“I Sure Miss Those Cinnamon Buns!”

Cinnamon Buns doz

   “Hey Dad, can you bake some bread to send me to Uganda?” And so it began, with tin foil pans, two regular ovens and an arm-strong mixer. Sarah got to Uganda and I was in the dough.
   Trout Lake Farmer’s market needed a bakery stall and Conchie Creations was born providing bread, cookies and muffins on a weekly basis from April to October. The weekly bread was the means of our daily provision. With three ovens and a baking table in the basement our production increased as the demand grew. By the time we moved to the last place in Vancouver we had gone from basement to garage, arm strong to Hobart and from 3 domestic ovens to 2 commercial gas convection ones. We were selling up to 400 loaves in 3 hours after having baked from Friday morning to Saturday morning.

Bread Stand

   When we had to move from our garage we left the city and set up our bakery on a 5 acre hobby farm in Comox. For the first year there we baked, sailed and sold to our Vancouver customers. We had the van loaded at 3 am, caught the 5:15 ferry from Duke Point and were set up by 9:30. Realizing the grace extended and the potential perils of continuing after the first successful season, we said goodbye to the Vancouver market and became vendors at the Nanaimo market on Friday and the Comox Valley market on Saturday. Baking all night Thursday for Friday’s market and all night Friday for the Saturday market we stretched grace to the limit again and realized the short-term sustainability of this endevour.

In February with a few months to go before the market opened the idea came to stop the market and open a retail bakery. Having built a local clientage through the market we set up a display counter, shifted things around and advertised the grand opening of Little River Bakery. With the allure of free donuts along with fresh bread and cinnies, we had over 100 people who came to our grand opening. A year later Sarah returned the favour of raising money for her African trip by writing a “First Year in Business” article for the local newspaper, and for Christmas giving us Little River Bakery Jackets.


It was a wonderful 5 years of rewards, equal to and greater than the work we put into it. Our regular customer base drew from Campbell River to Union Bay some 50 miles south, along with visitors from around the world. Shortly after our 5th anniversary of business it was time to move on. We had left our mark though as the new people on the property for a long time after had to put up signs saying “The Bakery is no-longer here”.

 In the early spring, 10 years later, I was in the doctor’s office in Campbell River with a fellow staring at me from across the room. With a look of recognition and a smile, he said: “Sure miss those cinnamon buns!”

Bakery 2006
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Tall? Yes! Tales? Perhaps Not.


Bound for glory

   They say truth is stranger than fiction as the following seeming exaggerations are actually absolutely true. “This body is bound for glory, yes sir this body is bound for glory”


     The mile run, grade eight. Short one for the mile run. No problem! Sure I’ll enter. The inspiration for Roger Bannister? No prior running experience … ready – set – go! Leading in a great quarter-mile. Half mile –  the view from behind. Three quarter mile – lapped and exhausted. Finish line – last by a mile – crossed like a winner – arms held high.

        On to grade nine. Vaulting horse somersault. Attempt after attempt. Finally, with fellow students lining both sides and our coach spotting. Success – wild cheers – hair tousled – “Michael, we knew you could do it.”

        Labour Day,  Friday,  early seventies. Flush with cash after a summer of fruit picking,  buy a blue beauty of a ten-speed. Peddle off from Penticton to spend the weekend with friends in Kelowna. Tuesday morning, leave  Kelowna bound for Vancouver. Multitude of adventures along the way. Two wheels on my bike just rolling along until coming across a bridge into Kamloops, my front wheel sinks between the planks – away I go – another somersault – this time over the handlebars! A car stops – takes me to hotel and bike shop. Wheel straightened – night of good sleep. By Friday have arrived in Vancouver after walking, rolling and cruising through the Fraser Canyon and Valley. Monday off to Campbell River via Horseshoe bay.  Arrive in time for dinner at my folks place.

       Chariots of fire, the story of Eric Liddel, the great Scottish racer who loved to run, champion Olympian who attributed his success to God. Saw the movie, bought the Reboks, ran the course, a mile from the house, around the track three times, back to the house. Lasted for some months until one runner went missing. Striding ceased.

      Winter Olympics, years later. Canada behind a couple of gold in the medal  count. My daughter and I on the rugged snowy hills of Quadra in a Cool Running’s revival in tandem team tobogganing on our handcrafted Canadian Tire cardboard steed. Dual gold brings the metal count over the top.

