Blog, Get To Know Me

This is a list of some of my favourite things, whether they are just things that I deem delicious and lovely, or things that just make me uniquely me. Of course, I may tweak the list over time, but chances are, if they made the list, they are loved with quite a significance, so I’m sure they won’t fall off the list anytime soon! ~Alison


1. Jesus. He is a lovely Man.

2. Bright shining spirited eyes. I find people’s eyes thrilling when they are alive and dancing. I like to see “life” in the eyes.

3. Hot sauce on anything and everything. End of story. My favourite is the New Zealand specialty, Waha Wera Kiwifruit and Habenero Sauce. It’s a gem. But I also love Sriracha Hot Sauce, Red Hot and a variety of Mexican hot sauces.

4. Reading a good book curled up in bed late at night on a cold dreary day OR in a hammock or lying on the dock on a nice sunny day by the water’s edge with tree’s rustling around me and a slight breeze blowing through my hair. Heavenly.

5. Receiving a new personally-written email from a good friend and family member who took time to share their heart.

6. Even better, receiving a real-paper-handwritten-letter or parcel in the mail! I usually do a little shriek, leap and skip as I walk away from the mail box!

7. Researching and studying interesting topics of all kinds, and discussing it with others who love to do the same! I love a good discussion (and sometimes heated ones!) I think it has to do with the love of passionate discussion with passionate people.

8. The crisp cool air just after the sun has set and it’s approaching dark (but not quite). That air defines ‘the feeling of romance’ to me, and I always feel ‘cozy’. It’s quite hard to describe, but I love that time of day on those long summer days.

9. A really stimulating, mutually inspired, almost intense conversation with someone who is fully THERE, and is honest, authentic, and genuinely interesting.

10. The exhilaration of being completely uninhibited and not dying because of it.

11. Holding hands, or leaning my head on someone’s shoulder, holding their arm and snuggling. I guess we’d say I’m a cuddler of sorts. I love giving and receiving massages!

12. Knowing the love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit enveloping my entire being. Feeling His love tangibly is the most empowering experience life has to offer.

13. Being intoxicated in the Holy Spirit, laughing uncontrollably and crying with abandon and yet feeling so relaxed.

14. Reading a new inspirational quote that just rocks my world…. Simply delicious. I love anything that makes me stop in my tracks, and reminds me that being alive is INSPIRING. Maybe that’s why I love Twitter – inspirational quotes galore!

15. Black salty licorice from Europe! All kinds of black licorice but salty is best!

16. Going on walks with friends or family (but especially with my Mum. She wins hands down) on a quiet country road or along the beach, talking about life, things of the heart and the future.

17. Traveling and exploring new nations and cultures and foods. I especially love being in a place that is both beautiful and historical (or has Biblical significance) especially in the Middle East. I’d love to get to Greece and Itay and Egypt, as well as other Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean nations. Well, everywhere in the world, really! Oh, and Iceland to see the Northern Lights!

18. Washing my face with a good facial wash and the after-feeling of clean.

19. Oh my, how could I forget this one? THE SMELL OF CLEAN FRESH LAUNDRY. Guys, if you’re reading this, there is nothing more pleasant than a guy that smells of fresh laundry. (Cologne is nice but overrated in my opinion, unless it’s just a light spray of a subtle cologne). Never underestimate the value of just being CLEAN and FRESH. Thus saith the Lord :)

20. Walmart and Target. Ah, I love these stores. I know that it’s not a popular corporation with some people, but I can’t help it! You can go in any one of their stores in any city or country around the world and feel at home because it’s familiar, affordable, and all the options are conveniently under one roof.

21. Asian food!!!!! Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, the list goes on. I’d like to make special mention of  Thai Green Mango Salad, which is one of the most delicious and definitively refreshing tastes I’ve discovered so far on this planet. Yummy! Also, Korean BBQ is deeee-lish, and simply having rice, canned tuna wrapped in a roasted/salted seaweed paper for a snack.

22. Home Decorating and Home Renovation Design shows. Anything to do with interior decorating and restoring homes keeps my attention. I love a well-designed home, and turning rooms into comfortable, stylish places where people feel at home.

