Sunday, May 12, 2024

Wisdom: Marj

"Would you and your kids like to join us for lunch after church next Sunday?"

That's my first memory of Marj. I think it was 2003. My kids and I landed in Murrayville after a two-year best effort at living in Fraser Heights. The boys didn't want to change schools, so I was driving from Surrey to Langley (to three separate schools) twice a day. It just made sense to sell my new home and move into a family-oriented neighbourhood closer to their schools and friends. 

There was a church that met in one of the local elementary schools, so we decided to give it a try. It felt like home, so we stayed. 

And Marj invited us over; a single mom with her three boys. I'd heard about people doing this; inviting strangers to their homes, but had never experienced it before. Her generous hospitality and authentic offer of friendship scared the crap outa this introvert. 

Haha. An auspicious beginning. I'm so grateful she 'took a chance' on me. 

Marj is married to her high school sweetheart; forty years and still going strong. Together they have three kids, three kids-in-law, and 10,000 grandkids. (TEN grands.) They all live near each other, most of them on farms. They get together for bi-weekly family dinners/games nights, go camping every summer, race (dirt?) bikes as a 3-generation team and even appeared on Family Feud last year.  

Right?! Perfect life OR WHAT?!?

I think Marj was the first person who introduced me to the idea that it didn't matter what you did, God could use your conversations for His purposes. She often referred to her hair-stylist chair as a Holy Place, which 100% inspired me to be more aware of the passenger seat of my vehicles. 

Marj is a prayer warrior, a mom, a grandma, a hair stylist, a farmer's wife, a camper, a worshipper, a baker, a music-lover, a Christian, and a friend to many - including me. And she's got some wisdom to share:

I'd like to add, that so far, she's the only person who's said, "I've had fun answering your questions..." (haha, everyone else is overthinking/second-guessing/worried about their answers.) THIS SUMS UP MARJ PERFECTLY. She has fun doing life. Let's all be like Marj.

What would you tell your younger self:

Don't worry so much; God really has it down. 

I feel like my younger self should tell me that now. I think I worry more now than I did then. (I know too much now.) BUT, on the other hand, He truly has never let me down. 

What makes your life meaningful?

  • Jesus. (Haha, such a Sunday School answer...) Honestly. He is the #1 reason my life has meaning. 
  • Our family. We have such rich conversations, lots of fun and we love each other. Simple as that. 
  • Friends. Again with the rich conversations and fun. It's so good having someone in your life who just gets you. Also? It's awesome having a variety of friends from all walks of life who bring new things to your life. 

Who has inspired you?

  • Sue Priebe (friend) has inspired me by the way she lives intentionally. She puts her all into everything she does. She's an amazing teacher and loves all her students. Plus, she's the coolest Grandma ever. 
  • Verna Reimer (client for 30 years) led a Bible study when I was in Greendale and has taught me so much about life. She's now in her 80's and she doesn't realize it but she's teaching me how to grow old well. 

What're you looking forward to?

Heaven. Seriously. No tears. No pain. No evil. No worry. 
But also summer and camping. 

(I don't have big dreams; I take life as it comes...)

What's the best thing about being your current age? 

I'm done parenting! (At least in the formal sense ...) I just love my adult kids and all my grands. Also I can do pretty much anything I want. 
Annnnd, there's some financial stability when you're 60. 

What's your greatest fear?

  • Getting sick. Pain. Being in a hospital. Sitting in the ER with assorted sick people. (Oh, that might be more of a phobia?)
  • But then... there's the Big Things that I avoid thinking about... like the kids or grands walking away from the Lord. 
  • Or... one of our kids or grands being badly injured or sick (like brain damage or paralysis or cancer.)
Three major highlights:

  • Having kids. Like, actually pushing them out. I can't believe I did that! And being a mom. There is nothing more rewarding than raising a family. 
  • Living in Mexico. 
  • Going to Bible School after I graduated from High School. Even though it was forever ago, I used to say it was the best time in my life. 
  • Oooops. This is 4... but another highlight is getting to raise our kids on a farm. 

Have you experienced a life changing event and what did you learn from it?

Yes! Living in Mexico for a year when our kids were little.
I learned that Stuff means very little; relationships are everything.
Money does not make you happy.
I loved the absolute richness of experiencing God in every thing and every conversation. There were so many very obvious God moments and miracles...
Also, learned that you can't live like a Mexican in Canada. :)

Thoughts on beauty, got any?

No matter what your age, woman always want to be beautiful. Take pride in how you look; it doesn't matter what you weigh. If your hair is done (haha, spoken like a hair stylist...), you have a touch of make-up on, and you're wearing appropriate clothes, everyone can be beautiful. 

Spandex is a privilege not a right. 

How about some general wisdom thoughts? Got any?

You don't need a best friend. Each friend brings a different gift; some you can bare your soul to, some you just have good times with. Some friends you listen to, others you pray with. Don't put expectations on friendships; just enjoy them. 

Jesus. Seriously. Without Him, life is waaaaaay harder. 

Tithe. Be generous. It's good for the soul.


Book(s): Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers. What's So Amazing About Grace, by Philip Yancey. Another Gospel, by Alisa Childers. 

Movie(s): You've Got Mail. The Notebook.

Song(s): The Goodness of God (for worship and tears). Old time hymns like My Jesus I Love Thee and Great is Thy Faithfulness. 
The Best Make Out Song, EVER (back in the day): Every Woman in The World by Air Supply. (Oh, the memories... Hahaha.)
The Best Song to Dance To: Old Time Rock n Roll.
Anything by the Proclaimers brings back Mexico memories. 
Huey Lewis and The News: The Heart of Rock n Roll is Driving to Cultus Lake to go Skiing Music. 

The favorite place I've ever lived is Greendale. Can't beat a small country town. 

Proverbs 3:5 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. DO NOT lean on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and HE WILL direct your paths. 
But, that said, my all time favorite passage is Psalm 139. Oh My Gosh. This amazing God of ours, who made me, knows absolutely everything about me and still loves me more than I could every comprehend. 

Activity that brings joy:


Surprising moment:

When DJ and Sheri told us they were pregnant with who we now know was Lincoln.




Sweet Georgia Browns

Favorite Christmas Memory:

The one we had in Mexico. Coming home from somewhere, we saw there was a Christmas tree set up outside our trailer. We made paper chains and decorated it. I made a turkey dinner for 20 people who were missionaries we got to know. So fun. 

If you'd like to hear a from Marj herself, this is a talk she did at her church a couple years ago:

Thanks, Marj. 


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