Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The 4th Anniversary Edition: Mama Jo Returns. Again.

Welcome back to the blog everyone! Hello again faithful readers and greetings to new ones, this is the anniversary edition. It’s been nearly 4 years since my first departure for Prince Edward Island. I come to you with a special edition after about 3 years of silence. 4 years is an odd anniversary to celebrate, it’s not round or predictable like most, which is why I love it so much. I like to keep you on your toes. This is particularly special because for the first time in 4 years I went back to the Island solo. Every year after I left I’ve taken friends along to share in the adventure but this time it was just Jesus and I. Much like the first time.

4 years. So much has happened in that time. Here is a quick up to-date recap:
-      -  September 2011- April 2012: finished culinary school and became a certified pastry chef,
-       - April 2012- October 2012: worked at Anne of Green Gables Chocolates on PEI
-       - October 2012- September 2013: moved back to Ontario and was the pastry chef at Benmiller Inn, Goderich Ontario,
-       - January 2013 – September 2013: recorded a full length album, and released it November 2013
-       - September 2013 – August 2014: nannied for a family and their 2 delightful and mischievous boys
-       - June 2014: got baptized, again. I was baptized as an infant, but took the “double dunk” as an adult to declare my love for Jesus publically and be commissioned in a new ministry venture as prayer director of Uptown Community Church
-       - July 2014 – August 2014: did a Canadian East coast tour for 10 days promoting album and performing all over the Maritimes. It was a hoot!
-       - September 2014 – present: joined a church plant and was asked to be prayer director and worship team member. Jumped in with both feet, woohoo!
-       - September 2014 – present: working as baker and FSA at Conrad Grebel University College on University Waterloo campus, continuing to perform music where I can in mid-western Ontario, KW, and GTA
-       - April 2015: benefit concert with FRED PENNER! Short Twitter appearance on CBC courtesy of FRED PENNER!!!
-       - April 2015: 100% on my firearms license, beginnings of hunting and fur trapping license, woohoo!
-       - August 2015: currently writing anniversary blog J

Now we’re caught up.  

As some of you may or may not know it is tradition that I return to the Island every year since my departure from it 3 years ago. The Island had a huge impact on my life spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. If you are unfamiliar with my story I encourage you to flip through the other blog posts, but here is the Spark Notes version:
God called me to the Island to go to culinary school, not only for the great job security, but to get some solo time with me. It was a retreat, a solace, a place to get perspective and where God met me and formed me into the fearless and furious woman I am today. I’ve had my fair share of scars in life and the healing process started on the Island. But God, in His faithful and relentless love, has continued to cultivate me, rip out rotten roots, clip back over zealous branches, and water my heart with His blood. He patiently scrubbed the lies and shame from my cobwebbed heart so His grace and truth could shine through and alight the dusty attic of a chest cavity with His promises, provision, and power. In the past four years I’ve also grown bolder and feistier in my faith. I love Jesus and He is Truth. Deal with it. Regardless of my bold faith, I still have not managed to curb that sailor tongue of mine. Please forgive any crass words that may or may not follow.
The special occasion that spring boarded the return to PEI was to celebrate the marriage of Ian and Sandra Fidles, the couple I first stayed with when I moved there. I am over the moon excited for them!! The wedding was my primary reason for going, but I also hungered for ocean, red sand, and lazy listless days. My agenda for the 5 days I would be on the island were:
#1- Go to wedding
#2 – Go to beach
#3 – Eat Lobster