23. Completing a checklist or To-Do list in my paper agenda or iCal calendar. Now that’s satisfaction. And I like making lists on Post-its of all different colours. Feeling organized, efficient and accomplishing tasks feels really good to me.

24. IKEA. This place is like Christmas all year round when I go in here and see all the lovely spaces and furniture options. Too bad I can’t buy it all! I must restrain myself.

25. Crying (is a beautiful cleansing act). Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” I love to cry and sometimes like to watch movies with a moving-storyline just so I can have a chance to cry. I am not an emotional freak. I just happen to think God created tears for a good purpose, so call me ‘purposeful’ ;)

26. Eye contact with someone you find attractive. Your heart does a freaky flop and stops and then leaps into your throat. It’s terrifyingly beautiful. Exhilarating. Of course, I am saving my locked gaze for one man alone, and so ultimately, this one is reserved for my future husband, whenever he chooses to wake up and come looking for me

27. Writing in my journal. I have kept a journal since I was about 12 years old, and I have saved every one in a special treasure chest in Canada. People’s stories and the contents of their heart are the most valuable things we can ever touch.

28. Watching figure skating. Love love love it. Especially ice dance.

29. Getting lost in worship and singing and praising God with abandon. Putting aside self-consciousness and dancing with all that is within me, not caring what others think of me, but completely consumed with the fact that God exists and He loves me.

30. Acting like a total dork and not caring what others think of you as you dorkify yourself.

31. Discovering the person you’re hanging out with is also a dork and being mutually dorky together. This is fun. Life is fun. Stop being so serious all of the time!

32. Being told you are loved and special for specific reasons. I love when someone notices little details about me. Nothing makes me feel more cared for than when someone takes time to just ask me about my details.

33. The tip of the nose. I have no idea how this love of mine started. It is one of my favourite things! Press the tip of the nose and the cartilage slightly splits. This has to be the most precious part of the body, in my opinion. I have no idea why. People really don’t understand this fascination of mine, but I love seeing people try it out, touching their nose and then others’. It’s cute and funny and an unexpected discovery of the human body!

34. Cafe’s anywhere and everywhere all around the world. Coffee – It’s a global language. Love it.

35. Vera Wang’s beautiful perfume “Princess”. My favourite fragrance of all time so far.

36. Period-piece movies: my favourite is the BBC version of North & South. Classic. I also really love the newest BBC version of Persuasion, and Jane Eyre. Also, Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr.Darcy. I love a pure, chaste love story where the main female has witty humour, brains, strength of character and a desire for a wise, strong man with equal strength of character.

37. Good hand cream, especially if it has a lovely scent. I love putting hand cream on, all day long. Soft hands, baby, soft hands.

38. Ice cold water with freshly sliced lemons. I even eat the lemon with the rind… hence the nickname “Lemonsucker” from my college days!

39. Endearments and appropriate public displays of affection. I think they make you feel special and important, and let’s you know that they’re proud to be associated with you.

40. The Psalms by David in the Bible. Timeless Poetic Honesty. I also especially love the poetry of the Prophetic books of Jeremiah and Isaiah. But to be honest, the whole Bible is chock full of amazing stuff.

41. Essential Oils. Especially ‘sweet orange’. I love my essential oils diffuser to spread lovely fragrance through my room.

42. My Gramma’s “City Chicken” skewers. Dee-lish! They were a childhood favourite when we would drive to visit her in Windsor, Canada. I can taste it in my memories… She passed away in 2008 but I must get a hold of the recipe so the tradition can live on!

43. “Hot and Sour Soup” is a Chinese favourite of mine. The best one EVER was made by a restaurant ‘China House’ in my childhood hometown of Orillia. But it closed down and the owners disappeared (literally). And so I am left with having to settle for mediocre Hot and Sour soups at all the restaurants I’ve tried since. But I loved their version so much that I usually boycott even trying others’ version because I usually get frustrated. It’s a soup that is either truly remarkable, or horribly unremarkable, bordering on gross. Maybe these folks will one day come out of hiding and send me some Hot and Sour soup. The wish lives on…

44. Pumpkin and Squash anything. Roasted pumpkin or squash with butter, lemon pepper and a little salt, and you’ve got a world-class meal. It also makes an amazing pureed soup.

