Sunday, September 30, 2012

September's Joy Dare

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

#733 - #822... September's grace-gifts... from the Giver of good gifts, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

3 gifts summer:
:: Warm weather!
:: Beautiful sunshine!
:: Colourful flowers!

3 gifts cut:
:: Plans cut short = a free Sunday afternoon!
:: Cut-up fruit = lovely fruit platter.
:: Fresh-cut grass = a tidy lawn!

3 gifts yellow:
:: Yellow mums signalling the nearness of Fall.
:: Yellow bananas, a daily staple at our house.
:: Yellow ruler, used daily as part of my job.

a gift cool, warm, sun-soaked:
:: Cooler evenings! ♥
:: Warm cupcakes, freshly baked.
:: Sun-soaked summer complexion.

3 gifts autumn:
:: Leaves turning into their Fall colours!
:: Sweater season!
:: My jeans come out again. :-)

3 gifts growing:
:: A growing faith... a daily practice of trusting God!
:: A growing boy... a huge appetite!
:: A growing tree... time for a prune and thinning out.

3 gifts given:
:: Extra time at the start of the day to write a blog post.
:: Extra time at the end of the work day to get the week's groceries.
:: Extra time at the end of the evening to relax!

a gift made, masked, marveled:
:: A delivery of a donated baby carseat to a mom going through crisis pregnancy.
:: Lack of sleep masked by my caffeine intake.
:: Gathering with over 400 leaders at our church's launch into this new ministry year.

3 gifts framed:
:: Defining a faith-filled life... framed in this wonderful Sunday morning teaching!
:: Me... so humbled to be framed in with these ordinary radicals!
:: "Fear makes a life small." A beautiful quote by Ann Voskamp framed into our teaching this morning at church.

3 gifts moving:
:: My boy's hands on his Rubik's cube... he mastered this puzzle in just a few short weeks!
:: My girl's hands on the piano... making beautiful music!
:: My hands on the keyboard... an efficient work day.

3 hard eucharisteos:
:: Giving thanks for the unknown...
:: Letting go and letting God...
:: Believing that all will go well...

3 gifts in His Word:
:: These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. ~ Hebrews 6:18-19 NCV.
:: The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, "The Lord is all I need; I can depend on (hope in) him!" ~ Lamentations 3:23-24 CEV.
:: Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV.

a gift scented, scrawled, started:
:: Late summer hydrangea blooms
:: Today's to-do list.
:: A blog post...

3 gifts drawn:
:: A picture, in words... of the fifteen-year-old me.
:: A plan... for this new ministry year!
:: A vision of how Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy will unfold... friends, just two more weeks to go!!!

3 gifts paired:
:: Encouragement and disappointment... all in one day.
:: My girl and a new friend... paired up to bunk together at Leadership Camp.
:: Rice and curry chicken... great pair on my dinner plate!

3 gifts shared:
:: Sharing my morning verses with my family on the drive to church!
:: Lunch with a new friend from church.
:: My thoughts... for an interview with Maranatha News!

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
:: My lack of faith... yet God remains faithful!
:: My weakness... yet God gives the needed strength!
:: My doubts... yet God always reassures!

a gift fixed, folded, freckled:
:: An easy dinner.
:: Clothes folded into my girl's suitcase... all ready for Leadership Camp.
:: Freckled moving shadows... from the beautiful sunshine and our ash tree in the back.

3 gifts in conversation:
:: Text conversations with my girl who's away for 4 days this week!
:: Encouraging notes exchanged through Facebook!
:: Chats with hubby just before falling asleep...

3 gifts in salvation:
:: Freedom.
:: Security.
:: Acceptance.

3 gifts in information:
:: Helps us to become aware.
:: Informs us of facts.
:: Compels us to act in response.

a gift rattling, receding, reclaiming:
:: Rattling noise... my boy solving his Rubik's cube.
:: Anxiety receding... as I learn to trust God more and more.
:: Reclaiming peace... knowing God is always good.

3 gifts quiet:
:: A quiet and restful weekend.
:: A quiet whisper... from The One who knows my heart.
:: A quiet worship song... sang together with our church family.

3 gifts funny:
:: My boy and his penchant for joke-telling.
:: Funny stories told around the dinner table.
:: Laughing with a friend about a funny situation.

3 gifts finished:
Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy, just four days away!
:: Video editing, finished.
:: Project Info Sheet, finished.
:: Programme Booklet, finished.

3 gifts flourishing:
:: Fall mums in pot by the front door.
:: Fall colours...
:: Pumpkin patches... all along the road on the drive to a local farm.

a gift unexpected, uneven, unpopular:
:: My calmness on the eve of Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy.
:: Though undeserving, I am a recipient of Grace! ♥
:: Being an ordinary radical...

3 gifts shy:
:: Just shy of the $30,000 goal for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... going into event day and anticipating God to do great things!
:: My boy and me... folding 800 programmes for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... finished just shy of the two hour mark! :-)
:: Collecting back all unsold tickets... just shy of the goal... yet still believing God to accomplish His goal, not mine!

3 gifts shelved:
:: My One Thousand Gifts book, after being signed by its author! ♥
:: Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy, as a project... but joy will keep on multiplying!
:: Saturday grocery shopping... not going to happen on a day like today!

3 gifts shining:
:: God's face... shining down on me!
:: Lovely sunshine on this beautiful Autumn Sunday!
:: Becoming blameless and pure, children of God... shining like stars in the sky!

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




Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Friday, September 28, 2012

On The Eve Of...

... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy, I sit here in reflection with joy and thanksgiving overflowing from my heart! In awe that the mighty and all-powerful God, the One who spoke this world into being, would choose to invite unqualified people like our family to join Him in His work, to be His hands and His feet in this world.

Mind-blowing! Thought-provoking! Humbling...
One year ago, our family came home from a self-guided missions immersion trip to the Philippines... we came home changed... hearts broken for the things that break God's heart!

A response was stirring in our hearts... the need so immensely great and us, so utterly inadequate... yet God continued to propel us forward, compelling us to respond... thus, the idea of Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy came into being in the Spring of this year.

It started with my sister and me, just chatting... she is President and Founder of a community choir, the Toronto Cantata Chorus, and a huge part of their mission has been to give back to the community by offering benefit concerts for a variety of organizations.

Could we do this? Raise $30,000.00 to build a permanent facility for Compassion's Patnubay Child Development Centre? The endeavour seemed enormous {still feels enormous today, the eve of the benefit event}... yet the thought that kept coming to mind was this, "Our God is greater!"

God kept putting together puzzle piece after puzzle piece... guest artists agreeing to perform for free... Ann Voskamp gifting us with her presence as a guest speaker {imagine that!}... a 1000-seat venue free-of-charge... on and on the puzzle pieces kept falling into place!

God truly does make all things beautiful in His time, doesn't he?

Friends, don't get me wrong...
This saying "Yes!"... it has not been all easy. It has sometimes been a little bit {okay, a lot!} too overwhelming and I've freaked out. As recently as two weeks ago, I had an ugly melt-down and God had to have a word with me! :-)

It has been a season of learning, of stepping out of comfort zone, of letting go of my own will and desires, of letting God do His thing, of learning to sit back, to just watch, to follow and to fully trust Him!

But... I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! Our family feels truly blessed and honoured to be able to join God where He is at work... to live out our thanksgiving, to do thanks-living! 

And these verses have been so real to us these past six months as we planned and organized Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy...
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
               “They share freely and give generously to the poor.
               Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving — the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
~ 2 Corinthians 9:8-15, NLT.
Yes, indeed... this gift is too wonderful for words!
So, as I sit here in reflection on this beautiful, sunny, first Autumn Friday morning of this year... there is nothing left to say but, "Thank you, God!"... for blessings that flow freely and for the privilege of being your hands and feet to a world in need! I am in awe...

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Birthday Boy...


Today, a very special man is celebrating a birthday!!!
Even though today will look and feel like an ordinary day in the life of our family... well, except for maybe dinner out tonight {but that's more like a treat for me so I don't have to cook! :-) }... the man of this house is one extraordinary guy!
He works hard and values integrity.
He exemplifies living simply in order to give generously.
He sacrifices his comfort so that others can be comfortable.
He loves his family... as Christ loves His church.
He is the grace of my life… a man who “fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.” ~ from Psalm 112:1 NASB.
I have in my hubby a man who holds my heart and chases after God's heart... I am blessed beyond measure... God is so good to me... His grace truly is amazing!

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Finally The Week...

Friends, this weekend... this Saturday...
It will finally be the day for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy!!!

This past week, a friend posted something on Facebook that captivated me. It's an excerpt from the book called Free of Charge by Miroslav Volf. Here it is...
... if we believe that God has given us everything, then giving will be our way of living... earning and possessing will become folded into giving. God gives us life, powers, and abilities, and so we earn and possess. We'll earn and possess so we can give, as when we share our food with the hungry: we'll give even while earning, as when we create goods and offer services with dedication, care, and wisdom; and we'll give even by possessing, as when we open our home for others to enjoy. Earning and possessing are not just a bridge between our desires and their satisfaction. They are a midpoint in the flow of gifts: from God to us, and through us to others. We give because we have been given to: we don't let others simply fend for themselves because we haven't been left to fend for ourselves.
Friends, this quote sums up why our family said "Yes!" to making this benefit event happen!
... because God has given us everything.
... because we shouldn't let others simply fend for themselves.
... because we want to be one of the midpoints in the flow of gifts
               ~ from God, to us ~ through us, to others.
Will you join us this Saturday, friends?
Let's link arms... and together we can be a midpoint in the flow of gifts... from God, to us... through us, to the families that rely on a Compassion International project called Patnubay Child Development Centre in the island of Masbate, in the Philippines. Join us? It will be *so awesome* to celebrate joy with you!!!

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... for gifts from a God who gives so generously thus compelling me to become a midpoint of that flow of gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1564 - #1569:
:: Trusting that HE who promised is faithful and that this will bring glory to Him alone... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... happening this Saturday, September 29th, right here in Toronto! It's now just a few days away, friends!!! Will you come celebrate with us?
:: A great week for ticket sales... we are now projecting at least 550 people in attendance at Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy!

:: A good week away at Leadership Camp for my girl.
:: Time to work on the video, the programme layout, the info sheet... for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy.
:: Wednesday night dinner with hubby at Chipotle.
:: A nice Saturday morning drive up to the farm to get some meats.
Happy Monday, friends!
This week, this... on counting blessings and discovering God!
Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on.
Let's soar into this new week together, friends... let's do justice, love mercy and walk humbly!

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



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Full Circle

Friends, please watch this!
I promise that you will be blessed by this beautiful true story... The Anita Charles Story!
{Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.}


Isn't it such a heart-warming, full circle kind of story? It's stories like this one that remind me anew of why our family sponsors children in need.

Yes, it takes being committed to living simply... in order for us to say "Yes!" to the long-term commitment of child sponsorship...
It means keeping our almost-sixteen-year-old station wagon on the road just a little while longer. It means refraining from eating out whenever we want. It means being careful with those impulsive purchases. It means thinking through our needs versus our wants.
... but the blessings far outweigh the "sacrifices"! Notice the quotation marks on the word sacrifice? Friends, we are hardly suffering, nor are we hardly sacrificing... really! We are well-fed, well-clothed, well-housed, well-taken-cared-of!

However, there is one thing that this lifestyle of compassion really hit home for us... we now know what it means to have our hearts broken for the things that break God's heart!
The English noun compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from the Latin. Compassion is related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers), and is akin to the Greek verb πάσχειν (= paskhein, to suffer). ~ Source: Wikipedia.
To suffer with... to live a life of compassion... 
To stand in solidarity with those who are suffering and in need... to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God. It's been a stretching, yet fulfilling, journey for our family... one we wouldn't trade for anything!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, NIV.
Jesus embodies compassion for us. He teaches us to look beyond our own desires and to be compassionate towards those in need. He said, “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. (Matthew 5:7, The Message)"

Right now, one of the ways our family is responding to this call to live a life of compassion is in the form of this... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy! I recently sat down with Maranatha News for an interview where I tell the story of how this whole thing came to be.

To read the interview, please click here! My prayer is that many will link arms together with us and make this dream become a reality for our faithful brothers and sisters in Masbate, Philippines!

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Friends, as you can see...
Child sponsorship with Compassion International has changed our family's life!

When we started out in this journey of sponsoring children, we did so with the desire to change the lives of these children and their families. Little did we know, God was going to change us in the process too!

It's been a beautiful change... like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Friends, do you want to experience the same transformation? 

If your answer is YES, I urge you to start your journey here... go ahead, click on the link and look at those faces staring back at you on the screen... choose one, or two, even three... and pray over them! And ask God what He would have you do and be amazed as He orchestrates a beautiful transformation in your life!

And if you are into pinning... on Pinterest, that is... there is a My Sponsored Child Pinterest Contest that's going on right now until September 23. I hope you check it out!

Join the Compassion Blogger Network

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Friends, today I am linking up with the community over at A Holy Experience on The Practice of Suffering... as a whole community of bloggers Walk with Him and write about a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to God's heart.

I hope that my blog post has encouraged you to let God take you on the same journey that He's taken our family, into child sponsorship with Compassion International.

Happy Wednesday, friends!
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
~ 1 Peter 3:8, NIV.
Click on the banner below to read more Walk With Him posts...
I promise you will be blessed!



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can I Have a Word with You?

I felt like God was saying that to me this week...
As we reached the two week mark before Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy happens!

To be quite honest, I had a stressful week... as tickets returned to me unsold. I started to fret, to worry, to be anxious! You know, that thing that comes oh. so. naturally. to me --- trying to gain control over a situation that I have absolutely no power over. Yes, that!

Yet, God is faithful and He truly is always good!

No, He didn't send me an email or a text message or a tweet to say that ticket sales will explode through the roof these last two weeks before the event... but He did say the following to me... via my morning Bible reading time:
So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,
                    Nothing left over to the one with the most,
                    Nothing lacking to the one with the least.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
                    He throws caution to the winds,
                              giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
                    His right-living, right-giving ways
                              never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ.
You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!

2 Corinthians 8:10-15 & 9:8-15 (The Message)
Wow... amazing! Just what I needed to hear...
I love how God always has a way to encourage me, to spur me on... just when I'm about to run out of steam and conk out!

Full steam ahead it is... these final two weeks before the event will be full of last-minute details! No matter how many people end up showing up at the event, I know that each one is sent by God. I am not to fret... because He knows what's best and He has everything under control.

What a truly awesome God we serve!

And then, there was the teaching we received on Sunday morning... about how to live everyday full of faith! Talk about a relevant topic, eh? God's really hammering this lesson into my head, don't you think?
Our everyday ordinary life is a gift from God to be lived for God. When in faith we offer all that we have to Him, we participate with Him in His radical mission to bring peace, love and healing to the world.
Two more weeks! Let's do this!
Friends, I believe that together, and with God's help... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy can reach its fundraising goal... because He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)”

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... for gifts from a God who is always faithful... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1552 - #1563:
:: Trusting that HE who promised is faithful and that this will bring glory to Him alone... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... happening September 29th, right here in Toronto! It's now just twelve days away, friends!!! Will you come celebrate with us?
:: Those unsold tickets, yes... thankful, even for those!

:: Meeting a caterer friend; her generousity in providing cake to serve during the intermission of Eucharisteo. Yes, friends... there will be cake! :-)
:: Time to actually churn out a couple of blog posts this past week. One of which was a letter to my fifteen-year-old self.
:: Walking around midtown Toronto with hubby, enjoying a cup of Starbucks and window-shopping as we waited for our kids who were at theUnderground.
:: My blog post this week for the Compassion Blog Month project.
:: Fruitful meetings with my son's FIRST Lego League team.
:: A phone meeting with a Compassion Canada staff member to discuss details about the benefit event. Glad to have some details finally ironed out.
:: A great meeting with our Lead Pastor, planning for this new ministry year.
:: Joining in a very informative World Vision Canada live chat where we learned more about the community in Mposa, Malawi from where we sponsor a boy named Moses as part of our church's response to the AIDs situation in Southern Africa!
:: A fairly relaxed weekend.
:: A quiet Sunday evening.
Happy Monday, friends!
This week, this... of keeping my eyes on Jesus and not tripping up!
I want to give up too. But give up the joy wrestle... and I die. The emptiness burns the innards dry. This practicing the presence of God, finding the joy well, it is the practice of the eyes and no, God's presence is not the one that needs be practiced, He, omnipresent one, but our corneas, our eyes.
Let's soar into this new week together, friends... let's do justice, love mercy and walk humbly!

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



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me

Hey there! It's me... the older version of you. It feels a little strange writing to you... well, because it is twenty six years later now. What feels even stranger is... now that I'm in my 40s {which was my mother's age back then}, it doesn't really feel that old. At least not as old as you'd thought it would be!

This is kind of back-to-the-future-ish, don't you think? Well, bear with me... because I think you'll like what I have to say!


First of all, do you want to know what's so cool? My beautiful daughter is exactly as old as you are! Yes, fifteen... which is precisely why I knew I had to write this letter!

You see... my baby girl... she is nothing like you! Well, maybe the brains part of her... she's like you. :-) Other than that though... nothing. like. you. at. all!


My beautiful daughter!

While you were such a shy and introverted girl, even to the point of not talking for long periods of time at school... my girl, on the other hand, isn't afraid to strike up a conversation with just about anyone! In fact, she says that her hobby is talking! :O

You'll be amazed to know that God's grace truly is sufficient. Though still a true introvert, this older version of you has been stepping out of her comfort zone lately... to the point of agreeing to share her story as part of the Ordinary Radicals teaching series at church this past Summer!

While you had low self-esteem and didn't quite feel that you fit in most times... my girl, on the other hand, is one who is very confident in her own skin! She has a radiant personality and fits right into any situation or people group.

You'll be relieved to know that God has given this older version of you lots of confidence... that He who began a good work in her will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!

While you couldn't even run a short distance without feeling cramps in your stomach... my girl, on the other hand, plays on her school's basketball team!

You'll be happy to know that this older version of you runs a race now... running in such a way as to get the prize... running with perseverance, fixing her eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of her faith. But she only still just takes long walks for her exercise. Still no running! :-)

While your worldview didn't include much, other than benefiting your own self... my girl, on the other hand, wants to change the world!

You'll be encouraged to know that God will transform your worldview... so that this older version of you now understands what it means to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. Among other things, this transformed worldview has been expressed through child sponsorships... and most recently, happening right now actually... through a project called Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy!

While you struggled to grasp the reality that God is good and found it hard to believe that God can be a loving Heavenly Father... my girl, on the other hand, rests in the knowledge that she is a daughter of the King, mostly because God has given her an awesome earthly daddy as an example!

You'll be happy to know that this older version of you has finally grasped how wide and long and high and deep God's love is for her... mostly from a gift God has graciously given her, the grace of her life... but also from discovering for herself that she is a beloved one... that God is always good and she is always loved!

So why am I writing to you about all these things?
Two words. God's grace! You might not yet see it... but it doesn't mean that God isn't already at work.

In just two short years, you will leave the life that you've known since birth. You will move half-way around the world to a foreign country called Canada. You will start a new life.

It is where this older version of you still live today... twenty four years later! Yes, you've actually now lived more years here than you have in the Philippines! You've become 100% Canadian now... hard to believe, eh? :-)

It is in this new country, in its education system, where you will learn to slowly come out of your shy shell and start to have confidence in yourself.

It is in this new country, in the several faith communities you belonged to, where you will learn what it means to run God's race and what it means to have a Christian worldview.

In just three short years after relocating to this foreign country, the man your soul loves will come after you and three years after that, you will marry him! {Side note: Ignore all those boys right now because they don't compare to the best that God has for you. :-)}

It is in this marriage, soon after your baby girl was born, that you start to grasp God's goodness and start to understand that He truly is, and always has been, a loving Heavenly Father and that you, too, are a daughter of a King!

It is in this marriage, through the good and the bad, that you finally understood God's relentless love for you... that He truly is always good and that you truly are always loved!

Knowing and following hard after God has enabled you and your hubby to parent your baby girl God's way. And by God's grace, she has grown up to be a beautiful girl, not only on the outside, but more importantly on the inside! By the way, she will soon be followed by a bouncing baby boy... who is now 12 years old... a young man with a special heart! You are truly blessed!


See? Didn't I say that you'll like what I have to say?
In recent years, this older version of you has come to love the writings of Ann Voskamp. So, I'll end this letter with one of the quotes from her book, One Thousand Gifts:
The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.
Beautiful, right? I hope you'll take that to heart and know that God is always good, that you are always, always, always loved!

Love,
This Older Version of You.

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Friends, this post is part of a link up that's happening today over at Chatting At The Sky where bloggers are writing letters to their younger selves in support of Emily Freeman's newly released book Graceful, a book for high school girls between the ages of 14 and 18... a book that I can't wait for my 15-year-old daughter to read!

Please hop on over there and check out all the wonderful letters. I promise you will be blessed!

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dear God...

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28. CEB.
What a beautiful promise that is, dear God. One that has taken me many years to fully grasp... yet You have been faithful... patiently waiting for me to get it, relentlessly pursing me so that I will understand it, lavishly loving me so that I will embrace it.

Oh. such. amazing. grace!

Grace in the form of my daughter who decided one Christmas a few years ago that all she wanted as a Christmas present is a sister from Compassion International. Thus, started our journey into child sponsorship.

What we didn't know was how much our hearts would change in just a short period of time... how much our hearts would be broken for the things that break Yours!

This journey has taken us to the opposite side of the world... where we met Florianlyn... and also Rochelle... where the reality of extreme poverty stared us right in the face... and changed us forever!

This journey has compelled us to respond... in a way that seems radical to most, in a way that seems crazy even to us... yet You kept opening doors, nudging us to say "Yes!", and making this... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy a reality... in order to raise funds to build a Compassion Child Development Centre on that very piece of land that our family set foot on last summer!

God, You truly do work all things together for good...
I can grasp that now. I get it now. I understand it now. I embrace it now!
Oh my words could not tell, not even in part...
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart. ~ Matt Redman
Words aren't adequate to express the thankfulness that my heart feels so I will simply say, "Thank you, God"... for teaching our family what it truly means to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. We are forever grateful...

With unending thanks because You never let us go...
Your daughter, Aimee.  

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Friends, as I link up with the community over at A Holy Experience on The Practice of New Habits... as a whole community of bloggers Walk with Him and write about a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to God's heart... I hope that my prayer has encouraged you to let God take you on the same journey that He's taken our family, into child sponsorship with Compassion International.

Friends, as you can see...
Child sponsorship with Compassion International has changed our family's life!

When we started out in this journey of sponsoring children, we did so with the desire to change the lives of these children and their families. Little did we know, God was going to change us in the process too!

It's been a beautiful change... like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Friends, do you want to experience the same transformation? 

If your answer is YES, I urge you to start your journey here... go ahead, click on the link and look at those faces staring back at you on the screen... choose one, or two, even three... and pray over them! And ask God what He would have you do and be amazed as He orchestrates a beautiful transformation in your life!

Join the Compassion Blogger Network

Happy Wednesday, friends!
But I have sure faith that I will experience the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord!
~ Psalm 27:13-14, CEB.
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I promise you will be blessed!



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Good Week

First week back to routine... check!
And friends, it was truly a good week! I am thankful for God's grace...

To be quite honest, I had some trepidation going into this new Fall season. I worried that we'd said "Yes" to too many things; anxious that we might not be able to do everything well; fearful of the unknown and the things out of my control.

Yet, God is faithful and He truly is always good!

As our family dove into this new season, I kept my focus on my One Word for 2012... SOAR... and the verse from Isaiah 40:31 where it says:
... but those who hope in the Lord
          will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
          they will run and not grow weary,
          they will walk and not be faint.
And, all week long, I focused on placing my hope in Him who is the source of all strength... pressing hard into the promises that the following verses give:
It is God who gives me hope...
These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong.
~ Hebrews 6:18-19 NCV (italics mine).
I can be confident in this hope because of God's faithfulness...
The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, "The Lord is all I need; I can depend on (hope in) him!"
~ Lamentations 3:23-24 CEV (italics and additions mine).
The friendship I have with Christ gives me a hope that is bold...
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV.
To hope in the Lord... to soar with carefreeness... and, to trust and to be bold, both at the same time! :-)

Soaring as I hope... trusting in God to give me flight!
On Saturday, we spent an awesome day with 400 other leaders at our church... being equipped and energized for this brand-new ministry year. Wow! --- it was so encouraging to see so many others... everyone willing to link arms and work together for the purpose of advancing God's Kingdom right here in earth.

I came out feeling truly equipped and energized... mostly due to knowing that I'm not alone in this... that God is doing a mighty good work among a group of people that is willing to be radical for Him.

And then, there was the teaching we received on Sunday morning... about what a faith-filled life looks like. It was so timely!
A faith-filled life looks like this:
~ Believe that God exists, that He's good, and can be trusted.
~ Pursue God every day, and do what He says.
~ Live counter-culturally, even when it seems crazy.
~ Tune your perspective into God's bigger plans.
And... there was an element of surprise for me during the teaching time! This... you just might recognize one of those people in this short video. ;-)

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


Friends, I am humbled, truly humbled... because I am in no way qualified to be cited as an example of one who lives a life of faith... there are days, many days, when my faith is utterly lacking... it truly is only possible with God's relentless love and His amazing grace! ♥
Extraordinary things happen when I keep God's Kingdom perspective and trust him with my whole life. ~ Christa Hesselink.
I'm encouraged... I'm ready... I'm excited! New ministry year... new school year... bring it on!

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... for gifts from a God who renews my strength as I hope in Him... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1540 - #1551:
:: Trusting that HE will give me strength to soar with this... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... happening September 29th, right here in Toronto! It's now just less than three weeks away, friends!!! So looking forward to it! I am beyond excited!
:: Celebrating twelve candles!

:: First day of a brand-new school year.
:: My girl's growing understanding of what it means to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God! ♥
:: Getting the FIRST Lego League team at my boy's school up and running.
:: Participating in Compassion Blog Month.
:: This past Saturday, spent with 400 fellow leaders at church. Encouraged, equipped, energized!
:: Delivering an infant carseat to a mom going through a crisis pregnancy.
:: Tickets for Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy continues to sell, slowly but surely, in spite of my lack of faith.
:: Great Sunday spent with our church family. A sense of excitement for this new ministry year welled up in me as I worshiped together with fellow Christ-followers!
:: Great time chatting with one of our church's Elder over lunch about her Home Church diving into more compassion initiatives this year. Exciting!
:: A quiet and restful Sunday afternoon.
Happy Monday, friends!
This week, this... of overcoming fear and making a life large!
Fear makes a life small. ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Let's soar into this new week together, friends... let's do justice, love mercy and walk humbly!

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



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eating Out vs. Providing A Livelihood?

Friends, earlier this week one of these came...


It was a letter from Florianlyn! As I tore open the envelope, I could tell that this wasn't an ordinary letter... because included in it was a photograph. This photograph...

Florianlyn's House, July 2012.

There are no words to describe the joy that overflowed from my heart upon seeing this picture! Friends... do you see what I see? PEREZ STORE!!! Yes, a store... a convenience store attached to the front of Florianlyn's home that we helped them to re-start! And, a house that's been fixed up!!!

Here's a "before" picture... one we snapped when we visited Florianlyn last summer...

Florianlyn's House, July 2011.

No more tarp as a roof over their heads. The whole front wall of the house is now all brick. A new and improved store window. Lots of merchandise to sell. A store sign. Oh. The. Joy. That. Filled. My. Heart!

Friends, the thing is...
It didn't take much at all for us to help Florianlyn's family in this way!

Sure, it took some sacrifice... but it did not take much at all. It's roughly the same amount we {a family of four, with a boy who has a rapidly growing appetite! :-)} spend monthly on eating out when I'm too lazy to cook! ;-)
The same amount for a two-night trip to Great Wolf Lodge.
The same amount one would spend yearly on their daily coffee or pop/soda.
The same amount as the latest, newest video game console.
The same amount as cable TV for one year.
The same amount one would save packing lunch for a few months instead of buying lunch.
You get the picture, right? It did not take much at all. It was a choice between indulging in eating out or providing adequate shelter and a livelihood for a family living in extreme poverty. The choice was simple and easy, a no-brainer! Friends, a no-brainer... plus, it was just giving up eating out for one short month!

Upon seeing results like this, our family has really taken into heart {especially this past year}... this idea of living simply so that we can give generously.  
“Live simply so others may simply live.” ~ Mother Teresa
A new habit. And, friends... I can assuredly tell you that this new habit has made our lives that much more beautiful. We are, as a result, more keenly aware of the things that break God's heart... in turn, those very same things breaking our family's heart as well. Truly a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful thing!

As I link up with the community over at A Holy Experience on The Practice of New Habits... as a whole community of bloggers Walk with Him and write about a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to God's heart....I pray that I've encouraged you to consider living simply in order to give generously. It's a habit that we can all certainly practice daily.

*******************************************

Friends, as you can see...
Child sponsorship with Compassion International has changed our family's life!

When we started out in this journey of sponsoring children, we did so with the desire to change the lives of these children and their families. Little did we know, God was going to change us in the process too!

It's been a beautiful change... like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Friends, do you want to experience the same transformation? 

If your answer is YES, I urge you to start your journey here... go ahead, click on the link and look at those faces staring back at you on the screen... choose one, or two, even three... and pray over them! And ask God what He would have you do and be amazed as He orchestrates a beautiful transformation in your life!

Join the Compassion Blogger Network

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Now, back to that new habit of ours... living simply in order to give generously... one way our family is practicing this very habit right now is by living simply with our time so that we can generously pour time into making this happen... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy, with Ann Voskamp... happening at the end of this month --- Saturday, September 29, right here in Toronto!

Will YOU come celebrate with us?
I would so love to see you all there, friends!!! Together, we can effect change... we can give hope... we can make lives better. Will you join me and my family in this endeavour?
He defended the rights of the poor and needy; then it went well.
Isn’t that what it means to know me? declares the Lord.

~ Jeremiah 22:16, CEB.
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I promise you will be blessed!



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Twelve Candles

Today we are celebrating...
Because a very special boy is turning 12 years old!


T-W-E-L-V-E ! ! ! 
I can hardly believe it... my baby boy is no longer little! He's now a young man... and to the chagrin of his big sister, he's almost as tall as her now!

As my boy turns twelve today, I am reminded of the story of Jesus as a 12-year-old boy... and my prayer today is that my son will, as Jesus did, be eager to learn and absorb the things of God; that he will, as Jesus did, grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Yesterday, on Labour Day Monday, we celebrated the end of summer with a birthday party for him! Over 30 friends and family gathered together to share a BBQ lunch and some cake with us!

This is the party invitation...


This mama's heart is filled to overflowing with joy and thanksgiving... for God's grace in my boy's life! He has truly been gracious in growing my boy into one who has a heart of compassion for the needy... growing his understanding of what it means to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God!

One very happy birthday boy!!!

Jon, my son... I am blessed beyond measure and I am honoured to be known as your mama! God has given to me a precious gift in you. You have filled my life with so much joy! You make me laugh, you make me smile, you make my heart swell with so much happiness. God has taught me many lessons through you... growing me into a better mommy and a better person... unending thanks be to God!

My prayer for you today, as always, is this...
May you grow up to be... "a man who shares God's desires. Whatever God's will is, you will do." {paraphrased from Acts 13:22}
Happy Birthday, my boy! 
You are loved... more than you could ever know!

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September's Arrival...

Labour Day weekend already...
Friends, this means only one thing... September's here!

In many ways, September represents new beginnings for our family... a brand-new school year, a brand-new ministry year! As we gear up for the start of these new beginnings, it somehow feels strangely like New Year's Day!

Because of that, I am taking a moment today to reflect on my One Word for 2012... which came to me on New Year's Eve. That word is... SOAR... from the verse in Isaiah 40:31 where it says:
... but those who hope in the Lord
          will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
          they will run and not grow weary,
          they will walk and not be faint.
soar (sôr)
1. To rise, fly, or glide high and with little apparent effort.
2. To climb swiftly or powerfully.
3. To ascend suddenly above the normal or usual level: Our spirits soared.
I love the first definition... to rise, fly, or glide high and with little apparent effort. 

With. Little. Apparent. Effort. 
I love it! At the start of this year, I wrote...
In 2012, I want to soar... not with my own might, but with God giving me flight... to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.
Friends, I must say that it has not been easy letting go and letting God lead. Yet, I've learned that when I do finally release my grip and just soar with God... it's been fulfilling, rewarding, far beyond what I could ask or imagine!

It is my prayer on this first Monday in September, as our family embarks on many new beginnings this Fall season, that I will continue to soar with God... to hope in the Lord... to allow Him to renew my strength.

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... for gifts from a God who renews my strength as I hope in Him... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1528 - #1539:
:: Trusting that HE will give me strength to soar with this... Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... happening September 29th, right here in Toronto! It's now crunch time. So looking forward to it! I am beyond excited!
:: Several media opportunities coming up to help promote the above event!

:: A whole week of basketball training for my girl.
:: Then a whole weekend of playing in a tournament.
:: My girl visiting the World Vision head office here in the GTA with her Youth Pastor and learning about their work and their ministry.
:: My boy away for two days this past week at a Leadership Camp with peers from his school.
:: Dinner out with my girl... girls' night out!
:: Lunch with my sister and her kids, then mending my niece's school uniform.
:: Meal planning and grocery shopping... no more eating out once school starts!
:: Preparing for my boy's 12th birthday party!
:: Awed by God's grace as my boy asks his birthday party guests to bring brand-new socks and underwear for the homeless men who sleep at The Salvation Army Gateway, in lieu of presents for him! This mama's heart is bursting with joy and filled to the brim with happiness!
:: My boy's fresh haircut!
Happy Monday, friends!
This week, this... of seeing all as grace, even cindered days!
All the world is window. People, circumstances, situations, relationships, no material is opaque. If we are willing to see, all in transparent. All of this globe is but glass to God. Eucharisteo washes the windows. Eucharisteo, wholesale worship, is redemptive work, wiping away the soot of days cindered.
Let's soar into this new week together, friends... let's do justice, love mercy and walk humbly!

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



Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!