Departure day came quickly but I was ready! Like a child about to go to the zoo for the first time I sat cross-legged on the front lawn of my apartment building, luggage beside me, bouncing impatiently. A friend graciously drove me to the airport and we arrived in plenty of time. However the lines were very long and I quickly became stressed. The lines for check-in where monumental, however lines for the self-check in kiosks were nonexistent. Should I try the kiosk? I don’t like learning knew things when I’m under time pressure and stress so I held my ground and did the only sensible thing: pray. “The Lord is good, the Lord is gracious. He delights and has favour in those who Trust in Him and are transformed by Him. Lord transform me, I trust you.” I repeated that again and again and sure enough the line began to move quickly, and everyone who had 8:00pm flights were rushed through. The Lord is faithful!  
When I reached the counter I handed the Westjet agent my passport and reservation papers hoping to speed the process along. The Westjet agent slightly frowned at me, “No checked luggage? Why didn’t you use the kiosk, you wouldn’t have to wait in line.”
I replied, “I don’t know how to use them and I don’t like using new things when I’m under stress.”
“Oh but they are so easy!”
Ok Mr. Green Eyes, with the nice hair, and smells like lumber, summer, and whiskey, shut up. After receiving my boarding pass I booked it to the next mile long line.
Boarding time was 7:20 and it was 7:10. My heart was racing! “The Lord is good, the Lord is gracious. He delights and has favour in those who Trust in Him and are transformed by Him. Lord transform me, I trust you.” Again the line began to move quickly, Praise God! Another Westjet agent began calling out flight numbers and asking them to head to the front of the line. When she passed I asked what the flights were again, she asked for my boarding pass and sadly I was not on that list. I looked at her doe eyed and terrified. “How many are in your party?” she asked. “Just me,” I answered. “Come with me.” She whisked me to the front of the line and while I went through security she told me where the gate was. “It’s at the other end of the airport, you’ll have to run, I make no promises.” I was trembling as I put my carry on and purse through the scanner. “You’ll be fine,” she smiled and then she was gone. Clearly an angel.
“Do you have an liquids?” The security agent asked.
“Umm, I don’t remember,” I replied. I did, but the were well within the carry on limits. They waved me through and at the other end where I assumed they would stop me to swab my bags they were distracted. I saw my window of opportunity, grabbed my bags and RAN! Literally RAN through the airport. Praise the Lord for floating sidewalks. What made this whole ordeal even worse is that I had to pee, and I was anxious. I was panxious! I didn’t want to risk the bathroom break and miss the flight so I held it and ran.
I arrived at the gate at 7:40 and was one of the last to board, but was thankful I made it. “Thank you Lord!” The flight left on time and when we had reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign was off I went to the bathroom. Those airplane bathrooms are tiny. Hoo dolly!! What an experience that was. I won’t go into details lets just say I’m glad my ass isn’t any bigger.
After settling in the flight attendants came around with cookies, corn chips, and coffee, I gazed out the window at the beautiful scene below. The GTA fell quickly beneath us and from our position in the air we could see the jumbo-tron at the Rogers Center. We climbed higher and were treated to the setting of the sun as it sank behind sleepy clouds giving way to a brilliant red sunset. Out of the corner of my eye I could see flashes of lightning. There were three massive thunderstorms that we flew parallel too, we were treated to a show of light and magnificence. Each flash of lightning was unique and brilliant and could not compare to the one before or after it. At one point they lit up the sky all at once, to those watching, mainly myself and a young family behind me, we expressed our appreciation with oo’s and ahh’s.
As we moved east the storms moved west and I found myself craning my neck to watch them. “Lord, your grandeur is marvelous, may I have one final eruption of lightning? Perhaps 5 strikes in a row? Before the plane passes them.”  No reply. No delivery of lightning from them. “Ok, I trust you.” I turned my gaze to the sky to watch the stars slowly come out of hiding and suddenly FIVE more storms were on the horizon and they all erupted with lightning at the same time! It took my breath away. “Lord, you deliver!!” I leaned my head against the window and watched until they lost steam and the stars came out in their brilliance.
We flew over the mainland and from above I could see city and town lights scattered and clumped along the landscape. They looked like their own galaxies and constellations. But the brilliance of the night sky was incomparable to the man made patterns below.
As we flew over PEI a righteous full moon shone over the island and bathed the shores, rivers, scattered lakes and ponds in an enchanting silver hue. The island was silent under its muted and mesmerizing tones.
When the plane landed my heart skipped, pressing my hands against the glass I whispered, “I’m home.” A few happy tears welled up but I brushed them away. Stepping out of the aircraft I lifted my face to the east where the sailor moon beamed in greeting and inhaled deeply. Rich ocean air with ribbons of seaweed, salt, and sand wafted my senses and my knees buckled a little under the charming aroma.  
The beautiful and gracious Nadine picked me up from the airport. She was eagerly waiting outside sort of parked in the middle of the road, so when I saw her we exchanged quick hugs and hellos before tearing out of there. When we arrived at her home, her husband Tom was waiting for us at the door and welcomed me with open arms! Oh what a joy it is to be received so warmly but two beautiful friends!
Tom and Nadine got me settled and then ushered me to the kitchen for a late night snack of Nadine’s delicious pork and beef feta cheese stuffed burgers. Mmmm. Nadine is a fabulous cook and Tom is quick and willing to proclaim her talents to all that want to know and even to those that don’t. My favourite line from Tom’s praises was, “Nadine’s seafood chowder is righteous. You could baptize the dead in that and they would come up singing hallelujah!” I’m going to enjoy staying with Tom and Nadine for the next 5 days.
Tom went to bed, but Nadine and I stayed up late talking about coffee, food, being anointed by the Lord with sass and spunk, and other such joyous topics. It was close to 1am before I flopped into bed and succumbed to a long sleep.