45. Singing around a campfire with guitars and with people who are not afraid to sing out! I love doing this in living rooms too. Spontaneous worship jams in natural settings are a favourite of mine.

46. Mustards of all kinds. French, American, Dijon, Wholegrain, Hot, etc!

47. My cottage on Lake Joseph. Such a peaceful tranquil place. BBQ’s and picnics at Pine Island, across from our part of the lake. Boat trips or canoe trips around the lake on a quiet summer evening. Treasure hunts in the forest. Walking the dirt paths between cottages. Collecting clay at Pine Island. Making mini boat marinas at “the little dock”. Finally getting the courage to swim “past the logs”. Swimming to Pine Island and back. Sadly, we had to sell the cottage in 2009. But it was sold to a lovely family with young kids who can now make their own treasure of memories over the years they grow up. I will cherish those memories forever with family and friends.

48. Massages. Especially deep-tissue therapeutic massage.

49. Someone playing with my hair or brushing my hair. It’s relaxing.

50. Flip flops. Any colour. Any style. Any season, well, except Canadian winter!

51. A great “medium” steak on the barbeque and fresh cob on the corn with butter and salt and pepper. My brain is drooling right now. Favourite meal, hands down.

52. Snowboarding on a beautiful mountain with lovely views from the top and a fun adventurous way to get down the mountain. I want to explore more mountains in N.America and Europe!

53. Coffee. Did I already mention this? I love coffee. It’s not an addiction. Just a deep, deep tasty admiration for the bean.

54. I love watching singing reality shows. I just love hearing the talent that is out there. I love music.

55. My niece, Hera. She is the bomb diggity. She has a beautiful heart and is such good company!

Blog, Get To Know Me, God + Spirituality, Ministry + Missions

My Salvation Testimony

I wrote this back in 2006, over 5 years after the events of this story happened. I share the most amazing story of God’s grace and goodness back in the glorious year of 1999. This is a testimony of God’s abundant grace and goodness for me and how He displayed His hungry desire to transform my life and bring me out of a deep, deep pit of loneliness and pain. This is my story (and His Story) of how God met me and brought me home to His heart. ~Alison

A view of Uganda

In 1999, I was 19 years old and in my first year of college studying Graphic Design, doing my own thing, living “freely” (or so I thought). I was not serving God or attending church. I hadn’t been, since the age of 15 or so. I was searching, that’s for sure, but not interested in formal ‘Christianity’ as I knew it… I would watch Oprah, read self-help books, and went that route to “discover myself”…

My mom went off to Uganda for a month to visit my Aunt Meg (her sister), my Uncle Jim and my cousins, Sarah and Rachel in the winter of 1999. She came back afterwards and told me about the trip. It stirred a hunger in me to go on a “life-changing trip” and see some places in the world outside of Canada. What better place to go than Uganda where I could stay with my Aunt Meg and her family and have “The African Experience”? I expressed this desire, and in a matter of months, the plans were set and arranged by my Mum, my Aunt, and fully paid for by my wonderfully generous Gramma (Dorothy).

I was headed to Uganda from May to July 1999 on a 3 month African Adventure! Continue Reading

Blog, Get To Know Me, Ministry + Missions

Chapter Six (of 6): The final leg…

Now I won’t go into the rest of the story, since it would take too long to explain it all (you can view my archived mission newsletters from my missions journey) but let’s just say that God works in mysterious ways, sometimes so differently than we would expect, and at times, He will move in ways that you had not initially planned or desired, but when you look back on it, you see that His hand was on it, despite the fact that it was HARD, CHALLENGING, NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED, AND DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU’D ORIGINALLY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.

YET WHEN YOU STOP AND LOOK BACK, YOU REALIZE IT WAS BETTER THAN YOU COULD EVER DREAM…

God works out His plan in our hearts and lives and does His thing, even when we’re kicking and screaming and throwing tantrums since He isn’t doing things the way we’d planned. Haha. God is funny that way.

To make a long story slightly shorter, in brief, I got accepted to the Performing Arts DTS in Kona, Hawaii in Sept 2005. After 3 months lecture training phase, where much healing and learning was done, I flew with a team to Asia, where I was able to meet relatives and see my roots, where part of me is from. It was truly healing for my heart.