      And now a mulch based badminton/volley ball court prepared and ready for play. Game anyone?

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shekina Dove_Marked

Turning Point 

I was struggling with depression around the age of 17 and with a silent cry of my heart and my parents being moved to pray for me: God “smiled” at me! I experienced Shekinah Glory: ( the visible manifestation of the presence of God. It is the majestic presence or manifestation of God in which He descends to dwell among men ) and I experienced Shalom: completeness, wholeness, peace, fullness, harmony, safety …… Heaven! Jesus was the bodily presence of God on earth; the Shekinah Glory Cloud that covered the tabernacle of God, the Glory Cloud that entered Solomon’s temple is now here with us!
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ……. John 1:14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth”. Jesus said in John 14:26-27 “….the Counselor (or in some verses Comforter), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you. Peace (Shalom) I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you.” God, Jesus sends His Spirit, to live in those who choose to receive Him …. we are now His dwelling place … His temple.

And so He smiled … smiles at me. I cannot paint or describe the experience …. it is beyond illustration or description! Here in this painting I have given somewhat of an impression.

In Psalm: 69 verse18 King David says: “Draw near to my soul, and redeem it. Ransom me because of my enemies.” This is what Christ did for me …. for us all!
In Colossians: 1:26-27 Paul says: “the mystery which has been …. revealed to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory …. which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY;”

Spurgeon says “The near approach of God is all the sufferer needs; one smile of heaven will still the rage of hell. It shall be redemption to me if Thou wilt appear … to comfort me”.


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Looking Up

Michael and I have been awestruck at how God moved us to Vancouver from beautiful Quadra Island in July of this year. Despite our declaration: “We will never move to Vancouver!  last Christmas in the car inching along for two hours from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal to our family in the city, we have been marvelling at and talking about the blessings of being here adinfinitum. 

Howevever yesterday I was struggling. We had just enlisted a new family doctor who on our intial meeting seemed very impersonal. Now I was on my way to his clinic to attend to some hives that were appearing all over my body. I had lived with them thinking it was the clorine in the water or ant bites I was reacting to. But when I woke up in the morning with two big blotches on my face I panicked and headed to the bus stop.

Once there I settled on the bench remembering a very difficult first trip to the clinic on this same bus with Michael in a wheel chair and the frustrating time trying to get his staples out on his broken leg …red tape and run around. How blessed we were to have had our friendly attentive Quadra doctor. 

While I was sitting there looking down at my feet a sweet voice said: “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!” I looked up surprised, to see a little old round face smiling at me. “The bus will be here shortly” she said, nodding towards the digital sign doing a bus arrival count down. 

“Yes, it is!” I replied …. this was like Quadra Island where you greeted and talked to everyone you met.

“It is God who controls the weather.” She said eyeing me and pointing up to the sky “Do you believe in Him and He’s there?”

I said: “Yes!”and right then tears began to run down my face. Her sweetness and faith were melting my pent up anxiety. I quickly assured her that they were tears of happiness, the bus arrived and she motioned for me to board first. I walked down towards the end of the bus until I found a seat. 

“Why are you going to the end of the bus? I wanted to sit by you and talk some more.” 

“Oh!” Familiar island friendliness again. We  sat together and chatted about our children (she has 6 , two in heaven). We talked about Heaven and our hope in Jesus. The tears were still running down my eyes. At my stop she patted me on the shoulder and said: “Your going to be all right … keep looking up!”

And I did. I walked into the clinic and in the room our new Dr. smiled at me and examined my spots with kind eyes. I think we have a future with him, the hives are healing and I will always remember the little old angel God sent to remind me of His presence and care for me just when I needed it most.

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Cooking it’s what I Do

I started cooking in Mom’s kitchen making my favorite things.

Since then I’ve: Chased a bear away from the cook tent door … catered a banquet for Vancouver’s mayor and help the Canucks get to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final round.
Roasted a turkey for my neighbour …. served 2000 people hot-dogs and hamburgers for an anniversary street party.
Prepared meals for RCMP officers in Vancouver and gold miners in the Yukon.
Produced a multitude of cakes for all occasions … Thousands of loaves of bread …. a whole lot of cinnamon buns.
Worked in the best equipped urban kitchens … Over a camp stove on the tundra.
Baked alone through the night … Directed numerous teams in creating the finest of feasts.
Dealt with mishaps, break downs and break ups of every sort and still managed to get the meal served.
Have worked in kitchens of every size and description from movie sets to lake side lodges.
Have transformed miscellaneous supplies and goods on hand into tasty delights, satisfying the appetites of many men, women and children.