The following morning I woke up leisurely and followed my nose to the kitchen where Nadine had made specialty coffee, waffles, and bacon and eggs. That’s how you start your vacation. After breakfast Nadine kindly drove me into town to pick up my rental car. Despite being able to fold into the island lifestyle without a seam, I still had the mainlander punctuality. I arrived precisely at noon but the car hadn’t. Clearly whoever was renting it was still gallivanting around the island, as they should be, it is a beautiful place. It didn’t bother me any and I was promised a discount for my patience. In the mean time Nadine dropped me off near Victoria park, I hopped out, and strolled through the familiar streets.  
I was grateful for the opportunity to stretch my legs and wandered down by Victoria Park, weaved my way through Victoria Row, around the Basilica, and down to Peakes. There were a few knick knacks I pondered purchasing but kept to the strict list I had:
-       Island wear for niece Beth
-       - Soap dish from Cordelia’s
-       - Chocolates for: Nadine and Tom, Bible study, work, and Jontue
-       - Antique cabinet knobs
-       - Antique hanker chiefs
-       - A few post cards
Enterprise called about an hour later informing me the car was ready for pick up. Because of the kafuffle I was given a complimentary upgrade to a Kia Forte, which is nothing like the rickety Camry I currently drive.
Before I even started the car I raised my hands in surrender and asked Jesus to protect the car and myself on the roads, to give me extra alertness and to break off any shame I had about driving extra careful. This was no joke. Islanders don’t know how to drive well, I’m not one to talk given my driving record, but it’s maddening. Plus the population of PEI doubled because it’s tourist season. So I shamelessly assumed the role or “pokey tourist” driver who obeyed all the traffic laws and blared worship music as an added layer of prayerful protection.
Unlike Edna my Camry the Forte actually drives. It accelerates when you apply pressure to the gas pedal and magically stops when the same pressure is applied to the break. Wow. Edna takes a bit more coaxing sometimes.
Keeping with my shopping list I went to Timeworn Treasures Antiques in search of knobs and hanker chiefs. The store atmosphere was in the full throws of summer. Bridal veils, soft pastel coloured frames, teacups and saucers, and lamps were arranged in inviting and creative ways. Retro suitcases and trunks were stacked with linens draped tastefully over them and the entire store was wrapped in a musical ribbon of the Sound of Music. With the help of the owner it didn’t take long to find what I was looking for, pleased with my purchases I was on my way.
That evening Tom, Nadine, and myself sat down to a delicious dinner of stuffed peppers with pork, mozzarella cheese, pine nuts, zucchini and spices. On the side Nadine prepared rice cooked in chicken broth. Now that is a trick I must use. Instead of cooking rice in water cook it in vegetable, chicken, or beef stock. It will cook and infuse it with flavor. Neat! All the different flavours complimented each other and danced across my tongue.
After dinner we sprawled on the couches and watched old movies. We started the night off with a black and white Carey Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and James Stewart classic: The Philadelphia Story. Then we sauntered over to the humorous Danny Kaye and Angela Lansbury treat: The Court Chester. And finally we wrapped up the evening in our decade with an episode from the TV series: Justified.

Timeworn Treasures Antiques 

Saturday marked the day of Sandra and Ian’s wedding! I couldn’t be more thrilled for them. The wedding wasn’t until 3:30 in the afternoon so I took advantage of the time to sleep in, binge watch episodes of Big Bang Theory, and taking a nap before heading out.
It was a delightful drive out to the east side of the Island. There was rolling farmland rich in colour, the potato crop was lush, corn stocks reached their slightly golden hands up to the heavens reaching for rain, and off to the south the ever present shimmer of the Northumberland Strait. The windows were down to allow the intoxicating country and ocean air to fill my lungs.
The wedding was outside in the back meadow at Sandra’s family farm. The ceremony was outdoors in the sunshine a rich breeze caressed our sun kissed skin, and though it was hot at times, it was still a wonderful relief from the Ontario heat.  Everyone was milling about, mostly staying in the shade. Islanders think 26 with an ocean is breeze is hot. Ha! I like to remind them, “It’s 38 in Ontario. Be grateful.”
When Ian had a spare moment we exchanged a quick hug. Our reminiscent encounter was short lived when he was waved over to carry out groom duties. The ceremony was about to start. Sandra’s brother began to sing and play his guitar while we found our seats. Pretty soon the bridesmaids and groomsmen sauntered down the grassy isle looking dapper and dashing. We all smiled and caught our breath when Sandra walked in on the arm of her father. She floated down in a dress fit for a princess. It billowed and flowed with yards of tulle and a ribbon of sparkling flowers tied around her waist. Her golden hair was spun into curls and her father beamed with pride and joy as he escorted her.
The ceremony was short and sweet and several readings from classic authors were read. Sandra and Ian are the type of couple who don’t hold each other back form their goals but also kindly hold one another accountable. Together they have faced a decade of life together and I’m hoping they face at least another 10 more decades!
Dinner was a buffet of delicious Thai food! There were speeches, tears, and toasts a plenty as we honoured the couple. People spoke of Sandra and Ian’s kindness and I’m very fortunate to be a recipient of that. They didn’t know me from a hole in the wall and yet took a risk in allowing a strange girl to room with them while she attended culinary school. I love and appreciate them both immensely.
The night followed with dancing and we all made an appearance on the slightly uneven floor. The tent and dance floor was over the most level place in the meadow, which unfortunately was on a bit of an incline. The dance floor especially leaned so every few songs we’d have to move the party up to the top of floor only to naturally descend again. No one seemed to mind.

Mr. and Mrs. Fildes! 

First dance

Father daughter dance

Mother son dance

Roommate picture!