Since the beginnings of my missions journey, I was led in 2006 to join the staff with the YWAM base in Oxford, New Zealand. I had a blast as the Registrar from August 2006 until March 2007 and then transitioned to join the April 2007 Around the World in 80 Days DTS Staff team, where I led the school and base worship team and World Awareness Mission Nights and discipled a small group of 5 gals. I then co-led an outreach team to the continent of Africa from July to September 2007 (amazing!) and graduated our students in Israel on the Mount of Olives! What an adventure 2007 was, that’s for sure! I returned in 2008 to direct the Ski + Snowboard DTS for 2 years. I was able to do an outreach in Jakarta, Indonesia where God moved powerfully. In 2009, I took a team of my own to a nation in the Middle East. I fell in love with that nation and hope to be able to minister there from time to time in the future.

In 2010, God very clearly had me “dock the ship” and take a whole year out (like a sabbatical year from ministry and leadership) and BE WITH HIM. This led me to move up to the North Island of New Zealand, to do a 3-month prayer and worship internship with Tauranga House of Prayer. It was during that time that God clearly spoke to give 2 years to becoming a part of the foundation of the Prayer and Missions convergence, and minister to Him in prayer full-time. I am still linked with YWAM, as it connects with the House of Prayer in ministry. I am spending my time and energy to pioneer day and night continual prayer in New Zealand, through the ministry of dynamic prayer, anointed worship ministry, study of the Word, teaching and preaching of the Word, and ministering to young people. God is awesome and greatly to be praised. I am overjoyed to be ministering to the Lord in this way, in this place.

Email me anytime if you want further details of the ongoing story.

Sincerely,

Alison

 

NAVIGATION:

Blog, Get To Know Me, Ministry + Missions

Chapter Five (of 6): God moves in mysterious ways

I was only going to be given a rental car for one day, until the car would be ready the next day, but I was set to go the very next morning to a 4 day Hearing God Course in Mississauga and I was needing to use my car the entire time. The manager looked at me for a split second and then said I could have the car rental for the full 4 days at no extra charge. Now THAT’S God! And then I mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to return the car until the end of the day on Monday since I had to head to work for a full shift that day, and so the Manager said that I could return it at the end of the day, instead of early morning. Wow! God was just paving the way for me. I was very grateful, to say the least.

Then I went off and got my rental car and headed off for this intense course on Hearing God. It was an amazing course. I learned a lot. But the coolest stuff happened when we were practicing prophetic stuff with other students. The woman who got me saw the words “Bird of Paradise” and “Snow” and she felt quite sheepish because it seemed so silly to her. But for me, it seemed SO significant, but I couldn’t quite interpret it at the moment. I mentioned these 2 words to some of the course leaders and some of the women I’d come with, and they all said it must mean something to do with traveling between Canada (snow) and a Tropical place (bird of paradise are flowers grown in tropical places), and that God was bringing me to a tropical place possibly. This started stirring up the YWAM desire with missions and so many people started mentioning the main YWAM base in Hawaii. One woman who did not even know about me and my YWAM desires, told me straight out she could see me at the main base in Hawaii with YWAM. Talk about what?!! So I left that weekend course with some renewed inspiration… but I went home and started asking everyone I knew what their interpretation of “Bird of Paradise” and ” Snow” meant… and I started getting a bit obsessive with this asking around. At one point about a week or so after I’d gotten the 2 words, I left my friend’s place and got in the car, and as I drove away, I kinda heard this inner voice say, “How many confirmations do you NEED, Ali? How many have you had to go off with YWAM?” and I realized I’d had about 30 or 40 (maybe that’s an exaggeration.. but it was a LOT), and then I heard, “And how many confirmations have you had to STAY in the Barrie area?” and I realized I had no confirmations to stay here. So a moment later, at the stoplight, I burst out and shrieked, “I’M GOING OFF WITH YWAM IN SEPTEMBER TO HAWAII ON THE MAIN BASE!” and this excitement burst out of me and I drove home sooooooo pumped! I’d finally made my decision. Boom, like that!

Once I got home, over the next few days, I had to work through a few issues… such as the fact that I still had wanted to go to Latin America on missions, but the Hawaii base went mainly to Asian countries on mission outreaches. So I had to just surrender these desires to the Lord. I sent off my application and a few weeks later, after much prayer and waiting, I got accepted into the September 2005 DTS in Kona, Hawaii! I was off to YWAM!

NAVIGATION:

Blog, Get To Know Me, Ministry + Missions

Chapter Four (of 6): Breakthrough in the midst of utter despair

Then the divine moments began! At the time, I thought that something or Someone (God?!) was trying to make me miserable, but hindsight reveals many things to us if we would just keep relying on God and seeking Him. You see, after this decision to stay at work, I began to get strangely dizzy the moment I would begin my day in the call center. It would force me to leave work and go home sick, but the moment that I would get home, I would be completely OK. No symptoms of anything. I thought it might be something to do with the stale air in the building at work, and moved desks to another area. I made a bunch of changes at work, but still nothing helped at all. I then thought that maybe I was sick, so I went to the doctor and had a physical and did some bloodwork because I was continually getting dizzy spells at work, but nowhere else. All of the tests showed nothing but that I was perfectly healthy and she said that it must be stress. People at work thought that I must be pregnant, which would make me laugh because if any of you know me, I am saving myself for marriage, so I could DEFINITELY deny that it was pregnancy! But maybe I was “pregnant with vision”, God’s vision for my life…! It did cross my mind. I got really miserable at work and I didn’t know how much I could handle. I had been sharing to others and to my manager over the past few months about how I wanted to pursue missions and Christian ministry, and so they all knew about this dream of mine. It was around this time when I was getting sick, that I started to wonder if I had made the right decision to stay because all these factors seemed to be driving me out of my job. I thought that the only way I could feel normal (not dizzy) again would be to leave the job. But I would push those thoughts aside. I had made my decision. YWAM was out of the question. It was just my dream, not God’s… or so I thought… You see, finally one day after a huge dizzy spell and some managers very concerned for me, I had to take a few hours off the phones so I could recuperate. I went back to work and still felt so lousy. I had my regular one-on-one assessment with my personal Manager, Kevin, and he saw that I was looking so miserable, but he continued to go over the various stats that we had to discuss and keep up to standard in a call centre. All of a sudden, I completely broke down. I started sobbing and bawling like a complete baby IN FRONT OF MY MANAGER! It was as if the dam had been unplugged and the tears were unleashed. I was sooo upset that I didn’t even care that my manager saw me break down in such a huge way. He felt awful for me and it was at this time he asked me that maybe I shouldn’t be working here anymore and he said,”What about that YWAM Christian thing?” to which I sobbed out the words, “I’m – Not – Going! That – Door – Is – Closed!” and then I began to sob again uncontrollably. I was a complete mess! My manager continued on, saying, “Maybe you should really think about it even though it’s closed. You obviously wish you could.” My crying stopped and I was able to gather my composure and it became SO CLEAR that he was right. This was not a done deal. I had unfinished business and if anything, I needed to revisit the decision since it had so obviously bothered me that I could not go. It was like I was mourning a loved one’s passing, but in this case, one that had never really got a chance to live…

So I left that one-on-one session with the knowledge that I had to really pray and ask the Lord again if He really did want me to go to YWAM after all. I left work that day and went to drive home. As I was driving through Barrie to go home, my car, which had just had its regular check-up a week prior, COMPLETELY BROKE DOWN in the middle of the street! It just went ka-put! It would not start at all. A COMPLETE PEACE SWEPT OVER ME. I KNEW GOD WAS IN THIS. I looked up to Heaven and I said to the Lord, “OK GOD. I get it now. I reallllllly am getting the strong strong strong feeling that You want me to reconsider my decision.” That phrase kept going through my mind, “Alison, you need to reconsider your decision.” With this revelation and the peace that God was in all of this, I got out of the car and called CAA to come and tow the car, and God brought along some men who helped push my car out of the middle of the road and onto a side street, and then I just sat on the lawn, feeling better than I’d felt in a long time. CAA came and drove me to Orillia to the Ford Service garage and they were JUST getting ready to close. I had gotten there within minutes of closing time. THAT WAS TOTALLY GOD! But it gets better…

 

NAVIGATION: