and hope felt distant.

That year I looked for a simple devotional that would encourage me, but still acknowledge the various types of grief that were heavy on my heart. I didn’t have the attention span or capacity to read anything long or theologically deep, but I knew I needed encouragement and daily time with God.

I never found that devotional book and although I kept looking for it, year after year, it just wasn’t out there–at least not one that went through the whole season of advent. In the meantime I had started journaling thoughts and scriptures throughout each Christmas season. A couple of years ago I realized that this devotional book that I had been looking for, was right there on my computer. Perhaps not in book form, but with a bit of editing, a manuscript was born.

Late this summer Jason and I both felt God saying that this was the year to get it published. Other years I would get discouraged at the process and complexity of the process. This year it was clear that it didn’t have to be complex and it didn’t have to be done in the conventional route I always thought I would need to follow. So, with a whole lot of prayer, nudging from loving friends and the support of my Prayer Warriors Group, this has become the year that the devotional will become available to others who are grieving.

A Thrill of Hope: Finding Hope, Peace, Joy and Love in the Minor Notes of Christmas includes 28 devotionals I have written keeping in mind various types of grief may of us have experience throughout life. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, the loss of relationships, career, expectations or dreams, the season of Christmas may be difficult. This devotional is designed to help encourage, inspire and draw you nearer to God during the season of advent as you reflect on





amidst the grief you may be experiencing at this time.

The devotional journal is beautifully designed and includes:

· An introduction to the topic of advent and grief.

· Recommendations on how the devotional can be used.

· 28 short devotional readings.

· A reflective question following each reading.

· An author’s note inviting you into a closer look at how grief has impacted my life.

· An appendix of recommended resources that have helped me in my grief journey.

I invite you to check out the book. Perhaps it is something that would encourage you or someone you know, this coming Christmas season:

If you are from Canada, click/tap this image:

If you are from the U.S.A., click/tap this image:

Abundant Life: Scripture Writing

Years ago I really started to enjoy getting into God’s word through the method of scripture writing. It’s simple, it’s effective, doable on a busy schedule, and essentially you don’t need much to do a study–a Bible, notebook and pen is really all you need. However, over the years I always wished that I would have a beautiful journal that guided me through a particular topic or book of the Bible. Recently I realized that maybe I should just go ahead and start publishing the studies I had already created. So here it is: the first one on the topic of living a life of abundance.

The journal includes:

  • An introduction to the scripture writing process
  • A list of 31 days of scriptures to study
  • An introduction of the topic of study: Abundant Life
  • 2 pages per day with the scripture of the day listed, space to write out the scripture and space to journal your thoughts, personal application or prayer for the day.

Here is a sneak peek inside three of the pages found inside the book:

If you are interested in purchasing a journal, here some links for my friends in Canada, USA and Germany. It is also available in most other marketplaces.

Autumn Rhythm

Oh how I love the carefree summer months. No real schedules to keep, vacations to take, lazy mornings–all of it is such a welcome gift after the long winter months.

Yet, as August comes to an end, I look forward to the routines that come with the autumn months. Perhaps it’s because I was a teacher for many years, but September feels like a new beginning. Perhaps how January is for many people. New goals to set, new routines to aim for–a fresh start.

So, as autumn makes its colourful entrance and the warm days of summer begin to fade, my thoughts return to routines and systems that make life run smoothly where possible. A few years ago I began to reshape my thinking in regards to lists and schedules. The Type A part of me likes to be organized, have a plan, get things done, focus on goals and not waste time. However, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity, which I also long for. So, I found that my schedule and my lists were too constricting and I, more often than not, felt like I was failing at them and not having a whole lot of fun. I came to realize that I needed to change the patterns that were no longer serving me. Sometimes a mindshift comes in the form of changing the vocabulary we use. So instead of trying to stick to a schedule, I created a rhythm–something a friend of mine introduced me to. A schedule can be rigid and tends to encompass the whole day. A daily rhythm is more fluid and allows us to enjoy some spontaneity. There are certain things I get done each day of the week and if a Monday task doesn’t get completed then it waits until the next Monday. So, what if I miss a week of dusting. It can wait. Perhaps it was more important to go for a walk with a friend and the dusting didn’t happen.

Here is what my weekly rhythm looks like:

I simply printed it out and posted it by my desk so I can quickly look at it each day.

I’m thinking that someone who follows a daily rhythm wouldn’t necessarily use a daily planner. Or maybe they would? I don’t know, but I do know that my day runs a little more smoothly if I jot some of my daily tasks onto a list or onto a planning page. This is the one I have created and am making changes to as time goes on, to make it more useful for me:

So, yes, it still has a schedule in it and perhaps that ruins the whole ‘rhythm’ idea, but after a few years of having a rhythm, I realized that within a rhythm I still needed a bit of schedule, otherwise things were too wishy-washy for me and I wasn’t making the progress I had hoped for.

On my daily planner page there is a section titled ‘priorities of the day’. This is where I jot down appointments or items on my ‘Brain Dump Page’–a piece of paper I keep on my desk, where I write down all the things that come to mind that I would like to, need to, or should do at one point or another:

The brain dump page is filled with random things and instead of transfering the random items to an organized page, from time to time I highlight items according to the most used categories at the time.

So, there you have it–the rhythm that I have created for myself for this autumn. It will need adjusting as time goes on and I find there are things that aren’t working or things that need to be added. We are 12 days into September and I am feeling a lot more success in these 12 days than I did in the first seven or so months of the year.

What are you finding that works well for you in keeping life organized, productive, and less stressful? Do you have a system? A rhythm? A schedule? I’d love to hear about it.

Would you be interested in a free printable PDF of a daily rhythm, daily plan, and brain dump page? Let me know by voting here: