Wednesday, June 29, 2011

School's Out... Hello Summer!


This last day of school is different than all the previous ones... it had a bittersweet feel to it! Next school-year, my kids will be going to different schools as my girl starts her high school journey.

Time truly flows like a relentless river... once it passes by, it doesn't turn back. Each and every moment is a precious gift! (#773)

Fully live each moment.
Lovingly hold on to every memory.

Happy Summer everyone! Our family is looking forward to one which will be full of new things and new adventures.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Letter from My Girl

Last night, my girl graduated from Grade 8 with Honours and three awards --- Principal's Award for Student Leadership, Academic Achievement Award and Mathematics Award. Where exactly did the time go?!? Wasn't she just born yesterday???


We are so very proud of the awesome young lady that she has grown up to be... one who is beautiful, not only on the outside, but more importantly, beautiful on the inside. Her heart of compassion shines through in everything she does. Our prayer is that she will, as always, look to God in all things.

"He is the spring from which this river called life flows from. He has plans, places and purposes that time's current will carry our baby girl to... onto Kingdom dreams!" ~ Paraphrased from a blog post by Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience.

Keep dreaming BIG, baby girl!
We love you very much!!!

My heart beamed at the graduation ceremony... so full of joy. Happy tears started to trickle but I managed not to cry too much. Today, my girl came home from the second-last day of school with a letter she's written to hubby and me... well, let's just say the floodgates opened and the tears flowed. I think I saw some on hubby's eyes too as he read the letter. Shhh... don't tell him I told you all! ;-)

The letter is a story of God's grace. You see, when my baby girl was plopped on my chest that one wintry night fourteen years ago, hubby and I had absolutely no idea how to parent, let alone how to parent well. We had no good parenting role models to emulate... just thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally!

Here is my girl's letter to us, a set of parents redeemed and able to parent well because of God's grace...
Monday, June 27th, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
I don't even know where to start. I love you guys so much. You've given me everything and made me who I am today. I don't even have enough space on this page to tell you how much I love you and how much I need to thank you, but I'll try.
Thank you for teaching me to love God first, others second, and put myself last, and to "do compassion." Thank you for always encouraging me to do my best, being proud of me when I do well, but also teaching me to remember that all of my successes come from God. Thank you for always having my back, and teaching me even the hard lessons, so that I can use these lessons later in life. Thank you for being fun parents who have a sense of humour, and are willing to do crazy and fun stuff with me, and putting up with all of my sports-talk.
Dad, you are the best. I told you that a lot when I was little, but I forget to tell you now, so: You're the best. You've taught me by example to be a hard worker. You've taught me pretty much everything I know about basketball and computers. You're funny and always make me laugh when I'm down. You are such a strong, Godly dad, and you set such a good example for me. You've done so much for me. Thank you. I love you!
Mom, if it weren't for you, my life would pretty much be a non-stop tornado. You remind me to slow down and take a breath ever so often, and to clean my room once in a while. You have such an amazing heart for God and have taught me that it is all nothing without compassion. I love talking with you. You are the best listening ear and advice-giver. Thank you for being the best mom ever. I love you.
To sum it all up: You guys are the best. I love you guys so much.
Your Loving Daughter,
Alyssa
When I love, I give it all I've got, like my mother does. When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray, like my mother does. She's a rock, she is grace. She's an angel, she's my heart and soul. She does it all.
~ Like My Mother Does by Lauren Alaina
You're my hero. Chasing the monsters from my room. Going on trips around the moon. The one who's always been there faithfully. You're my hero. And 'cause you're my Dad, I'm twice as blessed and lucky to be me.
~ You're My Hero by Teresa James
The First Dance... a beautiful father-and-daughter moment! ♥

We are truly blessed beyond measure and grateful that God, in His grace, has given us this privilege to parent such an amazing and beautiful daughter who is truly a grace-gift (#772). God is truly good!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grace Beyond Measure

With a heart forever grateful for grace that is beyond measure, this 1,000 gifts list continues with...

#748 - #771
~ My Heavenly Father's unconditional love for me.
~ Grace for every trial.
~ After-dinner stroll with hubby.
~ Chats with my sister.
~ Smooth-sailing work day.
~ My girl heading off to NYC on her Grade 8 grad trip.
~ Ceiling fans to cool down the house.
~ God makes a point! So cool.
~ Old family photos from father-in-law's collection...
~ Facebook... to share above-mentioned photos.
~ WiFi and the iPod... keeping me in touch with my girl this week.
~ Summer rain... watering the thirsty landscape.
~ Becoming a Volunteer Advocate for Compassion!
~ Hubby's homemade lattes...
~ Seeing my boy at his lunch break from school.
~ Writing our Compassion children.
~ Landscaping my sister's garden... take 2!
~ My girl safely home from her grad trip.
~ Listening to her excitedly chat all about NYC.
~ Celebrating 17 years with the one my soul loves! ♥
~ Joining in the global standing ovation for our Creator God!
~ Remembering my maternal grandmother... a prayer warrior.
~ Landscaping my sister's garden... take 3! :-)

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Applause Day!

Yesterday --- Saturday June 25 --- our family joined the applause, a standing ovation for the One who gave us life, our Creator God!
Join the Applause is a global movement of gratitude directed to our Creator – because gratitude changes everything. Join the Applause today!
Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.


We captured our day in photos. You can view them at this public Facebook album.

Gratitude Changes Everything.
Join The Applause.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
~ Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Tribute to Seventeen Years

I was just 19 years of age when we promised each other forever... just a tender adult, emerging from those tumultuous teen years. We exchanged wedding vows three years after that. Today, we are celebrating seventeen years of God's goodness (#745) and His grace (#746) in our marriage!

May 1991

How time flies... it has a way of doing that when one is having fun, don't you think?

Today, I am no longer that shy 19-year-old girl. This woman that I have become is no doubt because of His great love for me... packaged within that great love is the gift of a wonderful man (#747) He has given me to walk this thing called life together with.

Truly a grace-gift!

February 2011

My hubby is a man of few words. As Canada Post is on strike this week and no mail is flowing, I am reminded of the postal strike back in 1991 which lasted even longer.

He and I were physically separated, twelve time zones apart, during those early years. It was before the advent of the Internet... before email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter. Plus, international long distance telephone charges were sky-high expensive! Snail mail was our only means of regular communication.

Because of the labour dispute, mail that was getting through were few and far between. That, plus the fact that he didn't write all that often {a man of few words, remember?} made each letter even more precious to me. Each letter I got from him, I treasured with all my heart. I read his words over and over again. And then, again!

I quickly discovered that hubby expresses the language of love, not with words, but more importantly with his actions. Through his quiet strength and his love for God, he spoke a love language and I understood. With understanding came growth.

We grew. And, I grew... into the bride God intended me to be.

Through his sacrificial love for me and for our family, I have been given a tangible example of how much Jesus loves us, His Bride... the church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
~ Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)
There is so much more growing to do, even after these seventeen years. And, God's grace is all-sufficient. Truly thankful. Truly humbled. Truly blessed.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prayer and Action

Our family is currently on Week 4 of Hope Lives, a Bible Study resource that we are doing together {a Summer Splash Bible Study resource recommended by our church} in preparation for our Summer Missions Immersion trip to the Philippines.

Week 2 is entitled Prayer. We are learning that prayer is the weapon God has given us for the journey of loving and serving those in need.
A life of continual prayer leads to more than just continual prayer. Not only does God work through prayer to change this world, God works through prayer to change me. When prayer is an organic part of my life, it will change my heart and it will spark my actions.
If my prayer were at all sincere, I'd have to act.
If I have a living faith and I'm praying sincerely, my prayers will breed action.
Sincere prayer will change my heart. The Holy Spirit will steadily transform me and trade my thoughts for God's. I'll begin to be filled more and more with God's love for others.
Continual prayer... it is coming awake and remaining awake to God's presence! Much like counting 1,000 gifts! I can truly say that by practicing the act of counting 1,000 gifts this past half-a-year or so, continual prayer has become more of an organic part of my life. That in itself is a grace-gift (#744) for which I am forever grateful for.

Speaking of prayer sparking my actions, over the last few months God has been nudging me to do more in terms of serving the last, the least, the forgotten, and the forsaken. Because I am working at my desk {on my computer} for six or more hours each day, I started to explore ways in which I can make a difference for the last, the least, the forgotten, and the forsaken while I work at my desk.

The idea of becoming a Volunteer Advocate for Compassion piqued my interest. I discovered that I can do most of the advocating via social networking on the Internet... Facebook, Twitter, blogging! Without wasting a moment, I applied for the position. Well, after a few emails, a phone interview and them chatting with my reference... this morning, I got confirmation that I've been accepted into the Compassion Canada Advocate Network!!!

I am beyond excited at what God has in store for me with this new role... but also nervous and anxious at the same time as I've never done anything like this before! As I wrote just yesterday, God is indeed up to something new... and our family is having a blast following where He leads!

In closing, please watch this video called Grace Finds Hope... and I pray that today is the day you answer the call to provide that hope for a child in need.

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch the video.


Click on the banner below to read more Walk With Him posts every Wednesday...
I promise you will be blessed!



Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When God Wants to Make a Point...

He makes it! :-)

As you might have already figured out from the header of this blog, our family's theme verse this year is from Micah 6:8. These few weeks, God has been further teaching us {through our nightly devotions} about His lovingkindness and His justice. A couple of passages from the Bible have jumped out at us during our devotion time. The first one is from John 21:15-17 and another one is from Matthew 25:31-46.

In this post, I wrote about Micah 6:8.
And just last week, I wrote about John 21:15-17.
And, about a month or so ago, I wrote about Matthew 25:31-46.

A few days ago, I *found* a book we have called Blind Spots by Bill McCartney. It has been sitting on a side table in the house for quite some time collecting dust. I picked it up, randomly flipped the book open to page 58 and started reading. I guess I was bored that day... :-)

What I read on these pages awed me... it is a section called God's Pleasure In Justice... and all three of the above-mentioned Scripture passages were referred to in just three short pages! Didn't I already say... when God wants to make a point, He makes it?!?

Here are portions from those three pages:
For good reason, many believers name Jeremiah 9:23-24 as their favorite verse. "This is what the Lord says," the prophet declares: "'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." The word translated kindness is the Hebrew term hesed, which refers to the Lord's covenant love and is sometimes rendered loving-kindness. The authors of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament say that hesed "is a kind of love, including mercy... when the object is in a pitiful state."
God advises us not to glory in our mental capabilities, for they are temporary. He counsels us not to hang our hat on our strength, for it's as nothing compared to him. He warns us not to exult in our wealth, because it can soon vanish. If we boast in anything, it ought to be that we understand who he really is. And who is he? He is a God who delights in justice and righteousness. That is where we find God's pleasure.
So doesn't it make sense that he would require of us the very things that delight his heart? And what does God require of us? Micah makes it explicit: "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
God is saying to us, "Do you really know and understand me? Then you know that I delight in justice - and that I require you to reflect my character and to delight in justice by doing justice yourself. Get to know those in my family who need your help! The more you get to know them, the more you can become part of the solution. The more you understand their needs - needs that do not escape my attention - the more you will see how you can do justice in their lives."
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he took Peter aside to officially restore the chastened apostle to the gospel ministry. As Peter had denied the Lord three times before the Crucifixion, so after the Resurrection the Lord three times asked Peter, "Do you love me?" Each time, the burly fisherman replied in the affirmative. And how did Jesus respond? "Feed my lambs," he told Peter. "Take care of my sheep... Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17).
The fact is, our Lord could hardly conceive of a true believer who would consciously turn his back on a brother in need. So closely did he associate personal righteousness with public justice that he insisted the absence of one indicated the nonexistence of the other. On the day he returns to earth, he said, he will "separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:32). To the sheep he will say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matt.25:34-36).
The sheep - "the righteous" - will protest, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" Then the Lord will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:37-40).
~ Excerpts from the book Blind Spots by Bill McCartney, pages 58-60.
What do you say? Pretty cool, eh?

As if that wasn't enough to make His point already, the "cherry on top" came this past Sunday via the teaching time at church where the guest speaker spoke on none other than the verses from Isaiah 43:16-21!

You see, the spark that started our family's intentional journey towards becoming a Micah 6:8 family was Beth Moore's message at Living Proof Live {Toronto} way back in March 2010. She spoke on the very same verses, the ones from Isaiah 43:16-21... on God being up to something new!

Since that weekend, we started to feel restless where we were ministering and serving God at. God was indeed up to something new... He was moving us in a new direction. In hindsight, I can now see that that was the beginning of a new thing for our family --- and that is to become a Micah 6:8 family!

God is indeed always good... even during times when we do not understand His master plan, when we can not see the big picture.

He is always good and I am always loved! 


Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Your Grace Is Enough

Great is Your love and justice, God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
Your grace is enough for me

~ from the song Your Grace is Enough by Chris Tomlin
This was a week of learning more about God's lovingkindness and His justice. With a heart full of thanks for His grip on me, this 1,000 gifts list continues with...

#731 - #743
~ Our Sunday encounters.
~ Impromptu BBQ dinner with friends.
~ Last round of vaccinations before our trip to the Philippines.
~ Birthday dinner with a dear friend.
~ Watching my girl play Ultimate Frisbee.
~ Landscaping my sister's yard.
~ Shopping for gifts to bring our Compassion daughter this summer.
~ Picking up our first CSA share from Svetec Farms.
~ Summer basketball... my boy playing for the very first time!
~ Father's Day Birdhouse Build at Habitat for hubby and our boy.
~ Clothes shopping with my girl.
~ Father's Day dinner with the extended family.
~ Psalm 86, a prayer from our family devotions!

Click on the banner below for more Multitudes on Mondays posts...
I promise you will be blessed!



Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Emilda is On Her Way!

A few months ago, I blogged about Emilda. She is a Compassion child and her story is inspiring! As I write this blog post, she is on her way to the Special Olympics in Athens!

Go for gold, Emilda!!!

Please take a moment and click over to Compassion's blog to read her story of "Finding Purpose Among The Dead" --- I promise you will be blessed!

Emilda lives in a shanty built on top of tombstones in the public cemetery.

Will you sponsor a child like Emilda today? Will you be a part in gifting a child with dignity, hope and purpose? If so, please visit Compassion's website and click on your country to start your sponsorship journey today. Speaking from experience, I promise you will be blessed!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunday Encounters

This past Saturday evening, our family finished Week 2 of Hope Lives, a Bible Study resource that we are going through together {a Summer Splash Bible Study resource recommended by our church} in preparation for our Summer Missions Immersion trip to the Philippines.

Week 2 is entitled God Is Not Silent. We learned that God has provided a map for our journey in loving others. We explored what the Bible has to say about serving the poor, the widows, and the orphans, and how God desires for us to show his love to those in need.

One of the action items that concluded this week's study challenged us to be Christ for someone in need this week. Since the following day is Sunday... our thoughts drifted to the woman we often see standing at the off-ramp of the highway begging for money as we drive onto the on-ramp as we exit the shopping mall complex after church. Sad to say... we have never before stopped to help her.

We decided that this time, it was going to be different. We deduced that we only see her if we stay to have lunch at the mall after church {and never see her there if we leave right after service}. So, we made an intentional decision to stay for lunch. After lunch, we bought an extra lunch and drink to go and headed for our car in the parking lot.

We didn't know where we could stop safely as the spot she usually stands at is an off-ramp from a major highway, adjacent to the on-ramp we take to head home. We drove towards that spot... trusting that God will arrange a way if we are indeed meant to bless this woman with a lunch!

And God did just that! Just before we were to enter the on-ramp... we saw her! She wasn't standing at her usual spot... instead, she was walking straight towards our vehicle! I rolled down my window excitedly as hubby slowly coasted to a stop... we were even able to stop as there were no other vehicles behind us... another peculiarly amazing God-detail!

I handed her the lunch and drink... explaining that we see her often there on Sunday mornings and wanted to bless her with something to eat and drink. She thanked me profusely... saying, "God bless you! God loves you!" All I could say in return at the moment was... "He loves you too!"

As we drove onto the on-ramp, I looked in the passenger side mirror... and saw her delve into the lunch we brought right there on the sidewalk!

We had another stop on this Sunday {afternoon, by now} before heading home. We needed to get a camera bag to bring with us on our trip to the Philippines. So we headed to a bag store downtown, which we found on the Internet... amazed that God had given us the opportunity to be a blessing to someone in need and thinking that we were done helping the needy for the day.

Little did we know, God wasn't done yet. After parking our vehicle, hubby and I were standing in front of the parking meter waiting for it to finish authorizing our credit card... when a young man approached us. He said, "Excuse me, but I really just need something to eat!" At this very moment, I was wishing I had the camera out so that I could take a photo of my kids faces... it's the look of "I can't believe it! God means serious business." :-)

Hubby took this young man to a nearby coffee shop and bought him something to eat. Then, we went to buy our camera bag. At this point, our kids were hoping that God would send us one more person to help... well, He didn't anymore but our hearts were full nevertheless!

My thoughts went back to the lyrics of a Chris Tomlin song we sang at church earlier in the day...
Great is Your love and justice, God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me
With His relentless love and overflowing grace, God sent two homeless people to lead our family... in blessing them, we in turn were the ones blessed!

As I started my week on this Monday morning with my daily Bible reading, this is what I read:
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
~ John 21:15-17 (NLT)
As Ann Voskamp writes in her book One Thousand Gifts...
God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.
I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift!
I could be the joy!
In an endless cycle of grace, He gives us gifts to serve the world. Here I can become the blessing, a little life that multiplies joy, making the larger world a better place.
May it be so for our family, Lord Jesus... all because of Your love for us!

Click on the banner below to read more Walk With Him posts every Wednesday...
I promise you will be blessed!



Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Birthday Grace-Gifts

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
~ Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
This past week, I celebrated 40 candles. With a grateful heart for His grace in my life, this 1,000 gifts list continues with...

The gift of age (#710)... for being older (#711) and hopefully, wiser (#712)... for the gift of more time to experience His grace-gifts (#713), more time to do thanks-living (#714), for family (#715), friends (#716) and co-workers (#717), for birthday cakes (#718) and birthday meals (#719), for sunshine (#720) and songbirds (#721), for a beautiful birthday! (#722)

#723 - #730
~ My girl being featured as a guest blogger!
~ Half price Tuesday at the movies.
~ Strength for a busy week.
~ Exploring what it means to be a volunteer Compassion Advocate, and
~ Coming to love the idea of it... and
~ Praying for the opportunity to serve in this way!
~ Cool evening breezes.
~ Celebrating my parents' 65th and 70th birthdays!

Click on the banner below for more Multitudes on Mondays posts...
I promise you will be blessed!



Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beauty... Right In My Backyard

Hubby recently took the plunge and bought us a new camera... a Nikon D90. I am loving the pictures it produces, especially the ones of my garden! Beautiful...
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers — most of which are never even seen — don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
~ Matthew 6:30-33 (The Message)
Flowering Chives.

My CN Tower model... from my university days!


Flowering Woodruff.

Virginia Creeper on the fence.

A Red Cardinal... one of our daily visitors. 

He knows how to relax, eh?

A Blue Jay... another one of our regular visitors.



Periwinkle flowers.

Blazing yellow Forsythia bush.


Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Blogger

Today, my girl is featured as a guest blogger in a blog called Compassion Family! So cool... check it out here!

In other Compassion news around here... excitement is building as we start to prepare for our trip to visit our Compassion daughter this Summer in the Philippines! We've started shopping for gifts, our plane tickets to travel to the island where she lives have been purchased, our booking at a local resort near her home has been confirmed, rental van booked... everything is set! We are sooooo beyond excited!!!

Now, we just have to wait... six and a bit weeks to go! Patience... we are going to have to practice patience quite a bit around here these days, eh? :-)

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Grace Always

... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. 
~ Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
With a grateful heart for beauty from ashes, grace... always transfiguring the ugly into something beautiful, something good!

#697 - #709
~ Compassion Bloggers are in the Philippines this week!
~ This story of God's grace, how He continues to pen our stories...
~ My heart broken for the things that break God's heart.
~ Hope Lives, the Bible study our family is doing right now.
~ Sunshine... all. week. long.
~ The blue jay that comes to my garden... every. single. day.
~ My boy trying out for the long jump event for Track and Field.
~ June... a month of celebrations for my family!
~ Home-made strawberry banana kefir smoothie... yummy!
~ A cool Spring breeze.
~ Details to visit our Compassion sponsor child are all set!!!
~ Being reminded of what true charity really means.
~ Praising God with thousands others at One Roof!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!
Compassion-International-Bloggers-Philippines-2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

True Charity

Last night, our family ended the day with one of the daily readings from the Bible Study Hope Lives. We read this... on true charity:
I think I'm learning that God's justice, what God commands, is that each of his people would have enough bread to live on day by day and be given enough dignity to thrive. It is God's justice that he has commanded me to give. Not charity. An occasional guilt or benevolence offering isn't what God wants from me. True charity is love. True charity is mercy. And it's not extra credit, not an addendum to my faith. As Christians, it's who we are; it's our essence.
I want God to transform my heart by the Holy Spirit so that I love what God loves, so that mercy naturally flows out of me. I want to show others mercy because it was first shown to me; to offer mercy to others as fellow guests at God's table, not as a benevolent queen offering scraps to beggars at my feet.
God, please give me your heart. True charity, true mercy bleeds. It's not an uninvolved, unthinking check. I know you don't want sacrifices that cost me nothing. "If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3, NLT).  If I give every last cent, but I don't do it in your love, it's a waste. Mercy is attached to my heart. God, please change my heart. I give it to you. Transform it to love with your love.
~ Amber Van Schooneveld, Hope Lives, pages 35-36.
This week, Compassion Bloggers are in the Philippines. After our Bible Study, our family read through the blog posts and looked through the photos from Day 3. This video posted by Kat of Inspired To Action gripped us...

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video:


These homes have dirty water surrounding them for as much as nine months each year. These families live everyday in conditions that are worse than what we can ever imagine here in North America. But, they have HOPE... because of the work of Compassion International.

Will you join our family and respond with true charity? Will you be a part of the story that God is writing for a Filipino child's life? Will you sponsor a Filipino child through Compassion International?

For U.S. residents, here are the Filipino children awaiting sponsorship. If you Canadian like me, here is Bennedict, the ONE Filipino child on Compassion Canada's website who can't wait to be a part of your family! Isn't he cute? You can read more about him here.

"True charity is love. True charity is mercy. And it's not extra credit, not an addendum to my faith. As Christians, it's who we are; it's our essence."

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hope Does Live!


If you haven't already figured out... you will soon! From my Facebook statuses, Twitter tweets and blog posts, you'll invariably notice that I am following the Compassion Bloggers who are in the Philippines this week!

Inspiring stories... the ones that they have been writing!

On Monday, I blogged about a post written by Kat from Inspired to Action that touched my heart deeply. Well... she did it again! Her blog post for Day #2 is a must-read. If you decide not to click over to read it, you must at least watch these two very short video clips which are a part of Kat's blog post:




The house in the video is about the size of a typical North American bathroom!
The front door is three planks of wood fashioned into a baby gate!
The floor space is about the size of a king-sized bed!

That's it... it's home for this family!

This is the reason why ministries like that of Compassion International are so vital, so important! They exist in order to release children from poverty in Jesus' name... giving them HOPE for the temporal, and more importantly, HOPE for the eternal.

Would you let God use you to give HOPE? Will you be a part of the story that God is writing for a Filipino child's life? Will you sponsor a Filipino child through Compassion International?

For U.S. residents, here are the Filipino children awaiting sponsorship. If you Canadian like me, here is the ONE Filipino child on Compassion Canada's website who can't wait to be a part of your family!

As many of you already know, our family is going to be on a missions immersion trip this summer... to the Philippines! As part of this trip, we are going to visit our Compassion sponsor child. We are oh. so. excited.

In preparation for our trip, we are doing a Bible Study together as a family. It is truly a resource sent by God! It is during moments like these when I marvel at God's attention to detail.

You see, our church is launching a summer initiative called Summer Splash designed to encourage people to choose for themselves a lifestyle of compassion. I was browsing through the Bible Study resource list on the website and one of them caught my eye.

Hope Lives... that's the title. And, it wouldn't let me go.
Something inside me said, "Buy a copy!" So I did.

When it arrived, I quickly saw that it is produced by Group Publishing in partnership with Compassion International. Didn't I say that God cares about little details?

Well, our family gathered together one night last week to start this Bible Study. I flipped to page 6 where the Introduction is... and these are the words that met my eyes:
"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8
If you can't figure out why these words are sooooo significant, have a peek at the blog header at the very top of this blog. Didn't I already say God cares about little details?

I was overcome with emotion... just reading that very first paragraph. I knew, right at that moment, that God is going to use this Bible Study to prepare our family for this trip!

We've done almost a full week's worth of study to date. Each one has been thought-provoking to say the least. At one point, I was so choked up that I had to pass the book on to hubby to continue reading.

I have since realized that HOPE LIVES. It does live!

It lives for Rose Ann and her family --- they live in the house that's in the YouTube video above.

But I have also come to realize that hope lives for someone else too.

Hope lives for me.
In my brokenness, hope lives.
In my selfishness, hope lives.
In my inadequacies, hope lives.

Hope lives... and I am forever grateful for that.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!
Compassion-International-Bloggers-Philippines-2011