Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January's Joy Dare

I am taking the Joy Dare and counting to {an extra} 1,000 Gifts in 2012! Will you join me?

#1 - #93... January's grace-gifts... from the Giver of good gifts, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

3 things about yourself you are grateful for:
:: I am a daughter of The King.
:: My love of reading.
:: My One Word for 2012: soar!

a gift outside, inside, on a plate:
:: gently falling snow.
:: a warmly heated home.
:: freshly-baked cupcakes.

3 lines you overheard that were graces:
:: "Share lunch with us!"
:: "You look well."
:: "I'll help you."

one gift old, new, and blue:
:: Old friends, doing...
:: New get-togethers.
:: Blue skies on sunny winter days.

something you're reading, you're making, you're seeing:
:: Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.
:: Easy Chicken Cacciatore!
:: Quiet roads.

one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart:
:: My son's Epipen.
:: Fresh guacamole... on sale!
:: God's peace... which transcends all understanding.

3 graces from people you love:
:: Hubby making me my morning coffee, everyday without fail!
:: Chats with my girl.
:: Hugs from my little man.

light that caught you, a reflection that surprised you, a shadow that fell lovely:
:: Beautiful spectrum of lights from the setting sun.
:: My mom's reflection... wrinkles and silver hair... wisdom and glory.
:: Shadows on snow-covered fields.

a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with:
:: Generous financial gift from an aunt.
:: Nicely made beds on a Monday morning.
:: Our family sitting together for a movie night.

a gift that's sour, a gift that's sweet, a gift that's Just. Right.:
:: Dill pickle chips.
:: Cupcake frosting.
:: A fruity kefir smoothie for lunch.

3 yellow things that strike you as fresh mercy:
:: Sunshine peeking through the clouds.
:: The banana I packed in my girl's lunch bag this morning.
:: Bursts of yellow from the euonymus plant colouring my winter garden.

something above you, something below you, something beside you:
:: God, my Heavenly Father!
:: My kitchen... where I can prepare meals to nourish my family.
:: Hubby sleeping soundly beside me.

3 sounds you hear:
:: Sound of cousins playing together.
:: Tapping of computer keys, means I am employed!
:: Music accompanying me as I work! ♥

3 ways you glimpsed the starling grace of God:
:: Two big basketball wins, one for my girl and one for my boy!
:: Lovely lunch at our family's new favourite Asian restaurant.
:: My boy's improved demeanor! ♥

one thing you wore, one thing you gave away, one thing you shared:
:: My warm scarf, on a frigidly cold winter day! Brrrr!
:: Prayers for a girlfriend going through dark days.
:: Everyone in the family doing household chores together.

3 ways you witnessed happiness today:
:: How much my boy has grown.
:: The sun's rays forming a ♥ on my tray... "unfathomable love"!
:: The cake I baked being devoured! :-)

one gift that made you laugh, one gift that made you pray, one gift that made you quiet:
:: My boy's goofiness.
:: Anxiety = need to pray!
:: Alone with my thoughts on what it means to be an ordinary radical.

3 gifts from God's Word:
:: 2 Timothy 1:7
:: Psalm 85:12
:: Colossians 3:23

a grace in the kitchen, a grace in the weather, a grace that might never have been:
:: Dinner already made and it's only 11am!
:: Beautiful snow drifts...
:: A particularly beautiful day! ♥

3 gifts you saw only when you got close-up:
:: Snowflakes sparkling in the sunshine.
:: BBQ sauce on my boy's cheek.
:: Intricacy found in common cilantro leaves.

one thing in the sky, one thing from your memory, one things that's ugly-beautiful:
:: Bright winter sunshine flooding my kitchen!
:: The song The Servant King.
:: Difficult relationships which grow us into better and more beautiful people.

one grace wrinkled, one grace smoothed, one grace unfolded:
:: Clothes coming out of the dryer.
:: Nicely folded laundry.
:: Freshly laundered tablecloth.

3 gifts found in Christ:
:: My hope.
:: My life.
:: My strength.

3 things blue:
:: My warm blue robe.
:: My cozy blue slippers.
:: My fuzzy blue fleece PJs.

one grace borrowed, one grace found, one grace inherited:
:: Grace borrowed: books to read.
:: Grace found: free time!
:: Grace inherited: my grandma's pearl brooch.

a gift before 9am, gift before noon, a gift after dark:
:: Sleeping in on a weekday!
:: My girl stepping in the door, home early from school.
:: Family movie night!

3 gifts that might never have been:
:: A renewed relationship.
:: A revisited interested, my boy learning to play the trombone.
:: A revamped passion for the last, the least, the forgotten, the forsaken.

3 graces found in your friends:
:: Listening ears.
:: Encouraging words.
:: Girl chats.

a song heard, a soft word, where you saw light:
:: Chris Tomlin's I Will Follow, one of my son's faves... and him singing,
:: ♪♫ Who You love, I'll love | How You serve, I'll serve | If this life I lose, I will follow You ♫♪
:: God's grace... molding my boy's heart into one that will follow hard after Him! ♥

3 old things seen new:
:: My boy's trombone.
:: My old penny loafers. :-)
:: An old frame made new with a newly enlarged family portrait.

a gift found on a paper, in a person, in a picture:
:: A gift on paper: a new-to-me benefit reflected on my pay stub!
:: A gift in a person: hands down... my hubby!
:: A gift in a picture: my snow-covered hydrangeas.

Click on the banners below to learn more about counting to 1,000 Gifts...
Jump in... I promise you will be blessed!




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

Monday, January 30, 2012

January's Ending...

My snow-covered hydrangeas in January.

The end of January is here! I can't believe how fast this month has flown by. Our family has had a surprisingly fairly low-key January... I have to say it's been enjoyable not having much of the hustle and bustle that always accompanies a busy schedule. The calmness has been great, like a soothing balm we all needed.

Also, we've had very little snow in these parts of Canada... it's been a pretty mild winter {so far}. Mind you, I'm not complaining... this is the kind of winter I can get used to! ;-)

In the quietness and stillness of this January, I have been loving this song...
{Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch the video.}

In the quiet | In the stillness | I know that You are God | In the secret of Your presence | I know there I am restored | When You call I won't refuse | Each new day again I'll choose | There is no one else for me | None but Jesus | Crucified to set me free | Now I live to bring Him praise
These words ring true for me...
"In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored."

As I continue my hunt for grace-gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1238 - #1245:

:: Successful first high-school exams for my girl.
:: My girl has met her fundraising goal for her March Break Compassion Trip to UrbanPromise in Wilmington! I am floored by the generousity and support shown by our family and friends!
:: Delivering snacks to our friends at UrbanPromise Toronto.
:: Family movie nights!
:: The trombone making a comeback here at our house. :-)
:: A lazy Saturday...
:: Loving the sense of community at our church! ♥
:: Living fully...

Happy Monday, friends!
I am looking forward to a new month. May February bring much love, much grace and much thanksgiving your way! :-)
How else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of what He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes to His Grace.
Soaring into this new week and new month with you, friends... acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God!

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



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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

58: January's Fast

Then Jesus said to his followers, "If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, and those who give up their lives for me will have true life. It is worthless to have the whole world if they lose their souls. They could never pay enough to buy back their souls. The Son of Man will come again with his Father's glory and with his angels. At that time, he will reward them for what they have done."
~ Matthew 16:24-27, NCV
Ready for some fast living? 
Well, today is this month's Fast Day at Live 58:!
And, the project? To provide mosquito nets for Thailand {via Compassion International} to help with the malaria fight.

Thailand

69,122,234estimated population


32,000,000at risk of malaria


5,600,0000living in poverty




And, the good news? As of last night {even before Fast Day began here in North America} the goal of $2,000.00 has been met and surpassed!

Friends, we can blow waayyy past that goal! Will you join me today in providing mosquito nets to Thai families living in extreme poverty, to help them win the fight against malaria? Just $10 will buy one mosquito net!

Today...
Instead of lunch, buy a mosquito net.
Instead of a new pair of shoes, buy a few mosquito nets.
Instead of that weekend getaway, buy many mosquito nets.

Have you been inspired to do some fast living?
If so, please visit this link to donate via Live 58:.
If you need a Canadian charitable tax receipt, please visit Compassion Canada's Bite Back donation page to make a donation.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
~ James 1:27, NIV
As I write this blog post, at the same time I am listening online to Bill Gates talk about extreme poverty being eradicated in this generation. He is being streamed live from the 2012 Global Poverty Ambassador Launch. I am inspired!

Living the fast of Isaiah 58... it is the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless! It is The Practice of Love that I choose to live out... living out the greatest of commandments...

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, January 24, 2012

Joy in the Mundane

This is what I read this morning in my devotions:
January is often referred to as the "blue" month. The blahs attack and a strange sense of discontentment fills our hearts and minds. A local radio host recently explained that since the holidays are over, there is a void or a vacuum left that causes those blues. I agree with part of that assessment. Something is definitely missing but I don't think it has as much to do with the Christmas holidays as with the way we live the rest of the year.

Christmas is not a season.

Christmas is not a date on the calendar.

Christmas is a way of life.

Every day should find us still and quiet before the manger as we celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of our coming Lord and King, Jesus Christ. We need to learn how to seek Him and pray continually about everything. If it is important to us, it is important to Him. It is time for us to focus on how we can serve instead of being so concerned about being served. We need to keep our gaze on Him and our glance on the circumstances that so often cause us to stumble and fall because we have forgotten what is really important - to nourish and cultivate our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our heart desire should center around becoming more like Him and serving others as He did during His time on earth.

~ Mary Southerland, To Know Him More, Girlfriends In God.
Don't know about you, friends... but feeling "blue" each time January rolls around seems to be quite common with many people around me. And, it can be contagious!

So... this year, instead of contracting the contagious "January blues", I chose to {just like it says in the above quote} focus on how I can serve instead of being so concerned about being served, centering my desire around becoming more like Him and serving others as He did during His time on earth.

The result? I am finding joy in the mundane!
I am soaring through my January!
What a pleasant surprise!

Critter footprints in the snow.

My boy making s'mores!

My house plant, so full of life.

Cream cheese cookies in the oven...

They're ready to devour!

Snow-covered hydrangeas.

How about you, friend? 
How are you finding joy in the mundane?
How about checking out the Joy Dare? I am looking forward to posting my January Joy Dare List at the end of the month!
The holy grail of joy's not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of wondrous now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible! The only place we need see before we die, is this place of seeing God, here and now.
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Chinese New Year!

Source: Google Images

It's Chinese New Year today! Although both hubby and I were born in the Philippines, we are ethnically Chinese. Having grown up there and now essentially identifying ourselves more as being Canadian than anything else {having lived here now more years than any place else}, the tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year has always been pretty foreign to our family.

Nevertheless, Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!!

Chinese New Year, to me... in recent years, has become a second New Year.... a time to assess and see if the new starts and the new beginnings that I've prayerfully put in place for the New Year are off to a good start.

And... by God's grace, I am happy to say that this year... it is! More days than not, I am soaring... hoping in the Lord! It truly is a good thing, a great feeling!

So... this past weekend, there were no Chinese New Year feasts, no red envelopes, no wearing of traditional clothes. It was a normal, typical, every-day-kind-of weekend for our family... church and sports!

It was an awesome Sunday morning as our teaching pastor dove into a new series on the Gospel of John, starting at the very beginning of the book... "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Where does Christianity start? It has no beginning and it has no end. The human heart wants that which had no beginning and never can have any ending - namely, the Word.
~ A.W. Tozer, And He Dwelt Among Us.
Then, it was time to watch football! We were rooting for the Ravens and the Giants. One loss and one win... I say it's a great ending to a wonderful weekend. :-)

As I continue my hunt for grace-gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1227 - #1237:

:: Planning the menu for another Out of the Cold dinner.
:: Dinner with a good friend for her birthday.
:: My boy's Mindstorm team finally starting up again!
:: Japanese food with hubby.
:: My boy loving and learning lots at Youth Group!
:: My girl studying hard for her first high-school exams.
:: Freshly vacuumed carpet.
:: Filing away a huge pile of papers!
:: Fun day full of basketball.
:: Our vehicles needing repair, but still mostly reliable.
:: Relaxing Sunday afternoon: baking and football! :-) 

Happy Monday, friends!
May your week be full of grace-gifts and thanksgiving! :-)
Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall - humanity's discontent with all that God freely gives. That is what has scraped me raw: ungratefulness.
Then to find Eden, the abundance of Paradise, I'd need to forsake my non-eucharisteo, my bruised and bloodied ungrateful life, and grab hold of eucharisteo, a lifestyle of thanksgiving.
Soaring into this new week with you, friends... acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God!

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



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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Days Are Particularly Beautiful!

Learn more about sponsoring a child.Yesterday was a particularly beautiful day on the Compassion Advocacy front for me! One family received their first Child Letter and I got a message on Facebook from another family letting me know that they've met their Sponsor Child in the Philippines!

Although I wasn't feeling too great... I think I fell asleep with a big smile on my face! :-)

Oh. The. Joy!
I love beautiful days like that!
Don't you?

From the family who met their Sponsor Child...
... we had a wonderful day with our sponsored child. We had her, her mom, and the director come to {where we are}. It was her very first trip {here} and we let her go on some rides for kids at the mall. You should see her face light up with amazement. Thanks for the opportunity to make a difference in a child's life. God bless you...
And the family who received their first Child Letter posted this on Facebook...
‎"The Lord will indeed give what is good." Psalm 85:12
(Our sponsor child's favourite Bible verse)
I love the verse! The Lord does, indeed, give what is good! As a Compassion sponsor and advocate, I've experienced God's goodness over and over again. Oftentimes, when those of us who live in the First World become sponsors... we assume that God's blessings flow one way... via us to our sponsor child and his/her family.

What God has taught me and continues to teach me each day... is that His blessings flow both ways! The children that our family sponsors and writes to have been a tremendous blessing to us... in ways we would've never imagined before!

Through them, we have learned what real faith looks like... and we have become aware of the spiritual poverty that many of us in the First World posses. They have challenged us in our walk with God... grown us in our faith... taught us how to love radically... broken our hearts for the things that break God's heart!     

At yesterday's end, I found my pillow... and I found my book, Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution... he writes the following upon his return to the United States after spending time in the slums of Calcutta... I can so relate {with our family having just gone to the Philippines on a missions immersion trip this past Summer}:
When the worlds of poverty and wealth collide, the resulting powerful fusion can change the world. But that collision rarely happens. I could feel it happening inside of me. One of my punk-rock friends asked me why so many rich people like talking to me, and I said because I'm nice to them. He asked why I was nice to them. I said because I can see myself in them. That gives me a little patience and grace. I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God's image in the other. It's no wonder that the footsteps of Jesus lead from the tax collectors to the lepers. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.
Yesterday, God was gracious enough to allow me to see a glimpse of these two worlds colliding... not just once, but twice! Just. So. Utterly. Beautiful!

Friends, didn't I say it was a beautiful day?
Do you also want to experience the beauty of two worlds colliding?
If so, I urge you to sponsor a Compassion child today!
I promise it's a decision you won't regret making. :-)

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Unfathomable Love...

I've cracked open a new book... The Irresistible Revolution {Living as an Ordinary Radical} by Shane Claiborne.


Reading this struck me deep...
I saw the gospel with new eyes. One of the texts that had always given me trouble was John 14:12: "Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." You shall do even greater things? Here's the Son of the Almighty, God incarnate, telling us ragtag disciples that we will do the same things he has been doing. I don't know about you, but I haven't raised anyone from the dead lately. I haven't seen anyone turn water into wine. And I hadn't healed any lepers. Even though I touched them, they still went home lepers at the end of the day.
It wasn't that Jesus healed a leper but that he touched a leper, because no one touched lepers. And the incredible thing about that love is that it now lives inside of us. In the verses just after the one about the greater things, Jesus assured us that the Spirit now lives in us. Jesus says that he is going to the Father but will also remain inside of us, and we in him. We are the body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Christ is living inside of you and me, walking the earth. We shall do even greater things because the love that lived in the radical Christ now lives within millions of ordinary radicals all over the planet.
~ Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution, pages 84-85.
To be an ordinary radical is to love radically... like Christ did when He walked the earth... like He still does now with His unfathomable love for each one of us!

As I was thinking this morning of what to write about on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday... {particularly something that I can share with the community over at A Holy Experience on The Practice of New Habits... as a whole community of bloggers Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to God's heart each Wednesday....} I thought, to love radically... that is a habit that we can all practice anew each and every day!

I can't wait to read the rest of this book... it's a story of one acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God! I have a feeling that God is going to be teaching me lots via this book!

Happy Wednesday, friends...
Our happiness comes, too, not in the having, but in the handing over. Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God.
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, January 17, 2012

Day Brighteners...

The Christmas decorations have been put away... the routines of work and school have returned... it's cold, wintry and damp outside... and the sun is playing hide-and-seek!

So, I take matters into my own hands... and create "day brighteners"... bake up tummy-warming sweet things, light room-warming candles, shoot some heart-warming photographs... and suddenly, it's not so dreary anymore!





How about you, friend? 
What livens up your January?
How about checking out the Joy Dare?
The holy grail of joy's not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of wondrous now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible! The only place we need see before we die, is this place of seeing God, here and now.
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grace-Gifts Found in Ordinary Days

My chocolate cupcakes!

It's been a good week... getting back to the routines of school and work has been good for our family. As much as we love holidays, I think our family is one that thrives on routine!

It's been a good weekend too... full of sports... playing basketball and watching the NFL play-off games!

Both kids won their final basketball games of the Fall House League season. My girl's team {coached by none other than my hubby, the rookie coach} won the Championship! And... my boy's team won the Bronze Medal game!

I had an intense Saturday morning cheering for both games from the bleachers... who knew that cheering could be a sport in and of itself, eh? ;-) I was so tired from cheering and I didn't even play ball! :-)

We came home and did more cheering... my throat did not appreciate that! We were cheering for Tim Tebow and the Broncos... but a win wasn't meant to be for them! I absolutely love what he said in his interview after the loss.

Here's the part I love:
"It still wasn't a bad day," Tebow said after the game. "It still was a good day, because I got to spend some time before the game with Zack McLeod [a 20-year-old Cambridge native who suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football] and make him smile, and overall when you get to do that, it's still a positive day. Sometimes that's hard to see, but it depends what lens you're looking through. I choose to look through those lenses, and I got to make a kid's day, that's more important than winning the game. So, I am proud of that."
Tebow was asked if the glare of the spotlight this season ever became too much.
"There are pros and cons with everything," Tebow said. "Sometimes, you don't want it all. You just like to be able to go to dinner, hang out with friends, be a normal 24-year-old. So that makes it sometimes hard. But I wouldn't change it for the world, because by having that, I have the platform to walk into the hospital and share with kids, I have the opportunity to hang out with Zack before a game, I have the opportunity to go build a hospital in the Philippines or to do a lot more important things than football."
Source: Tim Tebow Gracious In Defeat, Boston.com
Tim Tebow seeing through the lenses of thanksgiving... I love that! Don't you? It's the counting of grace-gifts, isn't it? So. Awesome!

And... building a hospital in the Philippines, that is just sooooo cool! {Here's the press release about the hospital in the Philippines that the Tim Tebow Foundation is building.}

As I continue my hunt for grace-gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1213 - #1226:

:: Becoming eligible for the pension plan matching program at work.
:: Time to bake... see photo above.
:: A free 24" x 36" photo enlargement! ♥
:: A timely letter from Florianlyn's mom!
:: Writing our Compassion children.
:: A dessert and coffee date night with hubby!
:: Hubby's clients... they keep him busy. :-)
:: My favourite purse is back from the "repair shop"... I was lost without it!
:: My boy working on a project with a friend.
:: Visiting with my parents before they flew back to the Philippines.
:: Two basketball wins!
:: Hubby's successful rookie season as volunteer basketball coach. :-)
:: Packing up our Christmas decorations with everyone helping.

Happy Monday, friends!
May your week be full of God's blessings and His grace, even in the most mundane of moments! :-)
Joy. Augustine claimed, "Without exception... all try their hardest to reach the same goal - that is, joy." I breathe deep, like a sojourner finally coming home. That has always been the goal, and always been the goal - joy.
Soaring into this new week with you, friends... acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God!

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



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

Friday, January 13, 2012

58: Global Impact Tour

Stay tuned because something exciting is coming... later on this month... it's the 58: Global Impact Tour! Here's a little blurb from an email that I received recently from 58:...
In 2012, we will take action together through the 58: Global Impact Tour. 12 months. 12 countries. 12 poverty issues. 12 world-class projects that make a genuine impact. We’ll fast together, pray together, give together, and celebrate the progress.
Extreme poverty can end. You are a part of it. Let’s build momentum together.
This video will tell you more...
{Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.}


I am excited to dive in... to soar... to see what God will do with this unique initiative!!! I will be following the 12 projects closely and posting updates right here on the blog. Let's fast. Let's pray. Let's give. Let's celebrate!

Will you join me?
Let's live simply...
So that we can give generously!

Let's end extreme poverty... let's Live 58!!!
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
~ Matthew 9:36-38, NLT.
Related 58: resources here on the blog...
:: A review of the book Fast Living.
:: An interview with Scott Todd.
:: More interviews with Scott Todd.

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Haiti, Two Years Later

Today marks two years since the devastating earthquake shook the ground in Haiti. This video still gets to me every time I watch it...

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


These two years, Compassion International rebuilt and restored Haiti. This is what I read today on Compassion's blog:
We can report that Compassion has completed its short-term and transitional strategies to bring immediate relief to the impacted children and their families. We provided food, safe water, shelter and medical assistance.
We worked with our church partners to get our programs back up and running, provide post-trauma counseling to the kids and the church staff, and provide shelter, desks and chairs for classes to resume. We are back to the business of caring for and developing the children of Haiti.
{To read the rest of the blog post and about Compassion's long-term solutions in Haiti, please click here.}
Compassion also announced today that every Compassion sponsored child in Haiti is now equipped with a Water of Life system to provide them and their families with a lifetime of clean water! So. Awesome.

A year ago, on the first anniversary of the earthquake, our family decided to sponsor a Haitian child. We fell in love with Bell Bradley the minute we saw his photo on Compassion Canada's website... a four-year-old boy who has the same birthday as my boy! This is him then...


And here he is today...


Don't you just love how much he's grown?!? He is turning six in 2012! We've gotten to know him a little bit through his letters... he is apparently very serious, loves to play soccer and basketball, is a leader. He wants to be a great communicator and a mechanical engineer when he grows up! Isn't that just awesome?

As Haiti continues to rebuild and restore... our Haitian brothers and sisters need our help more than ever. 

I know that Haiti can not be rebuilt and restored overnight... but every little bit that each one of us can do to help is a small part of the big picture! As the quote by Mother Teresa says:
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Would you consider sponsoring a Haitian child with Compassion... releasing him/her from poverty in Jesus' name? How about making a one-time donation to Compassion Canada's Stability Response Fund?
‎"Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give gifts for gain because a gift can never stop being a gift — a gift is always meant to be given…."
Be a gift today, friend... a blessing to the people of Haiti, fellow children of our Heavenly Father... the Giver of good gifts, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This My Song Through All My Days...

My heart has been captured by a song all week, this song...

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

In the quiet | In the stillness | I know that You are God | In the secret of Your presence | I know there I am restored | When You call I won't refuse | Each new day again I'll choose | There is no one else for me | None but Jesus | Crucified to set me free | Now I live to bring Him praise | In the chaos | In confusion | I know You're sovereign still | In the moment of my weakness | You give me grace to do Your will | When You call I won't delay | This my song through all my days | All my delight is in You Lord | All of my hope | All of my strength | All my delight is in You Lord | Forever more
I am inspired anew... I am ready to soar... when You call I won't delay... this my song through all my days... to act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God!

For some inspiration on how to live out Micah 6:8... please visit the I-Heart website. I visited this website for the first time recently and loved it right away. I loved it even more when I saw the Compassion International banner displayed on every page of the site!

Happy Wednesday, friends...
May you know {as the song says} that in the moment of our weakness, God gives us grace to do His will.
How does one live ready, and always? Yes, ultimately, only Jesus. Yes, this premature dying to self, birthing into the cross-life, the grace cocoon before emerging into the life unending, celestial. Without this Jesus, no, no one can be ready.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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, January 10, 2012

When Thanksgiving becomes Thanks-living... the Giving Away of Thanks

Sometimes the best way to receive a gift is to give it away.
Because the only things we really have — are the things we hand over.

~ Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience.
I read the above words... at the start of Ann's blog post... the one where she writes about her family giving away the proceeds from her book, One Thousand Gifts... to build an education and recreation centre in the middle of a Guatemalan dump... via Compassion International... for Pastor Saul and the faith community that he shepherds... so that they can release more children from poverty in Jesus' name!

Tears of joy stream down my face! 
This is what it's all about... 
The giving away, the thanks-living!

It is getting close to 11:40am now... my boy will be home soon for lunch. I quickly read the rest of the blog post... dry my tears... get lunch ready. I smile, happy. My heart is full... of thanks!

I hear the door knob turn... my boy's home. He tells me that the mailman is here and that he's going to go across the street... to the mailbox, to collect our mail.

I hear my boy return from the mailbox... I can hear the excitement in his footsteps... then in his voice... "A letter, Mom! From one of our Compassion children."

We tear open the envelope... it's a letter from Florianlyn! No... wait, it's from her mother, Analyn.

Hubby and I, with Florianlyn and her mom.
Masbate, Philippines (Summer 2011)
It's been over five months since our family visited Florianlyn and her family in the remote island of Masbate, in the Philippines. Her mother, Analyn... together with her tutor, Conchita... accompanied her to meet us where we were staying.
We spent the morning by the beach... it was the stories Analyn told us that gripped me the most. This shy, demure, young woman... a mother, just like me... told us a stirring tale that forced us to see poverty for what it really is!
... Of leaving her family for months at a time... to work as a maid in the big city... for an equivalent of $2 a day!
... Of having to close down her convenience store because of staggering loan interests... amounting to 60% per year.
... Of not being able to purchase roofing materials... that's why they have a tarp over parts of their home.
That afternoon, we drove to their home... the one with a dirt floor, the one with a tarp roof, the one not bigger than an average North American bedroom, the one with no running water or toilet or kitchen, the one where a family of five live in... this one:
Inside Florianlyn's home.
This is a young mother's reality. Yet Analyn gives... volunteering at Patnubay Child Development Centre {the Compassion project via which we sponsor Florianlyn} in her spare time... preparing food for the 203 Compassion children who call this Compassion project home.
♪♫ "Jesus, what can I give? What can I bring? To so faithful a Friend... to so loving a King?" ♫♪ My thoughts raced... as the Matt Redman song played over and over in my head.
We fly home to Toronto soon after... travelling over 8,500 miles... yet the lyrics of the song never left... "What can I give? What can I bring? As a praise of Your Name for the things You have done?"
A few weeks later, our family arranged for Compassion Canada to deliver a gift to Florianlyn's family... to help Analyn start up her convenience store again and to help them finish building their home.
That was four months ago... and today, a letter... the same day I read Ann's blog post about giving thanks away! 

I smile happy, once again. I didn't know that my heart could swell with so much thanksgiving. My boy and I read Analyn's letter... 
Bago po lahat labis po kaming nagpapasalamat sa ating Diyos na buhay. Papaano po ba kami makakapagsimula ng pagsasalamat sa inyong tulong na bigay ninyo sa amin. Tanging maigaganti lamang namin sa inyo ay ang walang sawang pananalangin para sa inyo.
{First of all, we are extremely grateful to our Living God. How can we even begin to thank you for the help that you have given to us. The only thing we can do is to never stop praying for you.}
Tears of joy stream down my face, once again! 
This is what it's all about... 
The giving away, the thanks-living!

Groceries {to stock the convenience store}, cement, steel bar, wood, sand, corrugated metal roofing sheets, labour costs and tools... just some of the things she said they were able to buy and pay for with our gift!

Analyn can now re-open her convenience store and they can now finish building their home. Oh. The. Joy... filling my heart! It's just indescribable!
Oh my words could not tell, not even in part...
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.

~ Matt Redman
Thanksgiving for God’s love always seeks to become thanks-living – a living and giving of His love.
~ Ann Voskamp
Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give gifts for gain because a gift can never stop being a gift — a gift is always meant to be given….
~ One Thousand Gifts
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back To Routine

Christmas 2011 Family Portrait

Happy Monday, friends!

It is back-to-school for the kids and back-to-routine for our family. The house is quiet... as I sit here at my desk attempting to start my work day. Attempting is the key word...

It has been a relaxing Christmas holiday for our family. Too relaxing, maybe... we slept lots, ate out lots, had many lazy days. So, it's been a little hard getting back into the usual routine this morning... well, for me at least. My body didn't want to wake up when the alarm sounded at 7am!

But, time waits for no one! It is Monday morning... there are things to do and places to go. I have to get going and get moving... but not before publishing my Multitudes on Mondays post! 

As I continue to count grace-gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1201 - #1212:

:: Some time spent with my parents.
:: My girl baking cupcakes with her little cousins.
:: Visiting a friend mourning the sudden death of his dad.
:: Lining up at the LEGO Store with my boy for the free monthly build.
:: New Year dinner with hubby's sister and her family.
:: Sleepovers...
:: Fresh haircuts...
:: A new book to read.
:: My girl attending a weekend training retreat for a mission trip she will be going on... to UrbanPromise (Wilmington, Delaware) during the March Break.
:: Helping a couple new to the country who are expecting their first baby.
:: Making and serving dinner to homeless folks at Out of the Cold... great night serving together with family and friends, but heart-breaking to see so many hungry people!
:: Great Sunday morning with our faith community... after two Sundays of not being together. 

Happy Monday, friends!
May your back-to-routine day be off to a better start than mine! :-)
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
~ Frederick Buechner.
Soaring into this Monday with you, friends... acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God!

P.S. And... a little blog house-keeping was done over the weekend. Please check out the updated pages {About Me, Our Sponsor Children} via the top bar of this blog.

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Jump in... I promise you will be blessed!



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

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany

Today, we celebrate Epiphany... many people enjoy a feast or a good meal on this day... perhaps an outing to a restaurant or a special home-cooked meal.  
Epiphany, (Koine Greek: ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation", "striking appearance") or Theophany, (Ancient Greek (ἡ) Θεοφάνεια, Τheophaneia) meaning "vision of God", which falls on 6 January, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
Souce: Wikipedia
Epiphany wasn't particularly celebrated in my family while I was growing up... so epiphany, to me, meant a feeling... this: 
e·piph·a·ny
n. pl. e·piph·a·nies
a. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization: "I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself" (Frank Maier).

It wasn't until I was much older that I realized Christ-followers marked Epiphany... celebrating the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. What an epiphany it was for me! :-)

Since then, I've equated each New Year with Epiphany... celebrating the beautiful reality in my life of Emmanuel, God with us... His merciful love doesn't dry up... they're created new every morning {or every New Year!}... His faithfulness so great!

It's interesting though how the two meanings {for the celebration Epiphany and the word epiphany} are intertwined in that each one of us needs to come to our own epiphany of the Epiphany... that it is not merely an event in history that we can mark but it is actually a beautiful reality that we can celebrate and call our very own... this Emmanuel, Christ with us!

So... a special meal or feast would be great for tonight... but I don't think it's happening this year! In just a little while, we will be driving across town to drop off my girl for a weekend away at a training retreat. For March Break, she will be going {with peeps from her youth group} on a mission trip to UrbanPromise in Wilmington, Delaware... to *be* Jesus' hands and feet to needy children who live in the inner-city neighbourhoods there... to live out Love... Love in action... demonstrating the true meaning of Epiphany!

Happy Epiphany, friends! May you know the reality of God's presence... He is near and ready to answer when you call on His name!

Related Reading: 
When What You Really Need is an Epiphany, Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience.

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

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joy Dare

So... I am doing Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare and counting to {an extra} 1,000 Gifts in 2012! Will you join me?

I read from Matthew 5:1-26 this morning during my quiet time and The Beatitudes are a part of these verses.

I thought it to be quite appropriate to start this Joy Dare by meditating on The Beatitudes... it sets the tone for being thankful in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in... it especially teaches us to *feel* and *know* that we are blessed when things don't particularly go our way.

I love how The Message words The Beatitudes...
You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You're blessed when you're content with just who you are — no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. 

You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
You're blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
Not only that — count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens — give a cheer, even! — for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
~ Matthew 5:3-12, The Message.
I will be posting the whole month's grace-gifts on the last day of each month. I am looking forward to counting {an extra} 1,000 gifts this year... and looking forward to looking back at the end of 2012... on the greatness of God's faithfulness!

Click on the banners below to learn more about counting to 1,000 Gifts...
Jump in... I promise you will be blessed!




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