I was so excited to go to church on Sunday! To see old friends and hear Tom teach the word of God, nearly everyone greeted me with, “Welcome home.” Worship time was breathtaking. It was only John and his guitar but he lead with such passion and conviction of Gods provision and guidance.
Tom preached on Jesus in the garden before His crucifixion centering on the knowledge that He knew His death would happen before He created the world. That truth finally clicked and tackled my mangy heart like a line backer. The weight and reality of Jesus prayer in the garden that day knowing that He would be praying that prayer before the earth had form or function blows my mind. He knew that when He formed the mountains of the gruesome death that awaited Him. When the first drops of ocean were poured out He knew your name and the struggles you would face and the rebellion against Him you would partake in. But the beauty of Jesus is that He is not shocked by our filth. He is not surprised when we lie, cheat, murder, disrespect others, get addicted to drugs, alcohol, or pornography. He knew we would be wretched when He swept the first brush stroke of sunset sky and He still choose to create us, invest in us, LOVE us. "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserve it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time-to show us His grace through Christ Jesus." - 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Wow!
I was ruined by the Gospel that day, my heart churned with joy, reverence, and wonder. The Gospel is so simple, so True, it is satan who complicates it so we’re hesitant to accept it. Choose Jesus. Everyday. All day. Choose Jesus.
With the fresh conviction of Jesus astounding grace I packed snacks and beach gear and made my why to Greenwich Provincial Park. Nature is where I can listen to God clearest. Greenwich has a beautiful hiking trail that leads to the iconic horseshoe sand dunes.  
Walking the Greenwich trail was a breath of much needed fresh salty air. It curved along a peninsula surrounded by remnants of an old farm. The field that was now over grown with wild raspberries, carrots, flowers, and grass dipped toward the river on the south side and faced the town of St. Peters. In the salty river were oyster and muscle farms with their markers bobbing in the water. A few boats sauntered through the waters every now and then. The family that lived there were potato farmers, as most farmers on the Island are. Because of the rich mineral deposit in the soil and the ocean spray that sprinkles the land PEI has some of the most fertile soils. You have not tasted a potato until you have tasted one from PEI.
My wild imaginative heart is as content in open fields and plains as it is thick forests and cascading shorelines. The path wound away from the over grown farmland and into a patch of woods. The familiar musk of timber, damp leaves, and patches of sunlight warming the forest floor encompassed my senses and my imagination drifted. I don’t know what it is about the woods but I feel I should be running through them with a bow and arrow, or at the very least barefoot with a long flowing dress.
The foliage began to thin and the faint hush and giggle of waves breaking on the shore could be heard. The path opened to a huge inland pond with a floating boardwalk. Some of the tourists found the sensation of the floating boardwalk hard to get used to, I have excellent sea legs though, and didn’t loose stride or pace. After the journey across the swaying walk, we climbed up a 30 foot sand dune, descended the other side, and then walked down the beach a stretch only to climb another sand dune to take in the epic panoramic view of all our hard work.
When I descended the first dune and saw the ocean, rich and welcoming, I rushed toward it, threw off my shoes and bag and walked in up to my knees. Ohhh, glorious! The gentle surf and soft repetition of the waves cooled and refreshed my body. I rested only a moment before hiking up the other dune to see the iconic sight. The climb to the top of the dune was steep but there was a rope fence to hold on to.
Reaching the top, breathless, sweaty, and shoes full of sand, couldn’t compare to the peaceful and impressive view that waited. The dunes stood in there own realm, untouched by human cultivating hands, the only power the dunes were shifted by were the ever whipping winds. They seemed to relax against the horizon, as if they were an old couple well into their retirement years reminiscing about younger days when they were closer to shore before the wind pushed them inland and razor grass, grey lichens, and sprouts of trees took root and grew.
 Satisfied with the journey and after snapping a few pictures for posterity I gleefully bounded down the dune and walked up shore to the supervised beach. Families, couples, and friends gathered there in pockets of little beach nests containing umbrellas, coolers, and beach towels. I made my own little nest by laying out my beach towel and securing the corners with my shoes and bag. With my swimsuit already underneath my clothes I peeled off the sweaty folds of fabric and boldly walked into the ocean. I waded in up to my chest and allowed the beat of the waves to acclimatize my body. When I was at its full mercy and enchantment I dove into the waves and swam out as far as it was safe.
There in the cradling waters, its strong current pushing me back to shore, I thought back to a sermon Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, spoke on. He focused on Creation and Gods deliberate and beautiful design of man and woman and nature. When I spend time in Gods masterpiece be it woods, plains, beaches, or the company of Believers, family, and friends, and when I stop and allow myself to enter a posture of reverence and holy fear to the One who created ALL of it I feel immeasurably small, yet incredibly seen and known by God.
“I love the ocean, like the real ocean, and I wish we all lived closer to one. If I could be by a real ocean and hear its roars and be impressed by its waters and feel the fear that it could sweep me out and be done with me without breaking a sweat. That magnificence that awe that we feel would be surface level elementary reverence, but the fact that someone told that ocean to be, that’s exponential reverence.” – Matt Chandler. Exponential reverence. I’ve heard it explained that fear of the Lord is having respect for His headship over the world to physical and emotional fear of His power. While both are true I define it as a fear of a life without God. Swimming in the ocean, realizing its strength, fearing its monstrosity, yet loving, welcoming, and appreciating its presence would be unsatisfying without the deep reverence in the God who simply spoke it into existence and continues to command its movements.
I stayed at the beach until the plantain chips, peanut M&M’s, green apple, and bottle of water were devoured and my stomach still cried out for more. With the windows downs and the Island mix CD wafting through the speakers I drove back to Char’town. Subway serves Atlantic lobster subs and though this is not quite doing lobster justice I couldn’t afford a whole pound of it fresh from the wharf, this will have to do. The buttery, fleshy, red and white meat romanced my mainland palette into a love affair with the ocean delicacy.