Short term, respite interim or relief. A special event, a weekend or two, whatever your need, I will take you from hunger to happiness. Cooking, it’s what I do.

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Expect the unexpected

Camera Uploads “Expect the unexpected” was a phrase we saw in the late 80’s scrawled on a sign beside a voxwagen crushed under a huge log as we travelled on the road to Zebellos and then onto Esperanza. As many unexpected events were experienced there and in our life thereafter I should not have been surprised by the recent turn of events in our time here at Pioneer Pacific Camp on Thetis Island. I began in the spring wondering what my role would be here at this beautiful place and the Lord promptly told me it was not about me but about Him.

We were enjoying the quiet of the camp in June and preparing for the summer when we received a call from my daughter thence I found myself in Vancouver while Michael stayed here at Pioneer cooking for Staff training week. While I was praying with the pastor of our Vancouver church about my situation I received a phone call from the program director at Pioneer that while Michael was on a prayer walk he fell and broke his right leg in 3 places.  Thus began a month which Michael and I journeyed through together (yet 2 ferries apart) via nightly telephone conversations.

While I was a mom to my youngest daughter in need and enjoyed the beaches and Vancouver summer events, wonderful times with my children and their families, two lovely ladies who I lived and prayed with, reconnected with friends and most impacting of all learned that He was there with me and my daughter every step of the way… unexpected as it was.

After an operation to put tubes in his leg and a week or more of recuperation, Michael encouraged by an amazing, loving and gracious community of staff at Pioneer took his place as head cook in the kitchen. An office chair that we were inspired to bring with us became his vehicle from which he learned to delegate and teach an enthusiastic kitchen crew.

At the end of July after much urging and reports of the amazing things that were going on at Pioneer, Melody and I arrived at this Christian camp where it was hard not to see what God was doing and who He was.  Michael has Sydney,  a young fellow as an assistant cook who majored in and is very gifted in logistics. They make a very good team and we missed him when after three weeks Melody returned to Vancouver, Sydney with her for a weekend with his family.

Unexpected as it has been this summer we have discovered a place where we can see the Lord working in many ways in the leaders, Leaders in Training, Pioneer Youth Campers, Summer Staff , campers and guests and Thetis Island neighbours. It is an exciting place to be. Everywhere as I walk around the camp I see young people reading God’s word, demonstrating and living God’s word, teaching God’s word. I have learned that He is our strength… that is the strength and the joy that is here …. for it is about Him. “In Him we live and move and have our being”

In two weeks, two camps time we will be looking at what we will be doing, where we will be living and what God is doing.  Right now we are not thinking about that but we know and have confidence that our future is safely in his hands….and we know that we can expect the unexpected and it will be OK! Go to our webpage for more info.

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Settling in at Pioneer Pacific

Peace Our days have been filled with remembrances: Michael as he repaired the porch on the cabin we are staying in for June, built a shelf, knife rack and set up the main kitchen was reminded of his Yukon cooking experience last year. I have been thinking back to the time in 1978 when we arrived here two weeks after our wedding and adjusting to my new role as a wife….wife of the cook. I am finding things to do as I did then but change is always challenging for me. I wrote a blog on this very thing: It’s about Him. Today I found myself de-winterizing cabins for a church group we are cooking for this weekend. Dusting cobwebs, washing mattresses, sweeping and airing wasn’t in my vision of my role… however I really enjoyed it! Again memories of my summers at Camp Artaban surfaced as my cloth swept over names of campers and sayings written on the bunk beds and I thought of the excitement many young campers will have this summer here at Pioneer Pacific.

We arrived here on May 31st after a wonderful journey to Vancouver where we visited old friends, our children and the church we were married in. There we were blessed with a new station wagon and lots of wonderful meals with friends and family. See our pictures: Vancouver adventure.

We have a summer ahead of beautiful sunsets…… Michael enjoys taking pictures when he is not cooking: Michael’s Pictures. Stay connected with us….you can subscribe to this blog…. for a continuing story of our Pioneer Pacific adventure!

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