Almost to the dunes

Ocean AT LAST!

Greenwich Provincial Park sand dunes

Wild raspberry bushes looking down to St. Peters

Blue chair. Blue shoes.

Check out them salty nautical curls!

Monday morning I gathered up my beach gear again and headed to Rice Point to meet up with friend Eliana to spend time with her, her husband Craig, and two children Ezra and Esmeralda. I’m so proud of them and their little family! It was refreshing to spend time with them. Ezra was a bit shy of me at first, but when I picked up one of his dinosaur toys and played with him, he warmed up quickly.
Part of the agreement I signed when renting the car was to not go off roading. However, most roads to the beach aren’t really roads and we had to park in a bit of meadow. Craig teased me saying, “You’re off roading!” Goofball. The beach has beautiful but unfortunately the tide was against us. We only had about 12 feet of beach to stretch on which was fine, we really only came for the air and sun.  
While Eliana and I chatted Craig and Ezra made a “sand doggy” the engineering skills to make a successful sand castle can be hard for a toddler to grasp. Our conversation wasn’t anything earth shattering but that’s ok, mostly we caught up and reminisced about culinary school. Sometimes you don’t have to have in depth conversations with friends you haven’t seen in years. It’s just as rich to know that you can still talk after so long.
While we ate lunch a deer fly landed on the arch of my foot and bit me. Ouch! Those demons with wings can really take a chunk out of you. In what can only be described as out back ninja skills Craig swooped for it with his hand, killed it, and tossed it to the waves.
“Thank you for avenging my foot.”
“And they say chivalry is dead.”
When we were finished eating Eliana reached for the box of wipes to pass around. Ezra made a bit of babble and reached for them too, we assumed he was getting one for himself, but he gave one to me! How kind! As long as there are good parents raising good children chivalry and kindness will not die. Way to go Eliana and Craig.
Eventually the tide came in so far that it licked the edges of our blankets and towels and pushed us off the beach. With a heavy sigh we went back to their house and chatted for a few more moments. I held Esmeralda while Eliana showed me around the property. It was the perfect opportunity to impart the 5 keys of life to the little one. I held the chubsy little girl in my arms, tipped her had back a smidge so she could hear all the wisdom I had to impart and bounced her lightly.
#1 Jesus loves you
#2 I love you
#3 Manners Matter
#4 Even shipwrecks have treasure
#5 Barbara Streisand is a goddess
Grateful for their hospitality but sad to be leaving I left shortly after to meet up with another friend, Natalie, in Char’town.
While I enjoyed every fiber of my time on the island, time with Natalie is like a refreshing crystal goblet of water. She is true and kind, her spirit is centered on Christ, she is vulnerable and brave in her faith and she thrives on the Holy Spirit. This woman, who I admire, love, and deeply cherish, welcomed me into her arms with wisdom, without judgment, and with ample energy! We spent the whole afternoon and evening together talking, sharing our hearts, admitting our hurts and pains, struggles with God, ponderings and doubts, and over all joys of our friendship together. I just love her!!!!
Time on the island would not be complete without a red sunset over a red beach. We went to Cove Head around dusk and walked the soft shore, sometimes we waded out to the sand bars and walked the warm waters, and before the sunset we sat in the sand and watched the water. I relaxed my soul and emptied any pressure or expectations of myself that were not of the Lord. Soft chuckling waves tiptoed up the red sand and then slid back into the big blue to be carried off to some exotic place. A breeze came off the land and ruffled the water into little windblown ripples. The ocean rolled soothingly, I relaxed whole-heartedly and breathed deeply.
Neither of us wanted to leave but nocturnal purples and blues began to fold over the sky and the moon was beginning her climb to shine over us. Natalie wanted to spend more time with me, and I with her, but it was late, I was tired, and tomorrow I would be flying out. I needed to sleep. We embraced long and tenderly and blessed each other before parting ways.  

Ezra playing in the sand

Eliana and I

Red toes!

Sunset at Cove Head

Natalie and I

Red sunset, red hair, red shirt. Lots of red!

The last day on the Island. Sigh. It started off wonderfully though. I awoke early and packed most of my bags, I had a busy day ahead of me and wouldn’t have much time to pack later. I rushed out the door and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a dozen eggs for Leanne and Jeff before going to their cottage for breakfast.
What a way to spend the morning! Right off the shore out on the deck with an ocean breeze whipping through our hair while we feasted on bacon, eggs, sausage, island potatoes, coffee, juice, and raspberry jam made by Leanne and Jeff! Oh the joys of visiting and spending time with friends. The character of the island is a perfect melting pot for kindred spirits to meet, grow, and flourish. After breakfast we nimbly climbed our way down the cliff to the shore and stretched our legs before the tide trapped us.
What a wonderful stretch of beach full off oyster and clamshells all strewn about like stars in a galaxy. I learned a new island term as well: shore shoes. Mainlanders know them as water shoes, but apparently that’s just not the way of it here. I’ll adopt that into my regular beach vocabulary and confuse everyone back home.
The tide was ripping in quickly and the curve of the shore made a little peninsula. Being of the adventurous kind I kicked of my “shore shoes” and headed to the tip. The water was shallow for a distance and I wanted to see how far I could get before danger was a factor. Turning back to shore for a picture it was apparent Jeff was either taking several or was have trouble with my camera. It was then that I realized the current of the water and speed of the tide was faster than I’d expected. The conditions were causing the sand underneath my feet to shift rapidly and I began sinking. I was only in peril for about a minute and realized had the worst happened I’m an excellent swimmer and have friends that would come save me.
We found a message in a bottle and took it back to the cottage to read. Someone had a lot of fun writing a silly note about liking the smell of batteries and other such nonsense. It brought us a smile and a giggle though.
The car rental was until noon and I wanted to be on time if not early, it’s that mainlander inner clock again. The return went smoothly, I was half expecting them to find out all the “off roading” I did and charge me an arm and leg for getting red dirt all over the car. But then again ALL the cars on the island have red dirt on them whether they’ve been off roading or not. While I was grateful for the rental it was the most stressful experience of the island.
Before leaving the Island I met up with dear sweet Kendra, another chum from culinary school, for lunch. Our conversation was similar to that of so many conversations I’ve had here. We caught up on each other’s life, talked about this and that, hopes and dreams, and shared giggles when remembering our school days. For dessert we went to a farmers market and had freshly picked strawberries. Island berries are very different from Ontario berries. I would describe their flavour as mild, but the texture is meaty, it almost tasted pink instead of the potent, crimson, flavour Ontario berries possess. But still enjoyable!
Finally the time had come, my bags were packed I was ready to go, Kendra dropped me off at the airport and after long hugs I let her go. The lines in Char’town airport are ridiculous. They have none! I was through check in and security in 10 minutes.
As passengers began to fill the waiting room so did dark ominous rain clouds fill the sky. Our flight was delayed 30 minutes, but safe than sorry. When we boarded the plan and got comfortable the captain announced that bad weather in Toronto would delay us another 25 minutes. Didn’t bother me any, I had a good book and a comfy seat and the patience of a saint. After a while the captain came on again, his voice was timid and hesitant to share the announcement. Uh oh. “Good evening ladies and gentleman, ummm, waiting time has been pushed to an hour.” There was collective moan of frustration from the passengers. “They’ve grounded some planes in Toronto and are waiting for weather there and in Calgary to pass. Sorry folks, we’re going to have to sit tight. If we unboard all of you and get the call to be in the air in 20 minutes we will have missed our window and may have to cancel the flight. Please be patient, and thank you.” I informed my friend who was picking me up about the delay but then went back to my book.
The elderly gentleman beside me kept accidently bumping my arm on the armrest. He was embarrassed and finally I said, “It’s a little squishy and I don’t mind if we bump each other, lets just put the arm rest up, we might as well get cozy, we’ll be here a while.” And just like that a new friend was made. The gentleman’s name was Chris and his sister Deborah, were in PEI for a family reunion. How fun! We got to talking and pretty soon babbled on like kids in a school yard.
After about 40 minutes the captain came back on over the intercom, “Ok folks we got the go ahead from Toronto, we’re on our way.” Everyone applauded and cheered and we tore out of the airport like a thief on the run. Sitting beside such charming individuals like Chris and Deborah made the flight home exponentially more enjoyable. We chuckled at Chris’s goody jokes, looked out the window at the beautiful sunset, shared why we were in PEI, and generally had a good time.
When we landed in Toronto everyone on board was relieved and another round of applause sounded for the captain and crew. It’s good to go to the Island but it’s good to be home too.

Overlooking the water from Leanne's cottage

Charlottetown from the shore

Leanne and I

Umm, this water is coming in really fast!

Kendra and I acting goofy!

It’s been almost a week since I’ve been back and it’s taken this long to compose this blog. I wanted to make it perfectly clear about my affections for both the island and the mainland. Adjusting to Island life is seamless, but folding back into mainland living is just was familiar. The Lord has blessed me with provision and redemption and a home in both places. He knows my heart, has anointed my identity in His truth, and I trust Him. I will not spoil time with Him with brash selfish decisions of moving or not moving to PEI. Hear me when I say this: I trust Him. I submit to His plan. I welcome His guidance. I look forward to His leadership. I am not bound by some fearful emotion or perverse religious chain. Ultimate freedom is experienced in the embrace of Jesus.
In closing, if there is one thing this vacation has taught it is that there is joy in submitting to the leadership and provision of God. Not for a moment did He leave my side on those island roads or ocean waves. He did not laugh or scoff when I failed to trust Him and make my own way and then pay for it later. And even when I realized my stupidity and cried out to avoid consequence sometimes He canceled the discipline to hold me tighter. My soul is satisfied and hungry at the same time when I am with Him. I love PEI and will always go back, Lord willing, but I love Jesus more and He has not let me down, and He never will.

Thank you for reading and God bless you.